#2349: Green Lantern

GREEN LANTERN

DC ESSENTIALS (DC COLLECTIBLES)

So I totally neglected to review anything green for St Patrick’s Day….for like seven years running.  Look, it’s not one of the one’s I really mention.  In fact, I’m only bringing any of this up because I happen to actually be writing today’s review *on* St Patrick’s Day, and, well, it’s Green Lantern, who’s…well, green.  Also, writing this particular intro spares you all from having to read another “I’m a glutton for punishment because I keep buying toys from lines that have wronged me before” intro.  Aren’t you happy to have missed that?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Green Lantern is figure 19 in the DC Essentials line-up, heading off his assortment, which hit right after the New Year.  Like Nightwing, he was one of the earlier figures to be shown off, but it took a while for him to be slotted into the line-up.  For this assortment, he was paired off with a Sinestro figure, which makes sense.  GL is seen here sporting the same basic look he’s kept since after Green Lantern: Rebirth, though this one does take something of a more modern bend.  The figure stands 7 inches tall and he has 34 points of articulation.  He gets a new head, hands, and shins, and the rest is…well, the rest is the basic Essentials body, for better or for worse.  Okay, it’s kinda for worse, if I’m honest…but I’ll get to that.  The new parts aren’t bad on their own.  In particular, the head is quite a nice piece, and I like it more than DC Collectibles’ last attempt at Hal.  I like that this one’s got some personality to it.  The problem I have with it is how poorly it fits the body it’s sitting on.  It’s a little too small, and it definitely sits too high on the neck.  It shouldn’t be this hard, guys; you’ve had 18 previous figures to get this scaling of the parts down.  At least the hands are a nice combo, though as with all of these figures, I wish he had a few more to choose from.  The shins just give his boots actual raised edges, which, hey, at least they didn’t screw up something this simple.  GL’s paintwork is…fine.  Like, it does what it’s supposed to, but it also raises some pre-existing issues with the sculpt.  The way the split works on the forearms for the gloves just really exaggerates how bad those overly-long arms look.  Seriously, how have they not fixed those?  How do you leave something that glaring uncorrected on every figure in the line?  You be DCC, I guess.  Hal includes no accessories because, I mean, there’s no easy accessories you can give to Green Lantern, right?  What could you possibly include with a Green Lantern figure?  Do any items that might be “essential” for a Green LANTERN figure come to mind?  No?  Well, not for DCC, anyway.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ll admit, this was moment of weakness on my part.  I’ve gotten prior Essentials figures, and I know what’s up there.  But I was at my comic store, and there was this new Green Lantern figure that I didn’t have, and….well, I kinda caved.  I then got home, opened him up and kinda regretted it a bit.  It’s really those damned arms.  I’ve hated them since the start, and they just feel like they’re even worse here.  It’s not helping that the last Essentials figure I picked up actually fixed the issue, making its return even more frustrating because they CLEARLY KNOW IT’S A PROBLEM!  Ultimately, the figure’s not the worst thing ever.  Honestly there’s a lot of him that’s genuinely good, but it’s all hidden behind the albatross that’s hung around the line’s neck since the very beginning.

#2348: King Shark

KING SHARK

BATMAN: THE CAPED CRUSADER (SPIN MASTER)

Okay, so I’ve been informed recently that I need to be higher energy.  So, I, uhh, guess I should try to be higher energy?  I mean, yeah, let’s be high energy!  I love high energy!  High energy is great!  I’m excited to be a part of this plan to be higher energy!  Something that is admittedly pretty high energy is the DC Universe subscription-exclusive Harley Quinn animated series, which launched last fall.  It starts out focussed pretty heavily on Harley and Joker, but in pretty quick fashion Harley picks up her own crew of pretty far-reaching DCU characters.  One of my favorite inclusions is the show’s version of King Shark, who subverts a lot of the usual King Shark concepts and is just generally a good time.  And right as I was getting into the show, Spin Master opted to include a King Shark in their opening line-up of DC figures, so I of course bought one.  Let’s review this boy!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

