BATMAN, NIGHTWING, COMMISSIONER GORDON, & BATGIRL
THE NEW BATMAN ADVENTURES (HASBRO)
“By day, they are ordinary citizens of Gotham City. At night, they take on a crime fighting identity known only to a certain few, but respected and feared by all. This is the Gotham City Enforcement Team, committed to righting the wrongs of society and getting crime off the streets for good!”
Last week, I delved into the late-game Animated Series tie-in sets that Hasbro used to help officially launch their tenure with the DC license. I’m going to continue down that road today, moving away from Superman, and into the slightly-more-loved-by-Hasbro realm of Batman. Much like with Superman, Hasbro used these sets to delve into some of Batman’s less toy worthy supporting players, intermixed with some of the more toy worthy ones to keep things more exciting, I suppose.
THE FIGURES THEMSELVES
The Gotham City Enforcement Team, which included Batman, Nightwing, Commissioner Gordon, and Batgirl, was released in the summer of 2000, technically as a Toys R Us-exclusive (although due to their partnership at the time, Amazon also offered them for online ordering).
“The people of Gotham City see Batman as an almost mythical figure, able to tame any adversary, no matter how powerful. But now, with so many bizarre criminals running amok in Gotham City, Batman turns to his trusted friends and allies to aid him in his battle against evil. The Dark Knight was evened the odds by creating more amazing weapons, gadgets and vehicles, all of which are available to his crime fighting team.”
You’re really not getting one of these sets without a Batman to go with it. This one went for the far more basic take on the character, specifically his New Adventures look, since that was the general theme of this set. With that in mind, this figure is, at his core, a re-issue of Detective Batman from Kenner’s The New Batman Adventures line. The figure stands 5 inches tall and he has 5 points of articulation. The Detective Batman sculpt was a pretty strong one, replicating the design from the shown pretty much spot-on. It’s a little stiffer than the BTAS stuff was in terms of posing, but it still works alright. It’s a very clean, very bold sculpt, which just really works. It’s not a shock that Kenner and Hasbro both strove to get a lot out of this one. His cape can be removed, and had been adjusted to a plastic piece, rather than cloth at this point. It looks a lot nicer, though I suppose it’s more limiting from a posing standpoint. The figure’s paint work is pretty basic for a Batman. The grey is a bit brighter than the single release, and they’ve also adjusted the cape so that it’s two-tone now, with a lighter grey liner, which was a really cool touch. Batman was originally packed with a weird capture-trap thing, which was super goofy, a theme of the accessories in this set. I don’t have mine anymore, another theme for this set.
“After graduating from college, Dick Grayson — once the young sidekick of Batman known as Robin — traveled the world to study criminology. While living abroad, Dick realized that he had outgrown his youthful role as Batman’s assistant. Upon his return to Gotham City, Dick used his trust fund from Haley’s Circus to buy a building and convert its top two floors into a high-tech, urban headquarters. He developed a new heroic identity called Nightwing, and, with the blessings of his one-time mentor, Batman, joined the battle against evil.”
I’ve actually looked at a Nightwing from this line before, though it was under the “wacky variants” heading, and not just a standard. This figure is actually just that one, but painted up in the standard colors, since that mold was actually a little more accurate than the initial sculpt had been. He’s just shy of 5 inches tall and he has 5 points of articulation. As I noted when I reviewed the sculpt the first time, it’s pretty much spot-on to the show, and I stand by that. Much like Batman, it just really works. The paint work is clean and bright, which is nice for this look. He was packed with the grapple and shield of the single release, now done up to match the standard Nightwing colors. No grapple for mine, but he does still have the shield.
“One of the few incorruptible cops on the Gotham City Police Department, James Gordon rose to the rank of Police Commissioner. Commissioner Gordon worked tirelessly to clean up the GCPD and is now loved by Gotham City’s citizens and hated and feared by its criminals. Though he cannot officially sanction Batman’s methods, he is an unofficial and behind-the-scenes supporter of the Dark Knight and uses his position to support Batman’s crime fighting efforts in any way he can.”
The primary selling point of this set was Commissioner James Gordon’s very first action figure. It was kind of a big deal at the time, and it would serve to inspire a handful of others, which is always cool. As with most of the set, Gordon is TNBA-based. It’s not my preferred of the two designs, but it’s admittedly the one that’s easier to translate to three dimensions, and it was technically the “current” look at the time. The figure is just under 5 inches tall and he has 5 points of articulation. Gordon was an all-new sculpt, and it’s a little bit of a mixed bag. The head is fantastic; it’s got a lot of great detail work and is generally just a spot-on take on his later animated design. The body, on the other hand, is a little rougher. He’s definitely got too much paunch on his stomach, and the slightly odd posing of the upper body as a whole doesn’t really help so much. Generally, it’s not the worst thing, but it’s not quite there. The paint is even more not quite there; it’s very basic and drab, and missing key details. Most notable? He’s got no eyes. At all. It’s kind of creepy, really. Gordon was packed with two very oversized revolvers, which just generally never felt very right for the character.
“Barbara Gordon has just graduated from college with a degree in computer science. She has landed a job on the police force, working elbow to elbow with her father, Commissioner James Gordon. And each night she fights crime as Batgirl, alongside the greatest crime fighter the world has ever known. This double life sometimes threatens to put Barbara in a sticky situation, and each time she puts on her costume, she knows she is stepping outside the law that she was raised to respect. Yet Barbara believes that the good she does as Batgirl outweighs the risk to herself and her father.”
Batgirl technically got a single-carded release in Kenner’s BTAS line, but it was during the Duo-Force era, and it meant that she wasn’t in her standard colors. That mold would be re-decoed for the first of the box sets under Hasbro (which was just the main four in metallic colors), and then would be further improved upon for this release. Yay! The figure stands just under 5 inches tall and she has 4 points of articulation. Technically, there’s a joint at the neck, but since the head and cape are all one piece, it’s effectively useless. The sculpt for this figure is pretty clearly meant to be the BTAS version, not the TNBA version like the others It’s not absurdly far off, but it’s also not nearly as sharp and clean as it should be. Ultimately, it’s an okay offering, but probably the weakest of the ones included here. The paint does at least put her into her New Adventures color scheme, to do it’s best to sell the idea. I prefer that scheme, and it looks good on a toy, so I’ve always liked it here. Batgirl was packed with a big ol’ missile launcher, which I don’t have anymore. Not an incredibly loss, since she couldn’t really hold it anyway.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
For my eighth birthday, this set was quite high on the list of things I wanted. So high, in fact, that I actually ended up with two of them, in a continuation of a running gag that would go across my birthday for a few years where my grandmother and my aunt would wind up buying me the same gift with an eerie level of frequency. I only kept one of them, of course, but these days I kind of wish I’d held onto both. Though not really new to me, Batman, Nightwing, and Batgirl would become my definitive versions of the characters growing up, and while he’s far from perfect, Gordon was the only one I had for a good while. In general, this was a set that got a lot of mileage for me, and it remains one I’m very fond of, even now.