REVIEW: DC UNIVERSE CLASSICS WAL-MART EXCLUSIVE "GOTHAM CITY 5"
For those desiring proof of the popularity of Mattel's magnificent line of DC Universe Classics 6-1/2" action figures, consider this -- Wal-Mart has released an exclusive five-pack of them.
Now, it's not often that you see a multi-figure pack in this size range. Occasionally Toys "R" Us or the Disney Store will offer a multi-pack of Power Rangers. They're generally packaged side-by-side in as close quarters as possible. That wasn't the case with this DC Universe Classics five-pack, where the figures were rather dramatically posed across a box that measured 16" x 14" x 4"!
Generally speaking, if you see a multi-pack of action figures these days, it's in the 3-3/4" range more or less, and generally features characters from concepts such as Star Wars or G.I. Joe. Mattel's similarly-scaled line of DC Universe Infinite Heroes also produces multi-packs. Any and all of these are generally housed in far smaller boxes than this one!
The set is called "Gotham City 5", which is a bit of a misnomer, as two of the five figures in the set technically hail from Metropolis. But why quibble?
The set has a lot to offer. It has two very iconic renditions of arguably the two best-known heroes in the DC Universe, SUPERMAN and BATMAN; it has two of Batman's best-known adversaries, revitalized from their earlier appearances in the previous "DC Super-Heroes" line, and as such likely their only entries in the DC Universe Classics line, TWO-FACE and CATWOMAN; and it has an all-new and impressive version of Superman's best known enemy, LEX LUTHOR.
Let's take each of these figures in order, shall we?
SUPERMAN - I'm not going to insult anyone's intelligence here by going into an in-depth origin on the Man of Steel. Come on, if you don't know who this guy is, why are you reading a review about DC Universe characters?
Rocketed to Earth from the doomed planet Krypton, the infant Kal-El was discovered by Kansas farmers John and Martha Kent, raised as a human, while Earth's yellow sun granted him powers far beyond those of any Earthman. He would become the most iconic hero, not only of the DC Universe, but likely of pop culture PERIOD, as SUPERMAN.
He's been in comic books, novels, radio programs, TV shows, animated series, movies, video games, and of course -- toys.
If there's been one problem with the DC Universe Classics line, it's been -- admittedly understandably -- reluctant to bring back characters that were emphasized during the predecessor line, DC Super-Heroes. This line was far more Batman-Superman-centric, and I never really got into it, because it wasn't until late on in its run that it really started to turn out some seriously impressive action figures, using design aspects that are still in use with the DC Universe Classics line.
This has resulted in any Superman or Batman figure presented in the DC Universe Classics line being just about any version OTHER than the most recognizable, modern, iconic edition of the character, since that version came out in the DCSH line. As far as Superman is concerned, we've had "mullet" Superman, black-suited Superman, a heat-vision Superman packed with the Brainiac figure, and the energy-being Superman -- which in retrospect was probably one of the worst ideas ever inflicted on the Man of Steel -- Superman Blue, and his split-off counterpart, Superman Red.
I actually picked up the mullet-haired Superman just so I could have A Superman in my collection. Somehow, it's just not a DC Universe collection without Superman. I had Flash, Aquaman, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman -- but something was missing, and it was Big Blue.
Finally, this five-pack gives those of us who might still be kicking ourselves a bit over not paying proper attention to the previous line when we should've, the ultimate iconic Superman figure for DC Universe Classics.
Here is Superman as he should be. Blue uniform. Red shorts, cape, and boots. The legendary "S" symbol neatly imprinted on the shirt, and on the back of the cape. Appropriately heroic face. And SHORT HAIR! And no red glowing "heat vision" eyes, either.
The absolute only complaint I can make about this figure is that the boots, which are sculpted on the lower legs, not just painted on, are not painted as neatly as they should be. Did Mattel lose the stencil? Was the production time a little too short? Did a certain retailer make them cut corners? Unknown. And -- it's probably fixable. I don't like it, but I'll live with it, and I've certainly seen far worse.
