#2212: Red Robin

RED ROBIN

DC COMICS MULTIVERSE (MATTEL)

The name Red Robin is one that’s been with almost as many former Robins as the name “Robin” has.  Originally introduced in Kingdome Come as the identity of an older Dick Grayson, the name made it’s first foray into the “mainstream” universe as a possible moniker for Jason Todd, who was at the time flirting with potentially reforming after being Red Hood for a bit.  That went nowhere, and the name was eventually revived again by Tim Drake following the events of “Battle for the Cowl,” which ended with Damian Wayne taking over the main Robin identity.  The name’s pretty much stuck with Tim since, and that’s the name he’s got for this here new figure I’m looking at today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Red Robin is part of Mattel’s final series of DC Comics Multiverse, which is a Bat-themed series.  As with most of the rest of the line-up, he’s officially a Rebirth figure, and depicts Tim in his updated Red Robin costume from post-Doomsday Clock and Heroes in Crisis.  It’s not a bad design, and really gets close to his classic ’90s appearance.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and sports 29 points of articulation.  Robin is built on the same base body as Kid Flash and Ray, which is to say he’s built on pretty much the best base body that Mattel produced under their tenure with the DC license.  It’s got balanced proportions, a solid articulation layout, and just generally plays pretty well.  It’s also pretty well scaled to Legends and DCUC, which is certainly a step up from the prior body Tim was on. Tim has a new head, upper torso, forearms, knees, and shins, plus add-ons for his cape and belt.  These new parts work pretty well with the existing, making for a figure that does a pretty solid job of capturing Robin’s look.  I was particularly surprised by the new upper torso piece, which has actual sculpted elements for the logo and the details on his sides. That was definitely surprising, and it adds a fair bit to the figure.  I will say, I’m not personally as much a fan of the shorter hair on Tim as seen here, but it’s not inaccurate, so I can’t fault Mattel there.  The paintwork on Tim is fairly solid.  It’s bright and eye-catching, and represents the look from the comics well.  Tim is packed with two sets of hands in fists and gripping poses, as well as his usual staff, and the arm of Killer Croc.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I picked this guy up during my rather disappointing early morning Force Friday run at the beginning of October.  I had passed on him once before and not seen him since, but knowing he was on the same body as Ray made me really want to pick him up.  As with so much of this late-run product from Mattel, he’s genuinely a good toy, and that’s really kind of sad.  Why couldn’t they get these things together earlier?

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#2206: Soranik Natu

SORANIK NATU

GREEN LANTERN (DC DIRECT)

Coming out of Green Lantern: Rebirth we saw not just the return of classic silver age Green Lantern Hal Jordan, but also the return of the Green Lantern Corps as a whole, for the first time following its destruction during “Emerald Twilight.”  While a number of the GL mainstays were brought out of retirement for the new Corps, a good number of the prior members were dead or missing, meaning there was a need to fill their spots with some new characters who fit the same basic archetypes.  In some cases, they were pretty much just the same characters with a new name (B’dg for C’hp, for instance), but not every new inductee was this way.  Soranik Natu, taking the role of purple-skinned love interest to an Earth Lantern over from Katma Tui, got a pretty decent arc of her own over the course of the Green Lantern Corps focus series, coming to terms with her own resentment of the Corps and of her father, former rogue GL Sinestro.  She also get herself an action figure in the process.  Yay!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Soranik Natu was released in Series 5 of DC Direct’s Green Lantern line, which would prove to be the final series of the line under their tenure.  It joined Series 4 as a bit of a wrap up the the GL stuff following the rather lengthy run of Blackest Night figures.  It was honestly a little surprising that it took Soranik quite as long to get a figure as it did, but at least she got one, I guess.  The figure stands just shy of 7 inches tall (the creeping DCD scale was on the verge of topping out at this particular point), and she has 15 points of articulation.  At this point, you can kind of sense that DCD was feeling the pressure from DCUC and trying to make their figures a little bit more than plastic statues.  Soranik has more articulation than the typical release to be sure, but ultimately there’s not a ton you can do with it beyond putting her into basic standing poses.  There’s some decent range on the arms, particularly the shoulders, but even areas that had previously been pretty easy for the to articulate, like the elbows, are rather restricted here.  Also showing the DCUC influence is the figure’s construction.  DCD was trying their hand at some base bodies around this time, so Soranik uses the same body as Dove and Jade from their Brightest Day line of figures.  To be fair, it’s not a bad sculpt, and it’s got fairly balanced proportions overall, which is more than can be said for a good number of DCD’s later run figures.  It’s also not horribly preposed, and doesn’t have lots of un-needed detailing, making it look rather clean.  Soranik got a new head and hands to complete her look.  They’re fairly basic pieces, but they get the job done.  The stern expression on the face works well for Natu’s usual demeanor.  Soranik’s paintwork is fairly crisp and clean.  She uses the metallic coloring that DCD liked so much for the Lanterns, which honestly looks pretty good here, and I still really dig how those pearlescent white gloves look on all of these guys.  Soranik was packed with her power batter and a display stand with the Green Lantern emblem on it.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

