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]

 

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#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!

#1487: Lex Luthor

LEX LUTHOR

DC ICONS (DC COLLECTIBLES)

Aw, you guys lucked out today.  Not one, but TWO DC Icons reviews!  And there was even one that *wasn’t* reviewed by me.  What a relief!

Last week, my DC Icons review took a slight turn for the villainous with a look at Captain Marvel foe Black Adam.  Today, I’m continuing that trend, looking at the villainous brains to Superman’s heroic brawn, Lex Luthor!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Lex Luthor was released in the second series of DCC’s DC Icons.  He’s figure 08, which puts him right after Black Adam.  Like Black Adam, Luthor is also based on his design from “Forever Evil.”  “Forever Evil” is a rather Luthor-centric story, which means it’s a good basis from which to draw the character. It’s still not one of my favorites.  Personally, I’d have preferred his Crisis-era battle suit.  With that said, Luthor’s look has always kind of been in flux over the years, so I’m a bit more open to change.  This look is inoffensive.  The figure’s one of the shorter ones, standing just under 6 inches tall.  Fortunately, it makes sense for Luthor to be a little smaller than the majority of the Justice League, so he ends up scaling okay with the line’s later figures.  He’s got 29 points of articulation, distributed in essentially the same way as the rest of the line.  Luthor’s sculpt is completely unique to him.  It’s decent enough.  Like the design it’s based on, I find the sculpt to be a little bit bland, especially the head.  They’ve gone with a more stern take on Luthor, which is perfectly in-character, but not terribly exciting.  I’d have liked an evil grin or something.  They could have at least made it an alternate head.  The suit is at least well-done from a technical standpoint, with lots of clean line-work and a good mechanical look.  The paintwork on this guy is certainly passable, but sort of continues the overall trend of being a little bland.  They’ve opted for flat colors on the suit, rather than something metallic.  It looks fine, but doesn’t possess the pop that I feel it could.  Luthor is packed with several different sets of hands, posed in fists, open gesture, one energy effect for the right hand, and a left hand holding some sort of wand thing that I’m gonna assume is story specific.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I found Luthor at the same time as Black Adam.  He too was 50% off, which is pretty much entirely why I bought him.  He’s the sort of figure that’s fine in the grander scope of the line, and an important character, but he’s just sort of…blah.  Not bad in the slightest, but not exceedingly interesting either.  Still, he looks nice with the rest of the set.

Guest Review #0048: Super Sons

SUPERBOY & ROBIN

DC ICONS (DC COLLECTIBLES)

The following is a guest review by my dad, writer Steven H. Wilson!  Check out more from him over at his blog, located at stevenhwilson.com

So I bought this set a while back, on new comics Wednesday, and Ethan suggested I review the figures here, and then do a piece over on my blog about the characters and their history. You’ll note that Ethan’s blog is very focused, a new action figure review every day. Mine is not so much. It’s pretty much just whatever the hell I want to talk about, when I want to talk about it. And it hasn’t always been every day, though it has been for a while now. Anyway, here we have The Super-Sons!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

The Super-Sons are a two-pack in the DC Icons line, what I’m told may be the last such two-pack in the series.

SUPERBOY

The fifth (I think?) Superboy in DC Comics history, Jonathan White Kent is the son of Superman and Lois Lane. The original Superboy was Superman, but it’s unclear these days if that was Jon’s dad. The original grew up to be the Superman of Earth One, which was destroyed (more correctly, merged with a few other earths) in Crisis on Infinite Earths. Jon’s father is the Superman of that merged Earth, who when introduced, was established never to have been Superboy [well, at least until they decided he was…–E]. I don’t know if that still holds because DC history is confusing. The other Superboys were Kon-El, a clone of Superman with different powers, Jon-El, sort of the same deal, and, of course, the dreaded Superboy Prime, the young hero of Crisis on Infinite Earths who later went bad.

Little Jon Kent, ten years old, is growing into his inherited powers. He sort of flies, has some strength, and uses his heat vision an awful lot. True to his father’s influence, he’s a boy scout who’s afraid to swear. True to his mothers, he’s utterly fearless.

Previous Superboy figures have included one that came in a two-pack with his cousin Supergirl from DC Direct, and two Superboy Primes released in the DC Direct Infinite Crisis line and the Mattel DC Universe Classics line.

Superboy stands about 3 ½ inches tall and has 29 points of articulation. He comes with the Icons “flying” stand, a clear plastic cylinder section with a slanted top and a pin the attach his foot. Face and body are original sculpts, about an inch shorter than the male adult figures in the line. The facial sculpt is good, capturing Jon’s confident half-smile and eternal optimism.

