#2724: John Blake

JOHN BLAKE

THE DARK KNIGHT RISES MOVIE MASTERS (MATTEL)

Man, remember when DC movies weren’t totally divisive and the subject of much ire between fandoms?  Me either.  But I do remember Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy, and there are certainly opinions about that one, aren’t there?  Personally, I break from the few agreed upon ideas about the trilogy, namely that I’ve never been that terribly impressed by The Dark Knight (not that I think it’s a *bad* movie by any stretch), and I actually quite like it’s rather divisive follow-up, The Dark Knight Rises.  Amongst the things that I really enjoy in Rises is Joseph Gordon Levitt’s turn as GCPD Detective John Blake, the closest thing this incarnation of the franchise got to a Robin (and as much as I enjoy the film, even I will admit that reveal was a little bit ham-fisted).  Mattel actually went pretty in-depth for their Movie Masters component to the film’s tie-in toys, covering most of the major players, John included.  I’m taking a look at him today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

John Blake was released in the third round of Mattel’s Dark Knight Rises Movie Masters figures, technically alongside Ra’s Al-Gul, though that implies that the two of them ever shared any shelf space at retail…or made it to retail at all, for that matter…This line was a little bit mismanaged to say the least.  The figure is just shy of 6 inches tall and he has 23 points of articulation.  As a Mattel product, especially from their movie lines, it’s probably not a huge surprise that his articulation doesn’t have the greatest range of motion.  In particular, the ab-crunch and elbows are quite restricted, not that any of that was surprising for this line.  Blake gets two distinct looks for the movie, his standard GCPD officer’s uniform, and the more dressed down attire he gets after being promoted to detective.  At the time, Mattel was doing pretty much everything they could to put as many of these guys as possible on the standard suit body, but despite that opted for Blake in his GCPD attire.  It’s his slightly more distinctive look, and the one used for most of the promotional stuff for the movie, so that made sense.  It also meant he got a surprising amount of new parts, with only the lower half of the figure using the suit body pieces.  The rest was new, and honestly not bad for Mattel’s usual output from this era.  The head’s got one of Mattel’s better likenesses for Movie Masters, and actually kind of looks like JGL.  He’s still perhaps a little on the cartoony side, but it’s pretty close.  His paint work is all pretty basic, but not bad.  It more or less gets the job done.  The hands are painted, rather than molded with makes them a little thick and devoid of detail, but it’s not terrible.  Blake was originally packed with part of the Bat Signal Collect-N-Connect scene, and that was it.  No character specific extras or anything, which feels kind of lazy.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I really wanted this figure when it was released, as I’d really enjoyed the character in the film, and I’m just generally a fan of Joseph Gordon Levitt as an actor.  Unfortunately, I never actually saw one at retail, nor did I even really see him on the secondary market, even for inflated pricing.  He was just rather uncommon.  I resigned myself to not have the figure, and kind of forgot about him.  That was until the same collection the got me yesterday’s BAT, also had this guy.  Huzzah, finally a John Blake!  Ultimately, he’s not really much to write home about, but he’s probably one of the best Movie Masters Mattel did during their tenure.

#2721: Hawkman

HAWKMAN

FIRST APPEARANCE (DC DIRECT)

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

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

THE FIGURE ITSELF

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

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

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

#2720: Bat-Tech Batman & The Joker

BAT-TECH BATMAN & THE JOKER

BATMAN: THE CAPED CRUSADER (SPIN MASTER)

So, did you guys here about that exciting new DC-related thing that dropped last week?  It was pretty big.  It had Batman and Joker, and some others as well from what I hear.  Lot of time in the making.  I am, of course, referring to the latest assortment of Spin Master’s Batman: The Caped Crusader, dubbed “Bat-Tech,” which gives us some new, teched-out variants of the main players.  What else could I possibly be talking about?  Amongst these teched-out variants are, unsurprisingly, Batman and Joker, who are sort of headlining this whole thing.  I’ll be taking a look at the two of them today!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Bat-Tech Batman and Joker are both part of fifth series of Spin Master’s The Caped Crusader line, which is the first official assortment of 2021.  The two of them both key into the whole “Bat-Tech” theme of this assortment, and the whole line has been slightly rebranded, with a new packaging set-up.  They’ve kept the same general look and feel, including the blind boxed accessories, but the whole thing is slightly more refined, and just generally different.

