#2055: Batgirl

BATGIRL

DC ESSENTIALS (DC COLLECTIBLES)

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

THE FIGURE ITSELF

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

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

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

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#2005: Cyber-Link Batman & Cyber-Link Superman

CYBER-LINK SUPERMAN & CYBER-LINK BATMAN

SUPERMAN: MAN OF STEEL (KENNER)

“The Man of Steel teams up with the Dark Knight to form the ultimate crime-fighting team!”

After a rash of success with their various Bat-themed lines, in 1995, Kenner tried to expand their DC reach, giving a dedicated line to DC’s other big hero, Superman.  Superman: Man of Steel was not a smash success like its counterpart Legends of Batman, but did manage to get two regular assortments, plus some deluxe figures, and even a few multi-packs.  In an attempt to get a little bit of synergy from the two lines, Kenner decided to team up the lead characters, as they had been so many times in the comics, releasing the pack as part of Superman’s line to give it a slight boost.  Today, I’m looking at that set.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Cyber-Link Superman and Cyber-Link Batman were the only set offered up in the second round of Multi-Packs from Kenner’s MoS line.  After the poor performance of the “Superman & foe” layout of the first assortment, this one was a push from Kenner for a better selling product.  Despite their propensity for just dropping these sorts of variants without much explanation or thought, these two actually got a backstory.  “Cyber-Link” was an Elseworlds concept, an alternate universe where Batman was a Metropolis resident and he and Superman were a crime-fighting duo.  Trace elements of Kryptonite within the Earth’s atmosphere necessitated the use of the Cyber-Link suits seen here.  All of this was explained in the 11-page Christopher Priest-penned comic included with this set.  It’s a surprising amount of backstory for something that seems kind of straightforward, but I guess they were trying to inject a little bit more of Legends of Batman into Man of Steel.

SUPERMAN

He’s the star of the line and the star of the set, so I guess he gets to go first.  The ninth out of nine Superman figures, this one didn’t exactly cover new ground, but was interesting in his lack of a specific purpose like we had seen with the prior variants.  It’s definitely a different sort of design for the character, a departure from his classic look.  He’s even sporting the mullet still, further removing him from the Superman we all knew.  Of course, in light of things like the New 52, I guess the design doesn’t feel quite so out there anymore.  The figure stands 5 inches tall and has 6 points of articulation.  Yay for waist joints!  Despite his non-standard nature, the sculpt for this figure is actually pretty decent.  The pre-posing that would plague Total Justice was starting to settle in, but it doesn’t seem quite as bad here.  It’s got sort of a dynamic “just about to leap into action” look about it.  He also doesn’t have any trouble staying standing, which is nothing short of a miracle with most of these figures.  His head, despite the dated hairstyle, is a good take on Superman, and the removable cape is quite nice, and further supports the dynamic stance.  Superman’s paintwork doesn’t stray too far from his classic colors, though the blue and yellow are kind of metallic, and there’s quite a bit of black.  There are also a number of sculpted lines that just sort of get ignored here, though they would be more emphasized on later uses of the mold.  Superman included no accessories, though his hand looks like it was supposed to hold something at some point.

BATMAN

Man, how often is it Batman that plays second fiddle?  Obviously, this was his first figure in this line, though he was hardly lacking on figures from his own lines.  Batman’s design here isn’t quite as foreign as Superman’s, but that may be partly because he’d just had a more fluid design up to this point.  He’s a little more on the armored side, and some of his color elements have been moved around a bit, but otherwise he’s going to pass the squint test.  The figure, like his Kryptonian counterpart, stands 5 inches tall and has 6 points of articulation.  Batman’s sculpt was unique to him, and is an okay offering, though I don’t think it’s quite as strong as Superman’s.  The posing seems a bit more extreme, and the proportions a bit less balanced.  He also has a little more trouble staying standing, though he still doesn’t face plant nearly as often as some of these guys.  I do kind of like that little sneer to his expression; it’s unique for a Batman figure.  His paint/color work is about on par with Superman.  It’s just slight variations on the usual colors, and some of the sculpted elements are kind of ignored, but the overall work is solid.  Like his packmate, he includes no accessories, but still looks like he’s supposed to be holding something.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I had none of the Man of Steel two-packs growing up.  In fact, I didn’t have anything from the line beyond several Series 1 figures.  However, my obsessive toy-nerdiness meant that I gazed upon their photos many a time on the back of the package and on Raving Toy Maniac’s old archive page, so they’ve always been in the back of my mind.  A loose set ended up traded into All Time Toys alongside a larger collection of ’90s toys, and since there’s not a huge market for these guys, I felt compelled to save them from hanging around the store for forever.  Superman’s my favorite of the two, but I kind of dig both of them, and all their crazy ’90s glory.

