#0821: Grey Gargoyle

GREY GARGOYLE

IRON MAN (TOY BIZ)

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Iron Man is really not a guy with the greatest gallery of rogues. Characters Batman and Spider-Man are as much defined by their amazingly entertaining foes as they are by their own personalities. And while they may not be quite as defined by their villains, even the likes of Flash (who has my personal favorite rogues gallery), Captain America, Daredevil, and the Hulk make out pretty well. But Iron Man? Yeah, his best foe, hands down, is himself, which doesn’t leave a whole lot of room for others. So, his foes tend to be a lot more forgettable than those of other heroes. Take for instance, Grey Gargoyle. He’s French, and he’s made of stone. He can also turn other people into stone. That’s really all there is to him. He’s never had a defining story, and he’s not really out there enough to be memorably kooky. So, he’s just there.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

GreyGargoyle2Grey Gargoyle was released in the first series of Toy Biz’s Iron Man line, based on the cartoon from the 90s. He got himself a slot in the line by being one of the Mandarin’s many flunkies on the show, but even there he was mostly forgettable. The figure is 5 ¼ inches tall and has 8 points of articulation. He has one of the more unique sculpts than this line, depicting his actual chiseled nature.  The look is somewhat simplified, at least in terms of what he looks like in the comics, so as to better match the animation model from the cartoon. There are a few odd choices, though. First off, there’s the collar for the cape, which, for some reason is attached to his torso, despite the rest of the cape being a separate piece. There’s also the somewhat odd choice to remove the elbow movement from the right arm, to facilitate his (ill-conceived) action-feature. What is said action feature? When you pull his right arm back, it springs forward. This is supposed to facilitate a throwing action of some sort, but it doesn’t really work. Gargoyle’s paint is really simple. He’s mostly just molded in grey, with a tiny bit of slightly different grey for the mask/mustache, and two different blues for the gloves and the innards of his cape. What’s there is cleanly applied, but, like the rest of this figure, and the character himself, the paint is rather unexciting and forgettable.  Grey Gargoyle included two bits of stone, supposedly to be thrown by the action feature, as well as one of the weird ID badge thingies that most of the line included.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Grey Gargoyle was NOT amongst the Iron Man figures I owned growing up. In part because the first series was mostly gone from stores when I started collecting, but also due to my lack of any real interest in the character. I ended up buying him from the House of Fun, while attending the most recent Philcon. Mostly, I just got him to put towards completing the set. Truth be told, he’s actually a well put-together figure, and very true to the character. He’s just not terribly exciting….

#0820: Wolverine

WOLVERINE

MARVEL SUPER HEROES SECRET WARS (MATTEL)

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I’ve no doubt that a number of people looked at yesterday’s review of the All-New, All-Different X-Men and thought to themselves: “Where’s Wolverine?” Well, the answer to that question is that Wolverine action figures were all over the place in the ‘90s, so Toy Biz felt he didn’t need to also be part of the set. But, who am I to ruin everyone’s fun? Let’s look at a Wolverine figure. In fact, let’s look at the very first Wolverine figure, from all the way back in 1984!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

WolverineSW2Wolverine was released as part of the first series of Mattel’s Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars line. The line was, of course, designed to tie-in with the Marvel’s Secret Wars comic (the first one!).  However, it was kind of a round-a-bout sort of tie-in, since the comic was actually published at Mattel’s request, because they wanted their toys to have a more direct tie-in. Thanks Mattel. Anyway, Wolverine was in the comic. So was the whole current roster of X-Men at the time, but he was the only one to get a figure from it. This was the true start of the “Wolverine publicity,” I suppose. Since it was 1984, Wolverine was sporting his spiffy brown costume, instead of his usually more known yellow and blue get-up. The figure stands 4 ½ inches tall and has 5 points of articulation. Like pretty much every Mattel line ever, Secret Wars was built on a hefty sum of parts re-use. Wolverine uses the basic arms and legs of the line, along with a unique head and a slightly larger torso piece, which he shared with Doctor Octopus and Hobgoblin. In general, the sculpt is rather on the soft side, with the exception of the soles of his boots, which are oddly well-defined. Of course, they’re only defined right at the base, so the tops don’t stick out from the sides like they should. The head isn’t anything particularly amazing, but it’s a decent enough likeness of Wolverine, and it certainly fits in with the rest of the body sculpt. The general proportions of the figure are fairly decent; the torso’s a bit on the flat side, but not terribly so. Most of this figure is carried by the paint job, since that’s where most of the character-specific elements come in. The paintwork is decent enough, and the colors are nice and bold (even if they did make him brown and yellow, instead of the proper brown and orange). There are some fuzzy edges, but nothing too bad. Wolverine was originally packed with a pair of snap-on claws (which came in either silver or black), and a lenticular shield thingy. Mine has neither of these, though.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