There are three different Batmen in the main assortment, but this one’s the one that officially carries the “Bat-Tech” name, and is really the one that most clearly evokes that wacky variant feel.  This particular Batman design doesn’t really have any direct ties to the comics that I know of, but instead does sort of a Tron-esque tech suit thing, which is mostly black, with some bright blue mixed in.  I dig it.  I dig it a lot.  The figure stands about 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 17 points of articulation.  I’ve had some issues with stuck joints on some of these guys previously, but I had no such issues for this guy, which I definitely appreciated.  He’s an all-new sculpt, rather than borrowing from one of the previous Batmen.  He’s slightly armored up, but in a different fashion than the two prior armored Batman designs.  This one’s definitely more streamlined, which fits well with the overall design.  Like the other caped figures in the line so far, Batman’s is cloth.  It seems to be a slightly sturdier material than prior capes, and generally hangs a little better than the slightly more paper-like material from previous releases.  He’s still got the hole in it, to keep with the line’s overall playability set-up.  Batman’s paint work is pretty basic and straight forward, but also his strongest asset.  It’s quite eye catching, and the application is generally pretty clean, without any notable slop or bleed over. Batman’s blind packed accessories consist of a winged back pack, an oversized batarang, and what looks to be a grenade launcher of some sort.  Mine are all in a clear blue; I don’t know if they have varied potential colors like prior releases, but the all blue certainly works for me; it looks kind of like they’re hard light constructs or something.

Joker has been a consistent fixture of the Caped Crusader line so far, turning up in just about every assortment.  It makes sense, him being Joker and all.  Like Batman, he gets wacky-variant-ized here, taking the classic Joker design of earlier figures, and sort of disheveling it a bit.  He’s 3 3/4 inches tall with 17 points of articulation, and like with Batman, I had no issues with stuck joints this time around.  Joker’s sculpt is a mostly new offering, although he does make use of the head from the prior Joker.  It’s sensible from a consistency stand point, so I can’t really knock it.  This Joker sculpt takes the prior, more classic and clean Joker, and sort of makes him look like he’s been in the midst of the action, picking things up as he goes.  He’s ditched his tie, and lost one of his shoes, replacing it with a stray boot.  He’s also added a few straps of pouches, as well as adding his own utility belt.  It’s a cool, sort of wasteland-looking Joker design, and definitely a lot of fun.  His paint work mostly keeps with the classic Joker color scheme, with the added details getting their own paint work…for the most part.  One of the straps goes unpainted, but the others are good to go.  The application gets a little fuzzy on a few of the edges, but generally looks pretty solid.  Joker’s secret weapons are a boxing-glove arm attachment (which is totally getting used with my GL figure), a laughing fish, and a little wind up chattering teeth bomb.  They’re all in a clear green, which makes a nice contrast for the blue with Batman, and I love how they’re all so well tied to the character.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Full disclosure: the two figures reviewed here were sent to me in exchange for a review courtesy of Spin Master, in order to help promote their figures in conjunction with the release of Zack Snyder’s Justice League.  Per Spin Master, The Bat-Tech collection features exciting, high-tech styles of figures to collect featuring a variety of 4-inch and 12-inch figures from the Batman universe, and they are available in stores now.

I’ve been supporting Spin Master’s DC stuff pretty much since day 1, and I have definitely been pulling for them to really succeed with this line, because everything I’ve gotten from them has been so fun.  With the Bat-Tech set-up, it really feels like they’re starting to find their footing with the brand, and are making it more their own thing.  Both of these figures are a lot of fun, and give us two pretty solid new designs for characters that we’re undoubtedly going to see crop up again and again.  The new play pattern really works, and I’m definitely going to be snagging other figures from this set as I find them.

#2717: Wonder Woman – Last Knight on Earth

WONDER WOMAN — LAST KNIGHT ON EARTH

DC MULTIVERSE (MCFARLANE TOYS)

“The world has been destroyed. The Super Heroes lost, and a new evil by the name of Omega has taken over what’s left. Now, 20 years in the future, Wonder Woman leads a faction of heroes and survivors living underground known as the New Amazons. Hiding from the world above in order to stay alive, Diana and her band of warriors must choose between retreating deeper beneath the Earth’s surface or fighting for a better tomorrow.”

