#1859: Green Lantern

GREEN LANTERN

DC SUPER HEROES (MEGO)

Back in the day, Mego were the first company to really offer up substantial action figure product for either the Marvel or DC super heroes.  Sure, Ideal Toys had briefly touched on them for their Captain Action line, but that was more as an augment to an established thing, not their own thing outright.  Mego gave them the treatment they deserved, and because of that, they’ve both become tentpole properties within the toy market.  Of course, now that Mego is back around, DC and Marvel are both tied up with a multitude of other manufacturers.  DC in particular has been getting consistent Mego-style coverage from Figures Toy Company, but there was still some room in the market for the the over 12” and under 18” market.  It’s a pretty specific niche, but Mego was there, offering up a rather classic selection of DC characters, including, for the first time ever as an official Mego product, Green Lantern!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Green Lantern is part of the second series of Mego’s DC Super Heroes line, alongside Superman, Batgirl, and Poison Ivy.  Hal is sporting his classic ‘70s appearance, which is the correct era for a genuine vintage GL, had Mego released one back in the day.  The figure stands 14 inches tall and has 18 points of articulation.  All of these figures appear to be patterned after the body of the Mego-designed and Denys Fisher-released “Power Action” Superman figure from the late ‘70s.  It’s a respectable starting point.  It’s similar to the standard Mego body, but with slightly tweaked proportions, giving it a generally more heroic stature, which works nicely for the likes of the DC Super Heroes.  It’s also got some extra articulation in the knees, which is fun.  GL gets an all-new head sculpt, which is actually quite nice and surprisingly detailed.  I’d love to see it shrunk down for an 8-inch body.  GL also gets a unique right hand, sporting his lantern ring, as has become the standard practice for such figures.  His costume is a three piece affair, made up a spandex jumpsuit and a pair of plastic boots.  The body suit is fairly well tailored to the body; I appreciate the use of different materials stitched together, rather than just silk-screening.  It makes it look a lot cleaner.  Hal’s paintwork is mostly confined to the head, which is nicely applied, sharp, and sporting some quite subtle accent work.  GL is packed with his power battery, which is another fairly standard thing for him.  He can’t really hold it, but it’s nicely sculpted, so there’s that.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I passed on the first series of DC Super Heroes due to not really having an undying need for any of the characters offered.  Of course, Green Lantern’s my boy, so when he was shown off for Series 2, I knew I’d be tracking one down.  Okay…well, maybe not personally, because it was actually my dad that tracked him down for me.  He’s goofy, he’s really big, and he’s kinda awesome.  I don’t know if I’ll be really investing in this whole line, but I’m certainly very happy with GL.

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#1651: Big Barda

BIG BARDA

DC UNIVERSE CLASSICS (MATTEL)

“Born on the evil, warlike planet Apokolips, Barda was specially trained in all forms of combat by Granny Goodness. However, she fell in love with Scott Free, a child of peaceful New Genesis raised on Apokolips, and used her warrior skills to help him escape to Earth. Barda accompanied Scott, and they married after he assumed the name of Mister Miracle, world’s greatest escape artist. Since then, she has fought evil alongside her husband, both of them serving in the Justice League of America.”

