#2899: Batgirl

BATGIRL

BATMAN: THE CAPED CRUSADER (SPIN MASTER)

It’s been a little bit since I’ve looked at anything from Spin Master’s DC slate.  Admittedly, that’s because it tends to be a little tricky to find.  I’m reviewing it as fast as I can, you guys!  I swear!  This year’s theme for the line is Bat-Tech, which is allowing them to do all sorts of whacky variants for the Caped Crusader, his allies, and his foes.  It’s a mix of re-decos, re-workings, and even some all-new figures.  I’m looking at one of those all-new additions, Batgirl, today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Batgirl is part of the sixth assortment of Spin Master’s Batman: The Caped Crusader line, which is also the second assortment under the “Bat-Tech” banner.  The figure stands about 4 inches tall and she has 17 points of articulation.  Apart from the way the hair is sculpt blocking the neck movement a bit, it’s a good articulation set-up, like the other Spin Master DC offerings before it.  Batgirl’s design here is a mix of a few different designs.  Her Batgirl of Burnside design from recent years is very definitely being referenced, but there’s also some more classic ’60s Batgirl vibes, especially with the gloves and boots.  And it’s all topped off with just a dash of the whole Bat-Tech aesthetic, making it all future-y and sci-fi.  I expected Batgirl to be using parts from Batwoman, but upon comparing the two, that doesn’t seem to be the case, and it looks like Barbara is sporting an all-new sculpt.  It’s a pretty good one at that.  Like Wonder Woman, she’s still rather leggy, but it comes across as more of a stylistic thing, and with the long cape and such as well, it all comes together for a nicely put together sculpt.  Probably one of my favorites, honestly.  The paint work on the figure is pretty decent as well.  The base work matches the sort of amalgamated design, and the extra tech detailing is a rather fun, generally unobtrusive choice.  Batgirl is packed with three accessories, a batarang, a katana, and a grapnel gun, all in transparent blue.  They’re all kinda goofy and silly, but it fits the vibe of the line well, so I can’t really knock them.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I discovered this Batgirl figure’s existence while going through the line’s upcoming releases during my first Bat-Tech review, and I knew I wanted her right away.  I’ve already got a Nightwing, and in my mind, no Nightwing really feels complete without a corresponding Batgirl.  Thankfully, Max was able to keep his eye out for me, and I got my hands on one without much fuss.  She’s a lot of fun, and I honestly don’t mind that we got the Bat-Tech version first, because the extra details are nifty.  I dig it.

#2874: Batman Beyond

BATMAN BEYOND

DC MULTIVERSE (MCFARLANE)

“Terry McGinnis was just an ordinary teenager, until his father was mysteriously killed.  Suspecting foul play, Terry meets an older, bitter Bruce Wayne and learns a secret hidden for decades.  When Bruce refuses to help, Terry steals and dons a high-tech, tricked-out Batsuit in a quest to avenge his father’s death as Batman”

