#1540: GCPD Rogues Gallery

RENEE MONTOYA, BANE, KILLER CROC, MR. FREEZE, & POISON IVY

BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES (DC COLLECTIBLES)

For my ninth and final 2017 post-Christmas review, I’m returning to a line that fills me with lots of mixed emotions: DC Collectibles’ Batman: Animated.  I was very supportive of the line early on, an really liked the first couple of series, despite some of the minor flaws.  However, as the line has progressed, I’ve found a lot of the later offerings to be a bit lackluster. The thing that broke me from the line was actually the set I’m looking at today.  As I’ve noted a few times, “Heart of Ice” is hands down my favorite episode of Batman: The Animated Series, and is possibly just one of my favorite cartoons ever.  Obviously, I was eager to get a proper Animated Series Mr. Freeze.  The first figure was the New Adventures design, which is fine, but not really what I wanted.  So, what does DCC do when it finally comes time to release the classic Freeze, one of the most demanded figures in the line?  Pack him in with four other figures in an expensive boxed item.  ….Yay?

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

This five pack was released about mid-year last year, under the title “GCPD Rogues Gallery.”  All five figures in this set are based on their Animated Series designs, with the four titular Rogues being the second figure for each, following their TNBA design-sporting single-releases.

RENEE MONTOYA

Fulfilling the “GCPD” segment of this set is Officer Renee Montoya.  Montoya is noteworthy for being the second of B:TAS’s successful original creations that made her way back into the comics after the fact (following the immensely successful Harley Quinn, of course).  Montoya is the one wholly unique figure in this set.  She’s wearing her beat cop uniform, since she didn’t make it to detective until TNBA.  The figure stands about 6 1/4 inches tall and she has 22 points of articulation.  Her articulation works better than some of the Batman: Animated figures I’ve looked at, which certainly makes me feel a bit better.  Her sculpt is definitely one of the strongest in the set, recreating her animated design rather nicely. She avoids being too devoid of detail, another issue that plagued some of the line’s other figures.  Similarly, her paint is also very strong.  The application is nice and clean, and the colors all match up with her on-screen appearance.  Montoya is packed with an extra head, a handgun, a shotgun, four pairs of hands, and a display stand.  The head offers Montoya without her hat, which I guess is nice, in theory, at least.  In practice, it’s just very annoying.  Why?  Because, thanks to the design of the double barbel DCC’s used for her neck peg, if you’re not careful when swapping out the heads (a very difficult task, I might add), then the peg will pop out of the neck, rather than the head.  I ended up having to spend about 20 minutes removing the barbel from the second Montoya head to put the one with the hat back on, and after all that, the peg is mangled to the point that I doubt I’ll be able to successfully swap it again.  Okay, but what about the guns?  Well, they look nice, but I almost broke both of them taking them out of the package.  Also, despite the plethora of hands included, there’s not really a combo that can properly hold the shotgun.

BANE

The New Adventures Bane was one of my favorite figures from the single-packed line, so this figure has a lot to live up to.  I’m gonna let you all down easy here: he doesn’t.  He’s not helped by the design, to be fair.  The B:TAS Bane design is certainly one of the weakest from the original run of the show (part of why he got such a drastic redesign later).  He’s not particularly intimidating or anything.  He’s just looks like a slightly paunchy luchador.  Not the greatest design for a villain.  The figure stands 7 inches tall and he has 24 points of articulation.  Okay, let’s get this out of the way: Bane can’t stand.  Like, at all.  Just getting the photos for this review was one of the most infuriating experiences I’ve gone through.  The actual sculpt is decent, I suppose.  It replicates the show design well-enough, but I find he lacks the playability seen on the last Bane figure.  His paintwork is decent from a palette stand-point; he’s bright and colorful.  The application’s a bit iffy, and he’s got several spots of random shininess on an otherwise matte finished figure.  It’s rather distracting and makes for a fairly sloppy looking figure.  Bane includes four sets of hands, a dumbell, and a display stand.  The dumbell’s a nice extra, but, as with Montoya, there’s not actually a hand that can properly hold it.  Doesn’t that seem like the sort of thing that you would want to double check before sending this figure out?

