#3208: Blue Beetle & Booster Gold



Look, I’m not gonna pretend like this is anything more than it is, guys.  Yes, I’m reviewing something else from McFarlane’s DC Multiverse line.  I know.  I’m not surprised either, just disappointed.  Okay, not really disappointed.  Honestly, it’s really not all that bad, I suppose.  Todd’s decisions with the line have generally been middling at best, but there is the occasional offering that sort of accidentally stumbles into being sort of a good idea.  While things are very firmly planted in edgelord territory for most of the line’s offerings, perhaps in an effort to offset that just a little bit, we’ve actually got something that goes pretty anti-edgelord-y, in the form of Blue Beetle and Booster Gold.  Central to the Giffen, DeMatteis, and McGuire “Bwa-ha-ha” run of Justice League, Beetle and Booster have never been A-listers, but they’ve certainly picked up quite a cult following, especially given they’re more jovial nature and their long-term friendship.  They’ve gotten quite few figures over the years, mostly pairing off, since it sure does feel weird to do one without the other.  And, in a move uncharacteristic to McFarlane’s DC run up to this point, they’re actually both available at once, in one concise package even.


Blue Beetle and Booster Gold are a two-pack release from McFarlane’s DC Multiverse line.  They were announced at the end of July and had a rather quick turnaround, hitting in early September.  As with the rest of the two-packs, they’re their own thing, shipping on their own, which is probably for the best.  Keeps those Bat-variants just a little bit further away.


“Over the course of a century, three different men from very different backgrounds have taken on the heroic mantle of the Blue Beetle, each making their mark in different ways. The original Beetle was an archaeologist named Dan Garrett, who discovered an ancient Scarab in an old Egyptian tomb that gave him superpowers which he used to fight crime. He was succeeded by the brilliant Ted Kord, who had no powers to speak of, but carried on the Blue Beetle legacy with just his wits and his fists, along with a whole lot of gadgets and a sharp sense of humor.”

You gotta love the bio calling out that there are three notable Blue Beetles in the last century and then only talking about two of them.  And not even the most notable of the two, at that.  I know, a McFarlane bio being poorly written.  Who’d have thunk?  Ah, well, I think I’d rather talk about the figure than the bio, so let’s do that.  The figure stands just over 7 inches tall and he has 35 points of articulation.  As with all the McFarlane figures, the articulation scheme is pretty set and predictable.  It works better on some than on others, but this one is admittedly on the “better” end of the spectrum.  The wrists are a little awkward, and the elbows and knees are still requiring you to break up the flow of the sculpt, but it’s not awful.  The sculpt is actually not half-bad.  The head is a decent rendition of Ted in costume, right down to that slightly goofy smile, which is really perfect for the character.  The body sculpt is pretty basic, and honestly surprisingly clean for a McFarlane sculpt.  With one exception (which I’ll touch on a little more in the next figure’s section) only details are the actual details for Ted’s costume, as depicted in the comics, even.  No weird extra lines or piping, or armor plating, or odd texturing.  Just a nice, basic sculpt, with a fairly sensible set of proportions.  The paint work on this figure is also pretty sensible, which is likewise surprising.  The colors are generally a good match for his usual depiction, the application is overall pretty clean, and there’s no weird washes or anything to dirty him up.  I do miss the clear goggles like earlier figures have had, but the solid finish isn’t terrible, and I do quite like the slight accenting on the face, just to give him a bit more color.  Ted is packed with his BB gun, the same circular display stand that comes with all of the figures, and a collector card.  The gun is an okay sculpt, but for some reason there’s what looks like a grapple line permanently attached to it, which kind of limits its uses when it comes to posing.  I guess maybe they were worried that Warner might ask for it to be cut from the set if it didn’t have the permanent attachment?


“A college football star of the 25th Century who earned the nickname ‘Booster’ on the field. Even though people assured him a professional career of fame and fortune was in his future, he decided he couldn’t wait and wagered on his own games. The scandal ruined his dreams and reputation. Taking a job as a security guard in the Metropolis Space Museum, Mike saw another opportunity after studying the early age of superheroes. With future and alien technology stolen from the museum, and a time machine that was on display, he realized he could not only become a superhero himself in a past era where his criminal history was unknown, but he could also make his good deeds profitable.”

Well, at least Booster’s bio is a bit more on-point.  Given Ted’s, I was half expecting a “Super Nova” mention.  Small victories there.  Though he’s packed with a very much classically-inspired Ted Kord Blue Beetle, Booster goes slightly more modern, by virtue of ditching his somewhat absurd collar from his ’80s appearances.  I suppose I’ll allow it.  Like Beetle, the figure stands just over 7 inches tall and he has 35 points of articulation.  Booster’s sculpt is…well, it’s actually largely the same as Beetle’s.  Booster gets his own head, hands, wrist pieces, and a slightly different pelvis piece, allowing for his slightly different costume design.  The new head is on par with Beetle in terms of quality, but it’s also quite distinctly different.  The flow of the hair is quite nice, and I definitely dig the cheesy grin.  By virtue of the shared base body, Booster’s perhaps a touch too small, but not terribly far off.  What *is* rather off is the boots, which get the tops of Beetle’s boots, which are an entirely different shape.  There’s still the slight shaping of Booster’s boot sculpted above the cuff, which was also present on Beetle.  It was less obvious on Beetle than Beetle’s boots are for Booster; since Booster was getting saddled with the extra detail anyway, I’m not entirely sure why they attempted at double duty here, but at least it’s a minor detail.  Booster’s paint work is okay; not quite as good as Beetle’s, but not terrible.  There’s the obvious painting over of the boot details, which is a bit goofy looking.  Additionally, thanks to the paint on the shins, plus the molded yellow higher up, and then the slightly different material on the knees, there are no less than three different yellows in the space of about an inch.  From the knees up, however, he looks pretty great.  His goggles are opaque, just like Ted’s, and the face likewise gets some really nice accenting to give it a little more life.  Booster is packed with a smart phone (with a yellow case to match his costume), a blast effect to clip onto his wrist, and his robot buddy Skeets, a display stand, and a collector card.  Skeets, rather than getting his own stand or attaching to Booster directly, plugs into the larger base shared between the two of them.  It’s a rather short arm, and not removable from Skeets.  It’s also completely opaque, and it doesn’t plug into anything other than the very large base, which proves rather limiting for him.  But, at least he’s included, which is certainly more than can be said of other Booster Gold figures.


