#1540: GCPD Rogues Gallery

RENEE MONTOYA, BANE, KILLER CROC, MR. FREEZE, & POISON IVY

BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES (DC COLLECTIBLES)

For my ninth and final 2017 post-Christmas review, I’m returning to a line that fills me with lots of mixed emotions: DC Collectibles’ Batman: Animated.  I was very supportive of the line early on, an really liked the first couple of series, despite some of the minor flaws.  However, as the line has progressed, I’ve found a lot of the later offerings to be a bit lackluster. The thing that broke me from the line was actually the set I’m looking at today.  As I’ve noted a few times, “Heart of Ice” is hands down my favorite episode of Batman: The Animated Series, and is possibly just one of my favorite cartoons ever.  Obviously, I was eager to get a proper Animated Series Mr. Freeze.  The first figure was the New Adventures design, which is fine, but not really what I wanted.  So, what does DCC do when it finally comes time to release the classic Freeze, one of the most demanded figures in the line?  Pack him in with four other figures in an expensive boxed item.  ….Yay?

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

This five pack was released about mid-year last year, under the title “GCPD Rogues Gallery.”  All five figures in this set are based on their Animated Series designs, with the four titular Rogues being the second figure for each, following their TNBA design-sporting single-releases.

RENEE MONTOYA

Fulfilling the “GCPD” segment of this set is Officer Renee Montoya.  Montoya is noteworthy for being the second of B:TAS’s successful original creations that made her way back into the comics after the fact (following the immensely successful Harley Quinn, of course).  Montoya is the one wholly unique figure in this set.  She’s wearing her beat cop uniform, since she didn’t make it to detective until TNBA.  The figure stands about 6 1/4 inches tall and she has 22 points of articulation.  Her articulation works better than some of the Batman: Animated figures I’ve looked at, which certainly makes me feel a bit better.  Her sculpt is definitely one of the strongest in the set, recreating her animated design rather nicely. She avoids being too devoid of detail, another issue that plagued some of the line’s other figures.  Similarly, her paint is also very strong.  The application is nice and clean, and the colors all match up with her on-screen appearance.  Montoya is packed with an extra head, a handgun, a shotgun, four pairs of hands, and a display stand.  The head offers Montoya without her hat, which I guess is nice, in theory, at least.  In practice, it’s just very annoying.  Why?  Because, thanks to the design of the double barbel DCC’s used for her neck peg, if you’re not careful when swapping out the heads (a very difficult task, I might add), then the peg will pop out of the neck, rather than the head.  I ended up having to spend about 20 minutes removing the barbel from the second Montoya head to put the one with the hat back on, and after all that, the peg is mangled to the point that I doubt I’ll be able to successfully swap it again.  Okay, but what about the guns?  Well, they look nice, but I almost broke both of them taking them out of the package.  Also, despite the plethora of hands included, there’s not really a combo that can properly hold the shotgun.

BANE

The New Adventures Bane was one of my favorite figures from the single-packed line, so this figure has a lot to live up to.  I’m gonna let you all down easy here: he doesn’t.  He’s not helped by the design, to be fair.  The B:TAS Bane design is certainly one of the weakest from the original run of the show (part of why he got such a drastic redesign later).  He’s not particularly intimidating or anything.  He’s just looks like a slightly paunchy luchador.  Not the greatest design for a villain.  The figure stands 7 inches tall and he has 24 points of articulation.  Okay, let’s get this out of the way: Bane can’t stand.  Like, at all.  Just getting the photos for this review was one of the most infuriating experiences I’ve gone through.  The actual sculpt is decent, I suppose.  It replicates the show design well-enough, but I find he lacks the playability seen on the last Bane figure.  His paintwork is decent from a palette stand-point; he’s bright and colorful.  The application’s a bit iffy, and he’s got several spots of random shininess on an otherwise matte finished figure.  It’s rather distracting and makes for a fairly sloppy looking figure.  Bane includes four sets of hands, a dumbell, and a display stand.  The dumbell’s a nice extra, but, as with Montoya, there’s not actually a hand that can properly hold it.  Doesn’t that seem like the sort of thing that you would want to double check before sending this figure out?