Though he had trouble getting any accurate figures during the run of his show, Batman Beyond has done a little bit better in the years that have followed.  Since the character was worked into the DC comics universe proper, he’s been treated to a few more figures, typically a bit more realistic in design.  Most recently, he’s found his way into McFarlane’s run with the brand, you know, because he’s a Batman.  It’s really easy to get Batman variants out there when it’s, like 75% of your output.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Batman Beyond is his own solo release in McFarlane’s DC Multiverse line.  A slightly tweaked version showed up first as a Target-exclusive, and the main release, which I’m looking at here, started showing up everywhere else in the last month or two.  The figure stands about 6 3/4 inches tall and he has 38 points of articulation, as well as moving wings.  The articulation scheme here is essentially the same as all the other Multiverse figures from McFarlane.  It’s not a terrible set-up.  Some of the joints are a little tighter than I’d like, and some of the joints are a little more obvious than I’d like.  I especially am not a real fan of how the arms and legs look when the elbows and knees are bent.  Overall, they’re not the worst, though.  BB’s sculpt is a new one, largely shared with the Target-version, of course.  It’s a more realistically proportioned version of the character, which might seem the obvious outcome at first, but then you have to remember the “animated” style monstrosities that were in the first assortment of the line, and that will make you eternally grateful that they went realistic here.  Of course, it’s still a McFarlane translation of the design, so that means there’s a bunch of additional details that do sort of muck up the sleek design that the original has.  It’s not quite as bad as some of their other offerings, and they do at least generally follow the flow of the design, so it’s not terrible.  The only thing I’m not crazy about on the main body is the gauntlets, which go for more Arkham game-style Batman gauntlets, and just don’t work quite as well.  The other thing I’m not so big on?  The wings.  It’s not that the wings are there, mind you; Mattel and DCD both left them off entirely on their first goes, and that was a letdown.  What frustrates me is that they’re not removable, because in a case of classic McFarlane overengineering, there’s a very specific joint for them built into the back of the figure.  A simple peg joint would have allowed them to be removed, and they would have functioned essentially the same way.  As it stands, they can’t be removed, just folded down, which means he’s not accurate to how the character looked for the vast majority of his time.  His paint work is decent enough.  There’s not a ton to it, but that’s accurate.  I appreciate that they didn’t over do the paint, though.  That’s always a plus.  BB is packed with a flight stand, two sets of hands (open gesture and gripping), flight effects, and a batarang.  The batarang is, notably, *not* a Beyond Batarang, which is annoying, since the Target release got the proper one.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve effectively been on the hunt for the definitive Batman Beyond since the show came out.  Every time a new one is released, I hope that one might be the one that does it, and every time, I feel a bit let down, because there’s just always something that throws them off.  Sadly, this one continues the trend.  Where those wings removeable, he’d be really close, but with them permanently attached, it definitely holds him back a bit in my book.  I mean, I do still like him, but I wish I liked him more.

Thanks to my sponsors over at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure to review.  If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2853: Mr. Freeze

MR. FREEZE

BATMAN: THE CAPED CRUSADER)  (SPIN MASTER)

Spin Master’s DC lines had a slightly rough start last year, what with the pandemic and everything, but they’re seemingly starting to get things a bit more back on track this year.  In particular, they seem to be having alright luck with the Batman half of their product lines.  Thus far, they’ve even had a small handful of store exclusives, with Target in particular having a few different pairs of Batman and one villain variant at a time.  The latest villainous addition is one of my favorites, Mr. Freeze, who I’ll be taking a look at today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Mr. Freeze is one of the two latest Target-exclusive figures from Spin Master’s Batman: The Caped Crusader line, the other being another Batman repaint.  Freeze, on the other hand, is actually an all-new figure, which I do believe is a first for one of these exclusives.  That’s pretty nifty, I guess.  The figure stands about 4 inches tall and he has 16 points of articulation.  He lacks the usual neck movement, as most Freeze figures do, thanks to the domed helmet, which is a permanent fixture on this guy.  Design wise, he’s taking his cues largely from the post-New 52 version of the character.  While I was iffy on the design earlier in its run, the slight adjustments to it have made it a little bit more palatable.  I’m still not big on the suns out guns out arms, but I’ll live.  Structurally, he’s an all-new sculpt.  It’s pretty decent and generally in keeping with the rest of the line in styling.  There’s some pretty nice detailing going on in his various tech pieces, and I appreciate that he’s got a fully detailed head underneath the helmet.  It’s even got that pitch-perfect lack of expression on the face.  Can’t have any emotion on a Mr. Freeze figure.  I mean, not in front of other people, anyway.  That’s for later, back in his cell, when he’s all weepy and stuff.  But we don’t talk about that.  It gets awkward.  So let’s move on.  In terms of paint work, Freeze is rather basic.  There’s a little bit of painted work on the torso, but that’s it, with everything else just relying on the molded colors.  It’s not really far off from his usual colors anyway, so it works out fine.  There are a few smaller details that get left the same color as the surrounding stuff, but it’s still generally in keeping with the rest of the line.  Freeze is packed with three accessories, all of which are guns.  Lotta guns.  He likes his guns. They’re all re-used, which is a little bit of a let-down, but I guess they have to save some tooling where they can.  The re-used Killer Moth gun works out okay, but the Batman and Joker guns are a bit less so, since they’ve got a Bat-emblem and a pie tin on them, respectively.  Kind of not Freeze’s usual branding.  At least with the clear blue plastic, it’s not quite as immediately evident, but it would have been nice to see at least one new one here.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As with so many of the Spin Master DCs, this one’s Max’s fault.  Okay, well, not entirely, I suppose, since I actually told him about the figure’s existence in the first place.  So, that’s on me.  I’m very definitely a Freeze fan, so I’m glad to see him added to the line, and while it may not be my first choice of outfit, it’s still pretty darn fun.  Spin Master’s quite good at keeping things fun, and I very much appreciate that.

