#2023: Green Lantern

GREEN LANTERN

DC: THE NEW 52 (DC COLLECTIBLES)

DC’s “New 52” relaunch sure does seem like a distant memory these days, doesn’t it?  Their big relaunch to end relaunches happened several relaunches ago, and, for the most part, it’s kind of old hat.  I mean, yeah, they aimed for big sweeping changes, but they kind of missed.  One of the books least affected by the changes was Green Lantern, which was still pretty big at the time.  Nevertheless, lead GL Hal Jordan got a minor redesign courtesy of Jim Lee, in order to better match the rest of the Justice League.  And, of course, that came with a new figure, which I’m looking at today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Green Lantern was one of the first seven figures in the New 52 line, when DC Collectibles was set on getting all of the main Justice League members out in their new uniforms.  He was subsequently re-released in the Justice League 7-pack that followed, and saw an evergreen release as part of the DC Essentials line…well, the first incarnation of it, anyway.  This figure is the original release, but the figures within the package are virtually identical between the three releases.  The figure stands 6 3/4 inches tall and has 11 points of articulation.  This was fairly standard for the launch figures, which were really just carrying forward the stylings of the later DC Direct figures.  Compared to more recent offerings, he’s a little archaic, and, honestly, compared to contemporary lines, they were archaic, too, but they were hardly a surprise given who was producing them.  The main focus was definitely on the sculpts, and GL’s sculpt is actually pretty decent.  He, and all of the early figures, really, was based on Jim Lee’s design for the character.  GL’s look was really just a slight tweaking of his post “Rebirth” design that he’d had for almost a decade by this point, with some extra armor plating here and there, because Jim Lee was all about that armor plating for this round of designs.  The sculpt actually does quite a respectable job of capturing Lee’s style in three dimensions.  While I was a little iffy about the tweaks to the design on the comics page, it actually translates pretty nicely into an action figure.  The details are crisp and sharp, and I especially like the seams on the gloves, even if perhaps a hardlight costume shouldn’t have such things.  Like a lot of DC Direct figures and early DCC figures, there’s a bit of pre-posing going on, but in this figure’s case, he’s just got the heroic stance that all of the League was sporting in the promo shots for the New 52.  It also impedes the articulation’s use a lot less than some of DCD’s figures, so that’s a plus in my book.  GL’s paintwork is pretty solid.  The metallic colors for the green and white are a nice look, and while there’s a little bit of bleedover on the face, for the most part, he’s pretty clean.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

So, The New 52 being the thing that kind of got me off of DC for a while, I wasn’t exactly breaking down the door to pick these guys up when they were coming out.  Even with my usually forgiving fandom for GL, I skipped this guy when he was released, as well as the few times he was re-released.  Why get him now?  It’s quite simple: Cosmic Comix had one in a package that was worse for wear, and he was marked down to $5.  For that price, he was worth it to me.  He’s actually not a bad figure, truth be told, though I can’t really say he stands out compared to the other GLs I’ve got in my collection.  Still, he was worth what I paid for him.

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#2011: Starman

STARMAN

JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED (MATTEL)

Starman created the Cosmic Rod which collects stellar energy and allows him to fly and manipulate gravity on Earth and beyond.”

So, yeah, you know the guy mentioned in that bio?  It’s not the guy shown here.  The bio is very definitely talking about original Earth-bound Starman Ted Knight (not to be confused with the actor), who operated as a member of the JSA in the ’40s.  This here would be Starman #4, Prince Gavyn of the planet Kranaltine.  He was introduced in the ’80s, just before Crisis and is yet another only vaguely related character in the Starman mythos.  Also, for reasons that never quite made sense, he was the version of the character chosen to appear on Justice League Unlimited.  Hey, I’m certainly not complaining.  Though he never spoke once on the show, he somehow managed to get a whopping two figures in the toy line, the second of which I’m looking at today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

