#2161: Kid Flash

KID FLASH

DC COMICS MULTIVERSE (MATTEL)

“Cousin of Wally West, this super-powered speedster joins the Teen Titans as Kid Flash”

I think my favorite thing about this figure’s bio is how they avoided giving the actual character’s name in order to avoid confusing the casual audience.  Why would it be confusing?  Because the name of the new Kid Flash who’s cousin of Wally West?  Wally West.  It’s like in Smallville when they revealed at Jimmy Olsen’s funeral that he had cousin also named Jimmy who was also into photography.  Of course, in the mainstream universe’s defense, there were some cosmic forces at play, and also people didn’t receive the new Wally so well.  Now that both Wallys are running around, it’s not so bad, though.  Perfect time for the new one to get his own action figure!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Kid Flash is part of the Lobo Series of DC Comics Multiverse figures, where he fills the quotient of relevant modern character.  This marks the first time that this incarnation of the character has ever gotten a toy, though Mattel’s already given us a few variants of the original Wally (with one more supposedly on the way).  The figure stands about 6 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  Wally shares his base body with the previously reviewed Ray figure, which is hardly a bad thing.  Honestly, it’s probably the best base body Mattel ever produced; the proportions are fairly realistic and balanced, and there’s very little aesthetic sacrificed for articulation.  At the same time, the articulation is still very strong.  Those rocker ankles in particular are really handy when posing the figure; the running pose seen above was actually captured without any sort of trickery.  He’s standing on his own.  Now, I can’t say he’d have stayed that way for long, but it’s still impressive.  Kid Flash gets a new head and feet to round him out.  The head’s quite nice; it’s cartoony but not as goofy or odd looking as prior Mattel figures.  The new feet give Kid Flash a distinctive set of treads for his boots and also increase his footprint a bit in order to offer slightly more stability.  Kid Flash’s paintwork is probably the sharpest of the three I got from this assortment.   Everything is clean, and the colors are bold and eye-catching.  They did make the cardinal sin of painting yellow over red, but it’s actually not terrible looking, so I’ll give them a pass on this one.  Wally is packed with two sets of hands: one in a fist/grip combo, and the other in a flat running pose.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Kid Flash is the other of two figures I agreed to take in order to get Kyle.  Like Superman, I had absolutely no expectations of this figure, possibly even less than none, if I’m honest, since I’ve got no actual attachment to this version of Wally.  Ultimately, I was really pleasantly surprised by the quality of this guy.  He’s genuinely one of the nicest figures Mattel’s put out, pretty much ever.  It’s kind of sad we never got a classic Wally of this quality.

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#2160: Kingdome Come Superman

KINGDOM COME SUPERMAN

DC COMICS MULTIVERSE (MATTEL)

Having spent ten years in solitude, Superman returns to fight for justice in a new disinterested and indecent planet.”

