#1232: Son of Batman

SON OF BATMAN

DC COMICS MULTIVERSE (MATTEL)

Two Mattel figures in a row?  Uh oh, this can’t be good.  Nah, it’s okay guys, things aren’t ugly (just wait until next week, though; oh boy).  Today, let’s have another look at Mattel’s DC Comics Multiverse line.  It’s been a real mixed bag, to be sure.  It started more than a little rocky, and has been the subject of a lot of changes, the most prominent of them being a jump from 3 3/4-inch scale to 6-inch.  The 6-inch line spent most of its inaugural year devoted to the lackluster Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad lines, but there were some slightly less sucky items in there.  For me, the best stuff was definitely released in the Dark Knight Returns 30th Anniversary sub-set of the line, which more or less returned back to the DC Universe Classic days.  Today, I’ll be looking at another figure from that set, the Son of Batman!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Son of Batman was part of the three-figure Batman: The Dark Knight Returns series of the DC Comics Multiverse line, which was exclusive to Walmart.  For those not familiar with the story, the Son of Batman isn’t one particular character, but rather one member of the larger Sons of Batman gang, which is formed from the remnants of the Mutant Gang after the Mutant Leader is taken out by Batman.  There are quite a few of them, and they don’t have a completely uniform look, but this one more or less checks all the basic boxes, and can suitably pass for just about any of the members.  The figure stands about 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 23 points of articulation.  While the majority of the Dark Knight Returns figures were built on a variant of the Masters of the Universe Classics body, the S.O.B. (clever, right?) breaks from the back, making use of the medium-sized DCUC body.  Specifically, he uses the body of the Green Lantern Corps boxed set Guy Gardner figure, along with an all-new head and forearms.  While the DCUC bodies were alright for their time, at the time of this figure’s release, the pieces were eight years old, and very much showing their age.  This is most evident in the articulation, which, in addition to not being very well worked into the sculpt, is also not privy to the best range of motion.  The knees can’t quite make a 90 degree angle, and the elbows barely even make it to 45.  This is kind of ridiculous for a collector-aimed figure from 2016.  Also, some parts of the mold, the hands especially, are showing some serious degradation from over-use.  Those things aside, the body is hardly the worst thing ever, and at least he fits in with the older line, I guess.  As for the decision to re-use the Guy Gardner pieces, they work alright I guess, and he does bear a passing resemblance to the basic S.O.B. look.  There are some inaccuracies (the big belt being the most glaring, but the turtleneck is wrong too), but it’s pretty much a certainty that this figure only got made because of the limited number of new pieces required, so it was slightly off or nothing.  The new pieces are pretty basic stuff, but reasonable enough.  They match up with the pre-existing parts, and the head still retains a little of the Miller flair (albeit a more cleaned up version).  As far as paint, the S.O.B. is pretty basic.  Mostly, he’s molded in the appropriate colors, with some very moderate solid color application here and there.  There’s no real accent work to speak of, and the only paint of note is on the eyes and bat tattoo on the face, which is, admittedly pretty sharp work.  The S.O.B. is packed with a rifle and a torch.  They’re decent enough pieces (aside from the giant “CHINA” stamped into the side of each of them; seriously Mattel, you don’t have to label every single piece; we can figure it out on our own), though he can’t actually hold the rifle the right way, since it was outside of the budget to give him new hands, I guess.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As I’ve noted in several of the prior anniversary figure reviews, I’m at best a moderate fan of DKR.  So, the Son of Batman wasn’t incredibly high on my list.  On top of that, he was the short pack of the exclusive assortment, and an army builder to boot, so I didn’t exactly have much cause to run into him.  When I moved down to SC, the closest Walmart actually had one, which I picked up and looked at several times, over the course of several months.  Eventually, I found him moved over to the clearance section, with a tag that read $5.00.  For a quarter of the price, I figured he was worth it.  And honestly, yeah, he’s worth it.  Full price?  That’s iffy.  The fact is, this guy’s made from parts that are at least five years out of date, and for the same price, you could get a Marvel Legends or Black Series figure from Hasbro, or one of the Aliens or Predator figures from NECA, and those offer a much better value.  Still, he’s worth what I paid for him, and that’s good enough for me.