#2724: John Blake

JOHN BLAKE

THE DARK KNIGHT RISES MOVIE MASTERS (MATTEL)

Man, remember when DC movies weren’t totally divisive and the subject of much ire between fandoms?  Me either.  But I do remember Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy, and there are certainly opinions about that one, aren’t there?  Personally, I break from the few agreed upon ideas about the trilogy, namely that I’ve never been that terribly impressed by The Dark Knight (not that I think it’s a *bad* movie by any stretch), and I actually quite like it’s rather divisive follow-up, The Dark Knight Rises.  Amongst the things that I really enjoy in Rises is Joseph Gordon Levitt’s turn as GCPD Detective John Blake, the closest thing this incarnation of the franchise got to a Robin (and as much as I enjoy the film, even I will admit that reveal was a little bit ham-fisted).  Mattel actually went pretty in-depth for their Movie Masters component to the film’s tie-in toys, covering most of the major players, John included.  I’m taking a look at him today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

John Blake was released in the third round of Mattel’s Dark Knight Rises Movie Masters figures, technically alongside Ra’s Al-Gul, though that implies that the two of them ever shared any shelf space at retail…or made it to retail at all, for that matter…This line was a little bit mismanaged to say the least.  The figure is just shy of 6 inches tall and he has 23 points of articulation.  As a Mattel product, especially from their movie lines, it’s probably not a huge surprise that his articulation doesn’t have the greatest range of motion.  In particular, the ab-crunch and elbows are quite restricted, not that any of that was surprising for this line.  Blake gets two distinct looks for the movie, his standard GCPD officer’s uniform, and the more dressed down attire he gets after being promoted to detective.  At the time, Mattel was doing pretty much everything they could to put as many of these guys as possible on the standard suit body, but despite that opted for Blake in his GCPD attire.  It’s his slightly more distinctive look, and the one used for most of the promotional stuff for the movie, so that made sense.  It also meant he got a surprising amount of new parts, with only the lower half of the figure using the suit body pieces.  The rest was new, and honestly not bad for Mattel’s usual output from this era.  The head’s got one of Mattel’s better likenesses for Movie Masters, and actually kind of looks like JGL.  He’s still perhaps a little on the cartoony side, but it’s pretty close.  His paint work is all pretty basic, but not bad.  It more or less gets the job done.  The hands are painted, rather than molded with makes them a little thick and devoid of detail, but it’s not terrible.  Blake was originally packed with part of the Bat Signal Collect-N-Connect scene, and that was it.  No character specific extras or anything, which feels kind of lazy.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I really wanted this figure when it was released, as I’d really enjoyed the character in the film, and I’m just generally a fan of Joseph Gordon Levitt as an actor.  Unfortunately, I never actually saw one at retail, nor did I even really see him on the secondary market, even for inflated pricing.  He was just rather uncommon.  I resigned myself to not have the figure, and kind of forgot about him.  That was until the same collection the got me yesterday’s BAT, also had this guy.  Huzzah, finally a John Blake!  Ultimately, he’s not really much to write home about, but he’s probably one of the best Movie Masters Mattel did during their tenure.