So, clearly I didn’t pick this figure up when it was new. Truth be told, Secret Wars was never a line I really thought about trying to track down, due to them lacking a lot of the quality of their contemporary, DC Super Powers, of which I am quite a fan. However, while at a small nick-knack shop on Small Business Saturday, my brother told me there was “some Wolverine figure” on one of the low-sitting shelves. It ended up being this guy, who was marked $1.99. For that price, I certainly wasn’t going to pass on a vintage figure in decent shape. There’s no denying that this figure is far from the quality of other lines from the same time period, but he’s a cool piece of history, and I’m happy to have him.

Guest Review #0037: Overworld Alex

OVERWORLD ALEX

MINECRAFT (JAZWARES)

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The following is a guest review by Jill Mardesich.  For more from Jill, check out her blog Future Music Educator Rambles on Life.

Minecraft by Mojang is a game that has managed to sweep the nation, and one of my personal favorites. It is available in just about every platform you can think of, minus Wii and other Nintendo consoles. Because, you know, Nintendo doesn’t play well with others. Alex is the female version of the basic player character (Steve), and I absolutely adore her. She’s not super exciting, but the design is so much more interesting than Steve’s, and she’s a girl.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Alex2Alex is, as stated before, the female player character in the wildly popular game, Minecraft. She is a part of the third series of Minecraft figures. She stands approximately 3 inches tall and has 6 points of articulation. She is a very blocky figure, which follows the game’s overall aesthetic. Her paint work is exceptionally detailed, but there are some fuzzy edges along the facial features, and there’s some pretty noticeable slop on both of her arms, but especially the left one. The orange of her hair is nice and vibrant on top of her head, but when painted onto the body, it seems to have been applied overtop the green of her shirt and causes the color to look really dingy and just… off. From a distance she looks awesome, but up close she gets a little disappointing. I don’t care that much though, because I’m really into her as a character anyway. For her accessories, she comes with a bow, a gold sword, and a Slime. The box looks pretty cool, but the edges of the paintwork are not clean, and it’s a little tricky to get her to hold it in a secure fashion. The sword is pretty nice, the paintwork is super neat and the sword is immediately identifiable as the material it is made of in the game. The Slime is a cool item to receive, replacing the normal building block that comes with the figures in this line. It also looks really cool, a 1.5 inch cube made of transparent green plastic with different shades of green plastic on the inside to provide the detailing. It leads a super clean likeness to the Slimes in the game, and a really cool looking piece. My one complaint about the Slime character is that the color green for the transparent plastic is a rather dark green, which is inaccurate to the game and causes the detailing inside to be difficult to see. If the transparent plastic was a lighter green like it is in the game, I think the details inside the Slime would be more vivid and impressive.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Even though there is literally no story to the game Minecraft, I have loved Alex since she was introduced. She was a surprise to me in one of the updates (because honestly, who actually reads the entire update list when they log in to Minecraft?) and I was ridiculously excited to discover that my Doctor Who skin wasn’t working and it was instead I got to meet Alex. I think she has a really cool design, and I think the fact that she was such a surprise to me is part of the reason why I love her so much. She was like a present that I never expected. It seems fitting that my wonderful boyfriend Tim got her for me at the store in the same manner. She’s not a perfect figure, but she is still really cool and I’m excited to have her.