Have I mentioned the Batman-centric nature of McFarlane’s DC output?  Yes.  Yes, I have.  As has everyone else.  Many times.  It’s not new or different, and at this point, none of us should be surprised by each subsequent Batman he adds.  Let’s just try to enjoy the few not-Batman figures we get mixed in, right?  After initially swearing off them, the latest assortment adds up to a Build-A-Figure, and is all based on Snyder and Capullo’s “Batman: The Last Knight on Earth.”  In the story, most of the other super heroes are dead, so there’s not a lot of room for others in the toys, but Wonder Woman serves as a notable player in the whole thing, and found herself included in the first line-up.  Dig it.  That’s gonna be the one I’m looking at.  Dig it again.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Wonder Woman is one of the four figures in the latest Build-A-Thing assortment of DC Multiverse, all patterned on “Last Knight.”  They were officially slated for the end of March, but starting showing up in a few places towards the end of February.  Wonder Woman and Scarecrow are the two lighter packed figures in the set, which makes sense thematically, I suppose.  The figure’s quite tall, and almost 7 1/2 inches tall, and she has 38 points of articulation.  At this point, the articulation scheme for the McFarlane DC figures is pretty set, so Wonder Woman kind of follows that set-up.  She’s got a pretty solid range of motion on most of the joints, and in general I found her easier to pose than most of the other McFarlane figures I’ve grabbed.  Wonder Woman’s sculpt is another all-new piece, patterned on Greg Capullo’s illustrations of the character from the book.  McFarlane’s no doubt got some experience translating Capullo’s art into three dimensions, so it does overall work out a bit better than, say, their go at Jim Lee’s style with Superman.  That being said, it’s not quite as faithful a recreation of Capullo’s art as the DCC figures from a few years back, and is definitely a bit more in line with McFarlane’s house style.  The figure seems to be an earlier-in-the-story Wonder Woman, since she’s lacking the scarring on her face.  Oddly, she’s also sporting some stubble on the non-mohawk portions of her head, which she never really has in-story.  Another symptom of that house style peaking through.  Overall, it’s not a bad piece of work.  She hasn’t had any unnecessary extra details added, apart from the stubble, and the costume seems to match well with Capullo’s design.  The general proportions, while certainly stylized, aren’t as wonky as some of the prior figures, and the detail work is pretty solid.  The texturing on the cape in particular is quite impressive.  That said, there’s some really rough flashing on the cape for my figure, which, given the ragged nature of the design, isn’t immediately noticeable, but is still really sloppy for a professionally produced figure.  On the plus side, her paint work is all pretty clean.  The base work’s all there and rather decent for the most part.  There’s some slight mismatch between the molded fleshtone that makes up the bulk of the figure, and the tiny bit that’s painted on the skirt piece, and I also question why they’ve molded the lower knee joints in flesh color instead of the darker red of the boots.  Otherwise, it’s nice work.  Wonder Woman is packed with her sword and a stand (which she needs, because she struggles to stand on her own), as well as the arms of the Bane Build-A-Figure, which I don’t have.  It’s a shame she didn’t get the Doctor Fate helmet as well, but I guess she’s got the basics.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I didn’t really intend to get this figure.  I mean, she’s got a decent look to her, and I was mildly intrigued, but not enough to justify the whole cost of purchase.  Max, on the other hand, was already planning to buy the other three, and decided to grab Wonder Woman to finish out the Bane figure.  He wasn’t really feeling Wonder Woman, so I ended up splitting the package with him, and took the Wonder Woman on her own.  She’s another one of those designs that’s really up McFarlane’s alley, and that results in her being another pretty strong figure.  And she’s not even a Batman.