This version of Starman was released at the tail end of the Justice League Unlimited line, after the line had left retail and moved to Matty Collector.  He was sold in a three-pack with Animal Man and Adam Strange.  His placement in this particular set is rather baffling, since I don’t believe he’s ever had much interaction with either of those characters, and he’d already gotten a figure, meaning he was hardly at the top of anyone’s list at the end of the line when character slots were all the more precious.  Further more, he’s not even based on his show appearance, but is instead based on the character’s second, all-blue get-up from the comics.  An odd choice to say the least.  The figure stands 4 1/2 inches tall and he has 5 points of articulation.  He’s the exact same sculpt as his previous figure, which is fairly sensible, since the costumes where really just palette swaps, and he *is* the same guy.  One small tweak, though, was that by this point in the line, the molding error on the base body’s leg had been repaired, meaning that he no longer leans to one side.  His head sculpt also remains one of my favorite in the line, and looks just as nice here as it did the first time around.  His paintwork is, of course, the main breaking point.  Rather than the red of the original figure, this one’s molded in blue, and drops the yellow and black detailing on the legs, resulting in an even more streamlined appearance.  It’s sufficiently distinct from the prior figure, and is still nice and striking.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As I noted when I reviewed Animal Man, by the time of this set’s release, I’d pretty much abandoned collecting JLU, so I didn’t get it new.  I picked him up alongside Animal Man two summers ago when I made a stop at Factory Antique Mall while on a road trip.  He’s not much different from the first figure, but I loved that one, and I quite like this one too.  Now I guess I need to track down an Adam Strange to finish out the set…

#2006: Bizarro

BIZARRO

DC COMICS MULTIVERSE (MATTEL)

You know, it would be really clever to write this whole review in Bizarro speak, wouldn’t it?  Well, clever as it may be, that seems like way more energy than I have to put into a Monday review.  I know, making things easy for myself seems to run counter to my whole brand, but consider this: I did the backwards speak gimmick for my first Bizarro review, meaning that doing it again would be a retread, so, in a way, this is the less traversed and therefore more difficult path.  Yeah, that’s what I’m going with…

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Bizarro is a Walgreens-exclusive release for the DC Comics Multiverse line.  He started cropping up in the last couple of months, though he was originally shown alongside the figures that made up the “Lex Luthor Series.”  The majority of those figures are modeled on the characters’ “Rebirth” appearances, but Bizarro here is actually a much more classically inspired figure, which was a kind of nice change.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 23 points of articulation.  Bizarro, understandably, re-uses the body introduced with the Rebirth Superman figure from the Clayface Series.  It shares a more common ancestry with the old DCUC body than the body used for Ray, meaning it’s just not quite as refined.  It’s still a definite improvement on the old body, though it feels a little more piecemeal and uneven.  I think the pelvis and hips are the part that really throw the whole thing off.  Bizarro gets a new head sculpt, which is a pretty respectable piece.  It’s appropriately squared off and blocky, and the detailing on the hair in particular is quite nice.  Bizarro trades out Superman’s sculpted cape for a cloth piece that connects around the neck.  On a standard figure, it would be a little goofy, but for Bizarro it actually works to the design’s favor.  His paintwork is overall pretty clean.  The colors are nice and bright, and his skin has a nice textured look about it which works really well.  Bizarro is pretty decently accessorized.  He’s got two sets of hands, in fists and flat flying poses, as well as his signature “Bizarro No. 1” placard.  And, if you want an alternate look, well hey, he has one of those too!  You can give him his Kent Clark guise from the comics by adding a pair of glasses, a tie, and a rather raddy-looking jacket.  As a bonus to this look, the use of a cloth cape means that it can fit under the jacket and stick out like it does in the comics.  It’s a fun extra look and adds a real unique touch to this release.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was moderately interested in this figure when he was shown off, but wasn’t 100% sold on it.  After picking up and being quite impressed by Ray, I found this guy while out on a day trip with my parents and my brother, and was actually pretty happy to do so.  While he’s not quite as strong as Ray, he’s still a lot better than Mattel’s output has been for a good long while.  I am again frustrated that they managed to improve things just before losing the license.  But hey, at least I got this cool Bizarro figure.

