#2181: Robin & Raphael

ROBIN & RAPHAEL

BATMAN VS. TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES (DC COLLECTIBLES)

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

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

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

ROBIN

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

RAPHAEL

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

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

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

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#2180: Batman & Leonardo

BATMAN & LEONARDO

BATMAN VS. TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES (DC COLLECTIBLES)

Just at the end of last month, I took my first look at the latest branch of TMNT figures, specifically the cross-over ones from Batman Vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  The debut figure was a single figure crossing over both concepts, but the rest of the line is doing the crossover via packs of two figures, one from each of the two franchises.  Today, I look at the unquestionable lead of one franchise, and the disputed lead of another, with Batman and Leonardo!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Batman and Leonardo are the first of the five two-packs that make up DCC’s Batman Vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles line. The whole line is currently exclusive to Gamestop, but time will tell if that’s actually going to stick or not.  Whatever the case, these two started hitting Gamestop shelves last month.

BATMAN

Would you believe me if I said that the primary selling point of this set for me was another Batman figure?  I know, I’ve got hundreds of them at this point, why obsess over one more?  Well, if I’m being entirely honest, after the disappointment of DCC’s B:TAS Batman figure, I’ve been in the market for a decently handled vaguely animated Batman figure, and that’s what this one appeared to be.  Batman Vs. TMNT gives Bats a rather classic appearance, but with an interesting stylized flair, which translates well to this toy form.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 27 points of articulation.  Articulation was perhaps the best part of the Mikey figure, and while Batman’s not *quite* as good, he’s still pretty darn good in his own right.  The range on the legs and the torso is solid, and I felt like the feet were quite good for keeping him flat-footed.  The neck does okay for a single ball-joint, but is a little restricted.  The worst restriction, though, is to the elbows, which just barely make it to 90 degrees.  It’s not ideal for a Batman figure.  His sculpt is another all-new affair, which makes sense, given the unique stylizing from the movie.  It’s another strong sculpt as well, capturing Batman’s usual chiseled nature quite nicely, and just generally building an aesthetically pleasing version of the character.  Like Mikey, Batman’s cape is cloth, and it’s a virtually identical piece.  That’s a good thing, because I loved the cape on Mikey, and I love the cape on Batman.  It definitely makes for some fun with posing him.  Batman’s paintwork is fairly strong.  The base colors are cleanly applied, and the extra line work really helps to sell the animated appearance.  As with all DCC paint, I worry a little about how it will hold up over time, but it looks good now.  Batman has a fairly sizable selection of accessories.  He includes four sets of hands (in fists, wide grip, tight grip, and split finger grip), a batarang, a bat-bomb, a grappling hook with two hook attachments, and a slice of pizza.  Because yes, Batman needs pizza.

LEONARDO

Leader of the Turtles, and fan of the color blue, Leonardo is a good pairing for Batman here.  Frequent readers will note that I generally don’t have a super high opinion of Leo, but this one has the benefit of being packed with the Batman figure I just reviewed and liked so much.  Leo stands 5 1/2 inches tall and has 28 points of articulation.  On the articulation front, if you read my review of Mikey, than you pretty much know what’s up here.  All of the Turtles appear to be using the exact same articulation layout, which honestly isn’t a bad choice.  It did seem that the joints were a little bit tighter on Leo, which is a slight improvement.  Leo is sporting an all-new sculpt, which appears to translate his design from the movie pretty well.  The mid-sized build definitely works for Leo when compared to the others.  It’s not all perfect, though.  This design moves Leo’s swords from their usual spot on his back to down on his left hip.  While I don’t hate this choice, it’s definitely something that works better in animation than in plastic.  Once in place, the sheaths prevent the left arm from sitting comfortably.  Additionally, they don’t really stay in place very securely, so posing will tend to knock them out of place a lot.  Getting them to stay on for the photos here was no small feat.  Leo’s paintwork is pretty much the same set up as everyone else, so it’s pretty clean, and the line work adds a nice dynamic sense to him.  Leo is, like Batman, decently accessorized.  He has three sets of hands (fists, gripping, and flat), his two katanas, the sheaths for them, and another slice of pizza.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When these packs were announced, the only one I really knew I wanted was the Donatello/Batgirl pairing.  The rest I was a bit iffy on.  But then I picked up the Mikey as Batman figure, and I really liked him, which persuaded me to check these guys out.  Batman’s the star for me, and is easily the best Batman figure that DCC has released.  He’s got some minor flaws, but not enough to hold him back in my eyes.  Leo is…Leo.  I don’t have a tendency to get excited about him, and this figure didn’t change that.  If you like Leo, though, I’m sure he’s pretty cool.

