#1636: Johnny Quick

JOHNNY QUICK

CRIME SYNDICATE (DC DIRECT)

The Crime Syndicate is a fairly simple concept.  They’re just an evil version of the Justice League.  Pretty straight-forward stuff.  That’s probably why, even after multiple attempts by DC to abandon the whole Multiverse concept, this group is always pretty quick to turn back up.  They’re actually a bit less frequent than you might think when it comes to toys, though.  Despite first appearing in 1964, it wasn’t until 2003 that they got their first action figures.  I’ll be looking at the first figure of Flash-equivalent Johnny Quick* today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Johnny Quick was released in the one series Crime Syndicate line from DC Direct.  He’s based on Johnny’s classic design, which is a pretty straight forward take off of the Flash’s design (though not as straight-forward as the *other* evil Flash equivalent, the Reverse Flash, who pre-dated Johnny by a year).  The figure stands 6 inches tall and has 9 points of articulation.  Not a lot of movement, and he’s really only good for a basic standing pose, but this was pretty standard for DCD figures of the time.  Johnny pre-dates DCD’s move to artist-specific figures, so he’s instead patterned on DCD’s then current house style.  It’s a style that works especially well with silver age characters like Johnny.  The figure’s sculpt is basic and clean.  He’s not too bulky or too skinny.  Most of his costume details are painted, rather than sculpted, so his head is where most of the important work is.  It’s a decent enough sculpt, but I do wish his expression was a bit less bland.  Johnny was prone to his maniacal laughing and the like, so an evil grin really would have really hit the spot.  The others in this assortment were a bit more emotive, so poor Johnny was just left out in the cold.  The paint work on Johnny is clean, and the colors are bold.  His red/yellow were well-matched to the Flashes that DCD had available at the time, which was a plus.  Nothing particularly notable or exciting beyond that, but hey, passable is still passable.  Johnny’s only accessory was a Crime Syndicate logo-emblazoned display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Acquiring the Crime Syndicate figures was a rather slow process for me, despite my excitement for them when they were announced.  Johnny was the fourth one I picked up, actually a few years after his release.  Despite having long since sold out of their initial quantity, Cosmic Comix had gotten in another of this guy, and I ended up grabbing him during a sale (I think it was for Free Comic Book day, but I could be wrong).  He’s an okay figure.  Not perfect, but he’s definitely a solid offering, especially for the time.

*not to be confused with DC’s heroic speedster, John “Johnny Quick” Chambers, an Earth-2-based hero from the ‘40s.

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#1610: Klingon Borg

KLINGON BORG

BORG: ASSIMILATION (ART ASYLUM)

Today’s post is brought to you by Super Awesome Girlfriend.  No, she didn’t buy me this figure, but she did point to this spot on my calendar of upcoming reviews, hold up today’s figure and say “you should do this one on that day.”  Who am I to argue?  Well, the owner and head writer of the site, I guess, but I’m really not going to push this one.

