#1779: Girl’s Night Out

SUPERGIRL, LIVEWIRE, BATGIRL, HARLEY QUINN, & POISON IVY

BATMAN: ANIMATED (DC COLLECTIBLES)

Female action figures are, on a whole, a rarity.  This stems largely from the days when the line between action figures and dolls was really just that one was marketed to girls and one was marketed to girls.  But, in the 50 years since the term “action figure” was invented by a marketing department, the definitions have become a little more rigid, and opinions on who collects them have slightly changed.  This is my very long-winded way of saying I’m reviewing my second all-female boxed set in the space of three months, which even by modern standards is kind of cool.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Supergirl, Livewire, Batgirl, Harley Quinn, and Poison Ivy make up the “Girl’s Night Out” boxed set, released last year as part of DCC’s Batman: Animated line.  They’re based on the New Adventures of Batman episode of the same name, which sees Supergirl and Batgirl teaming up to defeat the combined forces of Livewire, Harley, and Ivy.  Only the Superman characters are actually new to this set, with Batgirl, Harley, and Poison Ivy being re-releases of their single figures from the main line, sans most of their accessories.  Since Harley’s new to me, I’ll be reviewing her here, but for my opinion on the other two, go here and here.

SUPERGIRL

For Superman: The Animated Series’ third season, Supergirl was introduced to open up some new story-telling possibilities.  However, due to DC’s then-standing policies on Clark being the only remaining Kryptonian, they had to money around with her origin a bit.  On the plus side, the character remained more or less the same.  This figure replicates her tweaked animated design.  She stands 5 3/4 inches tall and has 24 points of articulation.  Her sculpt is a rather faithful recreation of the design from the show, which is a real first for Supergirl, as her prior animated figures have all strayed from the proper design.  There are some minor nitpicks that can be made, like her head maybe being a smidge too big for the body.  However, that’s really looking for issues, and comes down more to personal preference than anything else.  Her paintwork is very clean, and the colors are bright and eye-catching.  Definitely a nice departure from this line’s penchant for fuzzy edges on everything.  The biggest downfall of this figure (and this set as a whole) is her lack of any accessories outside of a stand.  At the very least, a spare set of fists seems like it should come standard.

LIVEWIRE

After the successful creation and reception of Harley Quinn and Renee Montoya in Batman: The Animated Series, the creators tried their luck again with Livewire (though Livewire *actually* appeared in the tie-in comic before the show).  While she didn’t quite take off the way those two did, she did still pick up a decent fanbase of her own.  She never actually got a figure during S:TAS’s run, but she’s made out alright since the show’s end.  The figure stands 5 1/2 inches tall and she has 23 points of articulation.  Like Kara, her sculpt is quite a good match for her show appearance.  In fact, I even have trouble finding the minor nitpicks like I did with Supergirl.  The proportions are more balanced, and the lines are all very sharp and clean.  Her paintwork is appropriately monochromatic, and the blues interact well with each other.  There’s a little bit of fuzzy work on the edges, but it’s mostly confined to the “emblem” on her torso, where it’s somewhat acceptable, with her being an energy being and all.  She also is only packed with a display stand.  The lack of extra hands is slightly less frustrating for her, since she doesn’t need them as much, but I’m still not 100% okay with it.

HARLEY QUINN

And speaking of successful creations from the DCAU, here’s the character that’s by far the greatest success story, Harley Quinn!  Outside of Batman himself, she’s actually the character with the most figures in this line, which really speaks to her marketability.  This figure is a re-issue of her second single-carded figure, which was based on her TNBA appearance.  Harley is one of the characters whose two appearances weren’t that different, but they were enough for the eagle-eyed fan to need two distinct figures.  This figure stands 5 3/4 inches tall and she has 19 points of articulation.  Okay, so, first thing’s first, let’s discuss the articulation.  You know ankle joints?  Harley doesn’t have those.  Why not?  Your guess is as good as mine.  Apparently, DCC didn’t feel Harley needed them.  They also didn’t feel she needed the ability to stand either, though I guess that’s linked to the lack of ankle movement.  The point is, it really sucks.  Really, really sucks.  Her sculpt is fine, but it reminds me that I prefer the subtle differences of the B:TAS version.  The big head’s throwing me on this one.  I guess it’s not a terrible offering though.  Her paintwork is pretty decent.  The dual-toned color scheme looks sharp, and the application is overall pretty clean.  Like all of the others in this set, Harley’s only accessory is a display stand.  No extra hands, no weapons of any sort.  Nothing.  Not even the accessories from the prior figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When the Batman: Animated line launched, I was excited by the prospect of a complimentary Superman line.  It didn’t so much come to fruition, and I’ll admit, two of my most wanted figure from said theoretical line only being available in a big boxed set with two figures I already had kind of killed my excitement.  I ended up getting this set at the same time as yesterday’s DKR set, as a birthday present from my parents.  Supergirl and Livewire are very nice figures, slightly held back by a lack of accessories.  The other three are kind of dead weight.  Harley’s easily the worst version of the character from the line, and while Ivy and Batgirl are perfectly fine figures in their own right, having to buy them again, and not getting any accessories the second time around is really lame.  And a note to DCC:  if you’re only going to include a single set of hands, can you at least make it something more useful than the limp open palm?  This set’s begging for some cool fight set-ups, but as it currently stands, all they’re really prepared for is a big slapping fight.

