#2356: Transforming Bruce Wayne

TRANSFORMING BRUCE WAYNE

BATMAN FOREVER (1995)

Today I’m making a return to the line that started these wacky-tacky reviews.  It’s more Batman Forever, but like another variant of that main guy.  Dig it.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Tansforming Bruce Wayne is another Batman Forever figure.  He’s batman but when he’s not Batman.  Also he’s Val Kilmer because it was the ’90s, but not the early ’90s when he was Michael Keaton or the late ’90s when he was George Clooney (yuck, don’t make me think about it, dudes).  He could transform into Batman with armor, most of which is still present, because instead of loosing the armor, silly child Ethan lost the whole darn figure.  Silly child Ethan.  Such a child.  I got another one but I gotta wait til the next section for that.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

It all started when I was born.  As a child of the ’90s I became a part of a society that fully embraced Val Kilmer and we made him Batman.  We did that, people.  Think of it and weep.  As the constructs of walking and talking and collecting formed in my mind, Kilmer rang out, jumping from the shelf of that service merchandise, calling to me.  Buy me Val Kilmer said, and I was sore afraid.  So I bought him.  Well, my parents did.  And I saw that it was great.  But no it wasn’t great.  It was Val Kilmer.  And so silly child Ethan FLUNG him to the far corners of the Earth, never to be found again.  That showed him.  But then he came back.  Oh dear.  Here he is.  Being reviewed.  That’s pretty much it…

(Oh gosh, did we leap through some sort of time warp, because it’s feeling real 2013 up in here…nah, it’s just April Fool’s Day.  Got ya?)

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#2348: King Shark

KING SHARK

BATMAN: THE CAPED CRUSADER (SPIN MASTER)

Okay, so I’ve been informed recently that I need to be higher energy.  So, I, uhh, guess I should try to be higher energy?  I mean, yeah, let’s be high energy!  I love high energy!  High energy is great!  I’m excited to be a part of this plan to be higher energy!  Something that is admittedly pretty high energy is the DC Universe subscription-exclusive Harley Quinn animated series, which launched last fall.  It starts out focussed pretty heavily on Harley and Joker, but in pretty quick fashion Harley picks up her own crew of pretty far-reaching DCU characters.  One of my favorite inclusions is the show’s version of King Shark, who subverts a lot of the usual King Shark concepts and is just generally a good time.  And right as I was getting into the show, Spin Master opted to include a King Shark in their opening line-up of DC figures, so I of course bought one.  Let’s review this boy!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

King Shark is part of the first deluxe assortment of Spin Master’s Batman: The Caped Crusader line.  King Shark’s not classically a Batman villain, but I guess with the heavy featuring on a Bat-related show, there was some wiggle room, and I’m not going to argue with something that gets me an easily attainable King Shark figure.  The figure stands roughly 4 1/2 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation.  He’s a little bit restricted on the articulation.  The lack of neck joint is understandable, but no knees or ankles is a little annoying, especially when it comes to keeping him standing.  It’s not the end of the world, but compared to the others I’ve looked at from the line, it’s just a slight letdown.  King Shark’s got a unique sculpt, though almost all of it was immediately re-used for the Target-exclusive hammerhead version.  This one goes instead for Shark’s pre-New 52 Great White-style head, which has always been my preferred.  It’s a rather stylized take on the character, and definitely errs more on the cartoony side of things, but I really dig the detailing on his gills and the small scarring on the torso.  Those are the sorts of details that could have been overlooked, so their inclusion here really shows Spin Master is going the extra mile.  The paintwork on King Shark is more basic than the sculpt, but it gets all of the important details down, and again fits the style of the rest of the line.  Spin Master’s deluxe figures have so far followed a common theme, that theme being big armored wing pack things.  King Shark gets one of those, because why not, I guess?  It’s pretty neat, if perhaps rather gimmicky.  But then, Spin Master seems to know where their target audience is.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Super Awesome Wife’s background in marine biology has her talking about sharks a fair bit of the time, mostly touching on the unfairness of their usual portrayals in media.  So, when King Shark’s Harley Quinn appearances subverted this, she was quite thrilled.  Honestly, that did even more to endear me to a character I was already pretty into.  After getting Superman and Nightwing, I had made a passing mention to Max that I *might* be interested in King Shark, and he was kind enough to keep an eye out for one, setting me up with this guy shortly thereafter.  He’s goofy and gimmicky, but I continue to enjoy this line of figures wholeheartedly!