At the time that Soranik was released, my brother Christian and I were working on our respective 6-inch Lantern collections (his was Yellow, mine was Green), so he was pretty adamant about having my parents take him out to get me Soranik as soon as she was released so that he could give her to me as birthday present.  While I don’t have a ton of attachment to the character, she was a fairly prominent piece of the Corps for a good while, and I was definitely happy to had her to the roster.  It helps that she’s a fairly decent looking figure, even if she’s not the most playable thing.

#2201: Red Hood

RED HOOD

DC ESSENTIALS (DC COLLECTIBLES)

“The vigilante outlaw who was once a Robin, the man under the hood is extremely proficient in both weapons and hand-to-hand combat.”

Originally conceived as a potential former alias for the man that would eventually become the Joker, the monicker of Red Hood is one that’s been passed around a little bit, but ultimately it’s stuck a pretty darn long time with the un-deceased Jason Todd.  I suppose there’s something poetic about one of the Joker’s victims laying claim to his old name.  Despite being well-established in the role for a good long time now, as well as being introduced in a rather well-known modern era Batman story, Jason’s comics version of his Red Hood gear has been surprisingly absent from toys, or at least was for the first decade of his existence.  There was a New 52 figure which kind of worked in a pinch, but it wasn’t until just this year that we got a whole two Jason Red Hoods, one from DCC, and the other from Mattel.  Today, I’m taking a look at DC Collectibles’ version!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Red Hood is figure 18 in DCC’s DC Essentials line.  After doing a fair bit of retreading, Red Hood is finally a taste of more new stuff…though it looks like we’re going back to the retreading after this.  Oh, DCC, how predictible of you.  This figure represents Jason in the biker-styled Red Hood gear, though it’s not quite his first appearance attire.  Instead, he’s technically the most modern take on the design, from the post New 52/Rebirth era.  It’s a little more costume-y than the original look, but also has lost some of the over-designed elements that the initial New 52 stuff brought about, making for an overall pretty clean looking design for the character.  The figure 7 inches tall and he has 34 points of articulation.  The Essentials line has been fairly heavy on the re-use side, but Red Hood actually does inject a fair number of new pieces into it.  He uses the torso, pelvis, and upper legs of the standard male body, but gets an all-new head, arms, hands, shins, and feet, as well as add-ons for his jacket and belt/holsters.  The new pieces really work out in this figure’s favor.  The head, is definitely sleek and very cool, living up to the really solid heads we’ve gotten so far from the line.   The new arms are great because, in addition to adding the coat sleeves, they are also ever so slightly shorter than the standard arms, thereby fixing the monkey arms problem of prior figures.  The jacket add-on also hides those exposed pegs on the torso joint, fixing my other major complaint.  As a whole, the new parts really sell this figure as his own figure, rather than leaving him really tied to the rest of the Essentials line like the prior figures have been.  The paint work on Red Hood is also really strong, with the metallic red on the helmet being my favorite aspect by far.  The rest of the application is actually cleanly handled, and lacks the fuzzy edges that a lot of DCC stuff sports.  Red Hood is packed with a pair of pistols (which can actually be removed from the holsters and held, giving him a leg up on the Mattel release), as well as two sets of hands in both gripping and fist poses.  It’s nice to see the extra hands cropping up again, as the lack of them with the earliest figures was a real drag.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Red Hood was something of an impulse buy, truth be told.  He came in at Cosmic Comix, and I just really, really liked the look of him on the shelf, so I just ended up grabbing him.  I actually haven’t done that with a single Essentials figure since Reverse Flash, and I wasn’t sure it was going to pay off.  Then I opened the figure up, and oh boy did it.  Essentials has been really spotty for it’s run, but Red Hood is genuinely a solid figure, and by far the best figure this line’s put out.  I’d say here’s to hoping for more like him, but unfortunately DCC’s just shown off a bunch of stuff that goes firmly the other direction…alas.

#2188: Superboy Vs. King Shark

SUPERBOY VS KING SHARK

DC SUPER HEROES (HASBRO)

“It’s the battle of the beach as Hawaiian-based hero Superboy takes on King Shark!  Superboy may not have the massive might of his idol, Superman, but he does have his own special powers and abilities.  He describes them as ‘tactile-telekinesis’ which means that the Teen of Steel can affect anything he touches with his super-strength; in addition, he is also invulnerable and can fly.

Of course, all his strength may not be enough to take a bite out of King Shark!  It’s uncertain whether King Shark is some kind of mutation or, as some Hawaiians believe, the offspring of a shark-god and a mortal woman.  Whatever the case, King Shark is every bit as ruthless a predator as any real shark, with razor sharp teeth, extraordinary strength, and deadly claws on his hands and feet.”

In the mid-90s, Kenner had given Batman a couple of lines, so figured why not give DC’s other big guy a go at it.  Ta-da! Superman: Man of Steel.  It ran two basic series, two deluxe series, and two multi-packs series, and then ended with a bunch of un-released items.  A handful of those pieces would make their way out a few years later.  Among them?  A canceled multi-pack including today’s figures, Superboy and King Shark!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Superboy and King Shark were originally planned for the third assortment of Man of Steel multi-packs, due for release in ’96 (as can be noted from the date stamps on the figures), but were ultimately shelved and then repurposed as one of the four HasbroCollectors.com exclusive DC Super Heroes two-packs that surfaced in 1999.

SUPERBOY

Superboy was quite negatively affected by Man of Steel‘s early end, with two separate figures canceled.  This one got saved, and is, admittedly, the more conventional of the two that were cancelled.  As far as I know, the costume seen here was made for this figure, as were most of the variant costumes for MoS.  The figure stands 5 inches tall and has 6 points of articulation.  Hooray for that waist swivel.   It’s essentially an all-new sculpt, with a bit of a pre-pose going on.  This one serves the surfing nature of the figure well.  He’s a little larger than the original MoS Superboy, a fact I can tell by the use of a slightly retooled basic Superboy head to top things off.  It’s nice from a consistency standpoint, and nice from a “it’s a good headsculpt” capacity.  The paintwork on Superboy is pretty basic; it matches the standard colors of the character, and the application is pretty solid, if perhaps a bit roughed up on my figure.  Superboy is packed with a hi-tech surfboard, which he can peg into.

KING SHARK

King Shark!  He’s a shark!  He’s King!  And this was his first action figure!  How about that?  King Shark’s figure is another 5-incher (though it’s because he’s squatting; he’d be much taller standing) and he’s got 5 points of articulation.  His head is separate at the neck, as if to add a joint, but there’s no actual movement to be had there.  King Shark’s sculpt is a fair bit more cartoony than a lot of the others in the line, but it’s admittedly not totally out of place for a character like King Shark.  It’s certainly unique when compared to the others.  The paint work on him is rather monochromatic, but, again, fairly accurate, so I can’t really complain.  King Shark had no accessories, but given his larger stature, it kind of made sense.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was a big fan of Raving Toy Maniac’s action figure archives back in the day, and they had a pretty solid one dedicated to the Man of Steel line, where there was a whole page of cancelled items.  These guys were included there and always piqued my interest, so I was beyond thrilled when they actually made it into production a few years later.  I still really dig this set, in all of its gimmicky goodness.

#2185: Jokerz

JOKERZ

BATMAN BEYOND (HASBRO)

Batman Beyond marked something of a notable turning point for DC toys.  The license had been with Kenner for pretty much the entirety of the ’90s, and Kenner had handled the toys for both Batman: The Animated Series and Superman: The Animated Series.  By Beyond’s premiere in ’99, Hasbro, who had purchased Kenner in ’91, had closed down the Kenner offices and rolled everything in under their name, making Beyond‘s tie-in toyline one of their first proper DC offerings.  Their approach to it was…less than ideal.  The line was populated mostly with variants of the main character (and no actual straight standard version of him either), with practically no antagonists or supporting cast members.  The lone antagonist in the first assortment played further into Hasbro’s misunderstanding of what they were adapting…for reasons I’ll get to further into the review.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

This figure, dubbed “The Jokerz” on the package, was shipped in the initial assortment of Batman Beyond figures in early 1999.  In the show, “Jokerz” refers to the roaming gangs of Joker-inspired thugs that would serve as minor antagonists throughout the show’s run.  None of them are actually named “Jokerz.”  This particular figure is actually based on J-Man, the leader of the gang that receives a beat-down by Bruce in the show’s pilot (who, fun fact, was voiced in all of his recurring appearances by DCAU producer Bruce Timm).  Of the early Jokerz, he was the one with the most classically Joker appearance, which no doubt is why he was chosen for the spot here. The figure stands a little under 5 inches (thanks to the wide stance of his legs) and he has 5 points of articulation.  Though Kenner’s S:TAS figures had added a waist joint as a standard for most of the figures, the Beyond figures went back to the basic neck, shoulders, and hips set up.  Given the generally not-as-animation-accurate nature of this line, J-Man’s sculpt is actually fairly decent, and honestly pretty faithful to the design from the show.  The pose is kind of an issue, though; he was designed to ride a goofy bike thing for some reason, which ends up hampering the figure proper quite a bit.  Also hampering the figure?  The paint.  It’s fits within the classic “Joker” colorscheme, but doesn’t follow J-Man’s actual appearance from the show, which was far more subdued and also made it more abundantly clear that he was wearing makeup, rather than just having white skin like the original.  They’ve also put him in bright pink, in contrast to the darker purple he was sporting in the show.  J-Man was packed with an “Assault Hover-Cycle”, which was kind of a goofy looking thing that didn’t really match anything on the show.  But there it was, I guess.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Future Knight Batman (the closest the line got to a standard Batman) was a hot commodity when these figures hit.  Hot enough that I didn’t get one at first and therefore he was on my birthday list for ’99.  I actually ended up getting two from different family members, so one of them went back to the store, and I got this guy in exchange.  J-Man was a character I had something of an affinity for the show (I’m a self-professed lover of background and side characters), so I enjoy the figure for what it is.  That said, given all of the far more unique and distinctive characters from the show’s first season who went without figures, his inclusion is certainly odd.

#2181: Robin & Raphael

ROBIN & RAPHAEL

BATMAN VS. TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES (DC COLLECTIBLES)

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

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

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

ROBIN

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

RAPHAEL

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

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

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

#2180: Batman & Leonardo

BATMAN & LEONARDO

BATMAN VS. TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES (DC COLLECTIBLES)

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

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

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

BATMAN

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

LEONARDO

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

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

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

 

#2167: Mikey as Batman

MIKEY AS BATMAN

BATMAN VS. TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES (DC COLLECTIBLES)

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

THE FIGURE ITSELF

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

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

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

#2163: Batcave (w/ Batman)

BATCAVE (w/ BATMAN)

BATMAN ’66 (MATTEL)

So, it’s apparently Batman Day, a fact I know because pretty much everyone keeps saying “hey did you know it’s Batman Day?”  I didn’t realize fictional characters were getting days now, but if anyone’s gonna get one, I guess it makes sense for it to be Batman.  He’s does have like one of everything; it’s only sensible he’d eventually have a day as well.  In the spirit of the day, I figured I’d take a look at one of the very many Batman items I have in my collection, courtesy of Mattel’s ill-fated run with the Batman ’66 license.  Let’s have a look at Batman and Mattel’s go at the Batcave!

THE SET ITSELF

The “To The Batcave” set was one of the last two items to come out of Mattel’s Batman ’66 line, released (initially, at least) as a Toys R Us-exclusive item, alongside the Triumphant Trio three-pack, in the late summer of 2015.  While billed as a playset, what it more works out to is a figure with a larger than average selection of accessories, because that’s just how Mattel do, I suppose.  The figure included here is a standard Batman, who would receive five separate releases by the time the line was done.  He stands right at 6 inches tall (quite under-scaling him when compared to pretty much any other 1:12 lines, since they tend to punch up a bit on size) and he has 23 points of articulation. Despite how many times it would end up re-issued, the Batman sculpt was probably the weakest of the line’s selection of very weak sculpts.  Firstly, let’s discuss the articulation.  DC Universe Classics was never on par with Legends, but it at least offered a workable selection of joints; not so with this line.  In addition to the general lack of joints, the joints included aren’t particularly useful.  The ab-crunch, the knees, and the elbows in particular have extremely reduced range, making even rather basic poses very difficult.  The quality of the sculpt proper’s not great either. While Adam West may not have been a body builder or anything during his time under the cowl, the extraordinarily skinny build on this figure goes way too far, building a figure that really doesn’t look like a real person at all.  Coupled with the already small scale on the figures, it makes Batman downright silly looking when compared to his contemporaries from lines running at the same time.  Additionally, despite being based on a real person, and not a comic book creation, this figure’s level of detailing marked a major step down when compared to prior Mattel output, as the majority of the costume is devoid of any sculpted textures.  About the best that can be said of the sculpt is that the masked head doesn’t have a terrible likeness.  So, that’s the old figure that they threw into the box to take up space.  What about all the new stuff they added that was supposed to actually sell this thing?  Well, the box proudly proclaims that the set includes 15 accessories…which is true, albeit not quite as impressive as the box might lead you to believe.  To go on the figure proper, we get an unmasked Bruce Wayne head.  Kind of an interesting choice, since I don’t believe we actually ever saw Bruce unmasked in the costume on the show.  However, it’s got a decent likeness of West, and it actually looks a little better on the body than the standard head.  The largest piece is definitely the Batcomputer, which is a decent set piece, even if it is pretty simplistic.  At least it’s got its proper label, showcasing 60s Batman’s love of labels.  The piece is hollow, and the back pops off to reveal the “Secret Equipment Storage,” which is where you can stow all of the other parts when you aren’t using them.  The back that pops off is designed to look like the inside of stately Wayne manor, allowing for two different display options, and two different sets of accessories to go along with them.  On the cave side, we get three batarangs (all identical), four cans of Batman Spray Repellent (again all identical), the Batzooka, Bat megaphone, and Bat communicator.  The duplication of the batarangs and repellent is kind of odd, since obviously he can’t use them all at once, nor is there really anywhere to display the extras, making it really seem like Mattel included as many as they did to bump that accessory count up.  Additionally, there’s the ongoing issue with Batman generally just being unable to really hold any of the included extras. The Batzooka in particular is notable, as its size and weight mean that the figure will fall over if its held in any fashion other than at his side.  On the Wayne Manor side, we get the Shakespeare bust with the hidden button for cave access and the red Bat-phone.  The bust is definitely my favorite extra included here, because the sculpt’s really clean, and the hinge works quite nicely.  To complete the two different set-ups, there’s a card with a Batcave illustration on one side and Wayne manor on the other, as well as a stand to hold the card.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

By the time this set hit, my enthusiasm for the line was completely dead.  I picked up everything from the initial run, but only ended up picking up the three-pack when I was disappointed at not getting anything Star Wars-y during the first Force Friday event.  This set, as interesting a concept as it may be, just didn’t excite me enough to drop $35 on it.  However, a friend of mine had gotten one a while ago, and decided they no longer wanted it, and thus it made its way into my collection.  As with so much Mattel did, it fills me with mixed emotions.  There are some cool things in here, and in general it’s a fun concept, but the core Batman’s kind of rotten, and this being the fifth time we got him really hinders the set.  I think if it had been in that first wave of product, rather than pushed all the way to the end of the line, it might have been a bigger hit, but quite frankly there’s a lot of things that could have been done differently to make this line worth while.

#2161: Kid Flash

KID FLASH

DC COMICS MULTIVERSE (MATTEL)

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

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

THE FIGURE ITSELF

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

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

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