#3003: The Batman Who Laughs – Sky Tyrant Wings

THE BATMAN WHO LAUGHS — SKY TYRANT WINGS

DC MULTIVERSE (MCFARLANE)

“Born from the nightmares of the Dark Multiverse, The Batman Who Laughs is a hybrid version of the Batman and The Joker from Earth -22. This twisted version of Batman was created when nanotoxins from The Joker’s heart were released into Bruce Wayne’s bloodstream, causing the Dark Knight’s perfect mind to merge with the warped psyche of the Clown Prince of Crime. He soon became part of an attempt to plunge the entire Multiverse into ultraviolence, chaos, and utter darkness. After being initially defeated, The Batman Who Laughs managed to survive and remains a threat to the greatest heroes of the Multiverse.”

For Day 3 of the post-Christmas, we’re going back to more of my usual territory, specifically the realm of super hero comics.  Even more specifically, DC Comics.  They’re pretty busy doing nothing but Batman these days, and, well, umm, here’s some more of that, I suppose.  The last few years, DC’s bread and butter (and, by extension, their main licensee McFarlane’s bread and butter) has been Dark Knights Metal, a multiversal story where everyone is Batman.  Except for Batman.  Sometimes Batman is Joker.  And here we are with that.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Batman Who Laughs with Sky Tyrant Wings is the second version of the Batman Who Laughs to be released in McFarlane’s DC Multiverse line, as part of the Merciless Collect-To-Build assortment, which was released at the tail end of 2020, at least in some quantities, and made it out more fully last year.  The figure stands 7 inches tall and he has 40 points of articulation, thanks to the extra joints present in the wings.  In terms of articulation scheme, he generally follows the usual McFarlane set-up, for better or for worse.  The notable change-up is to the hips, which don’t have the same full range of mobility that we usually see, being far more restricted to just forward and back.  Given the long jacket, it’s not a huge surprise or hinderance, but it’s still noteworthy.  This Batman Who Laughs is based on the character’s later appearance after he steals the wings from the Sky Tyrant, the Dark Knights Metal version of Hawkman.  To give McFarlane some credit, as far as I can tell, there are no shared parts between the two versions of BWL they released.  There are certainly similarities, but this sculpt just generally improves upon the shared elements between the two, making for a generally more well put-together offering, at least to my eyes.  The crazier, more exaggerated facial expression works a lot better for the character, especially in toy-form, and the texture work on the outfit is pretty solid.  McFarlane certainly does torn-up and gritty well.  I also feel that the more posed hands work a lot better for the character than the more generic gripping hands of the prior release.  The most obvious change here, of course, are the wings.  They actually work quite nicely, as they’re well-articulated, well-detailed, and not terribly balanced considering.  It would be nice to see such work on a proper Hawkman, but this is McFarlane, so a Batman variant is really the best we can hope for, I suppose.  The paint work on this figure is generally pretty good.  It’s largely rather basic work, but I think that’s for the best, especially after the weirdness surrounding the accent work on the last figure’s mouth.  It just looked odd, so going a little more straight forward here is probably the right call.  The Batman Who Laughs includes a display stand and a collector’s card for the figure proper, as well as the head, shoulder pads, and sword of the Merciless Build-A-Figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Dark Knights Metal really isn’t my sort of thing.  It’s honestly a lot of the stuff I don’t like about DC’s current obsession with Batman and the need to constantly place him above all of the other heroes rolled into one big event.  The Batman Who Laughs himself is a concept that I don’t think is terrible, but like the whole cross-over, I kind of feel like he got played out a lot quicker than he went away, and he just sort of keeps resurfacing.  So, I wasn’t seeking this figure out on my own.  That said, I received this one from Jess’s parents for Christmas, and I can certainly appreciate the thought, the gesture, and ultimately the figure proper.  The story that spawned him may not be my main thing, but the figure did turn out pretty nicely, so I can’t really knock it.

#2994: Batman, Robin, Alfred, & Clayface

BATMAN, ROBIN, ALFRED, & CLAYFACE

THE NEW BATMAN ADVENTURES (HASBRO)

Criminals beware…these relentless Caped Crusaders are ready to fight the forces of evil anytime, anywhere, and stop even the most devious villains in their tracks!