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#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.

#1772: Reverse Flash

REVERSE FLASH

DC COMICS ESSENTIALS (DC COLLECTIBLES)

Hey, does anyone know what time it is?  Don’t worry, I do!  It’s “DC’s in-house toy company abandons it’s flagship line in favor of a completely new completely incompatible one”-o’clock!  …Wait, I think that might just be the time on my end.  Sorry, I don’t subscribe to the standard clock concept.  I go more for abstract reference clocks.  Just wait til it gets to be “SDCC exclusive rereleases are the literal devil”-thirty.  That’s when things go off!

Strange time-keeping jokes aside, it’s really a common trend for DC Collectibles (and their predecessors, DC Direct) to constantly abandon current projects in favor of new ones that let them re-release the same crop of heavy-hitters over and over again.  The latest example of this is their DC Icons/DC Essentials change-over.  Icons was itself a tonal shift for DCC, and had some rough beginnings, but it was finally shaping up into a respectable line, just in time for DCC to completely drop it in favor DC Essentials.  Essentials is basically the same concept as Icons, but done in such a way that the two lines are completely incompatible.  Cue the need to release all those heavy hitters again!  Amongst the line’s debut offerings, there is exactly one character who wasn’t covered by Icons, and not coincidentally, he’s the one I’m looking at today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Reverse Flash is figure 4 in the first assortment of DC Essentials, making him chronologically the last of the set.  He’s designed to pair off, unsurprisingly, with the standard Flash figure that’s also in Series 1.  He’s technically a modern take on the character, but since he’s essentially had the same look for most of his career, it’s more or less his classic design.  The figure stands 7 inches tall and he has 34 points of articulation.  Let’s just ignore the height issue, because we all knew that was coming.  He’s a full inch taller than any of the Icons figures, and  3/4 inch taller than the average Legends release.  That’s the way it is, and that’s not going to change.  Okay, so, with that out of the way, let’s tackle the other big thing here, which is the articulation.  Overall, it’s very good.  The movement on the joints is solid, and they’ve finally captured that Legends-style articulation they were aiming for.  They’ve even improved on it slightly, especially on those ankles.  But something is rotten in the state of Denmark…and it’s that abdominal crunch.  The actual joint is fine, but you know what’s not?  Those huge, obvious peg holes on either side of his ribs.  They’re just out there, naked, on display, like some sort of joint whoo-ore.  I know it’s a minor flaw, but they really, really jump out at me.  Moving past that, how is the actual sculpt?  Actually pretty good, but not without some slight drawbacks.  He uses the same basic body as the other three figures in the set.  Overall, it’s a decent offering, but the arms are about a half an inch too long for this body.  With the right pose, they look okay, but it’s a little off looking.  I’d like to see them fix this issue for future uses.  The head sculpt is definitely the star piece of this figure.  It’s suitably unique from the basic Flash figure’s head, and the evil smirk is absolutely perfect for Thawne.  The hands are also unique, and while I do like them a lot, I’m not sure how I feel about them being the only hands included here.  Reverse Flash’s paintwork is very clean, very bright, very bold, and extremely eye-catching. Very top-notch work.  Reverse Flash includes no accessories, which is a real let down given the price tag on these figures.  At the very least, he should have an extra pair of hands.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was apprehensive about this line, because I’d quite grown to like Icons, and I was honestly a little bitter about the last handful of Icons figures being cancelled seemingly to make way for Essentials.  I’m also really, really not looking to buy yet another set of the main DC heroes.  But I saw Reverse Flash in person at Cosmic Comix, and I kind of caved.  I’ve still got some mixed feelings.  There’s a lot I like about this figure, but there are a lot of minor mistakes that I feel DCC would be able to avoid if they didn’t feel the need to shake everything up every couple of years.  And, above all, he doesn’t go with anything I own, which is perhaps the most frustrating thing, since, as I said, he’s a solid figure.