In the mid-90s, after several years of totally un-ironic “X-Treme” comics, the industry was starting to get at least a little bit introspective.  Not a lot, mind you, because they’re only rated for so much self awareness, but there was definitely a move by some of the older fans who found themselves within the industry to try and reign things in, and throw back to the good old days, with maybe a jab or two at modern comics’ expense thrown in for good measure.  Rather than making statements about these “not being your daddy’s comics,” there was a push to actually start treating things a little bit more seriously and add just a touch of prestige to things.  Marvel hired the up-and-coming writer and artist team or Kurt Busiek and Alex Ross to create Marvels, a four-part mini-series that told picturesque real-world stories from throughout Marvel history.  It was enough of a success that DC decided to bring on Ross for a series of their own, pairing him off with writer Mark Waid for Kingdom Come, an alternate DC future rife with references to the days gone by, and deeply critical not just of modern comics, but also of people who didn’t like change or compromise in their comics.  The star of the series was an aged and despair-ridden Superman, who was desperate to regain some of his old-fashioned hope.  It’s gone on to become a rather defining take on the character, with its fair share of toy goodness.  Most recently, he’s received a figure from Mattel, which I’ll be taking a look at today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Kingdom Come Superman is part of the Lobo Series of DC Comics Multiverse figures.  He’s our second Superman following the reworking of the bodies, and our third 6-inch KC figure under Mattel’s tenure (though a good argument can be made that Red Robin and Magog are really just main universe figures…of course, technically the same can be said of Superman, so the whole thing’s a wash.)  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and has 25 points of articulation.  KC Superman is built largely from the same bank of pieces as the Clayface Series’ Rebirth Superman (which in turn means a lot of those pieces are also shared with Bizarro), for better or for worse.  It means he’s more articulated than a DCUC figure, but also means the balance between pieces is still a little bit whack.  Not terrible, but not quite Ross’s ultra-realistic anatomy.  The figure gets a brand-new head and forearms.  The forearms are fairly basic; all they really do is remove the pointed ends on the outside of each wrist, which is accurate, but also minor enough that I imagine most people are going to miss it.  The head’s really the star piece here.  While certainly a more generic take on the character than other, more Ross faithful releases, the head is nevertheless a quite nicely detailed piece.  The details are sharply defined, capturing the very slight aging seen on Ross’s version of the character; it’s definitely one of Mattel’s best goes at a Superman portrait. The paint on Superman is mostly pretty basic, at least on the body, which is actually fairly accurate to the source, since Superman’s costume is very classically inspired in the book.  The head gets a bit more work, with some pretty solid accenting.  I particularly like that they did more for his greying temples than just solid white streaks, as is usually the case with this design.  KC Superman includes two sets of hands in fist and flat poses, as well as piece to the Lobo CnC.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Part of the agreement that got me yesterday’s Kyle figure was me agreeing to take the figures from the line-up that Max didn’t really want.  Superman was one such figure.  I wasn’t inherently opposed to getting the figure, but I can’t say that he was super high on my list.  Going in with essentially no expectations, I’m pretty pleased with this figure.  He’s not as strong as some of the other recent offerings, but he’s certainly one of Mattel’s best Supermen they’ve ever made.

#2159: Kyle Rayner – Green Lantern

KYLE RAYNER — GREEN LANTERN

DC COMICS MULTIVERSE (MATTEL)

Once a White Lantern and the bearer of seven rings, Kyle Rayner is back to basics under a new Corps as a Green Lantern.”

What do you get when you put together two things that Ethan didn’t used to like?  That’s right, a Mattel Kyle Rayner figure.  My rocky history with Mattel is of course no secret around these parts, but then again most people’s rocky history isn’t much of a secret, I suppose.  What’s slightly more downplayed is my dislike of Kyle.  I mean, he’s a Green Lantern, and he was active during the ’90s; he’s even the star of my favorite episode of Superman: The Animated Series, which is my favorite DC animated property.  What’s not to like?  Well, admittedly, I got a little caught up in the “he replaced Hal Jordan” rage.  As a kid, my first exposure to GL was in Challenge of the Superfriends, where it was Hal, and I was quite confused by this Rayner guy running around in the comics.  Over the years, though, I’ve actually grown to like Kyle quite a bit, which means I’m actually quite excited to get his latest figure!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Kyle Rayner is part of the Lobo Series of DC Comics Multiverse, which is the third assortment following the change to the blue packaging.  This marks the second Kyle we got during Mattel’s tenure.  The first was a fine figure, but fell victim to the late-line tendency for DCUC figures to be in their most recent costume, rather than their most-wanted.  This one goes for Kyle’s classic ’90s costume, or at least the Rebirth recreation of it, which is a solid choice.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  Kyle uses the relaunched line’s equivalent of the old line’s mid-sized male body.  Like the Bizarro figure (who used the larger male body equivalent), this means the Kyle’s a little bit outdated when compared to the line’s more advanced figures.  That said, it’s still a marked improvement over what Mattel was doing a year ago, and makes for a serviceable base body.  Kyle gets a new head, forearms, hands, and knees.  The new parts are fairly decent; nothing amazing or anything, but they recreate his look pretty well, and he’ll fit in with DCUC stuff, as well as Multiverse stuff, so he’s a decent bridge figure.  The paintwork on Kyle is pretty basic, but gets all the important points down.  There’s a touch of fuzz on the edge of the white section on his chest, but aside from that it’s all pretty clean.  Kyle is packed with his power battery and a blast effect piece that goes over his hand.  Standard stuff for a GL, but honestly that’s a step-up from how Mattel’s been handling up to this point.  He also included a piece to the Lobo CnC, but I didn’t get that for reasons I’ll touch on in just a moment.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Despite the issues I may have had with Kyle as a character, in the ’90s a figure in this costume was the only way you were getting a Green Lantern figure, meaning I have quite a soft spot for this design.  Despite my general reservations about Mattel products, I was intrigued by this figure when he was shown off.  Of course, I’ve not once seen a single one of the figures from this assortment at retail, so I didn’t have a chance to buy one.  However, Max really wanted the Batman Beyond figure, as well as having a passing interest in the Lobo, so he and I decided to split a set of the figures from Big Bad Toy Store.  I got the one figure I really wanted, and I’m really quite happy.