Gotham City’s Dark Knight Detective, Batman never shirks his duty to defend the city against its many bizarre criminals, no matter how powerful.  Even if it means facing the awesome might of Matt Hagan, aka Clayface.  Empowered by strange chemicals, Clayface is stronger, bulkier and meaner than ever!  Of course, Batman is far from alone in his crusade for justice.  Tim Drake, as Robin, is the newest member of Gotham’s crime-fighting elite.  Along with Alfred Pennyworth, Bruce Wayne’s ever-faithful butler and confidante, Batman is ready to continue his battle against evil!”

It’s Christmas Day, a day that I usually devote to something a little more festive and Christmas-y.  For a number of reasons, I’m not feeling that one quite as much this year, so I’ve opted to instead continue my look into Hasbro’s late-game Animated Batman sets.  I suppose it’s not the oddest connection.  This one in particular does really push the surrogate family angle, which feels a little bit Christmas-y, I guess.  So, in the spirit of a little bit Christmas-y, let’s look at this here set of figures.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Batman, Robin, Alfred, and Clayface were released as a TRU-exclusive boxed set, released in late 1999 to expand the New Adventures of Batman line under the Hasbro banner.

BATMAN

Have I mentioned the need for a Batman variant in these sets?  Because they totally needed one, in each and every one of these. For this one, they went for a rather nifty little tweak for the variant.  He’s not animation accurate, but he’s a classic blue Batman, which is rather fun.  The figure stands 5 inches tall and he has 5 points of articulation.  Structurally, he’s another re-use of Detective Batman, which is really always a nice starting point.  It’s a good sculpt, and it still worked well here.  The change up to this one comes in the from of paint, mainly the cape, cowl, gloves, and boots are all bright blue instead of the usual black.  It’s a good look, and simulates the classic look quite nicely.  Batman was originally packed with a big missile launcher.  It was goofy, and I didn’t hang onto it.

ROBIN

Since Dick Grayson was Nightwing, TNBA replaced him in the role of Robin with Tim Drake.  Tim had previously been released in the  Bat-family set, and became the first of said family to get another go in the boxed sets.  The figure stands just shy of 4 inches tall and he has 5 points of articulation.  This figure used the same mold as the two single-carded versions of the same character.  It’s generally pretty on-model for the show design.  I suppose he’s a touch tall and lanky, but not overly so.  The cape is a separate piece.  It’s a little bulky at the collar, but otherwise a rather nice piece.  His paint work is bright, colorful, and fairly cleanly applied, which is cool.  Robin was packed with a weird sled thing, which I’m missing, of course.

ALFRED

The undoubted selling point of this here set, Alfred, much like Gordon and Lois, was granted his very first action figure here.  The figure stands just shy of 5 inches tall and he has 5 points of articulation.  He was constructed from a mix of unique and re-used parts.  His arms and legs came from Wildcard Joker, while his head and torso were all-new.  The head was quite a nice in-model Alfred from the show, and it’s certainly one of their stronger ones.  The Joker parts don’t technically match the show design, especially with the gloves that he never wore, but they approximate well enough that the re-use is understandable.  Alfred’s paint work is rather basic, mostly just black and white.  At least, unlike Gordon, the eyes are painted.  Always a plus.  The hair’s not the right color, at least not for a present day Alfred, but it’s admittedly a relatively minor thing.  Alfred was packed with a serving tray, which I actually still have, thanks to it being actually relevant to the character.

CLAYFACE

Clayface hadn’t had a toy release since the BTAS days, and that one was rather scarce by this point, so I guess a re-release wasn’t the worst idea.  The figure stands just over 5 inches tall and he has movement at his shoulders, and that’s it.  The set’s definitely very New Adventures-themed, and the shaping of that design was quite different, but this figure nevertheless uses his BTAS mold, largely unchanged.  The only actual adjustment is to the left arm, which rather than ending in a shooting spike formation like the original, is now just an arm with a fist.  The whole thing isn’t the worst sculpt, but much like Batgirl and Poison Ivy, it suffers from rather plainly not being accurate to what it’s supposed to be representing.  Also, this release has some major issues with a sticky residue building up on the figure’s surface over time.  You can clean it off, but it comes back, and it’s just generally not so pleasant.  The paint work on this figure, or at least the coloring, marked a change, since he was now a much paler tan.  No idea why, but he was.  Clayface was packed with a safe and a bomb to go inside it.  He couldn’t really do anything with it, of course, and I lost mine, so there we are.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This set does hold a bit of significance to this particular date, as the year it was released, it was very definitely the item highest on my Christmas list.  I’d gotten the Bat-family pack the year prior, and I desperately wanted this set to expand my roster.  How could you not want an Alfred?  Well, and I also didn’t have a Clayface, and the blue Batman did rather excite me too, so it was really just Robin I didn’t need.  Even he was a solid release of his own, and wound up becoming my go-to figure for him.  In retrospect, it’s maybe not the most thrilling set, but I’m still very glad I got it, and I remember it quite fondly.