FiQ Friday Fab Five at 5 #0001: Top 5 Batman Figures

What’s this?  Another feature?  Again?  Okay, Ethan, this is getting a bit ridiculous, don’t you think?  Why yes, I do think that hypothetical reader.  I think that very much.  Today’s feature, however, is not entirely my fault.  Like the addition of Wilson-4 (which necessitated taking an extra photo for every review I do), this one came from a friend of mine, who suggested this as an addition to the site.  While I certainly wasn’t looking to pick up more work for myself, I certainly couldn’t deny it was an intriguing idea.  So, what’s the idea?  Top five lists, covering my personal favorites of a given sub-genre of figures.  To keep myself sane, I’ll be limiting these to just the last Friday of each month.  Without further ado, I present the inaugural FiQ Friday Fab Five at 5, where I’ll be taking a look at one of the most toyetic characters of all time, Batman!  Now, there’s way too many Batmen for just one list, so today’s list is going straight for the standard, basic Batmen.  We’ll cover those wacky variants at a later date!

#5:     Batman – Darwyn Cooke DC Designer Series (DC Collectibles)

Darwyn Cooke is quite possibly my favorite Batman illustrator ever (heck, that could probably be extended to “favorite DC illustrator ever”), so action figures based on his work kind of seem like a shoo-in.  Unfortunately, DC Direct’s attempt in the New Frontier line left something to be desire.  Their successors at DC Collectibles took another stab, though, and released an awesome figure.  The only draw back of this figure is his reduced posablity, but if you’re just in it for the cool look, this one’s hard to beat.

#4:     Batman – Batman ’66 (NECA)

NECA’s annual “loophole abuse” figures in conjunction with Warner Brothers have been a ton of fun, and few moreso than their Adam West Batman.  After being let-down by Mattel’s lukewarm offerings, this was exactly the pick-up I needed.  And, thanks to how close the old show stayed in design, this is a figure that can also work as an awesome standard Batman.  The only thing holding this figure back are some minor QC issues that plagued his wrist joints, and I suppose the fact that he’s not a “true” Batman.

#3:     Batman – Super Powers (Kenner)

Kenner set the standard for a large chunk of the DCU with Super Powers, and in a lot of cases have yet to really be beat.  In the case of Batman, I have to admit, he’s not quite as all-conquering and victorious as his other SP-brethren, but he’s still a very solid addition to the line, and a huge piece in Batman’s toy history.  You gotta remember your roots.

#2:     “Last Rites” Batman – DC Icons (DC Collectibles)

It’s sort of amusing, right?  Seeing a figure whose review got the dreaded “Mistakes were made” tag on this site ending up in the #2 spot?  Truth be told, this is actually a really great figure, held back only slightly from greatness by his odd scaling issues.  Were he better scaled to the rest of his line, he’d have won top spot with little issue.  As it stands, he’s a fun figure who is sort of all alone.  But, if you’re just looking for a standard Batman on his own, this is a great one.

#1:     Batman – World’s Greatest Super Heroes (Mego)

Remember what I said about the Super Powers figure?  Remembering your roots and all that?  Yeah, that’s really where this guy comes into it.  He’s kind of goofy and he’s got those oven mitt gloves, but whether his mask is sculpted on or removable, there’s just something about Mego’s take on the Caped Crusader that just can’t be beat.