 

#2167: Mikey as Batman

MIKEY AS BATMAN

BATMAN VS. TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES (DC COLLECTIBLES)

Apparently, it’s about time for somebody *else* to get into the business of making Ninja Turtles toys, because Playmates, NECA, and Mondo having the license just wasn’t quite enough.  DC Collectibles, who, you know, usually make, um, DC collectibles, have gotten in on this thing, but in their defense, they’ve got a good reason.  That reason is Batman Vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, an animated film based on a comic that goes for the rather straight forward premise in the title.  To be fair, it’s a marketer’s dream, so toys seem natural.  DCC is planning on offering up a selection of five two-packs as Gamestop exclusives over the next few months, but to kick things off they offered up a true crossover figure: Michelangelo dressed as the caped crusader!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Mikey as Batman was a summer con exclusive item, with follow-up distribution through Gamestop, who will be carrying the rest of the Batman Vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles line.  He’s inspired by the animated designs of the movie, which are yet another new stylization of the turtles.  Oh, and he’s also wearing a Batman cowl and cape, of course.  The figure stands 5 inches tall and he has 28 points of articulation.  His sculpt is an all-new one, though no doubt he’ll be sharing most of his parts with the standard Mikey that’s coming packed with Alfred later down the line.  It’s a pretty solid piece of work.  It’s very clean and animation friendly, and I definitely dig the huge smile on his face. What I like most of all about it his how well the articulation works.  It’s not perfect, but given that it’s DCC we’re dealing with, it’s actually suprisingly good.  The range is solid, the movement is relatively smooth, the joints do okay holding the poses, and there aren’t any obviously missing joints.  The plastic’s a little harder than I might like, but that comes with the DCC territory.  The cape is a cloth piece, and while I’m iffy on cloth capes, I actually really, really like this one.  It’s about on par with the cape on the Mezco DKR Batman in terms of quality, and that’s a very big compliment.  Mikey’s paintwork is fairly reasonable; I like how they’ve simulated the linework of the animation style in a way that looks good from pretty much any angle.  That’s quite hard to do properly.  Mikey is a fairly decently accessorized figure.  While he has nothing to go in the empty holsters on his belt (I’m confident the standard release will be keeping his nunchucks there), he does include three sets of hands (in griping, flat palm, and thumbs up), a slice of pizza, and a NYC manhole cover painted up like a whole pizza.  It’s kind of an eclectic collection of parts, but a pretty fun set of extras nonetheless.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This is Max’s fault.  I know, what are the odds?  It’s not even a Transformers thing.  So how’d it work out that way?  Well, he found this figure and asked if I wanted it, and here we are.  I know, I fought so valiantly against getting it.  Honestly, I was curious about the quality of the line, and wasn’t sure I wanted to drop a whole $50 to find out.  This figure ended up being a very pleasant surprise for me, and in fact convinced me I probably wanted to pick up at least the main four Turtles and their counterparts.  Not a bad figure at all.