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#1229: Bane – Detective Mode

BANE – DETECTIVE MODE

DC COMICS MULTIVERSE (MATTEL)

banedetvis1

Hey look, another DC Comics Multiverse figure.  These figures are always sooooooooooo great, right?  While the line switched over to the 6-inch scale last year, there are still quite a few entries from its earlier, 3 3/4-inch scale, based primarily on Arkham Origins and Arkham Knight.  I watched my brother play through Knight, so I’m familiar with that one, but I don’t really know Origins all that well.  Amusingly enough, I actually own more Origins merch than any of the other games.  There were just a lot of toys from that one, I guess.  Anyway, I’ll be looking at one of the smaller Origins figures, Bane.  Of course, it’s not a basic Bane.  No, no, this is a wacky variant Bane.  Let’s do this.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

banedetvis2Detective Mode Bane was released in Mattel’s small-scale DC Comics Multiverse line.  I couldn’t begin to tell you what series.  I didn’t follow the line super closely, and from what I can tell online, no one else did either.  The back of his box shows Arkham Knight, Arkham Origin Joker, and some sort of Batman derivation.  I’m guessing he hit around the time of Arkham Knight’s release?  The figure stands a little over four inches tall and he has 16 points of articulation.  He’s built on the same mold as the standard Arkham Origin Bane figure.  It’s okay, I guess.  Not the worst thing Mattel’s put out.  I guess he sort of looks like Bane from the game.  It’s hardly the most exciting Bane look, and the figure suffers from the same clumsy articulation issues that plagued pretty much this entire line.  The paint’s what makes this figure “unique.”  As his name denotes, he’s based on how Bane looks when he’s viewed by the player using Batman’s Detective Vision in the game.  In the game, this means the foes are seen through an x-ray filter, showing off their skeletons and what not.  For the figure, it means he’s molded in clear blue plastic, with a skeleton pattern hastily painted on the front of the figure.  He ends up looking like one of the Skeleton Men from Scooby Doo, Where Are You?.  I don’t think that was quite what they were going for, but that’s what they got.  An x-ray figure is really the sort of thing you have to fully commit to, not just a quick repaint  (for instance, every “Emperor’s Wrath” Darth Vader has at the very least an actual skull imbedded in the middle of his helmet), so this ends up looking more like a guy wearing goofy makeup than anything else.  Bane included no accessories, because why offer anything new with this figure, right?

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Like the Knightfall Batman I reviewed two weeks ago, this guy was another figure given to me by my Super Awesome Girlfriend, picked up during one of her stress buys.  The fact that he was a gift from her is probably the best that can be said about him.  I mean, I’ve still owned worse figures, but this one’s not offering a whole lot of positives.  The gimmick is cool in theory, but as usual, Mattel was lazy about it, and that makes him kind of a pointless figure.  I can’t really imagine what the market for this figure is supposed to be.  People who like failed concepts?

#1216: Knightfall Batman

KNIGHTFALL BATMAN

DC COMICS MULTIVERSE (MATTEL)

azbatsdcm1

‘90s comics are notorious for fostering an over-arching tone of “not your daddy’s comics,” I guess in an attempt to make the genre seem more hip and fly (see?  I’m one of the cool kids!  I can get home with the downies).  One of the ways they did this was by performing lots of edgy stunts that “rocked the comics world to its core!”  Green Lantern went nuts and dismantled the corps, Superman died and was replaced by four off-shoot characters, etc.  Even Batman wasn’t exempt, thanks to the “Knightfall” story arc that ran through all the Bat-titles in the early ‘90s, where newly-introduced villain Bane bested and crippled Bruce Wayne, necessitating his replacement by Jean-Paul Valley, a far more anti-heroic character.  The story is actually pretty well-regarded, mostly because it dove head-on into a lot of the tropes associated with the ‘90s anti-hero boom and deconstructed them, with the final moral of the story being that the new style of Batman just didn’t work as well as the original.  Since the story hit right on the cusp of the superhero toy boom, several of the key characters got figures at the time of the story.  The final, more armored incarnation of Valley’s Batman has been a particular favorite of toy companies, even in current times.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