In the early ’00s, after Playmates had held the Star Trek license for over a decade, the reins were passed to up-and-coming company Art Asylum.  Poor AA ended up with some of the worst Trek properties to merch (Enterprise and Nemesis), but still put out a solid selection of figures.  They weren’t afraid to experiment a little bit with things.  One of those experiments was their Borg: Assimilation line, which toyed with what non-human races would look like when assimilated by the Borg.  Today, I’m looking at the Klingon.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Klingon Borg, officially designated 1 of 3, was part of the first, and only, series of Art Asylum’s Borg: Assimilation line.  The figure stands a whopping 8 inches tall and has 16 points of articulation.  He’s a little restricted in terms of movement, but he was fairly decent for the time.  The big claim to fame of any Art Asylum figure was sculpting.  The Klingon Borg had an all-new sculpt, featuring a tremendous amount of detail work.  Every surfaced is covered with some sort of texture or small detail, from the ridges on his forehead, to the machinery of his Borg components.  This guy lives up to the Borg’s penchant for asymmetry, with one cybernetic eye, two differently shaped shoulder-pads, and one big honking claw arm to replace his right limb.  He loses the usual Klingon dreads, which impacts his design a bit; originally, he was designed with a bevy of cables that would replace the hair, but apparently this made him look too Klingon.  As it stands, he’s got just the one big wire, which is a decent halfway point.  His face is a good mix of Klingon and Borg sensibilities, with a determined, but still somewhat lifeless stare to his eyes.  It’s worth noting that this figure is a fair bit more stylized than many of AA’s Trek offerings, with a more pronounced set of features on his face, slightly exaggerated proportions, and a decidedly slouched pre-posed nature.  But, as a concept figure, this guy is more about what could be, outside of the limitations of a live-action sci-fi show’s budget.  Though his paint is somewhat monochromatic, it is no less carefully detailed than the sculpt.  His cybernetic sections in particular are rife with small detail work, showcasing a variance in silvers, greys, and brasses that keep him from looking too bland, and give him that nice “used future” feel.  For accessories, all this guy had was the weird themed coin thing that all of the AA Trek figures got.  This one’s red and has the Borg symbol on one side.  Not really much to do with the figure, but given the effort that went into the figure’s design and sculpt, the lack of real extras doesn’t hinder him.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I remember seeing this guy when he was new.  He seemed to hang around KB Toys for a little while.  I almost got him on several occasions, but kept passing for other things.  He and the rest of this series ended up being part of this year’s Farpoint charity auction, and it was that wonderful mix of being something I’d been looking for and also being for a good cause, so I went for it.  Though I’m hardly the world’s largest Trek fan, I can’t deny this is one cool figure.

#1600: Snake Eyes

SNAKE EYES

G.I. JOE: A REAL AMERICAN HERO

“SNAKE EYES served in Long Range Recon Patrols in Southeast Asia. He left the service to study mystic martial arts with the same Ninja family that produced STORM SHADOW. SNAKE EYES was living an ascetic existence alone in the High Sierras with his pet timber wolf when he was recruited for the GI JOE team. He is a qualified expert in all NATO and Warsaw Pact small arms, has a black belt in 12 different fighting systems, and is highly skilled in the use of edged weapons.”

Ah, look at that.  Another hundred reviews.  That means it’s time for—wait, sorry, hadn’t updated the script.  Right.  Hi there dear readers!  Welcome to the Figure in Question’s 1600th review.  Usually on the hundred mark I do a special high-end deluxe review, but I like to mix things up occasionally and space those particular reviews out a bit more as I go along.  So, the deluxe reviews are new going to be every 250 reviews from now on.  So, in honor of this not at all monumental review, I’ll be taking a look at a Snake Eyes figure.  Wooo-eee.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

This particular Snake Eyes figure was packed with the Kid Rhino DVD release of the first two mini-series of the G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero cartoon, which hit in 2003.  It’s the 16th version of the character released, and is actually just a slight re-working of his very first figure.  This figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation.  Sculpturally, he’s the exact same figure as the ToyFare-exclusive Snake Eyes figure from the same year (already reviewed here).  It’s the original Snake Eyes mold, with the version 1.5 swivel arms, and Roadblock’s pelvis piece.  It’s a sculpt that shows its age, but one I still very much like.  The main difference with this figure and that one is coloring (though not paint, as the actual paint applications on these two are identical).  Rather than Snake Eyes’ usual all black palette, this figure is molded in a dark blue, which mimics how he was colored in the cartoon.  Given how this figure was released, it’s certainly a reasonable change, and makes for a somewhat unique looking figure.  Snake Eyes was packed with a pretty decent accessories complement, given his nature as a pack-in.  He included a sword, an Uzi, a pack of explosives, a back pack, and his trusty canine sidekick Timber.  Sadly, I lost Timber at some point, something I still kick myself about.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I got the DVD set that included this guy as a Christmas present from my parents some years back.  I know I’d seen it somewhere and expressed interest in it, and they took note of this and got it for me.  Of course, I certainly didn’t ask for the set just for the figure included with it.  That would be preposterous, right?  Who would do something like that?  Not me.  Not me at all.  Despite essentially having reviewed this figure before, there’s just something about this particular variant that I really like. 