#0819: Giant-Size X-Men #1 Boxed Set

STORM, COLOSSUS, NIGHTCRAWLER, SUNFIRE, BANSHEE, & THUNDERBIRD

MARVEL COLLECTOR EDITIONS (TOY BIZ)

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In the 1960s, when Marvel Comics was on fire with all sorts of new ideas, the X-Men were created. The team was Cyclops, Marvel Girl, Iceman, Beast, and Angel. While the series was a moderate success, it wasn’t as big as other titles of the time, and so the book eventually became solely a reprint series, before ending entirely. But, as anyone who has so much as thought about a Marvel comic in the last 30 years can tell you, that was far from the end of the X-Men. In 1975, the series was relaunched with Giant-Size X-Men #1, which featured an all-new, all-different cast of characters. This new cast proved far more successful than their predecessors, and the series went on to become one of Marvel’s most popular. In the 1990s, the X-Men were no strangers to toys, but most were based on the contemporary designs. To appease older fans, Toy Biz launched a line of special boxed sets, based on more classic incarnations of teams, including the All-New, All-Different X-Men, which I’ll be looking at today!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

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These six figures were released as one of the three sets in the Marvel Collector Editions line. All six are based on their appearances in Giant-Size X-Men #1.

STORM

ANADXMen2Though she’s by far the most well-known of the figures in this set, this was the first time Storm’s original costume had seen plastic form, and only the second sculpt the figure had gotten in the expansive 5-inch scale. The figure stands 5 ¼ inches tall and has 13 points of articulation. Her sculpt is generally pretty good, and certainly much better than the Marvel Girl sculpt from this set’s X-Men #1 companion piece. The head is definitely the nicest piece here, as it captures Cockrum’s take on Storm quite well. The body is decently sculpted, but suffers from a few issues. First off, she seems to lack Storm’s usual imposing stature, which is sadly common with her figures. She’s also got these odd, claw-like hands, which are definitely too big for the rest of her body. To top it all off, she’s nearly impossible to keep standing for very long. I do like the way they’ve handled the cape, though; it’s cloth, but it’s multiple layers, which give it enough weight to keep it from hanging oddly, and it avoids cutting off articulation as well. Her paintwork is pretty much on par with the rest of what Toy Biz was doing at the time. The colors are nice and vibrant, and everything is pretty clean, if perhaps lacking in subtlety. The edge of her collar is missing some yellow in a couple of spots, but other than that, everything looks pretty good.

COLOSSUS

ANADXMen4This marked the third time Toy Biz made a Colossus figure. They had a bit of a Goldilocks thing going on with them, though. The first one was too small, the second one was too big, but this one was juuuuust right. The figure stands 6 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation. The decision not to give him any wrist movement is a little baffling, especially since he’s got a built-in way to mask the joints, but the rest of the movement is all pretty good. Colossus is probably my favorite sculpt in the set. He’s not saddled with any real pre-posing, and his proportions don’t get too wonky, apart from his hands being maybe a touch on the large side. The details here, especially on the exposed metal parts of his body are really stand-out, and he just looks really sharp. His head has an expression that’s intense, but not so intense as to make him look villainous. The paint on Colossus is pretty sharp too. He’s got no noticeable slop, and the details on his costume really look great. The red and yellow really just pop on this guy.

NIGHTCRAWER

ANADXMen3Nightcrawler received probably the best of the initial figures from Toy Biz’s X-Men line, but that didn’t mean there wasn’t room for improvement, especially since the original had sported odd suction cups on his hand and leg. It was also hard to get him into any of Nightcrawler’s distinctive crouching poses, which was the main thing this figure set to fix. The figure is 5 ¼ inches tall and has 16 points of articulation, as well as a bendable tail. If there’s one major issue with this figure, it’s that he’s just too tall. Nightcrawler should really be noticeably shorter than the rest of the team, but were the figure not crouching, he’d be taller than half the figures in the set. That’s kind of off. Aside from that glaring issue, the sculpt is generally pretty passable, though he’s more of an Excalibur-era Alan Davis-styled Nightcrawler than a GSXM Cockrum-styled one. The general quality of the sculpt is definitely nice, and he has some pretty sharp detailing. The shoulder pads are rather obviously separate pieces, which is frustrating, but not the worst thing. Paint is definitely this figure’s strongest suit, and he’s definitely got the strongest paint in the set. The colors of his costume are nice and bold, and everything is very sharp. What’s really cool is that his costume is all matte finish, while his skin/hair is much glossier, making an instant distinction between the two.