azbatsdcm2Knightfall Batman was released as part of Mattel’s smaller-scale DC Comics Multiverse line.  He’s one of the many Arkham Origins-based figures from the line, and like a good portion of those figures, he represents one of the many skins that could be swapped out for Batman’s standard look.  Said skin is based on Jean-Paul Valley’s late Knightfall look (though not his *latest* look; the armored sections got a bit more tech-y as the story progressed).  It’s the look most associated with the storyline as a whole, so it’s certainly a strong choice of both skin and figure.  The figure stands a little under 4 inches tall and has 18 points of articulation.  As with so many Mattel figures, the articulation  scheme is rather archaic, but at this point I sort of just expect that.  If Mattel’s determined to stay just behind the pack, I can’t stop them.  The sculpt is decent enough, I suppose.  It’s about on par with the other figures I’ve gotten from the line; the basic look is pretty solid, but there’s not a whole lot of small detail work or anything that really makes it stand out.  There’s also the incredibly awkward way the front of the belt is handled.  It’s supposed to not have a buckle, but since they made the belt a separate piece (because reasons), the tunic is interrupted twice where the belt connects, which ruins the visual flow.  And, of course, there are the huge hands, because no one at Mattel knows how to scale hands for this size figure, I guess.  The paint on the figure is passable, but, like the sculpt, a little uninspired.  The colors all more or less match up, but they’re just… unexciting.  The blue is dark, the gold is dull, the yellow is cold, and the black is just very flat.  Application is also a bit sloppy, but it’s far from the worst I’ve seen from Mattel.  The figure includes no accessories, which is a slight letdown.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Have I mentioned Super Awesome Girlfriend’s stress buying before?  Yeah, this guy’s a case of that.  She stopped at a Walgreens on the drive to her parents’ and this was one of the handful of figures she grabbed for me (after verifying I didn’t already own him).  Is he a perfect figure?  No.  Is he an exciting figure?  Not incredibly so, but he has his merits.  I’ve owned worse figures, and I like the design enough that I’m happy to own a figure of it.

#1078: Robin – Dark Knight Returns

ROBIN – DARK KNIGHT RETURNS

DC COMICS MULTIVERSE (MATTEL)

carriekelly2

One of DC’s longest lasting legacy characters is Robin.  It’s fitting, what with Robin being one of the earliest examples of a sidekick in comics.  As many times as legacy characters may be rolled back to prior  incarnations, Robin always seems to keep moving forward.  Since Dick Grayson vacated the role in 1984, there have been many others to take on the title.  The first is, of course, Jason Todd, but a fairly close second (albeit in an alternate future) was Carrie Kelley.  Carrie hails from Frank Miller’s Dark Knight Returns, and is easily one of the most distinctive parts of the story.  So, it’s not a huge surprise that Carrie has just gotten an action figure in commemoration of the story’s 35th anniversary.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

carriekelly1Carrie Kelley was released in the Doomsday series of Mattel’s DC Comics Multiverse line.  It’s the same series that features armored Batman and the Mutant Leader, all of which bear the 35th Anniversary insignia.  This is Carrie’s second figure, with the first coming several years ago courtesy of DC Direct.  The figure is 5 1/4 inches tall and has 24 points of articulation.  As with a lot of Mattel’s output, the articulation count may be high, but the figure’s mobility is just so-so.  The elbows and knees can’t even bend a full 90 degrees, which is really weak.  Surely this is all for the sake of the sculpt, though, right?  Well, sort of, but not really.  The head sculpt is easily the best part, as it’s a pretty spot-on recreation of several panels of Miller’s artwork.  There’s one major issue I have with the head, but I’ll touch on that when I get to paint.  The rest of the sculpt is passable at best and mediocre at worst.  The overall appearance is fine, and she looks decent when in a straight standing pose. That being said, if you move her out of a basic standing pose, the sculpt exhibits a carriekelly3large number of flaws, where the articulation just leaves these odd flat spots on the limbs.  Also, the freaking cape block makes it’s awful appearance once again here, and I think this is probably the worst example of it I’ve seen so far.  I’m really not sure why Mattel has no idea how to attach a cape other than a huge solid brick of plastic sticking out of the figure’s back.  It shouldn’t be this hard.  You should be able to have a caped character without giving them a freaking hunchback.  The paintwork on Carrie is alright, but there are a few pressing issues.  The colors are nice and bright, and match up nicely with the comic colors.  The biggest issue here is the lenses of the glasses.  In the comic, Carrie’s eyes are consistently visible through the lenses, but here, they’re opaque.  Matte’s done clear lenses in the past, so I’m not sure why they were left out here.  Carrie includes a sling shot (which she can’t hold very well, due to her right hand only having a hole drilled halfway through, for reasons beyond me), as well as the leg of the New-52 Doomsday.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I found Carrie at Toys R Us a little while ago, while looking for the X-Men Legends figures.  I had been looking forward to this figure to go with the other three figures I’ve got from this set.  I can’t lie, this figure is kinda a letdown.  She’s not a bad figure, but she’s just not up to par with the likes of Hasbro and NECA, or even Funko, all of which are in the same price range.  This figure should have been a home run, but instead she’s just another mediocre figure from Mattel.

