DcDirect vs Mattel DCUC – DcDirect Wins. Again.
November 21, 2009

I’ve asked before if people think that DcDirect is in direct competition for our money with Mattel’s DCUC line.  The replies have been mostly, "no".  However, at least in my case, more often than not, they are.
Case in point, this past week.  My local comic shop, Time Capsule in Cranston, RI (free plug), was holding their anniversary sale.  One of the cool things about this sale, is it includes a huge discount on everything except new comics and supplies like bags and boxes.  So old comics, toys, video games, albums, T-shirts, trade paperbacks, etc are included.  What did I get?

1. DcDirect Wally West Flash from Identity Crisis re-release.  7$.  I’ve had my eye out for a roughly 6" Wally West for a while now.  Mattel has yet to make Wally as Flash.  DcDirect has at least 5 versions.  Of these, the store had 3.  JLA Classified-McGuiness re-release, JLA-Meltzer/Benes, and the Identity Crisis one, which I chose.  Mattel is just too late getting to the game on this character.


2. DcDirect modern era Mr. Terrific from JSA series.  5$.  I’ve been thinking about adding this JSAer to my display for a while.  Mr T’s role in JSA (former run) issues 11-12 made me sign up for the series, even thought I had dropped it with issue 4, and I bought the entire 60 or so issue run.  I was very interested in Mattel’s DCUC version of Mr T.  I really liked their representation of the T-spheres.  But there is one problem.  I have yet to see it – or any figure post wave 7 – at retail.  For 12$, I want to see the figure before I buy it.  I’ve been patient, but with reports of some parts of the country getting in wave 11, I went for the DcDirect version.  The price also helped.


3. DcDirect Geo-Force from JLA-Meltzer/Benes.  5$.  I’ve been watching this figure since it was first announced.  I’ll be honest, I’m not completely thrilled with it.  In this case, it is the ONLY version of this character that exists.  I thank Meltzer for his input into the character selection during his run of JLA which gave us this character in plastic.  I’d have preferred a version with the big GF logo on his chest.  But there is the chance that the next version made could be in those awful green/yellow colors instead of the original – and current – orange and brown.  Geo-Force is a simple design, and could easily fill the ‘standard body’ slot Mattel has often been putting in a wave like Vigilante and Guardian.  But with wave 13 pretty much locked down, there is no sign of him.  The chance to snag him at less than half his original price was too much.

Some of you may be saying, "You could buy both versions."  I just don’t do that.  I have no need.  I only need one version in any given scale for my collection.  My Shazam is from the Hasbro DC 6" line.  With the variety of styles in Dc Direct, he fits in just fine.  The cost of Dc Direct figures has made me pick and choose.  I’m also not willing to.  I’m not going to buy another similar figure only to put one of them in storage or sell it for half of what I paid.  As you can see, in these cases, Dc Direct directly impacts my purchases of Mattel’s DCUC.  And this time, DC Direct has won.  Again.


Erik "Superfriend" Skov
"Gathered together from the four corners of the universe." Oh, wait, that's the show, not me. Erik "SuperFriend" Skov never actually got to appear on the show, although he did watch it every week. Erik spent 6 years working for Hasbro in Pawtucket, RI before leaving for a job that paid more (Why else would a collector leave the company that was making Star Wars, Transformers, and while I was there Batman). I used to post all over the net. These days I tend to hang my hat at AFI.
Read other articles by Erik "Superfriend" Skov.





  • J1h15233 says:

    While I appreciate your point of view, there’s just somehing about DCUC that appeals to me more visually. DC Direct puts out some great stuff but there style is a little off for me.

  • The DC Direct Mr. T looks better than the DCUC one.

    Personally I’m getting more DC Direct figures too because they actually have better distribution than Mattel, which is just so sad. If the DC Direct figures didn’t have that weird tiny t-crotch I’d buy more. I don’t have a problem with a T-crotch, but the tiny T section that they make always looks awkward… And perverted.

  • Jeremy SpyMagician says:

    Wow, this hardly seems like a fair comparison.

    The biggest problem is Price. You admit that’s a major factor is DC Direct “beating” Mattel for your dollar. But you’re paying deep discount prices. More fair to judge the same characters at their full suggested retail price.

    On distribution DCD always wins though, I agree with you on that. Nothing like being able to see on the Monday shipping list that something is arriving and walking into your comic book store and finding it, no muss, no fuss.

    But as for character selection, again, I don’t think it’s fair to say DCD wins consistently. DCD has had many more years worth of toy releases, while DCUC, even if you include the Batman and DCSH lines is far behind in terms of quantity of figures released.