#2147: Alfred Pennyworth

ALFRED PENNYWORTH

DC COMICS MULTIVERSE (MATTEL)

“Butler.  Medic.  Soldier.  Friend.  There’s nobody more important to Bruce Wayne than Alfred Pennyworth.”

Since his first appearance in Batman #16 waaaaay back in 1943, Alfred’s been a pretty standard fixture of the Batman mythos.  Even as Robins come and go, Alfred’s always there, snarking his way through life.  He’s perhaps the most pivotal member of Batman’s supporting cast.  Despite his importance, he is just an older gentleman in a suit, meaning he doesn’t quite lend himself to the most exciting toys.  While his frequency as an action figure has certainly stepped up in the last decade, it’s still rare enough an event to be pretty exciting, and it’s certainly cool to see him squeak his way into Mattel’s final push of DC figures.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Alfred is part of the Killer Croc Series of DC Comics Multiverse, one of the final assortments of DC product coming out of Mattel.  It’s a whole Batman-themed line-up, so Alfred’s place is a natural one.  Interestingly, this assortment sort of jumped the order a bit, and ended up arriving sooner at stores than many had expected.  Alfred is officially branded “DC Rebirth”, but generally works quite well as a fairly standard classic Alfred.  The figure stands 6 3/4 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  So, let’s address my primary complaint about this figure: his height.  He’s a good 1/4 inch taller than just about every similarly styled Batman figure that Mattel put out.  Integrating this guy in with your DCUC collection’s not really happening, to say nothing of the even smaller Movie Masters-style figures.  He’ll go fine with some DC Collectibles stuff, and actually fits pretty much right in with NECA figures, but it’s weird that they didn’t actually work to scale him with their own offerings.  Moving on from the height, let’s also discuss the articulation.  Alfred is possibly the best articulated DC figure Mattel’s ever put out.  He pretty much takes the Marvel Legends set-up and ports it over to DC.  As amazing as that is, I definitely had a laugh about Alfred having a neck joint that goes up and down after so many flying characters went without, and double-jointed elbows and knees when we never got a single Batman figure with those joints, given that Alfred is not a particularly acrobatic character.  Whatever the case, I certainly won’t complain in the case of this figure, who is not only well-articulated, but it’s also pretty well worked into his sculpt, which is itself a surprisingly good offering for a Mattel figure.  There’s quite a bit of detailing on the body, and Alfred is packed with not one, not two, not three, but four different heads.  The one he comes wearing is the standard classic comics Alfred, and it definitely captures the usual spirit of the character.  Also in the comics department is the head depicting Alfred in his Outsider identity; it’s the most modern version of the concept, and it’s not quite as well-scaled to the body, as well as being more situation specific, but it’s still cool.  Moving away from the printed page, there are also two live action Alfred heads included.  We get Alan Napier from the ’66 Batman show, as well as Michael Gough from the ’90s films.  This ties back into my point about the body not scaling with Movie Masters and the like from earlier, as these heads won’t quite work with Mattel’s offerings.  On the other hand, NECA produced both West and Keaton as 7 inch figures, and he’ll look good with them.  It’s worth noting that both likenesses are pretty much spot-on, which really sells the whole idea here.  In addition to the multiple heads, Alfred is also packed with a serving tray, a small glass, a Batman cowl, and one of the arms of Killer Croc.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I knew only passingly about this figure, and honestly didn’t expect for him and his wave-mates to make it to shelves.  I had also managed to miss that he was coming with all of the extra heads, so that was a pretty pleasant surprise when I found him in person.  The base figure is a solid offering, and the extra heads are nothing short of inspired.  This is how to do an Alfred figure justice, and it continues the increasingly depressing trend of Mattel’s DC Comics Multiverse figures actually being really good.  He’s kind of so good that he further highlights just how awful their output had been for so long.  Imagine if the Batman ’66 figures had been on par with the Alan Napier head included here.  Wouldn’t that have been something?  Honestly, wouldn’t it have been something if Mattel had gotten things together some time before their final year with the license?

