#2784: Mantis

MANTIS

SUPER POWERS (KENNER)

To fill out Super Powers during its second and third years, Kenner fell back on Jack Kirby’s cast of Fourth World characters as an expansion to the otherwise heavy-hitter focused line.  Rather than adapting, say, the Legion of Doom, and continuing the first year’s Super Friends inspiration, the Justice League and their allies faced down Darkside and his forces from Apokolips, which was actually a fairly unique idea at the time (less so these days, I suppose).  In addition to bringing the characters into the line, DC and Kenner also brought in the King himself, Jack Kirby, to provide some new designs for the characters.  Some of the designs were more minor reworks, but some of them were pretty major.  On the “almost entirely different” side of things, we had Mantis, todays focus.  Let’s have a look!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Mantis was added to Kenner’s Super Powers line in 1985, as part of the line’s second year.  He was one of the six Fourth World characters featured in ’85, and is probably the most minor of them, which is usually Mantis’ lot in life.  The figure stands 4 1/2 inches tall and he has 9 points of articulation.  Mantis was unique in the line, gaining extra articulation at the wrists, which none of the others got.  Why he got these extra joints is anyone’s guess, but they’re cool, and I’m certainly not going to complain.  Mantis’s all-new sculpt depicted an all-new design for the time.  Rather than the spandex-clad design from his comics appearances, he got a robotic armored design, which also played up his bug-like nature a fair bit more.  It’s a more visually interesting appearance, and so drastically different from his usual look that it might as well be an all-new character (something the line would explore a bit further the following year).  Whatever the case, it’s a cool design, and it results in a pretty nifty looking figure, with a lot of really fun little design elements worked in.  He’s got a very clean, futuristic feel about him.  His paint work follows the standard for the line, with bright and bold color work.  The green and yellow’s a really appealing set-up, and it works well with the sculpt.  Mantis’s action feature is a “Power Action Pincer Thrust.”  When his legs are squeezed, his arms move opposite directions, which is kinda nifty.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve never had much of an attachment to Mantis in the comics, and I blame that squarely on this figure.  Why?  Because in my youth, spending time staring at all the Super Powers figures I didn’t yet own on the Super Powers Archive, I really grew to like this guy.  When I really got into reading the Fourth World stuff, I was honestly a little let-down by Mantis’s less unique design.  Mantis represents the last Super Powers figure I actively sought out in my youth, before taking a break from the line.  I got him at Baltimore Comic Con, as part of a haul that also included a Kenner Aliens Bishop, a ReSaurus Pops Racer, and a Mummies Alive Hunter Jakal.  It was a weird haul, but a very me haul.  Despite my general lack of care for Mantis himself as a character, I still really like this particular figure, and I think he’s one of the most inventive figures in the line.

#2777: Lex Luthor

LEX LUTHOR

SUPER POWERS (KENNER)

“Lex Luthor The Sinister Scientist, Possesses Warsuit, a battle outfit designated by an ancient super-scientific alien civilization, and modified with Luthor’s own genius. Luthor is capable of designing incredible weaponry for use against Superman.”

What good are super heroes without some enemies to fight?  Generally, kind of bored, I guess.  Like, it gives them some time to catch up on their chores around the house, and such, I’d imagine.  But most kids aren’t looking to have their Superman figure sweeping up and doing his laundry.  No, they want action!  Let’s give that Superman a rich bald guy to beat up on!  Fortunately, Kenner had our backs, with resident DC rich bald guy, Lex Luthor!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Lex Luthor was released in the first series of Kenner’s Super Powers line, where he was one of the four villainous characters included in the debut line-up.  Luthor had been rocking the green and purple jumpsuit look for several years up to this point, but he’d just swapped out for the powered armor Warsuit seen here a year prior to the figure’s release.  The figure stands 4 1/2 inches tall and he has 7 points of articulation.  His sculpt is another unique piece, and made for a quite nice recreation of the armor as seen in the comics.  The detail work on the technical elements of the suit is pretty well-rendered, and makes him a slightly more visually interesting figure than he might be were he sporting the old jump-suit.  The upper portion of the armor is actually designed to be removed (though on my figure it’s a little too fragile for me to want to chance actually taking it off), which adds an extra level of depth, as well as an extra look for the figure, should you want a less armored version of Lex.  The paint work on Luthor follows his usual green and purple, although the purple does err a bit more on the side of magenta, perhaps to help him be a bit more distinct from the Joker figure included in the same assortment.  The paint work is, like most of the line, very bold and bright, which is always a plus.  I also quite like the little insignia on the front of his armor.  Lex’s included action feature is his “Power Action Nuclear Punch,” which, like a lot of the features for the line, translates to “when you squeeze his legs, his arms move up and down.”  It’s not quite as good for him as other features in the line, but it’s unobtrusive, so it’s not much of a complaint.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

After being pretty invested in the line for a few years, I fell out of collecting Super Powers for several years, right around my late teens, going into my college years.  I was brought back to them when I went through a couple rough months early in my college career, and, after a particularly bad night, my dad dug my figures out of the box they’d been in out in the garage, and brought them to me, bringing up that collecting them was something that had made me rather happy.  So, I jumped back into picking them up, and Luthor wound up as my first purchase after my return to collecting them, largely due to him being more on the affordable side.  Ultimately, the figure itself isn’t one of my favorites or anything, but he does hold some significance at least.

