#2269: Batman

BATMAN

JUSTICE LEAGUE ACTION (MATTEL)

As toys have become more of a collectors game, and toy companies have begun to cater to said collectors, there’s been one major issue plaguing our favorite brands: how do you keep mainstay characters affordable and easily available to younger audiences who haven’t quite latched onto that collector’s game?  The answer? Evergreen lines.  These are lines with figures that don’t follow the same sort of assortment break-down of collector lines, and aim to keep the big names on the shelves, while also producing a cost effective line.  There are a handful of different levels to these sorts of lines, and furthest down the list are the very basic figures that serve as fodder for the shelves at drugstores and places like Dollar General or Family Dollar.  Figures that are cheap, plentiful, and can stand up to some play.  I’m looking at one such figure today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Batman is part of Mattel’s budget Justice League line, which features all of the iconagraphy of Justice League Action, but sports figures that are otherwise unrelated.  This specific Batman variant was also offered a few years ago under a purely Batman branding, but saw release, as is the intended purpose of the line.  The figure is about 5 1/2 inches tall and he has four points of articulation.  He moves at the neck, shoulders, and waist; no hip movement for him, although some of the line’s more recent offerings have added that.  Structurally, this figure feels quite similar to the Ultra Hero Series and offerings like it, which I can certainly dig.  His sculpt is a fairly clean, rather basic affair.  All of the important details are there, but it doesn’t really move beyond them.  His cape is a cloth piece, slotted into his back a little clumsily, but it’s sturdy and won’t be going anywhere.  As far as paint, he’s pretty basic.  The color scheme is slightly non-standard, being mostly black with a yellow emblem and belt.  It’s not a bad look, though, and the paint for the logo and face is pretty decent.  He’s got no accessories, which isn’t much of a surprise given the usual price point on these things.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I got this guy in a big box of presents from my in-laws.  He clearly wasn’t meant to be the star attraction or anything, just something small that they presumably picked up for me while somewhere else.  I can’t say he’s the sort of figure I’d buy for myself, but as a gift, he’s kind of nifty in his own way.  And, of course, now I’m looking at what else has been done in this style, because I have a serious problem.

#2268: Transforming Dick Grayson

TRANSFORMING DICK GRAYSON

BATMAN FOREVER (KENNER)

For day four of my Post-Christmas reviews, I’m taking a look at something it’s been…Forever since I’ve reviewed.  Yes, the site may have started with a series of four Batman Forever reviews, but there have been none featured since.  Now, six years later, we return.  Are you feeling it?  The significance?  The shock?  The awe?  Well, you should be, because this whole thing’s a very big deal.  Let’s just revel in all of this for a bit, shall we?

 

Done reveling? Cool.  Let’s review a Robin action figure.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Transforming Dick Grayson was one of the first assortment of Batman Forever figures released to tie-in with the movie in 1995, which was the same assortment that gave us three of the four previously reviewed Forever figures on this site.  It’s worth noting that there was no straight forward standard Robin in this initial assortment; you just had to decide whether you preferred this or Hydro Claw Robin as your go-to annoying Chris O’Donnell Robin figure.  The figure stands just shy of 5 inches tall and he has 5 points of articulation.  His sculpt was unique to him in the initial assortment, but would later get repainted blue and used as Triple-Strike Robin later the same year.  It’s an okay sculpt, being generally pretty faithful to the film design.  He’s noticeably a lot skinnier than Hydro Claw, and for that matter a lot skinnier than Chris O’Donnell was in the role.  It’s not terribly off, and works fine for the more classical Robin proportions, so I can’t knock it too much.  His pose is fairly neutral, apart from the slight bend in the left arm; this was present on Hydro Claw, and it’s also on Street Biker Robin, so maybe that’s just how they assumed Robin would pose in default.  There’s a good chance that character design sheets for the movie may have had him in such a pose, which is further supported by all of the prototypes having a totally different hair style than O’Donnell sported in the film.  Whatever the case, the pose keeps him from looking too stiff, so I can’t fault it.   The figure’s paint delivers a fairly standard set of Robin colors as you might expect, but does have one interesting feature: his Sudden Reveal Mask!  Yes, in order to give Dick his usual mask when transforming him into Robin, you reveal the mask by dipping his head in cold water, and then remove it again by dipping it in warm water. It would probably be a more compelling feature if it wasn’t bound to be just a little bit off in both modes, but it’s nifty enough as is.  To aid in his transformation, Robin also included a cape (which on my figure hadn’t had all of the excess molded parts cut off…see the picture), a chest piece, wrist guards, and boots.  And, of course, he also has Robin’s signature bat-brass-knuckles.  Never leaves home without them.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This guy was a Christmas gift from my brother Christian, who was eager to get something that a) I didn’t already have and b) would amuse me.  Apparently, he caught the packaging illustration at the top of this guy’s card and felt that alone was amusing enough to warrant getting this for me.  I can’t argue with him on that; the packaging art on this is a national treasure.  The figure?  He’s okay.  Perhaps not terrible impressive in his own right, but still one of those figures I never had that I always had this morbid desire to own just for the sake of owning him.

