#2517: Retro Batman

RETRO BATMAN

BATMAM: MASK OF THE PHANTASM (KENNER)

I’ve looked at a surprisingly small amount of Kenner’s Animated Batman tie-in product.  I’ve certainly looked at a chunk of the DCC follow-ups, and even a handful of Mattel’s JLU-era stuff, but I’m averaging about a single Kenner animated figure a year right now.  Well, I’m aiming to mix things up a bit.  In tandem with my looks back at the other toys of my childhood with X-Men and Power of the Force, let’s throw a little bit of Batman into the mix, shall we?  And what better place to start than with a variant of the main guy himself, hailing from one of my absolute favorite pieces of the Animated Verse, and one of my favorite DC-related things in general, Mask of the Phantasm.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Retro Batman is one handful of Batman variants that were released in 1994 as part of Kenner’s Batman: Mask of the Phantasm tie-in line.  Unlike most of those other variants, which were mostly made up by the minds at Kenner, this one was actually in the film, depicting Batman as he’s seen in the flashbacks (it also showed up during some of the flashbacks in the episode “Robin’s Reckoning”, which is a good companion piece to the film in general).  He’s not terribly far-removed from the standard Batman design, and in retrospect is kind of a merging of the BTASTNBA, and JLU designs all into one.  The figure stands just shy of 5 inches tall and he has 6 points of articulation.  He keeps the standard Kenner 5 points, and also has a swivel on his right forearm to assist with his action feature.  It won’t really hold many poses, but it does add a slight bit more of variation to the posing.  His sculpt is fairly typical of this era of figure from Kenner.  He’s not a pitch-perfect match for the animation models, but he’s pretty close, and fits consistently with the styling of the other figures in the line.  The sculpt is clean, and hits all the important notes, and he’s pretty darn sturdy.  As was the way at this point, his cape is cloth.  Again, not super accurate, but it works for their purposes, and it certainly helps with the playability.  His paint work is pretty cleanly handled overall, though Kenner for some reason opted to make the body suit a sort of bluish silver, rather than the typical grey.  It’s not super far removed, and it reads the same way as the standard colors.  I honestly don’t mind it, but it’s still a weird choice.  Batman’s accessory selection here is…interesting to say the least.  He’s got a battle spear and a sort of a gun looking thing?  I don’t know exactly what they’re supposed to be, nor do they really line-up with anything from the movie or the episodes where this look appears.  But, they certainly feel toyetic.  The spear is meant to be placed in his right hand, allowing it to be spun using the wheel mechanism in his arm and back.  It’s odd, but harmless.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

While the majority of my Animated stuff is actually from when I was a kid, this one is not.  I always wanted him, but just never managed to find one.  Fortunately, one came into All Time a couple of weeks ago, new, sealed, and in pretty much pristine condition, so it was almost like getting it when it was brand new.  He’s a fun variant of Batman, and also a sensible variant of Batman, and those two didn’t tend to cross-over in this line too much, so I gotta say he really works for me.

#2460: Batgirl

BATGIRL

BATMAN & ROBIN (KENNER)

“Gotham City becomes a very cold place when Mr. Freeze, Poison Ivy and Bane triple team to plot the icy demise of Batman and Robin. The crimefighters respond immediately by using the Batcomputer deep within the Batcave to develop an array of cutting-edge weapons that can be used in their battle against this multitude of fiendish foes. Discover the Secrets of the Batcave! – secret technology that gives Batman , Robin and Batgirl the ultimate ability to save Gotham City!”

Back in April, I jumped into the Batman & Robin line with a look at the “& Robin” portion of the film.  Today, I look at the central character who doesn’t get named at all.  I mean, seriously, isn’t it a little odd that the film where you explicitly call out Batman and Robin as your title characters is the one where you add in Batgirl as your third protagonist?  Isn’t that a little weird?  I think it’s a little weird.  Look at me, armchair quarterbacking a movie from 1997.  That’s a real good use of my time, right?  Yeah…