As noted above, I got these from All Time Toys.  If you’re looking for other cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2000: Batman

BATMAN

THE DARK KNIGHT RISES (HOT TOYS)

Did you see the number?  Did you see it?  Yes, you read it correctly faithful reader, today marks my 2000th review on this here site.  That’s…well, that’s a lot.  It honestly doesn’t feel all that long ago that I reviewed Rescue Cap for my 1000th, and, like that review, this one marks the departure of a consistent player around these parts.   Goodbye starting numeral 1, and welcome starting numeral 2.  Now, review #0001 was a Batman figure, so I suppose it’s only appropriate that #2000 should be another Batman.  There are, of course, two notable differences.  Firstly, as with most of my monumental reviews, this one comes from the high-end world of Hot Toys.  Secondly, where that prior figure was based on Batman Forever, this one is instead from the Nolan films.  Which were the most modern take on the character when I got this guy, but, alas, not the case anymore.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Batman was figure DX12 in Hot Toys’ Movie Masterpiece Series.  This marks my second look at a DX figure, following up the Battle-Damaged T-800 from all the way back in review #0050.  As I noted there, the DX line are an even more high-end subset of the Movie Masterpiece Series, focusing more on tentpole characters and giving them a larger variety of accessories and features.  This was the third time Batman got a DX release, and it was designed to pair off with the DX11 Dark Knight Joker.  Of course, seeing as this figure hit in 2012, he ended up pulling a bit of double duty.  He’s officially branded The Dark Knight Rises, and is meant to go with that subset of figures.  However, it’s the same costume in both movies, with only a very minor difference between them, allowing HT to tie him in with the Joker figure as well (and, in fact, this figure’s presence in the DX11’s solicitation shots let us know he was coming before we got an official confirmation).  The figure stands just shy of 12 inches tall and has over 30 points of articulation.

Batman was sporting two different head sculpts for this release.  The first is his masked appearance, which is, for the most part, a slightly simpler sculpt than we tend to see from Hot Toys.  This is film accurate, of course, since it’s replicating his smooth-plated helmet from the movie.  Prior TDK Batmen had some troubles with getting the helmet’s shape right, but it’s pretty darn spot-on here.  The head is designed with quite a bit of versatility in mind.  Firstly, since he’s a DX figure, he features PERS aka the “Parallel Eye Rolling System,” which allows for his eyes to be repositioned as you see fit.  It works a little differently here than it did with the T-800; the head is more easily removable, so the mechanism is accessed more directly, and requires a special tool.  I find I prefer this layout, since it means the head doesn’t have any odd seams.  Furthering the versatility are three interchangeable faceplates, with calm, scowling, and angry options.  All three have decent likenesses of Christian Bale, and they replicate his expressions from the film well enough, though they can certainly look goofy in some poses.  One last notable point about the head is its connection to the neck.  Rather than the usual ball-joint, it’s connected with a magnet, presumably to make for easier removal for accessing the features.  Ultimately, it feels a little gimmicky, and makes his head fall of a little more than I’d like.  The second head is an unmasked appearance, and it’s my favorite of the two.  It’s definitely the best unmasked Bale HT put out, and matches the sort of intense stare that Bale always had in the films.  It also features a removable collar piece, should you wish to use this head somewhere other than on the Batman suit.

Said Bat-suit was a major selling point of this particular release.  Prior versions of this design had used a molded rubber body suit, which limited the posabilty, resulted in softer detailing, and didn’t exactly hold up all that well over time (to say nothing of the DX02’s issues of weeping plastic caused by an unforeseen chemical reaction).  For this figure, the suit was built in a more film accurate fashion, using more rigid plastic armored parts glued in place on a cloth body suit.  It’s still not going anywhere near super posable or anything, but the look is definitely more accurate, and it’s certainly held up a lot better over time…well, at least in the seven years that I’ve had it.