I’m less and less enamored with McFarlane’s DC Multiverse as it continues forward, but I’ll admit that these two immediately caught my eye.  Our first preview had no release info, so I was worried they, like pretty much everything else “classic” from McFarlane, would be an exclusive.  I was very glad they weren’t, as it made it much easier for me to actually, you know, get them.  Ted’s the better of the two for sure, but honestly they’re both a lot better than I’d expected.  As with anything McFarlane, there are some drawbacks, but they’re honestly minimal, all things considered.

Thanks to my sponsors over at All Time Toys for setting me up with these figures to review.  If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website.

#3174: Parallax



“As a Green Lantern, Hal Jordan served the Guardians of the Universe and saved all of existence from great peril countless times. But, when Hal was unable to save him hometown, Coast City, from obliteration because he was off-world, he was shattered. He flew straight to Oa, the Guardian’s home planet, and asked for their help to resurrect Coast City. When the Guardians refused, Hal absorbed the energy of Oa’s Central Power Battery, along with Parallax, a yellow entity made of living fear that was imprisoned within the battery for millennia. Parallax then drove Hal mad and fueled him to decimate the entire Green Lantern Corps!”

Hey, did you guys like seeing me tear into McFarlane for a bit yesterday?  Well, I guess I’m gonna do it again.  I swear, I keep meaning to be done with McFarlane DC, but, you know, then I keep not being…done…with..McFarlane DC.  Look, I just get weak sometimes.  Anyway, recently, McFarlane has been slightly breaking away from the heavy Batman-focus, and there’s been some Green Lantern stuff coming through, which certainly appeals to me.  Amongst those GL-related releases is today’s focus, Parallax, a character of whom my opinions are almost as conflicted as those of McFarlane’s handling of the DC license.  Let’s see how this goes.


Parallax is another “Platinum Edition” figure in McFarlane’s DC Multiverse line.  As I noted yesterday, exactly what “Platinum Edition” means varies from figure to figure, but in the case of Parallax, it means that he’s a Walmart-exclusive, alongside fellow ’90s-themed “Platinum Edition” release Azrael Batman.  This is Parallax’s first figure under McFarlane, and in fact the first Hal Jordan Parallax figure we’ve gotten since DCD’s old Rebirth release.  That’s quite a gap in figures there.  Sure is fun that it’s a Walmart exclusive.  That certainly won’t be a frustrating turn of events for most people.  The figure stands 7 1/4 inches tall and he has 37 points of articulation.  On the topic of sizing, McFarlane’s difficulties with consistent scaling across their figures kicks in here, as Hal stands 1/4 inch taller than yesterday’s Martian Manhunter, which is definitely off, as J’onn has consistently been depicted as one of the tallest DC heroes, and Hal is usually middle of the pack.  The sculpt for Parallax is an all-new one, and…well, it’s got its ups and its downs.  First and foremost, the box specifically cites this figure as being from “Emerald Twilight,” and it’s just not.  Heck, not even the illustration on the back of the box is from “Emerald Twilight.”  It’s actually from the Convergence crossover series, some two decades later.  The figure proper is a decent enough sculpt from a technical stand point, aside from some slight oddities this the back of the head having a slightly odd shape.  Beyond that, the issues largely stem from a multitude of inaccuracies.  The hair’s short and spiky, rather than the more classically parted hair that Hal usually has.  The arms don’t have the stripes running down the sides, instead having the shoulders come to a point, the way they do on Hal’s classic costume.  The torso, specifically the circle on the chest, is three dimensional, and the surrounding elements are totally different in their shaping than what’s shown on the page.  The tops of the boots are also totally different in their shaping, and there are a ton of extra details on the boots that aren’t there either.  Why all the differences?  Your guess is as good as mine.  Todd’s gotta Todd, maybe?  It’s been a recurring issue with the DC line, but on this one in particular, it sticks out because he’s specifically called out as being based on a specific story.  Parallax’s color work is also notably off.  The most glaring issue is the total lack of the white steaks on his temples, but his hair is also generally too dark, with almost no brown at all.  There’s a slight hint of grey, but it’s far too subtle, and also almost entirely at the back of the head.  The greens are also rather drab, and generally too light.  Beyond that, the application is at least clean, and I do quite like how the clear green hands look.  Parallax is packed with a collector card, two energy effects for the hands, a power battery, and a display stand.  The accessories are at least pretty cool, so he’s got that going for him.