#2050: Dr. Sivana

DR. SIVANA

DC COMICS MULTIVERSE (MATTEL)

When the Shazam movie was first announced, there was one big name star attached to it: Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.  Originally rumored for the Big Red Cheese himself, it was later revealed that he’d actually be filling the role of antagonist as Shazam’s dark reflection, Black Adam.  So, it came as a little bit of a surprise when the movie’s villain was instead revealed to be a different Shazam foe entirely, in the form of Doctor Thaddeus Sivana.  Sivana’s actually a pretty natural choice for the first outing, since he debuted right alongside Captain Marvel in Whiz Comics #2.  Sivana’s origin was changed up for the film, borrowing a decent chunk of Black Adam’s dark reflection gimmick, but I felt Mark Strong’s performance sold Sivana as a character that wasn’t too far removed from his original incarnation (and the end of the film put him firmly on the path to classic Sivana), and I just found him to be an entertaining villain.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Dr. Sivana is one of two DC Comics Multiverse figures offered up for the movie, with the other being the big man himself.  However, unlike Shazam, Dr. Sivana is thus far not available in the basic line (and I’d be genuinely shocked to see him turn up at this point).  Sivana is also the lesser-packed of the two, making him ever so slightly hard to find.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  Sivana’s an all-new sculpt, as he well should be.  While it’s not quite on par with any of Hasbro’s MCU-based sculpts, it’s certainly an immense improvement over where Mattel’s movie-based figures were a year ago.  The best part of the figure is definitely the head, which is sporting a pretty solid likeness of Strong.  His jacket and arms also sport some pretty nice looking texturing, which is a marked change for these figures.  The under-lying body isn’t quite as strong, with more rudimentary shaping, larger patches of un-detailed plastic, and rather obvious breaks for the articulation.  On the plus side, at least the articulation breaking up the sculpt actually serves a purpose this time, as the joints aren’t nearly as limited on this figure as they had been on previous releases.  It also helps that the worst of the sculpting his hidden under the jacket piece, meaning you don’t have to fixate on the mistakes quite as much.  Sivana’s paintwork is mostly pretty subtle work, with a lot of dark, somber colors, like in the movie.  There’s not a ton of actual paint, but the important details are covered, and the work on the face in particular is quite nice and very lifelike.  Sivana is packed with a second head sporting sunglasses, two sets of hands in fists and open gesture poses, and his 8-ball that is fairly plot-relevant.  The heads are a bit tricky to swap back and forth, but it’s otherwise a pretty nice selection of extras, and I particularly like that 8-ball, because it’s the sort of thing you don’t tend to see.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Since there was no Sivana in the main line, this one was really my only option.  Fortunately, I liked the look of him a lot more than the Shazam that’s meant to go with him.  Despite being slightly on the rarer side, I didn’t have too much trouble finding Sivana, finding him at only my second stop after seeing the movie.  While there are some definite “yep, it’s Mattel” elements to this figure, I was still quite happy with him, and he actually fits in pretty well with the basic line.