    That said, DCUC has covered characters that DCD has not. You pick Wally West and Geo-Force and say DCD wins while DCUC loses? I could just as easily point to Gentleman Ghost, Robotman, Mantis, Forager, Steppenwolf, or a number of others and say that DCUC wins. DCUC has started the Doom Patrol and will soon start on the Metal Man. If you want to talk “late to the game” DCD is truly guilty of that with those 2 teams.

    You’re entitled to your opinion, but it just seems like the comparison here is a bit skewed in DCD’s favor. The way I see it, DCD always wins on distribution. On price, if you consider full retail at time of release, the 2 lines are about even after the recent price increase on DCUC. And on character selection, I’d say they’re even as both lines have fan favorites the other line does not.

    I’m no Mattel Cheerleader, but there’s so anti-Mattel sentiment that a little fairness and objectivity often helps.

  • Mark says:

    I agree that Dc direct comes out with the newest figures , they cant touch Mattel with articulation. I mean its bad when you have a Dc direct Batman figure that you have to use a base just to display it, and not to mention Mattel is doing there best to recreate the ‘superpowers collection’which i think is totally awesome.

  • Spilldog says:

    I have to totally disagree with you on this one. DC Direct figures have lousy articulation, and some of the sculpts leave much to be desired. DCUC figures have great articulation, great sculpts (DCUC Wave 10 Joker–I rest my case!) as well as a good range of characters, especially the ones that will be coming out in 2010. DC Direct figures are good for one thing: Collecting dust on my shelf like the “statues” they are. Why else are DCUC figures so hard to find? Because the fans are buying them as fast as the stores can get them out on the pegs! The DC Direct figures in my local comic speciality shop are collecting dust on the pegs while they wait to be marked down for clearance.

  • Paul Nomad says:

    I’d much rather see a comparison between the new line of DC direct figures with new articulation that are obviously created to compete with Mattel’s DCUC line. I’m looking at History of the DC universe on the DC direct site – http://www.dccomics.com/dcdirect/?dcd=12207&lst=new&cat=ACTION+FIGURES – and really not seeing a big difference between these and the shiny mattel alternative. When mattel activates the price increase, what will be the difference?

    • Jeremy SpyMagician says:

      You need to check out a loose HOTDCU to realize just how different they are from DCUC.

      They might have more articulation than most DC Direct figures, but the range of motion is really really restricted. You can’t really do any poses other standing straight as the limited range and angles of the leg articulation makes it mostly useless.

      The ball jointed shoulders are seriously limited as well.

      In fact, much of the articulation (for example the swivel wrists and forearms) are only there to allow part swapping for future figures.

      So while on the surface DCUC and HOTDCU seem similar, they could not be more different.


  • SubSonic says:

    I would say, that DCUC beats DC Direct in every way other than distribution (and perhaps in paint).But that said yeah not only does DCUC have more articulation, includes a CnC piece to get a “free” figure, comes with more accessories, and they don’t break when they tip over. ( DC Direct figures even though they are statues they cant stand.) As I remember DC Direct retail around what $18/ as oppose to 15. I must agree though Mr. Terrific does look better. But you also didn’t show any DCUC.

    Yeah DC Universe Classics Bias here. thanks for reading/

  • blubeetle3 says:

    I’m quickly growing disappointed, disgusted, disheartened, and disenfranchised by DCUC. They could be creating the greatest figures history has ever seen, BUT, if you can’t find them to buy them, what’s the point? I’ve been looking, and I can’t find anything past the eighth wave.

  • Brainlock says:

    re: Mr Terrific
    I don’t have either version of him, either.
    When my shop got in this series when originally released, the only one left was missing the T-spheres, so I passed. Then I missed out on the re-ordered figures.
    I still have yet to see most of w8, and stupidly passed on a pair of G.Ghosts and a Kent-Fate (separate occasions) as I made the decision not to get them because they didn’t have the whole wave. As such, I only have Vigilante and Hector-Fate.
    My display has several DCD peppered in, like J’onn, Kyle, Wally (from a few years back pre-artist styled), Donna, Jay, Alan, Dr. Mid-Nite, Blue Devil, Creeper, Vandal Savage, and even Brion.
    For me, DCD does get the nod for availability and character selection up until recently, and soon will get the price selection the way Mattel is going. Mattel only has articulation going, but since mine are going on display, why bother? Characters like Ares are almost exactly the same as the original release. Mattel’s has limited articulation due to the armor additions, but DC is a more solid figure.
    then again: Killer Moth.

