Monday, August 23, 2010

DCUC Showcase: Blue Beetle (III)

In my last post, I mentioned that I was going to resume posting DCUC wave 13 overviews in June. I lied. So...

Coming up next, another figure from DCUC's wave 13: Blue Beetle!

Want to know what's up with this new bug? Read on to find out what I think about Blue Beetle!

This is the modern version of Blue Beetle. After Ted Kord (the previous Blue Beetle, who received a figure in wave 7) gets blasted, he sends his magical scarab to the wizard Shazam, who also gets whacked. As such, for whatever reason, the mystical scarab ends up in Texas (I won't try to figure out why), where Jaime Reyes finds it, thereafter becoming the Blue Beetle. I've never cared about this character, and I still don't, but this figure is a spectacular addition to the DCUC line.


Blue Beetle features a completely unique sculpt. No reused parts here. Blue Beetle possesses a lean, smooth base, with robotic plates making up the majority of his body. Being a teen, he's naturally a bit shorter than most of the basic male figures. His body is well-proportioned, and the ridged plates are nicely sculpted over the smaller buck base. Most of the blue sections are raised from the black plating, which helps to bring out the contrast in the texturing.

Blue Beetle is sculpted with open hands, and although there isn't really anything important for him to hold, it's an appreciable detail; so many of the line's figures are sculpted with closed fists, which only lend themselves to typical action poses. Additionally, the robotic look of Blue Beetle's soles are wonderfully sculpted. I'm not particularly interested in Blue Beetle's arrested grimace, though it doesn't especially bother me. Overall, his head is very nicely sculpted, and maintains the human shape of his head under the robotic suit.

My only major complaint about the sculpting on Blue Beetle is with the scarab that is plastered onto his back. From the front, the antennae framing his head look superb. When reversed, however, collectors are greeted by three glaring holes that are meant to accommodate Blue Beetle's wing accessory. Although Blue Beetle looks grand with his wings attached, the craters that the holes in his back leave are noticeably odd. However, I don't often display my figures backward, so it isn't a particularly bothersome issue.


Blue Beetle holds the esteemed pleasure of being the most articulated figure in the entire DCUC line. Also, he is the first figure to feature double-jointed articulation, located at his elbows and knees. Thankfully, the extra joints actually fit in with Blue Beetle's robotic form, and blend in seamlessly.

Other areas of interest are Blue Beetle's hands, which are hinged at the wrists, similar in form to Green Arrow's (from wave 9) articulation. The hinged hands don't really serve any purpose, aside from allowing Blue Beetle to take a few colorful poses; but, they are still a welcome addition to the figure's articulation. Blue Beetle's head possesses a great range of motion, improving upon the strangely limited neck movement of some of the other newer figures.


Blue Beetle's color scheme is very simple, consisting of shimmering blue sections added to the basic black plating. Aside from those colors, Blue Beetle's eyes and mouth are cleanly painted in yellow and white, respectively. Very thin, accurate lines divide Blue Beetle's teeth, providing nice detail. Both of Blue Beetle's legs feature four ovals each, done in pale blue, and the ridged bottoms of his feet are light blue; his elbow joints are painted in the same blue coloring as the majority of his armor.

Though the paint application is fairly simple, almost all of the lines are clean and well applied. The only area that is subject to a bit of overspray is his chest, though it is impossible to notice unless one is extremely close to the figure.

My figure's head is graced with an odd, shiny smudge around his forehead. It isn't very noticeable, and only shows up from certain angles at close range. I'm not sure how it was accomplished, but it was present while the figure was carded, so I assume it was a factory error. Other collectors have noticed a subtle green tinge in the paint around some areas on the figure, though it isn't very pronounced and is only discernible in certain lighting.


Finally: A newer figure with accessories! With the exception of the two benign blue boys, this wave is totally devoid of true accessories (not counting Trigon's cape or staff). Blue Beetle is packed with a detachable pair of wings and an arm attachment. As mentioned previously, the wing piece plugs into the holes on Blue Beetle's back, while the blade attachment hooks onto his right arm.

The wings fit easily onto blue Beetle's back and stay in well. They're a bit stiff, but they look nice. The section that attaches to Blue Beetle's back matches the blue tint of his armor, while the actual wings are cast in clear blue and feature a shimmery texture. The wings seem to stick up at a slightly steep angle, but they look fine when attached to the actual figure. I would have appreciated a few points of articulation in the wings, as they come across a bit thick looking and plastic-like; but, it's not really something they require.

The blade is slightly loose, but still clips on effectively. The main part of the blade matches Blue Beetle's look and blends in with his arm; the section that attaches to his arm is painted the same color as his basic armor, and the actual blade is painted slightly lighter for contrast.

Blue Beetle also includes a chunk of Trigon and a button, which fell out of its tray and subsequently became lost when I opened the figure's package (as you can see, I did find it, eventually). The button features a cropped image of the Justice League International, with Jaime's predecessor, Ted, for some reason. As I've noted in other posts, I really would prefer that the buttons actually depict the character they come with, as I don't see the significance of including a button showing off a random comic image of a character related to the actual figure.


As Blue Beetle includes a Collect & Connect piece and accessories, and features a completely unique sculpt with magnificent articulation, the value of the figure is potentially higher than some of the other figures in this wave. Though relatively new to the DC universe, this version of Blue Beetle has been featured on the animated TV series Batman: The Brave and the Bold and has been active with the Teen Titans in the comics. Naturally, you'll want to procure this blue guy if you're a big fan of the modern Blue Beetle. Even if you aren't a fan, he's still a fantastic figure and great addition to the DCUC line.


Blue Beetle is a fantastic figure. He's wonderfully articulated and looks quite cool. This blue boy will stand out whether posed on a shelf or poised on the floor, ready for a fevered free-for-all against a bevy of plastic DC malefactors.

I can't think of a lame pun to end this post with, so I won't even bother with something clever (was that clever?). Stay tuned for reviews of the rest of wave 13 and beyond!

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Questions? Comments? Catharses? Feel free to drop me a comment, tweet, or email, if you are so inclined.


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