You’ve probably seen me mention the website MattyCollector.com a few times on this blog if you’re a regular reader. And every time it comes up it’s because I’m reviewing another one my Master’s of the Universe Classics figures which are available exclusively on the site. The name Matty Collector stems from the fact that it is toy juggernaut MATTEL’s collector oriented website. With no cartoon on TV and no movie in the theaters to promote their MOTU line they know that the line would fail at retail because kids wouldn’t be interested it it. And so they focused their market and aimed it towards nerds like me. On the 15th of every month they make a new MOTU figure available to order. Initially those MOTU figures were the only items available on the site. But as the site’s popularity grew Mattel began adding other properties. Soon new toys from other fan-favorite 80s properties like Voltron and Ghostbusters were available as well. Another one of the biggest lines available on the site are DC Universe characters. Mattel has taken lines that once thrived at retail like Justice League Unlimited and DC Universe Classics and transitioned them onto their site as the line’s popularity waned with kids. I’ve never been a big collector of DC comics or toys, I only dabble, so I don’t have much use for the JL and Classics figures they offer. However there was one DC figure made available on their website this year that did catch my attention and it was this guy here, Atrocitus.
Let’s go back a few years. I was buying a ton of Marvel books but hardly any DC books. The new Cassandra Cain Batgirl was the only DC book I was reading monthly. I’m familiar with all of DC’s staple characters but most of them I had never read. I mostly knew them from cartoons from my childhood like the Super Friends. I had seen the Superman and Batman movies of course and felt I knew the histories of those characters fairly well but some of the other Justice League members remained a mystery to me. Green Arrow for example always looked cool to me but the yellow goateed version I was familiar with had been dead for several years in the comic books and I had no interest in reading about the new kid wearing the mask. It wasn’t until Kevin Smith’s heavily hyped relaunch of the book where he resurrected the original Arrow that I took notice and decided to give it a chance. I quickly became attached to the character and stuck with the book for years until it’s eventual cancellation.
A while Later I heard that DC was planning a similar resurrection of their most popular Green Lantern character. Hal Jordan would be coming back from the dead to replace Kyle Rayner who had filled the role in his absence. Maybe if DC had attached an A-List name to the relaunch like they did with Arrow then I would have checked it out but I had no idea who this Geoff Johns guy was and so I paid little attention to the news. And so Green Lantern: Rebirth came out and I heard it was really good. The character of Hal Jordan didn’t interest me though so I paid the hype no mind. Then a new ongoing Green Lantern series written by Johns came out and I heard it was really good but so what. And then he came up with the idea of having Yellow Lanterns become the arch-enemies of the Green Lanterns. It sounded rather silly but i kept hearing great things. And then I heard Johns was going to be introducing Red Lanterns and Orange Lanterns and I thought this was getting ridiculous but all I heard were positive reviews. When I caught my first glimpse of the Red Lantern, Atrocitus, violently spitting blood as he burst forth from a pool of the stuff I thought, “hmmm, maybe I’d better see what the hype is all about.”
I started buying collected editions of both Green Lantern and it’s sister book Green Lantern Corps to get up to speed. I was immediately impressed by the universe created by Geoff Johns. He made a comic book which never seemed remotely interesting to me before into the most action packed reading experience I’d had in years. I loved it. I quickly bought up John’s entire run on the book just in time to get in on the ground floor of the Red Lantern story. Atrocitus was the coolest new villain I’d seen in ages. He was awesome looking, scary, violent, powerful, intelligent, had skewed justification for his actions, and had retroactively been connected to the origins of the Green Lantern character. He was fantastic; not just a dumb brute in red pajamas. The introduction of all these different colored lanterns may have looked gimmicky to outsiders but if you were reading the books it made sense and seemed natural and obvious. Johns followed up the red and orange lantern stories with Darkest Night, Brightest Day, the War of the Green Lanterns, and he’s still going strong. It’s one of the most impressive runs on a book that I’ve ever read so if you haven’t given it a chance yet I strongly recommend you do.
I guess I’m not the only fan of Atrocitus because he and his army of Red Lanterns were recently given their own spin-off book. This title, though not written by Johns, is adding even more layers to this complex character.
DC Direct made the first Atrocitus figure in 2009 but it flew off store shelves and I was never able to find one. It became one of those figures that I searched for frequently on ebay hoping to find one at a good price. Having become a huge Green Lantern fan I found my roster of GL figures growing quite quickly. Each time I added a new lantern it seemed crazy to not have Atrocitus represented on my shelf as it was his crazy image that drew me in the GL Universe in the first place. Well earlier this year Mattel announced that they’d be releasing their own version of Atrocitus as part of their Signature Series collection available only on MattyCollector. I was already ordering an MOTU figure anyway so you had better believe I chucked this guy into my virtual shopping cart as well. When he arrived in the mail I was immediately underwhelmed; he just seemed so damn small. I don’t think Atrocitus is supposed to be huge but this guy looks like Ryan Seacrest next to my other DC figures. He’s dwarfed by his rival Hal Jordan and next to characters like Yellow Lantern Arkillo he just looks ridiculous. However that’s not the sculptors fault. I believe Atrocitus to be in scale with other Mattel figures. It just so happens that the majority of my DC figures are from DC Direct and so they don’t quite match up.
Size aside this is a pretty great figure. The Mattel figures are far more articulated than the DC Direct figures which means you can actually pose this toy. They don’t suffer from over articulation like the Marvel Legends figures available in this scale but the articulated wrists, ankles, hips and chest go a long way in making these figures more fun to play with. He’s painted in 3 shades of red, a nice crimson for his costume, a metallic red for his shoulder armor and belt and a lighter shade for his skin. These varied tones add some realism and depth to the figure. The real highlight of this toy is it’s face. This guy looks gnarly. I’m not sure how to even describe the exposed artery looking things on his face and knucles. He’s got teeth for days and his beady yellow eyes glare at you from under that heavy brow. Just awesome.
For accessories he came with his red lantern which seems like an obvious choice. The stupid thing is that both his hands are clenched into fists so he can’t really hold it. You can just sling it over his wrist like a purse. I think including alternate hands would’ve been a good idea. A display base would’ve been nice too but at least he stands just fine on his own. I hope Mattel offers up some more lantern figures soon because they did a nice job here. 8 out of 10.