DC Collectibles New 52 Justice League The Flash Comparison Pictures!

Last time I shared with you my secret shame over purchasing DC Collectibles New 52 Justice League Flash figure and now I’m going to take you on a run down memory lane with some Barry Allen figures of the past!

As most of us are aware Barry Allen initially died back in 1985 during the Crisis on Infinite Earths (or as it is often ominously referred to as, the Crisis). Despite being technically absent from the main DCU for the last 20 plus years Barry Allen’s memory has been kept alive. You couldn’t tell the origin of Wally without telling the origin of Barry and thus we fans never forgot about him.Apparently neither did DC Direct. DC Direct released five figures of the Sultan of Speed posthumously and then six more figures after he returned. Not including the various statues and other collectibles featuring Barry.

Barry’s first DC Direct Flash release was the Silver Age Flash and Kid Flash Set from 2001. This figure is easily one of my favorites of Barry. The proportions are on point, he has a great stoic Barry-like expression, and he features a sculpted on Flash symbol and lightning accents. Only a couple of Flash figures released since then have featured such detailed pieces and this was the kind of quality that used to be a standard for DC Direct. The figure was packed in with Wally West in his very first Kid Flash costume (the replica of Barry’s) the first and only toy version of the Cosmic Treadmill and a Flash costume ring that popped open to reveal a miniature costume. 

Barry’s second release also features a sculpted symbol and lightning accents and is based on the ever popular artwork of Alex Ross from his critically-acclaimed maxi-series, Justice. Unfortunately this is not one of my favorites. The way his body is sculpted makes him look kind of paunchy and the way he is posed has to be the most awkward display of “pre-posing” that I’ve seen on an action figure in a long time. There really is no way to make him look like he is just standing. The little smirk on his face is great though.

Crisis on Infinite Earths Series 2 Barry is the first figure I remember seeing of a character dying. Barry has an interchangeable head that looks withered and close to death which I guess is…neat. The rest of the figure is o.k. This is where we see the departure of the sculpted on emblem. The accents are still sculpted but the paint apps on them are not the best. A lot of bleeding. I do think the body proportions are just about perfect. Flash Fact: This is the second version of this figure that I’ve purchased. The first one’s leg broke off soon after opening it.

Next we have a Super Friends-style Barry Allen from DC Direct’s Re-Activated series. I don’t believe that Flash was featured in the first round of Super Friends releases. It took me a good while to plunk down the cash for this figure. I never really had a great affinity for the Super Friends cartoons of the past and nothing about the figure itself screams awesome. I will say that it is the closest figure to Barry’s Showcase #4 appearance. This figure features no sculpted on details at all.  

Darwyn Cooke’s masterpiece, New Frontier rightfully yielded a number of awesome merchandise releases including a few series of action figures, t-shirts, and even a great movie adaptation. In Series 2 of the New Frontier action figure releases we received Barry Allen. Barry was outfitted with the experimental miniaturization backpack that he wore during the climax of the series and the figure is specifically based on the art of Darwyn Cooke. In his version of the DC Universe Barry apparently has brown eyes and his costume looks closer to Wally’s than his own original. The sculpted on accents return but the symbol remains painted on. They did however use a great glossy gold paint that reflects nicely. One of my favorites!

The History of the DC Universe line was a chance for DC Direct to try and compete with Mattel a bit when it came to articulation and details. I don’t think they succeeded. I will go with sculpt over articulation any day. This all dates back to my first experience with Toy Biz’s Super-poseable Spider-Man. Sure he was awesome as all heck to pose with but he never quite fit in with the rest of the toys. Mainly because his articulation made him look crazy. This figure doesn’t look nearly as bad as that or even bad at all, it just looks clunky and plain. I also feel like the symbol is too small and that the painted belt and lightning accents just look…off. Articulation has to work within the sculpt not against it. One thing I have to commend DC Direct on is their cowl and boot wings. They seem to knock those out of the park every time and they always look different. 

This is the first of the Wally West figures repainted to be Barry Allen. The figure was first released back in Identity Crisis Series 2. DC Direct decided to revisit the series of figures a few years later but instead featured Barry Allen from the story flashbacks (specifically The Secret of Barry Allen). The head sculpt is completely new and features blue eyes just like Barry. The only thing they neglected to change was the belt (and the awkward pose). All the details here are painted on.

The second Wally West figure to be repainted as Barry Allen is originally from the Justice League of America Series 3 Wally West. I always thought that the original figure looked more like Barry anyway (and mentioned that in a review floating around the interwebs somewhere) so I thought that the repaint was a good idea overall. Especially since it already featured Barry’s boot wings (after Wally returned to the DCU in 2007 artists started drawing him with Barry’s boot wings again and it stuck in the new Justice League of America series and subsequent action figure). They used a super glossy crimson red for the figure (funny, since this is normally a look reserved for Wally) and gold with a touch of silver on the symbol. Unfortunately the gold kind of blends in with the glossy crimson but I still dig it. I just don’t think it necessarily says “Barry”. All details are painted on.

Our very last traditional Barry Allen release before everything went dark and changed in a Flash. Released as part of Flashpoint Series 1 the figure is based on Andy Kubert’s art and I’m sorry to say that it is nothing spectacular. No sculpted on details, a vanilla facial expression and somehow they managed to make The Flash’s costume look drab. Somehow the suit has lost all of the visual punch despite still being bright red and yellow and featuring hood ornaments on the cowl. I think where things start to go awry is in the general character design. It just isn’t striking or dynamic enough. 

So how do these figures stack up to New 52 Barry Allen? The more and more that I play around with New 52 Barry the more I like him. The face sculpt still isn’t the most pleasing in my opinion but the figure features all sculpted on details, including the “electric seams” on the suit. It really wasn’t until I had a look at past Barry figures that I really started to appreciate this one.  Good job for the most part DC Collectibles. You still have a long way to go to return to the glory days of DC Direct but you seem to be on your way. Now bring us some 3.75 scale Flash figures! 

Also stay tuned for one more series of comparison shots featuring the “other” Barry’s and the DC Direct Flash family. 

Thanks for reading,

-Flash Johnson

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