Monday, July 23, 2018
Masters of the Universe Classics: Year by Year - 2017 Super 7 Takes Over
Masters of the Universe Classics was over...but was the demand? It was no secret that Mattel was done with it - Classics was a hassle, and the people with the ability to juggle quality, fan requests, complaints, and the website to sell it - were gone or done as well. Was anyone willing to shoulder the burden?
Apparently, a company called Super 7 felt like they could handle it! Super 7 had already been producing other varied MotU product, so it was a natural fit. Still, Super 7 was a much smaller company, and couldn't shoulder the heavy requests of the fans for the large subscriptions of past years (let's face it: Mattel shoved a TON of figures into each year). They needed to shrink the line a little, and laser-focus on the fan desires while almost having to reinvent the wheel, since Mattel's factories and dealings didn't carry over to Super 7.
Super 7 needed a strong start to grab the remaining fans who still wanted some obscurities, but also nab some people who might not have jumped on originally, due to how hard it was to get older fan favorites.
The Ultimates series was the answer! Super 7 announced Ultimate Editions of top fan favorites, so old fans and new fans alike could get the important characters and accessories all in one shot, while avoiding the crazy ebay prices for older figures.
Now, if it wasn't already obvious at this point; I bought nearly everything in Classics, so the Ultimates weren't of much use to me. I only bought one: Faker (of course), because of the repainted vintage toy He-Man head, which was brand new to this pack.
Faker sported only minor differences, like black bracers and a belt, and a slightly brighter orange with less of a black wash on the armor and hair. The rest was the same as the rest of the Ultimates: Faker came with everything that had been made for Faker throughout Classics. That meant all the items that had either come with another figure or in a weapons pak, like the orange axe and shield, and his battle damaged head. Faker also came with the aforementioned vintage toy head and the mini-comic styled Power Sword in orange; both brand new to Classics.
Even with just Faker, it's obvious that these sets were dynamite. If you missed essentials like Faker, Skeletor, Teela, He-Man, or Ram Man, then these Ultimates are for you - no question. Each set came with everything you had missed; figure or accessory. Skeletor, Faker, and Teela all came with a few brand new items as well, like the mini-comic Power Sword in purple, for Skeletor, and a blonde head for Teela (which was how she was depicted in the mini-comics). If you want to get caught up on the basics of Classics without hunting down a million other figures to get all the accessories, then this is your one stop shop.
...except for the fact that they're crazy expensive now, on the aftermarket. There's just no way to break in to this series easily, is there?
The Ultimates were Super 7's first shot, and a very smart shot that hit the bullseye. The only problem was that the Ultimates were produced using Mattel's factories and notes - after that, it was all up to Super 7 to recreate all the construction notes for a new factory.
That...didn't go perfectly.
Super 7's first figures produced by their own methods were a couple Power Con exclusive sets. The first set was a mini-comic set, which hit some big-time wants for mini-comic fans.
This is Prince Adam, as he appeared in a few mini-comics and in the DC comic series from the 80's. This was a simple and effective idea of repainting the basic Prince Adam and giving him the mini-comic He-Man head. That's right! mini-comic/DC Prince Adam pretty much just had a blue version of cartoon Adam's tunic, and didn't wear the tights. Not a big difference, but one that I like a whole lot more - even beating out the nostalgia for the vintage Prince Adam. This one is still nostalgic, though. I remember this look well!
This Prince Adam received an improvement with a sword loop on the back of the tunic (something the original Classics Adam was supposed to have), but in terms of improvements...that's it. Adam is sadly plagued with problems that were across the board, for these exclusives. As the first figures fresh off of the belt from Super 7's factories, they suffer from hip joints that are slightly too wide, and a different, harder quality of plastic. This meant that the hips looked slightly off (though, not as terrible as I had thought they would be, when I got them in hand) and that the new, harder plastic made it super hard to get weapons in the hands. On top of that, the glue doesn't hold on Adam's head, making the hair pop right off (though, that is easily fixed), and it's next to impossible to get the heads off if you wanted to swap.
These problems don't bother me enough to pronounce these un-buyable, but they are worth mentioning because of the huge difference in plastic. If you're a big mini-comic fan, I'd still try to get this one; just be warned.
Adam comes with the basic Classics Power Sword, painted in darker metal tones.
The second figure in the set was Straos, as he appeared in the early mini-comics.