#2987: Arkham Asylum Escape

BATMAN, TWO-FACE, POISON IVY, & HARLEY QUINN

THE NEW ADVENTURES OF BATMAN (HASBRO)

“They’re on the loose!  Those sinister, diabolical misfits of society, Two-Face, Poison Ivy, and Harley Quinn have broken the boundaries of incarceration and once again hit the streets on a path of destruction.  But Batman is ready to put them behind bars once and for all…where they belong!”

Hey, we’re heading down this late-game Hasbro DC rabbit-hole, so I guess we might as well just, you know, do that.  I sure do like themes, right?  And at least this theme is definitively not a Marvel Legends one, which is a nice change of pace these days.  I might be suffering from a bit of Legends burn out here, you guys.  But I’m not talking about them today!  No!  I’m talking about DC!  Yeah!  Let’s do it!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Arkham Asylum Escape, a set made up of Batman, Two-Face, Poison Ivy, and Harley Quinn, was released by Hasbro in early 2000 as a Toys R Us exclusive.  The set has the four figures, as well as a selection of accessories, some character specific, some less so.  The least specific is the Arkham Asylum sign, which actually should have two additional supports not seen in my photo.  It’s a cool piece that makes for a fun backdrop, which isn’t the sort of thing we tended to get for this line.  There’s also a straightjacket, which is listed as being Two-Faces, but which can easily be used for either him or Batman, and I honestly like it more with Batman.

BATMAN

“The people of Gotham City see Batman as an almost mythological figure, able to tame any adversary, no matter how powerful.  But now, with so many bizarre criminals running amok in Gotham City, Batman turns to his trusted allies to aid him in his battle against evil.  The Dark Knight has evened the odds by creating more amazing weapons, gadgets, and vehicles, all of which are available to his crime fighting team.”

You gotta have a Batman, so here’s the Batman.  He’s all Batman-y.  The figure stands 4 1/2 inches tall and has 6 points of articulation.  Amazingly, he gets a whole extra point of articulation, thanks to the swivel at the waist.  This Batman re-uses the mold of the Batman originally packed in the “Batman Vs Two-Face Battle Pack,” which is a rather basic Batman, but running.  Or lunging.  For some reason.  I guess it’s more dynamic.  It’s honestly not a bad sculpt, apart from being a little hard to keep standing.  It’s rather clean, and internally consistent with the standard Detective Batman sculpt.  To match his more dynamic pose, his cape is also more dynamic, with a whole arc and flow to it, which is really cool.  Though this set generally goes for TNBA designs, and the figure’s sculpt is clearly TNBA-based, the paint scheme on this guy is decidedly BTAS-based.  It’s not a terrible look.  The only downside is that it doesn’t really hold up so well to wear and tear.  Batman was originally packed with a grappling hook, but it was lost by foolish child Ethan.

TWO-FACE

“Two-Face (Harvey Dent), well-entrenched as an underworld crime boss, continues to be a major threat to Batman and Gotham City.  However, Two-Face is always finding himself at odds with his dual nature, torn between his own good and evil sides.”

Though prominent early in the show’s run, Two-Face’s only toy release during TNBA‘s actual run was in a two-pack with a Batman variant.  This one upgrades that to a four pack, so I guess it’s sort of a lateral move.  The figure stands 5 inches tall and he has 5 points of articulation.  His sculpt is shared with the two-pack release, and is based on his updated appearance from TNBA.  It’s a good look, and the figure does a good job of capturing the design and translating it into three dimensions.  Given how basic a suited body this is, it’s genuinely a bit surprising that no other uses came from this figure.  It seems like it would be kind of natural.  It was certainly a popular piece amongst customizers at the time.  The paint work was ever so slightly changed here.  Instead of off-white, the lighter parts are a true white, and the lip on the scarred side is red, rather than black.  Technically, the original release was the more accurate scheme, but this one I think maybe presents a bit better in figure form.  Two-Face was originally packed with a machine gun and a pistol, both of which I have been missing since shortly after getting the figure.