King Shark is part of the first deluxe assortment of Spin Master’s Batman: The Caped Crusader line.  King Shark’s not classically a Batman villain, but I guess with the heavy featuring on a Bat-related show, there was some wiggle room, and I’m not going to argue with something that gets me an easily attainable King Shark figure.  The figure stands roughly 4 1/2 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation.  He’s a little bit restricted on the articulation.  The lack of neck joint is understandable, but no knees or ankles is a little annoying, especially when it comes to keeping him standing.  It’s not the end of the world, but compared to the others I’ve looked at from the line, it’s just a slight letdown.  King Shark’s got a unique sculpt, though almost all of it was immediately re-used for the Target-exclusive hammerhead version.  This one goes instead for Shark’s pre-New 52 Great White-style head, which has always been my preferred.  It’s a rather stylized take on the character, and definitely errs more on the cartoony side of things, but I really dig the detailing on his gills and the small scarring on the torso.  Those are the sorts of details that could have been overlooked, so their inclusion here really shows Spin Master is going the extra mile.  The paintwork on King Shark is more basic than the sculpt, but it gets all of the important details down, and again fits the style of the rest of the line.  Spin Master’s deluxe figures have so far followed a common theme, that theme being big armored wing pack things.  King Shark gets one of those, because why not, I guess?  It’s pretty neat, if perhaps rather gimmicky.  But then, Spin Master seems to know where their target audience is.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Super Awesome Wife’s background in marine biology has her talking about sharks a fair bit of the time, mostly touching on the unfairness of their usual portrayals in media.  So, when King Shark’s Harley Quinn appearances subverted this, she was quite thrilled.  Honestly, that did even more to endear me to a character I was already pretty into.  After getting Superman and Nightwing, I had made a passing mention to Max that I *might* be interested in King Shark, and he was kind enough to keep an eye out for one, setting me up with this guy shortly thereafter.  He’s goofy and gimmicky, but I continue to enjoy this line of figures wholeheartedly!

#2327: Nightwing

NIGHTWING

DC MULTIVERSE (MCFARLANE)

“Dick Grayson began his crime-fighting career as the original Robin—Batman’s protégé and crime-fighting partner. An expert acrobat and skilled fighter, Dick eventually left the nest and ventured out on his own as a new hero called Nightwing. His childhood experiences as a circus acrobat and trapeze artist make him extremely agile. He is a superior fighter and a highly skilled martial artist who has been personally trained by Batman. Nightwing is a keen detective, a natural leader, and a strategist with advanced knowledge of a variety of technologies.”

I am nothing if not a creature of habit.  The habit of which I am a creature in this case, apparently, is trying out DC lines with the same two characters.  First Superman, then Nightwing.  I did it with Spin Masters stuff, and lookie here, I’m about to do it with the McFarlane stuff too.  You can’t say I didn’t try to warn you!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Nightwing is part of the…well, it’s still the first assortment of DC Multiverse, but it’s like distinctly separate from the one that Superman’s in, I guess?  This one’s got a different price point because there’s a build-a-thing, and so it’s…I don’t know, it’s all a little confusing, or maybe its not.  Forget it Ethan, it’s McFarlane.  Like Superman, this Nightwing figure is, at least in theory, based on specific appearance, namely “Better Than Batman,” the first volume of his Rebirth title, which reintroduced the black and blue color scheme.  Much like the “based on Action Comics #1000″ translated to “McFarlane take on Classic Superman” for yesterday’s figure, “based on Better Than Batman” here translates to “Mcfarlane take on Nightwing’s most recent costume.”  Nightwing stands 7 14 inches tall and he has 35 points of articulation.  He’s pretty much the same height as the Superman figure (and a little taller than the basic Batman), which makes him a little tall for Dick, but believe me, he’s not the worst case of internal scaling in the line.  His articulation isn’t too different from Clark’s.  There’s better range in the arms for this guy, which is good, but I didn’t find the neck joint quite as useful this time around.  The legs are also still kind of clicky and heavy on the ratcheting for my taste, making him not a ton of fun to pose.  I will say he’s pretty stable on his feet, though, so kudos to McFarlane on that.  Let’s discuss the sculpt.  By and large, I don’t like this sculpt quite as much as the Superman, largely due to this one feeling far more uneven.  The head’s definitely the strongest part, and I definitely get an effective Dick Grayson vibe off of it.  Not sure if it’s quite a Rebirth Dick Grayson vibe, but that’s really splitting hairs.  The body’s where things get funkier.  At first glance, I thought this figure’s arms were too short, and he was kinda giving me T-Rex vibes.  In-hand, it doesn’t seem like it’s the arms that are throwing things off, but perhaps the torso?  I think it’s too large relative to the rest of the figure.  It’s hard to say for sure, but it definitely looks off.  The legs, especially below the knee, also seem slightly…mishapen?  With the right posing, it doesn’t look bad, but there’s definitely something weird about this figure’s proportions in general.  As with Superman, the costume has been given an assortment of extra little details littered throughout.  I myself tend to prefer a more streamlined Nightwing, but these details still work better on him than they did on Superman.  Nightwing’s paintwork is more in line with McFarlane’s usual output than Superman was, being a little murkier on the details, and slightly washed out.  It’s not a bad look, but compared to something like the Essentials figure, he looks almost unfinished.  Maybe that’s just my classic sensibilities kicking up, though.  Nightwing is packed with his batons, a piece of the mini-Batmobile, a display stand, and a card.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