  • chad says:

    almost all my dc figures have been dc direct mostly because till Mattel started doing dc they would make close to the entire universe including swamp thing. even though Mattel has more articulation i go with what works for me which is dcd mostly because they are easier to find them Mattel .though i do have a mixture of Dcd and Mattel only characters that the dcd version are now long out of issue.

  • MisterPL says:

    Just wanted to say I love the Nuvaring™ ad. Just what a crowd like this needs; contraception for women.

    Oh, and DC Direct owns Mattel when it comes to paint apps. DCD’s figures are more like posable statues even if they don’t have the range of motion Mattel’s generally enjoy. Mattel has some awesome prototypes but the production models look like… well, toys.

  • JoeAce says:

    I buy more DCUC from Mattel than I do DC Direct figures.
    I used to but alot of DC Direct, but as the prices climbed higher and the Mattel Figures arrived, I cut back on DC Direct. I will only buy DC Direct if they make a character that I want and with a good looking sculpt. Some DC Direct sculpts are good while others are not. I sometimes find older DC Direct figures on sale at comic books stores for $10 or less, but I still have to ask myself if I really need to have that figure in my collection, before I spend my money. Many times I pass on the DC Direct figure.

    As for DCUC from Mattel, I have the complete line-ups from series 1-10. I plan to keep buying all of these for awhile longer.

  • Hourman says:

    I am rotating out of my collection every DC Direct figure I have that Mattel is making a DCUC version of and dumping the DC Direct figures on eBay, and that’s a few dozen figures. I am not going to miss DC Direct’s frequently ugly sculpts, wildly inconsistent scale, and generally poor articulation. At all. Especially since DC Direct switched from an inconsistent 6 inch scale to an inconsistent 7 inch scale. I don’t need the aggravation.

  • Dan M says:

    I’m not saying that Mattel’s figures are perfect, but it’s obvious that they’re trying. DC Direct gave their collectors the middle finger years ago with their inconsistent scale and their character selection. At the time, they were the only game in town. Now that I have other options, that’s where my DC figure-buying money goes.

  • MoMoney says:

    Seriously? DC Direct beats Mattel because of three figures that you are buying at a discount, two of which have not yet been made by Mattel? Should we discuss all of the figures that Mattel has made that DC Direct has yet to get to? You know, like Killer Moth, Atom Smasher, Giganta, Gentleman Ghost, Commander Steel, Vigilante, Parademons, Chemo, Guardian, Mantis, Robotman, Forager, Imperiex, Katma Tui, Steppenwolf, Copperhead, Desaad, Iron, Negative Man, Romat Ru, Karu-Sil, and B’wana Beast? These are characters that have been produced in the past two years. Two years has Mattel had the license, and DC Direct has been making action figures since what? 1998? Docking Mattel credit because they haven’t gotten around to making Wally West yet is beyond ridiculous considering who they’ve made. They’ve made more unique characters in the past year than DC Direct has. In fact, in 2009, DC Universe Classics has released only three versions of Batman and one of Superman. DC Direct? Ten Batmen and eight Supermen. The mass market DC line has less of the Big Two than the specialty market one. And let’s not even begin to discuss how out of place the Michael Turner Flash will look next to Mr. Terrific and Geo-Force…

    • Dan M says:

      No, MoMoney, let’s discuss it, because it’s a really good point. Mattel has a consistent style. Though I enjoy some of the artist-style figures that DC Direct makes (Ross, McGuinness), the overall output of DC Direct is a hodgepodge of styles and scales. They don’t look good together. Mattel figures make a great display because they have consistency in those areas.

      • MoMoney says:

        It’s not worth discussing because superfriend has made it clear over and over again that he doesn’t care about the styles clashing. Inconsistent style and scale is probably the biggest gripe that DC Direct collectors have (in addition to the endless versions of Batman and Superman, who are almost always in the same costumes). I don’t want a figure of a single character. I want a cohesive DC Universe, and I’m never going to get that from DC Direct. I have it two times over in DC Universe Classics and Justice League Unlimited. If my figures are going to be stylized, I want them stylized with uniformity and in some semblance of consistent scale (there’s always going to be a figure or two that’s off; no biggie). Scolding Mattel because they haven’t made Geo-Force in the first two years of their line (even though he was on the 2009 fan poll AND LOST) but praising DC Direct for making him after waiting for ten years doesn’t even make sense to me.

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