KILLER CROC

I never actually got the TNBA Croc.  I kept meaning to, but I never did.  It’s okay.  I’ve never been a huge Croc fan anyway, so I probably didn’t need two of him.  Truth be told, Croc’s another character who I feel had a stronger design initially, so this figure’s good for that.  He stands just a little shorter than Bane, and he has 23 points of articulation.  He has the mid-torso movement like we saw on the first Bane figure, which is certainly a plus.  It helps to make him one of the most easily posed figures in the set.  It also allows for a lot more fine tuning on his weight distribution, helping him stay standing a bit better.  The sculpt is another strong offering, and I’d certainly place him on par with Montoya in that respect.  He’s very true to the show’s design, and captures Croc’s character.  I look at this guy and can hear him saying “I hit him with a rock!”  The detail work is all very sharp and crisply defined, not soft like some of the others in the line.  The paint on Croc isn’t the most exciting thing, but it matches the show.  It’s all cleanly applied, and it looks pretty decent for what it is.  Croc is packed with three sets of hands and a display stand.  No rock to hit Batman with?  I guess I can supply my own.

MR. FREEZE

Four figures in and I’m finally getting to the one that actually matters!  Yeeeeeeeaaaaahhhhh! …Sorry, that’s not really appropriate for Mr. Freeze, is it?  He’d go for a more reserved, served cold sort of thing.  Ah, yes.  A Mr. Freeze figure.  Of course.  Would that it could warm his frozen heart.  But alas, there is no hope for him.  But hey, cool figure, right?  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 22 points of articulation.  Freeze has nay favorite sculpt of all the figures included here.  He’s just really got the show design down pat.  The best piece by far is the head, which just looks absolutely spot-on from every angle.  The rest of the sculpt is a solid recreation of his suit design from the show, and it’s really only marred by one thing: the head dome.  On its own, it’s fine, but it doesn’t fit the body quite right, so it never sits flush the way it should and it pops out a lot.  It’s not awful, but it’s a minor annoyance, and there was no such issue on the last Mr. Freeze figure.  If there’s a major downfall to this figure, it’s the paintwork.  It’s not the worst I’ve seen in this line, but it’s definitely sloppy, especially on the blue parts of his suit.  How they got the others in this set so clean and not Victor is honestly a bit baffling to me.  Freeze is packed with his freeze gun, five sets of hands, a snow globe, and a display stand.  Ready for the common theme of this review?  Despite the large selection of hands, he can’t really hold his gun very well, and he can’t actually hold the snow globe as well.  I appreciate the extras being included, but I wish they could be more adequately used.

POISON IVY

Last up, it’s Poison Ivy, the other hotly demanded figure in this set.  I picked up the first Ivy figure, and I liked her overall, but she was certainly a flawed offering.  I was sort of hoping that this one would fix some of those.  It does, but there are some other ones that have cropped up to replace them.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and she has 23 points of articulation.  Her sculpt is…okay? It has its ups and downs.  It’s definitely not anywhere near as accurate as the other figures in this set, which is a shame, really.  She’s far more on par with the last Ivy, in that she looks okay from certain angles, but not so great from others.  I do like that she doesn’t have the ugly seam running down the side of her hair this time.  Unfortunately, she’s now got a rather ugly bend in her right leg, as well as a severely misshapen wrist bolt.  It kind of ruins the aesthetics.  The paint on Ivy is okay, but rather on the sloppy side of things.  It’s especially bad on her legs, where there’s a few spots of errant paint.  Ivy is packed wth five sets of hands,  the Wild Thorny Rose seen in “Pretty Poison,” and a display stand.  At least she has hands that can actually hold the rose.  I guess that’s a nice change.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As I discussed in the intro, I was less than enthused by DCC’s decision to lump all of these figures into one big set, so I didn’t grab this when it was new.  My parents were nice enough to get this for me as my main gift this Christmas.  This set frustrates me because I really wanted to like it, but it’s perhaps the most frustrating thing I received this year.  Sure, most of the figures are a marked improvement on the single releases, but there are still enough flaws throughout the set that it’s infuriating.  The fact that Freeze and Ivy include more accessories also drives home the point that DCC designed them as individual releases and held them back to move this big set, which feels like a real cheap move to me.  Ultimately, I’m happy to have the Mr. Freeze I wanted.  He’s a good figure.  Montoya is also a solid addition, and Croc’s a pleasant surprise that I probably wouldn’t have gotten otherwise.  Ivy’s another flawed version of the character, though, and Bane just does nothing for me.  So, that’s 2/5 figures in this set that I would have much rather passed on.  That’s not a very good spread, especially for something that carries this hefty a price tag.

