Ok, damn, I am sofa king behind on what I want to write about it’s insane…trying to balance the little stuff with the lengthier stuff with the timely stuff…nevermind the more permanent fixtures I’d like to incorporate into the blog – buying guides, collection constituent lists, etc. Time to stow away my whining for the moment though, because I really should’ve gotten this entry out a good 4 or 5 days ago. I didn’t want to abandoned my previous piece though; once these things get left behind I have a bad habit of not picking them back up.
Most of us are probably aware of the DCEU’s forthcoming fourth installment – Wonder Woman. Hell, you don’t even have to be particularly in-tune with comics or DC. Wonder Woman is one of those gals we’ve all heard of but have a hard time placing. Adults will likely have varying degrees of memory of the Linda Carter series from the 70s, and some children of the 70s and 80s may remember seeing her alongside other members of the Justice League in cartoon form. She’s been around almost as long as Batman and Superman, first appearing back in 1941. Now, after just over three-quarters of a century, she gets her first live action film.
Hot Wheels is right in the middle of a collectible goldmine with their series of Character Cars, and evidently, the enterprise must be getting increasingly lucrative. We’re starting to see more specialized packaging, more variations, and more characters in general in the time before and after theatrical releases. 2016’s Suicide Squad is a very notable exception – all we got was a pricey special edition of Harley.
And so, Hot Wheels + new Wonder Woman film = specialized line of cars.
A few articles back I reported on the existence – or impending existence – of an Ares Character Car. Yep, the exclusive Riddler form the Batman Rogue’s Gallery 5-pack was released as a standalone, and there was Ares on the back. Around this same time, we had another Wonder Woman car pop up, similar to the Batman v Superman version, but with coloration differences and new Wonder Woman movie packaging. However, this card did not feature anything new on the card back. From then on, I was searching eBay for “hot wheel dc ares” several times a day, and then eventually, a single listing popped up: a Wonder Woman vs. Ares 2-Pack featuring an exclusive Wonder Woman car!
I immediately bought it. The next day, I went to a Toys R Us a couple towns over, and found several. These don’t seem to be totally widespread yet, but I have found them at the Cary and Durham TRUs, though not the one in Raleigh. Anyway, there is is – Ares and our fifth iteration of Wonder Woman! Besides being excited about Ares and a more casually “dressed” Wonder Woman, does the 2-pack imply anything else? In my opinion, yes.
See, Hot Wheels is damn tricky with their 2-packs. What they like to do is release the pack with one exclusive (whether explicitly stated or not) and then another car which is (or becomes) available singly. We’re already told that the Wonder Woman car is the exclusive, to this must mean that Ares is getting a standalone release as well – which would make sense based on what the back of the Riddler said. All of that adds up to at least 3 Wonder Woman Film-branded character car packs: new Wonder Woman, Wonder Woman vs Ares pack, and an upcoming Ares. Might this mean we get more character cars under the Wonder Woman Film banner…? The back mentions Zeus – a god like Ares – in the flavor text, and Mattel (Hot Wheels’ parent company) has put out a first wave of Wonder Woman Film dolls including both Queen Hippolyta and Steve Trevor. And get this: one of the new DC Multiverse figures (the $20 ones that each come with a piece of another figure) is Menalippe, Wonder Woman’s aunt.
I don’t know any more about the upcoming film than anyone else, possibly even less, and furthermore I’m not wildly familiar with Wonder Woman’s mythos either, so I’m straight up dropping these characters’ names based on when and where they’re mentioned with regards to merchandise. Basically I’m building up to this: does this mean the Wonder Woman Film branding will extend to other characters introduced to us from the movie? It would seem a little weird for this packaging to exist only for 3 items, though it’s worth mentioning that Ant-Man got his own packaging (as well as a Civil War card) and so did Doctor Strange; neither branding persisted any further than the titular characters. The Batman v Superman packaging only lasted 3 vehicles as well: Armored Batman, Man of Steel, and then the BvS Wonder Woman released last summer and way, way after the other 2.
So what do you think? Is the DCU arm of Hot Wheels’ Character Cars ready to put Batman on the backburner and start digging into the nooks and crannies of DC’s vast multiverse? Should they venture into such territory so soon after skipping over heavyweights like Lex Luthor and Doomsday who would’ve been perfect following Batman v Superman? I get that you gotta start somewhere, but if we get a Hippolyta before a Lex Luthor…I just…I dunno. What I really hope is that they don’t get as messy as Marvel…random stuff like Red Hulk and Nova while superstars like the Fantastic Four and the X-Men are ignored.
