Sunday, May 2, 2010

DCUC Showcase: Negative Man

Wave 13 of the DC Universe Classics has arrived! Today, I'll be taking a look at Negative Man, a new addition to the Doom Patrol. It seems like I have been waiting for this wave for a long time. My LCS continues to come up with the goods. They received the full wave, so I was able to pick up the entire set in one trip. I missed out on the Negative Man variant, but I was able to get my hands on both versions of Cheetah, which I'll review soon, along with the rest of the wave.

Is Negative Man a double negative? Read on to find out what I think about Negative Man!

Negative Man is a founding member of the Doom Patrol. His secret identity, Larry Trainor, receives his powers after being exposed to a radioactive field while piloting a test plane. As a result of this, Negative Man is able to project a negatively charged spirit from his body. At least his powers didn't come from falling into a vat of something. I'm getting tired of that. His history is a bit complicated (at one point existing as an immortal hermaphrodite), but the figure captures his classic look.


With the newer DCUC waves, sculpting is getting better and better. Wave 13 certainly does not disappoint in this category. Negative Man uses the standard male buck as a base. The head sculpt is new, of course, as is the sculpting for his hands. Although I'm pleased with the general look of Negative Man, the sculpting of his bandages seems a bit clunky. Rather than painting the bandages around his neck, Mattel opted to sculpt them. I appreciate the effort, but the look comes across a little thick. To that effect, Negative Man's hands are also sculpted with bandages. From far away, his hands look almost like oven mitts; they're too puffy.

Naturally, Negative Man's head sculpt also features the bandages. Though it still looks slightly heavy to me, the execution of his eyes and mouth were well done. They look like slits covered by the bandage wrappings, as they should, rather than actual holes or painted-on areas. I wish Mattel would've opted for a removable face plate, similar to Robotman's pop-off noggin, instead of creating a semi-irrelevant variant. For wave 13, Donna Troy really could have benefited from a variant, as her black outfit is quite prominent; but, Mattel continues the "lame" variant tradition with this wave.

But, I digress. Negative Man's belt and the Doom Patrol "D" symbol are sculpted onto his waist, rather than painted on, which comes across quite nicely. Whereas the extra sculpting on his neck and hands is slightly distracting, taking the effort to actually sculpt a belt was a good choice, and improves the quality of the figure. His belt appears weathered and leathery, which is a sharp detail and makes it stand out in a good way.


Negative Man features the standard DCUC articulation, which is great. With the newer waves, the head articulation has been strangely limited. The head is intended to feature a ball joint; but, the last few waves have had considerably limited neck movement, in some cases restricted simply to side-to-side rotations. This wave shows a marked improvement, though the issue is still present. Negative Man is able to move his head slightly up and down, though the turns are very stiff. Otherwise, his articulation is very smooth, and all of his joints are tight and easy to work with.


Negative Man is very well painted. That being said (or, well, typed), his paint job is incredibly simplistic, made up of three basic colors: off-white, a dark red, and purple. The "V" shape on his chest is wonderfully clean. I assumed that this area was going to be problematic, but there's virtually no slop. The bandage lines are all well done, as is the paint on his belt. The top of his boots are marginally sloppy, as there's a bit of purple overspray along the top line where they meet his calves, though this is only noticeable when very close to the figure. The red part of his costume appears to be given a bit of a dark red wash, which helps to bring out the detail on this otherwise plain figure.


This wave as a whole seriously lacks in this category. Other than his Collect & Connect piece, Negative Man doesn't have any accessories, though I can't really think of anything he ought to come with. Negative Man is packed with Trigon's right arm and his enormous staff.

As with all of the new figures, Negative Man also comes with a button. I wish each figure's button actually featured the character they're packaged with, as that would appeal more to me than the cropped comic images that are haphazardly fitted across the circular buttons. Oh well.


Most DCUC figures are going to take a beating in this category. Unfortunately, the expensive price works against these figures. At single figures averaging around $15 at retail and even higher elsewhere, the DCUC line is becoming very costly. Completists and those wishing to assemble Trigon will obviously pick up Negative Man, as will those who want a full Doom Patrol. However, many casual buyers probably won't even know who this guy is, let alone be interested in him.


The core members of the Doom Patrol are almost all here! Bring on Elasti-Girl and Mento. Negative Man is an appreciable addition to the DCUC line if you're a fan of his. Otherwise, he might be an acceptable pass. Those who want him also have the variant to consider, which may or may not be more desirable.

And with that, this overview is under wraps (see what I did there..?). Stay tuned for reviews of the rest of wave 13 and beyond!

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