#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.

#2227: Batman Beyond & Bruce Wayne

BATMAN BEYOND & BRUCE WAYNE

JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED (MATTEL)

“In the not too distant future, an older Bruce Wayne trains high school student Terry McGinnis to become the new Batman, ensuring the protection of Gotham City for years to come.”

Would you believe there was a time where we were thankful for Mattel making up for the mistakes of Hasbro?  I know, that must have been a strange bizarro world.  When Batman Beyond hit the airwaves, Hasbro had fully absorbed Kenner and were back to making toys under their own name again, and they…weren’t the best at it.  For their Beyond line, they decided that rather than doing anything that followed the actual show, they’d do a bunch of wacky non-standard variants of the title character instead.  It was a reasonable toy line, but not much of a companion for the show.  A show-accurate version of the main character, as well as a handful of the supporting cast, would eventually get their due courtesy of Mattel and their Justice League Unlimited toy line.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Bruce and Terry were released in a three-pack alongside fellow Beyond character Warhawk in one of the final retail assortments of the Justice League Unlimited line.  Terry would also see release as a single-carded figure, but this was the only way to get Bruce.

BATMAN BEYOND

The main character of the show, Terry was not short on action figures, but he was short on accurate ones.  This figure changes that…more or less.  He’s wearing his standard gear from the show, which is a pretty darn timeless design.  The figure stands 4 3/4 inches tall and he has 5 points of articulation.  Batman Beyond is built on one of the line’s mid-sized bodies, in fact the one retrofitted from the original Justice League Batman body.  It’s honestly a little bit on the large side for Terry, and he’d probably have looked more at home on the skinny body that they built out of Flash.  Ultimately, it’s not the worst look, and is okay for maybe a slightly later career Terry as seen in “Epilogue.”  Given it’s the JLU line and that was his main JLU appearance, I suppose it’s not totally unreasonable.  He gets a new head and a slightly tweaked set of arms.  The head is a fairly reasonable recreation of the animation design, certainly closer than any of Hasbro’s attempts.  It’s a little on the large side, but that ends up making the body look slightly more proportionate, I suppose.  The arms are pretty much just the standard ones for this body, but with the scallops on the back of the forearms.  The paint work on BB is fairly basic, just the standard details for him.  One notable omission is the mouth, which really should be white like the eyes.  Instead, it’s left unpainted, which makes it easily lost in the sculpt.