While I was sold on Superman, I was still kinda on the fence with this guy.  I liked parts of him, but I wasn’t sure about the whole.  Max wanted the mini-Batmobile piece, so he bought this guy, and ended up pretty much just giving him to me.  He’s not a bad figure.  Honestly, he’s probably about as good as the Essentials figure, which also had it’s pluses and minuses.  However, I still personally prefer the Essentials release and its slightly cleaner approach to the character.  Both figures have their merits, and neither one is truly definitive, so I guess I’m just gonna have these two nearly identical Nightwings in my collection.  Oh, the oddity of me.

#2326: Superman

SUPERMAN

DC MULTIVERSE (MCFARLANE)

“Sent to Earth from the dying planet of Krypton as a baby, Kal-El was found by farmers Martha and Jonathan Kent and raised as their son, Clark.  As Clark grew up, the radiation from Earth’s yellow sun gave him extraordinary powers, which he kept hidden.  Now fully grown, he uses his powers to protect his adopted world as Superman.  The Man of Steel is virtually invulnerable and has the powers of super-strength, super-speed, and flight.  He also has enhanced senses, including heat vision, X-ray vision, super-hearing, and super-breath.”

When Mattel lost the DC license (or chose not to pursue a renewal, depending on who you ask), it was split between two main licensees.  For the more all-ages oriented toys, Spin Master has the license, and I’ve already taken a look at a couple of their offerings.  Now I’m jumping over to the other company, McFarlane Toys, who will be handling the more collectors-oriented side of things.  I’m kicking things off with their take on the Man of Steel.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Superman is part of the rather large assortment 1 product launch for McFarlane’s DC Multiverse line.  While all 12 of the initial figures are technically part of the same assortment, they’ve been broken down into a few different subsets.  Three variants each of Superman and Batman make up the first grouping of figures.  This particular Superman is the most standard fare, being based specifically on his appearance in Action Comics #1000…at least according to the box.  I’ll touch on that in a bit.  The figure stands 7 1/4 inches tall and he has 33 points of articulation.  In terms of scaling, these guys are pretty big.  You won’t be mixing them with your Legends to be sure, as they’re more in line with McFarlane’s other offerings or the stuff coming from NECA.  You could also probably mix some of them in with the DC Essentials figures, thought they’re a bit large even for those. While there’s certainly a lot of articulation, the effectiveness of a good number of the joints is a little on the iffy side.  The neck joint and mid-torso both have some decent range, as well a smooth motion to them.  The legs have decent mobility, but the joints are really clicky and a little tricky to work with.  The arms are the worst of the bunch, with really heavily ratcheted joints, poor range on the shoulders and the elbows, and some truly hideous design on the wrists.  Ultimately, you can get some fairly decent poses out of him, but for someone who’s used to Legends, he’s a bit of a pain to pose.  Articulation aside, how’s the actual sculpt.  Well, in my eyes, Superman is the best of the initial offerings, so I don’t think it’s that bad.  For the most part, the proportions are fairly balanced and realistic, while still being rather heroic.  Although he’s supposedly based on Jim Lee’s depiction of Clark from Action 1000, I don’t get much Lee out of this sculpt myself.  The head’s a little wonky; I’m not sure exactly what kind of likeness or expression they’re going for here, but he seems a little…off from my usual mind’s eye version of Clark.  It’s not terrible, though, and far from the worst head sculpt in the bunch.  It’s probably not helping that the head was one of the few things I unquestionably liked about the Essentials figure when I reviewed it.  The body sculpt is decent, but does run into a little bit of Todd being Todd and adding details that don’t necessarily need to be there.  He’s got some various piping running along various parts of his costume, and the insignia is now large and raised.  I do like the cape a lot; while I’m not always a huge fan of the overly large cape for Superman, it works well here, and it has a nice, dynamic flow to it.  Superman’s paintwork is pretty basic, which is a good thing, because I was a little worried that was another area where things might get all Todded up.  Application is mostly pretty clean, apart from a few small issues here and there.  The most glaring thing on my figure was a little spot of flesh tone on the hair.  Superman is packed with two sets of hands, a flight stand, and a collectors card.  The hands are probably my biggest complaint, because they don’t feel very suited to the poses I want out of a Superman.  The relaxed hands aren’t as handy as a pair of flat flying hands might have been, and I can’t begin to fathom why we got a gripping hand for the right instead of a fist to match the left.  He doesn’t even come with anything to hold!