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#1538: Nite Owl

NITE OWL

WATCHMEN (MATTEL)

“Awkward, shy, and unnaturally obsessed with masked vigilantes and ornithology, Dan Drieberg was a surprisingly good fit to inherit the mantle of Nite Owl.  He is a talented engineer with a tragic childhood that feeds his needs to help the helpless and fight the good fight.  However, the world is not a perfect place and Dan is forced to constantly question his own morality.”

I’ve now made it through a full week of my post-Christmas reviews, and now we’re kind of nearing the end of this whole thing.  For today’s review, I’m switching over to a property that I’ve covered a few times on this site, Watchmen.  I was pretty huge into Watchmen a few years back, especially around the time of the film adaptation.  In the years since, my fixation has sort of waned, probably due to the overabundance of grimdark super hero stories in the last several years.  I still appreciate it for what it is, and there’s no denying that the story has lots of exciting designs, just ripe for toy form.  The comics designs are somewhat rare in the toy world, but Mattel put out a set of them a few years back, and I’ll be taking a look at the Nite Owl figure from that set today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Nite Owl was the fourth figure in Mattel’s “Club Black Freighter” subscription, released back in 2013.  He’s based on the comics Nite Owl design, of course, which is a more simplistic look than his more sculpted look from the film, but I feel a slightly more polished and to the point design.  The figure stands 6 3/4 inches tall 23 points of articulation.  The whole Club Black Freighter set was designed to fit stylistically with DC Universe Classics, and a lot of this was done via parts re-use from that line.  For Nite Owl, this means he uses the standard mid-sized arms, legs, and pelvis, along with a new torso and head, as well as add-ons for his cape and belt.  The legs are the end of DCUC legs, meaning they’ve had the rocker-ankles removed.  It’s definitely an annoyance, and it means he can’t really ever keep his feet flat on the ground, which looks rather goofy.  On the plus side, all of the newly sculpted pieces really do look cool.  The head’s a solid piece of work, and replicates Gibbons’ take on Nite Owl quite nicely.  His hard plastic cape, though very cool looking, effectively renders his arms motionless from the elbow up.  The end result to all of this is a figure that’s not really good for anything but standing around.  But at least he looks good, I suppose.  The paint work on Nite Owl is decent enough, and certainly better than a lot of Mattel’s output.  It’s clean and matches well with the art from the book.  It’s not the most thrilling color combination, but that’s true to the character, so one can hardly complain.  Nite Owl is packed with a display stand, three owl-arangs, and a grappling gun, as well as big novelty card thing with an art-deco sort of illustration.  The stand’s fine, but he has some trouble successfully holding any of the other extras.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Nite Owl was another Christmas gift from Super Awesome Girlfriend.  By the time the Club Black Freighter set came along, I was kind of done with Mattel’s whole subscription model and past my Watchmen fixation, so I ended up passing on them.  I almost bought Nite Owl a few times from Matty Collector during a couple of their year-end sales, but never got around to it.  Jess spotted him at the GameStop she works at and grabbed him for me.  He’s sort of an interesting phenomenon, a “super-posable” figure that doesn’t work as much more than a statue.  Ultimately, he’s not a bad figure, but he sort of fails at what he’s supposed to be.  I guess he’s rather par for the course when it comes to Mattel, though.

#1522: Hawkgirl

DC BOMBSHELLS HAWKGIRL

DC DESIGNER SERIES: ANT LUCIA (DC COLLECTIBLES)