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Batgirl was released in the first wave of Batman & Robin product from Kenner, hitting shelves in 1997 to tie-in with the film.  Unlike the various Batmen and Robins, she didn’t get any sort of adjective in front of her name; she’s simply “Batgirl.”  Man, no goofy Kenner name is just a bummer.  Did they even try with Batgirl in this thing?  Oh, right, I’ve seen the movie: the answer is “no.”  The figure stands 4 3/4 inches tall and she has 5 points of articulation.  So, right off the bat (heh), let’s address the inaccuracies of the figure.  As I brought up in my Robin review, the whole Batman & Robin process was quite expedited, so the figures were working from early costume designs.  In Robin’s case, that was all well and good, because he kept his design, but in Batgirl’s case, that means she’s a bit off from her film appearance.  The big change is the full cowl in place of the domino mask she was sporting in the final product.  It’s not a particularly attractive design, at least as implemented on the figure.  She’s also got the wrong version of the bat symbol, and is missing a lot of the ribbing and such that ran throughout the body suit, making for a much more basic looking design.  There is also a removable cape, which actually is a pretty decently designed piece. Her paintwork is fairly basic stuff.  She’s rather monochromatic, but that’s honestly a bit more faithful to the film than most of the color schemes to come out of this movie.  Batgirl was packed with a “Battle Blade Blaster” and “Strike Scythe,” which are the weird green and black things.  They don’t correlate to anything in the movie, but they certainly exist, now don’t they?

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As I mentioned in my Robin review, Batman & Robin was the first Batman movie I saw in theaters, and despite its lackluster quality, five-year-old me really enjoyed it.  Being the big thing of the summer, a whole bunch of the tie-in figures wound up as birthday presents for me that year, including Batgirl here.  She’s not necessarily one of my favorites, and that was the case even as a kid.  She really only served as my Batgirl until the Animated figure found its way into my collection and replaced her.  She’s okay, I guess, and like the rest of the line, honestly better than the movie that spawned her.

#2389: KGBeast

KGBEAST

DC COMICS MULTIVERSE (MATTEL)

“One of the world’s best contract killers, the man known as The Beast is hired to take out Batman.”

Okay, we’re officially going into the first week of my “let’s throw stuff at the wall and see what sticks” approach to reviewing.  I’ve got a handful of newish one-off items that I’ve got all the photos and stuff for, so I might as well get some of these suckers actually reviewed.  This week is going to be a little heavier on the DC side, just as a warning.  Today’s review jumps back to mythical time of 2019, when they still sang the songs and things were merry…well, okay, Mattel still had the DC license, so I guess “merry” is a relative term.  Let’s narrow in on their final series of DC product, a Batman-themed assortment, and honestly not a bad one at that.  I’m looking easily the most obscure of the figures contained there in, Anatoli Knyazev, the KGBeast!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

KGBeast was part of the Killer Croc Series of DC Comics Multiverse…well, the second, comics-themed one, anyway.   It was the last official assortment of the line, though it made it to retail before some of the others.  Beast was originally meant to be a Build-A-Figure Collect-N-Connect for a different assortment, but was quickly refitted into this line-up as a standard figure when Mattel realized they weren’t getting another assortment after this.  The figure stands 6 3/4 inches tall and he has 28 points of articulation.  Beast is a little more restricted on the articulation front than some of the others from the improved era of Mattel figures, especially when it comes to the knee joints, but he’s not as bad as some of the red-box era figures got.  Structurally, KGBeast uses a number of parts from the CnC Lobo figure, which isn’t a bad choice, aside from the the fact that he’s inherited that figure’s tendency to pop apart at the waist.  That can definitely be a little annoying.  Aside from that, though, this guy’s got a pretty impressive looking sculpt.  He’s the Rebirth version of the Beast, so the larger build is a little more sensible, and there’s an opportunity to get more cool texture details worked in, especially on that vest overlay piece he’s sporting.  It helps the figure that this is probably KGBeast’s best design to date, and that it just translates pretty nicely into action figure form.  About the only real flaw I can come up with is the decision to just paint the wires connecting his gun on his arm, rather than having some sort of sculpted element.  It looks rather tacky.  Speaking of paint, though, KGBeast’s is fairly decent.  There’s not a ton going on with it, but what’s there works pretty well, and its all fairly cleanly applied.  KGBeast is packed with a bayonet attachment for his gun-hand, two knives which he can stow in his boot sheaths, and the head and pelvis of Killer Croc.  Honestly not a bad assortment, especially when you consider how much of the package is just filled by the figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As cool a look as he has, I’ve never had much attachment to KGBeast as a character, so I looked at this figure when he first showed up, but ultimately decided to pass.  Why the change of heart?  Well, just after the new year, all the Mattel DC stuff that was still around got clearanced to make space for the new stuff, and that included KGBeast.  At $5, he was a lot easier to justify.  He’s honestly not a bad figure, and again shows that Mattel really had a solid footing in their final year with the line.

