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Ice

DC Signature Collection
by yo go re

We'd say "better late than never," but no, it would have been better if this had been released on time.

The princess of a race of Ice-people in Norway, Tora Olafsdotter was born with the ability to project ice and snow from her body. After leaving her father, the king, she joined the Global Guardians, where she met and became best friends with the woman who would become DC Comics Fire. When that group disbanded, they both joined the Justice League, becoming the iconic duo "Fire & Ice."

Eventually - eventually we'll learn. Learn to stop expecting so much from Mattel. Learn that, just like the parents of a child who ate paint chips, we must consider a "win" any day they don't just sit on the floor pooping in their hand and rubbing it into their hair. Any logical person would have expected Ice to be released in Year 2 of the DC Signature Collection rather than being held back for Year 3 (well, no, the logical thing would have been to release her and Fire five years ago in a DCU Classics two-pack, but remember: we're trying to lower our expectations). But also, anyone who hasn't been kicked in the head by a mule would know that you don't have to call Fire "DC Comics Fire" in the damn biography! I complained about this in the Fire review, but true to form, Mattel failed to learn from their mistakes. Eventually we'll learn to stop expecting Mattel to make even a minimal effort to improve their product quality.

You want an example of the type of idiocy you deal with when you deal with Mattel? Look no further than the promotional chatter on their website: "This long-awaited DC Comics figure arrives with [...] her signature white hair." What? I mean, yes, she does have white hair, but "this character looks the way this character looks" is not a selling point! It's basic level one toymaking!

Imagine if they sold a Superman and felt the need to promote "has an S shield on his chest!" That isn't exciting or reassuring, it just makes you question why they feel the need to mention it. If you go to a restaurant and the first thing the greeter does is smile and say "our food isn't poison," are you going to want to eat there? Obviously you don't want poison food, but you kind of assume that the food just isn't going to be poison without being told; so why does this restaurant feel the need to say it specifically? Similarly, of course Ice is going to have white hair; why wouldn't she? It's suspicious that Mattel brought it up at all.

Mattel's many mistakes at the corporate level aside, you've got to give them credit for getting the Four Horsemen to make their DC toys for them: no matter what foolishness goes on behind the scenes, you know the toy itself is going to be pretty good. Well, her face is a bit more plain than you might expect, but no one ever said she had to be a total knockout. At least she's wearing the right costume, huh? And hey, that costume means quite a few new pieces, too! There's the fur on her shins, the tanktop (and the turtleneck collar), and the long fingerless gloves that mean new hands and upper arms. That's nearly half the figure that isn't just reused sculpt, so way to go, Mattel! The white stripe that runs down the center of her body is just painted, not etched in or anything, but at least it's painted crisply.

I do have to report a quality control issue with the figure, though: at first I thought her lower legs had been put on the wrong legs, because the blue parts of the legs were on the insides, and the white parts were on the outsides; but no, it actually turned out that the entire legs had been swapped, and the workers had simply turned the shins backwards to fit Ice into the tray. Hopefully that's not a common issue, because it's a pain to fix yourself, so you'd have to rely on Mattel's and Digital River's customer service and, well, we all know what a joy that would be.

Although Mattel is notorious for shorting its figures when it comes to accessories, Ice beats the odds and comes with a little ice-blast piece that can fit over her right hand. It's not something they needed to give her, but we appreciate that they did. As expected, her articulation is the DCUC standard layout: neck, shoulders, biceps, elbows, wrists, torso, waist, hips, thighs, knees, and ankles.

Ice wasn't a typical hero: rather than displays of physical strength, she had strength of character. Her best friend was bold and aggressive, while she was shy and agreeable; the man she loved was arrogant and sarcastic, while she was humble and sincere. And yet instead of being cowed by these overbearing personalities, she remains true to herself and gets them to change for the better. In hanging around with her, Fire became less impulsive, and Guy Gardner became more mature. She's a calming influence, but never weak or timid, and that's a hard character to write well. Ice is a fairly popular Justice Leaguer, and the only real disappointment with this toy is that it took us this long to get her.

-- 07/02/14


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