POISON IVY

“Villainous vixen of vines, Poison Ivy (Pamela Isley) returns to continue her crusade for botanical supremacy.  While essentially a loner, Ivy is not above ‘hanging with the girls,’ as she occasionally teams up with Harley Quinn.”

Ivy was completely absent from the TNBA tie-ins, at least for the main line.  So, this figure was the first of hers under that specific branding.  It’s a bit of a cheat, of course, since she’s actually not TNBA at all, but I’ll get to that.  The figure stands about 4 1/2 inches tall and she has 5 points of articulation…technically.  The neck joint doesn’t really do anything, honestly.  Since there was no TNBA Ivy sculpt from Kenner, this figure re-uses the BTAS sculpt.  It’s not a great sculpt, but it’s not a terrible sculpt either.  It’s biggest issue is that it’s rather squat and a bit pre-posed.  Of course, it’s biggest issue here in particular is that Ivy’s design changed pretty drastically between the two iterations of the show, so she doesn’t match the theme here all that well.  The paint is also kind of suspect.  Technically, they’re following her TNBA scheme…sort of.  I mean, she doesn’t have leggings, which is the main thing.  Her skin tone is still peach, rather than a greenish white, and her outfit is a far brighter green than it really should be.  Ivy is packed with a crossbow and a plant capture weapon.  Astoundingly, I’ve actually still got both of them.

HARLEY QUINN

“Harley Quinn (Harleen Quinzel) continues to be Gotham City’s deadly wild card.  Her lethal toys come in handy whether she’s working out her aggressions with her ‘puddin,’ The Joker, best gal-pal Poison Ivy, or taking on Batman solo.  While she masks her dark and unpredictable nature with playfulness, her hatred of Batman is never far from the surface.”

Introduced within the original run of BTAS, Harley, unsurprisingly, got her very first figure in that line.  It was, however, never an exceedingly easy one to find.  So a second release was far from the worst idea.  The figure stands about 4 3/4 inches tall and she has 5 points of articulation.  She makes use of the single-release BTAS Harley’s sculpt.  It’s a good sculpt, which is pretty on model, and unlike Ivy, it actually matches okay with the TNBA set-up of this release, since her overall design wasn’t really that different between the two shows.  Her paint work is generally pretty decent.  The only change between this release and the single release is the color of the lips, which are red here, in contrast to the black on the original.  Harley was packed with a boxing glove launcher, as well as a gun with a “bang” flag.  Curiously, no mallet.  Mine is missing the gun, but still has the glove launcher.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I actually got this set at the same time as the set I looked at last week, both of them being given to me for my 8th birthday in 2000.  I was more interested in the Gordon set overall, but this one was a definite sleeper hit for me, because all of the figures in it were actually pretty solid, at least to child me.  Harley and Two-Face are still my go-to versions for this scale, and I definitely dig the Batman.  Ivy only really ranks lower because I wound up with the original BTAS release later down the line, and didn’t need it’s off-color repaint so much.

#2980: Gotham City Enforcement Team

BATMAN, NIGHTWING, COMMISSIONER GORDON, & BATGIRL

THE NEW BATMAN ADVENTURES (HASBRO)

“By day, they are ordinary citizens of Gotham City.  At night, they take on a crime fighting identity known only to a certain few, but respected and feared by all.  This is the Gotham City Enforcement Team, committed to righting the wrongs of society and getting crime off the streets for good!”

Last week, I delved into the late-game Animated Series tie-in sets that Hasbro used to help officially launch their tenure with the DC license.  I’m going to continue down that road today, moving away from Superman, and into the slightly-more-loved-by-Hasbro realm of Batman.  Much like with Superman, Hasbro used these sets to delve into some of Batman’s less toy worthy supporting players, intermixed with some of the more toy worthy ones to keep things more exciting, I suppose.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

The Gotham City Enforcement Team, which included Batman, Nightwing, Commissioner Gordon, and Batgirl, was released in the summer of 2000, technically as a Toys R Us-exclusive (although due to their partnership at the time, Amazon also offered them for online ordering).