After taking a brief hiatus last week to turn my focus over to the Galaxy far, far away, I’m going back to my recent trend of DC figures on Fridays.  While I’ve run out of new Icons figures to look at, there’s one pseudo Icons-compatible line I’ve discovered, which I rather like.  That line is DC Designer Series: Ant Lucia, which adapts the DC Bombshells illustrations of Ant Lucia into figure form.  I’ve already looked at Wonder Woman, and today I’m taking a look at Hawkgirl!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Hawkgirl is from the second assortment of DC Designer Series: Ant Lucia, where she’s figure 6.  The figure stands about 6 1/2 inches tall and has 27 points of articulation.  She’s still a tad larger than the average DC Icons figure, but she’ll fit in alright, and she’ll look great with Marvel Legends and the like.  Hawkgirl is sporting an all-new sculpt, patterned after her Bombshells design.  Her look actually hasn’t changed all that drastically from her classic design; the basic elements are certainly very similar.  Instead of the usual spandex, she’s got a green flight suit overtop of a yellow tank top, but it’s the same end look.  The upper half of her flight suit has been pulled down around her waist, a feature that, on the figure, has been replicated using a free-floating piece, thus allowing preservation of the movement on the hip joints.  The biggest departure from her classic look is definitely the wings, which have been reimagined as a sort of Rocketeer-style jetpack.  It’s a very cool look, and it very much helps to sell the figure within the overall style of the line.  The actual piece is very cleanly and sharply rendered.  In terms of paint, Hakwgirl is incredibly clean, and very boldly handled.  The colors all go together very well, and all of the details look top notch.  There’s a ton of character in her face, and the paint does a lot to sell that.  Compared to the first series, the second series of these figures all took a bit of a budgetary hit.  In Hawkgirl’s case, that means her only real extra is her rocket pack.  No extra hands or anything.  It’s a little bit of a letdown after just looking at all of the cool extras that came with Wonder Woman, but at the same time, I don’t feel anything essential is missing.  I’m happy with what I got.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Hawkgirl’s actually the figure that got me interested in this line.  Wonder Woman was certainly cool, but this was the one that I knew I wanted.  Cosmic Comix didn’t get these guys in, so I ended up getting her from Fat Jack’s Comiccrypt in Cherry Hill, New Jersey.  She’s not a perfect figure, and I’m a little saddened by the lack of extras, but she’s still a ton of fun, and perhaps my favorite Hawkgirl I own, despite her non-standard nature.  It’s a real shame this line doesn’t look to be going forward.

#1512: Adam Strange

ADAM STRANGE

DC UNIVERSE CLASSICS (MATTEL)

“Archaeologist Adam Strange was transported to the distant planet of Rann by a random communications beam from outer space. Adam soon became the official hero of Rann, the planet’s protector against strange menaces of all kinds. Though without powers, frequently outnumbered and almost always outgunned, Adam’s cleverness and innovation have allowed him to overcome every menace and gain a reputation as the ‘thinking man’s hero.’”

It sure is convenient that the archeologist named “Adam Strange” was the one who got zapped into space, isn’t it?  He sure would be less catchy if his last name was “Smith” or “Wilson.”  Also, do you think he has any relation to Stephen?  And, as an archeologist, would he also carry the title of “doctor”?  Because if so, that could get very confusing.  I think this intro’s getting too thoughtful.  Sorry, the bio *did* refer to Adam as the “thinking man’s hero.”  I think it just comes with the territory.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Adam Strange was released in 2009, packed alongside Starfire as the first of four Matty Collector-exclusive DC Universe Classics two-packs.  While Adam and Kori haven’t exactly had a ton of time together in the comics, but in ’09, the most prominent thing Adam had done in recent was staring in one of the recurring stories in 52, where he, Starfire, and Animal Man had to make their way back to Earth the slow way after being stranded following the events of Infinite Crisis.  Suffice it to say, it was certainly a relevant pairing at the time.  Following that relevance, Adam is seen here in his then current design, based on his revised appearance from 2004.  While it doesn’t have the timelessness of the original design, I do still think one works pretty well, and keeps all of the important elements.  The figure stands about 6 1/2 inches tall and sports 25 points of articulation.  He’s built on the medium sized body, with a new head and add-ons for collar and harness/jetpack.  The body ends up feeling a bit large for Adam, and it’s not really helped by the extra bulk from the add-ons.  He’s definitely an example of why the base body system doesn’t work for every character.  I feet he really should have at the very least gotten a unique torso, but what are you gonna do?  The harness isn’t a bad sculpt, though.  The holster’s a little obtrusive, but it’s nice to get a working one for a change.  His head’s not a terrible offering, but like some of the earlier DCUC heads, it lacks the depth it should have and also sports some rather obvious seams.  Still, it’s a perfectly serviceable offering.  The paintwork on this guy is passable, but not without its flaws.  On the plus side, it’s bright and colorful, so that’s good.  That said, the application is a bit sloppy, and there are more than a few fuzzy edges, taking a design that really should be very clean and making it look quite iffy.  Adam is packed with a small blaster pistol, which is nice and all, but I do really wish he’d gotten a proper trigger finger to hold it.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I never did get this two-pack when it was new, mostly due to it being rather pricey for two figures that pretty much everyone agreed were mediocre at best.  I ended up coming across Adam by himself at House of Fun just a few weeks ago.  He looked cool enough in person and he wasn’t too expensive, so I went for it.  Is he great? No.  He’s passable, but at best he’s middle of the road.  If you’re looking for an Adam Strange, I guess he’s okay.