KILLER CROC

I never actually got the TNBA Croc.  I kept meaning to, but I never did.  It’s okay.  I’ve never been a huge Croc fan anyway, so I probably didn’t need two of him.  Truth be told, Croc’s another character who I feel had a stronger design initially, so this figure’s good for that.  He stands just a little shorter than Bane, and he has 23 points of articulation.  He has the mid-torso movement like we saw on the first Bane figure, which is certainly a plus.  It helps to make him one of the most easily posed figures in the set.  It also allows for a lot more fine tuning on his weight distribution, helping him stay standing a bit better.  The sculpt is another strong offering, and I’d certainly place him on par with Montoya in that respect.  He’s very true to the show’s design, and captures Croc’s character.  I look at this guy and can hear him saying “I hit him with a rock!”  The detail work is all very sharp and crisply defined, not soft like some of the others in the line.  The paint on Croc isn’t the most exciting thing, but it matches the show.  It’s all cleanly applied, and it looks pretty decent for what it is.  Croc is packed with three sets of hands and a display stand.  No rock to hit Batman with?  I guess I can supply my own.

MR. FREEZE

Four figures in and I’m finally getting to the one that actually matters!  Yeeeeeeeaaaaahhhhh! …Sorry, that’s not really appropriate for Mr. Freeze, is it?  He’d go for a more reserved, served cold sort of thing.  Ah, yes.  A Mr. Freeze figure.  Of course.  Would that it could warm his frozen heart.  But alas, there is no hope for him.  But hey, cool figure, right?  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 22 points of articulation.  Freeze has nay favorite sculpt of all the figures included here.  He’s just really got the show design down pat.  The best piece by far is the head, which just looks absolutely spot-on from every angle.  The rest of the sculpt is a solid recreation of his suit design from the show, and it’s really only marred by one thing: the head dome.  On its own, it’s fine, but it doesn’t fit the body quite right, so it never sits flush the way it should and it pops out a lot.  It’s not awful, but it’s a minor annoyance, and there was no such issue on the last Mr. Freeze figure.  If there’s a major downfall to this figure, it’s the paintwork.  It’s not the worst I’ve seen in this line, but it’s definitely sloppy, especially on the blue parts of his suit.  How they got the others in this set so clean and not Victor is honestly a bit baffling to me.  Freeze is packed with his freeze gun, five sets of hands, a snow globe, and a display stand.  Ready for the common theme of this review?  Despite the large selection of hands, he can’t really hold his gun very well, and he can’t actually hold the snow globe as well.  I appreciate the extras being included, but I wish they could be more adequately used.

POISON IVY

Last up, it’s Poison Ivy, the other hotly demanded figure in this set.  I picked up the first Ivy figure, and I liked her overall, but she was certainly a flawed offering.  I was sort of hoping that this one would fix some of those.  It does, but there are some other ones that have cropped up to replace them.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and she has 23 points of articulation.  Her sculpt is…okay? It has its ups and downs.  It’s definitely not anywhere near as accurate as the other figures in this set, which is a shame, really.  She’s far more on par with the last Ivy, in that she looks okay from certain angles, but not so great from others.  I do like that she doesn’t have the ugly seam running down the side of her hair this time.  Unfortunately, she’s now got a rather ugly bend in her right leg, as well as a severely misshapen wrist bolt.  It kind of ruins the aesthetics.  The paint on Ivy is okay, but rather on the sloppy side of things.  It’s especially bad on her legs, where there’s a few spots of errant paint.  Ivy is packed wth five sets of hands,  the Wild Thorny Rose seen in “Pretty Poison,” and a display stand.  At least she has hands that can actually hold the rose.  I guess that’s a nice change.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As I discussed in the intro, I was less than enthused by DCC’s decision to lump all of these figures into one big set, so I didn’t grab this when it was new.  My parents were nice enough to get this for me as my main gift this Christmas.  This set frustrates me because I really wanted to like it, but it’s perhaps the most frustrating thing I received this year.  Sure, most of the figures are a marked improvement on the single releases, but there are still enough flaws throughout the set that it’s infuriating.  The fact that Freeze and Ivy include more accessories also drives home the point that DCC designed them as individual releases and held them back to move this big set, which feels like a real cheap move to me.  Ultimately, I’m happy to have the Mr. Freeze I wanted.  He’s a good figure.  Montoya is also a solid addition, and Croc’s a pleasant surprise that I probably wouldn’t have gotten otherwise.  Ivy’s another flawed version of the character, though, and Bane just does nothing for me.  So, that’s 2/5 figures in this set that I would have much rather passed on.  That’s not a very good spread, especially for something that carries this hefty a price tag.