And, ultimately, finally getting a truly iconic Superman to stand with the rest of my growing DC Universe Classics collection is well worth it. Thank you, Mattel!
BATMAN - Here's somebody else I probably don't need to explain very much. He had such a long-running animated series in the 1990's that changed its name so many times that if you counted each one as a separate series I'm honestly not sure how many there were. If Warner Brothers ever decides to release the entire thing in one comprehensive DVD set (which for all I know they have -- I should pay more attention to that...), then it's going to be one BIG box.
And that doesn't even count the subsequent, differently-styled "The Batman" animated series, or the more recent "Brave and the Bold" series, or the live-action movies. It's a good thing Superman isn't prone to jealousy, or he probably would've clobbered Batman into next week -- literally.
Batman is, as I suspect you already know, billionaire Bruce Wayne. As a child, Wayne witnessed the brutal murder of his parents at the hands of a street thug. He devoted his life to putting down the criminal element in Gotham City, and trained himself to physical near-perfection, as well as honing his mind to be the best detective possible. He used his wealth to develop and buy the most advanced technological equipment he could create to help him in his fight against evil.
Bruce Wayne is seen as a generous philanthropist and honest corporate executive -- if something of a playboy and possibly even a bit of an airhead. But Wayne is more of a mask than Batman. Wayne is the put-on. Batman is the real person as far as he's concerned, and by night, this Dark Knight of Gotham is out there dealing with the assorted lunatics and psychopaths that have come to call Gotham home.
Batman has suffered a similar lack of figures in the DC Universe Classics line, because of his considerable presence in the DC Super-Heroes line. There was a Batman in the first assortment of the DC Universe Classics, but it was designated "Detective" Batman, and although it used the molds of the DCSH Batman, the figure was given a fairly bright blue cowl and cape, with a black front, emulating the classic, if almost campy, look of Batman from the late 60's and early 70's. I bought that figure, again, as much to have A Batman in my collection as anything, but it was about as satisfying as "mullet" Superman. A good figure, don't get me wrong, but not quite there.
There have been two other Batman figures in the DC Universe Classics line. One of them was Batman Beyond, a different individual entirely, based on the animated series of the same name. I'm glad to have him, but this wasn't Bruce Wayne. Then there was a Batman sold in a recent two-pack with Clayface. Here, Mattel gave the figure the right uniform. Then they splattered him with brown paint to make him look like he'd just been in a serious brawl with Clayface. Thanks, but "mud-wrestling Batman" just didn't quite make the grade.
The Batman figure in this five-pack is -- well, as close to modern iconic as we've seen yet in this line, at least for a Batman that doesn't look like he needs to have Alfred do the laundry as soon as he gets back to the Batcave. The figure has a grey uniform, and a black cowl, boots, gloves, and cape. Overall, he looks great. There's just one little matter.
When Batman first started out, the Bat-emblem on his shirt was just that -- a bat. Along somewhere in the 1940's or 1950's, Batman added a yellow oval around the bat. It added a little color to a character who was no longer quite as grim as he'd been when he first started. That yellow circle stayed in place for decades, but in recent years, it's been removed, and the bat symbol itself somewhat enlarged.
This Batman figure has the yellow oval. So it's not QUITE current in my opinion. Don't get me wrong -- it's otherwise a superb Batman figure, I'm very glad to have it, and hey, even the boots are more neatly painted than Superman's. But I do wish Mattel had given the figure the modern insignia. Maybe they didn't want to compete with their own two-pack with Clayface, I don't know. Reportedly a forthcoming wave of DC Universe Classics figures, Wave 10, another Wal-Mart exclusive, will have a black-uniformed Batman in it. That could be cool. But one of these days, I'd still like to see a modern Batman with the modern symbol -- and no clay-splats.