#2000: Batman

BATMAN

THE DARK KNIGHT RISES (HOT TOYS)

Did you see the number?  Did you see it?  Yes, you read it correctly faithful reader, today marks my 2000th review on this here site.  That’s…well, that’s a lot.  It honestly doesn’t feel all that long ago that I reviewed Rescue Cap for my 1000th, and, like that review, this one marks the departure of a consistent player around these parts.   Goodbye starting numeral 1, and welcome starting numeral 2.  Now, review #0001 was a Batman figure, so I suppose it’s only appropriate that #2000 should be another Batman.  There are, of course, two notable differences.  Firstly, as with most of my monumental reviews, this one comes from the high-end world of Hot Toys.  Secondly, where that prior figure was based on Batman Forever, this one is instead from the Nolan films.  Which were the most modern take on the character when I got this guy, but, alas, not the case anymore.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Batman was figure DX12 in Hot Toys’ Movie Masterpiece Series.  This marks my second look at a DX figure, following up the Battle-Damaged T-800 from all the way back in review #0050.  As I noted there, the DX line are an even more high-end subset of the Movie Masterpiece Series, focusing more on tentpole characters and giving them a larger variety of accessories and features.  This was the third time Batman got a DX release, and it was designed to pair off with the DX11 Dark Knight Joker.  Of course, seeing as this figure hit in 2012, he ended up pulling a bit of double duty.  He’s officially branded The Dark Knight Rises, and is meant to go with that subset of figures.  However, it’s the same costume in both movies, with only a very minor difference between them, allowing HT to tie him in with the Joker figure as well (and, in fact, this figure’s presence in the DX11’s solicitation shots let us know he was coming before we got an official confirmation).  The figure stands just shy of 12 inches tall and has over 30 points of articulation.

Batman was sporting two different head sculpts for this release.  The first is his masked appearance, which is, for the most part, a slightly simpler sculpt than we tend to see from Hot Toys.  This is film accurate, of course, since it’s replicating his smooth-plated helmet from the movie.  Prior TDK Batmen had some troubles with getting the helmet’s shape right, but it’s pretty darn spot-on here.  The head is designed with quite a bit of versatility in mind.  Firstly, since he’s a DX figure, he features PERS aka the “Parallel Eye Rolling System,” which allows for his eyes to be repositioned as you see fit.  It works a little differently here than it did with the T-800; the head is more easily removable, so the mechanism is accessed more directly, and requires a special tool.  I find I prefer this layout, since it means the head doesn’t have any odd seams.  Furthering the versatility are three interchangeable faceplates, with calm, scowling, and angry options.  All three have decent likenesses of Christian Bale, and they replicate his expressions from the film well enough, though they can certainly look goofy in some poses.  One last notable point about the head is its connection to the neck.  Rather than the usual ball-joint, it’s connected with a magnet, presumably to make for easier removal for accessing the features.  Ultimately, it feels a little gimmicky, and makes his head fall of a little more than I’d like.  The second head is an unmasked appearance, and it’s my favorite of the two.  It’s definitely the best unmasked Bale HT put out, and matches the sort of intense stare that Bale always had in the films.  It also features a removable collar piece, should you wish to use this head somewhere other than on the Batman suit.

Said Bat-suit was a major selling point of this particular release.  Prior versions of this design had used a molded rubber body suit, which limited the posabilty, resulted in softer detailing, and didn’t exactly hold up all that well over time (to say nothing of the DX02’s issues of weeping plastic caused by an unforeseen chemical reaction).  For this figure, the suit was built in a more film accurate fashion, using more rigid plastic armored parts glued in place on a cloth body suit.  It’s still not going anywhere near super posable or anything, but the look is definitely more accurate, and it’s certainly held up a lot better over time…well, at least in the seven years that I’ve had it.