#2720: Bat-Tech Batman & The Joker

BAT-TECH BATMAN & THE JOKER

BATMAN: THE CAPED CRUSADER (SPIN MASTER)

So, did you guys here about that exciting new DC-related thing that dropped last week?  It was pretty big.  It had Batman and Joker, and some others as well from what I hear.  Lot of time in the making.  I am, of course, referring to the latest assortment of Spin Master’s Batman: The Caped Crusader, dubbed “Bat-Tech,” which gives us some new, teched-out variants of the main players.  What else could I possibly be talking about?  Amongst these teched-out variants are, unsurprisingly, Batman and Joker, who are sort of headlining this whole thing.  I’ll be taking a look at the two of them today!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Bat-Tech Batman and Joker are both part of fifth series of Spin Master’s The Caped Crusader line, which is the first official assortment of 2021.  The two of them both key into the whole “Bat-Tech” theme of this assortment, and the whole line has been slightly rebranded, with a new packaging set-up.  They’ve kept the same general look and feel, including the blind boxed accessories, but the whole thing is slightly more refined, and just generally different.

There are three different Batmen in the main assortment, but this one’s the one that officially carries the “Bat-Tech” name, and is really the one that most clearly evokes that wacky variant feel.  This particular Batman design doesn’t really have any direct ties to the comics that I know of, but instead does sort of a Tron-esque tech suit thing, which is mostly black, with some bright blue mixed in.  I dig it.  I dig it a lot.  The figure stands about 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 17 points of articulation.  I’ve had some issues with stuck joints on some of these guys previously, but I had no such issues for this guy, which I definitely appreciated.  He’s an all-new sculpt, rather than borrowing from one of the previous Batmen.  He’s slightly armored up, but in a different fashion than the two prior armored Batman designs.  This one’s definitely more streamlined, which fits well with the overall design.  Like the other caped figures in the line so far, Batman’s is cloth.  It seems to be a slightly sturdier material than prior capes, and generally hangs a little better than the slightly more paper-like material from previous releases.  He’s still got the hole in it, to keep with the line’s overall playability set-up.  Batman’s paint work is pretty basic and straight forward, but also his strongest asset.  It’s quite eye catching, and the application is generally pretty clean, without any notable slop or bleed over. Batman’s blind packed accessories consist of a winged back pack, an oversized batarang, and what looks to be a grenade launcher of some sort.  Mine are all in a clear blue; I don’t know if they have varied potential colors like prior releases, but the all blue certainly works for me; it looks kind of like they’re hard light constructs or something.

Joker has been a consistent fixture of the Caped Crusader line so far, turning up in just about every assortment.  It makes sense, him being Joker and all.  Like Batman, he gets wacky-variant-ized here, taking the classic Joker design of earlier figures, and sort of disheveling it a bit.  He’s 3 3/4 inches tall with 17 points of articulation, and like with Batman, I had no issues with stuck joints this time around.  Joker’s sculpt is a mostly new offering, although he does make use of the head from the prior Joker.  It’s sensible from a consistency stand point, so I can’t really knock it.  This Joker sculpt takes the prior, more classic and clean Joker, and sort of makes him look like he’s been in the midst of the action, picking things up as he goes.  He’s ditched his tie, and lost one of his shoes, replacing it with a stray boot.  He’s also added a few straps of pouches, as well as adding his own utility belt.  It’s a cool, sort of wasteland-looking Joker design, and definitely a lot of fun.  His paint work mostly keeps with the classic Joker color scheme, with the added details getting their own paint work…for the most part.  One of the straps goes unpainted, but the others are good to go.  The application gets a little fuzzy on a few of the edges, but generally looks pretty solid.  Joker’s secret weapons are a boxing-glove arm attachment (which is totally getting used with my GL figure), a laughing fish, and a little wind up chattering teeth bomb.  They’re all in a clear green, which makes a nice contrast for the blue with Batman, and I love how they’re all so well tied to the character.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Full disclosure: the two figures reviewed here were sent to me in exchange for a review courtesy of Spin Master, in order to help promote their figures in conjunction with the release of Zack Snyder’s Justice League.  Per Spin Master, The Bat-Tech collection features exciting, high-tech styles of figures to collect featuring a variety of 4-inch and 12-inch figures from the Batman universe, and they are available in stores now.

