#2460: Batgirl

BATGIRL

BATMAN & ROBIN (KENNER)

“Gotham City becomes a very cold place when Mr. Freeze, Poison Ivy and Bane triple team to plot the icy demise of Batman and Robin. The crimefighters respond immediately by using the Batcomputer deep within the Batcave to develop an array of cutting-edge weapons that can be used in their battle against this multitude of fiendish foes. Discover the Secrets of the Batcave! – secret technology that gives Batman , Robin and Batgirl the ultimate ability to save Gotham City!”

Back in April, I jumped into the Batman & Robin line with a look at the “& Robin” portion of the film.  Today, I look at the central character who doesn’t get named at all.  I mean, seriously, isn’t it a little odd that the film where you explicitly call out Batman and Robin as your title characters is the one where you add in Batgirl as your third protagonist?  Isn’t that a little weird?  I think it’s a little weird.  Look at me, armchair quarterbacking a movie from 1997.  That’s a real good use of my time, right?  Yeah…

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Batgirl was released in the first wave of Batman & Robin product from Kenner, hitting shelves in 1997 to tie-in with the film.  Unlike the various Batmen and Robins, she didn’t get any sort of adjective in front of her name; she’s simply “Batgirl.”  Man, no goofy Kenner name is just a bummer.  Did they even try with Batgirl in this thing?  Oh, right, I’ve seen the movie: the answer is “no.”  The figure stands 4 3/4 inches tall and she has 5 points of articulation.  So, right off the bat (heh), let’s address the inaccuracies of the figure.  As I brought up in my Robin review, the whole Batman & Robin process was quite expedited, so the figures were working from early costume designs.  In Robin’s case, that was all well and good, because he kept his design, but in Batgirl’s case, that means she’s a bit off from her film appearance.  The big change is the full cowl in place of the domino mask she was sporting in the final product.  It’s not a particularly attractive design, at least as implemented on the figure.  She’s also got the wrong version of the bat symbol, and is missing a lot of the ribbing and such that ran throughout the body suit, making for a much more basic looking design.  There is also a removable cape, which actually is a pretty decently designed piece. Her paintwork is fairly basic stuff.  She’s rather monochromatic, but that’s honestly a bit more faithful to the film than most of the color schemes to come out of this movie.  Batgirl was packed with a “Battle Blade Blaster” and “Strike Scythe,” which are the weird green and black things.  They don’t correlate to anything in the movie, but they certainly exist, now don’t they?

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As I mentioned in my Robin review, Batman & Robin was the first Batman movie I saw in theaters, and despite its lackluster quality, five-year-old me really enjoyed it.  Being the big thing of the summer, a whole bunch of the tie-in figures wound up as birthday presents for me that year, including Batgirl here.  She’s not necessarily one of my favorites, and that was the case even as a kid.  She really only served as my Batgirl until the Animated figure found its way into my collection and replaced her.  She’s okay, I guess, and like the rest of the line, honestly better than the movie that spawned her.

#2264: Batgirl & Donatello

BATGIRL & DONATELLO

BATMAN VS TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES (DC COLLECTIBLES)

Over the summer, DC Collectibles launched their Batman Vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles line with a crossover Mikey as Batman figure, before moving onto the main series of two-packs.  I looked at the first two sets when they hit at the end of September, and liked them enough to stick around for one more, which is my personal favorite pairing of the line, Batgirl and Donatello.  They had a little bit of wait associated with them, but they’re finally here, so let’s have a look at them, shall we?

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Batgirl and Donatello are the third Batman Vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles two-pack, who were supposed to hit stores in October, but ended up hitting throughout November in most locations.  As with the other offerings from this line, they are available exclusively at Gamestop.

BATGIRL

Barbra Gordon as Batgirl is no stranger to animation, having been a regular fixture since The New Batman Adventures.  This version of Babs is based on her recent(ish) “Batgirl of Burnside” redesign from the comics, which, in addition to just being a solid design in its own right, also really lends itself well to the style of animation from the movie.  The figure stands just over 6 inches tall and she has 26 points of articulation.  Barbra’s articulation is about on par with the Damian figure from the same line, so she’s pretty mobile, and has a slightly better range than the main Batman.  That said, she’s still a bit more restricted than any of the Turtles, especially at the right hip, due to the structure of the belt.  The sculpt on this figure is another nice, clean recreation of the film design, and ends up looking quite flattering in three dimensions.  Like Robin, her cape is a sculpted piece, rather than cloth like Bruce’s, but it’s sensible for the shorter style.   The paintwork on Batgirl is pretty decent overall.  It’s bright and colorful, but not quite as sharp and clean as Batman and Damian were.  It’s certainly not bad, but I feel like it could be just a little better.  As is, she feels about on par with one of the middle-of-the-run Batman: Animated figures: not terrible, but not as strong as I’d prefer.  Batgirl is packed with a respectable selection of accessories, including three sets of hands (fists, closed grip, and open grip), a batarang, a blowdart, a small vial, her cellphone, a grapple with two attachments, and a slice of pizza.