When it came to DC Universe Classics‘ line-up, there was definitely a penchant for leaning heavily on Jack Kirby’s Fourth World creations.  This is something of a carry over from Kenner’s Super Powers, a line that inspired much of the DCUC line.  One prominent Fourth World member that was absent from Super Powers was Big Barda, who made her debut rather early into DCUC‘s run.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Big Barda was released in Series 7 of DC Universe Classics.  There were two versions of the character available: with helmet and without.  As you may have pieced together from the photo at the top of the review, this one’s the un-helmeted release, which, despite not being a standard look for the character at all, ended up as the easiest of the two versions to find.  Why the decision was made to make it two separate figures, rather than just tossing in the alternate look as an accessory is anyone’s guess, but it’s just the first of the problems that plague this figure.  The figure stands 6 inches tall.  I’m gonna say that again: 6 inches tall.  So, for those of you playing the FiQ home game, double-checking the stats up against prior players reviews, you’ll note that Barda is shorter than the DCUC Mr. Miracle, despite Barda being consistently depicted as a good half foot taller than Scott, and having, you know, “Big” in her name. Kind of an issue.  What’s especially odd about this is the fact that Barda has a completely unique sculpt…so, there’s really no reason for her to be the same size as all of the other female figures.  There’s legitimately no good reason for Mattel to have so badly underscaled Barda.  Apart, of course, from the looming “they’re Mattel and thereby must suck at everything” bit they’ve got going on.  And even from an internal standpoint, she’s still really off, because her arms and legs are really quite scrawny, again, in sharp contrast to that “big” descriptor.  How did nobody along the whole process stop and go “wait, something’s not right here.”  Or maybe they just thought it was an ironic nickname?  Like “Einstein” or “tiny”?  That seems like an appropriately Mattel thing to do, I guess.  If there’s one redeeming aspect to the figure, it’s the paint.  It’s from a time when Mattel was still kind of trying at such things, so she actually has some pretty solid accenting work, especially on things like the chainmail on the arms and legs, where it really helps bring out what few strengths the sculpt actually has.  In terms of accessories, Barda was rather light.  She has her staff and one of Atom Smasher’s arms, and she can’t even hold her staff all that well.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

No super exciting story about acquiring this figure.  A friend of mine bought this figure thinking there was a helmet included, and upon discovering no helmet was included, she handed it off to me.  The sans-helmet figure wasn’t my first choice, and I mostly just kept her because I wanted to finish my Atom Smasher.  She’s a flawed figure.  I can’t really get past that.  On the plus side, with the introduction of DC Icons and its rather diminutive nature, I at least have somewhere to put her.  Yay?

#1824: Superman – Quick Change

SUPERMAN — QUICK CHANGE

SUPERMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES (KENNER)

“Danger arises in an instant – just the amount of time Clark Kent needs to transform himself into Superman, the Man of Steel.”

Following up on the success of Batman: The Animated Series, the creative team moved onto DC’s next big offering, Superman.  Superman: The Animated Series wasn’t quite the smash success its predecessor was, but it’s remained my personal favorite of the bunch.  Sadly, it wasn’t quite as well treated by merchandising.  It got its own line of figures from Kenner, mostly made up of variants of the main character.  I’m looking at one of those today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Quick Change Superman was one of the handful of Superman variants from the first series of Superman: The Animated Series from Kenner.  He’s the second of two Superman variants in this first series that could pass for a standard Superman…in one configuration, at least.  The figure stands 5 inches tall and has 5 points of articulation.  The mechanism that allows his “quick change” feature means he has no neck articulation, but he still has the waist movement, which puts him ahead of most figures of the same stylings.  The basic figure is actually rather similar to the Capture Net Superman.  The posing of his hands is swapped, and the cape is cloth, rather than plastic, but otherwise he’s the same basic set-up, with the same strengths and weaknesses as that figure.  As a whole, a pretty decent offering.  The paint also matches pretty closely with the Capture Net offering, but my QC Superman is from later in the run than my CN, so he’s actually got eyes this time, which certainly looks far better.  Of course, mine’s also taken a bit more of a beating, so I guess it’s kind of a wash.  To facilitate his quick change feature, he’s got four clip-on pieces: a head/torso combo, one for each of his legs, and a backpack piece that clips onto the torso.  The overall end appearance is of Clark Kent, with a polo shirt, khakis, and a back-pack.  Definitely a different look than we usually see for Clark.  Maybe he’s gone hiking or something?  It’s certainly better than most attempts at Bruce Wayne.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Quick Change Superman was the first figure I got from this line, not long after getting the show’s premiere episodes on VHS, so I was pretty pumped to find him.  It was on a late-night trip to Toys R Us with my dad, while my Mom was out of town for a bit.  I remember that I got this figure and the 1960s Batman: The Movie on VHS, and my Dad and I sat up and watched the movie while I opened the figure.  He remained my standard Superman for a very long while, and even now he’s definitely a favorite of mine.