#1587: Green Lantern

GREEN LANTERN

JUSTICE LEAGUE (MATTEL)

When assembling the final line-up for the Justice League animated series, the creators were faced with two slight issues.  First, the traditional roster of seven members was, apart from one woman and one alien, all white guys, which isn’t particularly diverse.  Second, the traditional roster was made up of characters with very set roles in the public eye, which doesn’t necessarily allow for lots of creative freedom in storytelling.  They solved both of these problems with a minor line-up tweak.  Founding member Aquaman was replaced with the lesser known Hawkgirl, and Green Lantern Hal Jordan was replaced with his less explored successor John Stewart.  It proved a success not just for the creators, but also for the two characters chosen.  For John Stewart in particular, it took him from being probably the least known of the Earth-based Lanterns to being THE Green Lantern for an generation of DC fans.  Sadly, he’s somewhat fallen out of fashion again, but let’s remember back to the times when he was at the top, shall we?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Green Lantern was part of the first series of Mattel’s Justice League line.  Alongside Superman and Batman, he and Flash were definitely the lesser knowns, and as such was the short packs of the lot, which made GL a little hard to track down at first.  Fortunately, the popularity of both the show and the character saw this particular figure getting more than a few re-releases over the years.  The figure stands just shy of 4 1/2 inches tall (GL was the shortest of the founding 7 members, so this was accurately depicted here), and he has 5 points of articulation.  His sculpt was, like all of the Series 1 and 2 figures, done by DC Direct, and then handed over to Mattel when they won the DC license.  It’s really just a shrinking down of DCD’s GL Maquette from the time of the show’s premier, but that was a solid rendition of the character, and it still is on this figure.  The articulation’s not really good for a whole lot, and was certainly a low count, even at the time.  Nevertheless, it was consistent with the prior Kenner/Hasbro animated offerings, and it was really the best that could be hoped for in terms of preserving the aesthetics of the animated design.  As far as paintwork went, GL was pretty straightforward.  I always felt the main green could have stood to be a little lighter (and, going by its shading on the show, it probably should have been metallic), but it’s ultimately a decent offering.  One minor flaw?  His eyes have black pupils.  In the show, they were green, showing the effects of the power ring.  Future figures had this corrected, but this guy just has green irises instead.  Green Lantern was packed with a blue stand, which connected with those of the other main League-ers, to spell out the team’s name.  Lantern gets “JU” so he’s meant to go at the front.  It’s a decent piece, but a bit cumbersome for display purposes.  Sadly, that was all he had; no power battery or constructs for this release.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

While I was able to score a Flash figure pretty quickly when these figures first hit, GL proved to be slightly more difficult to find.  Fortunately, I was able to get some assistance from my friend Cindy Woods, who tracked down a GL for me in fairly short order.  He’s not the greatest John Stewart figure (though he’s certainly a large improvement over the last one I looked at on this site), but he was good for the time, and has remained a favorite of mine.

#1585: Spider-Man – Battle Ravaged

SPIDER-MAN – BATTLE RAVAGED

SPIDER-MAN CLASSICS (TOY BIZ)

“The amazing Spider-Man uses his sensational spider-powers to protect society from the world’s most dangerous super villains.  It takes all of his super-human strength, speed, and agility to fight the forces of evil.  He often faces insurmountable odds and is forced to combat numerous opponents at the same time.  Not even his amazing early warning “spider-sense” can always keep him from being hurt in battle.  However, Spidey’s incredible determination and will to win lets him triumph in battles against impossible odds.  In the process, his world famous red and blue costume is often torn to shreds.  It’s a good thing our hero created his own costume and knows how to sew up a replacement.  Where else can a superhero bring their costume to be mended?”

Man, Toy Biz’s bios sure were in-depth, weren’t they?  I dig that they got all of Spidey’s usual descriptors in there.  Someone was having a good time with that one.

