The Create-A-Superstar line is a new range of figures from Mattel, featuring ''extreme'' versions of WWE wrestlers. If you've ever played the WWE Immortals game then you'll know what to expect from these figures: attributes and character traits are re-imagined to create quasi-superhero or mythological versions of famous grapplers. The overall results are, surprisingly, a lot of fun. We've already seen the very cool Gladiator/Triple H figure but today it's the turn of The People's Champion himself, The Rock.
The Rock appears in the Create-A-Superstar line-up as a ''basic'' figure. Unlike the Gladiator/Triple H or Luchador/Rey Mysterio ''Pack'' sets, which feature multiple heads and interchangeable body parts, the ''basic'' figures are pretty much what you'd expect: a single figure with a few accessories but limited scope for interchangeability on their own. Obviously the idea is that if you want to play with the whole ''mix-and-match'' theme then you buy multiple figures but even without this gimmick there's still a lot of fun to be had with this figure.
Like Triple H, The Rock has been re-imagined as a mythological warrior, with his fighting persona and ''Brahma Bull'' gimmick being the focus. It's certainly a nice idea and whether it's intentional or not, I'm getting a kind of Minotaur-hero vibe from the whole thing (the use of gold really reminds me of Minoton from Sinbad & The Eye of the Tiger - again a super-plus point in my book.) And that helmet is pure Dovahkiin, which is pretty awesome.
Design-wise, the figure is a winner. Whoever came up with the idea of transforming The Rock's sleeve tattoo into armor deserves a hearty slap on the back, as it's a really cool concept (and no, it's not just chain mail or random plates - it's a translation of his actual tattoo design into metal!) It's also great to see the lines of his bull tattoo incorporated into the helmet. Of the figures I've seen so far, I think this is definitely the most characterful and it's a very cool translation of The Rock into a fantasy warrior (especially considering they could have so easily gone down the terrible Scorpion King route...!)
As you can see, the head sculpt isn't as accurate as the Triple H one but it's no worse than any of the GI Joe: Retaliation Roadblock designs and from certain angles it's almost a passable likeness. Almost. And I don't know whether this is intentional or not, but this figure's bald head and armored limb design reminds me very much of Woody Strode's appearance in Spartacus...
The armored shoulder, arm, chest harness and thigh-plates are sculpted onto the figure but the knee and elbow pads are cast from a very flexible rubber and can be slipped off if you don't want to display him wearing them. It's a cool idea (especially as it allows you to recreate The People's Elbow properly) but these pieces can get in the way a little when posing the figure. Of course you can (re)move them should you so wish but that does spoil the look somewhat.
Speaking of movement, the figure has a neat articulation set-up. It will come as no surprise to learn it's identical to the Triple H/Gladiator figure (given that they're designed to be compatible with each other) but I'll give it a quick run-down anyway: ball-joint head, ball-joint shoulders, bend-and-twist elbows, twist-joint wrists, twist-joint waist, ball-joint hips, single-joint knees, cut-calf twist joint and single-joint ankles. He also has Kung Fu Grip-style rubber hands, which work nicely with the accompanying equipment (more on that later.) And for those wondering, the figure can be separated at the neck, shoulders, waist, hips and calves, so there's a fair amount of scope for mixing-and-matching your characters.
The paint app is good, overall. My figure's chest harness is slightly sloppy where the edges come into contact with skin (it's like somebody was being extra-careful not to paint over the line) but that's, obviously, my figure and it may not be the same on others. The head, tattoo and trunks tampo transfers are all very clean, though so there's no worries there.
Aside from the aforementioned elbow and knee pads, The Rock also comes with two accessories: a bull-horned gold helmet and a dark, spiked club. As I mentioned above, the helmet's eye and mouth slots would be right at home in the realm of Skyrim but the horns also do a good job of echoing The Rock's Brahma Bull tattoo/imagery. They may be a little on the large side but that's good in away, as these figures are all about over-exaggeration.
The club fits well in either hand and it's certainly a welcome addition (considering about half the figures in the line don't come with any kind of armament) but I'm not entirely sure how it fits into The Rock's persona. Maybe it's a callback to the Rock and Sock Connection's Mick Foley and his penchant for 2x4s... Whatever the reason, it's certainly a neat weapon and it's versatile enough to allow you to pose him with it in one or two hands...
Or however else you want to use it.
Unlike the Triple H figure, you can't really do a ''normal'' Rock figure with this toy. But if you're looking for that then there are certainly plenty of versions available in the ''regular'' WWE line-up.
I have to admit that I wasn't really that taken with the Create-A-Superstar line when I first saw it. It just seemed too strange and ''out there'' to really make sense. But, as I mentioned in the Triple H/Gladiator Pack Review, I came to see these figures not as WWE Superstars but rather as fantasy warrior characters, which allowed me to appreciate them in a completely different way. And if you can get into that same mindset, then you'll find a lot to enjoy in this line.
Whilst I applaud Mattel for offering us pricing options (in the form of the $20 Packs and the cheaper ''basic'' figures) I do find myself wishing that this Rock figure had been released with a few more accessories. It would have been awesome, for example, to see this figure as a full-on Minotaur, complete with - interchangeable - bull head and his printed trunks seem a little anachronistic when compared to the rest of the figure, something a removable loin-cloth or waist armor piece would have rectified. But that's me just playing Armchair Toy Designer and it's really not worth getting upset about.
The Rock's likeness isn't exactly captured here but there's no mistaking who he is. It's like when you see a waxwork of a famous person or a lookie-likey that's just not quite there. If you're a big Rock fan you may find that a disappointment but I really don't think it's any worse than the likenesses featured in Mattel's ''regular'' WWE figures and if you're a collector of that line then you won't really find much to complain about here.
As a mythological character, this figure of The Rock works really well. As I mentioned above, the way the elements of his character and personality are blown-up to the Nth degree to create a legendary take on the man are really cool. And although I've said it once, I'll say it again: that tattoo armor sleeve is awesome. But even if you have no idea who The Rock is, this is still a great-looking fantasy warrior. The Rock connection is just an added bonus.
If you're a fan of retro figures then you'll really dig a lot of what's going on with this line. From the Eternia-esque fantasy warriors to the Henshin Cyborg-ish transforming action (and a body type that's half Mego figure and half Super Joe), these figures check a lot of boxes that are sure to please nostalgia buffs. But even if you're not, this is still a really fun line of figures and if you're looking for a cheap(er) place to start (providing you can find him at retail) The Rock is as good a place as any to jump in.
Another great Masters of the Universe-style fantasy figure that's sure to appeal to fans of both the WWE and legendary warriors.