This one kind of does double duty, since this is how Stratos looked in a few early mini-comics, but this was also the prototype Stratos, back when he was originally created as an Evil Warrior. The idea didn't last past the prototype stages, though he can be seen in an early minicomic, in the background, skulking around Skeletor, lookin' all evil. So this one is almost the most important one of the pack, since he looks so different from Stratos that he could be used as an evil Avian, separate from Stratos.
Like the rest in the pack, Stratos suffers from the hard plastic and too-wide hips. This manifests a different problem in him, in that he's a little loose in the joints. Not so much that he falls over, but if he were on a shelf, I'd pose him a little more crouched and with a wide stance so he doesn't take a dive off the shelf next time you accidentally knock it. Another thing is that his wrist wings aren't glued into place, like the past Stratos figures. It's more of an observation than a problem, though. They swivel around a bit while you're posing him, but in the long run, it's actually a plus, since it provides more posing options for his wings. His greatest achievement, over previous Stratos', is that he can hold things! His left hand is like Beast Man's, so now he can finally use weapons.
All in all, he's not bad, and while he doesn't appear like this as often as others, he's still kind of nostalgic. He might not be the most amazing mini-comic recolor, but he's certainly not a bad extra in the pack, since he can be used as someone else.
Stratos comes with a repainted mini-comic Staff of Avion, though I don't remember it looking like this in the mini-comics (the first version of this staff came with Goat Man, and was correctly colored). It's still a cool looking staff, so you're not losing out on anything by having it. Stratos also sports a new belt and feathered neckpiece to better match his prototype design.
This last one is the main course: Trap-Jaw, as he appeared in his own mini-comic!
Many of the mini-comic designs were different because they were based on prototypes, and I'm sure Trap-Jaw is no different. Rather than a green face and a blue body, mini-comic Trap-Jaw was all green, and sported a boxy, silver robotic arm (they didn't sculpt a new arm here, but the loincloth/belt and head are new, and that's all that matters, really).
This Trap-Jaw came out spectacular, and that's even with the hard plastic and too-wide hips. Heck, with the small loincloth, his too-wide hips actually afford him deeper stances than you can get with the correct hips! It ends up being a plus for him, and since his arm weapons can be easily swapped; there's pretty much no problems here! They did change the pegs on the weapons, for some reason, so he's no longer compatible with the previous Trap-Jaw, Roboto, or Hurricane Hordak, but it's a very minor point.
If you liked the mini-comic version of Trap-Jaw, then you NEED this one! I imagine he'll run you a pretty penny on his own or in the pack, though. At least be comforted by the knowledge that he rocks.
Trap-Jaw comes with the basic hook, blaster, and claw that came with the first Trap-Jaw, but in a steel color.
The second exclusive pack was a weird one, but not any weirder than the other figures that had come before them in Classics. We're used to the prototypes and concepts getting toys in Classics, and these are no different. The first is Plasmar.
Plasmar was going to be part of an easy vintage wave of repaints, where they swapped some parts around, slapped on a new coat of paint, and made some new characters on the cheap to keep the line alive.
...they didn't get the chance to keep the vintage line alive. In case you were wondering.
Plasmar is an interesting mix of Rio-Blast's arms, Squeeeze's legs, Fisto's head, and Sir Laser-Lot's armor (naturally, Laser-Lot's armor wasn't a part of the original vintage concept). The explanation for the Snake Men legs is that he's got a big Rage-Hate for Snake Men, so he tears 'em up and uses the remains as trophies. He's a hero, but he's a BAD DUDE. His power is producing energy weapons, in the form of translucent red wrist guns and a Horde Crossbow (the idea is that he can copy anyone's firing weapons).
Like the previous pack, Plasmar suffers from hard plastic and too-wide hips (though the hips go unnoticed because of the large thigh armor). The hard plastic makes it so that the wrist guns don't quite fit well, but you can mange to get them to stay if you put in some effort. He's not loose, at least, and he takes a pose well thanks to the cape holding him up.
I suppose I have a tendency to just like everything, but...I like this guy. He's a weird mix, but a good one; with an interesting back story for how he looks. Using the Fisto head is perfect for that story too, since he sounds like a pretty angry and focused guy. The change of skin color also helps hide the fact that this is obviously a Fisto head. I wouldn't say he's perfect, but if you like the look, I can't think of a reason to pass him up.