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#1229: Bane – Detective Mode

BANE – DETECTIVE MODE

DC COMICS MULTIVERSE (MATTEL)

banedetvis1

Hey look, another DC Comics Multiverse figure.  These figures are always sooooooooooo great, right?  While the line switched over to the 6-inch scale last year, there are still quite a few entries from its earlier, 3 3/4-inch scale, based primarily on Arkham Origins and Arkham Knight.  I watched my brother play through Knight, so I’m familiar with that one, but I don’t really know Origins all that well.  Amusingly enough, I actually own more Origins merch than any of the other games.  There were just a lot of toys from that one, I guess.  Anyway, I’ll be looking at one of the smaller Origins figures, Bane.  Of course, it’s not a basic Bane.  No, no, this is a wacky variant Bane.  Let’s do this.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

banedetvis2Detective Mode Bane was released in Mattel’s small-scale DC Comics Multiverse line.  I couldn’t begin to tell you what series.  I didn’t follow the line super closely, and from what I can tell online, no one else did either.  The back of his box shows Arkham Knight, Arkham Origin Joker, and some sort of Batman derivation.  I’m guessing he hit around the time of Arkham Knight’s release?  The figure stands a little over four inches tall and he has 16 points of articulation.  He’s built on the same mold as the standard Arkham Origin Bane figure.  It’s okay, I guess.  Not the worst thing Mattel’s put out.  I guess he sort of looks like Bane from the game.  It’s hardly the most exciting Bane look, and the figure suffers from the same clumsy articulation issues that plagued pretty much this entire line.  The paint’s what makes this figure “unique.”  As his name denotes, he’s based on how Bane looks when he’s viewed by the player using Batman’s Detective Vision in the game.  In the game, this means the foes are seen through an x-ray filter, showing off their skeletons and what not.  For the figure, it means he’s molded in clear blue plastic, with a skeleton pattern hastily painted on the front of the figure.  He ends up looking like one of the Skeleton Men from Scooby Doo, Where Are You?.  I don’t think that was quite what they were going for, but that’s what they got.  An x-ray figure is really the sort of thing you have to fully commit to, not just a quick repaint  (for instance, every “Emperor’s Wrath” Darth Vader has at the very least an actual skull imbedded in the middle of his helmet), so this ends up looking more like a guy wearing goofy makeup than anything else.  Bane included no accessories, because why offer anything new with this figure, right?

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Like the Knightfall Batman I reviewed two weeks ago, this guy was another figure given to me by my Super Awesome Girlfriend, picked up during one of her stress buys.  The fact that he was a gift from her is probably the best that can be said about him.  I mean, I’ve still owned worse figures, but this one’s not offering a whole lot of positives.  The gimmick is cool in theory, but as usual, Mattel was lazy about it, and that makes him kind of a pointless figure.  I can’t really imagine what the market for this figure is supposed to be.  People who like failed concepts?