SUNFIRE

ANADXMen5The shortest-lasting (but not shortest-lived) member of the ANAD team was definitely Sunfire, who quit after just one issue. In addition, as he was not new to X-Men the series at the time of Giant-Size X-Men #1, having previously appeared as a “foe,” so he wasn’t even on the cover of that issue. This all ends up making him one of the least-remembered members of this team. Amazingly enough, it wasn’t his first 5-inch figure from Toy Biz (though it was his second of two, so he didn’t get anymore), but it is, to date, the only figure of his classic costume ever made. The figure stands 5 ¼ inches tall and has 16 points of articulation. Sunfire’s sculpt is kind of complicated. There are some really great parts, such as the brilliant texture work on the scaled part of his costume, and a very nice translation of his somewhat goofy-looking mask, but it’s all placed on an almost comically skinny body. Sunfire certainly wasn’t a body-builder, but he wasn’t scrawny either. Then there are his feet, which look to have been sized for the body he should have had, which creates this sort of clown shoe effect. The sculpt isn’t terrible, but it’s also not great either. The paint is good in theory, and decent in practice. The application is pretty solid, and aside from one tiny inaccuracy (having his neckline go all the way up to the mask when it should end just north of the collar bone) it looks pretty good. The only issue is the black wash they’ve used to bring out the details of the scaled parts. It works overall, and is especially good on the arms, but the coverage is inconsistent, and the top of the right leg on my figure is totally missing any painted detail, which sticks out quite a bit.

BANSHEE

ANADXMen7Banshee was the other “not new to the series” character, though he had shown up more than once before. He also stuck with the team a bit longer than Sunfire, and hung around as a supporting character even after leaving the team, which resulted in him being a fair bit more memorable than Sunfire (of course, one of them spent the last decade dead, and it wasn’t Sunfire, so maybe popularity isn’t always a great thing). This was his third figure from Toy Biz, but his first to sport his classic green and yellow, which is definitely my favorite of his looks. The figure stands 5 ¼ inches tall and has 16 points of articulation, just like the last two figures. Like Sunfire, his sculpt is a mix of good and bad. The general build isn’t bad, and he isn’t quite as scrawny as Sunfire. However, he’s fairly pre-posed, and the “wings” limit his posability a bit. Also, I get that his main thing is screaming, but I’m not sure how well it turned out on this head sculpt, where he looks like he’s just sort of opening his mouth kind of wide. I feel like an extra, non-screaming head should kind of be a requirement for all Banshee figures, but none of them have ever done such a thing. Banshee’s paint is pretty decently handled; the costume definitely fairs best, with some nice, subtle airbrushing to help highlight some of the sculpted musculature. The head has a passable paintjob, though I feel the colors end up looking a bit too muted.

THUNDERBIRD

ANADXMen6Now, here’s a short-lived X-Man. See, cuz he died. Get it? Yeah, you get it. Yes, Thunderbird was officially the first X-Man to die in action, just to prove a point. According to writer Chris Claremont, it was actually a toss-up as to whether it would be him or Wolverine who died during the X-Men’s second mission. Thunderbird got the axe because his powers were more non-descript than the others, and also because he was just a tiny bit on the stereotype side of things, but could you imagine how different X-Men would be without Wolverine? Seeing as he was dead for most of the team’s run, this was actually the first Thunderbird figure ever made, though it wouldn’t be the last. The figure is 5 ½ inches tall and has 14 points of articulation. His sculpt is actually pretty good, overall. The head has some very nice detail work, and is probably the most realistic looking of all those in the set. The body is less realistic, with some slightly out-there proportions, but it’s not too bad, overall. The right hand is sculpt to hold something; I don’t know what it was supposed to be, since he included no accessories, and I can’t really think of anything Thunderbird would need to hold, but whatever. The paintwork on this figure is quite nicely done. Everything is nice an clean, and I love the slight accenting on the various parts of the costume.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

After getting the other two sets in this line as a kid, I bet you think I got this alongside them, don’t you. Well, you’d be wrong. My dad did have this set, and he even offered to buy me one of my own, at a discounted price, when the now defunct Ageless Heroes Comics was going out of business. I was feeling particularly silly that day and turned the set down, a decision I proceeded to regret for the next 18 years, after the set’s price jumped on the aftermarket. This past November, while attending Philcon, I stopped by the House of Fun, and pulled this set out from underneath several boxes. It was actually less than I would have paid for it back in the day, which made me doubly happy. This is by no means a perfect set, but there are some definite gems within, and I’m happy to have it at last.