[Photo Credit: Mego Museum, since I don’t actually own this one]

 

#1540: GCPD Rogues Gallery

RENEE MONTOYA, BANE, KILLER CROC, MR. FREEZE, & POISON IVY

BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES (DC COLLECTIBLES)

For my ninth and final 2017 post-Christmas review, I’m returning to a line that fills me with lots of mixed emotions: DC Collectibles’ Batman: Animated.  I was very supportive of the line early on, an really liked the first couple of series, despite some of the minor flaws.  However, as the line has progressed, I’ve found a lot of the later offerings to be a bit lackluster. The thing that broke me from the line was actually the set I’m looking at today.  As I’ve noted a few times, “Heart of Ice” is hands down my favorite episode of Batman: The Animated Series, and is possibly just one of my favorite cartoons ever.  Obviously, I was eager to get a proper Animated Series Mr. Freeze.  The first figure was the New Adventures design, which is fine, but not really what I wanted.  So, what does DCC do when it finally comes time to release the classic Freeze, one of the most demanded figures in the line?  Pack him in with four other figures in an expensive boxed item.  ….Yay?

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

This five pack was released about mid-year last year, under the title “GCPD Rogues Gallery.”  All five figures in this set are based on their Animated Series designs, with the four titular Rogues being the second figure for each, following their TNBA design-sporting single-releases.

RENEE MONTOYA

Fulfilling the “GCPD” segment of this set is Officer Renee Montoya.  Montoya is noteworthy for being the second of B:TAS’s successful original creations that made her way back into the comics after the fact (following the immensely successful Harley Quinn, of course).  Montoya is the one wholly unique figure in this set.  She’s wearing her beat cop uniform, since she didn’t make it to detective until TNBA.  The figure stands about 6 1/4 inches tall and she has 22 points of articulation.  Her articulation works better than some of the Batman: Animated figures I’ve looked at, which certainly makes me feel a bit better.  Her sculpt is definitely one of the strongest in the set, recreating her animated design rather nicely. She avoids being too devoid of detail, another issue that plagued some of the line’s other figures.  Similarly, her paint is also very strong.  The application is nice and clean, and the colors all match up with her on-screen appearance.  Montoya is packed with an extra head, a handgun, a shotgun, four pairs of hands, and a display stand.  The head offers Montoya without her hat, which I guess is nice, in theory, at least.  In practice, it’s just very annoying.  Why?  Because, thanks to the design of the double barbel DCC’s used for her neck peg, if you’re not careful when swapping out the heads (a very difficult task, I might add), then the peg will pop out of the neck, rather than the head.  I ended up having to spend about 20 minutes removing the barbel from the second Montoya head to put the one with the hat back on, and after all that, the peg is mangled to the point that I doubt I’ll be able to successfully swap it again.  Okay, but what about the guns?  Well, they look nice, but I almost broke both of them taking them out of the package.  Also, despite the plethora of hands included, there’s not really a combo that can properly hold the shotgun.

BANE

The New Adventures Bane was one of my favorite figures from the single-packed line, so this figure has a lot to live up to.  I’m gonna let you all down easy here: he doesn’t.  He’s not helped by the design, to be fair.  The B:TAS Bane design is certainly one of the weakest from the original run of the show (part of why he got such a drastic redesign later).  He’s not particularly intimidating or anything.  He’s just looks like a slightly paunchy luchador.  Not the greatest design for a villain.  The figure stands 7 inches tall and he has 24 points of articulation.  Okay, let’s get this out of the way: Bane can’t stand.  Like, at all.  Just getting the photos for this review was one of the most infuriating experiences I’ve gone through.  The actual sculpt is decent, I suppose.  It replicates the show design well-enough, but I find he lacks the playability seen on the last Bane figure.  His paintwork is decent from a palette stand-point; he’s bright and colorful.  The application’s a bit iffy, and he’s got several spots of random shininess on an otherwise matte finished figure.  It’s rather distracting and makes for a fairly sloppy looking figure.  Bane includes four sets of hands, a dumbell, and a display stand.  The dumbell’s a nice extra, but, as with Montoya, there’s not actually a hand that can properly hold it.  Doesn’t that seem like the sort of thing that you would want to double check before sending this figure out?

KILLER CROC

I never actually got the TNBA Croc.  I kept meaning to, but I never did.  It’s okay.  I’ve never been a huge Croc fan anyway, so I probably didn’t need two of him.  Truth be told, Croc’s another character who I feel had a stronger design initially, so this figure’s good for that.  He stands just a little shorter than Bane, and he has 23 points of articulation.  He has the mid-torso movement like we saw on the first Bane figure, which is certainly a plus.  It helps to make him one of the most easily posed figures in the set.  It also allows for a lot more fine tuning on his weight distribution, helping him stay standing a bit better.  The sculpt is another strong offering, and I’d certainly place him on par with Montoya in that respect.  He’s very true to the show’s design, and captures Croc’s character.  I look at this guy and can hear him saying “I hit him with a rock!”  The detail work is all very sharp and crisply defined, not soft like some of the others in the line.  The paint on Croc isn’t the most exciting thing, but it matches the show.  It’s all cleanly applied, and it looks pretty decent for what it is.  Croc is packed with three sets of hands and a display stand.  No rock to hit Batman with?  I guess I can supply my own.