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#1032: Deadshot

DEADSHOT – SUICIDE SQUAD

DC COMICS MULTIVERSE (MATTEL)

DeadshotSS1

“…Mama, just killed a man. Put a gun up to his head. Pulled the trigger, now he’s dead!”

Hey, didn’t I start out this week with lyrics from “Bohemian Rhapsody”? Indeed I did! Since Suicide Squad used the song rather prominently in the trailers (and also totally randomly and out of place in the movie), I thought it might be appropriate. It also reminds me of happier times, back when I was reviewing something that had nothing to do with Suicide Squad. Yes, against my better judgement, I went and saw Suicide Squad in the theatre. I wanted to like it. I really did. It had its moments, most of which were while Will Smith’s Deadshot was on the screen, but it was otherwise rather disappointing. Since he was one of the few worthwhile parts of the movie, I’ve picked up a Deadshot figure, from Mattel’s latest round of tie-in products.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

DeadshotSS2Deadshot is part of the first half-wave of Mattel’s Suicide Squad-themed DC Comics Multiverse series. Why Mattel insists on shipping these out three figures at a time is beyond me, since the whole B-a-F concept loses a lot of the selling power if the figures that come with the pieces arrive in stores months apart… I’m getting distracted from the figure. Sorry! Deadshot stands about 6 ½ inches tall and he has 25 points of articulation. Several of the joints are severely lacking in range of movement: the head is a ball joint that moves like a cut joint, neither the knees or the elbows can get a full 90 degrees of movement, and the ab-crunch is so limited that it might as well not be there. Sure, he fares better than yesterday’s Grey Fox, but that figure is almost 20 years old, and this one came out last month. Compared to what Hasbro’s been doing with Marvel Legends, this guy feels very behind the times. At the very least, the sculpt is pretty decent. The overall look of the design has been translated pretty well into figure form. The detailing on the clothes is a little on the basic side, but it’s about what you’d expect from a Mattel figure. The wrist guns could stand to be a little more pronounced, but that’s minor. The proportions are pretty decent; no weirdly elongated or widened bits here. The figure features both a masked and an unmasked heads. The masked head is the stronger of the two. The details are nice and sharp, and there’s even a bit of texture work. The unmasked head is a little on the softer side, especially on the beard. It’s a decent enough Will Smith likeness, though he seems a little more gaunt here than he is in the film. Deadshot’s paint is a bit of a mixed bag. The overall look isn’t terrible (I don’t even mind the slightly brighter palette), and there are even a few cool little details, such as the little phrase written on his collar. That said, there are a few spots that are just missing paint apps all together, like the straps for his shoulder pads, the ankle knife, and the guns at the back of his belt. And, as cool as the collar is, I feel like the graffiti on the costume should be an all or nothing sort of deal. Of the two heads, the masked one once again pulls ahead, with some nice small detail work. The unmasked isn’t awful, but the beard looks beyond fake. In addition to the extra head, Deadshot includes a small handgun. For a guy whose whole shtick is guns and shooting, that’s very underwhelming, especially since we didn’t even get the rifle that he’s seen carrying in just about every promotional image. Would one more piece really have killed them? He also has the right arm of the Killer Croc Build-A-Figure. If I let it sit long enough, do you think I can grow a whole Croc figure?