While I’ve always had my issues with the story that spawned him, I also have this odd soft spot for Parallax, going back to the Total Justice figure being my only way to get a Hal Jordan figure back when I was a kid.  I loved that figure, and it’s resulted in me really growing to like the Parallax design.  I had the DCD figure back when it was new, but it was always a rather fragile figure, which isn’t very fun.  I had hoped Mattel might get to him during DC Universe Classics, but they never did.  Then the pictures of this guy surfaced, and I realized he was really my best bet at getting a halfway decent Parallax.  I wasn’t looking forward to the difficulties of getting a Walmart-exclusive, but as luck would have it, someone traded one into All Time, making getting one super easy.  Ultimately, my feelings on this figure, much like the actual character, and the overall toyline he’s part of, are very conflicted.  He’s not a bad figure from a technical standpoint, but there’s a lot of issues in terms of accuracy, with lots of changes seemingly being made purely for the sake of change.  It’s an issue I’ve run into before with the line, and I’m sure it’ll crop up again, but you just keep getting this sense that Todd thinks his designs are just better, and, well, he’s wrong, and it gets in the way of figures being as good as they could be, which is a real shame.

Thanks to my sponsors over at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure to review.  If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website.

#3173: Martian Manhunter



“J’onn J’onzz, the mysterious Martian Manhunter, is one of the last survivors of the planet Mars, and was accidentally transported to Earth not long after the majority of his people were wiped out. Martian Manhunter is thought to be as strong as, or possibly stronger than, Superman, and has a variety of powers including super-strength, super-speed, flight, telepathy, telekinesis, shape-shifting, phase-shifting, regenerative abilities, and near-invulnerability. Manhunter also has genius-level intellect and strong leadership skills. Using his vast powers and skills, Martian Manhunter strives to protect the citizens of his new home, Earth.”

Three years into their run with the license, McFarlane Toys’ handling of DC can still largely boiled down to “wow, Todd sure does like Batman, doesn’t he?”  And when it’s not that, it can often be boiled down to “wow, Todd sure does like squeezing extra uses out of a mold in often frustrating ways, doesn’t he?”  Today’s the second thing.  But I’ll get to that in a bit.  For the big super hero teams, I like to discuss the term “quintessential,” for those characters that may not be the heavy hitters, but whom the team kind of feels lacking without.  For the Avengers, I long maintained that character is Hawkeye.  For their equivalent team over at the Distinguished Competition, my vote goes to Martian Manhunter.  He’s just very important to the line-up, and it never feels quite right without him.  J’onn can be hit or miss when it comes to toy coverage, but he generally does alright with his figures when he actually manages to get them.  And hey, by virtue of being not a girl, and therefore unlikely to drive any boys to become serial killers, he gets two whole figures from McFarlane!


Martian Manhunter is one of McFarlane’s “Platinum Edition” figures for DC Multiverse.  As usual with McFarlane, the branding of “Platinum Edition” is one that has a confusing meaning, since he doesn’t seem to be very consistent in how he’s using it.  In the case of Manhunter, it means he’s a Target-exclusive.  So, I guess there’s that.  This Manhunter is the second figure under McFarlane’s tenure, with the first one, based on J’onn’s New 52-era design, hitting mass retail just about the same time that this one was announced.  You know, just to really split that market on the poor guy.  This one, on the flip side, is a “classic” Manhunter, or at the very least a mid-to-late ’80s Manhunter, given he’s still got the heavy brow and red eyes. The figure stands a little over 7 inches tall and he has 39 points of articulation. The articulation scheme on this figure is pretty much the same one on every McFarlane figure, and as with other releases, it’s clearly been inserted into a finished sculpt, which has its ups and downs. Much like the Peacemaker figure, getting the full range out of some of the joints, especially on the elbows and knees, requires breaking the flow of the sculpt entirely. Not exactly a great look. Additionally, there are a few instances of the sculpt getting in the way of movement, most notably on the hips.  As far as the quality of the actual sculpt, it’s honestly not a bad one.  The upper half of the figure, is mostly shared with the other Martian Manhunter.  He gets a new lower half, as well as new chest harness, and a slightly tweaked cape.  The head is more on the alien side for J’onn, but not out of character.  I like the inhuman and stoic, but still slightly friendly expression of the face, and the angling of the brow is a cool look.  The body sculpt does a respectable job of capturing J’onn’s stockier build, with a fairly realistic set of proportions, that still retain that somewhat heroic look.  There’s some pretty decent texturing at play, especially on his skin.  The cape is generally okay looking, but the collar, which wasn’t on the other release, feels a little haphazardly added; it doesn’t actually connect all the way around, so certain posing will have it clearly disconnected from the rest of the cape, which definitely looks odd.  The color work on Manhunter is nice and bright, which is honestly a refreshing change of pace for the Multiverse figures.  It’s largely molded colors, which keeps it fairly clean.  The greens of the elbows and knees are a slightly different shade from the rest of the body, but beyond that, the plastic coloring works out okay.  The paint work is kept to a minimum, but it looks pretty clean, and there’s not slop or bleed over.  Martian Manhunter is supposed to come with a collector card and a display stand, but mine doesn’t have the stand, and didn’t even have the spot for it in the package.  I mean, it’s just a black disk, and I have a bunch of them, but still.