DONATELLO

Donatello is the resident tech expert of the Turtles, as well as a fan of purple, so he pairs off pretty decently with this more recent incarnation of Batgirl.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and he has 28 points of articulation.  His articulation scheme follows the same set-up as the other three Turtles, so there’s a lot of range to be had, and he’s generally a little more mobile than Batgirl.  The joints on my figure were a little on the looser side, more like Leonardo than like Raphael.  I wasn’t super thrilled about that, but it’s not terrible. It’s not bad enough to cause any difficulty standing or anything.  Design-wise, Donnie follows the lead of the 2012 show, making Donnie the tallest and skinniest of the four Turtles.  It works quite well for the character thematically, and translates pretty well to the design of the toys.  The head does end up looking a little bit off in my eyes, mostly due to it departing the most from that classic Turtles shaping.  That said, it’s more a question of finding the right angle for it.  Donatello definitely has the best weapon storage of the four, I think largely because it’s the one area where he doesn’t stray from the classic design.  There’s a spot on the back where the staff can slide in, and it stays pretty securely, and doesn’t feel like it could snap at any moment.  After changing up the coloring slightly for Raphael, Donatello is again approximately the same shade as tho other two.  His paintwork is alright.  It’s clean, it’s bold, and it looks decent.  Donatello is packed with three sets of hands (fists, gripping, and flat), his Bo Staff (which splits in the middle for an easier time putting it in his hands or on his back), an extra helmeted head, a TCRI canister, a shellphone, and another slice of pizza.  Now we’re up to seven slices!

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When the line was shown off, this was the only pack I actually knew I wanted, so I went ahead and pre-ordered it through Gamestop.  Ultimately, I ended up seeing the others in person and decided to pick them up, which only made me more anxious to pick up this pairing.  So, it was getting more than a little frustrating when people were finding the set and I still hadn’t heard any word on mine coming in, what with it being, you know, the only one I actually bothered to pre-order and all.  Fortunately, Super Awesome Wife has her connections and made darn sure that this set eventually got to me.  As the set that features my favorite Turtle and my favorite of the Bat-cast from the movie, there’s a lot riding on this one.  I do enjoy it overall, and I’m certainly happy to have the figures, but if I’m entirely honest, I’ve cooled off a bit on the line since it started, meaning I don’t really see myself going back for the standard Mikey/Alfred or the Shredder/Ra’s sets.  If they opt to do maybe a non-movie-based follow-up with a Nightwing and Casey, we might be back in business, but that’s something of a longshot.

#2055: Batgirl

BATGIRL

DC ESSENTIALS (DC COLLECTIBLES)

I’m a fan of pairing off my figures, which is actually one of the few things that DCC’s current central line is tailored to, since they generally like to have two pairs of figures per assortment.  The latest round is decidedly Bat-themed, and a natural pairing to yesterday’s Nightwing is Barbra Gordon, aka Batgirl, who is amongst many other things his on-again, off-again romantic partner.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Batgirl is figure 10 in the DC Essentials line, placing her two figures ahead of Nightwing, though the two of them arrived in stores at the same time.  She’s based on her “Batgirl of Burnside” attire, which I’ve always found to be a pretty solid design.  It’s also been her default look for a few years now, so it’s certainly sensible.  The figure stands 6 3/4 inches tall and she has 34 points of articulation.  As the line’s first female figure, Barbra does get an all-new sculpt, because DCC has at least drawn the line at saddling her with the same body as everyone else.  How kind of them.  Batgirl changes things up for this line, at least so far as the figures that I personally have looked at, being not just a brand-new sculpt, but also one that’s fairly tailored to its specific character.  While I can certainly see elements of it being reused for other characters, a lot of it, specifically the head, torso, pelvis, forearms, hands, boots, and most of the right leg are all clearly designed for Batgirl and Batgirl alone.  That’s slightly surprising for this line, but I guess not a huge shock given the nature of this particular costume design.  The sculpt is a fairly decent one overall.  The long arms of the male body have been traded for long legs here, which, while still not perfect, are certainly a better trade-off.  Some of the details, especially on the head, are a little softer than I’d like, but it’s not awful.  Other areas are just a little more crisp is all.  The paintwork on this particular figure is brightly colored and eye-catching, and reasonably close to how she appears in the comics, though, like Nightwing, there’s a bit of slop and fuzz on the edges, but no specific gaffes like I had on Nightwing.  I was particularly impressed by how they handled the boots and gloves, which sport some really solid accent work to bring out the details.  Essentials figures aren’t known for their accessories, but Batgirl makes out the best out of all of the figures I’ve looked at so far, with not only a batarang, but also an extra set of gripping hands.  Extra hands with an Essentials release.  Who could have seen that coming?  Certainly not me!