Spider-Man Classics marked Toy Biz’s first move towards the style that would define the industry for the next decade or so.  The first series was a smash success, and happened to feature both the basic and black-costumed variations of Spider-Man.  When it came time for the follow-up, they had to get a little more inventive for the necessary Spider-variants.  Hence, the Battle Ravaged Spider-Man, a figure I’ll be looking at today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Battle Ravaged was one of the two Spider-Man variants in Series 2 of Spider-Man Classics (the other was First Appearance Spider-Man).  This would mark Toy Biz’s second Battle-Ravaged Spider-Man, following the one from their 5-inch line years earlier.  This figure stands 6 inches tall and he has 30 points of articulation.  Rather than just going for a sort of generic battle-damaged look, this figure actually goes for a very specific look, namely Spidey’s damaged appearance from the Todd McFarlane-drawn “Torment” storyline.  It was a fairly pivotal storyline at the time of its release, and it helps the figure blend in well with the rest of the Classics figures, which had all followed a decidedly McFarlane Spider-Man aesthetic.  Obviously, this figure made use of a lot of pieces from the Series 1 standard Spidey.  That figure was very good for its time, and while some aspects of it haven’t aged the best, it’s still a solid offering.  He also gets a new head, right hand and forearm, left upper arm, thighs, and left shin.  These new pieces fit in seamlessly with the old parts, and the battle damaged parts look pretty impressive.  The head’s really the star part of the sculpt, being a pretty spot-on recreation of McFarlane’s battered Peter Parker.  The paintwork on this guy is pretty solid overall.  The colors are well chosen, and the black wash used all throughout the figure helps to really accentuate the detail in the sculpt.  There are some issues with some bleed over, especially on the parts showing the damage, but the overall look is good.  Spider-Man was packed with a wall-mountable display stand, depicting Lizard trapped under debris.  It’s actually really well-detailed, and he even has a jointed neck, jaw, and shoulder.  Very impressive.  Also included is a reprint of Spider-Man #5, which is part 5 of “Torment” and features a beaten down Spider-Man battling the Lizard.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Battle-Ravaged Spider-Man was actually my first Spider-Man Classics figure.  On a particularly rainy day, my Dad and Grandmother had taken me out.  We stopped by a nearby comic book store (which I, sadly, cannot remember the name of) which had this guy and no one else from the series, so he was kind of my only option.  Nevertheless, I thought he was really cool, so my Grandmother picked him up for me.  It’s a figure that shows its age, but I still really like this guy!

#1584: Red Falcon

RED FALCON

MICRONAUTS (PALISADES)

“The most fantastic and elaborate of the original Micronauts figure line, this winged warrior was dubbed “The Prince of the Micronauts” and – like Emperor – plays a mysterious role in the Microverse.  Red Falcon transforms as occasions or battles require, becoming an avenging angel or transforming into a stellar warbird with Hypersonic Missile Launchers.  The prize of the classic Magna-Powered Micronaut series, he returns to a new century with a new weapon and fantastic new colors.”