As a DX release, Batman is pretty heavily packed with extras.  In addition to the two heads and extra mouth plates, he includes the following:

  • 6 hands
  • Grapnel gun
  • Transformable sticky bomb gun
  • Light-up electronic gun
  • 2 Belts
  • 2 batarangs
  • 2 mini mines
  • Connector for the Batpod
  • Light-up display stand

The hands come in fists, gripping, and a open/batarang holding combo.  They swap out okay, but it can get a little tricky to pop them back on.  The assortment of weaponry make for some nice specific call-backs to the film, but I personally haven’t gotten much use out of anything but the batarangs.  The sticky bomb gun is magnetic, allowing for it to be attached to the equally magnetic second belt…which would be super handy if the second belt on mine could actually be opened and placed on the figure.  Oh well.  The stand’s a pretty impressive piece, being modeled on the concrete steps where he faces off against Bane towards the end of the film.  The lights are a little gimmicky, but the overall appearance is nice.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

It was the Dark Knight versions of Joker and Two-Face that got me into Hot Toys collecting in the first place, but for a while I had no Batman to go with them, because I was just never than impressed by the available Batmen.  However, this one’s announcement, alongside Bane and Catwoman from the same movie, was right as I was getting into the HT thing pretty bigh, and that was enough to get me on board, and fill out my display a bit.  Ultimately, I think this guy makes for a wicked display piece, but he’s not a figure you want to pick up and handle all that much.  Taking him down from the shelf for this review was enough to really remind me of that.  Still, there’s no denying he was HT’s best Bale Batman.

#1937: Batman Beyond

BATMAN BEYOND

DC SUPER FRIENDS (IMAGINEXT)

“How can Batman protect the future of Gotham City?
He passes down his crime-fighting skills to a younger generation.  This younger Batman has even cooler gadgets too, like this motorcycle that transforms into a glider AND launches disks.”

Though it may be aimed at a younger audience than my usual faire, I keep finding myself called back to Imaginext.  It’s one of the more expansive styles out there.  Above all, they have easily one of the best collections of DC characters on the market right now, covering all sorts of different eras and corners of the universe.  One of the more recent additions is a fairly popular character who doesn’t have quite the toy coverage you might expect, Terry McGuinness, aka Batman Beyond!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Batman Beyond is one of the “figure and vehicle” offerings from Imaginext’s DC Super Friends line, and he started arriving at retail late last year.  The figure stands about 3 inches tall and has 8 points of articulation (with the legs moving as one, just like they always do).  Terry is built on the basic Batman body for this line, which isn’t perhaps the most accurate, but Imaginext is known to tweak some designs ever so slightly.  All it really means is that he’s got some more piping and texturing on his costume than he usual does, and given Terry’s future-setting, it’s not an unreasonable look.  Plus, this way, he still has the glove scallops and utility belt.  The rest of the work is paint, or lack there of.  He’s molded in all black, which is sensible, and helps to downplay all that extra sculpted detailing.  The white and red sections are well-handled and pretty clean looking.  The expression on the final figure is slightly changed from what was shown on the proto, which was using a teeth gritted expression that looked lifted pretty straight from the animation.  On the final release, he’s got this sort of side-leaning grin, which certainly looks goofier, and I suppose a bit friendlier, which was probably the main point.  BB is packed with a bat-styled motorcycle.  It seems a little more conventional in design than the vehicles from the show, but it’s not a bad design, and the choice to give him a cycle is a pretty sensible one for Terry.  The wings are spring-loaded, and can be popped down by a button on the back, which is pretty fun, and, of course, there’s the aforementioned disk launching device, which, while rudimentary, certainly has its value.  There are also three disks provided for it to launch.  Perhaps the only thing not included that I’d have liked to see is a pair of wings, but it’s not the end of the world.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Unlike a lot of my Imaginext purchases, Batman Beyond was actually not a spur of the moment pick-up.  I had heard about the set from Max, and I was actually keeping my eye out for it.  I ended up finding it just before Christmas, while picking up some last minute Christmas supplies at K-Mart of all places.  Yeah, I’m as surprised as you.  I was quite happy to find him, and, as I’d anticipated, he’s just a fun toy.

The Blaster In Question #0072: Thunderblast

BlasterInQuestion1

THUNDERBLAST

N-STRIKE 

thunderb1I’m sure quite a few if not most of you are familiar with the KISS acronym meaning “keep it simple, stupid” or some derivation of that. Well this week’s blaster deals with the slightly lesser known KISBJUOOTFBDYEHS acronym. And if any blaster can demonstrate keeping it simple by just updating one of the first blaster designs you ever had, stupid, it’s the Thunderblast.  So let’s have a look. 