#1813: Hawk & Dove

HAWK & DOVE

JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED (MATTEL)

Jeez, when are the Teen Titans going to stop masquerading as the Justice League?  First Cyborg, now these guys?  Okay, actually, first these guys, by a little bit…unless we’re going to count Super Friends…but then it’s actually first Robin….I’m getting sidetracked.

For Justice League Unlimited’s expansive roster, the creators actually searched just about every corner of the DC Universe for characters not otherwise tied up.  While most of the Titans characters were tied up in their show, for whatever reason, Hawk and Dove weren’t, so they got tapped for Unlimited, getting their main focus in the appropriately titled “Hawk and Dove.”  They also got some figures out of it, which would end up being the very first figures of the pair.  Not too shabby at all!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Hawk and Dove were released in the second round of Justice League Unlimited figures, in a three pack that was rounded out by a re-issue of Wonder Woman.  Given her prominent role in the duo’s eponymous episode, she was a decent choice to pair off.  But, she was just a slight tweak on a character I already had, so I’ve subsequently gotten rid of her.

HAWK

First up, it’s Hank Hall, aka Hawk.  The older and gruffer of the two, he’s also voiced by Fred Savage, of Wonder Years and Princess Bride fame.  Pretty nifty!  The figure stands 4 3/4 inches tall and has 5 points of articulation.  Hawk was built on JLU’s larger male body, which was a retooling of the Superman base.  It’s a decent fit for Hawk, especially as he’s depicted in the show.  It’s worth noting that, the way the pieces work out, Hawk actually ends up with more new parts than most in this line.  He’s got a unique head, of course, but also has a slightly tweaked torso and arms, which allow for the attachment of his “cape” and gloves.  The cape piece I get needing a unique piece for, but the arms are a little surprising, given this line’s penitent for just painting details on.  Of course, I’m certainly not complaining.  Hawk’s paintwork is pretty straightforward and clean.  The red matches the show, and pairs well with the white, presenting an all-around nice looking figure.

DOVE

Hank’s younger brother Don took up the mantle of Dove…at least he was replaced by Dawn Granger following Don’s death during Crisis.  Convenient that they were able to find someone with such a similar name, huh?  On the show, Don was played by Jason Hervey, Fred Savage’s on-screen brother in The Wonder Years.  Family reunion!  Dove is built on the skinny male body, retooled from the Flash body.  It’s definitely a perfect match for Dove’s build from the show.  While Hawk got a bunch of new parts, Dove only gets a new head sculpt.  Fortunately, it’s a really strong sculpt—a pitch-perfect match for his animation model.  Dove’s paintwork is similar to Hawk’s, as you would expect.  It’s also cleanly applied, and the white is thick enough to not have any bleed-through from the blue plastic, which definitely shows some quality work on Mattel’s part.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

“Hawk and Dove” is one of my favorites amongst the earliest episodes of Unlimited, so I was slightly bummed when they were absent from the first assortment.  Their presence in the second series was definitely a plus.  As luck would have it, they were the first set I found, at a Walmart on the way back from a family vacation.  Both of the figures included are pretty strong, definitely amongst the best Mattel produced in this line.

#1795: Ascending Knight Batman

BATMAN — ASCENDING KNIGHT

ONE: 12 COLLECTIVE (MEZCO)

Ooooh, it’s time for me to go down the One:12 Collective rabbit hole again!

I love a good toy, and there’s no denying that Mezco’s recent star-studded line of mixed-media 6 inch figures is full of some pretty darn good toys.  Of course, they’re also pretty darn expensive toys, too, and I can’t really throw quite as much money at them as some people seem to be doing.  Nevertheless, I’ve been looking at their offerings in little dribs and drabs here and there.  Today, I look at another, and a fairly recent one at that.  It’s Ascending Knight Batman!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Ascending Knight Batman was released in the spring of this year, as part of Mezco’s One:12 Collective line.  There have already been a handful of Bat-variants in the line (hey, the guy sells toys; can’t blame Mezco for cashing in on that), but he’s notable for being the first of the Batman figures to be a Mezco original design, albeit one inspired by outside elements.  Like Greg Capullo’s Zero Year suit, the Ascending Knight is a re-imagining of Batman’s first appearance design, through a more modern lens.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has over 30 points of articulation.