#0818: Batman

BATMAN

JUSTICE LEAGUE: GODS & MONSTERS

BatmanJLGM1

And here we are with day 17 of the Post-Christmas reviews, the final day of this round (I’ve still got a couple more gift-based reviews, but I’ll cover them later). I’ll be going back to the DC animated branch one more time, but it’s not the same universe as before. This time, the figure comes from Bruce Timm’s newest animated venture, Justice League: Gods & Monsters, launched by a movie of the same name back in mid-2015. In this new universe, the Justice League are just the main trinity of Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman. DC Collectibles has produced figures of the three, and today I’ll be looking at Batman, who in this universe is not Bruce Wayne, but a vampiric Kirk Langstrom*.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

BatmanJLGM2Batman is figure 01 in DCC’s Justice League: Gods & Monsters line. The figure stands about 6 ½ inches tall and has 24 points of articulation. Like a lot of DCC’s more recent offerings, he would really benefit from some lateral movement on his legs, but other than that, the movement is pretty decent. The figure is, of course, based on his animated design from the film. Batman’s look is a nice throwback to the classic sci-if pulp hero look; it’s somewhat basic, but it definitely has a bold look. I had actually expected for Batman to built similarly to Batman: Animated’s Nightwing, but he’s actually a fair bit bigger than Nightwing. That doesn’t bug me too much, since I actually felt Nightwing was generally too small. The sculpt does a good job of translating his design into three dimensions. It’s not perfect, and the torso in particular feels a little flat, but the overall quality is pretty great. The head is a good match for the film, but the long ears, while cool, are susceptible to warping in the packaging, which has left my Batman with one slightly droopy ear. Batman’s paintwork is fairly straightforward. Like the overall design, his color scheme is BatmanJLGM3fairly basic; it’s just black and off-white, with some red thrown in for good measure. The overall application is pretty good; some of the edges are a little fuzzy, and there’s some bleed over here and there, but it’s mostly pretty clean. Batman is packed with an extra unmasked head, two pairs of hands (in fists and… some sort of weird, pseudo-grip sort of pose?), and a display stand with his control art on it. He’s a bit on the light side when compared to other animated releases, but it’s a decent enough selection, I suppose.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Batman was given to me by my oh-so-awesome parents. He wasn’t actually among the presents I opened Christmas morning, as he hadn’t quite arrived yet, but he got here just a few days after. I was pretty happy to get him, as Batman was my favorite of the three designs (if perhaps not my favorite of the three characters after seeing the film). The figure does a pretty admirable job of translating him to figure form, and he fits in nicely with my Batman: Animated figures. I don’t know that he’s quite convinced me to pick up the rest of the set, but I could definitely see myself tracking down a Wonder Woman at some point.

*For those of you who don’t know, in the mainstream universe, Kirk Langstrom is the Batman villain Man-Bat.

#0817: Malcolm Reynolds

MALCOLM REYNOLDS

FIREFLY REACTION! (FUNKO)

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Today is day 16 of the Post-Christmas gift reviews, the penultimate review of this particular sub-set of reviews.  For today’s review, I’ll be looking at a figure from a line I haven’t looked at in a fair bit of time, Funko’s ReAction line. Yes, today I’ll be looking at Captain Malcolm Reynolds, from their Firefly ReAction line. But, wait, didn’t I already review him with the rest of the first series? Yes, I did, but this one’s got a new hat—I mean, this one’s shirt is blue!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

MalBlue2Mal is technically part of the first series of Firefly ReAction figures, though he was released a fair bit after the original selection of figures. He was exclusive to “go!”. For those of you who have no clue what that is (like me!), you know those mall kiosks that sell calendars? Yeah, those are owned by go!. Mal was, in fact, a calendar store exclusive. Funko will literally give anyone an exclusive. And, honestly, I can’t really see a problem with that. The figure stands 3 ¾ inches tall and has 5 points of articulation. His sculpt is 100% identical to the regular, red-shirted Mal figure, reviewed here. It’s not one of Funko’s stronger sculpts. That said, I certainly wouldn’t want an improved Mal sculpt to be implemented on a weird, out of nowhere exclusive. The key difference here is paint. Instead of red, his shirt is now a light blue. It’s not a signature look for Mal, but it actually is kind of appealing. The application is a bit sloppy, especially at the hairline, but he looks okay as a whole. The other main change to this figure is his included weapon. The regular release had Mal’s signature revolver. In its place, this figure includes a shotgun, which is the same as the one included with Zoe.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Mal was given to me by my friends Cindy and Lance, who are pretty good at finding me harder-to-get items as gifts. I had no clue this figure even existed until I opened it. It’s not often that I’m surprised like that. It was actually a nice change of pace. He’s not super different from the regular release, but he’s a fun little variant.