My only other criticism would be that I do feel that the grey of the costume is a little too light. It should be darkened somewhat. Oddly, Mattel's girls-toys branch produced a couple of cute dolls, named Kelly and Tommy (young relatives of Barbie), as Catwoman and Batman a while back. Although Tommy's Batman costume had the yellow circle around the Bat-emblem, the colors of the fabric costume were, as far as I'm concerned, right on the money. If the DC Universe Classics people want to know how to do Batman, colorwise, they should walk across Mattel's headquarters or whatever and borrow this doll.
Still, this Batman figure is nevertheless superior to the "Detective" Batman from the first assortment, and certainly works in better with the crowd. I'm pleased to have him.
Now, let's consider the new faces. And we might as well start with --
TWO-FACE - Here's a guy that seems to have had a little trouble getting respect in the action figure world, probably because of his rather frightening half-scarred face. He never appeared in the 1960's Batman series. The closest analogue there was a character called "False Face", who was an alleged master of disguise. No real connection except for a portion of the name. Interestingly, according to a WikiPedia report, Clint Eastwood was discussed for the role of Two-Face in the 1960s television series, reimagined as a news anchor who was disfigured when a television set exploded in his face, he did not appear, as the character was labeled "too gruesome and too violent" for the "kid-friendly" attitude that surrounded the show. Unfortunate. Clint as Two-Face would've been interesting.
Two-Face never made it into the Mego "World's Greatest Super-Heroes" line, either, even though a considerable portion of Batman's enemies, including Penguin, Joker, Riddler, and even Catwoman, did. Nor did Two-Face turn up in the Super Powers line, even though Joker, Penguin, and Mister Freeze were present and accounted for.
The first significant Two-Face figure was actually a pretty sorry piece of work. It was made by Toy Biz, during their brief foray into DC, before they garnered their long relationship with Marvel. This Two-Face figure looked -- okay -- but it had a two-headed coin that was the proportionate size of a dinner plate, attached to one of his hands, and if you wound the figure up, the coin and the hand spun around in such a fashion that anyone attempting it in real life would shatter every bone in his wrist.
Not the most auspicious entry into the action figure world. Let's consider the background of the character, with a little help from WikiPedia.
Two-Face is a fictional comic book supervillain who appears in comic books published by DC Comics. The character first appeared in Detective Comics #66 (August 1942), and was created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger.
The character only made three appearances in the 1940s, and appeared twice in the 1950s (not counting several impostors). By this time, he was dropped in favor of more "kid friendly" villains, though he did appear in a 1968 issue (World's Finest Comics #173), in which Batman declared him to be the criminal he most fears. In 1971, writer Dennis O'Neil brought Two-Face back, and it was then that he became one of Batman's arch-enemies.
At 26, Harvey Dent is the youngest district attorney ever to serve Gotham City, and is nicknamed "Apollo" for his clean-cut image. He is elected about six months before Batman begins his war on crime, as depicted in the events of Batman: Year One.
His campaign against crime ends tragically during the prosecution of crime boss Sal "Boss" Maroni for murder. At a climactic moment in the trial, Dent produces Maroni's good luck charm, a two-headed coin, which had been found at the murder scene with Maroni's fresh fingerprints upon it. Enraged, Maroni throws sulfuric acid in Dent's face, horribly scarring the left side of his face while leaving the other half undamaged; in some versions of the story, he is only saved from a face-full of acid by Batman's quick, but only partial, deflection of Maroni's hand. Driven insane by his hideous reflection, Dent scars one side of Maroni's coin and lets tosses of the coin decide whether he acts for good or evil in any situation.
Batman Annual #14, elaborates on these events, with some changes. Among these, Two-Face gets his trademark coin from his abusive father, who would employ the coin in a perverse nightly "game" that would always end with a beating. This would instill in Dent his lifelong struggle with free will and his eventual inability to make choices on his own.
In more recent years, writers have portrayed his obsession with duality and fate as the result of schizophrenia, bipolar and multiple personality disorders, and a history of child abuse. He obsessively makes all important decisions by flipping a two-headed coin, one side scratched over with an X. The modern version is established of once being a personal friend and ally of Commissioner James Gordon and Batman, giving their confrontations a special emotional significance.