THE BLASTER ITSELF

thunderb2The Thunderblast was released in 2015 as part of the N-Strike line. I know it’s got the Elite style blue and white color scheme, but the box just says N-Strike, no Elite here. It uses possibly one of the simplest firing mechanisms ever used in a Nerf blaster, a system referred to as a HAMP or hand-actuated manual pump, I think. In essence, you load one of the rockets onto the spindle, push the fore-grip forward and slam it back as hard as you can. The harder you slam, the more power behind the rocket. Of course, the act of vigorously slamming back a fore-grip will do terrible things to your accuracy, but we’re talking about Nerf here, how accurate can you possibly be?  This system, albeit in a very different form factor, is virtually identical to the system in the very first Nerf blaster I ever owned, the NB-1 from 1992 back when Nerf was made by Kenner, and even then, the design was used on earlier toys like a foam Batarang launcher. Bet you weren’t expecting a Batman name-drop in this Nerf rocket launcher review. Coming back to the Thunderblast, while the mechanics on the inside haven’t changed much, I am glad they changed the ergonomics. While the NB-1 will always have a special place in my heart, if I’m honest, the grips on that thing are small and blocky in contrast to the TB’s large contoured grips, even allowing for vertical or horizontal fore-grips. The TB also has a stock, something it has over the NB. Granted it’s not the best stock, but it’s fine. There’s a curved section on the underside that’s meant to allow you to seat the blaster up on top of your shoulder like a proper rocket launcher, but what this does is reduce the length of pull so much that your dominant arm ends up sticking out to the side like an awkward chicken wing. The thought is still appreciated. You can shoulder the blaster like a rifle, but the way the extra rockets are stored means you’re basically shooting from the hip from your shoulder… kind of. I’m trying to say they block any kind of aiming you might attempt. Performance is all over the place, given that the power behind each shot is fully dependent on the user, but overall, if you’re at least of teenage years with average upper body strength, you should be able to launch rockets pretty far. Interestingly, because the rockets are so wide, even a jacked up shot from the tuberculosis doesn’t hurt as much as a standard shot from an Elite blaster, but it your younger siblings don’t know that, just the presence that a rocket launcher has can be quite effective for intimidation. And that’s something the New Balance didn’t have. The consumption comes packaged with 2 rockets. I know in my pictures it has 3 but I think it looks better with 3. 

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION 

I fully accept that at this point, a blaster like the Thunderblast isn’t exactly practical, but the homage to older designs does appeal to me. That and the fact that it’s a rocket launcher. It did kind of bum me out initially when I saw it didn’t have a trigger, but if we’ve learned anything from the Modulus Mediator barrel, it’s that Nerf still knows how to do pressurized air blasters, so who knows? Maybe we’ll see a revamp of the Titan one day. 

#1795: Ascending Knight Batman

BATMAN — ASCENDING KNIGHT

ONE: 12 COLLECTIVE (MEZCO)

Ooooh, it’s time for me to go down the One:12 Collective rabbit hole again!

I love a good toy, and there’s no denying that Mezco’s recent star-studded line of mixed-media 6 inch figures is full of some pretty darn good toys.  Of course, they’re also pretty darn expensive toys, too, and I can’t really throw quite as much money at them as some people seem to be doing.  Nevertheless, I’ve been looking at their offerings in little dribs and drabs here and there.  Today, I look at another, and a fairly recent one at that.  It’s Ascending Knight Batman!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Ascending Knight Batman was released in the spring of this year, as part of Mezco’s One:12 Collective line.  There have already been a handful of Bat-variants in the line (hey, the guy sells toys; can’t blame Mezco for cashing in on that), but he’s notable for being the first of the Batman figures to be a Mezco original design, albeit one inspired by outside elements.  Like Greg Capullo’s Zero Year suit, the Ascending Knight is a re-imagining of Batman’s first appearance design, through a more modern lens.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has over 30 points of articulation.

Ascending Knight Batman continues the One:12 trend of two different heads with each release.  The first is the more standard of the two, being your usual masked Batman, stern expression, piercing glare, and all.  This is where the biggest Detective #27 influence comes in, mostly via the distinctive curved shaping of the ears.  It’s sharp, it’s clean, and it’s super sleek.  It’s also a very specific look, divergent from your basic Batman, which is honestly kind of refreshing.  The paintwork is clean and bold, and I particularly like the super shiny sheen on the whites of the eyes.  The second head gives us an unmasked look at Bruce Wayne.  It goes for more of the suave debonaire sort of look, rather than the more battle-hardened appearance we’ve seen on other unmasked Waynes.  It fits pretty well with the “early in his career” take that this figure is offering.  I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m getting something of a Jason Isaacs vibe from the head; not where my mind usually goes for Batman, but it works reasonably well for this particular figure.  Like the masked head, this one has very clean application for the paint; I’m happy they’re keeping the molded flesh tones for most of these figures; it definitely gives them a more lifelike appearance.