#2770: Robin

ROBIN

SUPER POWERS (KENNER)

What good’s Batman without his trusty sidekick?  Well, classically, a very lonely, lonely hero indeed.  So, in an effort to not let him be too lonely, toy companies do tend to produce at least one Robin to go along with most Batmen.  Such was the case with Kenner’s Super Powers, which took advantage of Robin’s placement amongst the pseudo Justice League line-up of the Super Friends in order to include him early on in the line’s run, with a figure I’m taking a look at today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Robin was part of the first series of Super Powers in 1984.  Dick Grayson had given up the mantle in the comics at this point, and with his successor Jason Todd taking up the title the prior year.  Dick even took on his Nightwing name the same year as this figure’s release.  However, all of this was still a recent enough development that Dick was still more clearly associated with the identity, hence the figure’s bio still identifying him as Dick, and him very clearly being based on a slightly later career Grayson.  The figure stands just under 4 1/2 inches tall and he has 7 points of articulation.  He’s got that same articulation set-up as the other figures; if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.  Like last week’s Flash figure, Robin marks another really noticeable change in build, being demonstrably smaller and less built up than the other heroes featured in the first series.  It actually makes him look a bit more like a teenager (albeit a very athletic one), which is definitely a plus.  The overall design for the character looks pretty decent; the face definitely follows the Super Friends look for him, which certainly works well for the character.  His outfit is nicely detailed as well, with some rather nice work on the scaled shorts in particular.  Robin’s cape is, like the rest of the line, cloth, though he’s also got the collar to his cape sculpted onto his torso.  It makes him look  a little bit goofy, I suppose, with the plastic clip in the cape sitting above it, but it’s not terrible.  Robin’s paint work is pretty straight forward for Robin.  All of the basics are covered, and he’s bright and eye-catching.  The hair and the tips of the feet are definitely the most prone to wear on this guy, but not quite as bad as, say, Flash’s nose.  Robin’s action feature is his “Power Action Karate Chop.”  Squeezing his legs brings his right arm down.  It works well with the sculpted pose on the hand, and feels pretty well-matched to the character.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Robin, like Flash and Superman before him, was a character who went through an upgrade in my Super Powers collection, since my first one was actually the Toy Biz release, which is probably one of the closest matches, honestly.  That one, which I got from a Balticon dealer’s table during a trip with my dad, was ultimately replaced by the proper Kenner release I reviewed here, when I fished him out of a loose figure bin at Baltimore Comic Con a few years later.  Whichever figure you’re looking at, this is really the best Dick Grayson Robin figure out there, and fits with Super Powers’ overall quintessential feel once again.

#2763: The Flash

THE FLASH

SUPER POWERS (KENNER)

“Flash is the fastest man alive. Can run at super-speed. Can vibrate his body so quickly as to be immaterial, so that bullets pass through him, or can go through walls. Can also move so fast he becomes invisible. Can run on water.”

Despite the namesake being one of DC’s earliest heroes, and this particular iteration being the character that ushered in the Silver Age at DC, The Flash was nevertheless, rather conspicuously missing from DC’s earliest forays into the world of action figures.  He wouldn’t get his toy due until Kenner’s Super Powers, where he at least was not only finally included into toy form, but was also in the line’s inaugural year.  Way to go Kenner!  Let’s look at that figure today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Flash was included in Kenner’s first assortment of Super Powers in 1984, debuting alongside most of the rest of the core Justice League line-up.  Since Barry was still the current Flash at the time, the figure was very definitely based on him, in his look that more or less remained unchanged from his very first appearance in Showcase.  The figure was one of the shortest in the line, at a little under 4 1/2 inches tall, and he sported the standard 7 points of articulation.  Barry was typically depicted as a little bit on the shorter side compared to some of the other members of the team, so this slightly smaller stature fit the character, and also helped to keep the slightly more diverse physical characteristics of the line’s take on the heroes.  His sculpt also depicts as being much more lithe than his teammates, with notably narrower shoulders than the other male heroes.  It definitely helped to place emphasis on his legs and his build as a runner, which is very appropriate for the character.  His face has a nice, friendly smile on it; most of the heroes had a generally friendly expression, but Flash’s is very definitely a smile.  And it’s not one of Wally’s more sly grin’s, either; this is very definitely Barry’s goofy scientist type of smile.  I really like it.  Flash’s costume elements are largely sculpted, which is certainly impressive.  Perhaps the coolest little touch is the inclusion of the treads on the bottoms of his feet.  That’s an area that usually gets left smooth, but not on this guy.  It’s a very nice attention to detail.  The figure’s paint was pretty basic.  There’s not exactly a ton of details to be had, but he was, like the rest of the line, bold and colorful.  I like that.  Unfortunately, Flash is also a figure very prone to paint wear over time, specifically on his nose and chin, as can be seen on my figure.  I’ve actually had three of this guy over the years, and every one of them had the exact same wear.  Flash had no accessories, but he did include his own action feature, dubbed “Power Action Lightning Legs”.  When you squeeze his arms, his legs kick back and forth, in a sort of a reversal of the other figures.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