#2109: Grey Ghost

GREY GHOST

BATMAN: ANIMATED (DC COLLECTIBLES)

When it was in full swing, DC Collectibles’ Batman: Animated line was one that gave me a lot of mixed emotions.  I liked the concept behind it, because I like the show, and I like well-articulated action figures, but the implementation was always hit or miss.  And if the quality of the figures wasn’t questionable, how they were getting released kept getting weirder.  When my most wanted figure ended up stuck in a $150+ boxed set, I was less than thrilled, and so were a lot of other people, and the line sort of died off for a bit, its last few offerings being a bit up in the air.  Cancellation seemed like a certainty, but DCC surprised us and actually got those last several figures out.  Included amongst them was the Grey Ghost, a show original creation designed to showcase former Batman actor Adam West.  He was one of the few characters not to be given a figure during Kenner’s run, and while Mattel made one, he was never super plentiful, making DCC’s a pretty big deal.  Does he live up to it?  The short answer is yes, but allow me to elaborate.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Grey Ghost is figure 42 in the Batman: Animated line, and is part of what is looking like it may be the final assortment of single-carded figures.  He’s based on the character’s appearance in his showcase episode “Beware the Grey Ghost.”  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  Right off the bat, this figure is notable for deviating from the line’s (admittedly a little inconsistent) articulation scheme.  The neck is changed from a restricted ball joint to a universal joint, the hips are now a ball and disk construction with an overlay piece for the pelvis, he has double knee joints, and his ankles follow the current Legends rocker set-up.  The biggest upside to this is an abundance of lateral movement on the legs, which removes the tendency towards pigeon-toes for these figures and also makes him a lot easier to keep standing. There are still some areas where movement could be improved (he still has nothing mid-torso), but this is a great step forward.  This line was sold on show accuracy, and Grey Ghost’s sculpt follows suit.  It’s a pretty clean recreation, and the articulation is suitably worked in without breaking things up too badly.  In terms of paint work, Grey Ghost is fairly consistent with earlier offerings.  This definitely makes the paint the weakest aspect of the figure, but it’s not terrible.  There are a few spots that could stand to be just a touch cleaner.  Grey Ghost is packed with his pistol (plus an extra hand for holding it), one of the Mad Bomber’s toy cars, an extra hand holding a pen, and a copy of the Grey Ghost VHS he’s seen signing at the end of the episode.  While it’s a little sad that the stands were cut, I do like the return to episode specific extras a lot.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I genuinely thought this figure wasn’t getting released, so I was surprised to find him at a comic book store while on vacation a few weeks ago.  I wasn’t expecting much, but wasn’t going to pass on owning some version of the character as a toy.  He pleasantly surprised me to say the least, and in typical DCC fashion, they’ve managed to fix everything just before abandoning things.

#2055: Batgirl

BATGIRL

DC ESSENTIALS (DC COLLECTIBLES)

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

THE FIGURE ITSELF

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

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

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

#2054: Nightwing

NIGHTWING

DC ESSENTINALS (DC COLLECTIBLES)