Being from an earlier time in his career, this Batman is built on a smaller body than the previously-reviewed Dark Knight Returns version.  I believe it’s the same basic body that was used on Space Ghost, though it’s a little hard to tell, since the costume doesn’t come off.  Said costume is another mixed-media affair.  The main body suit and cape are cloth, though neither is the straight spandex construction like on DKR Bats and Space Ghost.  The body suit looks to have started that way, but there’s a rather complex overlay of rubberized painted elements, giving the suit a more kevlar-like-armored-appearance.  It’s still all shades of grey, as it should be, but there’s an extra level of flavor added by this method.  The cape is a heavy pleather piece.  Apart from the material, it’s cut rather similarly to the DKR Batman.  The pleather certainly looks cool, but its extra rigidity means it can be a little more difficult to work with when posing.  The cloth parts of his costume are augmented by a healthy helping of sculpted plastic parts.  The cape is held in place by a sculpted neck piece, which sits atop it, and helps create a better flow to the masked head when it’s in place.  There’s a sculpted logo as well, which plugs into the front of his chest.  It not only makes the logo stand out a bit more, but it also keeps the costume clinging a little closer to the torso.  For his earliest appearances, Batman had a distinctly differently-styled utility belt, which has been translated to this figure’s belt, albeit with a more modernized twist, and tons of great little technical details.  On the downside, the belt doesn’t seem to want to stay closed, at least on the figure I’m reviewing, so it comes loose fairly frequently.  The costume is topped off with some swanky boots and gloves.  The boots are interesting, as they’re standard combat boots, laces and all, but  you can see where Bruce has slightly modified the very tops, giving them that distinctive peak that his boots always had; it’s a fun real-world touch.  Perhaps the most distinctive and memorable part of the original Batman design, when compared to later iterations, are the gloves, which only went up to his wrists and were very definitely purple.  This figure doesn’t have those.  Instead, he gets sort of an amalgamated design, which still features the shorter appearance, but keeps the more traditional black coloring, as well as trowing in a par of the wrist blade/scallops he always had in later years.  It’s a change that works a bit better with this incarnation of the costume, while still maintaining the overall spirit of the original.

Ascending Knight Batman is packed with a sizable selection of accessories.  In addition to the previously mentioned unmasked head, he also includes seven interchangeable hands (in pairs of fists, open, and beatarang holding, as well as a right hand for his grappling gun), a grappling gun with fully retracted hooks, extend hooks, and a hook with a line attached to it, a small cross bolt of some sort, a bat-brass knuckles looking thing, a display stand (with flight attachment, and a set of armature for displaying the cape extended), and 10 batarangs.  That’s quite an assortment.  Admittedly, a lot of it’s stuff that seems more suited to being laid out as a cool armory display, and less suited to actual use with the figure.  The hands are by far the most useful, and I can see the grappling gun getting a decent amount of use, especially with this design.  The batarangs are definitely cool, but 10 of them almost seems excessive.  But who am I to complain about getting *more* accessories?  The cape attachment for the stand is fine if you want to just set this guy up in a free fall sort of display, but after spending about an hour fiddling with the  one included with DKR Bats, I didn’t personally find the end results on this one to be worth the hassle.  The option being present is certainly appreciated, though.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

After missing out on the DKR Batman and not having much interest in any of the DCEU-related offerings, this guy is really the first Mezco Batman to catch my eye.  I’ve always been something of a sucker for the First Appearance Batman look, and this is undoubtedly a fun reimagining.  I don’t know that I can say this figure quite has the same raw fun factor of the DKR Batman (that one set a seriously high bar to clear, believe me), but he does come pretty close.

Like the last One:12 Collective Batman I reviewed, this one’s not actually mine.  He was loaned to me for review by my friends over at All Time Toys. If you’re interested in owning him for yourself, he can be purchased from their store front.  And, if you’re looking for other cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay Store.

#1794: Bookworm

BOOKWORM

BATMAN ’66 (FUNKO)