I’ve got a soft spot for a decent Martian Manhunter figure, so when McFarlane showed off their original, more modern Manhunter, I was very tempted to pick him up, and was *this* close to doing so.  Like, he had arrived at All Time, and I was planning to take a look at him in person to make my final call.  And literally that exact day, McFarlane announced this guy, which kind of took all of the wind out of my sails on the other one.  The timing on that announcement was pretty darn rotten.  Also, with a character that’s not a heavy hitter, it feels like splitting an already niche audience isn’t the smartest call.  This was clearly the look that most everyone wanted, so why not just make this the main release.  Was Target really clamoring that much for a Martian Manhunter variant?  Whatever the case, while I’m not one for really hunting anymore, Max was kind enough to give me an assist on this one, so I was able to get him without much trouble, at the very least.  Stupid decisions about his release aside, the figure’s actually pretty darn good.  There’s still some weirdness, but it’s minor, and I really do like how this figure turned out.

#3021: Batman Earth -32 & Green Lantern Hal Jordan



“Hal Jordan’s life was changed twice by crashing aircraft. The first time was when he witnessed the death of his father, pilot Martin Jordan. The second was when, as an adult and trained pilot himself, he was summoned to the crashed wreckage of a spaceship belonging to Abin Sur. Abin explained that he was a member of the Green Lantern Corps, an organization of beings from across the cosmos, armed with power rings fueled by the green energy of all the willpower in the universe. Upon his death, Abin entrusted his ring and duties as the Green Lantern of Earth’s space sector to Hal Jordan.

In DC’s Dark Multiverse, on Earth -32, the green light of will has twisted an angry Bruce Wayne into something very dark and sinister. After the murder of his parents in Crime Alley, young Bruce is gifted with a Green Lantern ring, which allows him to fly and to generate deadly hard-light energy constructs. With no Alfred Pennyworth™ to guide him, he soon swallows his fear and pain and lets the void that remains corrupt him and the ring, unleashing a wave of darkness across his world, and now ours, as The Dawnbreaker.”

Hoo boy, it sure has been a lot of Marvel-centric Hasbro reviews around here lately.  I’m gonna be honest, that’s burning me out ever so slightly, so I’m voting to mix things up just a tad this week.  Don’t get too excited, though, because that doesn’t mean it’s all butterflies and rainbows.  No, in fact, I’m jumping over to the McFarlane side of things.  Oh boy, won’t that be fun and thrilling?  Well, this one’s at least half not-Batman.  So, there’s that, right?  Sure.  Without further ado, here’s some Green Lantern stuff, with a bit of Batman mixed in!


Batman of Earth -32 and Green Lantern Hal Jordan are the second DC Multiverse two-pack of 2021, hitting retail last fall.  They’re based on Dark Knights Metal, and follows up on the Superman vs Devastator and Flash vs Red Death packs previously released from the same cross-over.  Dawnbreaker is identical to his single release from 2020, for better or for worse, while Hal is a new release to this pack.


We’ve gotten one of Earth’s other Green Lanterns from McFarlane already (twice over, in fact, since there were both Comic and Animated versions of John produced), we hadn’t yet gotten Hal Jordan.  Instead, he’s exclusively available in a two-pack with a figure that you inevitably already bought when it was released as a single, over a year before the two-pack was released.  But I’m not bitter about that or anything.  The figure whose release scheme I’m not at all bitter about stands 7 1/4 inches tall and has 32 points of articulation.  From the neck down, this figure’s sculpt is the same as the John Stewart figure.  I was less than enthused by the sculpt when it was used for John.  I’m still not incredibly enthused by it here.  It’s still over-designed, which is a real bummer when it comes to a GL design.  As I brought up the last time I discussed the mold, it was clearly designed with both uses in mind from the start, so there are elements of both costume designs worked it.  The John costume elements are a bit less of an issue on Hal’s costume, generally, so it works a *little* bit better, but it’s still really cluttered.  The one new piece to the sculpt is the head, which is admittedly a much better offering than the one we got for John.  It’s actually kind of a decent rendition of Hal, and probably one of McFarlane’s best human heads, so that’s certainly an accomplishment.  Hal’s paint work is alright; the colors match those used for John, which is at least consistent, I suppose.  I still think the green is maybe a bit too dark, but at least there’s more of it to sort of offset that this time.  At least the application is pretty clean.  Hal is packed with two construct pieces, a boxing glove and a jetpack, as well as a large construct stand meant for both Hal and Dawnbreaker.  After the kind of uninspired minigun piece from John, it’s actually really refreshing to get the boxing glove construct, which not only actually clips over his whole hand, but also is just appropriately true to the character.  The jetpack isn’t quite as much his speed, but it’s still a little more inventive, as is the larger display stand.


I do like GL-related stuff, and had generally found the early McFarlane stuff lacking in that regard.  The John Stewart really let me down, I won’t lie.  And, while I liked Dawnbreaker decently the first time around, I’m also not super enthused about having to buy him a second time around to get Hal.  I mean, Hal’s a decent figure and all, and certainly a better figure than John, but saddling him with a complete re-pack just generally sucks.  Additionally, as nice as he his, he’s at best a lateral move from the DC Essentials figure, much like Superman and Nightwing were.  Honestly, I kind of wish Hal and John were reversed in terms of quality, because I don’t really *need* another decent Hal figure, but I’m still waiting on an okay John.  Well, at least Hal’s a nice figure.