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#0816: Batman & Two-Face

BATMAN & TWO-FACE

BATMAN (MATTEL)

BatsTwoFaceMatt1

For day 15 of the Post-Christmas reviews, I’ll be taking a step back to a few years, and actually looking at a Mattel product. Weird, right? In 2002, the DC license moved to Mattel from Hasbro (who had inherited it via their buyout of former holder Kenner), marking the first time in over a decade that the license had formally changed hands. It was something of a quick change, resulting in Hasbro being unable to release some of the product they had designed beforehand. When Mattel took over, they ended up making use of some of these already existing designs (which were all Batman-related), releasing them as a quick, one and done line of two-packs, each containing Batman and a supporting player. That wasn’t enough, apparently, as they also occasionally trotted the figures out for re-release over the years, usually single-packed and with wonky color schemes. Today, I’ll be looking at a pair of figures from one of those re-releases.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Batman and Two-Face were released in 2008, in a line simply branded Batman. I should specify here that they were both single releases, which I’m just reviewing as a pair here for my own convenience. There was also a Joker figure in the set, which I don’t have.

BATMAN

BatsTwoFaceMatt3First up is Batman. Not just any Batman, though! No, this here is a wacky variant Batman! The figure stands just shy of 5 inches tall and has 5 points of articulation. The sculpt is based on the New Batman Adventures version of Batman. It’s not a terrible recreation of the design, but I don’t think it’s quite as good as the prior Kenner version of the design, and it’s definitely not as good as the recent DCC version. However, it’s still a pretty decent sculpt, and it’s clear which version of Batman this is supposed to be. Plus, it’s got a much more natural pose than the Kenner version, which is a nice change. Wait, didn’t I say this was a wacky variant Batman? Why, yes I did! That all comes from the paint. Instead of the traditional grey for the body, he has this odd orange/silver thing. It’s not based on any particular look or anything, just random orange and silver Batman. How ‘bout that? The paint is decently applied, for what it’s worth, so there’s that. Batman included no accessories, just like all of the other Batmen who used this same exact mold.

TWO-FACE

BatsTwoFaceMatt2So, Batman was a wacky variant, but Two-Face is an actual adapted design, right? Not really, no. But that’s okay! Because toys! Like Batman, this figure stands about 5 inches tall and has 5 points of articulation. It’s worth noting that this guy feels like he’s just a bit smaller-scaled than Batman, which is especially notable when you compare head sizes. The sculpt is also based on his New Batman Adventures design, and it’s not quite as strong as Batman’s. It’s not terrible, and the body in particular is a pretty decent Timm-style suit sculpt (which is probably why Mattel ended up using a tweaked version of it several times in their JLU line). The head is pretty off, and it has a really obvious mold line running along the chin, which looks pretty bad. The paintwork is kind of interesting. It’s definitely not show-accurate, but it’s also not quite as out there as Batman, since it isn’t all that far-removed from some of his classic color-schemes from the comics. That actual application is reasonable enough. The colors are pretty vibrant, and most of the paint stays in the lines, which is nice. Two-Face also doesn’t include any accessories, but he does have his coin sculpted in his hand, so at least he isn’t totally lacking.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Batman and Two-Face were given to me for Christmas by my Super Awesome Girlfriend. And where did she find these 8 year old action figures? Some second hand store? Nope, it was CVS of all places. I was genuinely shocked by that. Neither of them are particularly standout figures, but they kind of a nifty throwback to the wacky variants of old, and I was happy to receive them.