#2006: Bizarro

BIZARRO

DC COMICS MULTIVERSE (MATTEL)

You know, it would be really clever to write this whole review in Bizarro speak, wouldn’t it?  Well, clever as it may be, that seems like way more energy than I have to put into a Monday review.  I know, making things easy for myself seems to run counter to my whole brand, but consider this: I did the backwards speak gimmick for my first Bizarro review, meaning that doing it again would be a retread, so, in a way, this is the less traversed and therefore more difficult path.  Yeah, that’s what I’m going with…

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Bizarro is a Walgreens-exclusive release for the DC Comics Multiverse line.  He started cropping up in the last couple of months, though he was originally shown alongside the figures that made up the “Lex Luthor Series.”  The majority of those figures are modeled on the characters’ “Rebirth” appearances, but Bizarro here is actually a much more classically inspired figure, which was a kind of nice change.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 23 points of articulation.  Bizarro, understandably, re-uses the body introduced with the Rebirth Superman figure from the Clayface Series.  It shares a more common ancestry with the old DCUC body than the body used for Ray, meaning it’s just not quite as refined.  It’s still a definite improvement on the old body, though it feels a little more piecemeal and uneven.  I think the pelvis and hips are the part that really throw the whole thing off.  Bizarro gets a new head sculpt, which is a pretty respectable piece.  It’s appropriately squared off and blocky, and the detailing on the hair in particular is quite nice.  Bizarro trades out Superman’s sculpted cape for a cloth piece that connects around the neck.  On a standard figure, it would be a little goofy, but for Bizarro it actually works to the design’s favor.  His paintwork is overall pretty clean.  The colors are nice and bright, and his skin has a nice textured look about it which works really well.  Bizarro is pretty decently accessorized.  He’s got two sets of hands, in fists and flat flying poses, as well as his signature “Bizarro No. 1” placard.  And, if you want an alternate look, well hey, he has one of those too!  You can give him his Kent Clark guise from the comics by adding a pair of glasses, a tie, and a rather raddy-looking jacket.  As a bonus to this look, the use of a cloth cape means that it can fit under the jacket and stick out like it does in the comics.  It’s a fun extra look and adds a real unique touch to this release.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was moderately interested in this figure when he was shown off, but wasn’t 100% sold on it.  After picking up and being quite impressed by Ray, I found this guy while out on a day trip with my parents and my brother, and was actually pretty happy to do so.  While he’s not quite as strong as Ray, he’s still a lot better than Mattel’s output has been for a good long while.  I am again frustrated that they managed to improve things just before losing the license.  But hey, at least I got this cool Bizarro figure.

#1993: The Ray

THE RAY

DC COMICS MULTIVERSE (MATTEL)

Following the super hero comics boom of the ’40s, there was something of a comics crash in the ’50s, which resulted in the demise of a great many of the smaller companies that had cropped up.  Perhaps the only company not completely decimated by the end of the Golden Age was National Comics, who would eventually become DC Comics (after their best-selling book, Detective Comics.  Yes, their full name is Detective Comics Comics).  They promptly went about buying up many of the other failed comics businesses, thus amassing a large selection of other companies characters to add to their growing universe.  Amongst those companies purchased was Quality Comics, whose biggest characters (barring Plastic Man and the Blackhawks) would be integrated in the DC mythos as the Freedom Fighters, a team of super heroes from Earth-X, a parallel Earth where the Nazis won World War II.  Following the collapse of the DC Multiverse during Crisis on Infinite Earths, the Freedom Fighters were worked back into the main DCU and one of their members, The Ray, was given a reasonably successful reboot.  Ray Terrill was the son of Langford “Happy” Terrill, the original Ray, and was born with sun-based super powers.  This legacy take on the Ray built up quite a cult following, but despite that spent the first 26 years of his existence with absolutely no toys.  For shame! (EDIT: I forgot the JLU figure.  Of course, that one wasn’t really available to most collectors, so I think my point still stands.  But I was technically wrong.  Technically).