#2373: Iceboard Robin

ICEBOARD ROBIN

BATMAN & ROBIN (KENNER)

“Gotham City becomes a very cold place when Mr. Freeze, Poison Ivy and Bane triple team to plot the icy demise of Batman and Robin. The crimefighters respond immediately by using the Batcomputer deep within the Batcave to develop an array of cutting-edge weapons that can be used in their battle against this multitude of fiendish foes. Discover the Secrets of the Batcave! – secret technology that gives Batman , Robin and Batgirl the ultimate ability to save Gotham City!”

After the box office success of Batman Forever (I know, I’m surprised, too), Warner Brothers decided to fast track its follow-up, Batman & Robin, with its entire production process coming in at under two years, which, when you’re dealing with a block-buster of this caliber, isn’t a lot of time.  The end result was less than stellar.  Batman & Robin holds the lowest earnings of any Batman film to date, and is still regarded as one of the worst comic book films ever made.  With all that said, it did succeed on one front: it was a pretty excellent toy commercial.  The toyline that accompanied the film was easily the best part of the whole thing.  Amazingly, though I dove into the Batman Forever line, I have as of yet not looked at any Batman & Robin figures.  I’ll be changing that today, with Iceboard Robin!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Iceboard Robin was released in the first basic series of Kenner’s Batman & Robin line, which hit shelves in 1997, alongside the film.  The first series had two Robins included, with this one being the “standard” movie Robin.  The figure stands 4 3/4 inches tall and he has 5 points of articulation.  Robin sported an all-new sculpt.  Robin is actually the most fortunate of the film’s main characters, as he was the only one whose design didn’t change during the production process, meaning his was the only standard figure that was actually film accurate.  Additionally, Robin’s design, which was a pretty nifty merging of more classic Robin characteristics with the then current Nightwing costume from the comics, is really one of the nicest of the film’s designs in general, if you can get past the general Chris O’Donnel-ness of the head.  The sculpt does a nice job of capturing the look from the movie, and is generally a lot sturdier and more sharply detailed than the Forever figures were.  Pre-posing on this figure is at a minimum, but he’s a little better than the straight standing poses of prior figures.  There’s a more natural stance here, and it’s actually pretty darn nice.  The cape is a plastic piece, as were most of the capes on this round of figures, and it plugs into his back fairly securely.  Robin’s paintwork is pretty basic, which the majority of stuff being molded plastic.  However, the red detailing of the uniform is pretty cool, and has a slick metallic finish to it.  Iceboard Robin was, stay with me on this, packed with an iceboard, which is really just a big, goofy stand.  He also included a missile launcher, but mine is missing that piece.  Oh no, whatever will I do?

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was too young to see Batman Forever in theaters (though I sure got in on those toys), but Batman & Robin hit at the perfect time for me to be all about it.  I was very excited prior to the film’s release (and even after, if I’m honest, because I loved it.  In my defense, I was 5), and this guy was part of the hype.  At the time, Toys R Us was running a promotion where you got reprints of Robin, Batgirl, and Mr. Freeze’s first appearances if you bought one of the toys from the tie-in line, and my mom was awesome enough to take me over one day after work.  Unsurprisingly, given my more recent collecting habits, I opted for Robin to be my qualifying figure purchase.  Quality of the film and of the actor playing Robin aside, this figure holds up well, and is just a genuinely fun offering.