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Since I was already grabbing Nightwing on FCBD, I felt compelled to grab Batgirl as well, because I generally like to have them both in any given style.  I also never got around to getting the Icons Batgirl, so I didn’t yet have this costume as a figure.  She’s actually rather refreshing after a lot of same-ness from this line, with an all-new, actually character specific sculpt, and even a few accessories.  Perhaps she’s a sign of things to come?

#1392: Batgirl

BATGIRL

BATMAN ’66 (FUNKO)

Fun fact: did you know that the Barbara Gordon version of Batgirl was only created to help sell the third season of the ‘60s Batman show?  Well, sort of.  Carmine Infantino and Julie Schwartz were working on a way to revamp the Betty Kane “Bat-Girl”, when they were visited by the tv-show’s producers, who were looking for a hook for what would be the show’s final season.  They liked Infantino’s early designs for Barbara, and she was quickly introduced in the comics before making her on-screen debut shortly thereafter.  Yvonne Craig’s portrayal of Batgirl in the show is by far the most definitive take on the character, even years later.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Batgirl was released in the first series of Funko’s new Batman ’66 line of figures.  After being left out of the Mattel line at launch, it’s really nice to see Batgirl turn up much earlier in the new line.  These figures are in a similar style to Game of Thrones figures, but this feels like a property that’s more at home in the style.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and she has 11 points of articulation.  I definitely appreciate the hinges on the shoulders; it’s a shame we couldn’t get similar movement on the hips, but I’ll take what I can get.  The style of these figures has a vaguely retro feel to it, but it’s not quite as hardcore as the ReAction stuff.  The sculpt on Batgirl is somewhat streamlined and more simplistic, but she still manages to have some really incredible detail work, especially on the gloves.  The head actually sports a pretty solid likeness, definitely better than the Mattel version (and I even though that was one of Mattel’s better attempts in their line), and a very crisply defined cowl with her hair billowing out of the back.  The hair is well-placed, so as not to impede the neck movement, which is very much appreciated.  There’s a rubber cape, which is held in place by the head.  It’s fairly light-weight and flexible.  Definitely an improvement on the cloth cape from the Mattel stuff.  The paintwork on Batgirl is decent enough.  The application is all pretty clean, and there’s no real noticeable slop.  The belt has some slight bleed over onto the pelvis, but it’s minor.  I will say, while the flat colors look fine, I do sort of miss the metallics from the Mattel version, and I feel like at the very least, the jumpsuit should have been a little shiny.  Batgirl was packed with a Bat-Communicator, which is cool, though she has trouble holding it.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When Funko announced they were doing this line, I will admit, I was skeptical.  I went all-in on the Mattel figures, and I was ultimately rather let down by those.  Similarly, I was only so-so on a lot of the ReAction stuff and the smaller-scale Game of Thrones figures.  But, I was at Lost in Time Toys, and they had Batgirl, and I really liked the look of her, so I figured I’d give the line a shot.  I kinda wish I’d waited it out for the Funko stuff, because I found this Batgirl to be a better put together figure than what we got from Mattel.  On top of that, I’m happy to see Funko starting to find their footing in the action figure world.  Here’s hoping they can maintain their niche. 

#0811: Batgirl

BATGIRL

BATMAN: ANIMATED (DCC)

BatgirlAn1

For day 10 of my Post-Christmas gift reviews, I’ll be moving away from the mostly sci-fi based reviews of the last nine days and going back to the subset of action figures I am most comfortable with: Superheroes!