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Ray is part of the “Lex Luthor Series” of the DC Comics Multiverse line, which was the second comic-based assortment following Mattel’s attempt at retooling the line at the beginning of 2018.  It technically hit shelves in November, but “technically” is the magic word here.  Experiences were very mixed on that.  Ray is based on his recent re-appearance in the DCU, following his book’s re-launch under the “Rebirth” heading.  The design is different from his prior designs, but keeps the same general spirit, and is just generally a pretty solid design.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  His size means he actually scales okay with Marvel Legends, which is actually kind of a first for a mainstream DC figure.  Also, can you believe it, that’s actually an all-new sculpt on a comic figure.  Yes, after a decade of use, it appears Mattel finally realized it was time to retire the DCUC body, and Ray is on a new base body, which I would imagine is the same one being used for the Batman Beyond, Kyle Rayner, and Kid Flash that are just now hitting.  It’s…actually not bad.  It’s not quite as sleek as a  Legends body, but it’s certainly a lot less clunky than the prior bodies, and it’s certainly nice to get a DC male who’s not smuggling bowling balls in his shoulders. Most of the articulation’s even got decent range to it.  Look at those elbows!  They go deeper than 90 degrees.  About the only real complaint I have is that he can’t quite get his arms down flat at his sides.  But he can still get into a good pose and actually hold it, which is certainly a breath of fresh air after years of getting the slowly degrading DCUC molds and their soft-detailed, loose-jointed spawn.  Even the paintwork is pretty darn good.  The gold is a nice hue, which stands out well from both the white and the black (often times, it’ll get lost on one of them), and the application’s nice and sharp.  There aren’t any obvious missing applications, and everything is cleanly applied, with minimal slop.  They’ve managed to keep the color scheme nice and striking, which is really one of the most appealing things about the character.  Ray was packed with an extra head and hands, as well as the arms for the Lex Luthor CnC (missing from my figure).  The head is the same as the standard, but with grin instead of the more stoic standard look.  It’s a small change, and I might have preferred an unmasked head or something, but I’d rather have this than nothing.  The hands swap out fists for gripping.  Why gripping?  He doesn’t have anything to hold, right?  Well, he was originally shown off with some effects pieces, but they got cut along the way, thereby making the hands kind of without purpose.  But, like the head, I’d rather have them than not.  Plus, it’s another positive change after years of figures getting stuck with open grip hands.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Okay, you’ve gotten all the way through this thing, and you, the faithful reader, might be sitting here wondering why I didn’t post this positive review of a Mattel figure yesterday, since it must clearly be some kind of prank.  Mattel’s been producing some of the worst “collector” figures on the market for years.  I mean, they couldn’t possibly have produced something decent, let alone actually good, could they?  Hey, I’m as surprised as you.  When the prototype for Ray was shown, I thought he looked alright, but Mattel’s been doing okay prototypes for god-awful figures for a little while.  I kind of expected him to follow suit.  And then like a year passed and I forgot he existed, and really wasn’t even sure he would ever see the light of day.  I never actually saw this assortment or the one that preceded it at retail, but a loose Ray was traded-in with a collection that came in at All Time Toys, and I decided to snag him.  I’m glad I did, because he’s really good.  Kind of a shame Mattel couldn’t have improved these figures sooner and kept the license.

#1738: Steve Trevor

STEVE TREVOR

DC COMICS MULTIVERSE (MATTEL)