BRUCE WAYNE

Despite many figures of his younger self, this was the very first figure we got of the elder Bruce Wayne as seen for most of Beyond‘s run.  I mean, I guess it’s a little harder fault Hasbro on not releasing this one; he’s an old guy in a suit.  Not a ton of play potential there.  Coupled with a fully suited up Terry and Warhawk, though, he’s admittedly an easier sell.  The figure stands 4 3/4 inches tall and has 5 points of articulation, just like his companion.  Bruce was built on Mattel’s revamped suit body of the time, but given the slightly bulkier arms of Hal Jordan/Mr. Terrific, as well as a unique head and an add-on piece for the torso.  The head is a respectable match for Bruce’s design from the show, but is rather on the small side, especially when compared to Terry’s oversized head.  It also has a straighter neck than Bruce tended to have in the show.  The add-on piece, conversely, adds in some of Bruce’s slight hunch from the show, but when coupled with the very straight neck, plus the arms that really weren’t designed for this body, he ends up looking like his shoulders are about half and inch too low.  It’s not ideal.  Like Terry, Bruce’s paint is fairly basic, though he doesn’t have any obviously missing apps, which I suppose is a good thing.  What he *is* missing is his cane, which he was pretty much never seen without on the show.  Seems like a pretty glaring omission if you ask me.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I fell out of JLU towards the end, so by the time that this set was at retail, I was pretty much gone.  I remember seeing pictures, but the distribution was such that I never saw it anywhere in person.  I can’t say I felt like I was really missing it, but this pair got traded into All Time several weeks back and I had some trade credit, so I decided I kind of wanted them.  Are they great?  No.  Are they good?  Eh.  Are they fairly passable, fairly accurate recreations of the source material?  More or less.

#2201: Red Hood

RED HOOD

DC ESSENTIALS (DC COLLECTIBLES)

“The vigilante outlaw who was once a Robin, the man under the hood is extremely proficient in both weapons and hand-to-hand combat.”

Originally conceived as a potential former alias for the man that would eventually become the Joker, the monicker of Red Hood is one that’s been passed around a little bit, but ultimately it’s stuck a pretty darn long time with the un-deceased Jason Todd.  I suppose there’s something poetic about one of the Joker’s victims laying claim to his old name.  Despite being well-established in the role for a good long time now, as well as being introduced in a rather well-known modern era Batman story, Jason’s comics version of his Red Hood gear has been surprisingly absent from toys, or at least was for the first decade of his existence.  There was a New 52 figure which kind of worked in a pinch, but it wasn’t until just this year that we got a whole two Jason Red Hoods, one from DCC, and the other from Mattel.  Today, I’m taking a look at DC Collectibles’ version!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Red Hood is figure 18 in DCC’s DC Essentials line.  After doing a fair bit of retreading, Red Hood is finally a taste of more new stuff…though it looks like we’re going back to the retreading after this.  Oh, DCC, how predictible of you.  This figure represents Jason in the biker-styled Red Hood gear, though it’s not quite his first appearance attire.  Instead, he’s technically the most modern take on the design, from the post New 52/Rebirth era.  It’s a little more costume-y than the original look, but also has lost some of the over-designed elements that the initial New 52 stuff brought about, making for an overall pretty clean looking design for the character.  The figure 7 inches tall and he has 34 points of articulation.  The Essentials line has been fairly heavy on the re-use side, but Red Hood actually does inject a fair number of new pieces into it.  He uses the torso, pelvis, and upper legs of the standard male body, but gets an all-new head, arms, hands, shins, and feet, as well as add-ons for his jacket and belt/holsters.  The new pieces really work out in this figure’s favor.  The head, is definitely sleek and very cool, living up to the really solid heads we’ve gotten so far from the line.   The new arms are great because, in addition to adding the coat sleeves, they are also ever so slightly shorter than the standard arms, thereby fixing the monkey arms problem of prior figures.  The jacket add-on also hides those exposed pegs on the torso joint, fixing my other major complaint.  As a whole, the new parts really sell this figure as his own figure, rather than leaving him really tied to the rest of the Essentials line like the prior figures have been.  The paint work on Red Hood is also really strong, with the metallic red on the helmet being my favorite aspect by far.  The rest of the application is actually cleanly handled, and lacks the fuzzy edges that a lot of DCC stuff sports.  Red Hood is packed with a pair of pistols (which can actually be removed from the holsters and held, giving him a leg up on the Mattel release), as well as two sets of hands in both gripping and fist poses.  It’s nice to see the extra hands cropping up again, as the lack of them with the earliest figures was a real drag.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Red Hood was something of an impulse buy, truth be told.  He came in at Cosmic Comix, and I just really, really liked the look of him on the shelf, so I just ended up grabbing him.  I actually haven’t done that with a single Essentials figure since Reverse Flash, and I wasn’t sure it was going to pay off.  Then I opened the figure up, and oh boy did it.  Essentials has been really spotty for it’s run, but Red Hood is genuinely a solid figure, and by far the best figure this line’s put out.  I’d say here’s to hoping for more like him, but unfortunately DCC’s just shown off a bunch of stuff that goes firmly the other direction…alas.