Plasmar comes with two Rio-Blast wrist guns and a Horde Crossbow, all in translucent red. Like the rest of him, the accessories are hard plastic, so there's no give if you want to bend them at all to get them to fit better.
This is Lord Gr'Asp; another planned part-swap-repaint for the vintage line that never saw the light of day.
Lord Gr'Asp is a mix of the basic body, human legs, Clawful's claw, Squeeeze's head, and Scare Glow's cape. He is yet another Snake Man added to the group, though I don't know what kind of snake he's supposed to be. Some sort of mutant? Gr'Asp is made into an elite general for the Unnamed One, rather than working for the Snake Men on Eternia (though I'm sure he does work for them at some point). He doesn't really have a power (not any different from Clawful, anyway) so they wrote that he's a master strategist, which is cool and works the imagination.
Gr'Asp has the hard plastic and wide hips like the rest, but they don't get in the way much. I found his legs a little loose, but not terribly so. Naturally, I ended up liking him. First, because he is weird, and second, because I like the story they made for him. He seems like Snake Men nobility, with the cape. He's a good strategist, but prefers to stay in the shadows, for the most part. I doubt he's going to catch on with anyone beyond those folks who love the weird stuff, and even for them, he's not so amazing that he'll be worth the cash pile I'm sure he goes for on the after market.
Gr'Asp comes with a repaint of King Hsss's shield, and I gave him the next figure's Snake Staff, because I felt if matched Gr'Asp better.
Just when you thought it couldn't get weirder: Here comes Terroar!
Terroar is yet another part-swap-repaint from the vintage concepts, and he is quite possibly the part-swappiest of them all! He looks like someone was carrying a box of parts to the table, tripped, and put together whatever came out of the box. I'm not sure what the original plan was for this dude, beyond his concept art showing him screaming at people with a long neck (and that's a strange ability to give him when they're using a head with a closed mouth). For Classics, they actually came up with an interesting story: This guy is a lot like the movie "The Thing", as he's a being that can take on the form of others. He started out as a being composed only of sound, but his sound was a horrible roar that hurt the other sound beings around him, so he was encased in ice and sent hurtling through dimensions until he landed in Eternia, high up on a mountain, and stayed there for centuries. The Snake Men end up finding him, and when he emerged, he looked around at all the crazy creatures and tried his best to mimic the surrounding lifeforms. This manifested as an amalgamation of whoever was around him at the time: Whiplash's head, Rattlor's body and tail, Mosquitor's legs and feet, and Trap-Jaw's mechanical arm. He retained his ability to emit a horrifying roar that brings enemies to their knees, and King Hsss was like "Yeah, I want that", so he convinced him to fight for the Snake Men.
Sooo...this is a Snake Man, sort of. The idea is fantastic, but the figure falls short, somehow. Usually, if the figure is just okay to me, I find interest in the story. For this guy, the story is great, but the figure still ends up as the weakest link. Mostly because his mouth is closed, so he doesn't get the "Terroar" across, and his head is SO HARD to swap with that hard plastic. You really have to heat him up to swap the long neck on. This makes him annoying to mess with. I like the colors and I like the idea, but the toy ends up underwhelming.
Terroar comes with Trap-Jaw's arm attachments and a gray Snake Men staff that I gave to Gr'Asp. It seems like all the big time important Snake Men have a Snake Staff, so it didn't make sense for Terroar to have one, but not Gr'Asp, who is suppose to be a big time general.
Those were the Power Con Exclusives! Super 7 proved that they had some work to do, and it put into question the quality of their upcoming figures for later that year. They took those concerns to heart, and the figures technically didn't reach me until 2018, but I still count them as 2017 figures.
Super 7 did two sets of four: A line continuing Club Grayskull, with Filmation variants of characters, and a basic Classics series.
I'll go over the basic Classics figures and answer the question of "How did they come out" right away:
...not great. But not all bad! It is an ominous picture to start with, but I have to do it, since only one figure from Mattel's Classics ever broke for me (The Green Goddess) and none of them broke while swapping heads (which I still do frequently with many of them). This is Hawke, from the Filmation cartoon, though she is styled in a "realistic" way for Classics (making her not part of the Grayskull set). She came with a red haired head and a blonde head to make two people: Red hair is Hawke, and blonde haid is Delora. It's a simple matter, like all Classics, but trying to remove the head instantly snapped off the neck peg. That's a big strike, and I didn't end up taking any more pictures of her.