Barbra Gordon as Batgirl didn’t appear till the tail end of the original run of Batman: The Animated Series, but all three of the episodes in which she appeared were pretty well-received with both the fan base and the creative team behind the series. When the series came back as The New Batman Adventures, Batgirl was given a much larger role, and in fact appeared in the majority of the show’s episodes. So, it’s not a huge surprise that DC Collectibles’ first figure of the animated incarnation of the character comes from her later appearances.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

BatgirlAn2Batgirl was released as part of DC Collectibles’ Batman: Animated line. She’s figure 18 in the line, which places her in the fifth series of the line. The figure is about 5 ½ inches tall and has 25 points of articulation. As I noted in the intro, she’s based on her New Adventures design, which itself is a pretty straight adaptation of her original comics design. The costume has of course been tailored to fit the more stylized nature if Timm’s New Adventures character designs, which includes streamlining of the belt and boots. It’s definitely a solid piece of design work. Batgirl’s sculpt shares a number of stylistic similarities with Poison Ivy, due to their builds being quite similar in the show, but it doesn’t appear that the two figures share any actual sculpted pieces. The overall quality of the sculpt is quite good, and she definitely looks like her onscreen counterpart. She also doesn’t seem to have the same huge noggin issues that Ivy did, though that may be to do with her not having Ivy’s rather large chunk of hair. The proportions I general are pretty well-balanced, and the joints and such are all worked in rather nicely. Batgirl’s paint is pretty much on par with the paint BatgirlAn4we’ve seen on the rest of the figures. It’s a little rough around the edges of her mask, as well as the change from yellow to blue on the cape, but the overall appearance is pretty solid. Batgirl includes a batarang, 10 extra hands (2 fists, 2 gripping, 2 loose grip, 2 relaxed, and one for holding the batarang), a bat-grapple, a hand holding the grapple, and a display stand. They’re all pretty good, except for one thing: the grapple on the hand with it sculpted in place is completely unpainted. I don’t know if this is contained to just my figure or if it’s a wide spread problem, but it’s quite obvious and rather annoying.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Batgirl was given to me this Christmas by my parents. She was a figure I was quite looking forward to (she and Nightwing were my two favorite characters from New Adventures). Like just about every figure in the Batman: Animated line, she is not without her flaws. However, she’s a pretty well put together figure, and a lot of fun.

BatgirlAn3

#0668: Batgirl

BATGIRL

BATMAN’66 (MATTEL)

Batgirl66a

I’m sure that a fair portion of my readership has heard about the passing of Yvonne Craig on Wednesday.  For those unaware, she was the actress who played Barbra Gordon/Batgirl on the live action Batman show from the 60s, along with plenty of other roles.  In honor of her, I’ll be taking a look at the Batgirl figure from Mattel’s Batman ’66 line, who was just recently released, almost two years after the rest of the line, due to rights issues.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Batgirl66bBatgirl was released two ways, both through Toys R Us.  She was released solo as a SDCC 2015 exclusive and more widely as part of a three pack with Batman and Robin from the 60s show.  This particular version is the one from the three pack, though the differences in the actual figure are negligible.  The figure is just shy of 6 inches tall and has 23 points of articulation.  The articulation on this figure feels a little outmoded and rudimentary, but, in Mattel’s defense, it keeps her stylistically the same as the rest of the Batman ’66 line.  Take of that what you will.  The Batman ’66 line was mostly without re-use for sculpts, but it’s a Mattel line, so some was bound to show up eventually.  Batgirl uses the upper arms and upper legs of the line’s take on Catwoman. They’re basic enough that it’s not immediately evident that they’re re-used, so that’s good.  The rest of the sculpt is new to this figure.  It’s decent, if not jaw dropping.  The head’s the best piece for sure.  It’s a pretty great likeness of Yvonne Craig, and it fits in really nicely with the other sculpts in the line.  The body sculpt is a little lower quality than the head.  It’s not bad, and there are some really great bits of texture on the gloves and the body suit stitching.  However, the proportions are a little bit off; the arms and legs are really long and lanky and the torso seems oddly long.  Also, the articulation isn’t really worked in very well, so it stands out pretty badly in certain areas.  On the plus side, it seems that Mattel has stepped up to the plate on paintwork in the lull between figures.  Batgirl’s paint is a fair bit nicer than what we saw on the first round of ’66 figures, and it avoids the gloppy-ness that plagued a lot of them.  Batgirl’s accessories are a display stand with “Sock!” written on it and a card with a pretty cool Batgirl illustration.  Depending on how you look at it, one could also count Batman and Robin as “accessories” as well, since it’s unlikely that anyone was buying this set purely for them.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Confession time: this isn’t my figure.  It’s actually my Dad’s.  You know, I’ve reviewed four Batman ’66 figures on this site and three of them have been owned by other people.  I swear I have my own Batman ’66 collection!  In fact, that’s actually why I don’t have this figure.  Since I’ve already got the Batman and Robin included in this set, they add no value for me, and $55 is a bit steep for a single figure.  If I’m honest, Batgirl’s probably the best figure to come out of this line.  Sadly, she’s still a Mattel figure, which means there’s some definite room for improvement.

Batgirl66c

#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.