I’ve been supporting Spin Master’s DC stuff pretty much since day 1, and I have definitely been pulling for them to really succeed with this line, because everything I’ve gotten from them has been so fun.  With the Bat-Tech set-up, it really feels like they’re starting to find their footing with the brand, and are making it more their own thing.  Both of these figures are a lot of fun, and give us two pretty solid new designs for characters that we’re undoubtedly going to see crop up again and again.  The new play pattern really works, and I’m definitely going to be snagging other figures from this set as I find them.

#2700: Batman

BATMAN

FIRST APPEARANCE (DC DIRECT)

Adopting a ghastly, bat-like costume designed to inspire fear in the hearts of the “superstitious & cowardly” criminal element of Gotham City, Bruce Wayne burst onto the comics scene as Batman in 1939’s Detective Comics #27!”

2700 reviews.  That’s a nice sort of clean number, easily divisible by 27.  27’s a notable number in the world of comics, what with it being the issue number of the first appearance of Batman, who’s kind of a big deal, I guess.  What a crazy great tie-in for my 2700th review, right?  What great planning, right?  I’m very clever and organized, aren’t I?  ….Are you buying any of this?  Or is it just patently obvious that this was totally a coincidence, and the significance that I picked a First Appearance Batman for my 2700th review only dawned on me when I actually sat down to write the review.  Because, well, that’s what happened.  Thrilling story, I know.  Look, let’s just get to the review, shall we?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Batman was released as part of the first series of DC Direct’s First Appearance line in 2004, the 65th anniversary of the character.  Batman got into the first assortment over Superman, despite Superman’s first appearance being, you know, first, but hey, it was early ’00s DCD; if there was a chance at making a Batman, they were making Batman.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 13 points of articulation.  He was by far DCD’s most articulated Batman at the time, possessing movement at both the wrists and the tops of the biceps.  He could almost cross his arms, even.  How quaint.  DCD was beginning its hard turn to artist-specific figures at this point in time, and First Appearance really embraced that.  Batman’s sculpt is very clearly patterned on Bob Kane’s….studio’s illustrations of Batman from the pages of Detective #27.  It’s a simpler style of art by modern standards, but the figure nevertheless stuck to it.  It’s a pretty clean looking sculpt, and it captures the highlights of what made this version of the costume distinctive, as well as doing a pretty alright job of making him work as an actual posable figure.  That’s something DCD historically had a lot of trouble handling, so they did a very respectable job here.  The range of motion on the joints is actually pretty respectable, especially on the neck, which is really the most key.  For the first few assortments, the First Appearance line dabbled in some cloth goods for most of the figures, a rather new venture for DCD at the time.  In accordance with this, Batman’s cape is a cloth piece.  It’s rather thickly constructed, with two sides; on black, one blue.  In order to give Batman’s the wing-like presence it had in the comic, there are some wires running through.  It’s one of those “better in theory than in practice” deals, but it’s not awful, especially for the time.  Batman’s paint work is pretty straightforward, as is to be expected, given its attempts to stick to the source material.  The colors are rather vibrant, and they’ve even done some rather nice work on the black sections, which have a quite impressive glossy sheen to them.  In terms of accessories, DCD was still going rather sparse.  Batman got a display stand and a small reprint of Detective Comics #27.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

While only a moderate Batman fan myself, I’ve always really liked his first appearance look, and I used to doodle it a lot on various papers and such as a kid.  This figure was really right up my alley at the time, and I snagged him back when he was new, courtesy of my local haunt, Cosmic Comix.  He’s perhaps not an incredibly impressive figure by today’s standards, but he was quite good for a DCD figure at the time, and he still holds up as a really good recreation of the design from the comics, and a distinctive figure at that.