MR. FREEZE

Four figures in and I’m finally getting to the one that actually matters!  Yeeeeeeeaaaaahhhhh! …Sorry, that’s not really appropriate for Mr. Freeze, is it?  He’d go for a more reserved, served cold sort of thing.  Ah, yes.  A Mr. Freeze figure.  Of course.  Would that it could warm his frozen heart.  But alas, there is no hope for him.  But hey, cool figure, right?  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 22 points of articulation.  Freeze has nay favorite sculpt of all the figures included here.  He’s just really got the show design down pat.  The best piece by far is the head, which just looks absolutely spot-on from every angle.  The rest of the sculpt is a solid recreation of his suit design from the show, and it’s really only marred by one thing: the head dome.  On its own, it’s fine, but it doesn’t fit the body quite right, so it never sits flush the way it should and it pops out a lot.  It’s not awful, but it’s a minor annoyance, and there was no such issue on the last Mr. Freeze figure.  If there’s a major downfall to this figure, it’s the paintwork.  It’s not the worst I’ve seen in this line, but it’s definitely sloppy, especially on the blue parts of his suit.  How they got the others in this set so clean and not Victor is honestly a bit baffling to me.  Freeze is packed with his freeze gun, five sets of hands, a snow globe, and a display stand.  Ready for the common theme of this review?  Despite the large selection of hands, he can’t really hold his gun very well, and he can’t actually hold the snow globe as well.  I appreciate the extras being included, but I wish they could be more adequately used.

POISON IVY

Last up, it’s Poison Ivy, the other hotly demanded figure in this set.  I picked up the first Ivy figure, and I liked her overall, but she was certainly a flawed offering.  I was sort of hoping that this one would fix some of those.  It does, but there are some other ones that have cropped up to replace them.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and she has 23 points of articulation.  Her sculpt is…okay? It has its ups and downs.  It’s definitely not anywhere near as accurate as the other figures in this set, which is a shame, really.  She’s far more on par with the last Ivy, in that she looks okay from certain angles, but not so great from others.  I do like that she doesn’t have the ugly seam running down the side of her hair this time.  Unfortunately, she’s now got a rather ugly bend in her right leg, as well as a severely misshapen wrist bolt.  It kind of ruins the aesthetics.  The paint on Ivy is okay, but rather on the sloppy side of things.  It’s especially bad on her legs, where there’s a few spots of errant paint.  Ivy is packed wth five sets of hands,  the Wild Thorny Rose seen in “Pretty Poison,” and a display stand.  At least she has hands that can actually hold the rose.  I guess that’s a nice change.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As I discussed in the intro, I was less than enthused by DCC’s decision to lump all of these figures into one big set, so I didn’t grab this when it was new.  My parents were nice enough to get this for me as my main gift this Christmas.  This set frustrates me because I really wanted to like it, but it’s perhaps the most frustrating thing I received this year.  Sure, most of the figures are a marked improvement on the single releases, but there are still enough flaws throughout the set that it’s infuriating.  The fact that Freeze and Ivy include more accessories also drives home the point that DCC designed them as individual releases and held them back to move this big set, which feels like a real cheap move to me.  Ultimately, I’m happy to have the Mr. Freeze I wanted.  He’s a good figure.  Montoya is also a solid addition, and Croc’s a pleasant surprise that I probably wouldn’t have gotten otherwise.  Ivy’s another flawed version of the character, though, and Bane just does nothing for me.  So, that’s 2/5 figures in this set that I would have much rather passed on.  That’s not a very good spread, especially for something that carries this hefty a price tag.