Last year, Wonder Woman arrived in theaters, and everyone loved it.  Well, not everyone, because I actually didn’t love it.  I didn’t even like it all that much.  I won’t go so far as to say I hated it, but I was certainly disappointed.  So there’s my controversial opinion for the day.  Less controversial?  My review of the following figure.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Steve Trevor was released as part of the four-figure Wonder Woman assortment of DC Comics Multiverse figures, which hit shelves last year just prior to the movie’s release.  Naturally, he’s based on Chris Pine’s turn as Steve from the movie, specifically in his main out he wears while out on the German front.  It’s rather a departure from how I’d picture a “classic” Steve, and actually looks more like another war comics character of DC’s, Enemy Ace.  But, that’s what happens when you shift Wonder Woman to a different war, I suppose.  Regardless, that’s not actually the fault of the figure, so I’m not gonna harp on it too much here.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 24 points of articulation.  His sculpt is unique to him…which is probably for the best.  Wouldn’t want to risk this thing getting around too much, potentially affecting other figures.  As with the Suicide Squad figures, the sculpt’s implementation makes most of the articulation little more than theoretical.  He’s a little more posable than the Squad figures, but not by much.  He does at least get some range out of the mid-torso joint, but it requires him to look as if he’s been sawed in half to do so.  That’s really not ideal.  Moving past the clumsy and badly-integrated articulation, let’s look at the rest of the clumsy and badly-proportioned sculpt.  He’s…well, he’s simultaneously lanky and pudgy.  I’m not sure how that works.  The arms and legs seem too long, the torso’s too body, and his head is too small for the body, meaning it also sits too high on the neck, which in turn makes that look too long.  The head looks like it might have at one time have a decent Chris Pine likeness, but then somebody back at Mattel HQ sat on it or something, and it wasn’t corrected before the figure went into production.  It’s not great.  Then there’s the paint.  The rather hideous paint.  Once again, not entirely the figure’s fault, I suppose, since it’s a color scheme that comes from the movie, but it’s a bit ugly to look at.  To give them a little credit, I do appreciate the slight weathering they’ve done to accent the leg wraps.  However, since that’s the only accenting on the whole figure, they sort of stand out as oddly defined, and only further highlight the undefined nature of the rest of the figure.  Steve is packed with his Winchester 1897, which is a decent enough weapon.  Of course, Steve can’t really hold it, in part due to his lack of posability, and in part due to the fact that Mattel didn’t see fit to give him a trigger finger.  Gee, thanks Mattel.  Steve is also packed with three pieces to Ares: the head, torso, and sword.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

If I didn’t like the movie, and I don’t like Mattel’s product, why did I buy this figure?  Honestly?  It’s because I was at my local Toys R Us on its very last day, and I wanted to buy *something.*  They had about 5 of this guy left, and he was heavily discounted.  I also like Steve Trevor as a character, and this is still his only proper action figure. It’s not a good one, and I’m certainly glad I didn’t pay full price for it, but it’s at least a little special, and ultimately, I feel a little sorry for it.

#1737: Batman – Superfriends

BATMAN — SUPERFRIENDS

DC COMICS MULTIVERSE (MATTEL)

In addition to overall DC theme, I’m introducing a sub-theme today.  I know, that’s a lot to handle, but bear with me.  Anyway, the theme I’m going with is Batman on alternating days.  Why?  Because I have a lot of Batmen, that’s why.  Today’s Batman follows the trend set by yesterday’s Green Lantern, being at the very least inspired by the Super Friends cartoon.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Superfriends Batman was distributed through the same means as Green Lantern, being a Walmart-exclusive entry in the DC Comics Multiverse line.  He, too, would actually stay a Walmart exclusive, unlike the second half of the Super Friends sub-set (who, despite their non-exclusivity, I don’t actually have).  Unlike GL, Batman’s a pretty natural choice for this assortment, since Batman was with Super Friends for its entire run, and was a pivotal player in most episodes.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 23 points of articulation.  For the most part, his sculpt is a straight re-use of the DC Universe Classics Series 1 Batman, with one small exception.  The sculpted cape has been replaced with a cloth one, which has been done in the style of the old Super Powers capes.  Not *quite* the right source material, but it’s goofy and fits the general aesthetic.  I find myself liking the look of it quite a bit, actually, though it’s definitely not going to be for everyone.  AS with Hal, Bats’ mold is definitely showing its age and the wear from all those repeated uses.  On my figure in particular, one of the shoulders doesn’t even quite peg together the right way.  Batman’s paintwork actually ends up more faithful to the source material than GL, which is a plus.  It’s also pretty clean, and likewise very bold.  It looks good on this sculpt.  I appreciate the return of the black shading on the cowl (it’s true to the show, but I wouldn’t have put it past Mattel to leave it off).  Bats even makes out pretty well on the accessories front.  To start with, he’s got the same base and backer card as GL (with the same issue with the peg on the stand).  The back of both cards has part of the Super Friends logo, so that if you get all four, you have the whole thing.  In perhaps the most Mattel move of all, GL and Batman (who, it should be noted, shipped together) don’t have sequential cards, unless of course you really want to celebrate the “Per Inds”.  Fortunately, Batman gets more accessories than GL; he also gets a grappling hook and a batarang (and it does *not* have “CHINA” stamped on it, which was a nice change).