But hey, there will always be shit to complain about. In the end we got ourselves an Ares Character Car, and that’s pretty fuckin’ cool. Let’s do it up:
“WONDER WOMAN is the daughter of Zeus. ARES is the God of War. Now, these sworn enemies square off as fierce fighting vehicles in a battle of mythic proportions.”
“The stunning Amazon strength and beauty of WONDER WOMAN shines forth in thies V-8 sports car with wrist guard fender shields and WW insignia emblazoned over the front grille. ARES is a massive tactical vehicle with heavily armored chest plates and a skull-shaped turret that allow him to always be prepared for combat.”
“With a score to settle almost as old as Time itself, sparks are sure to fly when these two go hood-to-hood.”
Overall, I think this is a great 2-pack. It’s fully centered on the new Wonder Woman film and it gives us, for the first time in DCU’s character cars, a 100% non-Batman villain! It does make me lament the fact that there wasn’t more done with Batman v Superman or Suicide Squad, but maybe we can hope that wfro this point forward each film will get some respectable level of attention.
Do we need 5 Wonder Woman cars…? Probably not. But honestly, the one before this one – the one that looks very similar to the BvS version – seems to be the most unnecessary. This newest one, touted as the 2-pack’s exclusive, retains the same body shape but with a vastly different color scheme meant to represent Wonder Woman in her more relaxed, casual wear, i.e. not her elaborate and showy “Wonder Woman” outfit. It actually looks quite similar to the 12″ Queen Hippolyta doll recently released with its sortta tan-gold thing going on…what do you even call that color? It’s like…metallic beige or something…
Now look at dis mofo. Is it cool? Is it not? I’m not even sure. But it is one of the most unique and original Character Cars we’ve ever seen, and for that, it deserves a lot of credit…even if it does come off as a bit abstract. Earlier I mentioned that my knowledge of Wonder Woman mythos is limited – really all I “know” about Ares comes from the Injustice: Gods Among Us fighting game released a couple years back. The car doesn’t quite hit the whole “black-knight-meets-Satan” thing that the game gives us, though it’s definitely got an old world, pagan-esque feel to it…maybe even a bit “occult-adjacent” with the weird emblem thing on top coupled with the red tires and bestial face created at the front.
I can’t say I’ve ever really appreciated Hot Wheels’ tactic of releasing 2-packs with only ONE exclusive in them; however, I do prefer it done this way – the non-exclusive released before its single counterpart. Overall this is a really cool set and I’m glad to see Wonder Woman (the upcoming film) getting some competent (and timely!) love from the Character Car department. It makes me a little sad for all the chances missed in previous films, but at the same time, it’s a promising start for perhaps a new, more comprehensive era of Character Car releases. Will we ever backtrack to Man of Steel for a General Zod or rewind to Suicide Squad for a reasonable collection of relative nobodies like Diablo, Enchantress, Captain Boomerang, or Rick Flagg? (Or Incubus or (I’m having to stifle my laughter) Slipknot or…) The answer is probably not – but I’m trying to stay positive, and like I said, starting with Wonder Woman is better than leaving the new film behind like the others. Really this could be a good chance for the DC side of Hot Wheels to regroup and create a complete and respectable collection as opposed to the random sprawl of Marvel (hooray for no fucking villains! (barely)) and the uneven distribution of Star Wars (why do we have fuckers like Sidon and Biggs and Battle-Damaged Flametrooper before a damn Lando Calrissian!!!??? Why has the prequel trilogy been ignored save for largely fodder like Battle Droid and 501st Clone Trooper? Hey, I’m all for a Carbonite Han or Bossk, but not ahead of (I love railing these off) Qui-Gon, Padme, Mace, Dooku, Jar Jar (I know, I know), and maybe even the likes of Nute Gunray, a younger Obi-Wan, and Commander Cody.) Whatever. Whatever!
Blahph, another entry that took me way too long to type! Anyway, hope you enjoyed a closer look at Wonder Woman #5 and the supercool Ares. I’ve got some more cool shit that I’ma start working on right now so stick around! I’ve got all kindsa shit to talk about – LEGOs, Batman, amiibo, more cars, more and more cars, and man, lots of good stuff.