Soapbox Sunday: What’s Wrong with Mattel’s New DC Retail Lines?

A couple of weeks ago, I posed the question if Hasbro could revitalize the G.I. JOE brand by launching a new 6-inch action figure line. I reasoned that if the Star Wars team could make it work with the Black Series and the Marvel team could go the other way (from 6-inch to 4-inch) with Marvel Universe, then it could work for Joes too.

DC Total Heroes - Superman DC Multiverse - Arkham Origins Deadshot

DC Total Heroes Superman (6-inch scale) and DC Comics Multiverse Deadshot (3.75-inch scale)

This past week I got my first look at Mattel’s attempt to breathe new life into their DC Comics license at retail with the DC Total Heroes and DC Comics Multiverse lines as pre-orders went live online. And good Grodd – I dislike them so much I want them to fail. Now I’m left wondering – are my feelings unfounded, making me a hypocrite? Why should I want to see this happen for G.I. JOE when I can’t stand Mattel’s attempt to do the same?

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Mattel’s New DC Total Heroes and DC Comics Multiverse Lines for Retail are Up for Pre-Order

I foolishly skipped Mattel’s DC panel at SDCC this year. In my defense, in years past, it was usually a rehash of the DC portion of the Mattypalooza panel with some kid-oriented toys on top of that. I had no idea that this year they’d be announcing the demise of the spiritual successors of DC Universe Classics at retail, the Batman Unlimited and DC Unlimited lines, and that they’d be launching two new retail lines in 2014. Now that online retailers have put up their pre-orders for them, I’m getting my first real look at DC Total Heroes and DC Comics Multiverse.

DC Total Heroes is Mattel’s re-envisioning of 6-inch action figures for retail. Each of the four figures (Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, and Sinestro) from the first wave sports their New 52 looks, but veers from the DC Universe Classics aesthetic to a new, somewhat animated look. With a reduction in articulation and paint apps, Mattel was able to reduce the price point, with online retailers charging $12.99 per figure. That seems to be one of the key selling points of the new line.

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