#2181: Robin & Raphael

ROBIN & RAPHAEL

BATMAN VS. TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES (DC COLLECTIBLES)

Obviously, no company in their right mind would release just *one* of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, so that means for the purposes of these here Batman Vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles packs there’s a necessity for a Batman-character to go with each of them.  Yay for the Bat-Family and their now needed inclusion!  Today’s pack is all about teenage rage and an appreciation of the color red!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Robin and Raphael are set two of the GameStop-excluisve Batman Vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles line.  They actually ended up showing up at the same time as the Batman and Leo set, despite the initial plan being one set a month.

ROBIN

There have been six Robins in the mainstream DC universe, and the crossover opted for the most recent of them, Damian Wayne, Bruce’s teenage son.  For the purposes of unique builds and designs, he’s actually a pretty solid choice.  The figure stands 4 3/4 inches tall and he has 27 points of articulation.  Compared to the last animated-inspired Damian figure I reviewed, this one’s a far better articulated offering.  Additionally, his smaller stature means that his joints have a better range of motion than his father did, making him easier to get decent poses out of him.  Robin’s sculpt is a clean recreation of his animation design.  The build is conceivably accurate for a young teenager, going for a slightly cartoony interpretation without looking too goofy.  Unlike Batman and Mikey, Robin gets a sculpted cape rather than a cloth one.  Given the smaller size of the cape, it actually ends up working out alright.  He’s got a separate folded down hood piece which sits atop the shoulders of his cape.  It doesn’t stay in place amazingly well, but it’s easily removed if it bugs you.  Robin’s paint work is certainly the most colorful of the bunch we’ve gotten so far, which is a nice change of pace.  The application is still clean, and the line work still works very well.  Robin is packed with an even more impressive selection of accessories than his dad, with three sets of hands (fists, open grip, and closed grip), a batbomb, two batarangs, a grapple with two hooks, an extra head with the hood pulled up, a staff fully extended and collapsed, a Gotham City manhole cover, and a slice of pizza.

RAPHAEL

Raphael is something of a rage machine, which makes a degree of sense for pairing off against the usual ragey Damian.  Raph stands 6 inches tall and he has 28 points of articulation.  Raphael’s construction is much like the other two Turtles, and the articulation works much the same as with the others.  The range of motion’s pretty solid on all of them, and his joints are tighter like Leo’s.  Raphael’s sculpt goes for making him the largest of the four turtles, which is an approach I can certainly get behind.  It makes him a rather hefty figure, which pairs him off well with the quite small Robin figure.  It’s a strong sculpt, and I think it’s probably my favorite of the three Turtles I’ve looked at so far.  Raph’s paint does mix things up a bit, making his skin tone a duller shade of green than the other two turtles.  The lines here are also a bit bolder, adding to that overall chunky thing he’s got going.  Raphael includes three sets of hands (fists, open, and gripping), an extra head wearing a helmet, his sais, and a slice of pizza.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I picked this pair up at the same time as the other two, and this was honestly the set I was slightly more interested in.  While Damian’s not my favorite Robin, I’ve developed a real appreciation for him.  This figure’s honestly the best one the character’s ever gotten, meaning he’ll pair off real well with Batman in that regard.  Raph is a pretty darn solid figure in his own right, though, and I don’t feel this set is quite as one-sided as yesterday’s.