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I got this guy on my birthday, as part of the expedition to various toy stores that made up the better part of the evening. It was a week prior to the release of the movie, but I figured that I liked Will Smith and I liked Deadshot, so, even if the movie was bad, I could still enjoy the figure. That’s pretty much exactly how it turned out. I know the review’s a little down on the guy (in my defense, I got him the same day as the Marvel Legends Black Panther. That guy set a really high bar), but I actually don’t think he’s awful. Yes, he has his flaws, but the good outweighs the bad. Plus, he’s a Will Smith Deadshot figure. That forgives a lot of sins.

DeadshotSS3

#1010: Armored Batman

ARMORED BATMAN

DC COMICS MULTIVERSE (MATTEL)

ArmoredBatman1

You know how I’m always hating on Mattel? And you know how I just reviewed a whole week of Mattel figures? What’s the best thing for me to review the day after an over-a-week run of Mattel figures? Another Mattel figure, of course! Boy do I looooove me some Mattel…

So, today, I’m jumping back over to the DC side of things, with a Batman figure. I know, that’s a very rare occurrence. But this Batman’s special. This one’s a puffy Batman! Okay, actually, he’s from Dark Knight Returns, the Batman story that forever changed the face of comics, whether we like it or not. Now, this isn’t just a generic Batman from the story, but one from his climactic showdown with Superman, making it the perfect accent piece for this guy. Despite there being a number of toys based on DKR and this being both a distinctive and unique look from the story, this is its first appearance in three-dimensional form. Let’s see how it turned out!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

ArmoredBatman2Armored Batman is one of the three DKR-based figures from the latest series of Mattel’s larger scale DC Comics Multiverse. The figure stands roughly 7 inches tall and he has 25 points of articulation. Just about all of Mattel’s DKR figures have been built from pieces that structurally similar to the figures from Masters of the Universe Classics. While this Batman is stylistically very similar to the others, the only pieces he shares with the prior Batman and Superman are the upper and lower torso parts, and even those are completely covered by add-ons. The rest of the figure’s sculpt is all-new, and it’s pretty impressively handled. It does a very good job translating the design from the comics into three dimensions. In fact, it’s probably the most comic-faithful figure so far in this particular sub-set, since the large quantity of new pieces means that none of Miller’s tinier details have been left out. Each piece of armor has little wrinkles, and the face depicts an old, grizzled Bruce Wayne, which we didn’t really see on the last two figures that Mattel did. Really, the only complaint I can raise about this figure is that he falls victim to Mattel’s continued insistence on attaching capes with unnecessarily large chunks of plastic that plug into the figures’ backs. Is there absolutely no way they could make that connector any smaller? Oh well. Batman’s paintwork isn’t bad. It’s certainly better than Superman’s was. There’s a bit of slop, especially around the edges of the belt, but the overall appearance is pretty good. Batman is packed with the rifle he uses with this armor in the story. Unfortunately, he can’t really hold it very well, since neither of his hands is sculpted to hold it. He also includes the head and pelvis of the New 52 Doomsday, for those that care about such things.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

So, as I noted in my review of Superman, I’m only a moderate fan of The Dark Knight Returns. I do, however, love the issue with the fight between Superman and Batman. Since I already had Superman, I was looking forward to getting this guy. That being said, he wasn’t quite at the top of my list for this particular series. So, when I found this series at Target, this wasn’t the figure I intended to buy. No, I really, really wanted to buy the new Supergirl figure, based on the TV series. Target even had two of her, but I just couldn’t bring myself to buy it, because the figure just looked so terrible. I’m getting off topic. I ended up going with this guy because, while he may be ugly, at least he’s supposed to be. This isn’t a perfect figure, but he’s still pretty fun.

#0892: Superman

SUPERMAN

DC COMICS MULTIVERSE (MATTEL)

DKRSuperman1

Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice was released last week to reviews that were…well, I’ll be generous and say “middling.” Though they tend to be presented as a more friendly pair, Superman vs Batman is not a new idea for the film. They’ve done battle a few times over the years. One of the better handled face-offs is in Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns. In the story, Batman’s gotten pretty far removed from his usual self, and becomes rather unhinged, prompting the US government to send Superman in to take him down if need be. Though Batman is technically the story’s hero, Superman isn’t portrayed as being in the wrong, just a guy looking for a glimpse of hope in the bleak, nihilistic future of DKR. Anyway, the story is celebrating its 30th Anniversary this year, and Mattel has done a small sub-set of figures based on it, including Superman.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

