It’s hard not to think about the action figures I had as a kid when looking at McFarlane Toys’ DC Multiverse figures. The coolest feature I could hope for on the four-inch-tall figures was a cloth cape for Batman or Superman. As time went on, figures got taller, but then toymakers were left to their own devices, creating any variant of Batman they thought would sell, like Anti-Virus Batman and Slalom Racer Batman. And they all stood stock still, with their only joints at their shoulders and hips. It’s incredible, then, to look at the DC Multiverse figures, each incredibly posable, and authentic to their comic book counterparts. This week we’re looking at three of those figures: Red Son Superman, Flashpoint Batman, and The Flash.
Red Son Superman
If ever you needed proof that the DC Multiverse figures aren’t for kids, this is it. Red Son Superman comes from Superman: Red Son, a 2003 one-shot story of what would have happened if Clark had crashed down in Soviet Russia instead of in Capitalist America. Instead of the ‘S’ crest, he has the sickle and hammer of the U.S.S.R., and in the comics he becomes President Superman, which is a fun pair of words. So yes, these toys are for us old nerds.
This figure is a bit of a weird one because about 75% of his body doesn’t belong to him. With the exception of his head, the crest, and the cape, this figure is identical to the Superman #1000 figure McFarlane Toys previously put out. The wristbands, the tops of his boots, the buckle on his belt, and his musculature all appear identical.
The cape is shorter and less flow-y. The face sculpt is genuinely great. It looks quite different from the other Superman figures in the line-up as far as I can tell, and it fits the propaganda-style images of President Superman in the comics. The crest looks good, too, but as with the Superman #1000 figure, it’s obvious that the crest is a piece fitted in during assembly, meaning that the whole body was built with the intent to re-use it. I do like that the crest is raised, though, rather than being a flat paint. It adds some great definition to the model.
As with Superman #1000, Red Son Superman comes with, instead of a stand, a clear flight mount, and a pair of “flying” hands. Even though this is mostly re-used materials, I still like it. I like that these weird variants of these characters are getting attention from the generally great-looking McFarlane line, and the figure is worth the price I paid.
Flashpoint Batman is kind of one of my guilty pleasures. He goes against so much of what Batman stands for and he’s super edgy. And yet, the little changes make the character fun in a different way. Flashpoint, of course, is the famous DC storyline that has Barry Allen going back in time to save his mother, only to find that the consequences–which include him never becoming Flash, Bruce Wayne dying in Crime Alley, and Aquaman and Wonder Woman engaging in an apocalyptic war–are much worse for the world.
In this fiction, Thomas Wayne becomes Batman, and deals out a much more brutal and lethal form of justice with dual pistols. Yellow accents are swapped for red, as with the holsters at his sides. The cape spikes at the shoulders to let you know that this Batman is pointier and meaner.
I honestly have no complaints about this figure. As with Superman, there’s likely some model-reuse going on, but the accents do a lot to bring this harder, meaner Batman to life for me.
I’d previously picked up a very similar Flash figure, also from the DC Universe line. That line, titled “From Page to Screen” brought together a comics-accurate Flash and one based on Ezra Miller’s character from the Justice League films. This Flash matches that one closely in terms of overall design, but the overall execution is far, far better.
This Flash is much taller, of course, and definitely was given more attention at the modeling stage. He has a more interesting face, and the clear stand gives him a more premium feel.
Where this one really sets itself apart is, surprisingly, with his Speed Force lightning. The Page-to-Screen Flash figures had these crappy lightning bits that kind of hugged onto the character but didn’t really bond to him in any meaningful way, so they would just fall off unprovoked. This Flash’s lightning sticks into peg holes on the figure, which itself is great, but it also has a much more interesting design. One especially nice touch is the use of lightning as a way to steady the character. The lightning on his foot both improves stability, which is important for a character meant to look like he’s running, and it just makes him look more like he does on the page.
There are a few notes that are worth talking about that go across most of these characters. I don’t buy every single DC Multiverse figure–just the ones that call out to me. There may be notes here that don’t apply to exactly the whole line.
Speaking generally, though, I really don’t like the wrists on these figures, and I wish that McFarlane Toys had done just a bit more to cloak the ball joint there. It helps with poseability, but it really stands out. Also, the knees on these characters are almost universally really hard to bend. That’s a surprise considering that the knee alone is made up of three pieces, but I worry I’m going to snap the Flash’s legs off to get him into a run pose, and that’s not great.
With that said, these are really good figures overall that balance a great look with an affordable price and poseability. The included clear bases ensure that they stay standing. They almost all come with at least one accessory–lightning bolts, pistols, extra hands, and things like that. You can find them on shelves at Target and Walmart, but they fit in nicely in a cabinet full of more expensive models, and that’s very cool.
Disclaimer: We bought these figures with personal funds for the purposes of this review.