As a DX release, Batman is pretty heavily packed with extras.  In addition to the two heads and extra mouth plates, he includes the following:

  • 6 hands
  • Grapnel gun
  • Transformable sticky bomb gun
  • Light-up electronic gun
  • 2 Belts
  • 2 batarangs
  • 2 mini mines
  • Connector for the Batpod
  • Light-up display stand

The hands come in fists, gripping, and a open/batarang holding combo.  They swap out okay, but it can get a little tricky to pop them back on.  The assortment of weaponry make for some nice specific call-backs to the film, but I personally haven’t gotten much use out of anything but the batarangs.  The sticky bomb gun is magnetic, allowing for it to be attached to the equally magnetic second belt…which would be super handy if the second belt on mine could actually be opened and placed on the figure.  Oh well.  The stand’s a pretty impressive piece, being modeled on the concrete steps where he faces off against Bane towards the end of the film.  The lights are a little gimmicky, but the overall appearance is nice.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

It was the Dark Knight versions of Joker and Two-Face that got me into Hot Toys collecting in the first place, but for a while I had no Batman to go with them, because I was just never than impressed by the available Batmen.  However, this one’s announcement, alongside Bane and Catwoman from the same movie, was right as I was getting into the HT thing pretty bigh, and that was enough to get me on board, and fill out my display a bit.  Ultimately, I think this guy makes for a wicked display piece, but he’s not a figure you want to pick up and handle all that much.  Taking him down from the shelf for this review was enough to really remind me of that.  Still, there’s no denying he was HT’s best Bale Batman.

#1993: The Ray

THE RAY

DC COMICS MULTIVERSE (MATTEL)

Following the super hero comics boom of the ’40s, there was something of a comics crash in the ’50s, which resulted in the demise of a great many of the smaller companies that had cropped up.  Perhaps the only company not completely decimated by the end of the Golden Age was National Comics, who would eventually become DC Comics (after their best-selling book, Detective Comics.  Yes, their full name is Detective Comics Comics).  They promptly went about buying up many of the other failed comics businesses, thus amassing a large selection of other companies characters to add to their growing universe.  Amongst those companies purchased was Quality Comics, whose biggest characters (barring Plastic Man and the Blackhawks) would be integrated in the DC mythos as the Freedom Fighters, a team of super heroes from Earth-X, a parallel Earth where the Nazis won World War II.  Following the collapse of the DC Multiverse during Crisis on Infinite Earths, the Freedom Fighters were worked back into the main DCU and one of their members, The Ray, was given a reasonably successful reboot.  Ray Terrill was the son of Langford “Happy” Terrill, the original Ray, and was born with sun-based super powers.  This legacy take on the Ray built up quite a cult following, but despite that spent the first 26 years of his existence with absolutely no toys.  For shame! (EDIT: I forgot the JLU figure.  Of course, that one wasn’t really available to most collectors, so I think my point still stands.  But I was technically wrong.  Technically).

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Ray is part of the “Lex Luthor Series” of the DC Comics Multiverse line, which was the second comic-based assortment following Mattel’s attempt at retooling the line at the beginning of 2018.  It technically hit shelves in November, but “technically” is the magic word here.  Experiences were very mixed on that.  Ray is based on his recent re-appearance in the DCU, following his book’s re-launch under the “Rebirth” heading.  The design is different from his prior designs, but keeps the same general spirit, and is just generally a pretty solid design.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  His size means he actually scales okay with Marvel Legends, which is actually kind of a first for a mainstream DC figure.  Also, can you believe it, that’s actually an all-new sculpt on a comic figure.  Yes, after a decade of use, it appears Mattel finally realized it was time to retire the DCUC body, and Ray is on a new base body, which I would imagine is the same one being used for the Batman Beyond, Kyle Rayner, and Kid Flash that are just now hitting.  It’s…actually not bad.  It’s not quite as sleek as a  Legends body, but it’s certainly a lot less clunky than the prior bodies, and it’s certainly nice to get a DC male who’s not smuggling bowling balls in his shoulders. Most of the articulation’s even got decent range to it.  Look at those elbows!  They go deeper than 90 degrees.  About the only real complaint I have is that he can’t quite get his arms down flat at his sides.  But he can still get into a good pose and actually hold it, which is certainly a breath of fresh air after years of getting the slowly degrading DCUC molds and their soft-detailed, loose-jointed spawn.  Even the paintwork is pretty darn good.  The gold is a nice hue, which stands out well from both the white and the black (often times, it’ll get lost on one of them), and the application’s nice and sharp.  There aren’t any obvious missing applications, and everything is cleanly applied, with minimal slop.  They’ve managed to keep the color scheme nice and striking, which is really one of the most appealing things about the character.  Ray was packed with an extra head and hands, as well as the arms for the Lex Luthor CnC (missing from my figure).  The head is the same as the standard, but with grin instead of the more stoic standard look.  It’s a small change, and I might have preferred an unmasked head or something, but I’d rather have this than nothing.  The hands swap out fists for gripping.  Why gripping?  He doesn’t have anything to hold, right?  Well, he was originally shown off with some effects pieces, but they got cut along the way, thereby making the hands kind of without purpose.  But, like the head, I’d rather have them than not.  Plus, it’s another positive change after years of figures getting stuck with open grip hands.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Okay, you’ve gotten all the way through this thing, and you, the faithful reader, might be sitting here wondering why I didn’t post this positive review of a Mattel figure yesterday, since it must clearly be some kind of prank.  Mattel’s been producing some of the worst “collector” figures on the market for years.  I mean, they couldn’t possibly have produced something decent, let alone actually good, could they?  Hey, I’m as surprised as you.  When the prototype for Ray was shown, I thought he looked alright, but Mattel’s been doing okay prototypes for god-awful figures for a little while.  I kind of expected him to follow suit.  And then like a year passed and I forgot he existed, and really wasn’t even sure he would ever see the light of day.  I never actually saw this assortment or the one that preceded it at retail, but a loose Ray was traded-in with a collection that came in at All Time Toys, and I decided to snag him.  I’m glad I did, because he’s really good.  Kind of a shame Mattel couldn’t have improved these figures sooner and kept the license.

