This has been a really good year for DC figure fans. We’ve gotten a lot of surprises with the inaugural year of Mattel’s Club Infinite Earths DC Universe Signature Collection. One of the most surprising character choices, however, comes in the form of this review’s subject: Uncle Sam. Uncle Sam is a character that’s been around in comics since his first appearance in National Comics #1 in 1940, and was created by none other than Will Eisner. He was originally published under Quality Comics and spent most of his time punching various foreign leaders in the face. His rights would eventually be picked up by DC Comics sometime later along with several other characters from Quality Comics and they were put together in their own team called “The Freedom Fighters”. We also get one of the other Freedom Fighters included with this set, Doll Man.
Uncle Sam’s DC Comics origin portrays him as the pure embodiment of the “Spirit of America”. He’s supposed to be a spiritual entity created through an occult ritual by the Founding Fathers of the United States. They bound the spirit to a magical talisman and merged him with a dying soldier during the Revolutionary War. The spirit bonds with new physical bodies after the old one dies, making the hero Uncle Sam basically invulnerable. He’s also been known to have super strength and enhanced speed, among other powers he’s demonstrated over the decades.
Uncle Sam is a character with a very loyal following in the comics, but surprisingly has very few action figures made of him. It’s great to see Mattel give he and Doll Man the spotlight with the DC Universe Signature Collection. Join me as I determine if this Uncle Sam figure is a worthy start to Mattel delving into the Freedom Fighters.
|PACKAGING – Uncle Sam comes in the standard DC Universe Signature Collection packaging. It’s a rectangular window style box, easily displaying the figures within. The design is simplistic to no doubt make it easier to ship. We have the DC Universe logo at the top, with Uncle Sam and Doll Man’s name at the bottom.The back gives us a wonderfully done new painting by Mike Thompson, as well as a bio for Uncle Sam. I’m a huge fan of almost all of the paintings Mike has done for this line so far, but I really like this one. It’s got a quiet dignity to it, but also a ferocity in Uncle Sam’s pose. And I love that he incorporated Doll Man into the painting as well.
SCULPT – Uncle Sam mostly utilizes the same tuxedo suit body we’ve seen on The Joker and Gentleman Ghost previously in DC Universe Classics. The difference is he doesn’t feature a flower of any kind on his lapel, and he comes with ungloved hands. It’s proven to be a versatile body though, and works great for Uncle Sam as well. He’s wearing a tuxedo jacket with long tails, with a vest and shirt underneath. He also comes with a bolo tie which seems fitting for his character, and long dress pants topped off with some spiffy spats on his feet.
The hands he has are open, which is weird because he comes with no accessories to hold, unless it was done in case you want him holding an American Flag or something like that. Now some are wishing this figure came with his right hand pointing his index finger in an “I want you!” type of pose, but honestly I don’t, unless it was an alternate hand. I personally would have been happy with two balled fists, since Uncle Sam spends most of his time punching people anyway.
The only new piece to this figure is the head sculpt, and it’s done very well. They went for a more modern look with this head sculpt, opting to give him the longer hair. It’s got a lot of texture and character in it. His expression is one of pained stoicism, and seems to work appropriately for any pose you put him in. This is definitely the face of someone who has been around a very long time. He also sports a long, white goatee that doesn’t seem too overdone, and wears a non-removable top hat. It’s easy to make hats for figures either too small or cartoonishly too big, but this looks perfect for the Uncle Sam head sculpt.
PAINT – Uncle Sam’s color scheme is, not surprisingly, red, white, and blue. His jacket and vest are blue, his shirt is white, his tie is red, and his pants are white with red stripes. His top hat is white with a blue ribbon adorned with white stars, and red and white stripes going vertically all the way around the circumference of the hat. It’s the classic Uncle Sam look and is done pretty well here.
Most of the paint lines are clean and smooth. The blue on his vest is actually a lighter blue than his jacket, giving a bit of contrast there. My only gripe is that the white used on him isn’t bright enough. Mattel is known for using a light gray color as opposed to white on their figures, in an effort to make it look realistic. Usually it’s not a big deal, but on Uncle Sam it seems as if his white should really be very bright and not dulled. It is Uncle Sam, after all. Even the white on his top hat is pretty dull. It doesn’t ruin the figure, but it’s certainly bugged some and is worth mentioning.