#2327: Nightwing

NIGHTWING

DC MULTIVERSE (MCFARLANE)

“Dick Grayson began his crime-fighting career as the original Robin—Batman’s protégé and crime-fighting partner. An expert acrobat and skilled fighter, Dick eventually left the nest and ventured out on his own as a new hero called Nightwing. His childhood experiences as a circus acrobat and trapeze artist make him extremely agile. He is a superior fighter and a highly skilled martial artist who has been personally trained by Batman. Nightwing is a keen detective, a natural leader, and a strategist with advanced knowledge of a variety of technologies.”

I am nothing if not a creature of habit.  The habit of which I am a creature in this case, apparently, is trying out DC lines with the same two characters.  First Superman, then Nightwing.  I did it with Spin Masters stuff, and lookie here, I’m about to do it with the McFarlane stuff too.  You can’t say I didn’t try to warn you!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Nightwing is part of the…well, it’s still the first assortment of DC Multiverse, but it’s like distinctly separate from the one that Superman’s in, I guess?  This one’s got a different price point because there’s a build-a-thing, and so it’s…I don’t know, it’s all a little confusing, or maybe its not.  Forget it Ethan, it’s McFarlane.  Like Superman, this Nightwing figure is, at least in theory, based on specific appearance, namely “Better Than Batman,” the first volume of his Rebirth title, which reintroduced the black and blue color scheme.  Much like the “based on Action Comics #1000″ translated to “McFarlane take on Classic Superman” for yesterday’s figure, “based on Better Than Batman” here translates to “Mcfarlane take on Nightwing’s most recent costume.”  Nightwing stands 7 14 inches tall and he has 35 points of articulation.  He’s pretty much the same height as the Superman figure (and a little taller than the basic Batman), which makes him a little tall for Dick, but believe me, he’s not the worst case of internal scaling in the line.  His articulation isn’t too different from Clark’s.  There’s better range in the arms for this guy, which is good, but I didn’t find the neck joint quite as useful this time around.  The legs are also still kind of clicky and heavy on the ratcheting for my taste, making him not a ton of fun to pose.  I will say he’s pretty stable on his feet, though, so kudos to McFarlane on that.  Let’s discuss the sculpt.  By and large, I don’t like this sculpt quite as much as the Superman, largely due to this one feeling far more uneven.  The head’s definitely the strongest part, and I definitely get an effective Dick Grayson vibe off of it.  Not sure if it’s quite a Rebirth Dick Grayson vibe, but that’s really splitting hairs.  The body’s where things get funkier.  At first glance, I thought this figure’s arms were too short, and he was kinda giving me T-Rex vibes.  In-hand, it doesn’t seem like it’s the arms that are throwing things off, but perhaps the torso?  I think it’s too large relative to the rest of the figure.  It’s hard to say for sure, but it definitely looks off.  The legs, especially below the knee, also seem slightly…mishapen?  With the right posing, it doesn’t look bad, but there’s definitely something weird about this figure’s proportions in general.  As with Superman, the costume has been given an assortment of extra little details littered throughout.  I myself tend to prefer a more streamlined Nightwing, but these details still work better on him than they did on Superman.  Nightwing’s paintwork is more in line with McFarlane’s usual output than Superman was, being a little murkier on the details, and slightly washed out.  It’s not a bad look, but compared to something like the Essentials figure, he looks almost unfinished.  Maybe that’s just my classic sensibilities kicking up, though.  Nightwing is packed with his batons, a piece of the mini-Batmobile, a display stand, and a card.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

While I was sold on Superman, I was still kinda on the fence with this guy.  I liked parts of him, but I wasn’t sure about the whole.  Max wanted the mini-Batmobile piece, so he bought this guy, and ended up pretty much just giving him to me.  He’s not a bad figure.  Honestly, he’s probably about as good as the Essentials figure, which also had it’s pluses and minuses.  However, I still personally prefer the Essentials release and its slightly cleaner approach to the character.  Both figures have their merits, and neither one is truly definitive, so I guess I’m just gonna have these two nearly identical Nightwings in my collection.  Oh, the oddity of me.