#1522: Hawkgirl

DC BOMBSHELLS HAWKGIRL

DC DESIGNER SERIES: ANT LUCIA (DC COLLECTIBLES)

After taking a brief hiatus last week to turn my focus over to the Galaxy far, far away, I’m going back to my recent trend of DC figures on Fridays.  While I’ve run out of new Icons figures to look at, there’s one pseudo Icons-compatible line I’ve discovered, which I rather like.  That line is DC Designer Series: Ant Lucia, which adapts the DC Bombshells illustrations of Ant Lucia into figure form.  I’ve already looked at Wonder Woman, and today I’m taking a look at Hawkgirl!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Hawkgirl is from the second assortment of DC Designer Series: Ant Lucia, where she’s figure 6.  The figure stands about 6 1/2 inches tall and has 27 points of articulation.  She’s still a tad larger than the average DC Icons figure, but she’ll fit in alright, and she’ll look great with Marvel Legends and the like.  Hawkgirl is sporting an all-new sculpt, patterned after her Bombshells design.  Her look actually hasn’t changed all that drastically from her classic design; the basic elements are certainly very similar.  Instead of the usual spandex, she’s got a green flight suit overtop of a yellow tank top, but it’s the same end look.  The upper half of her flight suit has been pulled down around her waist, a feature that, on the figure, has been replicated using a free-floating piece, thus allowing preservation of the movement on the hip joints.  The biggest departure from her classic look is definitely the wings, which have been reimagined as a sort of Rocketeer-style jetpack.  It’s a very cool look, and it very much helps to sell the figure within the overall style of the line.  The actual piece is very cleanly and sharply rendered.  In terms of paint, Hakwgirl is incredibly clean, and very boldly handled.  The colors all go together very well, and all of the details look top notch.  There’s a ton of character in her face, and the paint does a lot to sell that.  Compared to the first series, the second series of these figures all took a bit of a budgetary hit.  In Hawkgirl’s case, that means her only real extra is her rocket pack.  No extra hands or anything.  It’s a little bit of a letdown after just looking at all of the cool extras that came with Wonder Woman, but at the same time, I don’t feel anything essential is missing.  I’m happy with what I got.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Hawkgirl’s actually the figure that got me interested in this line.  Wonder Woman was certainly cool, but this was the one that I knew I wanted.  Cosmic Comix didn’t get these guys in, so I ended up getting her from Fat Jack’s Comiccrypt in Cherry Hill, New Jersey.  She’s not a perfect figure, and I’m a little saddened by the lack of extras, but she’s still a ton of fun, and perhaps my favorite Hawkgirl I own, despite her non-standard nature.  It’s a real shame this line doesn’t look to be going forward.

#1508: Deathstroke

DEATHSTROKE

DC ICONS (DC COLLECTIBLES)

Remember last week when I couldn’t find Deathstroke’s accessories, so I had to review Bombshells Wonder Woman instead?  Well, I found them!  So A-HA!  …So, how ‘bout that review, then, huh?

As a whole, I tend to find Deathstroke rather overplayed these days.  He’s just everywhere, and he doesn’t tend to fit that well most places.  It’s gotten to the point that my first response to hearing he’s in any given piece of media is to roll my eyes.  That being said, I used to be a pretty big fan of the character, and I still can enjoy him under the right circumstances.  I still very much enjoy his role on the Teen Titans cartoon, and I like classic Deathstroke from the Wolfman/Perez days, so the DC Icons version is just my speed!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Deathstroke was released in the fifth series of DC Icons, and he’s numbered figure 21 in the line.  He’s officially based on “The Judas Contract,” his introductory arc from the comics.  It’s a classic story, and gives us the best standard Deathstroke design around, so it’s a very good choice.  If you really get into it, it’s kind of a goofy look, I suppose, but it all adds up to a pretty great looking design, at least to me, a classic DC fan.  The figure stands about 6 1/4 inches tall and has 31 points of articulation.  He scales pretty decently with the Rebirth figures, but Deathstroke being a taller guy, he’ll look okay next to the earlier figures.  His sculpt is all unique to him, and, like Firestorm, I find it to be one of the line’s nicest offerings.  The build of the body is nice and balanced, and the detail work on the costume is very sharp, and very evocative of Perez’s artwork.  It’s definitely one of the better translations of his art into figure form, which is a bit funny, since this is actually based on Ivan Reis’s interpretation of Perez’s work.  The work on the scale-mail is definitely some of the best work, but I also enjoy the cleaner parts of the sculpt.  Deathstroke’s paintwork is overall pretty solid, apart from one small issue on my figure.  The metallic blue looks really snazzy, and the other colors accent it pretty well.  The only issue with my figure is the slight bit of slop on the divide of his mask.  It’s minor, but an annoyance nonetheless.  Deathstroke is quite well accessorized, including an extra unmasked head, two sets of hands (in fists and grips), a sword and sheath, revolver, rifle, and a staff.  The head’s the standout, and is another top-notch sculpt.  I also really like the staff, which is three pieces, allowing you to modulate the length of it.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve looked at Deathstroke a few times in the store, but was always a bit resistant to getting him, given the whole overplayed thing.  I finally ended up grabbing him during Cosmic Comix’s 26th Annual Annual Sale.  Deathstroke’s one of the best DC Icons offerings, and I’m certainly glad I picked him up.