I’ve delved into the sad tale of Palisades’ Micronauts line twice before, with one figure from the first series and one from the first and a half series (just go with it).  Today, I jump forward one more series, looking into one of Palisades’ final offerings from the line, Red Falcon.  Red Falcon?  Wait, isn’t that the Marvel comics character?  No, wait, that’s just the Falcon, and he’s mostly red.  This guy’s blue.  Does that make him Blue Falcon?  No, because then Hannah Barbera’s gonna be all mad and poor Dyno-Mutt will be confused.  This is RED FALCON, the Micronauts character.  Who, inexplicably, doesn’t actually have much red going on.  Try not to think about it too much, okay?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Red Falcon was part of Series 2 of Palisades’ Micronauts, which, thanks to some rough circumstances surrounding the line, actually ended up as the third assortment of figures to hit retail.  Unlike his vintage counterpart, which only had one color scheme, this Red Falcon was available in three different color schemes: the classic primary colored scheme (seen in this review), a green and bronze scheme, and a translucent red/yellow scheme.  The classic scheme was the heaviest packed, followed by the green, and finally the red.  Yes, that’s right, the red Red Falcon was the chase.  Good times.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and he has 11 points of articulation (you could add two more points to that for the wings, but when plugged into his back, they don’t really move).  Red Falcon was one of the lager Magna-Powered Micronauts, in the same style established by the likes of Baron Karza and Force Commander.  In addition to his larger size, he also featured a magnetically attached head and limbs.  It’s an interesting gimmick, but has the unintended side-effect of causing him to fall apart a lot.  He also had rocket fists, which, while cool, also means his hands pop out a lot.  What I’m getting at here is that he falls apart a lot.  But, the important thing here is that he also goes back together, which was more than could be said about the Series 1 figures.  Palisades made tweaks to their Micronauts to distinguish them from their Mego counterparts, but Red Falcon was probably one of the least changed, I’m sure largely due to how rare the original figure was in the States.  Red Falcon’s sculpt is definitlet one of my favorites from the line.  Though he still keeps much of the Micronauts aesthetic, there’s no denying that Red Falcon showed a lot more Japanese influence than many of the line’s offerings.  His head in particular brings to mind a lot of classic anime, and even a little bit of a super sentai vibe.  This is a guy wouldn’t look out of place fighting the likes of Ultraman or the Power Rangers, or helping out Astro Boy.  As with all Micronauts, this sculpt is definitely a product of the time it came from, but there’s a definite charm to the clean, smooth, line work of this guy.  of course, there are still a lot of small details that are a lot of fun, especially the fully detailed mechanics under his clear torso.  Paint is at a minimum on this guy; he’s mostly just molded in the appropriate colors.  He’s definitely very vibrant, though, and the chrome on the torso does a great job of tying him back to the rest of the line.  In terms of extras, Red Falcon was pretty well-off.  He gets his big-ass sword (which is chrome and oh-so-cool), as well as the new cannon piece that matches it.  Also included are the pieces to turn him into his actual bird form.  Yes, Red Falcon was one of the earliest examples of a transformer.  Of course, it’s really rudimentary.  Essentially, you just pop off the head and limbs and put on the bird pieces in their place.  The only shared piece is the torso, and if you’re clever, you can even assemble the pieces without that, giving Red Falcon a cool companion.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Red Falcon was one of my earlier Micronauts.  I was fascinated with the original, but obviously he wasn’t available to me.  So, the re-release was at the top of my list, and he was my second purchase (after a Series 1 Time Traveler, and at the same time as Series 1.5’s Time Medic).  But here’s the thing: remember how I mentioned he fell apart really easily?  Well, I was twelve when I got him, and not quite so careful with my figures as I am now.  Needless to say, my original figure is no doubt scattered throughout various sections of my parents’ house.  During my collecting renaissance the summer after my first year of college, I decided I ordered a replacement, though I assumed I’d be getting the green variant.  Instead, this guy showed up, and I wasn’t even mad.  In fact, I was quite the opposite.  This figure remains one of my favorite Micronauts, challenged only by Battle Acroyear.

#1552: The Riddler

THE RIDDLER

BATMAN: HUSH (DC DIRECT)

Batman’s regular foes have always had a pretty easy time with toys.  I suppose that comes with the territory, being a part of the most successful comics franchise in history and all.  That being said, some of them take priority over others.  While there’s never going to be a shortage of Joker figures, some of the second stringers get left out.  Take, for instance, Riddler.  Certainly high on the list of well-known Bat-Rogues, but he goes rather lengthy spans of time without action figures.  It actually took DC Direct a good couple of years before they got to him, and it was really only because he was a pivotal player in a storyline they were doing a full line of figures for.  But hey, beggars can’t be choosers.  Let’s take a look at that figure!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Riddler was released in the second series of DC Direct’s Batman: Hush toyline, and is based on Jim Lee’s illustrations from the “Hush” storyline.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 11 points of articulation.  “Hush” saw Riddler in the business-suited attire he picked up in the mid-90s.  It’s a decent enough look, and helped to separate Riddler a bit from the legions of spandex-clad characters DCD was producing at the time.  With that being said, it was perhaps not a design that lent itself to a super exciting action figure, especially when it comes to articulation.  I would think that, at the very least, they would have tried to give him some knee joints or something.  Perhaps they wanted to preserve the integrity of the sculpt?  On the plus side of things, the sculpt is actually pretty solid.  He’s very clean and sharp.  The head definitely capture’s Lee’s artwork very well, especially the snide and serious expression,  I also really dig the question mark-shaped spit curl.  The body is really only designed to work in one particular pose, but it’s a decent enough pose, and you do have some options.  The paintwork is all pretty good; par for the era of figures.   The colors are all pretty bright, and the application is really clean.  Lee had removed the question marks from the suit, so the figure’s a little more basic looking that usual, but it’s accurate to the material.  Riddler was packed with his hat and cane, as well as a display stand.  My figure is missing the hat, but it was cool when he had it.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I missed out on the first series of Hush figures when they were released, but when I saw the prototypes for Series 2, I knew I wanted to have this guy in my collection.  I got him new, courtesy of my regular store Cosmic Comix.  I remember this series got pushed back a couple of weeks, which was really frustrating, so I was thrilled when they finally arrived.  Riddler is, I think, the figure in this set that’s aged the worst, and he certainly shows his age.  That said, he’s still one of the best Riddlers out there, especially when it comes to depictions of his suited look.