#0955: Bane

BANE

BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES (KENNER)

BaneBTAS1

One of Batman: The Animated Series’ greatest successes was condensing Batman’s rich, 50-year history into one easy to follow, cohesive show. This involved taking characters from all eras of Batman’s history and making them all fit with the show’s art deco style. For the most part, they managed this task pretty well. However, there were a few that slipped through the cracks. At the time of the series’ debut, Bane was a very new addition to the comics, but he was a fairly popular one, so he made his way into the show. Unfortunately, the producers had a bit of trouble working Bane into the show’s style, resulting in a rather goofy interpretation of the character, true to neither the original character nor the show itself. Nevertheless, that version of Bane got a toy in Kenner’s tie-in line, resulting in Bane’s very first action figure, which I’ll be looking at today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

BaneBTAS2Bane was released in Series 5 of Kenner’s Batman: The Animated Series line. He was one of two new villains in the line, alongside Killer Croc, which is actually kind of appropriate, seeing as Croc featured prominently in Bane’s first appearance. The figure is 5 ½ inches tall and has 5 points of articulation. Due to his swinging action feature, the shoulders move as one, however, with careful posing, they can be moved independently from each other. This figure is based on Bane’s single B:TAS appearance, in the episode “Bane.” It’s similar to his original comics appearance, but the luchador themes have been played waaaaay up, which severely reduces his intimidation factor. The sculpt does, at the very least, do a nice job of translating the show design into three dimensions. In fact, it’s probably one of the most faithful sculpts that Kenner ever produced. His arms are a bit pre-posed in order to facilitate his throwing feature, so they’re slightly out of whack when he isn’t holding anything. That being said, it’s not awful looking. He just looks a bit like he’s sorry for interrupting somebody’s conversation. His legs also seem a bit on the short side, especially when compared to the arms. However, this was somewhat common for the line, so Bane doesn’t really look super out of place. Bane’s paint is actually pretty solid. The colors are pretty bold, so he really pops, and the application is pretty solid. Bane originally included a bent section of girder, which he could “throw,” but mine doesn’t have his.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Bane is a recent addition to my collection. At Balticon last weekend, one of the dealers had a large box full of loose figures. I believe they had purchased someone’s collection. Anyway, they were $2 each, so I ended up fishing out 15 of them to purchase. Bane was the only DC figure in the lot. Since I never got one back in the ‘90s, I was actually pretty happy to find him. Yeah, it’s a goofy design, and yeah, it’s a rather goofy figure. But I still really like this guy. He’s really not bad.

#0791: Bane

BANE

BATMAN: ANIMATED (DC COLLECTIBLES)

BaneTNA1

Bane was a relatively new addition to the Batman rogues gallery at the time of Batman: The Animated Series, but that didn’t prevent him from finding himself a spot on the show, even if he did only have a small handful of appearances. Though the character was always thoroughly intimidating in the comics, that didn’t really translate to his initial appearance on the show, which turned him into little more than a steroid-addicted masked wrestler, who ended up defeated in a rather laughable way. Fortunately, the creators were aware of their missteps, and when the show returned under the New Adventures of Batman monicker, Bane got an all-new, more imposing character design, and a much better debut appearance. So, it’s not much of a shock that DCC opted to go for the second version of the character for his figure in their Batman: Animated line.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