A proper Kenner Flash was actually one of the later additions to my early Super Powers figures, which is amusing, because it’s actually Flash’s fault I was introduced to Super Powers in the first place.  When I was first getting into collecting in the ’90s, Flash figures were hard to come by (the Total Justice one had just dried up at retail, and the JLA rerelease wasn’t quite out yet), so my dad bought me one online.  It was the Toy Biz DC Super Heroes one, but had be incorrectly identified as the Super Powers one.  That ultimately led to me stumbling upon the Super Powers Archive and low-key falling in love with the line, but for the first few years, my “Super Powers” Flash was actually the Toy Biz one.  It wasn’t until my dad got me a batch of various figures for Christmas one year that I actually got to upgrade to the one seen in this review.  Despite not being my first Flash, he’s still a very cool Flash, and definitely one of my favorite Flashes, and he really shows that Kenner was very committed to not phoning these figures in.

#2756: Firestorm

FIRESTORM

SUPER POWERS (KENNER)

“Firestorm has the ability to alter the atomic structure of all things. He uses this power to fly, cause nuclear blasts, and transform objects into other things.  Firestorm is not invulnerable. He loses all his powers when he switches to his civilian identities. Firestorm is actually TWO people – teenager Robbie Raymond, and Professor Martin Stein. Firestorm was created when their two bodies were atomically fused during an explosion in a nuclear power plant.”

Super Powers‘ fixation on both Super Friends and the Satellite Era of the Justice League line-up made it a good time to be Firestorm, a member of both teams in at least some capacity.  A relatively new character, being introduced only six years prior to the line’s launch, he nevertheless found himself a home in the line, netting him his first, and for a very long time only, action figure, which I’m going to be taking a look at today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Firestorm was included in the 1985 line-up for Kenner’s Super Powers line, during it’s second year at retail.  He was one of the four Justice Leaguers added in the second year, and was definitely the most eclectic choice of that bunch (though, in a year that included Desaad, Mantis, & Steppenwolf, he was certainly far from the most obscure character included).  The figure stands almost 5 inches tall (thanks to that really tall bit of fire hair) and he has 7 points of articulation.  His movement scheme is pretty much the same one that the entire line sported; it’s not bad for the era, and is certainly a step up from where Kenner tended to be.  Firestorm had a totally unique sculpt (which would have seen some re-use had the planned Power Plus subline launched in 1987 as planned), patterned on Jose Garcia-Lopez’s style guide illustration for the character.  He’s based on his original Raymond/Stein fusion design, which was at this point still the only one he had, so I guess it made sense.  It’s a distinctive look, and one that certainly translates nicely into figure form.  The only slightly awkward part, I guess, is the hair, but honestly even that doesn’t look so bad here.  There’s also a really nice flow on the puffy sleeves, which could look way sillier than they ultimately do.  Firestorm’s paint work continued the line’s trend of being bright, clean, and colorful.  He actually had a little more going on than some of the other figures, and in particular they’ve made the hair look pretty good again, even if the design necessitates it being totally opaque.  Firestorm included no accessories, but he did get the requisite super power action feature.  His is a “Power Action Atomic Punch”; squeeze his legs and he moves his arms back and forth.  Wooooooo.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Firestorm is another very early addition to my Super Powers collection.  I got him for my eighth birthday, as a gift from my parents.  I remember being rather excited, especially since it was literally the only Firestorm available at the time, and would stay that way for a few years.  I was still catching the occasional Super Friends reruns, and that included a few of his later series appearances, so I definitely liked the character.  This would actually remain the only Firestorm in my collection until the DCUC version was released.  He’s a pretty solid figure.  I mean, so’s the rest of the line, for the most part, but I do like this one quite a lot.

#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.