#2655: Batman Earth -32

BATMAN EARTH -32

DC MULTIVERSE (MCFARLANE)

In DC’s Dark Multiverse, on Earth -32, the green light of will has twisted an angry Bruce Wayne into something very dark and sinister. After the murder of his parents in Crime Alley, young Bruce is gifted with a Green Lantern ring, which allows him to fly and to generate deadly hard-light energy constructs. With no Alfred Pennyworth to guide him, he soon swallows his fear and pain and lets the void that remains corrupt him and the ring, unleashing a wave of darkness across his world, and now ours, as The Dawnbreaker.”

There’s no denying that McFarlane’s DC output for the last year has been rather Batman-centric.  So Batman centric that the storyline they’ve been most faithfully focusing on has been “Dark Knights: Metal”, a story that focusses in on “what if all of the non-Batman characters were also Batman?”  One of the Batman-ed characters is Green Lantern, and, to be honest, the Green Lantern/Batman mash-up isn’t actually a new concept.  It’s something DC’s been flirting with for a while in differing capacities, and this is just the most recent version, I guess.  It could be worse, really.  Anyway, it got a toy, and Green Lantern and action figure are two things that are rather up my alley, so here I am.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Batman of Earth -32 is part of the first proper “Dark Knights: Metal”-themed assortment of DC Multiverse figures.  Where it falls in the actually numbering scheme is something that’s lost on me, but I do know it hit right at the end of 2020, for what it’s worth.  This and The Grim Knight are the lighter packed figures in the line-up, at just one of each per case.  The figure stands 7 1/4 inches tall and he has 39 points of articulation.  His articulation scheme is similar to the Superman and Nightwing figures.  It’s definitely more restricted on the neck, torso, and hips.  The neck’s due to the costume design, which is understandable, but the torso and hips is just down to poor implementation.  For the most part, though, it’s a decent layout.  The sculpt is an all-new piece, based on  Jason Fabok’s art from the cover of Batman The Dawnbreaker #1, which is certainly the most distinctive piece of art for the character.  It also has the unintended bonus of making him fit in pretty well with the DC Essentials figures from DC Collectibles, since those are based on Fabok’s artwork too.  Of course, it being a McFarlane product, there’s a certain level of McFarlane-izing going on.  In this figure’s case it means he’s a little bit lankier than the illustration, and falls into the same territory as a lot of McFarlane’s DC figures of adding a lot of piping and other smaller costume details that aren’t present in the source material.  It makes him a little busier than the comics design.  It’s not as bad here as on more simplified designs like Superman and Nightwing, but I still do wonder why they feel the need to keep busying everything up.  Also, for some reason, the GL-logo is different from every piece of artwork I was able to find of the character.  It’s missing the circle around the actual lantern.  I don’t dislike it, but it’s another case of change for the sake of change.  One area that they got down pretty spot-on is the head sculpt.  It’s got the lopsided sneer that the character frequently sports, which is a rather distinctive appearance.  Dawnbreaker’s paint work is fairly decent.  It’s an interesting mix of differing greens.  There are some nice differences in sheen, and I definitely dig the metallic greens.  Dawnbreaker includes a construct shaped like some eldritch abomination bat/octopus thing, a flight stand, and a collector’s card.  The construct’s a lot of fun, but I do wish it were a little more secure on the figure’s arm.  Still, it’s a cool visual, as is using the flight stand to allow him to hover off the ground.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

My initial experience with McFarlane’s DC figures wasn’t super impressive or confidence inspiring, so I haven’t really been following them since.  However, I knew I’d have a hard time saying no to this figure when it was shown off, and sure enough, when I saw it in person, I was game.  It’s a design that feels really up McFarlane’s alley, and they did a pretty decent job of capturing it in toy form.  There are some definite flaws, but in general, this figure works out better than previous offeringsm and I’m much happier this time.