#1984: Brainiac

BRAINIAC

SUPERMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES (KENNER)

“The fusion of alien lifeform and computer, Evil Alien Brainiac uses telekintec powers and a blasting space sled to control his enemies as he attempts to conquer the universe.”

After the smash success of Batman: The Animated Series, the show’s creative team moved to an adaptation of DC’s other big hero with Superman: The Animated Series.  Though not quite the same cultural phenomenon as its predecessor, the show was still a pretty solid success in its own right, and unsurprisingly netted its own line of toys.  But, while Kenner’s BTAS line actually covered a good chunk of the show’s cast, with the wacky-Bat-variants coming in later, Superman’s line was much more variant heavy from the very start.  There were only two non-Superman figures in the initial launch: Superman’s two biggest foes, the previously reviewed Lex Luthor, and today’s focus, Brainiac!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Brainiac was initially released in the first series of Superman: The Animated Series figures under the name of “Evil Alien Brainiac.”  You know, in case there was some confusion about his motivation or his place of origin.  Kind of sad we didn’t get this naming scheme across the whole assortment.  Why not “Good Alien Superman” or “Evil Human Lex Luthor”?  Would those have not appealed to the mass consumer as well?  Regardless, the figure in this review is not actually the Series 1 release, but is instead from the “Battle for Metropolis” four pack released at the tail end of the line.  The two figures are essentially the same, but there were some color differences, which I’ll touch on in the paint section. The figure stands 5 inches tall and he has 6 points of articulation, which was standard for the line.  After being reasonably faithful to the show designs for BTAS, the STAS line was a bit more stylistically divergent from the show.  Brainiac was one of the more faithful sculpts from the line, though he lacks the somewhat streamlined proportions of the show design.  Beyond that, though, it’s not a bad offering.  The details are pretty well defined, the costume details are all where they’re supposed to, and the pre-posing isn’t as crazy as some of the other figures in the line.  The paintwork on Brainiac does the sculpt well and keeps him fairly faithful to the show.  This second release was even closer, having swapped out the shade of purple for a slightly warmer tone like we saw in the show.  Both versions of Brainiac were packed with the same missile-launching Space Sled.  My figure is without said accessory, though.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

My STAS collection growing up was actually pretty small.  Brainiac here was a slightly more recent addition (though still purchased almost a decade ago, so “recent” is relative), purchased from Yesterday’s Fun Toys & Games during one of my family vacations.  He’s a solid figure of a solid design, and really one of the better figures in this line.