There was a time when any Batman ’66 product at all was something fans dreamed about.  Who’d have ever guessed we might have too much of it?  Well, I guess that’s a highly subjective take on things, isn’t it?  Perhaps I’m a little jaded about the whole thing.  See, when Mattel launched their Batman ’66 line, I was thrilled beyond belief, and preorder everything in the initial assortments.  And then I actually got the figures and…well, they were kind of garbage.  The line failed, what with the figures being kind of garbage and all.  In its stead we’ve gotten all sorts of stuff.  Pops, Hot Toys figures, Quarter Scale figures, Megos, etc.  All possessing their own strengths and weaknesses.  Towards the tail end of it all, Funko came in with a 3 3/4 inch line, which showed a lot of promise.  Sadly, its weakness was one of timing; it hit shelves a few years after collectors had been burned out by everything else.  As such, it too is another failed line, with an incomplete assortment of characters, focusing more on the obscure than the major.  Hence why we have no Joker, Penguin, or Catwoman, but we managed to get today’s offering, Bookworm.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Bookwork is part of the first, and only, series of Funko’s Batman ’66 line, one of the line’s many more obscure rogues.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 11 points of articulation.  The improved articulation on these figures is still very much appreciated, and Bookworm himself is far less affected by the lack of hip hinges than Batgirl was.  Like Batgirl, Bookworm takes the retro feel of the ReAction line and dials it back just a bit, resulting in a better overall figure that still pays homage to a more vintage style.  Apart from some slight weirdness where the hips and the bottom of the jacket intersect, his sculpt is really quite good.  In particular, I really love the head, especially his glasses.  Glasses are hard to do at all on toys, even more so at a small scale like this.  They could have just sculpted the rims right onto his face and done it all with paint, but they didn’t and the figure is all the better for it.  His head doesn’t have too much of actor Roddy McDowall’s likeness, but given how little of his face is actually visible here, it’s not like he looks unlike McDowall, so I’d say it’s close enough not to hold the figure back.  The figure’s paint is a little on the drab side, being mostly variations of brown.  This is true to the show, though, and at least the application is clean.  The glasses again are the best part for me, with clear lenses *and* cleanly painted rims.  Bookworm is, appropriately, packed with a book, which his right hand has been sculpted to properly hold.  That was a nice change, since Batgirl was unable to hold her accessory.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I have to admit: I was part of the problem.  When they were new, I bought exactly one of Funko’s Batman ’66 figures.  I really liked Batgirl a lot, and was interested in getting more, but after the whole debacle with Mattel, I wanted to see more of what the line had to offer before really jumping on board.  During the TRU liquidation process, I found poor Bookworm, all by himself, package smashed to hell.  I felt sorry for him, so home with me he came.  And then there was the months of waiting to open him, because boy did I pick up a backlog of figures over the summer.  Now that I’ve finally opened him, I’m really happy I got one, but also very sad I didn’t support this line earlier, because Bookworm is a very good figure. 

#1778: Batman, Robin, & Mutant Leader

BATMAN, ROBIN, & MUTANT LEADER

BATMAN: ANIMATED (DC COLLECTIBLES)

For someone who’s only so-so on this whole Dark Knight Returns thing, I sure do review a lot of DKRrelated items, don’t I?  Well, let me ‘splain—no, it’s too much—let me sum up: like the story or not, there’s a lot of supplemental material related to it that’s super awesome.  Take, for instance, “Legends of the Dark Knight,” one of Batman: The Animated Series’ best known episodes, which takes a look at a couple of differing takes on Batman from over the years, with DKR as one of the pair.  And now that particular take has its own figures.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Batman, Robin, and the Mutant Leader were a special three-pack, released as part of DC Collectibles’ Batman: Animated line, commemorating the previously mentioned episode.  All three are based on their appearances from the DKR segment of “Legends,” rather than the actual comic looks. 

BATMAN

I’ve had no shortage of DKR Batmen in the last month or so, with offerings from both Mattel and Mezco, so why not let DCC in on the fun?  This guy’s a pretty massive figure, standing about 6 1/2 inches tall and measuring about 5 inches across the shoulders, and he has 24 points of articulation.  His stature is certainly impressive, but if there’s one draw back, it’s his posability, or rather his lack thereof.  The joints he *does* have all have a solid range of motion (the neck joint in particular works very well), to DCC’s credit.  The issue is that he’s lacking any mid torso movement, as well as any sort of ankle mobility.  Those two things rather limit what can be done with the figure, which is kind of a shame.  The sculpt, which is totally unique, is actually a pretty good offering.  It captures the streamlined design from the show pretty much spot-on, which at this point in the line is very definitely welcomed.   His paintwork is definitely on the basic side, which is appropriate for the line.  It’s overall cleanly applied, but has some of the same fuzzy edges that have plagued this line from the beginning.  Batman was packed with a pair of alternate open gesture hands and a display stand.

ROBIN

Carrie Kelley is one of DKR’s most distinctive features, but is a slightly less common offering when it comes to toys.  That said, I’ve actually looked at a Carrie Kelley Robin before, via Mattel’s offering.  It was…less than stellar.  This figure stands 5 inches tall and he has 24 points of articulation.  She’s another new sculpt, and I gotta say, she definitely benefits from the cleaner style.  Something about Miller’s style didn’t translate so well as an action figure, but this?  This worked out pretty well.  Her smaller stature is well conveyed, and she’s actually got some fairly decent movement.  Still perhaps more restricted than I’d like, but definitely better than a lot of this line.  Carrie’s paintwork is decent.  It’s clean, and matches the show’s color palette.  She has less issues with fuzzy lines and slop.  I also appreciate the use of actual transparent lenses for the glasses, as opposed to just painting them opaque green like *some* toy companies.  Robin is by far the most accessorized in this set, with a slingshot, an three pairs of hands, and a display stand.