Throughout the history of the Batman franchise, attempts have been made to repair his facial scars but they have not yet cured his insanity; he simply destroys the one side of his face and becomes Two-Face once again.
One particular story that I liked was in the aftermath of the earthquake that devastated Gotham City. For a time, Two-Face assisted with the rescue efforts, his coin consistently coming up with the unscarred face. He had Gotham Police Detective Renee Montoya keeping an eye on him, in case the coin went bad, but it didn't. Only when Batman showed up did Two-Face go berserk. Montoys succeeded in getting Batman to back off, and convinced Two-Face that he didn't need to continually flip his coin in every rescue effort. He had decided to help out, and that didn't need to change. Somewhere along the way, Two-Face returned to his criminal ways, and carved out a sizeable portion of the ruined Gotham as his own territory.
More recently, a presumably healed Harvey Dent was asked by Batman to tend to Gotham's criminal element while Batman was away following the Infinite Crisis event, during the "One Year Later" gap. Dent's face had been repaired, and he seemed to be on the straight path. It still might have been an ill-advised choice. Batman returned to discover that a number of relatively low-level villains had been murdered, with two bullets to the head. Batman suspected Dent. Dent refused to cooperate, and the Two-Face personality started to taunt him once again. Dent ultimately poured acid on his own face (ouch!) and resumed his criminal activities.
So -- how's the figure? Very classic. This TWO-FACE figure is one of two figures in the set that has been brought over, I assume slightly modified (since I never saw the original Two-Face figure) from the DC Super-Heroes line.
Two-Face does not wear a standard super-costume -- which is a bit of a shame. But ultimately, Two-Face is more of a gangster than anything, and they generally tend to avoid the spandex wardrobe. Additionally, he has no super-powers of his own, although he is a skilled hand-to-hand combatant. Still, it might not be the best move in the world for him to try to mingle with the super-set, and run up against someone who hits him so hard his face reverses. Two-Face may be obsessed, and even more than a bit nuts. But he's not stupid.
Two-Face wears a modified business suit, and I don't know who his tailor is, but the outfit definitely reflects his own duality. On the side of his body with the "clean" face, Two-Face is wearing a plain suit that's orange-ish tan in color. On the side of his body with the "scarred" face, he's wearing a purple suit with a pin-striped jacket.
The shirt under the jacket is plain white, and the necktie is plain black. This is a slight deviance from customary images of Two-Face, where even the shirt and the tie are split down the middle. Still, a fairly minor point here.
The body molds for Two-Face have been used before in the DC Universe Classics line, after their initial usage for Two-Face in the DC Super-Heroes line. They were used for the body of the Riddler in the Wal-Mart exclusive Wave 5 series, then molded in, as one would expect, green with question marks and a bit of purple trim, and obviously without the duality aspect.
Two-Face has worn any number of different suits over the years, all maintaining the double pattern. However, much in keeping with the "Classics" part of the "DC Universe Classics" name, this is the most classic interpretation of his usual clothes, color and design wise.
So is the headsculpt, insofar as colors are concerned. As one would expect, the unscarred side of his face features the fairly handsome, if slightly bland, face of Harvey Dent. The scarred side is the maniacal visage (and Don King-ish hairstyle) of Two-Face.
Here's the "Classic" point, though -- the Two-Face side is colored green. Now, this is an established color for Two-Face's scarred side, all the way back to the 40's and 50's, and somewhat into the modern day. However, more recent interpretations of the character have colored the scarred side of his face a reddish-purple, more in keeping with a realistic interpretation of scar tissue, as well as his cinematic portrayals.
That's okay, though. Green works, and is an established color. Interestingly, Two-Face's left hand is also colored green. This has to be something of an affectation on the character's part, since the hand itself is unscarred, and there's never been any indication that Two-Face's body was scarred beyond the region of his face.