#2315: Nightwing

NIGHTWING

BATMAN: THE CAPED CRUSADER (SPIN MASTER)

Remember how I ended yesterday’s review by saying I wanted to see more from Spin Master with their DC stuff?  Well, it happened sooner than I expected.  Like, you know, right away.  Don’t you look at me like that.  We all knew what this was, okay?  Look, just sit back and enjoy this Nightwing review, alright?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Nightwing is part of the first standard assortment of Spin Master’s Batman: The Caped Crusader line.  Rather wisely, Spin Master has opted to separate out the Bat-characters from the main DC line, which means that the main line-up won’t get too overshadowed by the Bat-family.  This Nightwing figure is based on the character’s DC Rebirth design, which is my favorite of his more recent redesigns.  I dig the New Adventures vibes.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 17 points of articulation, for real this time!  No broken joints on this guy!  Nightwing’s sculpt is an all-new piece, but given its generally generic nature, I wouldn’t be surprised to see it get re-used for some similarly built characters.  He’s actually smaller in build than the Superman figure, which is nice to see, given that the far more expensive DC Essentials version didn’t even get that.  You know there’s a problem when your $30 collector’s figure gets outclassed by an $8 toy….I’m getting distracted, aren’t I?  Yeah, it’s a decent sculpt.  It’s not perfect; the neck is a smidge too short, and the hair’s not my ideal choice for Nightwing.  The hands and feet are also a little chunky, but given that the same is true of Superman, that feels more like a stylistic thing.  Also, it’s nowhere near the level that it was on Mattel’s old Infinite Heroes line, so I can give it something of a pass.  Nightwing’s paintwork is all fairly basic, but the bright blue looks really nice, and the application is all pretty sharp. There are one or two spots of missing paint on mine, but nothing too bad or figure ruining.  As with the Heroes Unite line, the Caped Crusader line is also doing the blind-boxed accessories.  There are currently two different accessory sets available for Nightwing.  Mine has the “Harbor Defender” selection, which is a pair of batons (with built-in gauntlets), a scuba mask and tank, and a batarang.  I found the accessories a little more interactive for Nightwing than with Superman, and really like the batons in particular.  He’s also got a collector’s card like Superman’s.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Again, Max’s fault.  I mean, in a slightly different fashion than yesterday’s review.  And, admittedly I get a lot of the blame on this one, since I did actually buy it myself, but Max let me know that the Walmart near All Time had this guy, and said “if you’re gonna grab one, mind getting one for me too?”  At that point, I felt a little obligated, because what was I gonna do, make Max stop on his way home?  That just wouldn’t be very nice, now would it?  So, I got my Nightwing, because obviously I wasn’t just gonna buy one for Max.  As with Superman, I’m very happy with this figure, and am further intrigued by the rest of the line.  Also, this has perhaps set a precedent of me trying out new DC lines by buying Superman and Nightwing.  Possible spoilers for future reviews?  You’ll have to keep reading to find out…

#2269: Batman

BATMAN

JUSTICE LEAGUE ACTION (MATTEL)

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

THE FIGURE ITSELF

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

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

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

#2268: Transforming Dick Grayson

TRANSFORMING DICK GRAYSON

BATMAN FOREVER (KENNER)

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

 

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

THE FIGURE ITSELF

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

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

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

#2264: Batgirl & Donatello

BATGIRL & DONATELLO

BATMAN VS TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES (DC COLLECTIBLES)

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

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

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

BATGIRL

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

DONATELLO

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

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

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

#2227: Batman Beyond & Bruce Wayne

BATMAN BEYOND & BRUCE WAYNE

JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED (MATTEL)

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

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

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

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

BATMAN BEYOND

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

BRUCE WAYNE

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

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

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

#2201: Red Hood

RED HOOD

DC ESSENTIALS (DC COLLECTIBLES)

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

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

THE FIGURE ITSELF

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

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

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

#2181: Robin & Raphael

ROBIN & RAPHAEL

BATMAN VS. TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES (DC COLLECTIBLES)

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

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

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

ROBIN

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

RAPHAEL

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

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

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