#2714: Green Lantern

GREEN LANTERN

FIRST APPEARANCE (DC DIRECT)

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

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

THE FIGURE ITSELF

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

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

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

#2707: The Flash

THE FLASH

FIRST APPEARANCE (DC DRIECT)

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

THE FIGURE ITSELF

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

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

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

#2700: Batman

BATMAN

FIRST APPEARANCE (DC DIRECT)

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

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

THE FIGURE ITSELF

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

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

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

#2666: Martian Manhunter

MARTIAN MANHUNTER

DC C3 CONSTRUCTION (PLAY ALONG)

The vast majority of the DC C3 Construction line was Batman-related.  It’s not a shock, since Batman’s always been DC’s main squeeze, and they tend to go heavy on him in any untried territory.  However, they did also include a few not-Batman characters, all courtesy of tying in with Justice League, which had just wrapped up its two season run a year prior, and was moving onto Justice League Unlimited.  This, of course, still got us one more Batman, but at least it also gave us Superman, Flash, and today’s focus, the J’onn J’onzz, the Martian Manhunter.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Martian Manhunter was released as part of the “Mini Javelin” set, which was part of the second series of DC C3 Construction, which hit in early 2005.  Like the Mini Batmobile, this set was meant to be a smaller version of a more properly scaled Javelin, which was set to include GL, Hawkgirl, and Wonder Woman, but was ultimately scrapped.  So, instead, we got this set, which included this guy here and one of two different versions of Flash.  I’m just looking at Manhunter today.  He’s built on the basic C3 body, but still has one of the heads without peg-hole.  He gets a healthy helping of new parts, with add-ons for his head-piece, cape/torso, and the tops of his boots.  Ultimately, it’s a strange bit of give and take on the new parts.  It’s cool that he got so many, but ultimately I don’t know how well they handle the character.  The head piece seems a touch extraneous, especially given that there’s full detailing beneath it, allowing him to be displayed without.  Manhunter tends to have a somewhat pronounced brow, but this takes it a bit to the extreme.  The cape piece is nice, but is permanently attached to a bulked up torso piece.  Manhunter was depicted as larger than the rest of the team on the show, but this takes it a bit past that and makes it look more like J’onn has been enjoying too many Oreos.  The boots are nice in theory, but ultimately feel like they sit a bit short on the figure’s legs.  So, you know, it’s all kind of got issues.  Ultimately, the fully assembled product doesn’t look quite so bad, I suppose.  In terms of paint, J’onn sticks to the show’s color palette.  As much as I like how that looks on the show, it does wind up being a little on the drab side on this figure.  It’s not awful, I suppose, and the actual detail lines work quite well to define the character.  The face in particular seems quite right for J’onn.  Though these figures were little more than accessories themselves, J’onn actually got one for himself.  It was an alternate head piece, designed to look like his more natural Martian form.  Not a bad piece, though somewhat non-essential, so the fact that mine’s missing it isn’t the end of the world.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This set was definitely the most in-demand of the second assortment (the fact that the other two sets were quite extraneous bat-variants aided in that), and I never actually saw it at retail.  It only became harder to find once DCD did their own official DC Minimates and neglected to update J’onn, making this figure the only version of the character.  I wanted one for a while, but he was just always outside of my price range.  Back in 2019, when All Time got in a big Minimate collection, this was the one item I requested from the start, and I actually wound up getting him in exchange for staying late one night to help get all of the ‘mates processed for sale.  Given his rarity and price, getting him was a touch anti-climactic, I suppose, since he’s not a terribly impressive ‘mate in his own right.  That being said, as with a lot of the older ‘mates, I do enjoy the old charm of this one, and I’m glad I finally got one.

#2665: Dr. Fate

DR. FATE

SUPER POWERS (KENNER)

“Doctor Fate is the master of an ancient type of magic first brought to Earth before the dawn of man. Fate uses this magic to cast spells which allow him to fly, walk through walls, make himself invulnerable, and many other things.”

