#1779: Girl’s Night Out

SUPERGIRL, LIVEWIRE, BATGIRL, HARLEY QUINN, & POISON IVY

BATMAN: ANIMATED (DC COLLECTIBLES)

Female action figures are, on a whole, a rarity.  This stems largely from the days when the line between action figures and dolls was really just that one was marketed to girls and one was marketed to girls.  But, in the 50 years since the term “action figure” was invented by a marketing department, the definitions have become a little more rigid, and opinions on who collects them have slightly changed.  This is my very long-winded way of saying I’m reviewing my second all-female boxed set in the space of three months, which even by modern standards is kind of cool.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Supergirl, Livewire, Batgirl, Harley Quinn, and Poison Ivy make up the “Girl’s Night Out” boxed set, released last year as part of DCC’s Batman: Animated line.  They’re based on the New Adventures of Batman episode of the same name, which sees Supergirl and Batgirl teaming up to defeat the combined forces of Livewire, Harley, and Ivy.  Only the Superman characters are actually new to this set, with Batgirl, Harley, and Poison Ivy being re-releases of their single figures from the main line, sans most of their accessories.  Since Harley’s new to me, I’ll be reviewing her here, but for my opinion on the other two, go here and here.

SUPERGIRL

For Superman: The Animated Series’ third season, Supergirl was introduced to open up some new story-telling possibilities.  However, due to DC’s then-standing policies on Clark being the only remaining Kryptonian, they had to money around with her origin a bit.  On the plus side, the character remained more or less the same.  This figure replicates her tweaked animated design.  She stands 5 3/4 inches tall and has 24 points of articulation.  Her sculpt is a rather faithful recreation of the design from the show, which is a real first for Supergirl, as her prior animated figures have all strayed from the proper design.  There are some minor nitpicks that can be made, like her head maybe being a smidge too big for the body.  However, that’s really looking for issues, and comes down more to personal preference than anything else.  Her paintwork is very clean, and the colors are bright and eye-catching.  Definitely a nice departure from this line’s penchant for fuzzy edges on everything.  The biggest downfall of this figure (and this set as a whole) is her lack of any accessories outside of a stand.  At the very least, a spare set of fists seems like it should come standard.

LIVEWIRE

After the successful creation and reception of Harley Quinn and Renee Montoya in Batman: The Animated Series, the creators tried their luck again with Livewire (though Livewire *actually* appeared in the tie-in comic before the show).  While she didn’t quite take off the way those two did, she did still pick up a decent fanbase of her own.  She never actually got a figure during S:TAS’s run, but she’s made out alright since the show’s end.  The figure stands 5 1/2 inches tall and she has 23 points of articulation.  Like Kara, her sculpt is quite a good match for her show appearance.  In fact, I even have trouble finding the minor nitpicks like I did with Supergirl.  The proportions are more balanced, and the lines are all very sharp and clean.  Her paintwork is appropriately monochromatic, and the blues interact well with each other.  There’s a little bit of fuzzy work on the edges, but it’s mostly confined to the “emblem” on her torso, where it’s somewhat acceptable, with her being an energy being and all.  She also is only packed with a display stand.  The lack of extra hands is slightly less frustrating for her, since she doesn’t need them as much, but I’m still not 100% okay with it.

HARLEY QUINN

And speaking of successful creations from the DCAU, here’s the character that’s by far the greatest success story, Harley Quinn!  Outside of Batman himself, she’s actually the character with the most figures in this line, which really speaks to her marketability.  This figure is a re-issue of her second single-carded figure, which was based on her TNBA appearance.  Harley is one of the characters whose two appearances weren’t that different, but they were enough for the eagle-eyed fan to need two distinct figures.  This figure stands 5 3/4 inches tall and she has 19 points of articulation.  Okay, so, first thing’s first, let’s discuss the articulation.  You know ankle joints?  Harley doesn’t have those.  Why not?  Your guess is as good as mine.  Apparently, DCC didn’t feel Harley needed them.  They also didn’t feel she needed the ability to stand either, though I guess that’s linked to the lack of ankle movement.  The point is, it really sucks.  Really, really sucks.  Her sculpt is fine, but it reminds me that I prefer the subtle differences of the B:TAS version.  The big head’s throwing me on this one.  I guess it’s not a terrible offering though.  Her paintwork is pretty decent.  The dual-toned color scheme looks sharp, and the application is overall pretty clean.  Like all of the others in this set, Harley’s only accessory is a display stand.  No extra hands, no weapons of any sort.  Nothing.  Not even the accessories from the prior figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When the Batman: Animated line launched, I was excited by the prospect of a complimentary Superman line.  It didn’t so much come to fruition, and I’ll admit, two of my most wanted figure from said theoretical line only being available in a big boxed set with two figures I already had kind of killed my excitement.  I ended up getting this set at the same time as yesterday’s DKR set, as a birthday present from my parents.  Supergirl and Livewire are very nice figures, slightly held back by a lack of accessories.  The other three are kind of dead weight.  Harley’s easily the worst version of the character from the line, and while Ivy and Batgirl are perfectly fine figures in their own right, having to buy them again, and not getting any accessories the second time around is really lame.  And a note to DCC:  if you’re only going to include a single set of hands, can you at least make it something more useful than the limp open palm?  This set’s begging for some cool fight set-ups, but as it currently stands, all they’re really prepared for is a big slapping fight.

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#1778: Batman, Robin, & Mutant Leader

BATMAN, ROBIN, & MUTANT LEADER

BATMAN: ANIMATED (DC COLLECTIBLES)

For someone who’s only so-so on this whole Dark Knight Returns thing, I sure do review a lot of DKRrelated items, don’t I?  Well, let me ‘splain—no, it’s too much—let me sum up: like the story or not, there’s a lot of supplemental material related to it that’s super awesome.  Take, for instance, “Legends of the Dark Knight,” one of Batman: The Animated Series’ best known episodes, which takes a look at a couple of differing takes on Batman from over the years, with DKR as one of the pair.  And now that particular take has its own figures.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Batman, Robin, and the Mutant Leader were a special three-pack, released as part of DC Collectibles’ Batman: Animated line, commemorating the previously mentioned episode.  All three are based on their appearances from the DKR segment of “Legends,” rather than the actual comic looks. 

BATMAN

I’ve had no shortage of DKR Batmen in the last month or so, with offerings from both Mattel and Mezco, so why not let DCC in on the fun?  This guy’s a pretty massive figure, standing about 6 1/2 inches tall and measuring about 5 inches across the shoulders, and he has 24 points of articulation.  His stature is certainly impressive, but if there’s one draw back, it’s his posability, or rather his lack thereof.  The joints he *does* have all have a solid range of motion (the neck joint in particular works very well), to DCC’s credit.  The issue is that he’s lacking any mid torso movement, as well as any sort of ankle mobility.  Those two things rather limit what can be done with the figure, which is kind of a shame.  The sculpt, which is totally unique, is actually a pretty good offering.  It captures the streamlined design from the show pretty much spot-on, which at this point in the line is very definitely welcomed.   His paintwork is definitely on the basic side, which is appropriate for the line.  It’s overall cleanly applied, but has some of the same fuzzy edges that have plagued this line from the beginning.  Batman was packed with a pair of alternate open gesture hands and a display stand.

ROBIN

Carrie Kelley is one of DKR’s most distinctive features, but is a slightly less common offering when it comes to toys.  That said, I’ve actually looked at a Carrie Kelley Robin before, via Mattel’s offering.  It was…less than stellar.  This figure stands 5 inches tall and he has 24 points of articulation.  She’s another new sculpt, and I gotta say, she definitely benefits from the cleaner style.  Something about Miller’s style didn’t translate so well as an action figure, but this?  This worked out pretty well.  Her smaller stature is well conveyed, and she’s actually got some fairly decent movement.  Still perhaps more restricted than I’d like, but definitely better than a lot of this line.  Carrie’s paintwork is decent.  It’s clean, and matches the show’s color palette.  She has less issues with fuzzy lines and slop.  I also appreciate the use of actual transparent lenses for the glasses, as opposed to just painting them opaque green like *some* toy companies.  Robin is by far the most accessorized in this set, with a slingshot, an three pairs of hands, and a display stand.

MUTANT LEADER

Though not a primary antagonist in the original story, like Carrie Kelley, the Mutant Leader has become a distinctive feature of DKR, and he *was* the primary antagonist of the DKR segment of “Legends of the Dark Knight.”  So, his placement here is rather an obvious one.  The figure stands 6 3/4 inches tall and has 23 points of articulation.  The Leader is a sizable guy, though not quite as sizable as Batman.  He’s about on par with the TNBA version of Bane in terms of build.  His articulation is an improvement overall from Batman’s, since he actually gets some mid-torso movement, as well as ankles.  Of course, he loses the lateral leg movement that Batman and Robin have, which has been, in general my biggest recurring issue with this line, since it makes posing these guys in anything but a basic standing pose a barren source of amusement.  The sculpt is at least a pretty strong one.  It captures the Leader’s slightly tweaked animated design very well, and he pairs off well with Batman.  The paintwork is fairly decent, though nothing beyond basic work.  He’s got a nice contrast, though, which I certainly appreciate.  Like Batman, the Leader is packed with a pair of open gesture hands and a display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

“Legends of the Dark Knight” was my first introduction to The Dark Knight Returns.  I think it spoiled me a bit for the story proper, because while it remains a favorite episode of mine, the comic not so much.  Pretty much all of the prior DKR product I’ve purchased was due to my love of the episode, so an episode-specific set certainly intrigued me.  That said, by the time the set actually hit, I’d fallen a bit out of love with the Batman: Animated line, and as such I didn’t get it new.  I actually ended up getting it this year for my birthday, courtesy of my parents.  While it still possesses a lot of the same issues that have been killing the main line for me, I do overall like this set a lot.  Sure, I’d have liked some more accessories, but the extra hands are at least useful, and there’s no denying that Bats and the Leader look good squaring off.  Plus, after the sincere disappointment of Mattel’s Carrie Kellie, this one was a breath of fresh air.

#1772: Reverse Flash

REVERSE FLASH

DC COMICS ESSENTIALS (DC COLLECTIBLES)

Hey, does anyone know what time it is?  Don’t worry, I do!  It’s “DC’s in-house toy company abandons it’s flagship line in favor of a completely new completely incompatible one”-o’clock!  …Wait, I think that might just be the time on my end.  Sorry, I don’t subscribe to the standard clock concept.  I go more for abstract reference clocks.  Just wait til it gets to be “SDCC exclusive rereleases are the literal devil”-thirty.  That’s when things go off!

Strange time-keeping jokes aside, it’s really a common trend for DC Collectibles (and their predecessors, DC Direct) to constantly abandon current projects in favor of new ones that let them re-release the same crop of heavy-hitters over and over again.  The latest example of this is their DC Icons/DC Essentials change-over.  Icons was itself a tonal shift for DCC, and had some rough beginnings, but it was finally shaping up into a respectable line, just in time for DCC to completely drop it in favor DC Essentials.  Essentials is basically the same concept as Icons, but done in such a way that the two lines are completely incompatible.  Cue the need to release all those heavy hitters again!  Amongst the line’s debut offerings, there is exactly one character who wasn’t covered by Icons, and not coincidentally, he’s the one I’m looking at today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Reverse Flash is figure 4 in the first assortment of DC Essentials, making him chronologically the last of the set.  He’s designed to pair off, unsurprisingly, with the standard Flash figure that’s also in Series 1.  He’s technically a modern take on the character, but since he’s essentially had the same look for most of his career, it’s more or less his classic design.  The figure stands 7 inches tall and he has 34 points of articulation.  Let’s just ignore the height issue, because we all knew that was coming.  He’s a full inch taller than any of the Icons figures, and  3/4 inch taller than the average Legends release.  That’s the way it is, and that’s not going to change.  Okay, so, with that out of the way, let’s tackle the other big thing here, which is the articulation.  Overall, it’s very good.  The movement on the joints is solid, and they’ve finally captured that Legends-style articulation they were aiming for.  They’ve even improved on it slightly, especially on those ankles.  But something is rotten in the state of Denmark…and it’s that abdominal crunch.  The actual joint is fine, but you know what’s not?  Those huge, obvious peg holes on either side of his ribs.  They’re just out there, naked, on display, like some sort of joint whoo-ore.  I know it’s a minor flaw, but they really, really jump out at me.  Moving past that, how is the actual sculpt?  Actually pretty good, but not without some slight drawbacks.  He uses the same basic body as the other three figures in the set.  Overall, it’s a decent offering, but the arms are about a half an inch too long for this body.  With the right pose, they look okay, but it’s a little off looking.  I’d like to see them fix this issue for future uses.  The head sculpt is definitely the star piece of this figure.  It’s suitably unique from the basic Flash figure’s head, and the evil smirk is absolutely perfect for Thawne.  The hands are also unique, and while I do like them a lot, I’m not sure how I feel about them being the only hands included here.  Reverse Flash’s paintwork is very clean, very bright, very bold, and extremely eye-catching. Very top-notch work.  Reverse Flash includes no accessories, which is a real let down given the price tag on these figures.  At the very least, he should have an extra pair of hands.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was apprehensive about this line, because I’d quite grown to like Icons, and I was honestly a little bitter about the last handful of Icons figures being cancelled seemingly to make way for Essentials.  I’m also really, really not looking to buy yet another set of the main DC heroes.  But I saw Reverse Flash in person at Cosmic Comix, and I kind of caved.  I’ve still got some mixed feelings.  There’s a lot I like about this figure, but there are a lot of minor mistakes that I feel DCC would be able to avoid if they didn’t feel the need to shake everything up every couple of years.  And, above all, he doesn’t go with anything I own, which is perhaps the most frustrating thing, since, as I said, he’s a solid figure.

#1747: Red Tornado

RED TORNADO

DC SUPERHEROES (IMAGINEXT)

Sometimes, it’s nice to remember when toys were just plain fun, and not necessarily aimed at pleasing only adult collectors.  One of the best lines out there for doing such things is Fisher Price’s Imaginext subset.  They’re definitely kid-oriented, but they’ve got some pretty amazing licenses, and the coverage of characters therein is nothing short of astounding.  They’re DC line in particular has made its way around to so many corners of the DCU, including more minor characters, such as today’s focus, the Red Tornado!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Red Tornado was introduced into the DC Superheroes Imaginext line in 2018.  He’s sold as deluxe single figure, meaning it’s just him and a larger accessory, in a similar fashion to the previously reviewed Brainiac.  The figure stands 3 inches tall and has 8 points of articulation (as with all Imaginext offerings, his legs move as one).  Red Tornado has had a few distinct looks over the years; this figure goes for his more robotic, more stylized appearance from when he was working as Young Justice’s official Justice League-er sponsor.  It’s actually one of my favorite looks for the character, so I was pretty happy about this.  His sculpt is fairly standard stuff for this product spread, with highly stylized proportions and the like.  The blank portions of the sculpt are actually even more sensible with this particular figure than they were on other characters, given the robotic design.  Interestingly, the body gets a few more robotic details that aren’t traditionally seen on this particular design for the character, though I’m really not complaining about that.  Red Tornado’s cape is a combination of sculpted and cloth elements; the collar is plastic and the actual cape cloth, which is the best possible combo.  Tornado’s paintwork is fairly basic stuff, since he’s mostly just molded in the proper colors.  There’s some slop on his collar, but he’s otherwise pretty sharp, and he’s certainly bright and eye-catching.  The extra large accessory included with this guy is a pretty sensible one; it’s a tornado effect, demonstrating his powers.  When you wheel it along the ground, it will spin the figure, which is pretty fun.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

In the midst of Toys R Us closing, I was spending a lot of time at my closest store, and by extension, I was also spending a lot of time at the Target across the street.  They began their clearance process for their big reset a few months ago, and a bunch of Imaginext stuff was included.  Imaginext is already pretty reasonably priced to start with, so on clearance it’s an absolute steal.  It was hard to say no to Reddy at that point.  I quite like this guy, and I’m quite happy to have him.

#1739: Batman – The Dark Knight Returns

BATMAN — THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS

ONE:12 COLLECTIVE (MEZCO)

I told you there’d be another Batman review this week.  See, I’m not a liar!

Today, I’m continuing the DC trend, but moving away from Mattel, and indeed moving away from the lower-end styling of figures they offer.  Instead, I’m turning my sights onto Mezco’s One:12 Collective line of high-end 6-inch-scale figures.  I’ve only looked at one figure from this line before (Space Ghost), but he very much impressed me, and I’ve been eager to check out more from the line.  Today, I’m going back to the very beginning of the line (as well as bookending my reviews for this week) and looking at Batman, based on Frank Miller’s classic The Dark Knight Returns story.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Batman was the inaugural release in Mezco’s One:12 Collective line, released in the summer of 2015.  A consistent feature of the line has been single releases with a number of color variants all released around the same time through various different means.  Even amongst his peers, this release of Batman was kind of drowning in variants.  The one seen in this review is the Previews Exclusive release, based upon Batman’s more classically-inspired color scheme from early on in the story.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has over 30 points of articulation.  For that articulation count, I’m just going by the solicitation info for this guy, since he’s sewn into his costume, thereby making a 100% articulation count a little bit difficult.

Batman was packed with two different heads, though they both end up being pretty similar, with only the expression changing between them.  He’s packed wearing the angrier, teeth-baring head, but there’s also the second one, which is also angry, but you can’t see the teeth, so I guess his slightly less angry?  That’s just my teeth-to-anger scale though.  Yours may differ.  Both heads are very sharp sculpts, which pretty expertly capture Miller’s artwork from the series.  Particularly impressive is the slight texturing of the cowl on both heads; it’s very subtle, but enough to keep the mask from looking to simple, like a smoother surface might.  I’d be hard-pressed to pick my preferred of the two heads, because they’re both very good.  Which one is better really depends upon what sort of pose you want the figure in.  Paintwork on both heads is fairly internally consistent.  The application is quite clean, his palette is appropriately washed out, and there’s even a nice dark grey wash over the face to give him a more dynamic, comic book-inspired appearance.

Despite his smaller stature, Batman is built in a similar fashion to a 1/6th scale item, with an underlying body and a cloth costume.  Space Ghost was built on a smaller body than the one here, but they’re similar in construction.  It poses very well, which is the most important thing by my count.  The costume is made up from a mixed media effort.  The main body suit, shorts, and cape are all cloth items.  They’re pretty well tailored to the body, though the shorts could perhaps be a little tighter fitting.  They aren’t too off, but they definitely end up looking pretty similar to a Mego offering.  The body suit has the logo screened onto it.  It’s a rubbery sort of material, so it shoulded end up stretched out or anything over time. The cape is one of the more impressive Batman capes.  It’s a thin material with no internal wire or anything, so I wasn’t expecting much at first, but it hangs really well on the body and is a lot of fun to mess with during posing.  The belt, cuffs, and boots are all sculpted elements, as is the neck piece that goes under the cape and holds the costume in place.  The sculpted detail is quite impressive, and the boots and gloves in particular are very nice, as they’ve been done up with texturing to match the masks on the two heads.

The accessory complement for this Batman is definitely a solid selection of extras.  In addition to the two heads, he’s got four different sets of hands (in fists, open palm, gripping, and batarang-wielding configurations) which make for lots of fun options when posing.  He’s also got a leg strap of pouches, as he sports for some parts of the story, his rifle, a grappling hook, and a display stand.  The display stand can be used as either a standard pegged stand or a flight stand, and in the flight stand configuration, there’s an extra wired attachment, which can be used to dynamically pose the cape.  It definitely takes some getting used to, and I couldn’t really see myself using it for long term posing, but it certainly helps with some nice photo set-ups.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was very much tempted by this figure when he was originally released, but as only a moderate fan of Dark Knight Returns, I didn’t know if I could justify the higher price tag.  Still, I’ve been intrigued by this figure since its release, and having it in hand, I can definitely say this is one of the best Batman figures out there.  I’m now really interested in checking out Mezco’s follow-up Batman, the Ascending Knight.

The item reviewed here is not from my personal collection, but was instead provided to me for review by my friends at All Time Toys.  If you’re interested in owning the very Batman figure reviewed here today, head on over to their eBay listing for this item.  If you’re looking for other toys, both old and new, please also check out All Time’s full eBay store front, and take a look at their webstore at alltimetoys.com.

#1738: Steve Trevor

STEVE TREVOR

DC COMICS MULTIVERSE (MATTEL)

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

THE FIGURE ITSELF

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

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

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

#1737: Batman – Superfriends

BATMAN — SUPERFRIENDS

DC COMICS MULTIVERSE (MATTEL)

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

THE FIGURE ITSELF

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

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

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

#1736: Green Lantern – Superfriends

GREEN LANTERN — SUPERFRIENDS

DC COMICS MULTIVERSE (MATTEL)

DC doesn’t get quite as much play around here as other, Disney-owned properties.  It’s not a conspiracy, I swear!  And to prove that there is absolutely no anti-DC conspiracy around these parts, I’m gonna pick up the trend I started yesterday and do a whole week of DC reviews!  …Well, a business week…let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

While Adventures of Superman, the ’60s Batman, and Wonder Woman got the main trio of DC heroes some solid public recognition, it was Hannah Barbera’s Superfriends and its subsequent spin-offs that introduced the DC Universe as a whole to a mainstream audience.  Because of its mainstream impact, it’s also a version of the characters that toy companies like to go back to.  Mattel was no exception.  I’ll be looking at one of their handful of Superfriends offerings today, namely my main man Green Lantern.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Green Lantern is part of the four figure Superfriends sub-set of Mattel’s DC Comics Multiverse.  The set was originally meant to be a Walmart-exclusive, but that was ultimately only half true.  For Mattel-ish sorts of reasons, the four figure assortment needed to be split in two, with GL and Batman hitting Walmarts back in September of last year.  By the time the second two figures were ready to go, Walmart backed out.  The long and short of it is that Green Lantern and Batman were exclusive to Walmart (at first, anyway), but Superman and Aquaman weren’t.  Of the four figures in the set, GL is admittedly the odd man out in terms of character selection.  He wasn’t in the original Superfriends roster, only appearing in the later Challenge of the Superfriends incarnation.  Even then, he was never super prominent in the series.  The choice of him instead of another founding member, like Wonder Woman or Robin, is somewhat baffling.  That said, the Green Lantern fan in me is insisting that I not complain too much.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 23 points of articulation.  In terms of construction, there’s not a single thing new about this figure.  He’s a head-to-toe re-use of the DCUC GL from 2008.  That was a good sculpt at the time, and the original figure remains one of my absolute favorite GL figures.  With that being said, it’s a sculpt that’s a decade old, and it’s definitely showing its age, not just stylistically, but also in terms of the actual life of the mold.  While some parts, like the head, still look quite good, the limbs in particular are showing quite a bit of mold degradation.  It’s still in better shape than a lot of Mattel’s more recent output, but it’s time to let it die.  The main thing that’s new here is the paint.  I’m of two minds.  On the one hand, I really do like the bright, bold colorscheme.  It’s quite aestheitcally pleasing, at it looks nice on the mold.  That said, it’s not actually accurate to his Superfriends colors, which means there’s not anything about this figure that’s truly Superfriends-inspired.  They didn’t even get the slightly different Lantern insignia from the show.  His accessories, like the figure, are nothing new.  He gets one of the Batman ’66 stands, with a new iridescent cardstock backer featuring….the Jose Garcia-Lopez illustration of Hal from the style guide.  I love Garcia-Lopez’s work and all, but it’s an odd choice here, you know, instead of, say, something from, I don’t know, Superfriends?  Also, the stand has been designed with slightly smaller figures in mind, so the peg is actually too small for GL’s foot, so it’s not actually any help…standing him.  Yeesh.  I guess I can forgive the lack of power battery, since it never figured that prominently into the show, but he still feels a little light, especially since there are no new pieces in the box and he originally retailed for $8 more than the first release of this mold, which, it should be noted, included the battery *and* a Build-A-Figure Collect-N-Connect piece.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As I noted above, these figures hit in September.  And I saw them in-store when they hit.  But you know what also hit in September?  All of the Last Jedi product.  Given the choice between that and a total rehash of a figure, I went with the Star Wars stuff.  However, I found this guy at the same Ollie’s where I got yesterday’s Batman, and he too was $3, which was the right price for me.  The thing about this figure is that, as just a Green Lantern figure, removed from the source material, he’s actually not a terrible figure.  Dated and light on extras, but decent nonetheless.  However, he’s just *not* a Superfriends Green Lantern, and he’s a really poorly-executed, rather disinterested attempt at replicating the design, which makes him feel a little bit like a bit of a cash-grab.

#1735: Batman – Dark Knight Returns

BATMAN — DARK KNIGHT RETURNS

DC COMICS MULTIVERSE (MATTEL)

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

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

THE FIGURE ITSELF

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

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

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

#1713: Animal Man

ANIMAL MAN

JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED (MATTEL)

“When a teenage Buddy Baker went hunting in the Adirondacks, he found more than big game – he found an alien spacecraft! After being exposed to its strange radiation, Buddy found he could take on the powers and characteristics of any nearby animal – down to regenerating severed limbs, like an earthworm. He has faced many surreal menaces, traveled through space, and seen his entire reality torn apart more than once, but he always remains plain old Buddy Baker, family man and occasional hero – an oasis of sanity in the stranger corners of the DC Universe.”

Though Justice League Unlimited covered most corners of the DC Universe, there were a few characters left notably absent.  In many cases, it was where duplication of powers or gimmicks came into play, and a more minor character was chosen because of production team preferences.  One such instance was Animal Man, whose role as an animal expert was passed off to the more minor B’wanna Beast.  But at least Buddy found himself in the toyline.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Animal Man came from towards the end of the Justice League Unlimited line, after it had left retail and moved to Matty Collector.  Buddy was part of a three-pack which also included Adam Strange and a blue variant of the Prince Gavyn Starman.  It’s almost a sensible pack-out, were the last sylable in that last name “fire” instead of “man,” but oh well.  Buddy had no official JLU design, since he never appeared on the show, so this figure just animates his usual design.  The figure stands 4 3/4 inches tall and he has 5 points of articulation.  He’s built on the medium-sized male body, and re-uses the sleeved jacket arms from Mr. Terrific.  He also gets a brand-new head sculpt and a new jacket add-on piece, replicating his denim jacket from the comics.  The head is definitely a nice piece, and it’s well-fitted to the body.  There’s a nice friendly sort of smile that seems appropriate for the character.  The jacket piece is cool, because it could have easily been left out, and instead been replaced with another repaint of the Mr. Terrific piece.  The unique piece adds a character specific flair to the figure, that makes him that much more impressive.  Animal Man’s paintwork is clean, crisp, and very bold.  The shiny black on the gloves and boots looks particularly sharp.  Animal Man included no accessories, but that’s about normal for the line.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

By the time this set was released, I had mostly abandoned the JLU line, so I didn’t get Animal Man new.  Instead, I got him last year from the largest antique mall in the country, on one the many long coastal drives I made over the course of last summer.  He’s a very nice figure, and I’m glad I tracked him down.