#2180: Batman & Leonardo

BATMAN & LEONARDO

BATMAN VS. TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES (DC COLLECTIBLES)

Just at the end of last month, I took my first look at the latest branch of TMNT figures, specifically the cross-over ones from Batman Vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  The debut figure was a single figure crossing over both concepts, but the rest of the line is doing the crossover via packs of two figures, one from each of the two franchises.  Today, I look at the unquestionable lead of one franchise, and the disputed lead of another, with Batman and Leonardo!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Batman and Leonardo are the first of the five two-packs that make up DCC’s Batman Vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles line. The whole line is currently exclusive to Gamestop, but time will tell if that’s actually going to stick or not.  Whatever the case, these two started hitting Gamestop shelves last month.

BATMAN

Would you believe me if I said that the primary selling point of this set for me was another Batman figure?  I know, I’ve got hundreds of them at this point, why obsess over one more?  Well, if I’m being entirely honest, after the disappointment of DCC’s B:TAS Batman figure, I’ve been in the market for a decently handled vaguely animated Batman figure, and that’s what this one appeared to be.  Batman Vs. TMNT gives Bats a rather classic appearance, but with an interesting stylized flair, which translates well to this toy form.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 27 points of articulation.  Articulation was perhaps the best part of the Mikey figure, and while Batman’s not *quite* as good, he’s still pretty darn good in his own right.  The range on the legs and the torso is solid, and I felt like the feet were quite good for keeping him flat-footed.  The neck does okay for a single ball-joint, but is a little restricted.  The worst restriction, though, is to the elbows, which just barely make it to 90 degrees.  It’s not ideal for a Batman figure.  His sculpt is another all-new affair, which makes sense, given the unique stylizing from the movie.  It’s another strong sculpt as well, capturing Batman’s usual chiseled nature quite nicely, and just generally building an aesthetically pleasing version of the character.  Like Mikey, Batman’s cape is cloth, and it’s a virtually identical piece.  That’s a good thing, because I loved the cape on Mikey, and I love the cape on Batman.  It definitely makes for some fun with posing him.  Batman’s paintwork is fairly strong.  The base colors are cleanly applied, and the extra line work really helps to sell the animated appearance.  As with all DCC paint, I worry a little about how it will hold up over time, but it looks good now.  Batman has a fairly sizable selection of accessories.  He includes four sets of hands (in fists, wide grip, tight grip, and split finger grip), a batarang, a bat-bomb, a grappling hook with two hook attachments, and a slice of pizza.  Because yes, Batman needs pizza.

LEONARDO

Leader of the Turtles, and fan of the color blue, Leonardo is a good pairing for Batman here.  Frequent readers will note that I generally don’t have a super high opinion of Leo, but this one has the benefit of being packed with the Batman figure I just reviewed and liked so much.  Leo stands 5 1/2 inches tall and has 28 points of articulation.  On the articulation front, if you read my review of Mikey, than you pretty much know what’s up here.  All of the Turtles appear to be using the exact same articulation layout, which honestly isn’t a bad choice.  It did seem that the joints were a little bit tighter on Leo, which is a slight improvement.  Leo is sporting an all-new sculpt, which appears to translate his design from the movie pretty well.  The mid-sized build definitely works for Leo when compared to the others.  It’s not all perfect, though.  This design moves Leo’s swords from their usual spot on his back to down on his left hip.  While I don’t hate this choice, it’s definitely something that works better in animation than in plastic.  Once in place, the sheaths prevent the left arm from sitting comfortably.  Additionally, they don’t really stay in place very securely, so posing will tend to knock them out of place a lot.  Getting them to stay on for the photos here was no small feat.  Leo’s paintwork is pretty much the same set up as everyone else, so it’s pretty clean, and the line work adds a nice dynamic sense to him.  Leo is, like Batman, decently accessorized.  He has three sets of hands (fists, gripping, and flat), his two katanas, the sheaths for them, and another slice of pizza.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When these packs were announced, the only one I really knew I wanted was the Donatello/Batgirl pairing.  The rest I was a bit iffy on.  But then I picked up the Mikey as Batman figure, and I really liked him, which persuaded me to check these guys out.  Batman’s the star for me, and is easily the best Batman figure that DCC has released.  He’s got some minor flaws, but not enough to hold him back in my eyes.  Leo is…Leo.  I don’t have a tendency to get excited about him, and this figure didn’t change that.  If you like Leo, though, I’m sure he’s pretty cool.