#1501: DC Bombshells Wonder Woman

DC BOMBSHELLS WONDER WOMAN

DC DESIGNER SERIES: ANT LUCIA (DC COLLECTIBLES)

Okay, I’m gonna start today’s review by saying this isn’t at all what I was planning to review today.  Today, I had intended to continue my look at DC Icons with Deathstroke.  So, just a few hours ago, I got my photo stage all set-up and ready to take pictures of him, and then…I couldn’t find his accessories.  So that was a no go.  Instead, I guess I’ll take a look at an entry from Icons’ pseudo-sister-line, DC Designer Series: Ant Lucia.  This line takes the work of artist Ant Lucia from his DC Comics Bombshells series and turns them into Icons-styled figures.  Today, I’ll be taking a look at Wonder Woman.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

DC Bombshells Wonder Woman is the first figure in the first series of the DC Designer Series: Ant Lucia line.  The figure stands about 6 3/4 inches tall and she has 29 points of articulation.  Despite the Icons styling, the height of this figure actually brings her more in line with the likes of Marvel Legends or even DCC’s earlier output.  That being said, Wonder Woman’s actually a little taller than the rest of the line, so I think they’re just going for a slightly taller take on Wonder Woman.  That being the case, she’s not that horribly out of scale with later Icons figures.  Wonder Woman has an all-new sculpt, based on her Bombshells design.  I’m picky about my Wonder Woman designs, but I’m a pretty big fan of this one.  It’s a departure from the usual, but unlike a number of Bombshells redesigns, it actually outs her in more clothing than she usually wears.  The sculpt does a great job of translating Lucia’s artwork into three dimensions, as well as doing a pretty solid job of integrating the articulation in pretty smoothly.  By far my favorite part of the sculpt is expression on Wonder Woman’s face, which shows her cackling with sheer joy.  There’s just so much life in that expression, and when compared to the likes of the bland expressions seen on most of the Icons figures, it just looks so great.  It’s really fun.  Wonder Woman’s paintwork is all around pretty solid work.  The colors all fit the tone and style of the original art, and everything is very clean.  I quite enjoy the blue highlights in her hair, as it calls back to classic comic art very nicely.  Wonder Woman is packed with three sets of hands (in fists and two different styles of griping), a big wrench, and a cinderblock linked to a big chain (which can even split at the middle loop, making it look like she’s just broken it).  It’s a really fun selection of extras, to be sure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve been wanting to get at least one of the DC Bombshells figures since they were announced and released, but I was never quite sure which one I wanted.  I decided to grab one of them during Cosmic Comix’s 26th Annual Annual Sale, and since Wonder Woman was the only one they still had in stock, the choice was made for me.  I’m actually not upset about that at all, because Wonder Woman’s one of DC Collectibles’ best offerings to date.  She’s a ton of fun!

#1498: Kid Flash

KID FLASH

THE FLASH (DCC)