#1508: Deathstroke

DEATHSTROKE

DC ICONS (DC COLLECTIBLES)

Remember last week when I couldn’t find Deathstroke’s accessories, so I had to review Bombshells Wonder Woman instead?  Well, I found them!  So A-HA!  …So, how ‘bout that review, then, huh?

As a whole, I tend to find Deathstroke rather overplayed these days.  He’s just everywhere, and he doesn’t tend to fit that well most places.  It’s gotten to the point that my first response to hearing he’s in any given piece of media is to roll my eyes.  That being said, I used to be a pretty big fan of the character, and I still can enjoy him under the right circumstances.  I still very much enjoy his role on the Teen Titans cartoon, and I like classic Deathstroke from the Wolfman/Perez days, so the DC Icons version is just my speed!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Deathstroke was released in the fifth series of DC Icons, and he’s numbered figure 21 in the line.  He’s officially based on “The Judas Contract,” his introductory arc from the comics.  It’s a classic story, and gives us the best standard Deathstroke design around, so it’s a very good choice.  If you really get into it, it’s kind of a goofy look, I suppose, but it all adds up to a pretty great looking design, at least to me, a classic DC fan.  The figure stands about 6 1/4 inches tall and has 31 points of articulation.  He scales pretty decently with the Rebirth figures, but Deathstroke being a taller guy, he’ll look okay next to the earlier figures.  His sculpt is all unique to him, and, like Firestorm, I find it to be one of the line’s nicest offerings.  The build of the body is nice and balanced, and the detail work on the costume is very sharp, and very evocative of Perez’s artwork.  It’s definitely one of the better translations of his art into figure form, which is a bit funny, since this is actually based on Ivan Reis’s interpretation of Perez’s work.  The work on the scale-mail is definitely some of the best work, but I also enjoy the cleaner parts of the sculpt.  Deathstroke’s paintwork is overall pretty solid, apart from one small issue on my figure.  The metallic blue looks really snazzy, and the other colors accent it pretty well.  The only issue with my figure is the slight bit of slop on the divide of his mask.  It’s minor, but an annoyance nonetheless.  Deathstroke is quite well accessorized, including an extra unmasked head, two sets of hands (in fists and grips), a sword and sheath, revolver, rifle, and a staff.  The head’s the standout, and is another top-notch sculpt.  I also really like the staff, which is three pieces, allowing you to modulate the length of it.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve looked at Deathstroke a few times in the store, but was always a bit resistant to getting him, given the whole overplayed thing.  I finally ended up grabbing him during Cosmic Comix’s 26th Annual Annual Sale.  Deathstroke’s one of the best DC Icons offerings, and I’m certainly glad I picked him up.

#1505: Kryptonite Batman

KRYPTONITE BATMAN

SUPERMAN/BATMAN (DC DIRECT)

“When the Joker got his hands on Batman, he united him with a being of practically pure Kryptonite named Mr. Kryptonite.  Possessed by this other being and bent on destroying Superman, Kryptonite Batman is a deadly foe of the Man of Steel”