 

#2167: Mikey as Batman

MIKEY AS BATMAN

BATMAN VS. TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES (DC COLLECTIBLES)

Apparently, it’s about time for somebody *else* to get into the business of making Ninja Turtles toys, because Playmates, NECA, and Mondo having the license just wasn’t quite enough.  DC Collectibles, who, you know, usually make, um, DC collectibles, have gotten in on this thing, but in their defense, they’ve got a good reason.  That reason is Batman Vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, an animated film based on a comic that goes for the rather straight forward premise in the title.  To be fair, it’s a marketer’s dream, so toys seem natural.  DCC is planning on offering up a selection of five two-packs as Gamestop exclusives over the next few months, but to kick things off they offered up a true crossover figure: Michelangelo dressed as the caped crusader!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Mikey as Batman was a summer con exclusive item, with follow-up distribution through Gamestop, who will be carrying the rest of the Batman Vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles line.  He’s inspired by the animated designs of the movie, which are yet another new stylization of the turtles.  Oh, and he’s also wearing a Batman cowl and cape, of course.  The figure stands 5 inches tall and he has 28 points of articulation.  His sculpt is an all-new one, though no doubt he’ll be sharing most of his parts with the standard Mikey that’s coming packed with Alfred later down the line.  It’s a pretty solid piece of work.  It’s very clean and animation friendly, and I definitely dig the huge smile on his face. What I like most of all about it his how well the articulation works.  It’s not perfect, but given that it’s DCC we’re dealing with, it’s actually suprisingly good.  The range is solid, the movement is relatively smooth, the joints do okay holding the poses, and there aren’t any obviously missing joints.  The plastic’s a little harder than I might like, but that comes with the DCC territory.  The cape is a cloth piece, and while I’m iffy on cloth capes, I actually really, really like this one.  It’s about on par with the cape on the Mezco DKR Batman in terms of quality, and that’s a very big compliment.  Mikey’s paintwork is fairly reasonable; I like how they’ve simulated the linework of the animation style in a way that looks good from pretty much any angle.  That’s quite hard to do properly.  Mikey is a fairly decently accessorized figure.  While he has nothing to go in the empty holsters on his belt (I’m confident the standard release will be keeping his nunchucks there), he does include three sets of hands (in griping, flat palm, and thumbs up), a slice of pizza, and a NYC manhole cover painted up like a whole pizza.  It’s kind of an eclectic collection of parts, but a pretty fun set of extras nonetheless.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This is Max’s fault.  I know, what are the odds?  It’s not even a Transformers thing.  So how’d it work out that way?  Well, he found this figure and asked if I wanted it, and here we are.  I know, I fought so valiantly against getting it.  Honestly, I was curious about the quality of the line, and wasn’t sure I wanted to drop a whole $50 to find out.  This figure ended up being a very pleasant surprise for me, and in fact convinced me I probably wanted to pick up at least the main four Turtles and their counterparts.  Not a bad figure at all.

#2163: Batcave (w/ Batman)

BATCAVE (w/ BATMAN)

BATMAN ’66 (MATTEL)

So, it’s apparently Batman Day, a fact I know because pretty much everyone keeps saying “hey did you know it’s Batman Day?”  I didn’t realize fictional characters were getting days now, but if anyone’s gonna get one, I guess it makes sense for it to be Batman.  He’s does have like one of everything; it’s only sensible he’d eventually have a day as well.  In the spirit of the day, I figured I’d take a look at one of the very many Batman items I have in my collection, courtesy of Mattel’s ill-fated run with the Batman ’66 license.  Let’s have a look at Batman and Mattel’s go at the Batcave!