BATMAN

“The people of Gotham City see Batman as an almost mythical figure, able to tame any adversary, no matter how powerful.  But now, with so many bizarre criminals running amok in Gotham City, Batman turns to his trusted friends and allies to aid him in his battle against evil.  The Dark Knight was evened the odds by creating more amazing weapons, gadgets and vehicles, all of which are available to his crime fighting team.”

You’re really not getting one of these sets without a Batman to go with it.  This one went for the far more basic take on the character, specifically his New Adventures look, since that was the general theme of this set.  With that in mind, this figure is, at his core, a re-issue of Detective Batman from Kenner’s The New Batman Adventures line.  The figure stands 5 inches tall and he has 5 points of articulation.  The Detective Batman sculpt was a pretty strong one, replicating the design from the shown pretty much spot-on.  It’s a little stiffer than the BTAS stuff was in terms of posing, but it still works alright.  It’s a very clean, very bold sculpt, which just really works.  It’s not a shock that Kenner and Hasbro both strove to get a lot out of this one.  His cape can be removed, and had been adjusted to a plastic piece, rather than cloth at this point.  It looks a lot nicer, though I suppose it’s more limiting from a posing standpoint.  The figure’s paint work is pretty basic for a Batman.  The grey is a bit brighter than the single release, and they’ve also adjusted the cape so that it’s two-tone now, with a lighter grey liner, which was a really cool touch.  Batman was originally packed with a weird capture-trap thing, which was super goofy, a theme of the accessories in this set.  I don’t have mine anymore, another theme for this set.

NIGHTWING

“After graduating from college, Dick Grayson — once the young sidekick of Batman known as Robin — traveled the world to study criminology.  While living abroad, Dick realized that he had outgrown his youthful role as Batman’s assistant.  Upon his return to Gotham City, Dick used his trust fund from Haley’s Circus to buy a building and convert its top two floors into a high-tech, urban headquarters.  He developed a new heroic identity called Nightwing, and, with the blessings of his one-time mentor, Batman, joined the battle against evil.”

I’ve actually looked at a Nightwing from this line before, though it was under the “wacky variants” heading, and not just a standard.  This figure is actually just that one, but painted up in the standard colors, since that mold was actually a little more accurate than the initial sculpt had been.  He’s just shy of 5 inches tall and he has 5 points of articulation.  As I noted when I reviewed the sculpt the first time, it’s pretty much spot-on to the show, and I stand by that.  Much like Batman, it just really works.  The paint work is clean and bright, which is nice for this look.  He was packed with the grapple and shield of the single release, now done up to match the standard Nightwing colors.  No grapple for mine, but he does still have the shield.

COMMISSIONER GORDON

One of the few incorruptible cops on the Gotham City Police Department, James Gordon rose to the rank of Police Commissioner.  Commissioner Gordon worked tirelessly to clean up the GCPD and is now loved by Gotham City’s citizens and hated and feared by its criminals.  Though he cannot officially sanction Batman’s methods, he is an unofficial and behind-the-scenes supporter of the Dark Knight and uses his position to support Batman’s crime fighting efforts in any way he can.”

The primary selling point of this set was Commissioner James Gordon’s very first action figure.  It was kind of a big deal at the time, and it would serve to inspire a handful of others, which is always cool.  As with most of the set, Gordon is TNBA-based.  It’s not my preferred of the two designs, but it’s admittedly the one that’s easier to translate to three dimensions, and it was technically the “current” look at the time.  The figure is just under 5 inches tall and he has 5 points of articulation.  Gordon was an all-new sculpt, and it’s a little bit of a mixed bag.  The head is fantastic; it’s got a lot of great detail work and is generally just a spot-on take on his later animated design.  The body, on the other hand, is a little rougher.  He’s definitely got too much paunch on his stomach, and the slightly odd posing of the upper body as a whole doesn’t really help so much.  Generally, it’s not the worst thing, but it’s not quite there.  The paint is even more not quite there; it’s very basic and drab, and missing key details.  Most notable?  He’s got no eyes.  At all.  It’s kind of creepy, really.  Gordon was packed with two very oversized revolvers, which just generally never felt very right for the character.