BaneTNA2Bane is part of the fifth series of the Batman: Animated line. He’s number 18 in the line. The figure stands roughly 7 ¼ tall and has 27 points of articulation. Bane’s quite a bit bigger than the other figures in the line, which gives him quite the presence on the shelf. In addition, he has some of the smoothest joint movement I’ve seen from this line, which makes posing the guy a lot of fun. The addition of a mid-torso joint really adds alot to this figure, and I kind of hope DCC uses that style of joint a bit more in the future. As noted in the intro, this figure is based on Bane’s TNBA design, and is specifically drawn from his appearance in “Over the Edge,” which was his primary appearance in the second iteration of the show. Bane’s sculpt does a pretty phenomenal job of translating his design into three dimensions. It’s one of those rare occasions where he looks right from almost every angle, which shows some serious dedication to the figure. The joints are also incredibly well worked into the sculpt, so he looks pretty good from an aesthetic standpoint. Bane’s paintwork is mostly pretty good overall. There’s some slop here and there, but BaneTNA3nothing too bad. The colors are muted, as they were in the original design. The reflections on the mask are handled via simple painted details, which add a nice bit of style to the figure without looking too specific to any one shot of the character. Bane is packed with four pairs of hands (fists, closed gesture, open gesture, and gripping) and a display stand. That’s a little less than some of the other figures, but more than acceptable given the size of the figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Bane was another purchase from Cosmic Comix, though I actually got him at full price. I wasn’t sure about whether or not I’d be getting Bane, but I was really impressed by the look of him in person, and even more impressed by just how awesome the figure is out of the box. He’s easily the best figure that DCC has produced in this line, and I really hope that subsequent figures can live up to him.

BaneTNA4

#0258: Batgirl & Bane

BATGIRL & BANE

DC MINIMATES

Bane&Batgirl

One of the great tragedies for many Minimates collectors was the cancellation of DC Direct’s DC Minimates after only eight series. Not only did the line present us with definitive versions of many of DC’s top characters, it also gave us some wacky side characters like Ambush Bug and Ma Hunkel, and it was the first Minimate line to push the envelope in terms of sculpting. However, the line was met with its fair share of difficulties, most notably hitting shelves when Minimates were at a low point and being gone just before they hit it big. Still, we got a decent 64 figure run, and that’s certainly better than nothing. Today I’ll be looking at two figures from the Batman side of things, Batgirl and Bane.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Batgirl and Bane were released as part of the fourth series of DC Minimates. They’re an odd pair, seing as the two have never actually met. Heck, they didn’t even exist at the same time! Anyway, they’re both Batman characters, I guess.

BATGIRL

Batgirl is built on the basic Minimate body, so she stands about 2 ½ inches tall and features 14 points of articulation. She’s based on the Barbra Gordon version of the character, in her second costume. She features a sculpted mask, cape, belt and gloves. The cape and gloves were previously used on both the series one and series three Batmen, as well as being used before that in the DC C3 line. The mask and belt are new, so as to properly depict her exposed hair and more elaborate belt design. The paint work is pretty clean on Batgirl, with no real slop, and some very sharp line work on all the transitions. This set was released during the period of time when Minimates were using full slip over masks for everyone, even characters that only had half masks, so Batgirl got a full face mask. Some figures took advantage of this and gave the figure a different facial expression on the unmasked head. Sadly, Batgirl didn’t do this, which is a shame, as it would have the unmasked face be Barbra in full librarian mode. Batgirl includes a pair of bat-cuffs and a spare hair piece to display her unmasked.

BANE

Bane demonstrates one of the unique traits of the DC Minimates line: use of the larger Minimate body. The body features the same articulation and relative proportions, but is about a half an inch taller than the basic body. So, DC used it for larger characters such as Bane here. Bane features three sculpted parts: mask, belt, and wrist gauntlet with tube that plugs into the mask. All of these pieces are new to Bane, mostly due to his use of the larger body. All of the pieces accurately capture Bane’s look from the comics, so kudos to them on that. The paint work is pretty good overall, though there a few issues. The shirt features black detailing with gray highlights, but on the edges of the torso, the gray highlights have been missed, leaving their spots flesh-toned. Also, the sides of the shirt don’t quite line up with the front. Finally, the mask, while well detailed, seems to sit a bit too low, which gives him an abnormally large head. Under the mask, there’s a fully detailed face with hair, which Is a nice touch I suppose, though I hardly see anyone displaying him this way.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As with the rest of the DC Minimates line, I purchased these two as soon as they were released. While I think they’re both well done figures, I remember being disappointed in general by the lineup for Series Four, as well as baffled by the choice to pack these two together. It’s a cool set, but it’s hard to tell what audience they were aiming for, as the two figures present appeal to two different sensibilities.