I’m a little bit of a glutton for punishment, aren’t I?  How else can you explain the fact that I just keep returning to the toylines that hurt me?  There are, of course, a few entries under that title, but the one I’m concerning myself with today is DC Essentials.  It’s DCC’s second line by that name and also their second attempt at a line of consistently styled and highly articulated versions of their characters.  After they put Icons out to pasture, this became their new focus, which, for DCC, generally means rereleasing many of the same characters all over again.  Today, I look at a figure I already had as an Icon, Nightwing!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Nightwing is figure 12 in the DC Essentials line.  He was actually one of the first figures to be shown off when the line was announced, but found himself pushed back a little bit.  He’s based on Nightwing’s Rebirth design, which is fairly heavily inspired by his appearance from The New Batman Adventures.  It’s a nicer redesign than either of his New 52 looks, so I really can’t complain.  The figure stands 7 inches tall and he has 34 points of articulation.  Apart from a new head and hands meant for gripping, Nightwing is just using the same body as Reverse Flash and Superman before him.  Like I mentioned in the Superman review, the fact that they’re using the same base body for all of these characters is one of the iffier aspects of the line, as these three should really not be sharing a build.  On the plus side, the general build works okay for Nightwing, at least in a vacuum.  The downside is that the body still has all of the issues it had before.  The forearms are definitely too long, and those pegs on the ab-crunch still really bug me.  I will say, I do like his new headsculpt, and I think it’s one aspect of this figure that I really prefer to the Icons version of the figure.  In particular, I like the slight little grin on his face.  Nightwing’s paint is fairly straight forward.  The blue makes for a nice contrast to the black, and he’s fairly eye-catching.  However, the application’s a little spotty, with a lot of fuzz around the edges of the blue.  Also, my figure has a rather noticeable smear on the back of his head, which, for the record, I could not see in the package.  Nightwing includes his usual escrima sticks, and that’s it.  In his defense, that’s two more accessories than the prior Essentials figures I’ve reviewed, but it’s still quite a bit less than his Icons counterpart, or really any comparable figures.  Given the MSRP on these is several dollars higher than a Marvel Legend, that’s really a let-down.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When the figures were first shown off, Nightwing was actually one of only two that I really had any interest in, but then I got the Icons Nightwing, who I really liked.  I also got Reverse Flash and Superman, who made me less than enthusiastic for the line, so when Nightwing first popped up, I decided to pass.  However, Cosmic Comix was running a sale on Free Comic Book day, so I was able to grab him for a far more reasonable price.  Ultimately, he’s still not swayed me on the line, but I don’t hate him, because at least he’s a semi-decent Nightwing figure.

#2023: Green Lantern

GREEN LANTERN

DC: THE NEW 52 (DC COLLECTIBLES)

DC’s “New 52” relaunch sure does seem like a distant memory these days, doesn’t it?  Their big relaunch to end relaunches happened several relaunches ago, and, for the most part, it’s kind of old hat.  I mean, yeah, they aimed for big sweeping changes, but they kind of missed.  One of the books least affected by the changes was Green Lantern, which was still pretty big at the time.  Nevertheless, lead GL Hal Jordan got a minor redesign courtesy of Jim Lee, in order to better match the rest of the Justice League.  And, of course, that came with a new figure, which I’m looking at today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Green Lantern was one of the first seven figures in the New 52 line, when DC Collectibles was set on getting all of the main Justice League members out in their new uniforms.  He was subsequently re-released in the Justice League 7-pack that followed, and saw an evergreen release as part of the DC Essentials line…well, the first incarnation of it, anyway.  This figure is the original release, but the figures within the package are virtually identical between the three releases.  The figure stands 6 3/4 inches tall and has 11 points of articulation.  This was fairly standard for the launch figures, which were really just carrying forward the stylings of the later DC Direct figures.  Compared to more recent offerings, he’s a little archaic, and, honestly, compared to contemporary lines, they were archaic, too, but they were hardly a surprise given who was producing them.  The main focus was definitely on the sculpts, and GL’s sculpt is actually pretty decent.  He, and all of the early figures, really, was based on Jim Lee’s design for the character.  GL’s look was really just a slight tweaking of his post “Rebirth” design that he’d had for almost a decade by this point, with some extra armor plating here and there, because Jim Lee was all about that armor plating for this round of designs.  The sculpt actually does quite a respectable job of capturing Lee’s style in three dimensions.  While I was a little iffy about the tweaks to the design on the comics page, it actually translates pretty nicely into an action figure.  The details are crisp and sharp, and I especially like the seams on the gloves, even if perhaps a hardlight costume shouldn’t have such things.  Like a lot of DC Direct figures and early DCC figures, there’s a bit of pre-posing going on, but in this figure’s case, he’s just got the heroic stance that all of the League was sporting in the promo shots for the New 52.  It also impedes the articulation’s use a lot less than some of DCD’s figures, so that’s a plus in my book.  GL’s paintwork is pretty solid.  The metallic colors for the green and white are a nice look, and while there’s a little bit of bleedover on the face, for the most part, he’s pretty clean.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

So, The New 52 being the thing that kind of got me off of DC for a while, I wasn’t exactly breaking down the door to pick these guys up when they were coming out.  Even with my usually forgiving fandom for GL, I skipped this guy when he was released, as well as the few times he was re-released.  Why get him now?  It’s quite simple: Cosmic Comix had one in a package that was worse for wear, and he was marked down to $5.  For that price, he was worth it to me.  He’s actually not a bad figure, truth be told, though I can’t really say he stands out compared to the other GLs I’ve got in my collection.  Still, he was worth what I paid for him.