The heavy Super Friends-inspiration of Kenner’s Super Powers line, coupled with it being released right around the end of the bronze age, meant that the line’s heroic component was largely focused on the Justice League of America.  The League’s predecessors, the Justice Society of America, weren’t quite so fortunate when it came to the line-up.  There were, of course, a few overlapping members between the two, but just one single proper JSA member, Kent Nelson, better known as Dr. Fate!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Dr. Fate was released in 1985, as part of the second series of Super Powers.  He was the first and only JSA member added to the line, and would have remained so, even had the line continued past 1986.  Why exactly he was chosen for the line when there were no other plans for any other JSA-ers is anyone’s guess.  I guess they just thought he had a cool visual?  They weren’t wrong.  The figure stands 4 1/2 inches tall and he has 7 points of articulation.  His sculpt was all-new, and a pretty solid recreation of the classic Fate design.  He’s a touch stockier than Fate was usually depicted, but that was generally in keeping with the line’s style.  This is just Dr. Fate after a really good work-out, perhaps?  And he’s clearly not had time to let out his suit, which is why it’s so tight, clearly.  Whatever the case, the costume design is proper classic Fate through and through, and the helmet in particular is really cleanly rendered, and properly striking.  Like others in the line, the cape is a cloth piece.  It’s kinda hokey, but there’s a certain charm about it.  The paint work on the figure is clean, bright, and bold.  The paint on my particular figure has seen some slightly better days, but it’s not too bad overall, especially for a figure of its age.  Fate included no accessories, but he followed the line’s tradition of giving the figures “super powers,” in his case “Power Action Magic Spell Cast,” which raises the arms upward when his legs are squeezed.  A slightly weaker feature compared to others in the line, but generally not bad.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

In my review of Hawkman last week, I noted that he was one of my earliest Super Powers.  Dr. Fate is right there beside him, because he came to me on that same Christmas morning in ’00.  As Hawkman’s *sort of* a JSA figure, they were a pretty decent pair, all things considered, and no doubt contributed to my early love of the JSA and their adventures (though, it’s worth noting that he wasn’t even my first Dr. Fate figure; that honor went to the DCD figure, released earlier that same year).  The figure’s another winner for the line, apart from his lack of compatriots, but I’d rather have just him than not at all.

#2659: Nightwing

NIGHTWING

DC C3 CONSTRUCTION (PLAY ALONG)

The DC C3 Construction line was divided into two segments: cartoon-based and comic-based.  In both cases, the products were mostly based on current iterations of the characters.  In the case of the comics stuff, they were largely focused on what was going on at that moment in the Batman side of the DCU, which meant a bat-family that was made up of Tim Drake as Robin, Cassandra Kaine as Batgirl, and Dick Grayson as Nightwing.  It’s that last one that’s going to be my focus today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Like last week’s Batman, Nightwing was released in April of 2005, as part of the “Mini Flyers” assortment of DC C3 Construction, which would prove to be the line’s final assortment.  He was part of the very cleverly named “Nightwing Mini Flyer” set.  Man, how did they come up with those craaaaaazy names?  Nightwing was patterned on his late ’90s/early ’00s costume, which is ultimately his most memorable and lasting design.  The figure is built on the fully upgraded C3-style Minimate body with the shorter style feet *and* the peghole on the head, to allow for better hold on the hair piece.  He makes use of add-ons for his hair, wrist cuffs, and boot pieces.  The wrist cuffs were previously used on Power Man, and would go on to be used on so many other figures, but the hair and boots were new to this guy, and would remain unique to this release.  Like Robin, his hair piece is made of a much softer plastic than usual.  That said, with the peg on the piece, it has a lot less trouble staying in place.  In terms of paint work, Nightwing’s generally pretty decent, but is not without a few missteps.  Notably, on this particular copy, the face is printed a little bit high on the head, which makes him look like he’s got a big chin going on.  The actual face looks pretty good though, as is the detailing on the torso.  The only thing I’d really like to see changed would be how dark the blue is, since it’s easy to miss it on the black plastic.  Of note, that was one thing that the DCD release ended up changing.  Nightwing was packed with his pair of Eskrima sticks, which were their own new mold, albeit one that was very similar to the mold used for the Daredevil billy club pieces.  They were kinda small, but it was nice to get something for him.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When the Mini Flyers originally hit, Nightwing was the one I was most interested in, due to that whole “being a big Nightwing fan” thing that I’ve got going on.  I wound up getting him at the time, but wound up losing most of his parts over the years.  Thankfully, when the other C3 figures came into All Time, so did he.  He’s pretty decent overall.  There are some issues that the DCD release would fix, but there are also some parts that this guy did a little better, so it winds up as something of a toss-up between the two.