His “uniform” (or are they play clothes) is well reproduced—a Superman hoodie he found at a second-hand store, jeans with a rip in the knee, a red T-shirt and short red cape. I think perhaps the hoodie is a bit too form-fitting. It’s shown looser in the comics, contributing more to Jon’s “still-growing” look, and his air of casual disregard for his appearance.

He’s very poseable, although I had a hard time getting him into the “Up, up and away” pose shown on the box.

Like all Icons figures, he comes with extra pairs of hands, specifically three this time around.

ROBIN

The son of Bruce Wayne (Batman) and Talia Al Ghul, daughter of Batman’s immortal enemy Ras Al Ghul, Damian Wayne is the sixth individual to carry the code name Robin, the others being Dick Grayson, Jason Todd, Tim Drak, Carrie Kelly, and Stephanie Brown (very briefly). Damien Wayne is 13, short for his age, and pretends he only hangs out with Jonathan Kent because the kid has powers, not because he actually likes him, and not because their fathers have pretty much bullied them into being “friends.”

This is the sixth Damian Wayne Robin figure, the last coming out from Mattel’s DC Comics Multiverse line just recently, as well as one from Mattel’s online subscription service, two from DC Collectibles’ Son of Batman and Lil’ Gotham lines, and one from DC Direct’s Batman Incorporated before that.

The figure stands about 3 inches tall, with 29 points of articulation. The facial sculpt shows Damian pouting and angry, because, if Damian ever smiled, his head would explode in order to expel his face away from it with as much force as possible. Or maybe he’s just pissed that the figures so accurately represent how much smaller he is than his junior partner.

I wish he had come with an interchangeable head, so that he could be displayed with his hood up. He does come with a five sets of hands (in fists, flat, two different grips, and with bloody talons), and a staff to make up for not having a flying stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I looked forward to the Super-Sons title, because I was a kid when the original Super-Sons were having their imaginary adventures. (More about them on my own blog.) It’s such a completely hokey idea, and it was always great fun. I think Peter Tomasi has integrated the hokey idea into a fun book that works for a new generation of more-sophisticated (read: really jaded) readers. I was glad to see them rendered in action-figure form, since I doubt the original “Superman, Jr.” and “Batman, Jr.” (Yep, those were their names!) ever will be.

#1480: Black Adam

BLACK ADAM

DC ICONS (DC COLLECTIBLES)

Can you smell what Black Adam is cooking?  See, it’s funny, cuz the Rock is playing Black Adam.  Clever, right?  Well, that’s quite enough levity for today, I think.  So, Black Adam is by far Captain Marvel/Shazam’s most known foe.  So well known that he’s actually spent the last decade or so as a more prominent player than the hero he was created to fight.  Funny how things play out.  Guess people just can’t resist a good anti-hero.  Case in point: today’s Black Adam figure, from DC Icons, a line that never got an actual Shazam figure.  Weird.  Onto the figure!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Black Adam was released in Series 2 of DC Icons.  He’s figure 07 in the line, placing him right in the middle of the Series 2 releases.  He’s based on his New 52-styled appearance from “Forever Evil.”  I can’t say it’s one of my favorite designs.  I mean, it’s just a re-color of the Shazam design, which is fine from a thematic standpoint, but I’m not a huge fan of that design either.  It just feels…over-designed?  That was my common issue with the New 52 stuff, and it’s really true here.  I just really prefer the classic design.  But, that’s not the design they went with, so I guess I’ll just deal.  The figure stands about 6 1/2 inches tall (making him the tallest standard figure from the line) and he has 29 points of articulation.  His sculpt is decent enough.  The build is rather similar to the Superman and Batman from the Rebirth pack, just a little taller.  It means he’s not scrawny or undersized like some of the line’s earlier figures, and he slots in decently with other 6-inch lines.  The design is still definitely over-complicated, but the sculpt makes the best of it, and adds some very precise detail work to the figure.  The head is fine from a technical standpoint, but the expression seems a little bland for Black Adam, if I’m honest.  He just seems bored. I also feel that the fraying at the bottom of the cape could be a little more realistic, but aside from that, I find the sculpt to be fairly decent.  The paintwork is well rendered.  The contrast is pretty great, and I quite like the electricity detailing on his insignia.  His skin tone seems a little light for Teth, but that’s relatively minor, since his colors are prone to change from appearance to appearance.  Black Adam is a little lighter on the extras, with just extra hands.  There are three pairs: fists, open gesture, and electricity effects.  Not a bad assortment, even if it’s a little light.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Black Adam was picked up from Barnes and Noble, capping off a day of way too much money spent on action figures.  So, why’d I buy him?  Partly because I’ve recently become obsessed with finishing my DC Icons set.  Partly because he was on clearance for 50% off.  He’s certainly not my favorite figure from the line, nor is he the version of the character I would have chosen.  That being said, he’s a fun figure, and worth the lower price I paid for him.  Shame there was no Shazam to go with him.