#1861: Superman

SUPERMAN

DC ESSENTIALS (DC COLLECTIBLES)

After throwing the entirety of their last line, DC Icons, out the window, DC Collectibles is attempting to settle in comfortably with their newest all-inclusive line of DC figures, this time dubbed DC Essentials.  In my first Essentials review, I made it no secret that I wasn’t 100% on board with the change over, and even after reviewing my first figure, I was still rather skeptical.  Well, I’m going to be giving the line a second shot, taking a look at one of the figures DCC keeps trying to get right over and over again, Classic Superman!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Superman is figure 5 in the DC Essentials line-up, making him numerically the first figure of Series 2 of the line.  DCC’s really invested in having these figures pair off, so this guy pairs off with Series 2’s Brainiac figure. Though he’s a “classic” Superman, this figure is actually based on Supes’ most current appearance, introduced in Action Comics #1000.  It’s really the same as his classic garb, but with the teeniest, tiniest little tweek to the edges of his sleeves.  Because *something* had to be different.  The figure stands 7 inches tall and he has 34 points of articulation.  Those numbers aren’t surprising, given they’re the same stats we saw with Reverse Flash.  And why is that?  Because, except for a small handful of pieces, these are the same figure.  There are some issues with that.  While using the exact same body worked out fine for the Series 1 line-up of Batman, Flash, Reverse Flash, and Deathstroke, who are all conceivably the same basic build, it doesn’t quite work out for Superman, who I really feel should be a little larger, at least in the upper torso region.  It’s still a decent, balanced sculpt, but he sure does look a little bit scrawny (and he still has those overly long arms, which I’m guessing won’t be going away).  The shaping of the cape doesn’t really help with that, either, kind of accentuating the small sizing of the upper torso and the comparatively large sizing of the legs.  On the plus side, I do rather like the new head sculpt; it feels appropriately Superman-y.  Superman’s paint work is okay, but not quite as good as Reverse Flash’s was.  Generally, the application is clean, and the colors are nice and bright.  However, there’s some rather noticeable slop and unevenness on the edges of the shorts, an issue that plagues all of the Supermen I’ve seen in person.  Also, for some reason, the belt is just straight yellow, with no red for the sculpted belt loops, which looks rather strange, and is a very obvious missing paint application.  Like Reverse Flash, Superman includes no accessories, which, given the level of re-use and the price-point of these figures is quite frankly insane.  At the very least, he should have some extra hands, or a flight stand, or something.  Anything at all to make him actually feel worth what you’re paying for him.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

After buying, and being left uncertain by, Reverse Flash, I really wasn’t sure about this figure.  I had initially been very interested, because I’m always on the lookout for a really good classic Superman.  When this guy showed up at Cosmic Comix, I initially passed on him, and ended up waiting to take advantage of their “Biggest Sale of the Year!” a couple of weeks ago.  At a lowered price, this figure feels justified, but still somewhat far from the mark.  He’s an okay standard Superman, but with the larger scale and all, I still find myself preferring NECA’s Christopher Reeve Superman as my go-to.  Were he in-scale with Legends, it might be a different story, but this is the path DCC’s chosen to go down, and this is the hill they want to die on.  And dying on the hill sadly seems to be what’s destined for DC Essentials, because they just don’t seem to be gaining the foothold they were hoping for.  Apart from the upcoming Green Lantern (who I’m going to be getting purely because I have trouble saying no to even a semi-decent GL figure), I just really can’t see myself supporting this line.

#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.

#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.