THE SET ITSELF

The “To The Batcave” set was one of the last two items to come out of Mattel’s Batman ’66 line, released (initially, at least) as a Toys R Us-exclusive item, alongside the Triumphant Trio three-pack, in the late summer of 2015.  While billed as a playset, what it more works out to is a figure with a larger than average selection of accessories, because that’s just how Mattel do, I suppose.  The figure included here is a standard Batman, who would receive five separate releases by the time the line was done.  He stands right at 6 inches tall (quite under-scaling him when compared to pretty much any other 1:12 lines, since they tend to punch up a bit on size) and he has 23 points of articulation. Despite how many times it would end up re-issued, the Batman sculpt was probably the weakest of the line’s selection of very weak sculpts.  Firstly, let’s discuss the articulation.  DC Universe Classics was never on par with Legends, but it at least offered a workable selection of joints; not so with this line.  In addition to the general lack of joints, the joints included aren’t particularly useful.  The ab-crunch, the knees, and the elbows in particular have extremely reduced range, making even rather basic poses very difficult.  The quality of the sculpt proper’s not great either. While Adam West may not have been a body builder or anything during his time under the cowl, the extraordinarily skinny build on this figure goes way too far, building a figure that really doesn’t look like a real person at all.  Coupled with the already small scale on the figures, it makes Batman downright silly looking when compared to his contemporaries from lines running at the same time.  Additionally, despite being based on a real person, and not a comic book creation, this figure’s level of detailing marked a major step down when compared to prior Mattel output, as the majority of the costume is devoid of any sculpted textures.  About the best that can be said of the sculpt is that the masked head doesn’t have a terrible likeness.  So, that’s the old figure that they threw into the box to take up space.  What about all the new stuff they added that was supposed to actually sell this thing?  Well, the box proudly proclaims that the set includes 15 accessories…which is true, albeit not quite as impressive as the box might lead you to believe.  To go on the figure proper, we get an unmasked Bruce Wayne head.  Kind of an interesting choice, since I don’t believe we actually ever saw Bruce unmasked in the costume on the show.  However, it’s got a decent likeness of West, and it actually looks a little better on the body than the standard head.  The largest piece is definitely the Batcomputer, which is a decent set piece, even if it is pretty simplistic.  At least it’s got its proper label, showcasing 60s Batman’s love of labels.  The piece is hollow, and the back pops off to reveal the “Secret Equipment Storage,” which is where you can stow all of the other parts when you aren’t using them.  The back that pops off is designed to look like the inside of stately Wayne manor, allowing for two different display options, and two different sets of accessories to go along with them.  On the cave side, we get three batarangs (all identical), four cans of Batman Spray Repellent (again all identical), the Batzooka, Bat megaphone, and Bat communicator.  The duplication of the batarangs and repellent is kind of odd, since obviously he can’t use them all at once, nor is there really anywhere to display the extras, making it really seem like Mattel included as many as they did to bump that accessory count up.  Additionally, there’s the ongoing issue with Batman generally just being unable to really hold any of the included extras. The Batzooka in particular is notable, as its size and weight mean that the figure will fall over if its held in any fashion other than at his side.  On the Wayne Manor side, we get the Shakespeare bust with the hidden button for cave access and the red Bat-phone.  The bust is definitely my favorite extra included here, because the sculpt’s really clean, and the hinge works quite nicely.  To complete the two different set-ups, there’s a card with a Batcave illustration on one side and Wayne manor on the other, as well as a stand to hold the card.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

By the time this set hit, my enthusiasm for the line was completely dead.  I picked up everything from the initial run, but only ended up picking up the three-pack when I was disappointed at not getting anything Star Wars-y during the first Force Friday event.  This set, as interesting a concept as it may be, just didn’t excite me enough to drop $35 on it.  However, a friend of mine had gotten one a while ago, and decided they no longer wanted it, and thus it made its way into my collection.  As with so much Mattel did, it fills me with mixed emotions.  There are some cool things in here, and in general it’s a fun concept, but the core Batman’s kind of rotten, and this being the fifth time we got him really hinders the set.  I think if it had been in that first wave of product, rather than pushed all the way to the end of the line, it might have been a bigger hit, but quite frankly there’s a lot of things that could have been done differently to make this line worth while.