#0815: River Song, The Narrator, & Donna Noble

RIVER SONG, THE NARRATOR, & DONNA NOBLE

DOCTOR WHO

DWHOS4a

It’s day 14 of the Post-Christmas gift reviews. Fun fact, 14 is one more than the number of cannon incarnations of the Doctor. That’s not really related to anything, but there it is. Anyway, I’ll be doing one last Doctor Who-based review for this gift-giving season. This time, I’ll be looking at three figures (sort of…), none of whom are the Doctor. So, let’s dive right into looking at the three “R”s: River, Rassilon (aka the Narrator), and… Rdonna…

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

These three were released as the Series Four boxed set. All three are re-releases of single-packed figures from earlier in Character Options’ Doctor Who line.

RIVER SONG

River Song is a favorite character for a lot of Who fans. She is not really a favorite of mine, however. I liked her fine enough in her first appearance “Silence in the Library,” but in all subsequent appearances, I just found her incredibly…grating. Fortunately, this figure is from her initial appearance, back when I didn’t dislike her. Yay. The figure stands a little over 5 inches tall and has 18 points of articulation. As she’s from “Silence in the Library,” River is depicted here in her compression suit she wore for the entirety of the episode. The sculpt does a pretty nice job of translating her look from the episode into figure form. The suit has a nice amount of detailing and texturing, which makes the whole thing look pretty realistic. The proportions do seem just a touch skewed, though, especially if there’s supposed to be a normally proportioned person inside the sculpted suit. However, it’s not too far off. The head sculpt does a decent enough job of capturing Alex Kingston’s likeness. It’s not perfect, but you can identify who it’s supposed to be. Her hair is a bit perplexing, though; her hair in the episode is rather messy, but it didn’t quite look like this. She’s got this two-piece construction going on, which has a somewhat obvious seam. It looks alright from the front, but just looks odd from any other angle. The paintwork on River is decent. Nothing stands out as particularly good or bad; it’s just kind of there. Her eyes do seem a bit on the lifeless side, even more so than usual on a Who figure. Other than that, the paint generally goes where it’s supposed to. River is packed with a gun, and what appears to be a small sonic screwdriver (it’s been forever since I saw the episode, so I can’t remember what she has). It’s a bit perplexing that she doesn’t include her helmet for her suit, but the two included pieces aren’t bad.

THE NARRATOR

DWHOS4bRassilon is a rather minor character in the grand scheme of the show. He’s only in the last two episodes of Tennant’s run, and only actually plays a role in the story in the second part. Sure, he’s kind of involved with Ten’s death and subsequent regeneration into Eleven, but only kind of. Heck, his figure doesn’t even get his actual name! He’s just called “The Narrator.” I think most people remember him for being played by Timothy Dalton, which is probably one of the best things about the character. The figure stands 6 ¼ inches tall and has 18 points of articulation. There are parts of Rassilon’s sculpt that are pretty good, but there are also parts that are not as good. The underlying body is pretty decently handled; the torso’s a little flat, but the texture work on his outfit is pretty nice. His coat/robe is probably the weakest part of the figure. The main piece of it is reasonably handled (though lacking in texturing), but the arms are just very awkwardly constructed, and pretty flimsy to boot. At the very least, his metal hand is pretty well done. The headsculpt is overall pretty good, but not quite perfect. Looking at this guy, you can definitely see some of Dalton’s likeness, but it feels almost a little squashed, making the figure look more like Dalton’s lesser known brother. The paintwork here is pretty much on par with the rest of the line, which is to say it’s good, but not great. The detailing on the front of the robe is pretty nice, but the skintone used here feels a bit too yellow to be right. The Narrator includes a staff, which was a fairly key accessory for the guy.

DONNA NOBLE

Donna is the figure in this set I’ve looked at once before, as part of the Companions set. This figure does appear to have slightly better paintwork than the last one, but other than that, this is the same figure as before.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This trio was given to me by (who else?) my Super Awesome Girlfriend, who is deadset on getting me just as many Doctor Who figures as possible. I’m not the biggest fan of River as a character, but this figure is a pretty decent one. The Narrator could probably be better, but I like Timothy Dalton, and he’s really not that bad. All in all, not a bad little set.