You'll also notice the black mark on her side: That's the paint scraping right off. Her midsection can easily be rubbed free of paint.
This would have been an okay figure, if not for the fatal flaws. I never ended up contacting Super 7 about a replacement, which is my fault, so I'm not going to bash them for any wrong-doings. This is unfortunate, but something I'm sure they're aware of now. Hopefully this won't occur again in the next wave. If you buy her, then take special care to heat the head up before swapping. Possibly. I'm not sure if even that would help. The neck peg was very weak. I may try to fix it at some point.
Hawke came with two heads, a large gun (with a little cloth shoulder strap), and a short sword.
Don't worry; the rest is mostly uphill from here!
Let's jump back in with a positive: Lodar, from the mini-comics!
The mini-comic you see above was a big favorite, when I was a kid. It was part of the stack that survived my toddlerhood; one that I read through a lot. Lodar stuck out to me mostly because of the cover (though he was still kind of formidable in the comic). The cover is just friggin' scary for a kid - He-Man is about to get beheaded! Not a clean cut either; his head is gona get smashed off! The people in the stands are gona need those plastic sheets as if they were going to a Gallagher show! It is definitely one of those old-time comic covers, where the hero is in a bind that he couldn't possibly get out of, but it's okay, because the scene on the cover never actually happens in the book. I was used to it, since I used to flip through my Dad's old Superman and Batman comics (Batman was friggin' melted to a skeleton on one cover! The green melt-goo never even touched him, in the comic!). Still, this cover always stuck out in my mind, because it was so brutal. Lodar had to be a badass!
Thankfully, the long wait for Lodar was rewarded! The figure is pretty badass, though, without the nostalgia, he's just a random Mad Max badguy, or a thug in Fist of the North Star who is Already Dead. For me, he's just what he needs to be! This is Lodar, head-smashing mace and all. He even comes with the chains holding He-Man down, though they're based on the chains in the comic, rather than on the cover (which is fine by me). Many of the problems from the Power Con exclusives were fixed, like the hips and mostly the plastic. The plastic is still harder than usual, but it's not as bad (though, still a little too shiny for my tastes). He is unrestricted by his costume, so he moves well, and he even has tiny details from the comic, like the spiked soles of his boots. I would have liked some sort of magical blast to fit on his hand, but he's already pretty full in the accessory department, thanks to the chains, and I wouldn't trade those chains for anything! If you like the look of this guy for any reason, I'd pick him up, and if you're a fan of the mini-comics, you NEED him.
Lodar comes with his Mace for Your Face and a little base attached to two large chains ending in wrist cuffs. The cuffs are slit down the sides, so you can slide them on to He-Man's arms easily without worrying about scuffing paint.
The next figure for the Classics set was Quakke, from the New Adventures of He-Man; proving that Super 7 planned to keep the New Adventures train rolling!
Quakke was another Space Mutant working for Skeletor, in both the vintage toyline and the New Adventures cartoon. He looked a little more symmetrical in the toon, so I'm glad they went with the asymmetrical craziness that was the vintage figure. Everything about him is cracked; his armor, his face, and his weapon. It's a fantastic design! Not only does he create earthquakes, but he looks like a building that's been ravaged by an earthquake as well!
Quakke's vintage feature was a lever that raised and lowered his arms, which were positioned to hold his claw weapon, which holds a meteor at the end. When he smashes it down, the meteor breaks in half! Naturally, the Classics figure doesn't do that, but he retains the claw weapon and breakable meteor (which has mechanical details inside, showing how he creates earthquakes). His hands are specifically sculpted to hold his staff, so his left hand is too open to hold other weapons, but his weapon is so unique that I don't think he'll be using anything else. His only negative traits are that the meteor is very heavy, so you'll have to pose him in a particular way to get him to stand with it, and that you have to mess with the tiny pegs on the claw and the tiny holes on the meteor to make sure they fit properly and don't fall out. I managed it and took pictures without things falling apart constantly, so I only consider it a minor detraction.
Quakke's main feature is design! Look at him! You'll be admiring all the detail for forever before you manage to pose him. The paint is crisp and the sculpting is fantastic. I mean, he's an ugly mutant, but in all the best ways. You won't be disappointed by this one, fan or no. He's a sight to behold.
Quakke comes with his "Grabatron Meteormace" that includes what I assume is the "Grabatron" and the meteor attached to it. The meteor breaks open to reveal the quake-inducing innards.