#1510: Apollo

APOLLO

THE AUTHORITY (DC DIRECT)

“Apollo, The Authority’s mightiest member and partner to Midnighter stands ready to turn his super-strength and speed to taking care of the team’s business…no matter what the cost!”

Isn’t it a bit weird when a parody character is owned by the same company that owns the original character?  Because, that’s kind of The Authority.  They’re a dark parody of the Justice League, injecting the more idealistic League with a healthy dose of ‘90s anti-heroism.  To be fair, they weren’t originally owned by DC; they came out of Jim Lee’s Image Comics-borne Wildstorm imprint, which Lee sold to DC when he decided he didn’t want to be a publisher anymore.  The New 52 made them an official part of the main DCU, so now there’s a parody Justice League that exists in the same universe as the actual Justice League.  What a world we live in.  Anyway, today I’m looking at the resident “Superman” of the team, Apollo!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Apollo was released in the first, and only, series of DC Direct’s The Authority line in 2002, alongside his husband Midnighter, team leader Jenny Sparks, and the Engineer.  The figure stands about 6 1/4 inches tall and has 9 points of articulation.  His prototype had 11 points of articulation, but somewhere along the way, he lost his wrist joints.  While Apollo obviously draws from Bryan Hitch’s take on the character (since I believe he was still the only artist to draw him at this point), it’s not an artist-specific figure like a lot of DCD’s later stuff would be.  Instead, he’s been interpreted into DCD’s house style of the time.  It gave their earlier offerings a more cohesive look, which I suppose isn’t the worst thing.  He’s just a little blander than Apollo usually tends to be.  The pose is also a bit stiff, but that’s just true of this era of DCD figures.  The figure’s also rather scrawny for Apollo, who should ideally be sporting the same basic build as Superman.  Nevertheless, this figure’s got about half the body mass he should; he almost looks more like Kid Apollo from the Authoriteens.  Apollo’s paint is decent enough for what it is.  He does end up looking a bit washed out, but that’s true of the design from the comics.  It’s a bit tricky to do the creative lighting of the comics in three dimensions.  I suppose they could have made the white pearlescent or something, but they weren’t really doing stuff like that at this point.  I do like that they’ve done some accent work on his hair, and the details on his face are pretty sharp, so it’s hardly like they phoned it in or anything.  Apollo included no accessories, not even one of the display stands DCD were so fond of for a while.  That seems a little light given what he cost, but I don’t really know what you could have given him.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

So, I’ve never actually read any of The Authority or even any non-Authority stories with Apollo in them.  My entire exposure to the character is having seen this particular figure solicited back in 2002, and then reading up on him in preparation for this review.  Why do I own this figure, you ask?  I was at All Time Toys on Small Business Saturday, and I had grabbed a handful of loose figures.  They have a deal on loose figures, where you get a discount if you buy so many.  Long story short, Apollo ended up running me about 50¢.  I can get behind a 50¢ action figure.  Of course, now I’ve got this compulsion to track down the other three Authority members, which is just downright silly, isn’t it?

#1505: Kryptonite Batman

KRYPTONITE BATMAN

SUPERMAN/BATMAN (DC DIRECT)

“When the Joker got his hands on Batman, he united him with a being of practically pure Kryptonite named Mr. Kryptonite.  Possessed by this other being and bent on destroying Superman, Kryptonite Batman is a deadly foe of the Man of Steel”

