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Doomsday

DC Signature Collection
by yo go re

There's just something fitting about Mattel's final* 6" DC action figure being a creature called "Doomsday."

Doomsday is coming...
First appearing in the bestselling
The Death of Superman, Doomsday is an unstoppable force. Breaking out of a steel container buried deep beneath the earth, he digs to the surface and begins to rampage across the countryside, leaving a trail of mayhem and devastation in his wake. When the Justice League arrives to try to stop him, one member is able to get a psychic reading on the creature: "He's hate - death and bloodlust personified! Nothing more."

As you remember, Mattel tried to use Doomsday to sell subscriptions through their website, but it didn't work. They didn't want to leave us hanging, though (and possibly had already paid for the steel tools to mold the figure), so he was offered through their website starting on Black Friday 2014 (that will be important later).

The previous Doomsday figure (Doomday Bound) showed him in his rubber containment suit, while this one (Doomsday Unchained) shows him in his full fury. Like Mattel's first Doomsday toy, his face is made from soft PVC attached to the ABS head, likely to make it easier to pull his bone-beard, fangs, and eye spurs out of the mold; unlike the first toy, the PVC isn't so soft that you can flip it up and expose what's beneath it. Progress!

Doomsday is coming...
A few moments later, the Justice League is in shambles, battered and bloodied by the unstoppable monstrosity. And still Doomsday continues on his inexorable way, the skyline of Metropolis now on the horizon. Supermman arrives and begins to battle the beast. Back and forth the struggle rages, in the skies, underwater, and across a growing swath of destruction that moves ever closer to the city and its terrified inhabitants.

At 10⅜" tall, Doomsday is too large. In the comics, he's just slightly larger than Superman - a guy who can pass for human - is, but by virtue of being based on the Brimstone/Validus BAF body, Doomsday is entirely out of scale with everything. We've been saying for years that you can't just make a figure bigger because you feel like it, and yet the message simply refuses to get through to anybody. "Being bigger makes him look meaner and scarier!" Yes, but that doesn't matter. The character is a specific size, and this toy gets it wrong. Not quite this wrong, but definitely this wrong. We'd say "do your job right or don't do it at all," but clearly Mattel has already made the "not at all" decision.

Doomsday's design comes from the comics, but not from his appearance in the storyline that introduced him. The clearest giveaway is his back: while Doomsday always had a few bony spikes on his shoulders (which, in all honesty, this toy is missing - Mattel didn't bother to remold the existing shoulder balls), it wasn't until later appearances that he developed the giant "backpack" of bones that he has now. Look at the panel in Superman #75 where he's lying dead, and you'll also see an exposed spine that this figure lacks. Between that, the old shoulders, and the general lack of texture all over his skin, this oversized, deluxe action figure that is the final* DC offering from Mattel feels more like an animated toy than one based on the comics. He does get new hands, forearms and knees, since those all had to be redone to accommodate his bones (to say nothing of how good the bones themselves look). And hey, good work on the stringy ponytail, too! But it would have been nice if they redid his lower torso, to add the tattered remnants of his suit sticking up above his belt.

Doomsday is coming...
Their epic clash climaxes in front of The Daily Planet building, Doomsday is like no other foe Superman has ever faced. The two trade crushing blows, with bystanders feeling every shockwave. With one mighty punch, Superman defeats the creature, then collapses onto the rubble. Lois Lane rushes to cradle him in her arms. He asks weakly if Doomsday is beaten. And then, while stunned millions watch on their televisions... Superman dies.

Existing body means existing articulation: balljointed head with hinged neck, swivel/hinge shoulders, swivel biceps, hinged elbows, swivel wrists, hinged torso, swivel waist, swivel/hinge hips, swivel thighs, hinged knees, swivel boots, and hinged ankles. His torso joint steadfastly refuses to move, even after the application of both heat and cold - it's stuck tight. And although the range of motion on the shoulders is unimpeded, we gladly would have given some of that up in exchange for the bones he should have there.

Surprisingly, Doomsday comes with an accessory: Superman's cape. It's a softgoods piece, and has been torn to shreds. There are four spots where Doomsday's knuckle-spikes poke through (like the cover of Superman/Doomsday), and a larger one for his elbow. This isn't a piece Mattel had to give him, or something we'd even miss if it weren't here, but the inclusion is very welcome.

Doomsday is coming...
After years of bringing collectors the greatest collection of DC superhero action figures ever created, Mattel and Matty Collector end the series with the most asked-for figure in the DC Universe, the only DC supervillain to ever kill the Man of Steel.

Doomsday's packaging is superb. When you receive your order, you'll first find a white box with the "bleeding S" logo on the front
in red, and a butt-ton of text on the back (that's why we've broken it up through the body of this review, instead of dumping it all at the top like we usually do). Inside that box is a clear plastic package that is pentagonal in shape - ie, the shape of Superman's shield. It's wrapped in a cardboard sleeve featuring new Dan Jurgens artwork of Doomsday with his claws through Supes' cape. A shield-shaped cutout in the art's "cheek" lets us see the figure inside. Take off the wrapper, and on the back of the package you'll find the same text as the outer box, and the image of the cape from the cover of Superman #75. The clear plastic on the front is printed with some tendrils of rising smoke, and the figure stands in front of a backdrop showing the ruins of Metropolis. This is a beautiful presentation that shows off the toy really well, and there are multiple ways to display things even if you keep your toys MOC.

You may have noticed that every time we referred to this as the final* DC figure, we've included an asterisk. Why? Because there's no way this is actually the last 6" DC figure Mattel makes. They just renewed their license for another few years, and if you think they're not going to make any 6"-scale figures in that time, you're nuts. Doomsday is the final figure the way Cher has a farewell tour. And it's a good thing, too, because as a swan song, he's not very impressive. Mattel's DCSH Doomsday has the best sculpt, DC Direct's Doomsday has the best size, and this one... has the best accessory and packaging? That's not much of a claim. Still, if you want a big gray bony monster to beat Superman to death, this one won't disappoint.

One final note: as mentioned, Doomsday was available for sale on Mattel's site on Black Friday; unfortuantely, various shipping delays meant that he was not actually in stock, so Mattel was really selling a pre-order. And that would be fine, except that Mattel failed to inform anyone of this, leaving buyers waiting and waiting for product with no understanding of why it hadn't shipped. They never made any statement explaining what was happening.

By way of apologizing for the hassle, Mattel could have easily done what Amazon, Entertainment Earth, Big Bad Toy Store or any other respectable retailer would have done, and shipped the rest of our items separately, but no: every order that included a Doomsday sat, unmoving, in their warehouse for more than a month. Then they finally sent our orders... but didn't include Doomsday! That means they could have sent the package at any point after Thanksgiving. Mattel really has never met an idea they couldn't do wrong. Three days after the first box arrived, I got shipping notice for Doomsday. A week after that, the figure finally arrived. Nearly two months since it had been ordered, Mattel finally gave me my property. Is it any wonder I'd take any excuse not to order from them again?

-- 01/22/15


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