Thanks to my sponsors at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure for review.  If you’re looking for toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2652: Batman

BATMAN

DC C3 CONSTRUCTION (PLAY ALONG)

The initial assortment of DC C3 Construction hit in the summer of 2004, and they were really focused on actually selling it as a line of construction sets that also included some Minimates.  In their second year in 2005, they tried that again, albeit with a smaller assortment this time.  Following that assortment, they kind of gave up even trying to pretend about what they were doing, and transitioned the line to a much more compact, lower price point selection of “Mini Flyers”, small vehicles that were a very thin excuse to put out the Minimates effectively on their own, only, you know, not.  Even through this end, they stuck to their heavy focus on Batman characters, including variants of the main man himself.  I’m looking at one of those variants today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Batman was released in April 2005 in the very originally named “Batman Mini Flyer” set, one of the six Mini Flyer sets that made up the final assortment of the DC C3 Construction line.  By this point, they were only packing a single Minimate with each set, so as to keep the price down, so Batman was all by his lonesome.  He was a comic-based figure, specifically drawn from his ’70s era appearances, as denoted by his predominately blue color scheme.  He’s built on the standard ‘mate body with C3 feet.  Still no standard peg holes for the heads, so he’s got a solid noggin piece.  He’s got add-ons for his mask, cape, belt, and gloves.  The mask, cape, and belt are the same ones used on the Dark Knight Batman included with the larger Batmobile set, but the gloves are new pieces for…reasons?  There were four standard Batmen in the C3 line, and every one of them used a different set of glove pieces, and I couldn’t for the life of me begin to tell you why.  These ones do at least put the arm spikes on the back of the gloves, where they’re supposed to be but tend not to be.  So, that makes them cool, I guess.  Also, these parts are not rubbery like last week’s Robin, so that’s another marked improvement.  Batman’s paint was generally pretty basic, and definitely not as involved as Robin.  Given the classic inspiration, that’s somewhat sensible, but not doing the shading on the front of the mask does feel like a missed opportunity.  I do like the slightly different expression on the face under the mask, though; it’s a nice change-up from the usual neutral expressions.  This Batman didn’t get any accessories, but there was the Mini Flyer, I guess.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The Mini Flyer’s are really where this line lost me, so I missed out on picking all of them but one when they were at retail.  Batman wasn’t that one, but he was a figure I was always interested to have.  Thankfully for me, he came in with the larger Minimate collection that showed up at All Time last year, and here we are.  Ultimately, I think DCD’s later classic Batman was slightly better, but this one’s still got his own charm to him.

#2645: Robin

ROBIN

DC C3 CONSTRUCTION (PLAY ALONG)

In 2004, Marvel Minimates entered their second year, making them by far the most successful Minimates offering up to that point.  Not that it took much, of course.  That same year, the brand attempted to expand…in a fashion, anyway.  Since Marvel’s cavalcade of super heroes proved successful, there was an attempt to get DC in the game as well.  Due to how the DC license was split up at the time, there was no space for a straight forward DC Minimates release at quite that time, but through a bit of loophole abuse, Art Asylum was able to partner with Play Along, who held the license for DC-based construction sets.  Dubbed “C3” (for “Create, Construct, Customize”), the sets each included at least one Minimate as a pack-in figure.  The first round was Batman-heavy, and included multiple versions of the Caped Crusader, as well as his trusty sidekick, Robin, who I’ll be looking at today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Robin was included in the “Mini Batmobile” set, one of the first 7 sets released in the DC C3 Construction line in the summer of 2004.  There was also a Batman included in the set, but I’m just focusing on Robin this time.  Robin was one of the comic-based figures, and was specifically based on the Tim Drake incarnation of the character.  This was noteworthy for being the only Minimate version of Tim ever to be produced.  The figure was based on the standard ‘mate body, with the new C3 feet, of course, so he stands 2 1/4 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation.  While he’s got the C3 feet, he’s still without a hair piece with a peg, showcasing the slow evolution of the line.  He gets a new hair piece, cape, belt, and gloves.  They were pretty decent pieces overall, but for whatever reason, the add-ons for this guy are really rubbery.  This is the biggest issue when it comes to the hair, which has a lot of trouble staying properly in place, as it’s not rigid enough to actually clip on.  It still looks okay, but it’s not ideal for play.  The gloves are definitely the nicest pieces, though, and have some pretty sharp detail work.  The paint work is pretty solid.  It showcased a bit more detailing than earlier Marvel efforts, with the mask and boots in particular having quite a bit of creative lighting to them.  The face and musculature remain fairly basic at this point, but it allowed him to remain at least somewhat consistent with the animation-based figures from the same set.  Though Robin was effectively an accessory himself, he nevertheless did get an extra of his own, namely Tim’s signature bo staff.  It’s another soft plastic piece, but it still looks pretty cool.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When these guys were shown off, the Mini Batmobile was the one I most wanted, and was subsequently the first one I got.  As with many of my early ‘mates, I lost most of the parts to both the Batmobile itself and the two figures it included.  Batmen are a dime a dozen, but this was the only modern era Robin, so I’d been looking for a replacement for a little while.  Thankfully, when All Time got in that large collection of Minimates last year, I was able to snag a replacement Robin.  He’s definitely one of the coolest C3 offerings, and honestly holds up pretty well, even after all this time.