#2147: Alfred Pennyworth

ALFRED PENNYWORTH

DC COMICS MULTIVERSE (MATTEL)

“Butler.  Medic.  Soldier.  Friend.  There’s nobody more important to Bruce Wayne than Alfred Pennyworth.”

Since his first appearance in Batman #16 waaaaay back in 1943, Alfred’s been a pretty standard fixture of the Batman mythos.  Even as Robins come and go, Alfred’s always there, snarking his way through life.  He’s perhaps the most pivotal member of Batman’s supporting cast.  Despite his importance, he is just an older gentleman in a suit, meaning he doesn’t quite lend himself to the most exciting toys.  While his frequency as an action figure has certainly stepped up in the last decade, it’s still rare enough an event to be pretty exciting, and it’s certainly cool to see him squeak his way into Mattel’s final push of DC figures.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Alfred is part of the Killer Croc Series of DC Comics Multiverse, one of the final assortments of DC product coming out of Mattel.  It’s a whole Batman-themed line-up, so Alfred’s place is a natural one.  Interestingly, this assortment sort of jumped the order a bit, and ended up arriving sooner at stores than many had expected.  Alfred is officially branded “DC Rebirth”, but generally works quite well as a fairly standard classic Alfred.  The figure stands 6 3/4 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  So, let’s address my primary complaint about this figure: his height.  He’s a good 1/4 inch taller than just about every similarly styled Batman figure that Mattel put out.  Integrating this guy in with your DCUC collection’s not really happening, to say nothing of the even smaller Movie Masters-style figures.  He’ll go fine with some DC Collectibles stuff, and actually fits pretty much right in with NECA figures, but it’s weird that they didn’t actually work to scale him with their own offerings.  Moving on from the height, let’s also discuss the articulation.  Alfred is possibly the best articulated DC figure Mattel’s ever put out.  He pretty much takes the Marvel Legends set-up and ports it over to DC.  As amazing as that is, I definitely had a laugh about Alfred having a neck joint that goes up and down after so many flying characters went without, and double-jointed elbows and knees when we never got a single Batman figure with those joints, given that Alfred is not a particularly acrobatic character.  Whatever the case, I certainly won’t complain in the case of this figure, who is not only well-articulated, but it’s also pretty well worked into his sculpt, which is itself a surprisingly good offering for a Mattel figure.  There’s quite a bit of detailing on the body, and Alfred is packed with not one, not two, not three, but four different heads.  The one he comes wearing is the standard classic comics Alfred, and it definitely captures the usual spirit of the character.  Also in the comics department is the head depicting Alfred in his Outsider identity; it’s the most modern version of the concept, and it’s not quite as well-scaled to the body, as well as being more situation specific, but it’s still cool.  Moving away from the printed page, there are also two live action Alfred heads included.  We get Alan Napier from the ’66 Batman show, as well as Michael Gough from the ’90s films.  This ties back into my point about the body not scaling with Movie Masters and the like from earlier, as these heads won’t quite work with Mattel’s offerings.  On the other hand, NECA produced both West and Keaton as 7 inch figures, and he’ll look good with them.  It’s worth noting that both likenesses are pretty much spot-on, which really sells the whole idea here.  In addition to the multiple heads, Alfred is also packed with a serving tray, a small glass, a Batman cowl, and one of the arms of Killer Croc.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I knew only passingly about this figure, and honestly didn’t expect for him and his wave-mates to make it to shelves.  I had also managed to miss that he was coming with all of the extra heads, so that was a pretty pleasant surprise when I found him in person.  The base figure is a solid offering, and the extra heads are nothing short of inspired.  This is how to do an Alfred figure justice, and it continues the increasingly depressing trend of Mattel’s DC Comics Multiverse figures actually being really good.  He’s kind of so good that he further highlights just how awful their output had been for so long.  Imagine if the Batman ’66 figures had been on par with the Alan Napier head included here.  Wouldn’t that have been something?  Honestly, wouldn’t it have been something if Mattel had gotten things together some time before their final year with the license?