Articulation of the figure is good, but since it uses a different body than most, it does lack the mid-torso articulation, and some of the articulation pivots on the arms and legs are a little more noticeable because of the clothing design as opposed to tights. Not a big deal in either case.
I am sincerely delighted to have this figure, as I've always found the Two-Face character interesting, and trying to backtrack on the previous DC Super-Heroes line is not an easy thing.
Now, let's consider the other Bat-related character in the set:
CATWOMAN - Easily one of Batman's most enigmatic enemies. In fact, not even always his enemy! Let's see what Wikipedia has to say about her.
Catwoman, real name Selina Kyle, first appears in Batman #1 (Spring 1940) in which she is known as The Cat. As an adversary of Batman, she was a whip-carrying burglar with a taste for high-stake thefts.
Since the 1990s, Catwoman has been featured in an eponymous series that cast her as an antiheroine rather than a supervillainess. The character has been one of Batman's most enduring love interests, and is almost always depicted as his one true love.
Catwoman has been featured in most media adaptations related to Batman. Actresses Julie Newmar, Lee Meriwether, and Eartha Kitt introduced her to a large audience on the 1960s Batman television series and the 1966 Batman motion picture. Michelle Pfeiffer portrayed the character in 1992's Batman Returns.
There have been many versions of Catwoman's origins and backstory seen in the comic books over the decades. Overall, Catwoman or Selina Kyle still remains as the most popular female character in the Batman Universe.
Catwoman — then called "The Cat" — first appears in Batman #1 as a mysterious burglar and jewel thief, revealed at the end of the story to be socialite Selina Kyle. Although the story does not have her wearing her iconic catsuit, it establishes her core personality as a femme fatale who both antagonizes and attracts Batman.
Catwoman's origin — and, to an extent, her character — was revised in 1986 when writer Frank Miller and artist David Mazzucchelli published Batman: Year One, a revision of Batman's origin. In this version, Selina Kyle is reintroduced as a independent and more modern minded woman. She is a prostitute in order to survive and wants to break away from this life.
She begins to study self defense and martial arts. Her teacher inspires Selina to become more than what she has been and she realizes that prostitution is no life for her or for "Holly". Holly Robinson is a young runaway who idolizes Selina, but is much too young to be on the streets as far as Selina is concerned. Selina shares her home with Holly after she takes her in.
As the story progresses Selina is led to a bit of burglary, she dons a catsuit costume that her now former pimp gave to her the day that she told him she was out of the business. After costuming herself so as not to be revealed, she gets a taste for burglary and begins to do it in more of a Robin Hood way than an actual thief. This is however how she runs into Batman. After a small confrontation, she begins to be inspired to stay in her costume and become the "catwoman" after seeing Batman in action with others. Selina gets the idea that if there is a "bat" why can't there be a "cat"?
The 1989 Catwoman limited series expanded on Miller's Year One origin. Her Sister's Keeper explores Selina's early life as a prostitute and the start of her career as Catwoman.
Portions of Her Sister's Keeper and the Year One origin conceived by Miller remain canonical to Catwoman's origin, while other portions have been dropped over the years. It has been implied that Her Sister's Keeper was rendered non-canonical by the events of Zero Hour, and subsequent writers have rejected Miller's choice to make the post-Crisis Catwoman a prostitute. In an attempt to harmonize the various versions, some writers have posited that Catwoman, early in her career, pretended to be a prostitute in order to scam lonely men and rob them.
However, characters associated with Catwoman's past as a prostitute have remained a part of her supporting cast. Holly, from Batman: Year One, and her sister Maggie (from Her Sister's Keeper) have appeared regularly in the Catwoman series.
In 1993, following the success of Batman Returns, Catwoman was given her first ongoing comic book series. This series, written by an assortment of writers but primarily penciled by Jim Balent, generally depicted the character as an international thief (and occasional bounty hunter) with an ambiguous moral code.
The series also fleshes out more of her origin, revealing her beginnings as a young thief, her difficult period in juvenile incarceration, and her training with Ted "Wildcat" Grant.