#2602: Batman – Gotham By Gaslight

BATMAN — GOTHAM BY GASLIGHT

ELSEWORLDS (DC DIRECT)

“As a young Bruce Wayne takes up the mantle of the Bat, a series of slayings mirroring the work of Jack the Ripper begins.”

DC’s Elseworlds line allowed them to tell stories that fell outside of the confines of a normal universe story, which opened the playing field to all sorts of crazy concepts.  It also lent itself pretty well to lots of “let’s mash up this DC thing with another established thing” scenarios.  This actually goes back to the very first Elseworlds tale, Batman: Gotham by Gaslight, which is “what if Batman was Victorian era and fought Jack the Ripper?”  It’s not high concept, but it’s certainly fun.  It’s also some of Mike Mignola’s earlier work, and has some pretty impressive design work.  The story’s Victorian Batman design is quite distinctive, which makes it ripe for making action figures, as DC Direct did in 2007.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Gotham By Gaslight Batman was released in the second series of DC Direct’s Elseworlds line.  He was one of two Batmen included, the other being the Red Son version of the character, which is another quite distinctive, if perhaps slightly thematically similar version of the Batman design.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 13 points of articulation.  The articulation’s not a lot, but it was about what you’d expect from DCD at the time.  It’s good for some slight tweaks to his posture, but that’s really it.  It’s certainly better than nothing.  The sculpt was an all-new piece, and it was definitely DCD at their best.  They really had a lot of fun with the artist-specific work in this line, and in the case of this Batman, they’ve done a pretty spot on job of capturing that early Mignola art style.  He doesn’t quite have the extreme hallmarks of later Mignola stuff, but there’s still enough to make it recognizable.  I really like how they’ve translated the texturing of Mignola’s work into something three dimensional, and I also quite enjoy how they’ve managed to keep him rather dynamic while also keeping a fairly neutral pose.  The flow of that cape is just beautiful.  The only thing I’m not too keen on are the ears, which always point a bit inward on mine.  It’s an unfortunate side effect of how small they have to be and how they were packaged in the box, I suppose.  The paint work does a nice job of replicating the way Mignola’s work is illustrated in the book, with a subdued palette and a decent job of outlining the features on the face.  There’s also some great accenting on the belt, as well as some impressive work on the mud stains on his boots and cape.  All in all, a very well rendered paint scheme.  The only slight let down to this guy are the accessories.  All he gets is a stand.  Its not much to go on, and felt quite light given the price these things were going for relative to everything else at the time.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I picked up this guy back when he was brand new, courtesy of my usual comics haunt, Cosmic Comix.  He was the first of the Elseworlds line I grabbed, mostly because I wanted a Mignola Batman figure, and I wasn’t picky about which particular design it was.  I hadn’t even read the comic at the time (I have since).  He’s certainly a nice looking figure, even if he’s maybe not so exciting to actually play with.