Saving the best for the last of the Classics set! This is Fang-Or, a totally new creation designed by Axel Gimenez, who did the art for the Classics mini-comics.
Fang-Or was designed by Axel (along with other characters) for the Classics mini-comics. Fang-Or was designed with the idea of using parts from the Classics line, with a few new sculpted items, and that's just what he is. Fang-Or is mostly Draego-Man, with new armor, loincloth, heads, and accessories. He's clearly a new Snake Man, added to the ranks to serve as a mechanic; which is why he comes with awesome little tools. That's not his only skill, though! Fang-Or's special ability is that he can grow his fangs at will, and grow them back instantly if they break off. Had this been a vintage toy, I'm sure there would have been some sort of lever on his back controlling the fangs, and it would have been rad.
Fang-Or is another one that is just a delight to look at, and he's free of problems that might diminish that fact. His heads are easily swappable without fear of breakage, he holds his accessories well, and he moves just as good as the Mattel Classics. If you aren't impressed by him alone, then you'll at least be impressed with his snake tools! He's got everything he needs to fix things, and a gaping mouth to scream at what he can't fix.
I gotta recommend this one to everyone. He's the best out of all of Super 7's offerings so far, and deserves to be in your collection. He's a fine addition to the Snake Men, and he makes a fine beast for any fantasy collection.
Fang-Or comes with two heads (long fangs and short fangs), a sword, a snake hammer, a snake screwdriver, a snake wrench, and a little flying snake buddy. The snake buddy is not bendable, but he is sculpted in a way that makes it easy to rest him on Fang-Or for display.
Now we begin the second set: Club Grayskull, containing figures from the Filmation cartoon series. This is Filmation Teela, getting a second chance after being kinda messed up by Mattel.
...Filmation Teela is apparently hard to render in plastic form. While this one isn't as bad as Mattel's, it's still kind of weird looking. The face is once again not quite right, though the body at least looks serviceable this time around. They also made the sword using the male-handle size, rather than the female-handle size, so the handle stretches her hand out, making her unable to hold female weapons unless you heat it and squish it closed.
I suppose this might be an okay Filmation Teela for those that want her, but for me, I wasn't even looking forward to her in the first place, so she ends up as second worst - only because she didn't break. Hawke gets the title of worst by failing to work like she was supposed to. I wouldn't bother to hunt this one down, just in case they take another crack at her. However, the body looks to be in the right proportions this time, so if you can hunt down a customizer that makes a good Filmation Teela head (and there are quite a few) then this might be worth a purchase, if you can find her cheap. Customizers seem to be able to capture Teela's cartoon look better than either Mattel or Super 7, so far.
Teela comes with her sword and shield, from the cartoon, though the sword isn't really made for her hand (I added the Snake Staff in the last pic to see how it looked; it's from a weapons pak).
The next Filmation guy was Tri-Klops, who comes with some of his own problems.
I can understand some of the desire for Filmation variants, since they're so iconic, but Tri-Klops is not one of them. He takes everything cool about the character, removes all detail, and makes him a basic lackey. Still, if you want him: here he is! The sculpting is great, and his boring design jumps right off the screen. He would be perfect, except for, sadly, another factory error: His visor doesn't spin.
You had one job, Tri-Klops!
The visor is glued down, so you have to tear this sucker apart to get the glue off and make the visor turn. I had heard that some of them DO turn, so at least you've got a chance at a good one. I tried to release it from the glue, but only managed to scrape one of the eyes and ruin the head sculpt (which means his body will likely go to a custom).
If you don't care about the visor turning and just want a Filmation representation of Tri-Klops, then you're golden! He works in every other respect, and looks "good", depending on your preference. If you're a fan of the mini-comics, though, you may want him for another reason...the sword. The sword is a design pulled from the mini-comics and the backs of the packages (which showed the vintage Tri-Klops figure with this sword), so it gives your (awesome and way better) Classics Tri-Klops a new sword, if you like. I don't know if that sword is worth the price of admission, though. If you just want some version of Tri-Klops - get the Classics version. He's one of the best; maybe even in the top five. Go for him.
Tri-Klops comes with a neat little Filmation pistol and the mini-comic Tri-Klops sword.
Man, there has to be some good news about this Club Grayskull set, right? Welcome to Man-At-Arms Town, which always seems to churn out a good figure no matter what!