Thanks to my sponsors over at All Time Toys for setting me up with this set to review.  If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website.

#3003: The Batman Who Laughs – Sky Tyrant Wings



“Born from the nightmares of the Dark Multiverse, The Batman Who Laughs is a hybrid version of the Batman and The Joker from Earth -22. This twisted version of Batman was created when nanotoxins from The Joker’s heart were released into Bruce Wayne’s bloodstream, causing the Dark Knight’s perfect mind to merge with the warped psyche of the Clown Prince of Crime. He soon became part of an attempt to plunge the entire Multiverse into ultraviolence, chaos, and utter darkness. After being initially defeated, The Batman Who Laughs managed to survive and remains a threat to the greatest heroes of the Multiverse.”

For Day 3 of the post-Christmas, we’re going back to more of my usual territory, specifically the realm of super hero comics.  Even more specifically, DC Comics.  They’re pretty busy doing nothing but Batman these days, and, well, umm, here’s some more of that, I suppose.  The last few years, DC’s bread and butter (and, by extension, their main licensee McFarlane’s bread and butter) has been Dark Knights Metal, a multiversal story where everyone is Batman.  Except for Batman.  Sometimes Batman is Joker.  And here we are with that.


The Batman Who Laughs with Sky Tyrant Wings is the second version of the Batman Who Laughs to be released in McFarlane’s DC Multiverse line, as part of the Merciless Collect-To-Build assortment, which was released at the tail end of 2020, at least in some quantities, and made it out more fully last year.  The figure stands 7 inches tall and he has 40 points of articulation, thanks to the extra joints present in the wings.  In terms of articulation scheme, he generally follows the usual McFarlane set-up, for better or for worse.  The notable change-up is to the hips, which don’t have the same full range of mobility that we usually see, being far more restricted to just forward and back.  Given the long jacket, it’s not a huge surprise or hinderance, but it’s still noteworthy.  This Batman Who Laughs is based on the character’s later appearance after he steals the wings from the Sky Tyrant, the Dark Knights Metal version of Hawkman.  To give McFarlane some credit, as far as I can tell, there are no shared parts between the two versions of BWL they released.  There are certainly similarities, but this sculpt just generally improves upon the shared elements between the two, making for a generally more well put-together offering, at least to my eyes.  The crazier, more exaggerated facial expression works a lot better for the character, especially in toy-form, and the texture work on the outfit is pretty solid.  McFarlane certainly does torn-up and gritty well.  I also feel that the more posed hands work a lot better for the character than the more generic gripping hands of the prior release.  The most obvious change here, of course, are the wings.  They actually work quite nicely, as they’re well-articulated, well-detailed, and not terribly balanced considering.  It would be nice to see such work on a proper Hawkman, but this is McFarlane, so a Batman variant is really the best we can hope for, I suppose.  The paint work on this figure is generally pretty good.  It’s largely rather basic work, but I think that’s for the best, especially after the weirdness surrounding the accent work on the last figure’s mouth.  It just looked odd, so going a little more straight forward here is probably the right call.  The Batman Who Laughs includes a display stand and a collector’s card for the figure proper, as well as the head, shoulder pads, and sword of the Merciless Build-A-Figure.


Dark Knights Metal really isn’t my sort of thing.  It’s honestly a lot of the stuff I don’t like about DC’s current obsession with Batman and the need to constantly place him above all of the other heroes rolled into one big event.  The Batman Who Laughs himself is a concept that I don’t think is terrible, but like the whole cross-over, I kind of feel like he got played out a lot quicker than he went away, and he just sort of keeps resurfacing.  So, I wasn’t seeking this figure out on my own.  That said, I received this one from Jess’s parents for Christmas, and I can certainly appreciate the thought, the gesture, and ultimately the figure proper.  The story that spawned him may not be my main thing, but the figure did turn out pretty nicely, so I can’t really knock it.

#2909: Shriek Unmasked



“Walter Shreeve was a skilled audio engineer living in Neo-Gotham, trying to fund his research in the field of sonics. Unable to do so, Shreeve used his highly advanced sound technology to build an armored suit capable of demolishing buildings with sonic blasts. Going by the name Shriek, he was soon hired to destroy Batman and nearly succeeded, but lost his hearing in the ensuing battle. He was then sent to Blackgate Penitentiary where he was able to continue his research behind bars. Since then, Shriek has managed to break out on occasion, each time seeking revenge against Batman and wreaking havoc on the citizens of Neo-Gotham!”

It was bound to happen eventually, I suppose.  After two days of McFarlane DC reviews that weren’t Batman-related, we’ve circled back to what Todd truly knows best about DC.  I mean, it’s not specifically a Batman, of course, but it’s a Batman villain, and it’s also got a stupid variant structure, so we’re right back in that McFarlane comfort zone!

Batman Beyond‘s creator’s strove to give Terry his own unique cast of villains, which wouldn’t just be cheap re-hashes of Bruce’s old foes.  Introduced early on, and becoming a rather recurring opponent, was Walter Shreeve, aka Shriek.  He’s got one of the most distinctive and memorable designs of Terry’s foes, making him a solid choice for toy treatment.  That said, he never did get it during the show’s original run, with his McFarlane figure being his very first…or second, I guess, what with there being two of them and all.


Shriek Unmasked is a solo release within McFarlane’s DC Multiverse line.  As with Batman Beyond, he was preceded by a Target-exclusive release, which also included a Build-A-Figure part, and was fully armored, rather than unmasked.  Yes, in classic McFarlane form, rather than giving us one figure with an extra head, they’re selling us two of the same figure with different heads, and thereby making both figures less valid than one single figure with an extra accessory would have been.  Greeeaaaaat.  The figure stands 7 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  It’s largely the same as the usual set-up, but the movement on the arms is predictably kind of restricted by how the armor works.  To McFarlane’s credit, the movement is all pretty decent, and the arms work better than you might expect at first glance.  The sculpt is a pretty decent piece of work.  He’s technically based on the comics, as was the Batman Beyond, but it’s a good merging of the aesthetics.  The armor’s detailing is pretty sharp and cleanly detailed, and there aren’t too many extra details shoved in to really mess things up, so it’s generally a nice piece.  The head is likewise a very nice piece of work.  It’s real world-styled version of Shreeves, but it really still feels like the character as depicted in the show.  There’s just the right level of slimy sleezebag, and I love it.  Shriek’s paint work is well handled; the suit has some nice contrast on the black/white, and the clear blue parts are definitely fun.  His head has a rather involved paint deco, which gives Shreeves his usual sickly pallor.  He’s clearly a guy who doesn’t get out much.  Shriek is packed with two sound effect pieces, a display stand, and a collector’s card.


This guy reminds me of exactly why I don’t like how McFarlane does things, because the splitting of the two looks just really sucks all around.  I certainly was down for a Shriek to go with my Batman, but I wasn’t really big on how the helmet looked on the first release.  I wanted an alternate head of some sort, which this figure gave me, but, of course, at the cost of him never actually being helmeted now, which is limiting in its own right.  Sure, I may not be thrilled by the helmet’s design, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want the potential option of displaying it.  Ultimately, I was going to feel he was lacking either way, but I felt slightly less so this way, so it’s what I went with.  I do really like this figure, and I think he turned out really well.  He’d be better with the extra head, though.

Thanks to my sponsors at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure for review.  If you’re looking for toys both old and new, please check out their website.

#2908: Green Lantern – John Stewart



“John Stewart is a former U.S. Marine who uses his military training and discipline to protect Earth, and the rest of Space Sector 2814, as a member of the intergalactic peacekeeping force known as the Green Lantern Corps. As Green Lantern, John wields a power ring, which creates a protective shield around him, allows him to fly, and generates hard-light energy constructs in the form of anything he imagines. Fueled by willpower, Green Lantern’s power ring is one of the mightiest weapons in the universe!”

On the topic of McFarlane not always *just* doing Batman, here’s a bit more in that category.  I’m classically a pretty big Green Lantern fan, and there’s no denying that Todd’s been rather stingy on the GL love.  To date, there’s been a Green Lantern Batman (which only half counts), and two different versions of John Stewart.  I don’t really want to delve into the monstrosity that was the animated-style version, so I guess I’ll look at the other one.


Green Lantern John Stewart was 2021 release for the DC Multiverse standard line.  Again, there’s the whole distribution thing, which means he showed up early some places, but just showed up rather recently others.  Yay, that’s fun.  The figure stands 7 1/4 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  John’s articulation scheme is again pretty much the same as the other DC McFarlane stuff, but I did find the range of motion on him to be a fair bit more restricted, and also more prone to breaking up the flow of the sculpt.  John’s sculpt was unique to him to start, but most of it’s already planned for a re-use on the upcoming Hal Jordan.  Effectively, this means they kind of designed it with the two uses in mind, so you can sort of see how the details are loosely meant to work for their two differing costume designs.  In simplest terms, that means that no matter which of the two you’re looking at, they’re really over designed, especially for GLs.  There’s just so many unnecessary details just really muddying up the cleanness of the GL design.  It’s especially notable on John, since he’s wearing his more modern, even further streamlined costume.  They didn’t even add extra lines to his costume during the New 52, you guys.  Even New 52 standards knew not to mess up the John Stewart design.  And yet, here we are, with way too much going on.  Todd really does remind me of the old adage “if less is more, think of how much more more could be.”  All the excess detail might be easier to get away with if the actual body sculpt worked, but it’s got kind of wonky proportions, with the arms in particular just being far too long.  I’m also really not digging that the right hand is doing a trigger finger grip; how do you not give a GL a fist for their ring hand?  Topping it all off is the unique head sculpt that’s supposed to be pulling the heavy weight on selling this figure as John Stewart.  Trouble is, it doesn’t really look like John.  It looks like a generic black guy.  They don’t all look the same, I can assure you.  I felt kind of the same way about Mezco’s version of John as well, so maybe there’s just some confusion about his defining facial features.  John’s paint work is alright.  It’s nothing to write home about, and I find myself wishing the greens were a bit brighter, or possibly even metallic.  Just something to make it pop more would be good.  John’s accessories include a construct armor piece for the torso, a construct minigun, a display stand, and a collector’s card.  The minigun isn’t the worst thing ever, but it does really feel a little less joyful and fun than the usual constructs.  I also don’t really like that’s only held, and doesn’t clip on in any way, nor do I like that we missed out on getting a lantern, or maybe some extra hands.  It’s not an awful selection, but it’s not particularly thrilling either.


The general lack of GL focus in the McFarlane output hasn’t really thrilled me.  I wanted to be excited by this guy, but the prototype shots did nothing for me, and seeing him in person didn’t do a lot either.  A loose one wound up coming in at the same time as the Flash figure I reviewed yesterday, so I decided that was the time to give him a try.  He’s…well, he’s really not great.  I want to like him, but I guess I’ve been a little bit spoiled by earlier, better John Stewart figures.  If I’m entirely honest, I pretty much went the whole review just wanting this figure to be the DCUC one, and he’s not, and he’s never gonna be.

#2907: The Flash



“In a freak lab accident, forensic scientist Barry Allen was struck by lightning and doused with chemicals, which gave him the superpowers of the Speed Force. Now he uses these powers to defend his hometown of Central City—and the rest of the world—from the forces of evil as The Flash! The Fastest Man Alive can run up the sides of buildings, across oceans, and around the world at light speed. He can also vibrate his molecules to phase through solid objects!”

Hey, look at that, sometimes McFarlane doesn’t only do Batman.  I know, it’s a crazy concept.  Sometimes he’ll laser focus in on a different character for just a moment.  And for a little portion of the last year or so, one such laser focused character was the Flash, who’s now had a whole five figures.  Can you believe that?  I mean, I guess it’s possible to believe it.  I mean, there’s like empirical evidence to support it and all.  It’s probably been peer reviewed.  Speaking of reviews, that’s what I’m supposed to be doing here, so why don’t I do that?  Yeah, I think I will!  Let’s jump in on that!


The Flash was part of the basic DC Multiverse line-up, hitting retail at roughly the mid-point of last year…some places anyway.  McFarlane’s distribution’s been all over the map, so exact timelines can be weird.  He was the first of the Flash figures McFarlane released, but was quickly followed by the slight retool of this one for the two-pack release with Red Death.  The figure stands 7 1/4 inches tall and he has 33 points of articulation.  Flash’s articulation scheme follows what we’ve become used to with McFarlane’s DC stuff.  The range isn’t bad, but it does have a tendency to break up the sculpt in rather odd ways.  Also, some of the joints, notably on the ankles, are a little on the loose side, so it can be hard to get him to hold poses for terribly long.  But, for the most part, it’s not terrible.  Flash’s sculpt was initially unique, but then saw re-use for the two-pack release, and is getting another re-use for the upcoming Reverse Flash as well.  It’s patterned on his far more ridge-y post-New 52 appearance.  While it’s got a bit too much going on for it to be my preferred Flash, it does seem like it’s more up Todd’s alley.  Also, it’s still his current look, so it adds up.  It does at least make for a pretty nice looking figure, and they didn’t add a bunch of other unnecessary details that don’t need to be there.  The main defining trait of this figure, in contrast to the two-pack release, is the head sculpt.  For this one, he gets a more playful expression with a smile.  It’s a bit cartoony an exaggerated, but it feels appropriate for the character, and I really like it.  The only part I’m a bit iffy on is the ear wings, which seem a little too crazy for my preferred take on Flash.  Otherwise, it’s pretty solid.  Flash’s paint work is generally pretty basic.  It’s bright and colorful, which is a bit of a contrast from the usual McFarlane output, so I won’t really complain on that.  The figure is packed with an assortment of lightning effects, as well as a display stand, so that you can get some more intense running displays…when he remains standing, of course.


When DC Collectibles launched Essentials, I picked up Reverse Flash, but not the standard, because I found basic Flash to be just a touch too bland for my taste.  I still wanted one in a comparable scale, so when this guy was shown off, I was at the very least interested.  Of course, with the wonky distribution and such, All Time never ended up getting theirs, and I couldn’t really be bothered to actually hunt him down.  As luck would have it, he wound up getting traded in loose a couple of months ago, so I was able to pick one up without much fuss.  He’s still got those typical McFarlane things going on, but I do like him a fair bit overall, and he fits in well with my Essentials figures, so I’d call that a win.

#2888: King Shark



One of the absolute best parts of The Suicide Squad is Nanaue, aka King Shark.  King Shark has had a rather recurrent history with the team in the comics, but was left out of the first film in favor of Killer Croc, due to director David Ayer not wanting to rely as heavily on CGI for the character.  Given how the rest of the movie worked out, that was an odd line to draw, but whatever.  King Shark was in the second film, and he was awesome, and everyone agrees.  Great that we can all be on the same page about something.  Given his relative size, he’s been split up and made into a Build-A-Figure…but is also being sold as a single through Walmart, because why not?  Todd’s gotta Todd.


King Shark is the Build-A-Figure for the Suicide Squad-tie-in line-up for DC Multiverse, split accross the four single figures included.  As I mentioned above, the same sculpt is also available pre-assembled and with a few accessories (and a different pair of shorts) as a Walmart-exclusive.  I’m just as happy to not have to deal with Walmart, so here’s the main line version.  The figure stands 9 inches tall and he has 26 points of articulation.  After giving McFarlane some credit yesterday on the articulation front, I’m going to have to give them a hard time again, because oh boy is the articulation on this figure’s lower half just an absolute mess.  There are full universal-style hip joints under the shorts, but due to the thick rubber of said shorts, they are completely motionless, which seems like a silly design choice.  Of course, even if the hips were free to move, the knees would still be locked.  Again, there are full joints, but for some reason, there is a sculpted “lock” on each joint, which prevents them from getting much range.  You can flex them ever so slightly, but that’s it.  The ankles and toes are fully articulated, though, which is super useful, what with nothing else on the legs being mobile or anything.  Thanks McFarlane.  At least the upper half isn’t so bad.  The arms and neck get decent mobility given the design, and he’s even got an articulated jaw, which doesn’t look terrible.  The general quality of the sculpt is pretty nice.  It matches well with the model seen in the film, which is itself a really good design for King Shark.  He’s got that perfect balance of menace and cuteness, just like in the film.  He’s also quite sizeable, as he should be, and there’s some serious heft to the figure.  In terms of paint work, he’s honestly pretty good.  The skin does a nice job of subtly shifting between the two shades, without too much in the way of slop, and the smaller details of his face are pretty decently rendered as well.  Even the pants get a touch of accenting to bring out the sculpted pattern, which is pretty cool.  King Shark is really an accessory himself, and while the single has a stand, a card, and some limbs to chew on, the standard release doesn’t get anything extra.  Given the sheer size, though, it’s not really an issue, plus, he is, again, essentially an accessory himself.


