REVIEW: Mattel SDCC13 Exclusive DC Signature Collection Shazam!
First Figure Of New 52 Character From The Pages Of Justice League...
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Among Mattel’s many Comic-Con exclusives this year was a new addition to the DC Signature Collection, a series that digs into the past and present of DC Comics to bring collectors the characters they want and most likely won’t see in any other line. The company is well known for its fun figures joining great sculpts with incredible articulation, as well as innovative and imaginative packaging. For 2013 Mattel presented a new figure of a new version of a character we’ve seen before, but not like this. Billy Batson has been around in comics for a very long time, first appearing all the way back in 1940’s Whiz Comics by Fawcett Comics. A homeless boy, Billy finds himself in a magical subway tunnel where the wizard Shazam imbues him with awesome magical powers. When he speaks the word “Shazam” he is transformed into the World’s Mightiest Mortal with incredible wisdom, strength, stamina, power, courage, and speed. In the current DC Comics New 52 continuity the hero’s name is Shazam, and he fights against evil with an update look and tremendous new costume design that’s captured in the Mattel exclusive!
As always, the packaging for the Comic-Con exclusive DC figure is something special, though this year it’s a bit understated and lacking the crazy sounds and lights we’ve seen in previous years. A two part package, the outer layer is a study cardboard box with an overall dark cloudy background. The front panel features the Signature Collection logo and an image of young Billy calling down the lightning as he says “Sha...” To see the result you need to open up that box, which yields the secondary package. A nice window box encloses the figure and represents his chest complete with bold red color, striping, a hint of the gold belt at the bottom, and the see-through lightning bolt effect. Behind the figure is a blue energy cardboard insert, completing the appearance as though you’re looking at Shazam’s chest. The deco on the front of the box extend to both sides as well and looks very nice with the arcing lightning. Finally, the back panel has a big comic book art image of the character along with a short bio. The only disappointing thing about the package (and what may turn off collectors from displaying it) is a prominent safety warning at the top right of the window).
The previous Captain Marvel figure from Mattel’s DC Universe Classics Wave 6 embodied the classic look and feel of the character complete with his big goofy grin and small cape. This new version is purely New 52 and really shows off the changes in the character’s much more modern design. Appropriately tall at 6 ½ inches, Shazam has a powerful physique and lots of unique costume elements right out of the current comics. No longer the “Big Red Cheese,” Batson’s alter ego is sleek and modern. And of course since he’s coming from the guys at Mattel he’s got excellent articulation.
Shazam’s sculpt is top notch, even a step above “normal” Mattel DC releases and appropriately awesome for a Comic-Con exclusive. As noted above, he’s got a heavy-duty body with lots of muscle detail before we even get to the costume. The magical hero’s boots, bracelets, and belt all feature recurring raised patterns with classical sandal-like designs on the first and lightning bolts on the latter. Speaking of, on Shazam’s chest is the two layer symbol with a flat swirl and a raised lightning bolt mounted on it. This modern version of the character sports a two-part cape with a full-length section and a shorter one on top of it; both are recreated in heavy plastic with sculpted creases, folds, and a border. Lastly, the Shazam figure rocks an excellent head sculpt that’s absolutely spot on with the comic book appearance of the character including the slicked back hair, angular nose, and heavy jaw.
While no longer the “Big Red Cheese,” modern Shazam still wears primarily red though he’s gone with a more subdued hue than the classic version. A bit darker even than in the comics, the exclusive figure has a costume featuring a pretty deep red. Sections of it seem ever darker with black lines applied like ribs around the chest and slanting down from the shoulders on his upper arms. Meanwhile, the bright metallic gold interspersed throughout the costume provides nice contrast to the darker color; that goes double for the blindingly white cape and hood. Shazam’s skin tone is Mediterranean and his hair jet black, while his eyes match the lightning bolt on his chest with the unearthly white/pale blue energy contained within him.
Just as with all of Mattel’s DC figures (whether they’re Universe Classics, Signature Collection, or the like), Shazam has excellent articulation and great poseability. With a standard body comes the standard scheme: ball-jointed neck, ball-jointed shoulders, biceps, elbows, wrists, ab crunch, waist (under the belt), double-jointed hips, rotating thighs, knees, and ankles! Of course, with a cape as big as Shazam’s there’s going to be some limited mobility in those joints, but the figure still looks good in several poses. For display options there’s also the removable hood. The figure comes packaged wearing the addition, and it’s a simple matter of sliding it off or putting back on. Frankly, I’m not a fan of the way it looks on the figure so I don’t plan on using it, but I suppose it’s nice to have and I’m sure some of you will prefer it to the bareheaded look.
Shazam hasn’t been active in the New 52 for very long, but from his first appearance established that this was a whole new version of Billy and the superhero with a pretty cool new look to him. This exclusive figure captures that design with a great sculpt and all of the articulation and poseability you expect from Mattel. If you’re a hardcore Shazam/Captain Marvel fan hopefully you were able to get a hold of one of these at Comic-Con for $25. Otherwise, you can try the SDCC “Most Wanted” sale on MattyCollector.com starting today. Good luck!
Review and Photos by Scott Rubin
Review Sample Courtesy of Mattel