DKRSuperman2Superman is one of the three figures that make up the Walmart-exclusive Batman: The Dark Knight Returns series of the main DC Comics Multiverse line. The figure stands just shy of 7 inches tall and he has 25 points of articulation. Structurally, he has a very similar build to the figures in Mattel’s Masters of the Universe Classics line. He re-uses a lot of pieces from the prior DKR Batman released in the Batman Unlimited line. Mattel insists that the only pieces these two share with the MotUC figures are the shoulders. I can’t say that they have much incentive to lie about something like this, so I guess I’ll believe them, even if the parts do look really similar. Anyway, Superman uses the majority of the aforementioned Batman figure, with a unique head, forearms, shins, pelvis cover, and cape. The piece make him sufficiently different, while also keeping the similar build of the two characters, which makes sense, since Batman and Superman were portrayed as about the same size in the story. While he’s definitely put on some muscle mass in the story, Superman has aged far more gracefully than Batman. The figure does a pretty good job of replicating that in the head sculpt; he’s obviously a little older when you look at him closely, but he can pretty easily pass for a normal Superman, should you want him to. The rest of the new pieces are all pretty basic, but they capture the look of the character nicely, and they’re all pretty sharp sculpts. The paintwork on Superman is kind of a mix of good and bad. The overall look is definitely very good. The colors are nice and bold, and I absolutely love the larger “S” logo on his chest. He’s noticeably missing the symbol on the back of his cape, though, which is a bit of a shame. Also, the actual application of the paint is quite sloppy. In the store, I had to choose between sloppy belt and decent neckline or decent belt and atrocious neckline. That’s not a fun choice (I went with the former). Superman includes one of Green Arrow’s…uh, arrows, which has a kryptonite tip. It’s a nice piece, even if he does have a little trouble holding it. It sure would be nice if we got an Ollie to go with that arrow, though.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’m at best a moderate fan of The Dark Knight Returns. I own exactly one issue of the series. Care to guess which one? Yeah, it’s the one where he fights Superman. I picked up the first DKR Batman when Mattel released him a few years back in hopes that it would eventually lead to this particular figure, and in a roundabout way, it did. Of course, actually finding him was no easy feat. I stopped at several Walmarts and was never able to find anything more than the Batman re-paint that accompanies this guy. However, at the last Walmart, after I admitted defeat, my good friend Jill noted a few items had been placed on the top shelf at the far end of the aisle. Sure enough, I spotted two Multiverse packages, and when I pulled them down, they were both Superman. Someone was hiding figures! I’m really happy to have this guy, and I think he turned out incredibly well. Were it not for the NECA Christopher Reeve Superman, this one would probably be my favorite Superman in my collection.

Well, here was the real review, but this was my April Fools day post for 2016.  Read the altered version here.

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#0867: Wonder Woman

WONDER WOMAN

DC COMICS MULTIVERSE (MATTEL)

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March 25th will see the release of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. March 25th will also see me avoiding movie theatres like the plague, because I have no desire to see the movie (my scathing hatred of Man of Steel is the main reason, but there are a few others). For the most part, I’m also steering clear of the associated toys that go with said movie due to them a) being based on designs I’m not super thrilled by, and b) made by Mattel, who happen to be one of my least favorite toy makers. However, I’m a firm believer that a cool toy is a cool toy regardless of its source material or manufacturer. And that, dear readers, is why I’m reviewing today’s figure, Wonder Woman.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