 

#0814: The Riddler

THE RIDDLER

BATMAN: ANIMATED (DCC)

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Well, we’re steadily making our way through the Post-Christmas gift reviews. Today marks day 13, which means we’re the majority of the way through the stuff I got this year. I’ll be going back the super hero pool again today, with another figure from the current Batman: Animated line by DC Collectibles. Last time, I looked at one of Batman’s allies; this time, I’ll be looking at one of his more recurrent foes, the Riddler!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

RiddlerAn2Riddler is figure #14 in the Batman: Animated line. This places him with the Series 4 figures, though his actual release was during the onslaught of series 3, 4, and 5 figures, so the whole numbering thing is rather arbitrary. Riddler is based on his original series look (a totally sensible choice, given that The Riddler never got more than a cameo appearance in TNA, and the design wasn’t very well received), specifically from the episode “Riddler’s Reform,” which is probably his best appearance in the show. The figure is 6 ½ inches tall and has 20 points of articulation. He’s somewhat similar in construction to Two-Face, though the styling of the suit is obviously a bit different. The sculpt does a pretty reasonable job of translating his design from the show. It’s better from some angles than others, but there are a few things that are just off. The pelvis is a bit too low-set (a recurring problem with these figures), and the neck is just a touch on the long side. Other than that, the figure makes for a pretty great translation from 2D to 3D. The head in particular is a fantastic piece, and I love getting a figure with such a unique expression. Riddler’s paint is nice and clean, probably some of the cleanest the line has exhibited. There’s a little bit of bleed over on the pocket square, but that’s really the only notable issue, which is pretty fantastic for a figure in this day and age. Riddler includes his cane, a Wacko Toys display, three pairs of hands (fists, gripping, and relaxed), and a display stand with his control art. The toy display is the only piece that is really “Riddler’s Reform”-specific, but it also happens to be the coolest extra included (at least by my standards).

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Despite getting most of the other figures in this line, my local comic book store never got Riddler in stock. Fortunately for me, my parents picked him up for me and gave him to me for Christmas, which made me quite happy. Riddler turned out very well, even surprisingly well for this line. He has no glaring issues, and he comes with some pretty awesome extras. I think he’s probably the second best figure I’ve gotten from the line, after the surprisingly impressive Bane.

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#0813: Silent

SILENT

DOCTOR WHO

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It’s day 12 of the Post-Christmas gift reviews, and today I’ll be jumping back over to the world of Doctor Who. Amazingly, the 11 Doctors boxed set has failed to break my spirit in reviewing these guys! My collection of Doctor Who figures is made up mostly of incarnations of the Doctor, as well as a handful of companions for doctors 10 and 11. I’ve looked at a few of the Doctor’s otherworldly foes, but they are definitely in the minority. Today, I’ll be looking at one of the more recent additions to the Doctor’s rogues gallery, the Silent, who were added to the show during the second year of Matt Smith’s tenure. …Hold on. Sorry, was I saying something? I can’t quite remember….

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Silence2The Silent was released in Series 6 of Character Options’ Doctor Who line of figures. This figure is meant to represent one of the many generic Silence we see in the show. The Silent came in two different configurations: open and closed mouth. Mine is one of the closed mouth ones. The figure stands 6 ¾ inches tall and has 20 points of articulation. This figure towers over the rest of my Who figures, which surprised me at first, but a quick double check on shots from their appearances show that this height is fairly accurate. The Silent had a fairly basic look on the show, being another alien race that just went around in normal suits. The actual creatures look not unlike the main figure of Munch’s “The Scream,” which is certainly an appropriately eerie look. The figure’s sculpt does a pretty admirable job of translating the design to toy form. The proportions of the figure all look about right, and the main “alien bits” are all decent matches for what we saw on the screen. The sculpt would probably benefit from a bit more texturing overall, but he’s no less detailed than any of the other Who figures. The paintwork on this figure is Silence3decent all around. The best work is easily on the head and hands, which feature a nice bit of texturing and such, to make him look real. The suit is a bit less impressive, mostly because, for some reason, they opted to make the black rather glossy, as opposed to the slightly more matte finish it should have. Still, nothing about it is outright bad, so that’s good. The Silent includes two electricity add-ons, which attach nicely to his hands, as well as a packet of “flesh.” That last thing has nothing to do with the Silence, but is instead meant to be the stuff that made up the gangers from “The Rebel Flesh.” Each figure in this series came with a packet of this stuff. Yay?

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The Silent was given to me by my Super Awesome Girlfriend, who is dead set on getting me as many Doctor Who figures as she can. The Silence have never been my favorite Who foes, but this is a pretty nicely done figure. Plus, I got to mess with people by pretending to forget what figure this was every time I turned the packaging over.