#1959: Booster Gold

BOOSTER GOLD

JUSTICE LEAGUE ACTION (MATTEL)

When Hasbro first launched their Titan Heroes concept, most toy collectors balked.  Cheaply-made, all plastic 12-inch figures?  What kind of a collector market is this meant for?  Well, the answer is: none.  They were purely aimed at being a cheap toy for parents to buy you kids, without having to worry about scolding little Johnny about breaking his $20 Black Series figure.  And, if the masses of Titan Heroes and similarly-themed competitors visible at retail are anything to go by, I’d say it was a pretty successful move.  Mattel tried to get in on that success with a couple of similar lines based on the licenses under their banner.  By far the most successful has been their running DC line, which has most recently been based on Justice League Action.  It’s gotten us an interesting assortment of characters, including today’s focus, Booster Gold!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Booster Gold was released in the larger scale Justice League Action line at the beginning of 2018.  Based on the post-52-inspired costume of the cartoon, the figure stands 12 inches tall and he has 17 points of articulation.  He’s more posable than a Titan Heroes release, but still feels a little bit restricted; the lack of ankles is kind of throwing me.  Still, you can get some decent poses out of him, so there’s that.  The sculpt is decidedly more rudimentary than a lot of figures (though, honestly, not too far removed from Mattel’s higher end product from around the same time), and rather skinny and lanky.  The legs in particular seem rather long for the body.  The same basic body is shared between figures in this line, and while I can see it not being a very good fit for a lot fo characters, it’s not terrible for Booster, especially not Booster from the show.  It’s also largely hollow, meaning it feels very lightweight, and could potentially be prone to breaking, though I myself had no issues with it.  Booster’s head was a new piece, and it’s an alright one.  It’s very stylized, very blocky, and very sparse on the details.  It’s not very accurate, though.  I mean, it’s not *unlike* Booster on the show, but it’s certainly squarer and a little less expressive.  That being said, it’s not a bad piece, and does still read pretty well as Booster Gold, big dumb grin and all.  Booster’s color work isn’t all that much done with paint, but instead relies heavily on molded colors.  For a kid-aimed line, it’s a sensible choice, and it works out alright.  What paint there is is fairly cleanly handled, and the figure is bright, colorful, and eye-catching, which are the most important things.  Booster has no accessories, not even his robot buddy Skeets.  Booster without Skeets seems very odd to me, but that’s the path Mattel chose.  This is why the lost the DC license.  No Skeets.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve not really followed this line at all, apart from seeing the odd figure in various toy aisles.  I stumbled upon Booster while out looking for some last minute Christmas decorations.  I wasn’t really looking for him, but who am I to turn down a Booster Gold action figure?  He’s not amazing or particularly notable or anything, but he’s not awful, and for the discounted price I got him for, I quite enjoy him.  Even if he doesn’t include Skeets.

#1937: Batman Beyond

BATMAN BEYOND

DC SUPER FRIENDS (IMAGINEXT)

“How can Batman protect the future of Gotham City?
He passes down his crime-fighting skills to a younger generation.  This younger Batman has even cooler gadgets too, like this motorcycle that transforms into a glider AND launches disks.”

Though it may be aimed at a younger audience than my usual faire, I keep finding myself called back to Imaginext.  It’s one of the more expansive styles out there.  Above all, they have easily one of the best collections of DC characters on the market right now, covering all sorts of different eras and corners of the universe.  One of the more recent additions is a fairly popular character who doesn’t have quite the toy coverage you might expect, Terry McGuinness, aka Batman Beyond!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Batman Beyond is one of the “figure and vehicle” offerings from Imaginext’s DC Super Friends line, and he started arriving at retail late last year.  The figure stands about 3 inches tall and has 8 points of articulation (with the legs moving as one, just like they always do).  Terry is built on the basic Batman body for this line, which isn’t perhaps the most accurate, but Imaginext is known to tweak some designs ever so slightly.  All it really means is that he’s got some more piping and texturing on his costume than he usual does, and given Terry’s future-setting, it’s not an unreasonable look.  Plus, this way, he still has the glove scallops and utility belt.  The rest of the work is paint, or lack there of.  He’s molded in all black, which is sensible, and helps to downplay all that extra sculpted detailing.  The white and red sections are well-handled and pretty clean looking.  The expression on the final figure is slightly changed from what was shown on the proto, which was using a teeth gritted expression that looked lifted pretty straight from the animation.  On the final release, he’s got this sort of side-leaning grin, which certainly looks goofier, and I suppose a bit friendlier, which was probably the main point.  BB is packed with a bat-styled motorcycle.  It seems a little more conventional in design than the vehicles from the show, but it’s not a bad design, and the choice to give him a cycle is a pretty sensible one for Terry.  The wings are spring-loaded, and can be popped down by a button on the back, which is pretty fun, and, of course, there’s the aforementioned disk launching device, which, while rudimentary, certainly has its value.  There are also three disks provided for it to launch.  Perhaps the only thing not included that I’d have liked to see is a pair of wings, but it’s not the end of the world.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Unlike a lot of my Imaginext purchases, Batman Beyond was actually not a spur of the moment pick-up.  I had heard about the set from Max, and I was actually keeping my eye out for it.  I ended up finding it just before Christmas, while picking up some last minute Christmas supplies at K-Mart of all places.  Yeah, I’m as surprised as you.  I was quite happy to find him, and, as I’d anticipated, he’s just a fun toy.