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I grabbed Batman at the same time as GL, from an Ollie’s for $3.  I couldn’t just leave him there, now could I?  That would have been cruel.  Minor issues aside, this figure is actually not terrible.  He’s hardly going to be anyone’s default Batman, but unlike GL, he seems to more fully embrace the concept Mattel was going for.

#1735: Batman – Dark Knight Returns

BATMAN — DARK KNIGHT RETURNS

DC COMICS MULTIVERSE (MATTEL)

Hey hoooo, it’s a Mattel review.  Haven’t done one of these in a little while.  Ooooooo boy, this’ll go well.

Running parallel to Hasbro’s hit line Marvel Legends, Mattel has their own DC line, DC Comics Multiverse.  It started as a 3 3/4 inch line, before making a jump a few years ago when 3 3/4 inch figures were largely dropped by the toy industry.  One of the earliest offerings from the reformed Multiverse was a set of commemorative figures celebrating the 30th anniversary of Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns.  Of the three figures offered, I’ve looked at two.  Today, I’m looking at the last of those three, Batman himself!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Batman was a Walmart-exclusive release from the DC Comics Multiverse line.  The figure stands 7 inches tall and he has 25 points of articulation.  Batman’s actually just a slight retooling of an earlier Batman Unlimited Dark Knight Batman, with a new head.  By extension, that means he shares a lot of pieces with the DKR Superman I looked at back when they were first released.  It’s very similar to the Masters of the Universe Classics base body, but Mattel to this day insists they are completely separate molds.  I guess I just have to believe them.  It works well enough for what they’re going for.  Obviously, it doesn’t really look that much like Frank Miller’s artwork, but it melds decently enough with the DCUC style that Mattel was trying to carry forward.  In the context of the whole MotU concept, and even Superman to a smaller degree, the body works, but for Batman, it feels a little….lumpy?  Balloon-y?  I don’t know.  It just feels somewhat off.  The new head goes for a more reserved look than the prior DKR Bats, though he’s still a little grumpy.  I think it’s perhaps a little large for the base body, and it’s definitely on the softer side.  Compared even just to the other two figures from this same assortment, it looks rather off, as both Superman and the Son of Batman figures have much crisper details.  Batman’s sculpt has a quality not unlike mashed potatoes, if I’m honest.  It’s kind of lumpy and ill-defined, even by Mattel standards.  Also bad even by Mattel standards?  The paint.  Sloppy doesn’t begin to describe it.  It looks like the yellow paint was applied from across the room.  It’s just everywhere.  His logo’s at least not terrible, but the general lack of paint overall just makes the rest of the mistakes that much more noticeable.  Batman was packed with a single accessory: one lone batarang…with “CHINA” stamped on one side.  Apparently he gets all those wonderful toys from China.  Who knew?

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

So, I bought the Superman figure at full retail, and I liked him well-enough.  And I got the Son of Batman for a decent discount, and he was alright.  I already had the Unlimited figure of this guy, though, so I wasn’t in much of a hurry to get him.  I ended up buying him *not* from Walmart at all.  I instead found him at an Ollie’s, for $3.  That was enough to get me invested.  I gotta say, I’m really glad that I didn’t pay full price for him, because…well, he’s just not that strong a figure.  I guess I’ve had worse figure, but there’s not a lot that this figure does right.