I love how his spats are painted with a gloss black, giving them that realistic look. It’s nice to see that level of detail. Also, If you look at his shoes, you’ll notice the white there is actually white. I can only imagine how it would look if the rest of the white on the figure was that bright. The only paint problems seem to be isolated to the head sculpt. Right on the front of his hat, one of the red stripes is painted too far down into the blue and is even under the white star. He also has a weird red paint splotch just under the brim of his hand towards the front. I have no idea how that could have gotten there.
The paint on his head is otherwise fantastic. His hair is gray with white dry brushing, and the eyes and eyebrows are painted nice and smooth. The eye tampos are where they’re supposed to be and they look great on the figure.
ARTICULATION – Uncle Sam has a ball jointed neck, ball jointed shoulders, bicep swivels, single elbows, wrist rotators, ab crunch, t-hinge hips, thigh rotators, single knees, and ankle hinges.
Because of the way the torso attaches to the pelvis and because of the overhanging vest, he has no waist swivel whatsoever. This is the same with the previous figures using this body as well. For a character like Uncle Sam it’s certainly missed, especially when the painting on the back of the box has him posed with him slightly turning his body. It’s almost a tease. But at any rate the joints he does have all work great.
There’s no gummy joints to be had here thankfully, and even without the waist swivel, Uncle Sam is still able to get into a good range of poses, as is standard with DC Universe Classics. My favorite type of pose will no doubt be some variation of him punching something. Uncle Sam really likes punching things. I have no idea why other countries think we’re bullies.
ACCESSORIES – Uncle Sam’s accessory is a first with the DCSC: another character! He comes packed with Doll Man, another member of the Freedom Fighters, also created by Will Eisner back in the day. Doll Man is completely non posable, similar to the tiny Rita Farr that Elasti-Girl came with. He’s just standing in a rather neutral pose, but looks like he could be ready for action at any moment. He features a blue circus style outfit, with red booties and a red cape. Surprisingly the paint on him is mostly smooth. his belt buckle is off center, but that’s about it.
He doesn’t feature any paint detail in his face, but it’s an incredibly tiny figure. You wouldn’t notice any detail there unless you were looking at him up close anyway. It’s pretty cool of Mattel to give us two Freedom Fighters in one fell swoop, and I couldn’t imagine getting Doll Man any other way, so I’m actually fine with him being static. There’s no way articulation would work on such a small figure.
FUN – It’s Uncle Sam, what’s not fun about that? Unless you’re almost any other country on the planet, that is. But seriously, once you get past the character, the figure itself is an old guy in a spangly tuxedo. It doesn’t exactly scream inherent fun, but it is still pretty fun to mess with him and pose him alongside Doll Man. And for me personally, I just can’t stop making him punch all my other figures in the face, which I get a kick out of.
QUALITY CONTROL/THINGS TO WATCH OUT FOR – Nothing except the couple of paint flaws on his hat. Also I want to repeat that he does not have a waist swivel. Don’t try to force it to move, you’ll only end up breaking the figure.
OVERALL – Uncle Sam is an obscure character that I honestly thought we’d never see Mattel make, even with the collector-oriented DC Signature Collection. It’s a very nice surprise to see him included, and Mattel has done him justice here. He has a couple of paint flaws on his hat, and I’m not a fan of the light gray being used over white for his suit, but the head sculpt is fantastic and the reuse of the tuxedo body works wonderfully for Uncle Sam. I do wish he had a waist swivel, but it’s not a deal breaker for me.
The thing that really pushes this over the top is the inclusion of Doll Man. Yes, it’s a completely static tiny figure, but it’s also another member of the Freedom Fighters, hopefully meaning Mattel started out with this team giving us two members at the same time, and hopefully this means something good towards getting more in the future. Despite the couple of gripes, if you’re a fan of Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters, or just love good old fashioned over the top American patriotic decadence, then Uncle Sam might be a figure you’ll want.
FINAL SCORE: 3 / 5
Where to buy: Uncle Sam was originally for sale on Mattycollector.com, and is now sold out. However, you can now buy him from the following online retailers: