#3188: Dr. Fate

DR. FATE

BLACK ADAM (SPIN MASTER)

In the bleak landscape that is the current state of the DC live action movies, there stands one un-cancelled, un-delayed film.  That film is Black Adam, the Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson-led spin-off of Shazam!  DC’s really banking on this one, and kinda banking on Black Adam a lot as a character right now.  I’m iffy on the whole prospect, really, but we’ll see how it goes.  To fill in the movie’s cast a bit, Black Adam is joined in his first cinematic venture by a small contingent of the Justice Society of America.  Pierce Brosnan is playing Doctor Fate, and I’m honestly not hating that, so when it comes to the tie-in toys, that’s what I’m hitting up to start.  I mean, Doctor Fate, right?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Dr Fate is part of the first assortment of basic figures from Spin Master’s Black Adam line.  As with their The Batman tie-in line, its an off-shoot of the main 3 3/4 inch DC line, so he can work with those figures as well.  The figure stands about 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 17 points of articulation.  He’s got the same basic articulation scheme as the rest of the line, though they’ve slightly changed up how the hips work, and it’s not quite as effective.  Beyond that, though, it works pretty decently given the scaling and size.  The figure’s got an all-new sculpt, which is loosely based on the film design for the character.  I say loosely because he’s clearly based on some sort of preliminary design for the character, as there are a fair number of details that don’t quite line up with the final film look.  The helmet is probably the closest piece (which tracks, since it looks like the helmet was actually a physical prop during filming), and it’s a pretty strong piece.  The body, especially the collar and belt, are off for sure.  I don’t think they look bad; they’re just inaccurate.  The actual quality of the sculpt is pretty solid; his proportions are more balanced than previous figures, so he’s not quite as ridiculously buff.  It works better for Fate, so I dig it.  The cape is a cloth piece; it’s that same papery cloth from before, but it’s at least lacking that hole in the back that most of the Bat-figures had.  The figure’s paint work is decent enough.  The helmet’s even got some pretty nifty accenting, so that’s cool.  There’s a bit of a color match issue on the blues on the legs, but otherwise he looks alright.  Certainly on par with the rest of these figures.  Dr Fate is packed with two magic effect pieces, which he can hold in his hands.  They’re honestly pretty cool.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’m skeptical about this movie, but I’m not skeptical about a cool Dr Fate figure. I’m not lining up to throw more money at McFarlane, so I was pretty happy to hear that Spin Master had their own line running.  I’ve only been seeing the Black Adam figure thus far, but I was out running errands the other day, and happened up this guy and jumped on it.  He’s not film accurate, but he’s still a lot of fun.  If I can just find that Atom Smasher figure, I’ll be all set.

#3174: Parallax

PARALLAX

DC MULTIVERSE (MCFARLANE TOYS)

“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.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

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.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

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

MARTIAN MANHUNTER

DC MULTIVERSE (MCFARLANE TOYS)

“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!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

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.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

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.

#3115: Captain Atom

CAPTAIN ATOM

SUPERMAN/BATMAN: PUBLIC ENEMIES (DC DIRECT)

In the opening arc of Superman/Batman, after Lex Luthor makes the titular duo fugitives, he sends his own team of government-sponsored heroes after them.  Heading this team is Captain Atom, a character that DC really seems to like pulling the Inspector Javert angle with.  Surprising no one, the Captain realizes that, you know, Luthor’s, like, a villain and all, and aids our heroes.  As I’ve mentioned before, the story’s not high art or anything, but it did give Captain Atom some nice focus, and also netted him his very first action figure in 2005.  That’s pretty cool.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Captain Atom was released in the first series of DC Direct’s Superman/Batman line, which, as previously noted, was entirely themed around the “Public Enemies” storyline.  Captain Atom is seen here in his one look from the story, which was also his one main look for his time at DC during his post-Crisis revival.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 13 points of articulation…or at least he did before his shoulder joint crumbled when I pulled him out of storage for this review.  This is why you shouldn’t make joints out of clear plastic, you guys.  It doesn’t end well.  Captain Atom sported the most basic version of the McGuinness-styled body mold that was introduced for this assortment.  It’s a good, basic mold, most of which wound up re-used for various other McGuinness-style characters, including Superman Blue and Red, whom I reviewed here a few years back.  It does better with the arm posing than the other molds…you know, when the shoulder joints don’t shatter.  His head sculpt is the one notable unique piece, of course, and it’s a nice recreation of McGuinness’s version of Atom.  The hair in particular has just the right amount of swoopiness.  I dig it.  The paint work on this figure is rather on the basic side.  It’s admittedly a slight letdown, because the finish is all very flat, where in the comics, McGuinness made it very clear that Atom was supposed to be very shiny.  At least a slightly more showy metallic finish, or possibly some gloss, would have been really nice.  As it stands, it’s okay, but not very flashy.  Captain Atom is packed with a display stand, sporting the Superman/Batman logo.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As I mentioned in last week’s Superman review, back when these were new, my buying habits were rather scaled back, so I could really only afford one of them, and that was this guy, who I picked up from my usual stop Cosmic Comix back in 2005 when they first hit.  I was quite excited about this figure, I recall, because I’d always found the character’s design to be pretty awesome, and there were previously no toy options at all.  Since Mattel was still unable to produce him for their JLU line at the time, this one was my first real option.  Issues with the breakage and the flat finish aside, he was awesome at the time, and he’s still pretty cool now.  And, even all this time later, the competition on the good Captain Atom figure front is still rather sparse.

#3110: Superman

SUPERMAN

SUPERMAN/BATMAN: PUBLIC ENEMIES (DC DIRECT)

In the early 2000s, DC revitalized their World’s Finest book, a series that chronicled Superman and Batman’s joint exploits (well, mostly; it didn’t start that way), under the more minimalistic title of Superman/Batman.  The series launched with “Public Enemies,” a story line that saw Superman and Batman labeled enemies of the state by a soon-to-be-deposed President Lex Luthor.  It’s far from high art or anything, but it’s a fairly fun story.  At the time, DC Direct did a line of figures to tie-in, based on Ed McGuinness’s art from the book.  Today, I’ll be taking a look at the line’s take on Superman.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Superman was released in the first series of DCD’s Superman/Batman line, which was entirely “Public Enemies”-themed.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 11 points of articulation.  These figures were far from super-poseable, with little more than enough movement to tweak the basic standing pose.  You can get maybe a slight take-off pose out of him, but even that’s pushing it.  He can at least get his arms closer to his sides than Batman could, but even so, it’s pretty limited.  Superman had an all-new sculpt, based on McGuinness’s art; it certainly shares a number of elements with the other figures, since they all had rather similar builds.  It’s at the very least a pretty solid recreation of the art in three dimensions.  In particular, they’ve really gotten McGuinness’s Superman’s head down pretty spot-on.  I do really love how that sculpt looks.  The cape seems perhaps a touch short, but I do like the dynamic flow to it; it helps to break up that basic standing pose just a little bit.  Superman’s paint work is actually quite nice.  I’ve always really enjoyed the metallic blue they chose for this first release; it just really pops so nicely, especially next to the matte finish on the flesh tones.  I’m not entirely in favor of the lack of actual eyes, but it’s a stylistic choice, I suppose.  It does sort of have a twinge of nostalgia for me, since it makes me think of the early Kenner STAS figures, so I guess it’s not entirely bad.  I do quite like the blue accenting in the hair, so that works out.  Superman is packed with a Superman/Batman display stand.  It’s just a stand, but it does what it needs to, I suppose.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was in middle school when these were released, so I was on a much smaller budget.  That meant I only had the money for one figure from this set, and it wound up being Captain Atom, since I didn’t already have a bunch of him laying around.  I always wanted to grab this guy at some point, but I just never got around to getting one.  Last year, I was helping a family friend downsize their collection, and they gave me this guy in return for my help, which was honestly very nice.  He’s a very specific type of figure, and you have to want that very specific type of figure.  That said, I really like that very specific type of figure, and you’d be hard pressed to find a better adaptation of Ed McGuinness’s art, so he very definitely works for me.

#3088: Nightwing

NIGHTWING

DC DELUXE COLLECTOR FIGURES (DC DIRECT)

Back in the early 2000s, everybody was starting to really try out the 1/6 scale game.  Hot Toys hadn’t quite overtaken the market, so there was still this sort of fledging “anyone could take this over” kind of vibe.  So, a lot of companies tried just that.  Among them was DC Direct, who decided that the best way to stand above the competition was to literally have their figures be taller than the competition, so they scaled everyone up by about an inch, with the argument that they were still 1/6 scale, the heroes were just supposed to be that much bigger than the average person.  Despite some odd notions right out of the gate, the line was a modest success, running from 2005 up through 2010.  Not a terrible run, all things considered.  They got a pretty decent swath of characters out there, which included a pretty solid focus on the Bat-Family.  Dick Grayson was present in both his Robin and Nightwing identities, the latter of which I’m going to be taking a look at today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Nightwing was the 14th release in DCD’s Deluxe Collector Figure line, hitting retail in the fall of 2007, during the line’s third year.  All of the figures were designed as standalone releases, but he hit right in the midst of a streak of Bat-related characters.  In a line that had certainly had a more classic focus, he was a decidedly more modern figure, sporting the character’s then-current design.  The figure stands about 13 1/4 inches tall (due to DCD’s insistence on that extra large scaling) and he has 30 points of articulation.

The figure’s head sculpt was the most notable new piece included here, as was pretty standard for the line.  The head sculpts for this line up to this point were, to be blunt, kind of ugly.  I mean, not terrible, but they were none of them particularly attractive people.  Nightwing marked a very earnest effort on DCD’s part to fix that issue.  Ultimately, the sculpt winds up looking a heck of a lot like Brad Pitt, with maybe a touch of Tom Cruise thrown in for good measure.  That certainly errs away from kind of ugly, and results in a not so terrible look for Dick Grayson.  The base sculpt is unmasked, with a mask piece that can clip into place, which sits surprisingly well on the face.  They did the same on Green Lantern, and I’ve always liked how well those turned out.  There are actually two masks included, one black and one blue, to cover the two looks he was shifting between so frequently at the time.  I personally really like the blue, but both work well.  In terms of paint work, it’s not as incredibly lifelike as Hot Toys, or anything, but it was about on par with most Sideshow offerings of the time.  It’s a little thickly applied, but other than that, it doesn’t look too bad.

Nightwing’s outfit is, predictably, mixed-media in its nature.  It’s made up of a bodysuit, glove cuffs, and boots.  Not a lot of pieces to this one, though that’s proper for the design.  The bodysuit is actually really nicely tailored, for as simple as it is, and the blue for his symbol really stands out well.  The boots (which are actual boots that slip over the feet) and glove cuffs are pleather pieces, with a plastic sculpted bit at the end, for the whatever they are things that he sometimes has on his costume.  They seem a tad bulky for his usual look, but ultimately work out alright.

The figure was built on what was the only available male base body at the time of his release.  It’s probably a touch bulky for Dick’s usual proportions, but it’s not truly atrocious, and he was certainly better served by this base body than most of the female figures were by the only female base body the line ever had.  It’s generally rather stiff in its movement, and notably can put its arms all the way down by the sides, but it does look pretty damn heroic, so I’ll give them that.

Nightwing got an alright selection of accessories, with two sets of hands (fists and bendy for posing to grip or gesture), his eskrima sticks, three batarangs, and a display stand.  The bendy hands are better than most of this type, but still not ideal for actually holding his weapons; actual gripping hands would have been better.  The display stand is notably really big and bulky and, due to how it’s designed, also kind of a risk for damaging the costume if you aren’t careful, which is kind of a shame.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I had a handful of figures from this line when they were new, and while they were never figures I felt were amazingly high-end, I’ve always had a soft spot for them.  Nightwing was one I always wanted, but it wasn’t until after his release, as he changed quite a bit between prototype and release, and by then I had missed a lot of opportunities to get him.  Thankfully, I got another shot at him when a whole batch of the Bat-themed characters got traded into All Time a few weeks ago.  He’s a figure from a line that’s been abandoned, and with good reason.  DCD made a lot of weird choices with these figures, and they suffered for it.  However, taken in a vacuum, I do really, really like this figure.  He’s honestly a lot of fun, and just feels really true to the character.

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.

#3085: Elongated Man

ELONGATED MAN

JLA (DC DIRECT)

Using an extract of the plant Gingold, Ralph Dibney transformed his body into a malleable elastic state!”

In preparation for this review, I realized that I’ve only fleetingly discussed Ralph Dibney, aka the Elongated Man, here on the site, twice in reference to Plastic Man not being him, and once in reference to him being one of three characters for whom I own all of the action figures.  That’s it.  Well, as you may have guessed from the whole “I have all of his action figures” thing, I’m a rather big Elongated Man.  I’d go so far as to say he’s my favorite DC character.  The fact that he’s been so mistreated in modern times isn’t so great, but on the flip side, he’s done alright for himself in the realm of action figures in the last two decades.  Let’s start off what should be a lovely journey through Elongated Man figures with the very first one, released way back in 2004.  That’s right, this figure’s almost old enough to vote.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Elongated Man was released in the second series of DC Direct’s JLA line.  After a debut assortment based on the team’s current (at the time) incarnation, the second series was inspired by the Satellite Era of the team.  As noted above, this marked Elongated Man’s first action figure (also true of his assortment-mate Adam Strange), though, like last week’s Kilowog figure, he would be quite shortly followed by a JLU release courtesy of Mattel.  The figure stands 7 1/2 inches tall with his neck extension in place (6 1/2 inches without it) and he has 12 points of articulation (11 if the extension is removed).  While not super articulated or anything, his movement scheme marks what became the standard for DCD figures around the time, which wasn’t really a bad one.  The only real downside to this particular figure, in relation to the others in the set, is that, due to how the neck extension works, he lacks the ball-jointed neck that the other three in the series got.  Instead, he’s just got a cut joint.  It’s not the end of the world, but does limit him a little bit.  Elongated Man’s sculpt was all-new, and it remained unique to this release.  It’s a pretty strong one, doing a respectable job of capturing that classic Ralph look.  I particularly like the head sculpt, goofy, cheesy grin, and all.  It just feels really appropriate for the character.  Elongated Man’s paint work is pretty decent.  It’s bright and colorful, which is the main effort for the design, so it works.  The application is clean, and I really like the glossy finish on the gloves and boots.  Elongated Man was packed with a JLA-labeled display stand, which was pretty standard for the time.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This set of figures, as well as a number of other DCD figures, hit around Christmas time in 2004, so I got a handful of them as gifts that year.  I was far more fixated on the Atom figure at the time, so he wound up being the one from this series I got on Christmas morning.  Elongated Man I actually made a point of buying for myself the week after Christmas, using a gift card I’d gotten for Cosmic Comix during the holiday.  I remember being quite excited to get him at the time, and he was a favorite of mine for a while.  I like him enough that I even snagged a spare over the years, just because.  To date, he’s still my favorite, and is probably the best version of the character overall.

#3080: Kilowog

KILOWOG

GREEN LANTERN: REBIRTH (DC DIRECT)

“The alien Kilowog was recruited into the Green Lantern Corps as a protector of the planet Bolovax Vik, and was killed by his former friend and ally Hal Jordan. Recently ressurected, Kilowog will play a key role in the re-formation of the Green Lantern Corps. The Kilowog action figure features multiple points of articulation and includes a display base.”

Despite the fact that the Green Lantern Corps is made up of a very, very, very large percentage of non-human members, it’s tricky for any of the non-human members to really hold the focus for too long.  I guess it’s inherently easier for humans to relate to humans.  Over the years, a few of the alien Lanterns have caught on a bit more than others, and, perhaps the most successful of the bunch is Kilowog, a character prominent not only in the comics, but also in most other media involving the Lanterns.  That also means his fair share of toy coverage, starting way back during the Rebirth tie-in days, back in 2005.  I’ll be taking a look at that particular figure today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Kilowog was released in the first series of DC Direct’s Green Lantern: Rebirth line.  This figure was Kilowog’s very first foray into the world of action figures, shortly followed by his JLU figure later that same year.  As with all of the figures in the set, he was designed to specifically tie-in with the “Rebirth” comic event, and as such he was sporting his updated design from the comics.  This brought him closer in-line with his animated appearances in the Justice League cartoon, which had served to revitalize the character for a larger audience.  So, it was certainly a sensible direction to take the character.  The figure stands 7 3/4 inches tall and he has 15 points of articulation.  His range of motion isn’t particularly amazing, but for a DC Direct offering, especially of the era, he’s not bad.  They were experimenting with a little extra articulation on this line in particular, so he’s got wrist and ankle joints, which were hardly standard at the time.  Kilowog sported an all-new sculpt, and it was one that would remain unique to this figure.  It’s a pretty darn good one, truth be told.  It’s a nice, hefty figure, befitting his larger stature nicely.  The face has a really solid level of detail, especially on the texturing.  It really adds a lot to the overall appearance, and helps the sculpt hold up even 17 years after the fact.  Kilowog’s paint work is pretty solid.  The metallic green and pearlescent white for the outfit really lend it that proper alien feel, and the skin tone, with its slight accenting, works very nicely.  Kilowog is packed with his power battery, which is a really sizable, as well as a Lantern symbol display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Kilowog is a figure I wanted from this series, even before it was released.  He was at the top of the list.  And then the series hit, and, much like last week’s Barda, he wound up being very hard to get ahold of.  I always hoped I might find one, but a reasonably priced one never presented itself to me.  When DC Universe Classics came along, I shifted my focus over to that one, but this one was always the one that got away.  Remember how I got that Barda figure?  Well, as it turns out, that collection had two of my personal DCD grails, because this guy was there, too.  I was actually pretty enthused, and, as with Barda, I was able to get him for a really good deal.  He’s a solid figure, and one that holds up really nicely, even all these years later.

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.

#3075: Big Barda

BIG BARDA

NEW GODS (DC DIRECT)

“Warrior goddess and Female Fury, Big Barda gives her heart and soul for the New Gods. After defecting from Darkseid’s elite army, Barda escapes to Earth with Mr. Miracle. Possessing superhuman strength, she’s virtually indestructible. An armoured warrior wielding a Mega-Rod, she can manipulate space and energy – and heal others.”

Hey, I haven’t reviewed anything from DC Direct since July of last year.  I guess I could maybe do something about that.  DCD initially found their footing doing a wider spread of DC characters, specifically the non-Batman and Superman characters that larger toy companies weren’t going to touch.  When Mattel expanded their license to a proper master DC license and launched DC Universe Classics, a much wider spreading line of DC characters, DCD’s focus shifted, in order to avoid any marketplace confusion.  They had been doing more artist-specific stuff for a little while by that point, but really leaned into it.  One of the lines to come out of that was a whole line based on Jack Kirby’s Fourth World characters.  It was a rather short-lived line, with only two assortments, but it was a pretty fun one, covering some of the bigger names from that little sub-set of the DC universe.  Today, I’m looking at one of the bigger (heh) contributions to the mainstream DC lexicon, Big Barda!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Big Barda was released in the second series of DCD’s New Gods line, alongside Metron, Kalibak, and Superman.  Yes, they lumped Superman into the New Gods line.  They needed a heavier hitter, I guess.  The figure stands 7 inches tall and has 20 points of articulation.  At this point in DCD’s run, they weren’t super posable or anything, but they were at least experimenting with a little more movement on some of their figures.  In general, the Kirby figures had a pretty decent set-up.  Barda’s sculpt was an all-new one, which remained unique to this figure.  She’s based on her fully armored appearance, which is honestly her best, and the one most worth making into toy form.  The sculpts for this whole line were directly based on Kirby’s illustrations of the characters, and to that end, Barda’s sculpt does a really good job of hitting the intended target.  Barda looks pretty much spot-on to Kirby’s drawings of her, and she’s got the right heft and stature for the character.  Additionally, the level of detailing on the armor is pretty sharp, and even the cape’s rather dynamic flow feels right for a Kirby drawing.  Even the articulation is pretty well worked in, all things considered, especially given that this is a DC Direct offering.  Barda’s paint work is actually quite nice.  The application is very clean, and she’s very bright, bold, and eye-catching.  All of the New Gods figures experimented a little more with line-work, and in Barda’s case that means for a little more contouring on the face, which works quite well.  Barda was packed with her Mega-Rod, which she has a little trouble holding, but which is otherwise a nicely sculpted piece, as well as a display stand, complete with Kirby Krackle dots and everything.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I remember being very excited for this line when it was announced, and I snagged the whole first series as soon as I could.  Between the two series, my interest kind of waned a little bit, and I was generally kind of meh on the second assortment line-up.  The only one I really wanted was Barda…who wound up being the only one I wasn’t able to find when they hit, so I just sort of passed on the whole set.  I’ve moved on over the years, but every so often a swath of DCD figures will come into All Time, and that was the case with Barda here, who came in with a mixed collection, and kind of slipped through the radar, allowing me to snag her for a far more reasonable price than usually.  She’s really the best Barda out there, and I’m really glad I finally got the chance to own one, even if it took a little while to get to me.

