DC UNIVERSE CLASSICS (MATTEL)
In a similar fashion to Toy Biz’s early Marvel Legends offerings skipping any thing Spider-Man-related due the Spider-Man Classics line that sort of launched Legends, thanks to the lead-in DC Superheroes line, Mattel’s DC Universe Classics was slightly slower introducing Batman and Superman-themed figures. While Batman found himself in the line’s first series, he would have to wait another two series before getting his trusty sidekick, Robin.
THE FIGURE ITSELF
Robin was initially released in Series 3 of DC Universe Classics, and then ultimately re-released in the World’s Greatest Superheroes sub-line. He was Mattel’s second go at Robin, following the mold that went back to their original Batman line. This one is based on Tim Drake, the third Robin, and still the current one at the time of this figure’s release. He’s seen here in the costume he was wearing at the time, which was introduced following the “One Year Later” time-jump caused by Infinite Crisis and 52. It’s a design that doesn’t quite have the staying power of Tim’s prior look, but it did stick around for a few years, and it’s certainly not terrible. The figure stands 5 1/2 inches tall and he has 23 points of articulation. This figure’s biggest flaw is his height. He was a full inch shorter than the standard adult male from this line, but not in a “oh, he’s just a teenager who isn’t fully grown yet” way. He actually looks like he’s a smaller scale than the rest of the figures. It’s especially annoying because the later Red Robin figure, meant to represent Tim from just a few years later in the timeline, was just on the standard male body. That wasn’t the right fit either, but at least he looked vaguely right scale-wise. The most frustrating about the height issue is that the figure’s sculpt is actually pretty good. Robin lacks some of the more annoying stylistic elements of the larger bodies, such as the goofy larger shoulders, or the painfully obvious hip joints. His proportions are fairly balanced, and there are actually quite a few uniquely sculpted pieces, such as the buckles on his tunic and his utility belt, which add a lot of character to the figure. The head’s maybe more of an early career Tim than one in this costume should be, but it still looks quite nice, and even the cape is a pretty solid sculpt. Purely from an internal standpoint, it’s a strong sculpt. Even his paintwork’s not terrible. I mean, there’s no crazy detail work or anything, but the application is all pretty clean, and there’s some slight accent work on the red sections of the costume. He was originally packed with a combat staff and the left arm of the Collect-N-Connect Solomon Grundy. The re-release (which is the one I had), dropped the CnC piece.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
When Series 3 of DCUC was unveiled I was thrilled. I wanted every figure in the set. To date, of the five figures (six if you included the CnC), I own three, and this one’s not even the original release. Why? Mattel’s sucky distribution, that’s why. I desperately wanted Robin, but I never actually saw him at retail, so I finally settled for the re-release, which I found at Baltimore Comic-Con a few years back. He’s a frustrating figure. I love so much about him, but he’s cursed never to really fit-in with his line-mates. Fortunately, last fall I got the similarly mis-scaled DC Icons Batman, so at least they both have a companion.