My disinterest in the Filmation variants has to be obvious by now, but a good figure is a good figure, and Man-At-Arms is friggin' great. It helps that he was a constant, throughout the 80's toon. There was barely an episode where he didn't appear, so even though I don't have as much love for the cartoon as some, it's impossible to not have this version of Man-At-Arms burned into your brain. Even with the nostalgia, he could have turned out terrible, but the figure works in all the best ways; from sculpting to function.
First off: Is this not Man-At-Arms, through and through? I usually say "jumps from the screen" but this is like holding an animation cell. The head sculpt is flawless. He looks like he's about to slap Orko full on the face. The armor and color choices are also on point. Second: The articulation is well done! They thankfully decided to fully sculpt his arms, rather than armor them, so he is completely unrestricted in the shoulders. Man-At-Arms can do whatever you need him to, and that includes firing a blast from his gauntlet, like in the opening to the show! There's a little hole in the wrist so you can plug in the included blast (though I wish it plugged in a little more securely).
This figure won't replace the excellent Classics Man-At-Arms, but he's too good to let go, and he'll definitely be sticking around in my collection. If you liked Man-At-Arms in the cartoon, then this is a must have. I wouldn't place him over the Classics version, but neither can I call this a wash just because he's not as detailed. They are on equal footing in their respective fields.
Man-At-Arms comes with his mace, a translucent yellow blast (that fits on either wrist), and a two-handled gun thing that looks very familiar, but I can't remember what it does. It's from the toon, I know that much!
Last stop, everyone! Thankfully this ends on a high-note, with the fan-favorite Filmation Hordak.
"We want Filmation Hordak!" was a pretty loud shout you heard across the forums for MotU fans. Mattel offered a Filmation colored Classsics Hordak at one point (which I still really like), but it wasn't enough. The fans wanted a true, right-off-the-animation Hordak. Super 7 delivered.
Granted, he's not a perfect specimen, like Man-At-Arms, but his little flaws are no where near enough to bury him. The negatives are mostly with paint, which is odd, since the paint is so crisp across most of these Super 7 figures. The white on his head is thick, and it takes on other paint easily, so he came with some abrasions that I had to sand off with super-fine grit paper. The other problem is the blue mohawk being a little sloppy and also leaving some residue on his head (I was also able to remove most of that). The armor also has a little slop here and there, though it's nothing horrendous.
That's the end of the negatives, though! The sculpt is perfect, and I'm assuming this is exactly what everyone was asking for. He looks just like the animation, and you can almost hear his snorting laughter. The real kicker (that makes him match the animation so well) is his new sculpted torso. Almost every Classics figure uses a basic muscle torso with an armor overlay, but to get Hordak's shape, they just made him a brand new torso that lacks the chest joint (which I don't find myself missing). It is the centerpiece that brings this figure together, that even just a new head probably couldn't have done alone. To top it off, he also comes with one of his common arm transformations; a cannon. You can swap it out via a peg, like most Classics with swappable arms.
This one depends on your preferences, since you've got a version of him in existence to satisfy both needs. If you want the Filmation colors, but in a style to match your other Classics, then go for the exclusive on the right. If you want Filmation Hordak - well, look no further! This is it! There's nothing to keep you away from this one. He does his job well!
Hordak comes with an optional cannon arm and his little buddy Imp, who can shapeshift, in the toon. Imp's treasure chest form is also included, but it doesn't open.
That was it for Super 7's first foray into Masters of the Universe Classics! It was...rocky, to say the least. Strange plastic choices, incorrect hips, and broken figures, at it's worst. On the other hand, there were absolutely awesome figures, fine character choices, and one or two that I might even rank high on the list of Classics overall! Still, I can understand a doom-and-gloom outlook, if that's your thing. Even with all the complains aimed at Mattel's Classics, I'd say Super 7 did a little worse, since many of the Mattel problems could be argued. There's really no argument here: Some things broke, and the figures were noticeably different in terms of plastic quality. Here's how I see it, though: It's tough to live up to a line like Classics right off the bat, especially since they clearly stated that they would have to rebuild some of the standards from the ground up (it's a totally different company from Mattel, after all). If there was no communication and things hadn't improved from the Con Exclusives to the basic releases, then I'd be worried. They are shaping up though, and the next wave is (so far) looking improved once again. I'm not saying I'm not wary, but at least my hopes are up. Everyone is allowed mistakes when they're clearly working toward fixing said mistakes.
Let's see how the next batch does this year!