#1891: Amazo

AMAZO

DC UNIVERSE CLASSICS (MATTEL)

“Amazo is a powerful android capable of absorbing and mimicking the superpowers of the members of the Justice League of America. “Absorption cells” allow Amazo the ability to duplicate the power of any superhero he encounters, but is only able to use the powers of one super hero at any given time.”

Hey, this is convenient timing.  Just last week, the CW tv shows did their annual crossover event, “Elseworlds,” the first part of which prominently featured today’s figure in question, Amazo.  Amazo’s not a stranger to popular media, having previously appeared in both Justice League and its sequel series Justice League Unlimited.  That being said, JL and JLU rather drastically shifted the character’s design, so the casual fan might be forgiven for not quite making the connection.  “Elseworlds” used a variant of the classic design, which was pretty darn cool if you ask me.  Amazo’s actually a fairly frequent choice for various DC toy lines, including Mattel’s DC Universe Classics.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Amazo was released in Series 5 of DCUC.  It was a noteworthy series for the line, as the first Walmart-exclusive assortment and, by extension, the first assortment carried in Walmart.  It was also our first real taste of some of the worst the line was going to serve up to us, with accessories cut at the last minute, horrible distribution, and some pretty awful quality control.  Walmart had requested the assortment be produced as cheaply as possible, and Mattel delivered.  This figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 25 points of articulation.  Amazo’s a little on the small side for most depictions of the character, thanks to his sticking to the main male base body, another symptom of this assortment’s general lack of newer parts.  Amazo’s actually got one of those: his head.  It’s pretty basic, but matches the classic Doc Savage-esque design he’s been sporting for fifty some years.  He also gets the right hand from Green Lantern, since he’s typically seen replicating the ring.  It’s a sensible choice in theory, though in practice it means he has wrinkles on his hand, since the original piece was gloved.  I suppose it’s easy enough to explain away, what with him being an android and all.  Amazo’s paintwork is decent enough.  They’ve gone with his original costume, which is sensible, since it’s the most easily conveyed with just paint.  While my other Series 5 figure, Black Lightning, was all over the place in terms of paint quality, Amazo actually manages to keep it pretty clean and consistent.  Some of the stripes, especially at the top, are a little wobbly, but I’ve certainly seen worse.  Amazo was packed with one of the pieces to the Series 5 Collect-N-Connect Metallo…and that’s it.  Nothing character specific.  Not even the Wonder Woman lasso that they already had tooled for Series 4.  Sadly, Amazo was not alone on this front; there was exactly one proper accessory among all of the Series 5 figures.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Series 5 was legendarily hard to find at retail, with many regions reporting a single case of figures being put out, if any arrived at all.  Needless to say, I didn’t find a single one of them at retail.  To be totally fair, the line-up was so-so enough that I didn’t really look too hard, but I’ve warmed up to some of them over the years.  So, when All Time Toys got in someone’s DCUC collection and I fished Amazo here out of the bin, I was a pretty easy mark.  He’s an okay figure, but nothing to really right home about.  That said, he’s also a lot less flawed than I’d expected, given the assortment that spawned him.