Moving to New York, Selina becomes corporate vice president then CEO of Randolf Industries, a mafia-influenced company, through blackmail. She plans to use this position to run for Mayor of New York City, but her hopes are dashed when the Trickster inadvertently connects her to her criminal alter ego.
Selina then returns to Gotham City, which at this time is in the midst of the No Man's Land storyline. As Catwoman, she assists Batman against Lex Luthor in the reconstruction of the city.
(I think it's worth noting that at the time of the Cataclysm, which touched off the No Man's Land story, Catwoman was attempting a burglary when the quake struck. She helped to rescue a number of people from the collapsed building.)
Catwoman then appears in a series of backup stories in Detective Comics #759-#762. In a backup storyline Trail of the Catwoman, by writer Ed Brubaker and artist Darwyn Cooke, private detective Slam Bradley attempts to find out what really happened to Selina Kyle. This storyline leads in to the newest Catwoman series in late 2001 (written by Brubaker initially with Cooke, later joined by artist Cameron Stewart). In this series, Selina Kyle, joined by new supporting cast members Holly Robinson and Slam Bradley (a character from the early Golden Age DC Comics), becomes protector of the residents of Gotham's East End, while still carrying out an ambitious career as a cat burglar.
During the Hush storyline (Batman #608-#619), Batman and Catwoman briefly work together and have a romantic relationship, during which he reveals his true identity to her. At the end, he breaks off their relationship when he suspects it has been manipulated by the Riddler and Hush.
In the Justice League story arc Crisis of Conscience, Catwoman fights alongside Batman and the League against the old Secret Society, of which she had once briefly been a member.
There's a lot more to the character, and I highly recommend the WikiPedia entry on Catwoman for further details.
So, how's the figure? Really extremely impressive, and one of the real highlights of the set. Now, here's the thing about Catwoman -- she's been quite the fashion plate over the years.
Her two most recent costumes have been purple tights with high black gloves and boots, and a cat-like mask that allowed her hair to flow freely out the back. This was really a superb costume. More recently, she has work a black leather-like costume with a cat-mask with high-tech goggles. The mask did not allow her hair to flow, and honestly, I wasn't as fond of this outfit.
Catwoman, like Two-Face, had a figure in the DC Super-Heroes line. The design duplicated the recent leather costume. This figure has been recolored for inclusion in this five-pack, and it's really a near-perfect compromise between her two most recent costumes.
Although clearly modeled upon the black leather costume, the figure has been molded mostly in purple! The costume has been given a certain degree of glossy semi-metallic sheen to it which is very impressive. Her hair does not emerge from the back of the head. I rather wish it did, but that's the only downside to this figure. Catwoman is wearing black gloves, boots, and a belt, and the frames around here goggles are also black.
Really, this is an absolutely outstanding figure of this popular character. If it had been made available like this on a single card I would've gladly purchased it, and I'm truly delighted to have it. It's also an entirely unique figure, as well. Although the overall size and shape of the figure is well in keeping with other females of the line, there are sculpted seams on the insides of the arms and legs, meaning that this figure was crafted specifically as Catwoman, and isn't using any other parts. The silver zipper on the front, and unique look of the gloves and boots, completes this very distinctive figure.
She's also the only one in the set to come with an accessory -- a whip!
Paintwork on the figure is somewhat limited, mostly around the face, and here, it is superbly well done.
Overall, this is really a remarkable figure of Catwoman! Now, let's consider the one remaining figure in this set, and the one Wal-Mart is boasting as the particular exclusive to this set:
LEX LUTHOR - Here's someone else who doesn't need a lot of introduction. Superman's most implacable enemy, Lex Luthor.
Along with the 1986 revamp of Superman himself, Lex Luthor received a considerable overhaul. No longer was he "just" an evil scientist out to destroy Superman and conquer the world or whatever else he had in mind once Superman was out of the way.