MUTANT LEADER

Though not a primary antagonist in the original story, like Carrie Kelley, the Mutant Leader has become a distinctive feature of DKR, and he *was* the primary antagonist of the DKR segment of “Legends of the Dark Knight.”  So, his placement here is rather an obvious one.  The figure stands 6 3/4 inches tall and has 23 points of articulation.  The Leader is a sizable guy, though not quite as sizable as Batman.  He’s about on par with the TNBA version of Bane in terms of build.  His articulation is an improvement overall from Batman’s, since he actually gets some mid-torso movement, as well as ankles.  Of course, he loses the lateral leg movement that Batman and Robin have, which has been, in general my biggest recurring issue with this line, since it makes posing these guys in anything but a basic standing pose a barren source of amusement.  The sculpt is at least a pretty strong one.  It captures the Leader’s slightly tweaked animated design very well, and he pairs off well with Batman.  The paintwork is fairly decent, though nothing beyond basic work.  He’s got a nice contrast, though, which I certainly appreciate.  Like Batman, the Leader is packed with a pair of open gesture hands and a display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

“Legends of the Dark Knight” was my first introduction to The Dark Knight Returns.  I think it spoiled me a bit for the story proper, because while it remains a favorite episode of mine, the comic not so much.  Pretty much all of the prior DKR product I’ve purchased was due to my love of the episode, so an episode-specific set certainly intrigued me.  That said, by the time the set actually hit, I’d fallen a bit out of love with the Batman: Animated line, and as such I didn’t get it new.  I actually ended up getting it this year for my birthday, courtesy of my parents.  While it still possesses a lot of the same issues that have been killing the main line for me, I do overall like this set a lot.  Sure, I’d have liked some more accessories, but the extra hands are at least useful, and there’s no denying that Bats and the Leader look good squaring off.  Plus, after the sincere disappointment of Mattel’s Carrie Kellie, this one was a breath of fresh air.

#1739: Batman – The Dark Knight Returns

BATMAN — THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS

ONE:12 COLLECTIVE (MEZCO)

I told you there’d be another Batman review this week.  See, I’m not a liar!

Today, I’m continuing the DC trend, but moving away from Mattel, and indeed moving away from the lower-end styling of figures they offer.  Instead, I’m turning my sights onto Mezco’s One:12 Collective line of high-end 6-inch-scale figures.  I’ve only looked at one figure from this line before (Space Ghost), but he very much impressed me, and I’ve been eager to check out more from the line.  Today, I’m going back to the very beginning of the line (as well as bookending my reviews for this week) and looking at Batman, based on Frank Miller’s classic The Dark Knight Returns story.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Batman was the inaugural release in Mezco’s One:12 Collective line, released in the summer of 2015.  A consistent feature of the line has been single releases with a number of color variants all released around the same time through various different means.  Even amongst his peers, this release of Batman was kind of drowning in variants.  The one seen in this review is the Previews Exclusive release, based upon Batman’s more classically-inspired color scheme from early on in the story.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has over 30 points of articulation.  For that articulation count, I’m just going by the solicitation info for this guy, since he’s sewn into his costume, thereby making a 100% articulation count a little bit difficult.

Batman was packed with two different heads, though they both end up being pretty similar, with only the expression changing between them.  He’s packed wearing the angrier, teeth-baring head, but there’s also the second one, which is also angry, but you can’t see the teeth, so I guess his slightly less angry?  That’s just my teeth-to-anger scale though.  Yours may differ.  Both heads are very sharp sculpts, which pretty expertly capture Miller’s artwork from the series.  Particularly impressive is the slight texturing of the cowl on both heads; it’s very subtle, but enough to keep the mask from looking to simple, like a smoother surface might.  I’d be hard-pressed to pick my preferred of the two heads, because they’re both very good.  Which one is better really depends upon what sort of pose you want the figure in.  Paintwork on both heads is fairly internally consistent.  The application is quite clean, his palette is appropriately washed out, and there’s even a nice dark grey wash over the face to give him a more dynamic, comic book-inspired appearance.

