John Constantine was, to me, the biggest surprise out of the entire lineup of figures in the 2012 DC Universe Signature Collection. I knew that Mattel was using the Signature Collection as a way of giving fans the more obscure, fan demanded characters that most likely wouldn’t work at retail, but I never thought in a million years that we’d be getting John Constantine. He’s recently come back into the main DC Universe, but for most of his time as a comic book character he’s been in the Vertigo world, a DC Universe separate from the main one for the most part. So getting a Vertigo character from Mattel is pretty great, and hopefully opens the doors to other Vertigo characters. We’re already getting a line of Watchmen figures this year, so perhaps a series of Fables figures next year? Neil Gaiman’s Sandman? Or Transmetropolitan? If I got a Spider Jerusalem figure, I think I could call life complete.
But I digress. We’re here to talk about John Contantine and his new figure from Mattel. So join me as I take a closer look at this Hellblazer and determine if he’s a worthy addition to DC Universe Classics.
|PACKAGING – John Constantine comes packaged in the standard Signature Collection packaging. It’s a rectangular shaped box with a nice window blister letting you see the entire figure within. We have the logo at the top and Constantine’s name at the bottom.
The back of the package gives us a brand new painting by Mike Thompson, as well as a bio for the character. I hate to say this, but as much as I absolutely love Mike Thompson’s paintings for this series, this one has to be the weakest so far. He’s not the most visually appealing character, so having him do something more than just standing stiff would have been great. Perhaps I’m just picking nits though. The painting is technically superb, just not visually exciting.
SCULPT – Constantine features a lot of reuse, with a few new pieces. His legs are reused from figures such as The Question and Sandman. They work nicely for this figure. His arms are reused from Sandman, and his coat is reused from the Batman Legacy Joker figure. Constantine is known for wearing a trench coat, so I can’t imagine a better parts reuse than this.
Now, his torso is 100% brand new. His shirt is wrinkled and disheveled and the wrinkles are sculpted to be very deep and detailed. His collar looks like it’s been crushed from him falling asleep with the shirt on. He also gets a brand new tie, and it looks as if it’s too loose around his neck, adding to the disheveled look.
His head sculpt has a hard, grizzled expression on his face. It’s stern, but not angry. He’s got sculpted beard stubble, and a scar over his left eye. I’m glad Mattel opted to give him the scar, because it really does add a lot of character to him. I can’t explain it, but something seems off about his face. It seems too long. It’s still great for a hard boiled guy like Constantine, just not exactly the face I would have gone with.
I also wish Mattel could have worked out a better placement of the mold seam. It’s very apparent going across the top of his head. It’s not completely distracting, but once you notice it it’s hard not to anymore.
PAINT – Sadly, the coat, which is devoid of paint, covers most of the figure and hides a really good paint job. His shirt has a fair amount of airbrushing done to it for shading between the wrinkles of his shirt. It also makes it look dirty. His legs are cast in blue, and have a light blue dry brushing all over them that help sell the denim jeans look. His shoes are painted gloss black, but have a flat black dry brushing over them, that makes them look old and scuffed up. It’s a great attention to detail that I wish was apparent on his coat as well.
The head has some light airbrushing over the stubble and the scar is painted a different color from the skin tone. His eye tampos are placed in the right spots and look great, and his hair has a dirty blonde look to it that I think best captures his hair color from the comics. I’m definitely glad they didn’t go for a straight yellow-blonde color. This seems more realistic.
So there’s actually a really good amount of paint applied to this figure, it’s just covered up by the coat which has zero paint applied. It seems odd that Mattel would have left the thing covering up most of the figure devoid of any paint whatsoever.
ARTICULATION – Constantine has a ball jointed neck, ball jointed shoulders, bicep swivels, single elbows, wrist rotators, ab crunch, waist swivel, t-hinge hips, thigh rotators, single knees, and ankle hinges.
Every joint on him has a good range of motion and isn’t loose or greatly hindered. His ab crunch has a surprisingly good range of motion, and if you want your Constantine to stand hunched over, you can definitely do so. I’ve got nothing bad to say about his articulation. It’s the standard DCUC model we’re all used to by now, and everything works as it should. You have more than enough posing options with him.
ACCESSORIES – Sadly, Constantine comes with nothing. At all. No accessories. And for a figure that’s just a guy in normal clothes, he really needs something. A lighter, a cigarette, some bottles of alcohol, some sort of weapon he uses against the unholy forces…there’s a lot to choose from.
It’s not surprising that Mattel wouldn’t want to include any kind of accessory linked to alcohol or cigarettes, even though it is a supposed “adult collector” figure sold on their collector website. But still, not giving him anything seems like a gross misstep. All the accessories you see him with in the photos to the right came from various Buffy the Vampire Slayer figures I own. I figured if I was going to display him with any kind of weapons, my Buffy figures have plenty for him to utilize.
FUN – Honestly, as much as I love the John Constantine character and love the inclusion of a Vertigo character into the Signature Collection, this isn’t a very fun figure. It’s fun to have the character as a figure, but as a toy…it’s lacking. I keep saying it, but it really is just a guy in normal clothes when you get right down to it. He sorely needed to come with some sort of accessory to really up the fun factor, because it’s just not that fun to mess with on its own.
QUALITY CONTROL/THINGS TO WATCH OUT FOR – Not a thing.
OVERALL – Having a Vertigo character in the DC Universe Signature Collection is pretty amazing to me. It just goes to show how far into the DC Universe Mattel is going for this line. Constantine seems like a pretty well done adaptation of the comic book character. The sculpt is a great marriage of new and old parts. I just wish the face wasn’t so long. He features a good amount of paint, but sadly it’s all hidden underneath that coat that looks pretty bland. He has a really good amount of articulation, but absolutely no accessories for him to hold to truly show the articulation off.
So as you can see, this figure is pretty much the definition of bittersweet. It’s great to have this character in figure form, I just wish it were pulled off better. I’m still happy to own him, being the DC fanatic that I am, but objectively speaking the figure is definitely lacking.
FINAL SCORE: 2.5 / 5
Where to buy: He was originally sold on Mattycollector.com, and is now sold out. But you can buy him at secondary market prices at the following online retailers: