#2847: Chameleon Boy

CHAMELEON BOY

LEGION OF SUPER HEROES (DC DIRECT)

While some of the Legion of Super Heroes’ members are gifted individuals from otherwise non-powered races, there’s a decent chunk of the team that’s actually just comprised of literally the first member of a race to join, making use of their native abilities.  I guess that’s why they needed to really enforce that “no duplication of powers” rule; otherwise Cosmic Boy and Saturn Girl aren’t going to look so special, are they?  Amongst the members that are just regular people from their respective races is Reep Daggle, aka Chameleon Boy.  Chameleon Boy is a Durlan, and like all Durlans he possesses shape-shifting abilities.  You know, like a chameleon.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Chameleon Boy is the final figure in the Series 3 line-up for DC Direct’s Legion of Super Heroes line.  He’s the most unique looking of the bunch, which was honestly true of Chameleon Boy in the earlier Legion run, too.  The figure stands just shy of 6 inches tall and he has 11 points of articulation.  Chameleon Boy uses a mix of prior base body parts, using the core of the Series 2 body, with the upper arms that he shared with this assortment’s Sun Boy figure, and the looser fitting lower arms of Brainiac 5 and Mon-El.  Also, in keeping with the mix of hand poses, his are both open, which is a first on this body.  He’s got a new head, which does alright with capturing the more alien features of Reep’s design, but feels somewhat off for the character when you get to the face.  He just seems to have too dull an expression, if I’m honest.  My figure is unfortunately saddled with a QC issue, as well; his left thigh is actually a right thigh, just backwards, most notable from the weird shaping near the hip, where it’s supposed to contact with the backside of his torso.  The more simple nature of the sculpt means it’s not the worst thing ever, but it’s very definitely wrong.  Chameleon Boy is another all painted figure.  It works out okay, but again there’s the issue with the scuffing going on.  Otherwise, the paint’s pretty decent, I guess.  Chameleon Boy has no accessories, but unlike the other figures in the line that also had no accessories, this one feels like more of a loss, because it feels like the perfect opportunity to give us his sidekick/pet Proty.  Alas, we’d have to wait on Mattel for that one.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I picked up Chameleon Boy at the same time as Sun Boy and Star Boy, while on a road trip with my dad in 2007.  I was mostly driven by all three of them being there, I guess.  None of them are amazingly impressive, and Chameleon Boy certainly suffers from the extra QC issue for me.  He’s alright, but that’s really about it.

#2840: Sun Boy

SUN BOY

LEGION OF SUPER HEROES (DC DIRECT)

Though introduced relatively early on to the Legion (he technically debuted alongside the far more prominent Brainiac 5), Dirk Mogna, aka Sun Boy, has remained relatively minor in terms of actual story telling.  He filled Lightning Lad’s spot as slightly persnickety red-head while LL was dead for a bit, but has otherwise just sort of been around for most of his time with the team.  He was even dropped from the team during the first major reboot in the ’90s, and hasn’t really figured prominently into any of the team’s non-comics appearances.  Despite that, he did still get a figure from DCD’s line, which is good for him, really.  Congrats, Dirk.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Sun Boy was released in Series 3 of DCD’s Legion of Super Heroes line.  Though hardly obscure, he’s probably the least relevant character the line would produce.  He’s sporting his classic ’60s costume, which is really the best known costume he’s got, since he kind of stuck with it, unlike others.  The figure stands just shy of 6 inches tall and he has 11 points of articulation.  Sun Boy is built on the post-Series 2 body, but specifically with a pair of upper arms that sport some pretty mean shoulder pads.  These arms were shared with his Series-mate Chameleon Boy.  He also got a new head sculpt, complete with a collar, and a belt buckle piece.  It’s not a bad selection of parts, truth be told, and he even swaps out the hands so as to have one open and one closed.  The head in particular is fairly distinctly different from the others in the line, with the hair having its own distinctive shape, following the early ’60s depictions of the character.  The only down side is that he does have a rather obvious plug on his back from where the cape would have been if he’d had one.  Other non-caped characters also had it, but it feels like it stands out more here for some reason.  Sun Boy’s paint work is pretty much on par with the rest of the line.  He is again entirely painted, but that works to his benefit more than others, since it means no need for the red or yellow to either one go over the other, keeping it a lot cleaner looking.  One thing that’s not quite so clean looking, however, is the tops of his boots, which are scalloped on his design, in contrast to the flat tops that are on the sculpt.  They just straight up painted across the line, which isn’t ideal.  It’s not terrible, but it does seem odd.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I had a bit of a fixation on Sun Boy when I was much younger, for reasons I’ve not really been certain of in later years.  Of course, it kind of just went away once I knew of Ferro Lad, and he suddenly became my main focus.  By the time these figures came along, I had moved on, and I didn’t wind up getting him when he was new.  However, I found him at the same time as Star Boy, while on a road trip with my dad in 2007.  Not much more to say about him really, but hey, I do have him, so there’s that.

#2833: Starboy

STARBOY

LEGION OF SUPER HEROES (DC DIRECT)

The early days of the Legion of Superheroes had the characters sticking to a pretty set formula of “word to describe powers” and Boy/Lad or Girl/Lass.  Very basic, and generally very descriptive, right?  Well, not always.  Starboy may seem to follow the schtick closely, but “star” as a descriptor for “makes things heavier and lighter” does seem like a bit of a stretch, doesn’t it?  It’s not exactly “Matter Eater Lad.”  Nevertheless, Thom is a pretty prominent member, due to his placement with the JSA after he moved to Starman, as well as being the first member to be kicked off the team for breaking the rules, namely killing someone in self defense, which is a big no-no.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Starboy was released in Series 3 of DC Direct’s Legion of Superheroes line, alongside last week’s Ultra Boy figure.  He’s the first figure to be really negatively impacted by the line’s fixed point in the ’60s for the designs, since it means he’s in his original Superboy knock-off design, rather than his later, much cooler starfield costume that Dave Cockrum designed for him.  Alas, it just was what it was.  The figure stands just shy of 6 inches tall and he has 11 points of articulation.  He’s built on the body that had become the standard base at this point, and was the same exact one used for Ultra Boy (well, in theory, anyway; mine erroneously has the loose sleeve upper arm sculpt on his left side).  It’s fairly basic, so it still works.  He’s also got the same cape used for Series 2’s Mon-El (again, a sensible re-use), as well as a new head and belt pieces.  The new parts are different from those on prior figures, but only just enough to notice that their different.  It’s not exactly like they’re amazing new parts or anything, but they get the job done.  Starboy is totally painted, like the rest of the figures of the era.  He looks pretty decent, but he’s also a little more prone to wear and scratching.  Still, not a bad appearance.  He’s got no accessories, but they’d fully given up on them for this line at this point, and, honestly, what would you give him?

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was in no particular rush to own this figure, due to this particular design not ever being a favorite of mine.  Starboy really just doesn’t get interesting until after he gets the new costume, so fixating on the old one does very little for me.  But, I wound up finding him loose, while on a road trip with my dad in the early summer of 2007.  It was him and a few other DCD figures that I found at the time, and he was more of a “well, I’m already getting the others” sort of a purchase.  He’s okay.  Nothing to really write home about, but he’s far from a bad figure.

#2826: Ultra Boy

ULTRA BOY

LEGION OF SUPER HEROES (DC DIRECT)

In the early days of the Legion of Superheroes, one of their by-laws for new recruits was that there could be no duplication of powers.  Today’s focus, Jo Nah of the planet Rimbor (who also got his powers after being swallowed by a space whale, in a reference to the biblical Jonah), aka Ultra Boy, got by on the technicality that, while his powers technically duplicated powers already covered by other members of the team (super strength, speed, flight, flash vision, and pentra-vision), he could only use one of them at a time, which is at least a different gimmick, I guess?  Of course, let’s not get into how they still managed to keep Superboy, Supergirl, and Mon-El on the team at the same time or anything….honestly, there was probably more than a little bit of prejudice and personal bias going into exactly when those by-laws came into effect; early Legionnaires were all kind of bastard people.  They got better.  Sort of.  Anyway, I was talking about Ultra Boy, so I should probably continue that, and not keep discussing how genuinely awful the Legionnaires are as people.  Even though they really are.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Ultra Boy was released in Series 3 of DC Direct’s Legion of Superheroes line, which marked when the line starting spreading a little more into the depths of the team.  Not terribly, so, of course, since it’s not like Ultra Boy is that crazy obscure, but he’s the sort of character that doesn’t tend to get picked for the more paired down team line-ups for, like, guest spots and other media appearances.  The figure stands just shy of 6 inches tall and he has 11 points of articulation.  Ultra Boy has quite a few parts in common with the Brainiac 5 figure, as by this point DC Direct had decided to institute more of a base body for this line.  The torso and legs are the same, as is the right hand.  The head and belt pieces were all-new, and the arms were a set designed to be a tighter fit than those used on Brainy and Mon-El, and were shared between this guy and Star Boy in this particular series.  All in all, I still think the base body works pretty well, and it certainly looks good here.  The new head is also one of my favorites, as it really seems to capture the ’60s Ultra Boy appearance, and just feels a little more unique than some of the others in the set.  Ultra Boy’s paint work is nicely applied, very clean, and very bold.  As with Brainy, he’s entirely painted, with no molded colors showing through.  It does aid in him looking clean, but there was always more potential for scuffing on this line of figures.  Fortunately, my Ultra Boy’s not so bad.  Ultra Boy was not packed with any accessories.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Fair warning: I’m going to be getting into some more post-Jess discussion here.

Ultra Boy is a figure that I always wanted when he was new, but who is actually one of my more recent acquisitions, because he just doesn’t show up nearly as often as the rest of the figures in this set, for whatever reason.  I actually quite vividly remember the exact day I got him, though perhaps not for the most happiest of reasons.  This figure came into All Time Toys, along with a whole ton of other DC Direct figures, on June 19th of last year.  It was the Friday before Father’s day, almost exactly a year from when I’m writing this review.  I know this because while I was at work that day, I got a call from Jess, who had just recently had a small surgical procedure done, and had just been told she would need to be moved into observation at the hospital.  She spent the next three days in the hospital, and I spent them right next to her, missing out on my family’s small plans for Father’s Day.  We didn’t know it was cancer yet, and wouldn’t find out for another two weeks, but it was the first indication that things were more serious than we realized.  So, I suppose, looking back, a year removed now, with Jess having been gone for 13 days by my time, this figure carries a rather odd weight, as the very last figure I purchased before my world changed.  It’s quite a bit of weight to place on one item, but my life in the last two weeks has seen me placing a lot of weight on seemingly small things.  And, I imagine, that’s where I’ll be for a little while longer.  And maybe that’s not the worst thing in the world.  As it stands, Ultra Boy’s at least a nice figure, so maybe not a bad choice for one that remains a token of how things were.

#2819: Brainiac 5

BRAINIAC 5

LEGION OF SUPER HEROES (DC DIRECT)

The beauty of DC Direct in its early years was a wonderful haven for toys of characters that had literally never had them before.  Without the ability to do Superman or Batman, they had to rely on other characters, allowing for a great focus on fan favorites, such as the Legion of Superheroes, to whom they were able to dedicate an entire line of figures.  They tried to focus on the team’s heavy hitters from the earliest days, and that included the heroic descendent of one of Superman’s greatest foes, Brainiac 5, who I’m taking a look at today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Brainiac 5 was one of the two figures in the second series of DCD’s Legion of Superheroes line, with the other one being Mon-El.  After the original three were covered in series 1, Brainy was by far the most natural choice for inclusion.  The figure stands just shy of 6 inches tall and he has 11 points of articulation.  After the weird articulation choices on the first series figures (where someone had the bright idea of “what if we gave them knees but not hips?”), Brainy is a much more straight forward set-up.  Apart from lacking the ball-jointed shoulders that would become more or less standard later, he’s got a decent set-up.  He’s still very stiff, of course, but for DC figures at this time, he was quite good.  Brainy’s sculpt was largely shared with Mon-El, and it was one that would serve as the influence for the rest of the Legion line from DCD.  It’s a pretty nice sculpt, matching up fairly well with the early silver age appearances for the character.  His head and belt were the two pieces that remained unique to him, and they’re both fairly well-rendered.  The head’s maybe not my favorite, but neither is it a bad offering in the slightest.  The slightly looser sleeves are a very cool touch, and one I’m glad they didn’t leave out.  In terms of paint, Brainy is pretty basic, butt gets all of the important things, I suppose.  Like most DCD figures of the era, he’s completely painted, rather than being molded in any of the proper colors.  It means that he does suffer from a slight tendency to scuff in some parts, especially the purple sections, but for the most part it looks alright.  Brainy included no accessories, which was not surprising, I suppose, but was also a shame.  I don’t know what you’d give him, but still.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As I’ve brought up previously, a lot of the early DCD stuff fell into sort of “shared” collection of figures between me and my dad.  Initially, all the Legion figures were officially his, but I was allowed to borrow them whenever I wanted to.  I didn’t start collecting them for myself until the line’s final series, thanks to Ferro Lad’s inclusion.  After that, I started going back and filling in the earlier figures for myself.  Brainiac 5 was a little trickier to find by that point, but I wound up getting him from Baltimore Comic Con a few years later.  He’s fairly basic and not much to write home about these days, but he was fantastic for the time, just because we’d never gotten one before.

#2721: Hawkman

HAWKMAN

FIRST APPEARANCE (DC DIRECT)

“Archaeologist Carter Hall discovered that he was the reincarnation of ancient Egyptian Prince Khufu in 1940’s Flash Comics #1!Using an experimental antigravity metal, Hall took flight as Hawkman!”

In the Golden Age, comic books were still very much periodicals in the vain of the pulp magazines that inspired them, with multiple features in each book.  For the most part, the earliest appearances of the heavy hitters only got one notable stand out per book; no one’s really talking much about the characters that were backing up Superman and Batman in Action and Detective.  However, there were a few instances, especially as they get into that slightly lower tier selection, where multiple characters might share their first appearance.  For instance, while Jay Garrick’s The Flash headlined the first issue of Flash Comics, also debuting in that same issue was fellow JSA member, Hawkman, who I’m taking a look at today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Hawkman was part of the second series of DC Direct’s First Appearance line.  We’d gotten just one Hawkman from DCD previously at this point, and he was specifically the Silver Age version of the character (albeit one that happened to included a second, Golden Age-inspired helmet), as had all prior versions of the character in toy form.  The figure is approximately 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 13 points of articulation.  Like Alan, he got to keep those extra wrist joints that the Series 1 figures had been lacking, plus he had the extra added joints of the wings.  Hawkman’s sculpt was technically all-new to him, though I’ve actually looked at a lot of it previously, when it was re-used for the ReActivated! Hawkman.  Of course, that being a review from my first month of reviewing, I didn’t actually, you know, really review it.  It’s a rather nice sculpt. It’s got nice, balanced proportions, and does a respectable job of capturing Dennis Neville’s illustrations of the character from the interiors.  The head and wings are the notable changes between the two releases of the mold.  This one’s been designed to include a removable helmet, which is quite nicely handled.  Both the helmet and the underlying head work well together, with neither being too oddly scaled.  Additionally, the wings on this version are designed for more easy removal, and to also more resemble the original intent, where they were more of a glider set-up.  As such, they’re a little flatter, lack the more overt feather detailing, and have a connection via pegs, rather than the ball joint set-up of later figures.  It’s not going to be getting many killer poses or anything, but it does mean you can have a much more dressed down Carter Hall.  Following in Flash’s footsteps from the first series, Hawkman is the one figure in his set that doesn’t feature any cloth parts, mostly because, exactly what would you use them for?  He’s not exactly overly clothed.  Hawkman’s paint work is bright, colorful, and clean, and he’s got some nice variation, especially on the yellows and reds, which have two differing sheens, depending on where they are.  Hawkman’s definitely the best accessorized of the line up to this point, with the previously mentioned removable helmet and wings, as well as a dagger, shield, stand, and reprint of his portion of Flash Comics #1.  Compared to the others, his assortment definitely feels more all-inclusive.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

At this point in my collecting, my dad and I were still kind of sharing a DC Direct collection, so we’d usually split any given assortment of figures.  When Series 2 was released, we got a full set, but Hawkman wasn’t one of the two I got out of that.  I wound up getting one of my own later down the line, under the same circumstances as the Flash figure I looked at earlier this month.  I actually do quite like this figure, even if Hawkman himself has never really been one of my favorites.

#2714: Green Lantern

GREEN LANTERN

FIRST APPEARANCE (DC DIRECT)

“Alan Scott, the original Green Lantern, first shined his emerald light in 1940’s All-American Comics #16.”

1940 proved to be a rather jam-packed year for super hero comics.  After the immense success of Superman and Batman in the two years prior, DC (then National Comics Publications) launched more of their own additions to the genre, but were also joined by a good number of competitors.  One who was perhaps less competitor than the others was All-American Publications, whose characters had frequent crossovers with National’s, and who were themselves absorbed into what would become DC before the end of the Golden Age.  Among All-American’s most prominent heroes was the first Green Lantern, Alan Scott, who arrived in July of 1940 in the 16th issue of All-American’s self-titled periodical.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Green Lantern was released in the second series of DC Direct’s First Appearance line, which hit not too long after the first.  Like Jay, prior to the release of this figure, Alan’s only prior figure was the slightly less artist-specific one from the JSA line.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 11 points of articulation.  After the stripped down articulation approach they gave to the non-Batman figures in Series 1, DCD was nice enough to change things up ever so slightly for the second round, and actually gave Alan here swivels for his wrists, which is certainly nice to have for a character like GL.  His posing is still somewhat limited, of course, but you can get a respectable range out of him.  The figure’s sculpt is based on Marty Nodell’s interior illustrations for the character.  Nodell’s work was somewhat fluid in it’s exact depiction of the character, so this sculpt tries to get the key most elements of his illustrations, worked into a cleaner overall design.  It’s quite a nice looking sculpt, and probably one of the best to come out of this line-up (really, only Hawkman rivals it).  These figures were mostly pretty light on detailing, but in keeping with Nodell’s tendency to put a lot of smaller detailing into his art, there’s actually quite a bit going on in this figure’s sculpt as well. The pants in particular have some really nice work on the folds and creases, and the billowy shirt even manages to look pretty decent.  The head’s also got a little more character to it than most of the other sculpts in the line, with more detailing in the face and hair, and even the actual band that held his mask in place (consistent in the earliest depictions of the character).  In an effort to keep with the cloth goods set-up for the line, Alan’s cape is a cloth piece.  It’s not one of the line’s finest elements, being rather bulky and a little cumbersome.  It’s got a wire to aid in posing, which is cool, but it has some trouble staying in place, and the yellow band across the front that’s supposed to be the chain is really goofy looking.  Like most of the other figures in the set, Alan’s paint work is bright, clean, and colorful.  There’s some very sharp work on the logo, as well as on the face, especially the eyes.  Alan is packed with the usual stand and reprint of his first appearance, but also gets his actual Lantern power batter as well, which is quite a nice piece.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve always had a somewhat sentimental attachment to Alan Scott, largely due to dressing up as him for Halloween when I was 7, but this was the first Alan Scott figure I actually owned.  I got it from my parents for Christmas the year it was released, and even happened to have it with me when I met Marty Nodell at Baltimore Comic Con the following year, although I didn’t have the forethought to actually get him to sign it, which probably would have been a good idea.  He’s a really cool figure, and probably the best of the First Appearance figures.  I don’t like the cape a ton, but that’s ultimately pretty minor.

#2707: The Flash

THE FLASH

FIRST APPEARANCE (DC DRIECT)

After the success of Superman and Batman, DC created a whole host of additional costumed heroes to join them.  Debuting in Flash Comics #1, Jay Garrick became the first incarnation of the titular character.  When the Golden Age ended, he was replaced by Barry Allen as the Silver Age Flash, but re-appeared just a few short years later in “Flash of Two Worlds,” the story that placed all of the Golden Age heroes on a separate Earth and officially created DC’s Multiverse.  Pretty nifty, huh?  Despite being a rather prominent fixture of the DC ‘verse, Jay’s been light on toys.  Under DC Direct, he got his second figure, amusingly enough, under the First Appearance banner.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Flash was released in the first series of DC Direct’s First Appearance figures, alongside the previously reviewed Batman.  Prior to this one, his only figure was the less style-specific figure from the main JSA line.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 9 points of articulation.  While DCD were willing to spring for extra joints on Batman, they were not similarly inclined for the rest of the assortment, so Jay just got their standard movement of the time.  It’s enough for some decent posing, but is admittedly pretty limiting.  He’s certainly not getting any deep running poses or anything.  Like the rest of the line, this version of Jay is quite strictly based on his first appearance art, in this case, Harry Lampert’s illustrations from the interiors of the book.  He seems to draw the most inspiration from the illustration of Jay that ran alongside the character’s header within the book, right down to his slight pre-posing seeming to line up with the slight running pose of the drawing.  It’s actually not a bad match for the art, though it certainly leaves him looking a bit more polished, and generally just a bit, I don’t know, prettier? He’s a pretty man, I guess, or at least he was in 1940.  Less so later.  I’ll admit, I’m a touch weirded out by a Jay that’s not at least middle-aged, but he wasn’t always, I suppose.  This figure also reflects the minor changes that were present in Jay’s costume earlier on, with the free-floating lighting bolt, the slightly less defined boots, and the bolts on the sides of his legs (presumably to make him go faster?).  Flash was the one figure in the first series to lack any cloth goods pieces, due to his costume’s tighter-clinging nature.  He does, however, get a removeable helmet piece.  It’s not as defined as other versions, but it’s also accurate to the art in that way, so good on them for that, I suppose.  Flash’s paint is quite bright and colorful, which is appropriate for this incarnation, and also makes him fairly eye-catching.  As with Batman, they vary up the finishes a bit on some of the colors, which helps give them a little more pop.  Flash was packed with a display stand (same as Batman’s) and a reprint of his story from Flash Comics #1.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

My main focus when this line hit was Batman, so I really didn’t pay this guy much mind when they were new.  Not many people did, honestly, so he would up being way marked down at Cosmic Comix about a year later, which is when I finally picked mine up, because, hey, he was cheap, right?  I also didn’t have another Jay Garrick at the time, so he worked on that front, too.  He’s not a bad figure, though he’s maybe not one of the showier offerings from this line.

#2700: Batman

BATMAN

FIRST APPEARANCE (DC DIRECT)

Adopting a ghastly, bat-like costume designed to inspire fear in the hearts of the “superstitious & cowardly” criminal element of Gotham City, Bruce Wayne burst onto the comics scene as Batman in 1939’s Detective Comics #27!”

2700 reviews.  That’s a nice sort of clean number, easily divisible by 27.  27’s a notable number in the world of comics, what with it being the issue number of the first appearance of Batman, who’s kind of a big deal, I guess.  What a crazy great tie-in for my 2700th review, right?  What great planning, right?  I’m very clever and organized, aren’t I?  ….Are you buying any of this?  Or is it just patently obvious that this was totally a coincidence, and the significance that I picked a First Appearance Batman for my 2700th review only dawned on me when I actually sat down to write the review.  Because, well, that’s what happened.  Thrilling story, I know.  Look, let’s just get to the review, shall we?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Batman was released as part of the first series of DC Direct’s First Appearance line in 2004, the 65th anniversary of the character.  Batman got into the first assortment over Superman, despite Superman’s first appearance being, you know, first, but hey, it was early ’00s DCD; if there was a chance at making a Batman, they were making Batman.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 13 points of articulation.  He was by far DCD’s most articulated Batman at the time, possessing movement at both the wrists and the tops of the biceps.  He could almost cross his arms, even.  How quaint.  DCD was beginning its hard turn to artist-specific figures at this point in time, and First Appearance really embraced that.  Batman’s sculpt is very clearly patterned on Bob Kane’s….studio’s illustrations of Batman from the pages of Detective #27.  It’s a simpler style of art by modern standards, but the figure nevertheless stuck to it.  It’s a pretty clean looking sculpt, and it captures the highlights of what made this version of the costume distinctive, as well as doing a pretty alright job of making him work as an actual posable figure.  That’s something DCD historically had a lot of trouble handling, so they did a very respectable job here.  The range of motion on the joints is actually pretty respectable, especially on the neck, which is really the most key.  For the first few assortments, the First Appearance line dabbled in some cloth goods for most of the figures, a rather new venture for DCD at the time.  In accordance with this, Batman’s cape is a cloth piece.  It’s rather thickly constructed, with two sides; on black, one blue.  In order to give Batman’s the wing-like presence it had in the comic, there are some wires running through.  It’s one of those “better in theory than in practice” deals, but it’s not awful, especially for the time.  Batman’s paint work is pretty straightforward, as is to be expected, given its attempts to stick to the source material.  The colors are rather vibrant, and they’ve even done some rather nice work on the black sections, which have a quite impressive glossy sheen to them.  In terms of accessories, DCD was still going rather sparse.  Batman got a display stand and a small reprint of Detective Comics #27.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