In the early ‘00s, DC decided to give a go at reviving their old Batman and Superman team-ups from World’s Finest, under the more minimalist Superman/Batman title.  It started out moderately well, with an at least enjoyable opening arc, followed by a few actually decent ones, before sort of becoming a place where half-formed Superman and Batman stories went to die.  I think the first telltale sign was the story that spawned today’s figure, titled “With A Vengeance.”  I’d give a synopsis of the story, but, as someone who read every issue, I still don’t know what happened.  Anyway, let’s just look at the figure.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Kryptonite Batman was released in Series 4 of DC Direct’s Superman/Batman, which was a whole assortment based on “With A Vengeance.”  This was the main Batman-variant of the assortment, because you gotta have at least one.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 11 points of articulation.  None of these style of figures were particularly amazing when it came to mobility, but the Batman figures were actually some of the worst, because his armoire permanently stuck out.  Seriously, dude looked like Randy from A Christmas Story.  This figure’s sculpt was actually a complete re-use from the basic Batman released in Series 1 of this same line.  Since he was just a palette swap in the comics, it’s not an unreasonable choice.  Like the two JLA: Classified Supermen I looked at a while back, this guy’s based on Ed McGuinness’s rather distinctive style.  In fact, he actually uses the same basic starting point as those two figures, albeit with a variety of more Batman-specific items.  Despite the difficulties with posability, the actual sculpt isn’t half bad, and does a pretty solid job of capturing McGuinness’s Batman in three dimensions.  Paint is the main thing that differentiates this figure from the Series 1 offering, but even on that front, he’s not that different.  He’s got most of the same basic detailing, but with glow in the dark green plastic instead of the grey for his body suit.  It certainly makes for a unique look.  The figure is packed only with a display stand, sporting the Superman/Batman logo.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I picked up a number of the “With A Vengeance” figures when they were new.  This one wasn’t among them.  Instead, it took me ten years to finally get around to buying him.  Why did I finally get him?  Mostly because Cosmic Comix was selling him for $7, which was a low enough price to get me to bite.  He’s goofy, and not really for everyone, but I enjoy him.

#1475: Mary Jane

MARY JANE

SPIDER-MAN: THE MOVIE (TOY BIZ)

Back in the day, when super hero movies actually got dedicated toy lines at mass retail, one of the nicer things they offered were figures of some of the less dynamic members of their supporting casts.  Perhaps one of the best examples of this is the toy line for 2000’s Spider-Man film, which gave us figures of J. Jonah Jameson, Norman Osborne, and today’s focus figure, Mary Jane Watson!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Mary Jane was released in Series 2 of Toy Biz’s Spider-Man: The Movie toy line, alongside variants of Spider-Man and Green Goblin, as well as a Peter Parker.  She’s seen here in her red dress she wears during the first movie’s World Unity Festival scene.  While it’s not necessarily a definitive look for her, it’s easily the most distinctive look from the movie, and more exciting than her others.  The figure stands a little under 6 inches tall and she has 10 points of articulation.  Though many of the figures in this line were super-posable, MJ was on the lower end, more on par with the X-Men: The Movie figures.  Like those figures, there’s not a ton of poses possible, but you can get at least a little bit of variety out of her.  The sculpt was unique to this figure, and it’s actually pretty good for the time.  The proportions are still a little bit exaggerated, and the articulation isn’t integrated as flawlessly as I might like, but it looks solid overall.  The detail work on the dress is actually pretty nice, and the likeness on the head isn’t a half-bad Kirsten Dunst.  The paintwork on MJ is pretty solid overall, apart from a few small nits.  The skin’s a little pasty, and the face is a bit sloppy, but the work on the dress is nothing short of amazing.  It definitely makes this figure worthwhile.  MJ is packed with a section of balcony, which is meant to work as a stand, I suppose.  There’s no foot pegs or anything, and it’s only really stable if you’ve got a window to mount it on, but it’s still a pretty cool piece.  There’s a breakaway feature, allowing it to split, not unlike the damage seen in the movie.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

17 years ago, I picked up this figure in a Toy Zain toystore.  She was rarer at the time, so I almost got her, but she was also $7.99, which was a $2 mark-up from the usual going rate, and I just didn’t know if she was worth it to me.  So, I didn’t get her.  And then I didn’t really see her again, until a few weeks ago, when Cosmic Comix put her out, as one of the many figures they’d gotten as part of a larger collection.  The price?  $7.99.  Nowadays, that’s not so bad, and I was hardly going to leaver her behind again.  She’s actually not a bad little figure, certainly not for the time.