#2371: Harley Quinn

HARLEY QUINN

DC MULTIVERSE (MCFARLANE)

“When she first met The Joker, Dr. Harleen Quinzel was his psychiatrist at Arkham Asylum.  Instead of treating her patient, she fell in love with him and became his prankster partner in crime known as Harley Quinn.  Although mentally unhinged, Harley is highly intelligent.  She’s a skilled gymnast and her agility makes her an adept fighter.  Like The Joker, she uses a variety of weaponized gag props in her chaos-creating crimes.”

Hey, remember how McFarlane has the DC license now?  And remember how Spin Master also has it?  And how I’m really leaning into that Spin Master curve?  Well, it could only last for so long, I suppose.  In an effort to make my way through some of the stuff sitting on my “to review” pile, I’m grabbing a few things I’ve kind of been putting off.  Today’s entry is definitely in the “putting it off” category.  Guess I can’t put it off any further.  Okay, here’s Harley Quinn.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Harley Quinn is part the…well, still technically the first assortment of McFarlane’s DC Multiverse line, but exactly where she falls in that is a little debatable.  She’s not part of the Superman/Batman portion that we first saw, and she’s not part of the more Bat-family-themed build-a-vehicle assortment that Nightwing was in.  Technically, she was shown off alongside Green Arrow from Arrow and Green Lantern from JLU, neither of whom she really ties in with all that well.  It hasn’t got any less confusing since I reviewed Nightwing is the general theme of what I’m getting at here.  Harley is, according to the box anyway, based on her appearance in her self-titled miniseries from the comics, which introduced her into the mainstream DCU.  I’ll get to that.  The figure stands just over 7 inches tall and has 35 points of articulation.  Compared to the rest of the line, Harley’s not only too tall; she’s just flat out too big.  She’s not actually taller than Nightwing and Superman, but thanks to the way the parts of her body are scaled internally, she looks like she’s taller than they are.  It’s really the head that throws things off the most, because it’s so large.  Also?  Clearly not based on her main DCU design.  That head’s unquestionably meant to be an animated-style Harley, and there’s nothing about it that indicates otherwise.  Given they were already doing actual animation-based figures in the strange collection of figures that makes up “Series 1”, I’m not sure why they didn’t just say she was an animated Harley.  Okay, actually I kinda do get why, but that’ll come up later.  Whatever the case, the head’s not a great piece, even for an animated look, because it’s kinda off-model for any version of Harley we’ve seen before.  Below the neck, Harley suddenly doesn’t seem quite as animation-styled, but I wouldn’t really classify it as realistic either.  There’s a definite style there, but whose I couldn’t really say.  The part that really bugs me is the shoes, which are the usual pixie shoes, but inexplicably have high heels on them?  I don’t know how that works, and I don’t want to.  Harley in high-heels just feels wrong to me, though.  Of the three McFarlane DC figures I’ve looked at, Harley’s probably got the most basic paint scheme.  I don’t know that I’d call it “cleaner”, because the actual application is kinda messy.  There’s a noticeably splotch of white on the left shoulder, and in general the transitions between colors aren’t very clean.  It’s not terrible, though, and I don’t know that it’s really messier than the other two; there’s just less extra work to distract from the errors.  Harley is packed with a mallet, a gun with a “Bang” flag, a display stand, and a collector’s card.  The mallet is the weirdest part, because it’s definitely meant to be more real world, and therefore doesn’t fit with the rest of the figure at all.  Sure, there’s a lot of nice work on it, but why does it come with *this* figure?

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The animated figures from Multiverse kind of repulse me, and though she’s not technically an animated figure, so does Harley.  From the prototype shots, I knew I didn’t like her, and in person that didn’t change.  So, why do I have her?  It’s Max’s fault.  He bought her because he decided to buy a whole set of them, and after opening her up and messing with her for a bit, he decided he didn’t really need to keep her, and passed her along to me for the purposes of reviewing.  There it is Max.  I reviewed her.  I hope you’re happy.  Ultimately, I’m cooling on this whole McFarlane DC thing pretty quickly.  While Superman and Nightwing held my interest at first, I ultimately don’t have much to say about them a month after the fact.  And a month with Harley sitting on the shelf waiting to be reviewed did nothing to really make me like her any more than I did when I first looked at her.

#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?)

Continue reading

#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.