WWDoJ2Wonder Woman is part of the first assortment of the Dawn of Justice series of DC Comics Multiverse. Multiverse has previously been a 3 ¾ inch line, but starting in 2016, Mattel is bumping the line back up to the more familiar 6-inch scale. Also, it should be noted that there are currently two different case pack-outs for this line, and Wonder Woman is only in one of them. That said, she doesn’t look to be all that hard to find right now. The figure stands just shy of 6 ½ inches tall and has 26 points of articulation. The articulation is overall fairly decent, but it seems a bit rudimentary when compared to, say, one of Hasbro’s Marvel Legends. The lack of any real movement on the head is a bit frustrating, but excusable. The height (well, the whole scale, really) of the figure is definitely a bit off; she’s the tallest of the four figures in the series, despite Gal Godot being the shortest of the three leads. She’s more scaled with something like a NECA figure than she is her fellow Multiverse figures. Her sculpt is all-new, and it’s generally pretty good. There’s definitely some oddities, such are the somewhat obvious joints in the arms and legs, or the strangely geometrical upper legs, but the overall proportions of the figure are surprisingly well done. She’s easily one of the most realistic female figures Mattel has ever produced. The details of the costume seem to pretty close to what we’ve seen of the movie’s design, and there’s some decent texture work. The head is pretty decent, if not amazing. I don’t immediately see Gadot’s likeness when looking at the figure, but it’s hard to say how much of that’s the sculpt and how much is paint. Speaking of paint, that’s where this figure takes a slight dive. On a whole, I actually like it, especially the choice to go a bit brighter with the colors than what we’ve seen from the film. However, the application is a bit spotty. The two biggest areas of issue WWDoJ3are the face and the boots. The face is at least fairly clean, if perhaps a bit thick and in need of some accent work. The boots seem like the painter just got confused by all those sculpted lines and gave their best approximation; they’re quite sloppy, and the flesh toned ankle joint breaks them up in kind of an odd way. Wonder Woman is packed with a sword and shield (which appears to be the Aegis, aka the shield given to Perseus by Athena). The shield is an amazingly sculpted piece, and by far my favorite part of this whole figure, though it can be a bit difficult for Diana to hold it. The sword is generally pretty nice, though the rather obvious “CHINA” stamp on one side makes it look like Wonder Woman has had to make due with a repro of her actual sword. Wonder Woman is also packed with what has to be the lamest build-a-thing piece I’ve ever gotten; it’s the supporting column to the display base for the Batman Grapnel replica. Seriously, it’s lame.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When I saw the various Dawn of Justice merchandise in the store, I was prepared to totally overlook it. But, I saw Wonder Woman, and was genuinely surprised by how much I liked her. No, she’s not a perfect figure, but she’s really not bad, either. And, with the size that she is, she actually fits in pretty nicely with the recent Adam West Batman and Christopher Reeve Superman from NECA, making for a pretty cool trinity display (though I’d happily replace this figure with a Linda Carter Wonder Woman, should NECA ever get the rights…). I’ve certainly gotten worse figures from Mattel.

#0767: Batman Beyond

BATMAN BEYOND

DC COMICS MULTIVERSE (MATTEL)

BatBeyondDCM1

Uh oh. It’s a Mattel figure. This can’t be good. Okay, that’s not entirely true or fair. Mattel figures have the potential to be good, or even on the rare occasion great. In fact, most are at least passable, but some aren’t. And also, I don’t like Mattel as a company, for a whole slew of reasons, chief among them being that a whole lot of their products just feel so lazy. In fact, in the last year, I believe I’ve bought a whole four Mattel figures, mostly due to the vast majority of their output being rather dull. One of those four figures is today’s entry, Batman Beyond. Let’s see how he turned out.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

BatBeyondDCM2Batman Beyond is part of Mattel’s DC Comics Multiverse line. The line doesn’t really have traditional series to speak of, but BB was released in the last year of the line. He’s part of the Arkham City sub-set, and is based on one of the alt looks for Batman from the game, rather than being an actual Terry McGuinness Batman Beyond. The figure stands 3 ¾ inches tall and has 18 points of articulation. The layout of the articulation is the same as both the Christopher Reeve Superman and Arkham Knight Robin figures. It’s not the worst articulation ever, but it could really, really use some sort of upper arm swivel and a mid-torso joint. The current layout leaves him a little stiff looking. In general, the sculpt of this figure feels pretty stiff and somewhat oddly proportioned. Some of that, such as the small head and larger hands, are at least partly present in the game design, but some of it’s just weird sculpting. Like Robin and Superman before him, the figure’s waist just sits too low, which looks really odd. Also, it looks like BB’s got at least a few parts in common with several of the previous Batmen. Because of this, he still has the usual Batman boots, which aren’t accurate to the design, as well as a weird shoulder piece that looks like it should have a cape or something attached, but it doesn’t, which is reasonable, since BB’s not supposed to have a cape anyway. Since one of the draws of Batman Beyond is his sleek design, these issues with the re-used pieces jump out a lot more than they would otherwise. BB does get his own head, belt, and forearms, which all do a pretty great job of capturing those parts of his design, and blend pretty decently with the rest of the sculpt. BB’s paint is one of his stronger suits. Everything is pretty cleanly handled, and his emblem in particular is nice and crisp, and really stands out well from the rest of the figure. BB has no accessories, which isn’t out of the ordinary for a Multiverse figure, but remains annoying given the price of the figure and the fact that he re-uses quite a few pieces.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Remember how I was done with DC Comics Multiverse? Yeah, that seems increasingly incorrect. When I was down in North Carolina visiting family, I ended up finding this guy on a grocery run. I’ve always had a soft spot for the Batman Beyond design, and Super Awesome Girlfriend was there with me, so there really wasn’t a chance I was saying no to this one. He’s a flawed figure to be sure, and definitely reminds me of why I don’t really do Mattel figures anymore, but he’s Batman Beyond, which does a lot to outweigh some of the cons.