Lex Luthor was a business magnate, CEO of LexCorp, and the most powerful person in Metropolis -- until Superman showed up. Between that and Luthor pulling a few underhanded stunts to try to persuade Superman to work exclusively for him, Luthor was knocked off his high horse a few points and couldn't tolerate it. Luthor would continue to use his power, his corporation, and his intellect to try to undermine and destroy the Man of Steel and his allies, and hopefully come out smelling like the proverbial rose in the aftermath.
Luthor even successfully ran for the office of the President of the United States, although his actions saw him removed from power before he could successfully run for a second term. Following this, Luthor largely lost control of LexCorp, but his business acumen was still with him, and he built up new power bases, bringing together several alliances and societies of super-villains, and more determined than ever to ruin Superman and the lives of super-heroes everywhere.
In short, he's largely returned to his initial roots as a pure villain, while for a while there, he wasn't above working the side of the heroes if there was mutual benefit to be gained.
When Luthor first appeared, back in the earliest days of Superman, he wore no costume. Later on, he seemed to alternate between a business suit, and prison greys. At one point he developed a powerful suit of armor, with which he used to combat the Man of Steel. Following the 1986 revamp, he was back in business suits, although versions of the green and purple armor turned up from time to time, and one such version was made into a DC Super-Heroes action figure.
But there was another costume, which has started to turn up once again, that has always impressed me. After decades in business suits and prison greys, somebody at DC, along about the 1970's, finally decided, "You know, this guy really needs some sort of super-suit." And so, they gave him one.
Lex Luthor's pre-armor costume consisted of a reddish-purple shirt, green leggings, purple boots, green gloves, and a pair of black straps across his chest. Attached to these straps and elsewhere on his costume were small cylindrical canisters, presumably assorted miniaturized weaponry with which Luthor could fight Superman. He also had a flight pack in the costume.
I've often wondered if Luthor picked the green and purple colors because they were opposites to Superman's primary colors, although technically orange is the opposite of blue, but let's not get nitpicky. If you want someone dressed in orange and green, go find Mirror Master.
This is the Luthor figure that has been presented in this 5-pack, and it was certainly one of the compelling reasons to get it. The headsculpt is excellent. It seems to me to offer some of legendary Superman artist Curt Swan's take on the character, while throwing in a bit of the modern arrogance that seems perpetually written on Luthor's face. The shirt is perhaps a little more pinkish than purplish, but it still looks good. The overall color scheme is excellent.
As one would hope from the DC Universe Classics line, the body uses the standard male body molds that many of the figures use. This gives the line a consistency that I sincerely appreciate. The boots and gloves do appear to be distinct sculpts, though, and some further modification may have been necessary to attach the little canisters. The figure also has the flared collar on the shirt.
On the whole, it's really an excellent figure of a very popular version of Luthor that does seem to be turning up here and there in the modern day. I'm truly delighted to see it in this line.
Of course, all of the figures in this set have excellent articulation. For the most part, everyone is fully poseable at the head, arms, upper arm swivel, elbows, wrists, mid-torso, waist, legs, upper leg swivel, knees, and ankles.
So what's my final word? How about -- WOW! With this set, you get the iconic modern version of Superman, an iconic near-modern version of Batman, and certainly the best to date since the DC Super-Heroes line, a good rendition of a popular Batman villain in Two-Face, a really incredible version of another popular Batman character in Catwoman -- neither of whom would've been likely contenders for the DCUC line otherwise, and a great and distinctive edition of Lex Luthor! Really, there's no way to go wrong with a lineup like that.
Granted, the set is large, not inexpensive, and based on what I've observed is hugely popular despite the price tag. I've seen shipments blow out as fast as if the set was packed with versions of the Flash and his speedster allies, never mind the group that it does contain.
But, it is an immensely cool set, with five extremely impressive figures that will all be welcome additions for any DC Universe fan, especially if you're already collecting the DC Universe Classics line.
The WAL-MART EXCLUSIVE DC UNIVERSE CLASSICS "GOTHAM CITY 5" SET most definitely has my highest recommendation!