Toy Fair 2011 has come and gone and while this year seemed a bit more sedate for what new items were shown, one group of action figures stood out above all others: DC Universe Classics Wave 18. Why are these toys special, you ask? Because for the first time ever, not only do we get a mass market assortment of Super Friends specific toys, but it’s centered around four figures that you would be justified in thinking no one would ever think to make figures of, let alone all four in one wave! Yes, I’m talking about the controversial "ethnic" heroes: Samurai, Black Vulcan, El Dorado, and C&C Apache Chief.
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I know some people think these characters are superfluous, or not "comic based" and therefore not worthy of a figure, but I don’t agree with that logic. First and foremost, there is a big section of fans who do want these figures and have waited for them for 20 years. And on top of that, this is a toy line, not the comics. And these guys make GREAT toys! And they do give a selection of diversity to an all too-white toy aisle (with the occasional black character thrown in). How many Native Americans are on shelves? Asians? Hispanics? Is it going to kill collectors to add one more? And Mattel made it super easy to skip this wave if you don’t like it by tying in the C&C to the theme, so if you just want Bronze Tiger, then by all means just get Bronze Tiger.
Plus, with the addition of Toyman the Legion of Doom is now complete as well!
But the big "completion piece" is Samurai, who wraps up Mattel’s recreation of the fabled Super Powers lineup. With the further additions of Dick Grayson Robin from Wave 16 (out now!) and the upcoming SP Mr. Freeze repaint in the Batman: Legacy line I’ve updated the DCUC/SP picture below. Sure, we could still use repaints of Superman, Batman, and Penguin in more Bronze-Age accurate colors. And Kalibak and Orion would need resculpts to be perfect recreations (although it’s been hinted that the new Lex Luthor armor will be repainted and rereleased down the road to be more SP accurate as well). But if the line ended with these guys I would be content that we have a complete SP lineup in the greater DCUC line. And with Creeper, El Dorado, and Black Vulcan we’re three more characters closer to finishing off all the unmade SP figures as well! Now all we need is for the Four Horsemen to make some awesome figures of the sculpted-but-never-produced Quadrex, Silicon, Rocketman and a C&C Shockwave and I’ll be happy. All of these guys have form factors or special treatments that would make them really neat toys. I’d probably buy Howitzer and Executioner, too, but even I don’t think they’re necessary as figures…