Ascending Knight Batman continues the One:12 trend of two different heads with each release.  The first is the more standard of the two, being your usual masked Batman, stern expression, piercing glare, and all.  This is where the biggest Detective #27 influence comes in, mostly via the distinctive curved shaping of the ears.  It’s sharp, it’s clean, and it’s super sleek.  It’s also a very specific look, divergent from your basic Batman, which is honestly kind of refreshing.  The paintwork is clean and bold, and I particularly like the super shiny sheen on the whites of the eyes.  The second head gives us an unmasked look at Bruce Wayne.  It goes for more of the suave debonaire sort of look, rather than the more battle-hardened appearance we’ve seen on other unmasked Waynes.  It fits pretty well with the “early in his career” take that this figure is offering.  I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m getting something of a Jason Isaacs vibe from the head; not where my mind usually goes for Batman, but it works reasonably well for this particular figure.  Like the masked head, this one has very clean application for the paint; I’m happy they’re keeping the molded flesh tones for most of these figures; it definitely gives them a more lifelike appearance.

Being from an earlier time in his career, this Batman is built on a smaller body than the previously-reviewed Dark Knight Returns version.  I believe it’s the same basic body that was used on Space Ghost, though it’s a little hard to tell, since the costume doesn’t come off.  Said costume is another mixed-media affair.  The main body suit and cape are cloth, though neither is the straight spandex construction like on DKR Bats and Space Ghost.  The body suit looks to have started that way, but there’s a rather complex overlay of rubberized painted elements, giving the suit a more kevlar-like-armored-appearance.  It’s still all shades of grey, as it should be, but there’s an extra level of flavor added by this method.  The cape is a heavy pleather piece.  Apart from the material, it’s cut rather similarly to the DKR Batman.  The pleather certainly looks cool, but its extra rigidity means it can be a little more difficult to work with when posing.  The cloth parts of his costume are augmented by a healthy helping of sculpted plastic parts.  The cape is held in place by a sculpted neck piece, which sits atop it, and helps create a better flow to the masked head when it’s in place.  There’s a sculpted logo as well, which plugs into the front of his chest.  It not only makes the logo stand out a bit more, but it also keeps the costume clinging a little closer to the torso.  For his earliest appearances, Batman had a distinctly differently-styled utility belt, which has been translated to this figure’s belt, albeit with a more modernized twist, and tons of great little technical details.  On the downside, the belt doesn’t seem to want to stay closed, at least on the figure I’m reviewing, so it comes loose fairly frequently.  The costume is topped off with some swanky boots and gloves.  The boots are interesting, as they’re standard combat boots, laces and all, but  you can see where Bruce has slightly modified the very tops, giving them that distinctive peak that his boots always had; it’s a fun real-world touch.  Perhaps the most distinctive and memorable part of the original Batman design, when compared to later iterations, are the gloves, which only went up to his wrists and were very definitely purple.  This figure doesn’t have those.  Instead, he gets sort of an amalgamated design, which still features the shorter appearance, but keeps the more traditional black coloring, as well as trowing in a par of the wrist blade/scallops he always had in later years.  It’s a change that works a bit better with this incarnation of the costume, while still maintaining the overall spirit of the original.

Ascending Knight Batman is packed with a sizable selection of accessories.  In addition to the previously mentioned unmasked head, he also includes seven interchangeable hands (in pairs of fists, open, and beatarang holding, as well as a right hand for his grappling gun), a grappling gun with fully retracted hooks, extend hooks, and a hook with a line attached to it, a small cross bolt of some sort, a bat-brass knuckles looking thing, a display stand (with flight attachment, and a set of armature for displaying the cape extended), and 10 batarangs.  That’s quite an assortment.  Admittedly, a lot of it’s stuff that seems more suited to being laid out as a cool armory display, and less suited to actual use with the figure.  The hands are by far the most useful, and I can see the grappling gun getting a decent amount of use, especially with this design.  The batarangs are definitely cool, but 10 of them almost seems excessive.  But who am I to complain about getting *more* accessories?  The cape attachment for the stand is fine if you want to just set this guy up in a free fall sort of display, but after spending about an hour fiddling with the  one included with DKR Bats, I didn’t personally find the end results on this one to be worth the hassle.  The option being present is certainly appreciated, though.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