Obviously, I bought All Time’s only figure of this guy, but they have a whole bunch of other DCUC figures listed on their eBay store.  And, if you’re in the market for something newer, please check out their website as well!

#1879: Wonder Woman & Ares

WONDER WOMAN & ARES

DC MINIMATES

Can you believe there was a time when Marvel Minimates wasn’t enough to carry the Minimates brand?  Well, around Series 15 (the only cancelled specialty assortment to date), that was definitely the case.  The line had stagnated, going over a year without a proper assortment release, and there were four back-to-back assortments made up completely of parts re-use.  It was rough to say the least, but then DC came along, and offered salvation.  New characters, new looks, and best of all, new pieces.  Better pieces, pieces that were stronger, faster than before.  Six Million Dollar pieces.  Okay, slight exaggeration there, but DC really did get Minimates out of its slump.  And then, as quickly as it arrived on the scene, it got dropped.  Because that’s just how DC Direct do.  We got a strong selection of DC’s heaviest hitters, though, including number three in their power trio, Wonder Woman, paired off against one of her greatest foes, Ares!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Wonder Woman and Ares were released in the third series of DC Minimates, which is probably my favorite line-up for the whole line.  Wonder Woman was the headliner for the assortment, and as such was actually the focus character on the packaging.

WONDER WOMAN

This would mark the first of Wonder Woman’s three Minimates.  Unlike Superman and Batman, she was not a part of the preceding C3 line, though her prototype had been shown off before the line’s demise.  This one followed a lot of cues from that, while still remaining somewhat distinct.  She’s built on the usual base body, and as such stands about 2 1/2 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation.  She uses three sculpted add-on pieces, for her hair and her bracelets.  The hair was new to this figure (and would be used again for the next two ‘mates), while the bracelets came from the C3 line.  The hair piece may not be super detailed by today’s standards, but it’s still a sharp, cleanly sculpted piece, which works quite well for the character’s classic appearance.  Her paintwork is nice and clean.  Though Series 3 would be DC Minimates‘ first series to extensively use properly colored plastic, Wonder Woman was unique in following the Series 1/2 style of painting all but the head.  It doesn’t make a huge difference in her appearance, but it does mean she slots in more seamlessly with the Superman and Batman from Series 1.  And, honestly, that’s probably the best course of action. Wonder Woman is packed with her lasso of truth, a newly sculpted piece.  It’s a shame there’s no way to attach it to her waist, but it’s a nice piece regardless.

ARES

When it comes to distinctive Wonder Woman foes, there’s pretty much Ares and Cheetah to choose from.  DC Minimates would produce both, but Ares got to go first.  He’s seen here in his classic blue armored appearance, which has always been my personal favorite for the character, as well as being the most toy friendly.  One of the things that separated DC Minimates from other lines was its use of the larger-scaled base body for larger characters.  Ares was one of those characters, so he’s got an extra half inch on Diana.  Ultimately, whether the larger bodies worked or not was a personal preference thing, but I do find it works particularly well for a character like Ares, who’s just generally depicted as being larger than those around him.  Ares had seven add-on pieces, for his helmet, cape, skirt, wrist bracers, and shin guards.  All of them are unique to him.  These parts really show DCD’s commitment to a higher level of detailing, and definitely rival the modern ‘mates in terms of depth of detail.  And, with the larger base body, the parts are also able to be far more compact to the body than at the smaller scale, making for a more solidly assembled ‘mate.  His paintwork is quite impressive in its own right.  Unlike Wonder Woman, he’s molded in his proper colors for the most part, allowing the paint to actually go more towards accent work.  The best of it’s definitely on his torso, which uses dramatic lighting to nicely outline the texturing of his armor.  It’s a pretty cool effect.  Ares was packed with a sword and an axe, truly appropriate for the God of War.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As with every other series of DC Minimates, I got Series 3 new from Cosmic Comix back in the day.  It wasn’t the set I was most excited about in the set, but I was pleasantly surprised by it after opening it.  Wonder Woman is a solid rendition of an essential character, and is a selling point for that reason.  Ares, however, is the real star for me, and has long been one of my favorite figures to come out of this line.