While only a moderate Batman fan myself, I’ve always really liked his first appearance look, and I used to doodle it a lot on various papers and such as a kid.  This figure was really right up my alley at the time, and I snagged him back when he was new, courtesy of my local haunt, Cosmic Comix.  He’s perhaps not an incredibly impressive figure by today’s standards, but he was quite good for a DCD figure at the time, and he still holds up as a really good recreation of the design from the comics, and a distinctive figure at that.

#2602: Batman – Gotham By Gaslight

BATMAN — GOTHAM BY GASLIGHT

ELSEWORLDS (DC DIRECT)

“As a young Bruce Wayne takes up the mantle of the Bat, a series of slayings mirroring the work of Jack the Ripper begins.”

DC’s Elseworlds line allowed them to tell stories that fell outside of the confines of a normal universe story, which opened the playing field to all sorts of crazy concepts.  It also lent itself pretty well to lots of “let’s mash up this DC thing with another established thing” scenarios.  This actually goes back to the very first Elseworlds tale, Batman: Gotham by Gaslight, which is “what if Batman was Victorian era and fought Jack the Ripper?”  It’s not high concept, but it’s certainly fun.  It’s also some of Mike Mignola’s earlier work, and has some pretty impressive design work.  The story’s Victorian Batman design is quite distinctive, which makes it ripe for making action figures, as DC Direct did in 2007.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Gotham By Gaslight Batman was released in the second series of DC Direct’s Elseworlds line.  He was one of two Batmen included, the other being the Red Son version of the character, which is another quite distinctive, if perhaps slightly thematically similar version of the Batman design.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 13 points of articulation.  The articulation’s not a lot, but it was about what you’d expect from DCD at the time.  It’s good for some slight tweaks to his posture, but that’s really it.  It’s certainly better than nothing.  The sculpt was an all-new piece, and it was definitely DCD at their best.  They really had a lot of fun with the artist-specific work in this line, and in the case of this Batman, they’ve done a pretty spot on job of capturing that early Mignola art style.  He doesn’t quite have the extreme hallmarks of later Mignola stuff, but there’s still enough to make it recognizable.  I really like how they’ve translated the texturing of Mignola’s work into something three dimensional, and I also quite enjoy how they’ve managed to keep him rather dynamic while also keeping a fairly neutral pose.  The flow of that cape is just beautiful.  The only thing I’m not too keen on are the ears, which always point a bit inward on mine.  It’s an unfortunate side effect of how small they have to be and how they were packaged in the box, I suppose.  The paint work does a nice job of replicating the way Mignola’s work is illustrated in the book, with a subdued palette and a decent job of outlining the features on the face.  There’s also some great accenting on the belt, as well as some impressive work on the mud stains on his boots and cape.  All in all, a very well rendered paint scheme.  The only slight let down to this guy are the accessories.  All he gets is a stand.  Its not much to go on, and felt quite light given the price these things were going for relative to everything else at the time.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I picked up this guy back when he was brand new, courtesy of my usual comics haunt, Cosmic Comix.  He was the first of the Elseworlds line I grabbed, mostly because I wanted a Mignola Batman figure, and I wasn’t picky about which particular design it was.  I hadn’t even read the comic at the time (I have since).  He’s certainly a nice looking figure, even if he’s maybe not so exciting to actually play with.