In the early ‘00s, DC decided to give a go at reviving their old Batman and Superman team-ups from World’s Finest, under the more minimalist Superman/Batman title.  It started out moderately well, with an at least enjoyable opening arc, followed by a few actually decent ones, before sort of becoming a place where half-formed Superman and Batman stories went to die.  I think the first telltale sign was the story that spawned today’s figure, titled “With A Vengeance.”  I’d give a synopsis of the story, but, as someone who read every issue, I still don’t know what happened.  Anyway, let’s just look at the figure.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Kryptonite Batman was released in Series 4 of DC Direct’s Superman/Batman, which was a whole assortment based on “With A Vengeance.”  This was the main Batman-variant of the assortment, because you gotta have at least one.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 11 points of articulation.  None of these style of figures were particularly amazing when it came to mobility, but the Batman figures were actually some of the worst, because his armoire permanently stuck out.  Seriously, dude looked like Randy from A Christmas Story.  This figure’s sculpt was actually a complete re-use from the basic Batman released in Series 1 of this same line.  Since he was just a palette swap in the comics, it’s not an unreasonable choice.  Like the two JLA: Classified Supermen I looked at a while back, this guy’s based on Ed McGuinness’s rather distinctive style.  In fact, he actually uses the same basic starting point as those two figures, albeit with a variety of more Batman-specific items.  Despite the difficulties with posability, the actual sculpt isn’t half bad, and does a pretty solid job of capturing McGuinness’s Batman in three dimensions.  Paint is the main thing that differentiates this figure from the Series 1 offering, but even on that front, he’s not that different.  He’s got most of the same basic detailing, but with glow in the dark green plastic instead of the grey for his body suit.  It certainly makes for a unique look.  The figure is packed only with a display stand, sporting the Superman/Batman logo.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I picked up a number of the “With A Vengeance” figures when they were new.  This one wasn’t among them.  Instead, it took me ten years to finally get around to buying him.  Why did I finally get him?  Mostly because Cosmic Comix was selling him for $7, which was a low enough price to get me to bite.  He’s goofy, and not really for everyone, but I enjoy him.

#1501: DC Bombshells Wonder Woman

DC BOMBSHELLS WONDER WOMAN

DC DESIGNER SERIES: ANT LUCIA (DC COLLECTIBLES)

Okay, I’m gonna start today’s review by saying this isn’t at all what I was planning to review today.  Today, I had intended to continue my look at DC Icons with Deathstroke.  So, just a few hours ago, I got my photo stage all set-up and ready to take pictures of him, and then…I couldn’t find his accessories.  So that was a no go.  Instead, I guess I’ll take a look at an entry from Icons’ pseudo-sister-line, DC Designer Series: Ant Lucia.  This line takes the work of artist Ant Lucia from his DC Comics Bombshells series and turns them into Icons-styled figures.  Today, I’ll be taking a look at Wonder Woman.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

DC Bombshells Wonder Woman is the first figure in the first series of the DC Designer Series: Ant Lucia line.  The figure stands about 6 3/4 inches tall and she has 29 points of articulation.  Despite the Icons styling, the height of this figure actually brings her more in line with the likes of Marvel Legends or even DCC’s earlier output.  That being said, Wonder Woman’s actually a little taller than the rest of the line, so I think they’re just going for a slightly taller take on Wonder Woman.  That being the case, she’s not that horribly out of scale with later Icons figures.  Wonder Woman has an all-new sculpt, based on her Bombshells design.  I’m picky about my Wonder Woman designs, but I’m a pretty big fan of this one.  It’s a departure from the usual, but unlike a number of Bombshells redesigns, it actually outs her in more clothing than she usually wears.  The sculpt does a great job of translating Lucia’s artwork into three dimensions, as well as doing a pretty solid job of integrating the articulation in pretty smoothly.  By far my favorite part of the sculpt is expression on Wonder Woman’s face, which shows her cackling with sheer joy.  There’s just so much life in that expression, and when compared to the likes of the bland expressions seen on most of the Icons figures, it just looks so great.  It’s really fun.  Wonder Woman’s paintwork is all around pretty solid work.  The colors all fit the tone and style of the original art, and everything is very clean.  I quite enjoy the blue highlights in her hair, as it calls back to classic comic art very nicely.  Wonder Woman is packed with three sets of hands (in fists and two different styles of griping), a big wrench, and a cinderblock linked to a big chain (which can even split at the middle loop, making it look like she’s just broken it).  It’s a really fun selection of extras, to be sure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve been wanting to get at least one of the DC Bombshells figures since they were announced and released, but I was never quite sure which one I wanted.  I decided to grab one of them during Cosmic Comix’s 26th Annual Annual Sale, and since Wonder Woman was the only one they still had in stock, the choice was made for me.  I’m actually not upset about that at all, because Wonder Woman’s one of DC Collectibles’ best offerings to date.  She’s a ton of fun!