#0381: Robin

ROBIN

DC COMICS MULTIVERSE

AKRobin1

Just when I thought I was out, they pulled me back in! Frequent readers of the blog will probably be aware of my less than stellar opinion of Mattel. For those of you who have only recently joined us, let me ‘splain….no it is too much, let me sum up: Mattel has a tendency to make bad decisions and when said bad decisions fail like they should, they like to place the fault on their fans. It’s not a particularly endearing quality. I am also not a huge fan of the current output of DC Comics. So, it would seem that Mattel holding the DC License would be a perfect partnership for me to ignore. However, I am stubborn, and in spite of my issues with Mattel and DC, I still like the DC characters and Mattel occasionally stumbles their way into a decent action figure. Such is the case with today’s figure, Mattel’s latest version of Batman’s faithful sidekick Robin.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

AKRobin2Robin was released in the fourth assortment of Mattel’s DC Comics Multiverse line, which is their current “collector oriented” line of 3 ¾ scale figures. Robin is based on the character’s appearance in the upcoming Batman: Arkham Knight game, which seems to take fair bit of influence from the Damian Wayne Robin design. The figure clocks in at just about 3 ¾ inches tall and he features 18 points of articulation. Robin’s articulation scheme is the same as that seen on the Christopher Reeve Superman. It’s not bad, and it’s certainly better than what we saw on Zod, but he really would benefit from some ankle articulation, some sort of swivel in his upper arms, and maybe a mid-torso joint. As it is, the figure’s posing options are rather limited, which leaves him rather stiff looking. He’s good for a standing pose, but not much else. Robin appears to have a completely unique sculpt. Overall, it’s an okay sculpt, but it has some rather glaring faults. His head is a bit too small and his torso is too large, resulting in some serious pin-headedness. His torso is also rather flat, and his waist seems to sit too low, making the torso too long. All that being said, the sculpt does have some nice detail work, especially in the armor’s various engravings. The cape is not sculpted, but rather made of cloth. The material used for capes in this line seems to be inconsistent. They go back and forth between cloth and plastic with very little rhyme or reason. I personally prefer the sculpted capes, so the cloth isn’t a huge plus for me. This one’s not too bad, so there’s that. Robin’s paint is decently handled. It’s relatively straight-forward; there aren’t any washes or different finishes or anything. For the most part, it’s rather cleanly applied, but there are one or two areas, like the shoulders, where there is a bit of slop. Robin includes no accessories. His right hand looks as if it should hold a staff or something, so it would have been nice to get something, anything. As is, the figure feels light for the price.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I swore I was done with the DC Comics Multiverse line once I got Superman and Zod. So, why then did I end up with this guy? Call it nostalgia. I was visiting some family in mountains in North Carolina. We were picking up a few things at the nearby Walmart, and as I am prone to do, I wandered over to the toy section. I saw this figure and remembered something: on my very first trip to NC, back in 1998, my Dad bought me a Nightwing figure from the Animated Series line of the time. With this in mind, I was drawn to this Robin figure (for those of you confused as to what the two have to do with each other: Nightwing is an older Robin). So, here I sit in my family’s NC house with no internet connection or cellphone service writing this review and feeling nostalgic. This is certainly not a perfect offering, but I feel like it’s better than most of what Mattel and DC are putting out these days.