Despite his smaller stature, Batman is built in a similar fashion to a 1/6th scale item, with an underlying body and a cloth costume.  Space Ghost was built on a smaller body than the one here, but they’re similar in construction.  It poses very well, which is the most important thing by my count.  The costume is made up from a mixed media effort.  The main body suit, shorts, and cape are all cloth items.  They’re pretty well tailored to the body, though the shorts could perhaps be a little tighter fitting.  They aren’t too off, but they definitely end up looking pretty similar to a Mego offering.  The body suit has the logo screened onto it.  It’s a rubbery sort of material, so it shoulded end up stretched out or anything over time. The cape is one of the more impressive Batman capes.  It’s a thin material with no internal wire or anything, so I wasn’t expecting much at first, but it hangs really well on the body and is a lot of fun to mess with during posing.  The belt, cuffs, and boots are all sculpted elements, as is the neck piece that goes under the cape and holds the costume in place.  The sculpted detail is quite impressive, and the boots and gloves in particular are very nice, as they’ve been done up with texturing to match the masks on the two heads.

The accessory complement for this Batman is definitely a solid selection of extras.  In addition to the two heads, he’s got four different sets of hands (in fists, open palm, gripping, and batarang-wielding configurations) which make for lots of fun options when posing.  He’s also got a leg strap of pouches, as he sports for some parts of the story, his rifle, a grappling hook, and a display stand.  The display stand can be used as either a standard pegged stand or a flight stand, and in the flight stand configuration, there’s an extra wired attachment, which can be used to dynamically pose the cape.  It definitely takes some getting used to, and I couldn’t really see myself using it for long term posing, but it certainly helps with some nice photo set-ups.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was very much tempted by this figure when he was originally released, but as only a moderate fan of Dark Knight Returns, I didn’t know if I could justify the higher price tag.  Still, I’ve been intrigued by this figure since its release, and having it in hand, I can definitely say this is one of the best Batman figures out there.  I’m now really interested in checking out Mezco’s follow-up Batman, the Ascending Knight.

The item reviewed here is not from my personal collection, but was instead provided to me for review by my friends at All Time Toys.  If you’re interested in owning the very Batman figure reviewed here today, head on over to their eBay listing for this item.  If you’re looking for other toys, both old and new, please also check out All Time’s full eBay store front, and take a look at their webstore at alltimetoys.com.

#1737: Batman – Superfriends

BATMAN — SUPERFRIENDS

DC COMICS MULTIVERSE (MATTEL)

In addition to overall DC theme, I’m introducing a sub-theme today.  I know, that’s a lot to handle, but bear with me.  Anyway, the theme I’m going with is Batman on alternating days.  Why?  Because I have a lot of Batmen, that’s why.  Today’s Batman follows the trend set by yesterday’s Green Lantern, being at the very least inspired by the Super Friends cartoon.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Superfriends Batman was distributed through the same means as Green Lantern, being a Walmart-exclusive entry in the DC Comics Multiverse line.  He, too, would actually stay a Walmart exclusive, unlike the second half of the Super Friends sub-set (who, despite their non-exclusivity, I don’t actually have).  Unlike GL, Batman’s a pretty natural choice for this assortment, since Batman was with Super Friends for its entire run, and was a pivotal player in most episodes.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 23 points of articulation.  For the most part, his sculpt is a straight re-use of the DC Universe Classics Series 1 Batman, with one small exception.  The sculpted cape has been replaced with a cloth one, which has been done in the style of the old Super Powers capes.  Not *quite* the right source material, but it’s goofy and fits the general aesthetic.  I find myself liking the look of it quite a bit, actually, though it’s definitely not going to be for everyone.  AS with Hal, Bats’ mold is definitely showing its age and the wear from all those repeated uses.  On my figure in particular, one of the shoulders doesn’t even quite peg together the right way.  Batman’s paintwork actually ends up more faithful to the source material than GL, which is a plus.  It’s also pretty clean, and likewise very bold.  It looks good on this sculpt.  I appreciate the return of the black shading on the cowl (it’s true to the show, but I wouldn’t have put it past Mattel to leave it off).  Bats even makes out pretty well on the accessories front.  To start with, he’s got the same base and backer card as GL (with the same issue with the peg on the stand).  The back of both cards has part of the Super Friends logo, so that if you get all four, you have the whole thing.  In perhaps the most Mattel move of all, GL and Batman (who, it should be noted, shipped together) don’t have sequential cards, unless of course you really want to celebrate the “Per Inds”.  Fortunately, Batman gets more accessories than GL; he also gets a grappling hook and a batarang (and it does *not* have “CHINA” stamped on it, which was a nice change).

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I grabbed Batman at the same time as GL, from an Ollie’s for $3.  I couldn’t just leave him there, now could I?  That would have been cruel.  Minor issues aside, this figure is actually not terrible.  He’s hardly going to be anyone’s default Batman, but unlike GL, he seems to more fully embrace the concept Mattel was going for.