This guy was my primary want from this set, from the word go.  I’ve always had something of a soft spot for the character, ever since the Total Justice days, and his recent appearances in Harley Quinn and the lead-up to The Suicide Squad got me very much on board with owning this figure.  After seeing the movie, that resolve only increased, and I was very excited to crack them all open and assemble this guy.  The leg articulation set-up sucks.  There’s no way around that.  I know there are modifications that can be done to fix it, but, unlike, say, Bloodsport, where the mods help but aren’t necessary, this feels more like fixing things that should have just worked out of the box.  All that said, the figure does look really nice, and the upper half is at least decent in the articulation department.  Even with the flaws, he’s still the second best part of this set.

All in all, I was expecting to be happy with this set, but I wasn’t expecting to like all of the individual figures quite as much as I did.  Polka Dot Man is the definite star for me, with King Shark right behind him.  Peacemaker and Harley are both really solid figures, too, and, much like in the movie, Bloodsport is the real surprise, as a figure I had no investment into, but that I actually came around to liking quite a bit.  The most damning thing about this set is the lack of a Ratcatcher II to complete the core team, since she’s really the heart of the film, and my favorite character to boot.  Hopefully, McFarlane will find a way to add her to the set.

#2887: Harley Quinn



“Harley Quinn, re-incarcerated for making a cash withdrawal with her car, buys her freedom once more by joining the Squad.  This colorful, cheeky, cheerful psychotic still has all her deadly dynamic moves, and the single-and-ready-to-mingle rogue is as eager as ever to show them off…much to Amanda Waller’s dismay.  But Harley, in her signature, ladylike style, isn’t afraid to manhandle anyone who comes her way.”

The Suicide Squad is a film that is, simultaneously, it’s own movie, and also a sequel to Suicide Squad. It’s a weird spot for a movie to be in, but it honestly handles things pretty well, by keeping just enough from the prior film to feel like it’s truly building something more, while also being light enough with pre-existing backstory that you don’t have to see the last one to understand what’s going on in the slightest.  One of the few characters to be carried over between both films is Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn.  I felt the role wasn’t really written to Robbie’s talents in the first film, but TSS gave us a Harley that was the best version of the character pretty much since Batman: The Animated Series.  I found her to be a thoroughly likable character, and Robbie was given a great chance to shine.  As the highest profile character in the movie by far, Harley is of course one of the figures in the tie-in line, and I’ll be taking a look at her today.


Harley is figure 4 in the Suicide Squad-tie-in assortment of McFarlane’s DC Multiverse.  Harley gets two distinct appearances in the film, but this figure opts for her disheveled party dress look, which she has for most of the film’s run-time.  While I’d still like to see her jumpsuit and goggles look, I can understand doing this one first.  The figure stands just over 7 inches tall and she has 36 points of articulation.  After ragging on McFarlane about articulation implementation yesterday, I do have to give them a little bit more credit today, as Harley’s joints aren’t nearly as detrimental to the sculpt when she’s posed.  The elbows and knees in particular are a much smoother transition, and I do appreciate that McFarlane’s been good about making sure their female figures get double joints too.  Harley’s sculpt is generally a pretty decent one.  Her arms and legs are perhaps a touch lanky, and the dress is a solid chunk of largely unmovable rubber, but it looks good, and the Margot Robbie likeness is undoubtedly one of McFarlane’s best real person likenesses.  It’s still not perfect, mind you, but it’s still really good.  Harley’s paint work is a mix of kind of phoned in and really intricate, which is sort of weird.  The base work is all just sort of there, and much like Bloodsport, I really feel there are some areas that would benefit from some accenting, namely the dress and her hair.  However, there’s some really clean, sharp detail work going into her tattoos, which shows that they were at least trying.  And I can certainly appreciate that.  The no guns rule means that Harley doesn’t get any of her firearms, but she does at least get Javelin’s javelin, which is a pretty nice plot relevant piece, and one that makes her feel less lacking than Bloodsport or Peacemaker.  Also included is a display stand, a collector’s card, and the legs to King Shark.


Harley was the figure I was most dragging my feet on in this line-up.  I was purely just grabbing her for the King Shark legs.  Then I saw the movie, and I was really happy with how they handled the character, and suddenly I was really wanting this figure.  She’s honestly pretty good, and shows that McFarlane is stepping up their game in terms of figures based on real people.  I’m still hoping to see the other look, too, but this one’s a very good one for now.

Thanks to my sponsors at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure for review.  If you’re looking for toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.