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.

#3073: Hush

HUSH

BATMAN: HUSH MAFEX (MEDICOM TOY)

Every so often, I like to jump into the world of imported toys, just to try out some of the finer things from time to time.  See how the other half lives, or something like that.  It’s a little tricky with some of them, given that the prices can get a bit insane on the domestic market, and things don’t always have a clear line of distribution.  A line that I’ve been intrigued by for some time is Medicom’s MAFEX line, their contribution to the 1/12 scale market.  Unfortunately for me, most of what I’ve been interested in has been of the Marvel persuasion, and those don’t have direct domestic distribution, making them pricier, and therefore less appealing.  I’ve been looking for a decent entry point, and I finally found a pretty good one.  That’s…not what I’m looking at today.  I’ll get to that.  What I *am* looking at today is Hush, based on his appearance in the self-titled arc from the comics.  I said don’t talk about it.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Hush is figure No. 133 in the MAFEX line-up, the fifth Batman: Hush figure, following the two color variations on Batman, Catwoman, and Superman.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 46 points of articulation.  Hush marks my first time messing with a MAFEX figure, so it’s the first time I’ve checked out the articulation scheme.  It’s a mix of a few different styles, most closely resembling Figuarts in how it’s laid out and implemented, but I found that the motion seemed a little more fluid, at least on this figure compared to the Figuarts I’ve picked up.  Also, in a rather amusing sort of a set-up, it should be noted that four of those points are on the pouches on his belt, which can be posed up, as if he’s mid-jump.  It’s such a minor thing, but it’s also kind of cool.  The only slightly weird thing is that it’s just the pouches on the belt proper, not the lower hanging ones.  Still, it’s a nice touch.  Otherwise, the range of motion is pretty impressive for the scale.  Hush’s sculpt is a totally unique one.  He’s based on his appearance in the comics, directly patterned on Jim Lee’s art from the books, much like the old DC Direct figures.  It does a really good job of capturing the Jim Lee stylings, and there’s a lot of really good small detail work.  The technical work is just really impressive.  Hush includes three different head sculpts.  Two of them are the full bandaged look, one with a calm expression, and the other an angrier look.  The heads are nicely detailed, and internally consistent in their detailing, as well as matching up pretty nicely with Lee’s illustrations of the character.  The third head, and by far my favorite, is a Jason Todd head, based on the famous reveal panel.  It’s a great sculpt, with a ton of character, and super well-suited to the body.  Given the bare neck, this was clearly the head that the body was sculpted specifically for, with the other two being more of a package deal.  Hush’s paint work is really nicely handled.  The application is really clean, and the colors are nice and bold.  There are no missing details, or any notable slop, and the whole thing just looks pretty slick.  Hush has an impressive selection of accessories, including the three previously mentioned heads, plus five pairs of hands (in fists, gripping, relaxed, open gesture, and blade holding), two handguns, a coin, a separate knife, two different insignias for the chest (one H and one R, depending on display option), as well as two different belts (again with the H and R set-ups), and a display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As I touched on in the intro, this figure isn’t the one that broke me on MAFEX, though he did come rather close.  No, that would be the Hush Nightwing, which is just too cool to pass up, and will be added to my collection just as soon as I can get him.  Of course, right after Nightwing was announced and I got my order in for him, this guy got traded into All Time used, giving the opportunity to mess with a MAFEX in hand, and also a slightly cheaper option for getting this one to go with that Nightwing I’m already down for.  I mean, it’s not that crazy to have the two grown up Robins, both from a rather formative comic book storyline for me, right?  Right.  So, after much hemming and hawing, I brought this guy home.  Was it the right call?  Simply put, yes.  This is a really nice figure, who really feels worth the heightened price point.  I can’t really afford to go all-in on a set of them at this price point, but I’m definitely even more excited for that Nightwing, and I’ll probably be picking up one or two other figures, as they do characters I have more draw to.

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.