#1500: The Joker

JOKER

THE DARK KNIGHT (HOT TOYS)

And another hundred reviews have passed.  Would you believe I only barely remember writing #1400?  It’s been a real whirlwind of a year, let me tell you.  As is the case with all of my “monumental” reviews, I’ll be taking a look at a higher end item, courtesy of out friends at Hot Toys.  These reviews are frequently from the MCU, which makes up a sizable portion of my Hot Toys collection, but today I’m flipping over to their distinguished competition and taking a look at another figure from the widely successful The Dark Knight (which, coincidentally, was released the same summer that the MCU was launched with Iron Man).  So, without further ado, here’s The Joker!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Joker was released as part of Hot Toys’ long-running Movie Masterpiece Series line.  He was entry 68 in the line, placing him between the Original Costume Batman and the Tumbler.  He and both surrounding releases are, of course, from The Dark Knight, and this Joker represents the character as he looks for the majority of the film’s run time…more or less.  I’ll get to that. Joker stands about 11 3/4 inches tall and has over 30 points of articulation.

First up, let’s look at the headsculpt.  Right up front, this is the weakest part of the figure.  It’s not that it’s a *bad* sculpt, necessarily, but more that it’s highly inaccurate.  Look at that head.  Does it look at all like Heath Ledger?  No it does not, and that’s what makes reviewing it difficult.  See, it’s still a very strong, realistic sculpt, on par with HT’s best from a purely technical standpoint.  He totally looks like a real dude, just not the real dude who played the part in the movie.  Quite frankly, the sculpt isn’t even a half bad Joker.  I actually quite like it.  But it’s not Heath Ledger.  Even the paint sort of follows this trend.  It’s good technically, but for a Dark Knight Joker, it’s a little too clean and consistent.  If I had a guess, I’d say this whole head was largely assembled with early materials that didn’t quite represent Joker’s final look.

Joker’s outfit is made up of a shirt, tie, vest, pants, socks, sport coat, and over coat, as well as a pair of sculpted shoes.  The overcoat is probably the weakest piece.  Like the head, it’s not bad, just a little inaccurate.  It’s got the same basic look, but the specifics are a little off.  The rest of the parts are fairly decent, accurate, and generally well-tailored to the body.  His vest is a bit hard to keep closed, due to some iffy velcro.  I think snaps might have been better.  It’s worth noting that the belt is actually a superfluous piece, since he doesn’t have one in the movie, but you can remove it easily enough, and then there’s no issue.  The prints on the shirt and pants are quite impressive, and I particularly like the funky socks, a detail that most will never see.

Older HT offerings were a bit lighter than later ones.  Joker is one of the lightest in my entire collection, but he does still include two pairs of hands (one set for poses and one set for holding accessories), a deck of 13 unique Joker cards, a switch blade, and a standard black display stand with his same and the movie’s logo.  It’s not a huge selection, but it covers the basics.  Later releases offered other just about any extras you could want for a Dark Knight Joker, so there are options out there.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The Joker has the distinction of being my very first Hot Toys figure, and easily one of the most difficult times I’ve had acquiring one of them.  I asked for him for Christmas the year they were released, and my parents ordered him, nut he just kept getting pushed back over and over, to the paint that I just gave up completely and ended up asking for a couple of Sideshow Star Wars figures instead.  I tried again the next year, and I finally got him that time, thus beginning my lengthy obsession with Hot Toys figures.  This figure’s started showing his age, especially in light of later Joker figures, but I still really like him, and except him for what he is.

#1498: Kid Flash

KID FLASH

THE FLASH (DCC)

