Sunday, August 5, 2012

Who Would Have Guessed?! Plastic Man Is One Of The Neatest Justice Figures DC Direct Made!

The Good: Great sculpt, Good coloring detail, Awesome accessories!
The Bad: Poor balance, Light on articulation
The Basics: The Justice Plastic Man action figure is a surprisingly cool figure of an obscure character that . . . (no one is more surprised about this than me!) is actually worth picking up!

A few months ago, my wife was stocking up on anniversary gifts for me (she’s a real sweetie!) and there was an auction for the complete line of Justice Wave 3 figures. I was psyched about the line because it had a Wonder Woman, Poison Ivy, and Joker figure. As a budding fan of Green Lantern, I was also psyched that there was a Hal Jordan in the line, as I figured my collection could stand one of him. The only figure in the line I was not wild about was Plastic Man. Plastic Man is a comic relief character and in the context of Justice he stood out as ridiculous during some of the most tense moments. Moreover, Elastic Man (improbably enough) is far more important to the beloved graphic novel, so it seemed odd to me that Plastic Man was getting a figure before the actual hero. As the price went up and up, my wife got anxious about actually spending the money on the figures. So, when I won the auction, I made an arrangement with her; she could buy the four for me, I’d pay for Plastic Man and the shipping. I’ve been trying to sell him since.

No dice.

So, I decided to open it up and review it. In the process, I discovered a surprisingly awesome DC Direct action figure!

For those unfamiliar with Plastic Man, in Justice (reviewed Hise!), he is not taken out with the primary heroes because the villains know he is not a real threat. After squaring off with Elastic Man prior to the rescue of the first-string heroes, Plastic Man makes himself useful in the fight to stop the villains at the climax of the book.

It is Plastic Man before in his standard costume that is the subject of the Justice Plastic Man action figure.


The Plastic Man figure is very well-detailed and is a good sculpt. The artwork of Alex Ross translates nicely into the Plastic Man figure as this Plastic Man is happy, acrobatic-looking and bearing an expression that is somewhat ridiculous. The Plastic Man costume and the lone curl on his forehead very clearly define him for readers of DC Comics. Plastic Man, in his standard form, is 7 3/16" tall to the top of the figure's head. His skin is visible only on his bare legs, hands, chest and face. The Justice rendition of Plastic Man is from DC Direct.

This toy is a decent sculpt; for a character that has only had two-dimensional references, Plastic Man looks good in all three dimensions. DC Direct did not make the character insanely muscular, which makes sense because he is able to define and redefine his shape. As an interesting aspect, Plastic Man’s legs have a veiny quality to them that make him look more realistic and those veins are also present in his native fists. Plastic Man’s feet have no toes and that’s a cool detail. He makes his feet essentially into shoes! The character’s hair is realistically textured from his spit-curl back. Plastic Man wears a short acrobat outfit and the lacing up the front looks realistic and like it is containing the flesh beneath! DC Direct cast Plastic Man in hard plastic and he is solid.

This Plastic Man figure has decent, though unremarkable, coloring details as well. Plastic Man's eyes are hidden beneath his iconic goggles, but his lips are appropriately pink. While the uniform is understandably monotonal, Plastic Man is one of the few DC Comics characters who makes sense to be cast in monotonal plastics for the skin as well; given that he is essentially a giant piece of Silly Putty in the form of a human, of course he would have one-tone for his skin! Plastic Man is as realistically colored as he can be!


Plastic Man, Hero of the DC Universe that he is, comes with his stand and three alternate body parts! The stand is a black and silver square that looks like a piece of flooring. It is 6" by 4.5” and 1/2” tall and it has a pair of peg holes spaced 2” apart. The pegs come with the figure and plug into the base and then into the hole in Plastic Man’s right heel. Why there are two holes/pegs for a figure with only one foot hole I do not know. He is perfectly stable on his base.

Because Plastic Man is a shapeshifter, DC Direct wanted to capture that and they included three alternate body parts so one could transform the look and feel of the character! All three alternate appendages are wire-coated soft plastic, so they may be flexed, bent and shaped per the desires of the person playing with the figure! Plastic Man comes with an alternative to his two legs; a simple spring coil! The coil requires one to pull the leg section off Plastic Man at the waist and then plus the spring bottom accessory into the upper half of the figure. This is surprisingly easy to do and it results in a figure that is only 5” tall when on the spring. The spring base is poseable and also features a hole to connect the figure to the base.

Plastic Man’s standard fists are replaceable with two alternate arms as well. These arms plug in at the shoulder socket. The alternate right arm is a comically-elongated 6 5/8” long bendy arm that ends in a fist. The alternate left arm is a 5 3/8” long arm that terminates in a giant hand. The hand is nicely detailed with things like fingernails and it is just the right size to hold the head of any adversary of Plastic Man. He can hold them at arm’s length in such a fashion! These accessories honestly capture the flavor of the character exceptionally well.


The DC Direct figures were designed more for display than play. This Plastic Man is ideal for display, though he has some balance issues. He has less articulation than most figures, at least with his primary arms, but is on-par with other figures from this line. This Plastic Man falls over very easily when he is off his stand, even when he is flatfooted. While it is possible to get him to balance flatfooted, this is a figure that falls over easily when the surface he is on is jostled. On his stand with his foot plugged into the base, he is perfectly stable.

Plastic Man comes with ten points of articulation. Plastic Man has joints at the knees, groin socket, shoulders, elbows, waist and head. The elbows and knees are both hinge joints, while the groin socket and waist are simple swivel joints. The shoulders and head of the Plastic Man figure are actual ball and socket joints, so they function ideally. This is actually pretty cool in the playability department, especially with the alternate limbs. If you can get your Plastic Man balanced, you can pose him pretty coolly!


Plastic Man is part of the DC Direct Justice Series 3 line which was fairly uncommon, largely because it was mostly distributed through comic book shops. Plastic Man was one of only three heroes in the wave and he represented the best Plastic Man figure made at the time (there is an Identity Crisis Plastic Man on the market as well). Originally available in the $15 - $20 range, he has only maintained his value, arguably because the character is not incredibly popular. I suspect if more people actually knew how cool the figure in the pack was, this would be one that would explode in value.


The Justice Plastic Man figure is a surprisingly awesome toy and one that anyone who loves obscure characters from the DC Universe will want to pick up. Who knew?!

For other Justice action figures, please check out my reviews of:
Wave 5 Brainiac
Wave 4 Zatanna
Wave 3 Green Lantern
Wave 3 Wonder Woman
Wave 3 Poison Ivy figure
Wave 1 Cheetah figure


For other toy reviews, please check out my index page!

© 2012 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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