BATGIRL

“Barbara Gordon has just graduated from college with a degree in computer science.  She has landed a job on the police force, working elbow to elbow with her father, Commissioner James Gordon.  And each night she fights crime as Batgirl, alongside the greatest crime fighter the world has ever known.  This double life sometimes threatens to put Barbara in a sticky situation, and each time she puts on her costume, she knows she is stepping outside the law that she was raised to respect.  Yet Barbara believes that the good she does as Batgirl outweighs the risk to herself and her father.”

Batgirl technically got a single-carded release in Kenner’s BTAS line, but it was during the Duo-Force era, and it meant that she wasn’t in her standard colors.  That mold would be re-decoed for the first of the box sets under Hasbro (which was just the main four in metallic colors), and then would be further improved upon for this release.  Yay!  The figure stands just under 5 inches tall and she has 4 points of articulation.  Technically, there’s a joint at the neck, but since the head and cape are all one piece, it’s effectively useless.  The sculpt for this figure is pretty clearly meant to be the BTAS version, not the TNBA version like the others  It’s not absurdly far off, but it’s also not nearly as sharp and clean as it should be.  Ultimately, it’s an okay offering, but probably the weakest of the ones included here.  The paint does at least put her into her New Adventures color scheme, to do it’s best to sell the idea.  I prefer that scheme, and it looks good on a toy, so I’ve always liked it here.  Batgirl was packed with a big ol’ missile launcher, which I don’t have anymore.  Not an incredibly loss, since she couldn’t really hold it anyway.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

For my eighth birthday, this set was quite high on the list of things I wanted.  So high, in fact, that I actually ended up with two of them, in a continuation of a running gag that would go across my birthday for a few years where my grandmother and my aunt would wind up buying me the same gift with an eerie level of frequency.  I only kept one of them, of course, but these days I kind of wish I’d held onto both.  Though not really new to me, Batman, Nightwing, and Batgirl would become my definitive versions of the characters growing up, and while he’s far from perfect, Gordon was the only one I had for a good while. In general, this was a set that got a lot of mileage for me, and it remains one I’m very fond of, even now.

#2928: Nightwing

NIGHTWING

BATMAN: THE CAPED CRUSADER (SPIN MASTER)

I think I’m finally hitting an okay pace when it comes to these Spin Master DC figures.  I mean, it’s at least a consistent one.  Sure, that consistent pace is, like, one figure per month, but that’s still something, right?  This year’s theme for their Batman line is Bat-Tech, which is outfitting all of the Caped Crusader’s allies and foes with new variant costumes that are all techy.  Largely, I’m picking up the actually new characters, but there are a few intriguing variants mixed in, and I’m always a sucker for a good Nightwing.  So, you know, here we are.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Nightwing is part of the sixth assortment of Spin Master’s Batman: The Caped Crusader line, which is the second assortment under the “Bat-Tech” banner.  This is the same assortment that included the previously reviewed Batgirl, making Nightwing a logical inclusion.  The figure stands about 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 17 points of articulation.  Structurally, the figure is the same as the prior Spin Master Nightwing.  It’s a reasonable enough sculpt, not perfect, but certainly serviceable, and the consistency isn’t a bad thing.  In order to fit with the “tech-y” nature of the set, Nightwing’s color scheme has been tweaked.  It keeps the same basic Nightwing feel, but he’s molded in a smoky translucent plastic, which is fun, and he’s got a bunch of the tech details like we saw on Batgirl and Batman.  They’re fun little details, and I also enjoy the slight change-ups to his basic suit’s layout of details.  Nightwing is packed with the same baton pieces that the prior release included, but in sparkly blue plastic instead.  He also gets two different guns, one of which has a piece to allow for hooking it up to his back.  Guns feel a bit in contrast to Nightwing’s usual loadout, but I guess they’re not real guns, so that’s better maybe?  I’m only gonna use the batons anyway, so it doesn’t really matter.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

After getting Batgirl, I found myself really liking the Bat-Tech set-up as a whole, and, I am, as noted before, a sucker for a good Nightwing.  Max wound up finding this one during one of his stops, so he was nice enough to enable me pick one up for me.  He’s not drastically different from the last one, but he’s still a lot of fun, and keeps the spirit of Spin Master’s whole set-up really going.

#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.