One of my favorite TV shows (and one of the few I can actually more or less keep up with) is CW’s The Flash.  The show’s gone pretty much all-in with the whole Flash mythos, and just last season they officially introduced Wally West in the role of Barry Allen’s sidekick Kid Flash.  Wally’s always been a very important character in the Flash, and I was pretty thrilled to finally get to see him in action.  I was also pretty thrilled that finally got an action figure, courtesy of DC Collectibles’ very slowly released line of figures from the show.  Let’s have a look at how he turned out, shall we?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Kid Flash is the seventh figure in DCC’s The Flash line.  The last of these I looked at was Captain Cold, who was figure 2, so it looks like I’ve fallen a little bit behind.  Wally just hit a few weeks ago, alongside White Canary from Legends of Tomorrow.  The figure stands about 6 1/2 inches tall (just a skosh smaller than Barry, which is about right) and he has 26 points of articulation.  Wally loses several points of articulation from Barry, all of them swivels on the legs.  I’m not sure what DCC has against swivels on the legs, but they do seem to remove them a lot.  It’s frustrating, because it definitely limits the poses you can do with the figure.  He does at least have rocker ankles, so he makes out a bit better than Supergirl in that respect.  The articulation is far more useful than on recent Mattel offerings, and that’s a definite plus.  Wally’s sculpt is all-new to him.  While it’s not quite as detailed as Flash or Supergirl (which is true to his show design, since his costume lacks a lot of the texturing of the main characters’ costumes), but it’s still quite accurate to the show design.  I actually find his build to be more realistic and far less gangly than Barry, which is a step in the right direction.  The head sports a pretty solid likeness of actor Keiynan Lonsdale in the mask, although this is clearly him from earlier in Season 3, given the shorter hair.  Wally’s paint is some of the best I’ve seen on the CW figures, helped largely by the bolder colors present in the design.  There’s a lot of vibrance in the color choices, and he’s even got some pretty solid accent work to keep the larger stretches of the same colors from getting too monotonous.  Wall is packed with hands in fists, gripping, and in flat running poses, which make for a decent variety of poses.  He also gets an extra unmasked head, which makes me retroactively frustrated that DCC stuck the extra Barry head in a freaking two-pack.  I still would have liked to see some sort of running stand included here; I ended up making due with a Minimate flight stand for the photo up top.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I picked up Wally from Cosmic Comix.  As luck would have it, he hit during the 26th Annual Annual Sale, so I got him for 40% off his usual price.  I definitely wanted to pick him up at some point, but I won’t deny that the sale helped me make the decision to grab him sooner rather than later.  I’m happy with this figure.  He’s not perfect, but he’s still quite good.  And, most importantly, he got me to dig out my CW Flash figure, and reminding me that that figure was actually way better than I remembered.  And now I have this pretty awesome pair!

#1494: Firestorm

FIRESTORM

DC ICONS (DCC)

It is only now, on Black Friday, that I’ve realized that it might have been more clever to review Black Adam today instead of two weeks ago.  See, because they both have “Black” in their name.   Pretty good, right?  You’re just blown away by how clever I am, right?  True genius.  If only I’d thought ahead.  Instead, here’s Firestorm, an unnatural fusion created by ungodly science.  That’s sort of like Black Friday, right?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Firestorm was released in the fourth series of DC Icons as figure 16, making him the final figure in the assortment numerically.  He’s listed as being based on “Justice League,” which isn’t the biggest help in narrowing things down.  Presumably, this refers to when Firestorm joined the team a few years ago during Ivan Reis’s tenure as the artist.  He’s sporting his second New 52 era look, which first showed up in issue #0 of Fury of Firestorm.  It was a return to form after the more divergent split looks from the initial launch.  It keeps all of the important classic Firestorm details, while still being “modern” so I think it’s not a bad choice at all.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall at the top of his flame hair (so, just over 6 without it) and he has 31 points of articulation.  Series 4 marked the first official move to the “new” Icons scale, so he’ll fit in with the Rebirth boxed set.  He also features the drop hips, which add to his mobility quite a bit.  Firestorm’s sculpt is really one of the nicest to come out of Icons.  It’s really sleek and clean and captures the character very nicely.  The details are all very sharp, and he has a nice, balanced set of proportions.  If I’m getting super nit-picky, his shoulders seem perhaps a touch narrow, but that’s really reaching.  The paint is similarly top-notch.  The metallic red looks really sweet, and the clear plastic works really well for the flames.  The details are clean and crisp, and he just looks very polished.  He’s packed with a spare set of open-palmed hands (in a translucent yellow), as well as a spare set of forearms with a nuclear effect (in the same translucent plastic).  They swap in and out pretty easily, and they make for a decent selection when posing him.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I ended up tracking down Firestorm on the recommendation of my friend Matt Thorpe, who I had run into at Barnes & Noble when I grabbed Lex and Black Adam.  He’d mentioned how much he liked the figure, so it made it’s way to the top of my list.  I grabbed the last one in stock at Cosmic Comix during their 26th Annual Annual Sale, meaning I got him for a pretty sweet 40% off of his original price.  I’m glad I picked him up because he’s definitely one of the best figures this line produced, and probably the best figure Firestorm’s ever gotten!