After missing out on the DKR Batman and not having much interest in any of the DCEU-related offerings, this guy is really the first Mezco Batman to catch my eye.  I’ve always been something of a sucker for the First Appearance Batman look, and this is undoubtedly a fun reimagining.  I don’t know that I can say this figure quite has the same raw fun factor of the DKR Batman (that one set a seriously high bar to clear, believe me), but he does come pretty close.

Like the last One:12 Collective Batman I reviewed, this one’s not actually mine.  He was loaned to me for review by my friends over at All Time Toys. If you’re interested in owning him for yourself, he can be purchased from their store front.  And, if you’re looking for other cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay Store.

#1794: Bookworm

BOOKWORM

BATMAN ’66 (FUNKO)

There was a time when any Batman ’66 product at all was something fans dreamed about.  Who’d have ever guessed we might have too much of it?  Well, I guess that’s a highly subjective take on things, isn’t it?  Perhaps I’m a little jaded about the whole thing.  See, when Mattel launched their Batman ’66 line, I was thrilled beyond belief, and preorder everything in the initial assortments.  And then I actually got the figures and…well, they were kind of garbage.  The line failed, what with the figures being kind of garbage and all.  In its stead we’ve gotten all sorts of stuff.  Pops, Hot Toys figures, Quarter Scale figures, Megos, etc.  All possessing their own strengths and weaknesses.  Towards the tail end of it all, Funko came in with a 3 3/4 inch line, which showed a lot of promise.  Sadly, its weakness was one of timing; it hit shelves a few years after collectors had been burned out by everything else.  As such, it too is another failed line, with an incomplete assortment of characters, focusing more on the obscure than the major.  Hence why we have no Joker, Penguin, or Catwoman, but we managed to get today’s offering, Bookworm.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Bookwork is part of the first, and only, series of Funko’s Batman ’66 line, one of the line’s many more obscure rogues.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 11 points of articulation.  The improved articulation on these figures is still very much appreciated, and Bookworm himself is far less affected by the lack of hip hinges than Batgirl was.  Like Batgirl, Bookworm takes the retro feel of the ReAction line and dials it back just a bit, resulting in a better overall figure that still pays homage to a more vintage style.  Apart from some slight weirdness where the hips and the bottom of the jacket intersect, his sculpt is really quite good.  In particular, I really love the head, especially his glasses.  Glasses are hard to do at all on toys, even more so at a small scale like this.  They could have just sculpted the rims right onto his face and done it all with paint, but they didn’t and the figure is all the better for it.  His head doesn’t have too much of actor Roddy McDowall’s likeness, but given how little of his face is actually visible here, it’s not like he looks unlike McDowall, so I’d say it’s close enough not to hold the figure back.  The figure’s paint is a little on the drab side, being mostly variations of brown.  This is true to the show, though, and at least the application is clean.  The glasses again are the best part for me, with clear lenses *and* cleanly painted rims.  Bookworm is, appropriately, packed with a book, which his right hand has been sculpted to properly hold.  That was a nice change, since Batgirl was unable to hold her accessory.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I have to admit: I was part of the problem.  When they were new, I bought exactly one of Funko’s Batman ’66 figures.  I really liked Batgirl a lot, and was interested in getting more, but after the whole debacle with Mattel, I wanted to see more of what the line had to offer before really jumping on board.  During the TRU liquidation process, I found poor Bookworm, all by himself, package smashed to hell.  I felt sorry for him, so home with me he came.  And then there was the months of waiting to open him, because boy did I pick up a backlog of figures over the summer.  Now that I’ve finally opened him, I’m really happy I got one, but also very sad I didn’t support this line earlier, because Bookworm is a very good figure. 

#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.

#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.