One of my favorite TV shows (and one of the few I can actually more or less keep up with) is CW’s The Flash.  The show’s gone pretty much all-in with the whole Flash mythos, and just last season they officially introduced Wally West in the role of Barry Allen’s sidekick Kid Flash.  Wally’s always been a very important character in the Flash, and I was pretty thrilled to finally get to see him in action.  I was also pretty thrilled that finally got an action figure, courtesy of DC Collectibles’ very slowly released line of figures from the show.  Let’s have a look at how he turned out, shall we?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Kid Flash is the seventh figure in DCC’s The Flash line.  The last of these I looked at was Captain Cold, who was figure 2, so it looks like I’ve fallen a little bit behind.  Wally just hit a few weeks ago, alongside White Canary from Legends of Tomorrow.  The figure stands about 6 1/2 inches tall (just a skosh smaller than Barry, which is about right) and he has 26 points of articulation.  Wally loses several points of articulation from Barry, all of them swivels on the legs.  I’m not sure what DCC has against swivels on the legs, but they do seem to remove them a lot.  It’s frustrating, because it definitely limits the poses you can do with the figure.  He does at least have rocker ankles, so he makes out a bit better than Supergirl in that respect.  The articulation is far more useful than on recent Mattel offerings, and that’s a definite plus.  Wally’s sculpt is all-new to him.  While it’s not quite as detailed as Flash or Supergirl (which is true to his show design, since his costume lacks a lot of the texturing of the main characters’ costumes), but it’s still quite accurate to the show design.  I actually find his build to be more realistic and far less gangly than Barry, which is a step in the right direction.  The head sports a pretty solid likeness of actor Keiynan Lonsdale in the mask, although this is clearly him from earlier in Season 3, given the shorter hair.  Wally’s paint is some of the best I’ve seen on the CW figures, helped largely by the bolder colors present in the design.  There’s a lot of vibrance in the color choices, and he’s even got some pretty solid accent work to keep the larger stretches of the same colors from getting too monotonous.  Wall is packed with hands in fists, gripping, and in flat running poses, which make for a decent variety of poses.  He also gets an extra unmasked head, which makes me retroactively frustrated that DCC stuck the extra Barry head in a freaking two-pack.  I still would have liked to see some sort of running stand included here; I ended up making due with a Minimate flight stand for the photo up top.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I picked up Wally from Cosmic Comix.  As luck would have it, he hit during the 26th Annual Annual Sale, so I got him for 40% off his usual price.  I definitely wanted to pick him up at some point, but I won’t deny that the sale helped me make the decision to grab him sooner rather than later.  I’m happy with this figure.  He’s not perfect, but he’s still quite good.  And, most importantly, he got me to dig out my CW Flash figure, and reminding me that that figure was actually way better than I remembered.  And now I have this pretty awesome pair!

#1494: Firestorm

FIRESTORM

DC ICONS (DCC)

It is only now, on Black Friday, that I’ve realized that it might have been more clever to review Black Adam today instead of two weeks ago.  See, because they both have “Black” in their name.   Pretty good, right?  You’re just blown away by how clever I am, right?  True genius.  If only I’d thought ahead.  Instead, here’s Firestorm, an unnatural fusion created by ungodly science.  That’s sort of like Black Friday, right?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Firestorm was released in the fourth series of DC Icons as figure 16, making him the final figure in the assortment numerically.  He’s listed as being based on “Justice League,” which isn’t the biggest help in narrowing things down.  Presumably, this refers to when Firestorm joined the team a few years ago during Ivan Reis’s tenure as the artist.  He’s sporting his second New 52 era look, which first showed up in issue #0 of Fury of Firestorm.  It was a return to form after the more divergent split looks from the initial launch.  It keeps all of the important classic Firestorm details, while still being “modern” so I think it’s not a bad choice at all.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall at the top of his flame hair (so, just over 6 without it) and he has 31 points of articulation.  Series 4 marked the first official move to the “new” Icons scale, so he’ll fit in with the Rebirth boxed set.  He also features the drop hips, which add to his mobility quite a bit.  Firestorm’s sculpt is really one of the nicest to come out of Icons.  It’s really sleek and clean and captures the character very nicely.  The details are all very sharp, and he has a nice, balanced set of proportions.  If I’m getting super nit-picky, his shoulders seem perhaps a touch narrow, but that’s really reaching.  The paint is similarly top-notch.  The metallic red looks really sweet, and the clear plastic works really well for the flames.  The details are clean and crisp, and he just looks very polished.  He’s packed with a spare set of open-palmed hands (in a translucent yellow), as well as a spare set of forearms with a nuclear effect (in the same translucent plastic).  They swap in and out pretty easily, and they make for a decent selection when posing him.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I ended up tracking down Firestorm on the recommendation of my friend Matt Thorpe, who I had run into at Barnes & Noble when I grabbed Lex and Black Adam.  He’d mentioned how much he liked the figure, so it made it’s way to the top of my list.  I grabbed the last one in stock at Cosmic Comix during their 26th Annual Annual Sale, meaning I got him for a pretty sweet 40% off of his original price.  I’m glad I picked him up because he’s definitely one of the best figures this line produced, and probably the best figure Firestorm’s ever gotten!