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

So, I was hesitant on the McFarlane stuff, due to them not having the best track record.  When they showed this figure off, I wasn’t much of a fan of the proto, but after getting to see him in person, I decided to at least give him a chance.  Ultimately, he’s not bad, and certainly an admirable effort from McFarlane.  He’s still got his flaws, though, and I’m hoping they can offer some improvements.  Still, he’s a solid piece on his own.

I got my figure from my friends at All Time Toys.  If you’re looking for other cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay Store.

#2315: Nightwing

NIGHTWING

BATMAN: THE CAPED CRUSADER (SPIN MASTER)

Remember how I ended yesterday’s review by saying I wanted to see more from Spin Master with their DC stuff?  Well, it happened sooner than I expected.  Like, you know, right away.  Don’t you look at me like that.  We all knew what this was, okay?  Look, just sit back and enjoy this Nightwing review, alright?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Nightwing is part of the first standard assortment of Spin Master’s Batman: The Caped Crusader line.  Rather wisely, Spin Master has opted to separate out the Bat-characters from the main DC line, which means that the main line-up won’t get too overshadowed by the Bat-family.  This Nightwing figure is based on the character’s DC Rebirth design, which is my favorite of his more recent redesigns.  I dig the New Adventures vibes.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 17 points of articulation, for real this time!  No broken joints on this guy!  Nightwing’s sculpt is an all-new piece, but given its generally generic nature, I wouldn’t be surprised to see it get re-used for some similarly built characters.  He’s actually smaller in build than the Superman figure, which is nice to see, given that the far more expensive DC Essentials version didn’t even get that.  You know there’s a problem when your $30 collector’s figure gets outclassed by an $8 toy….I’m getting distracted, aren’t I?  Yeah, it’s a decent sculpt.  It’s not perfect; the neck is a smidge too short, and the hair’s not my ideal choice for Nightwing.  The hands and feet are also a little chunky, but given that the same is true of Superman, that feels more like a stylistic thing.  Also, it’s nowhere near the level that it was on Mattel’s old Infinite Heroes line, so I can give it something of a pass.  Nightwing’s paintwork is all fairly basic, but the bright blue looks really nice, and the application is all pretty sharp. There are one or two spots of missing paint on mine, but nothing too bad or figure ruining.  As with the Heroes Unite line, the Caped Crusader line is also doing the blind-boxed accessories.  There are currently two different accessory sets available for Nightwing.  Mine has the “Harbor Defender” selection, which is a pair of batons (with built-in gauntlets), a scuba mask and tank, and a batarang.  I found the accessories a little more interactive for Nightwing than with Superman, and really like the batons in particular.  He’s also got a collector’s card like Superman’s.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Again, Max’s fault.  I mean, in a slightly different fashion than yesterday’s review.  And, admittedly I get a lot of the blame on this one, since I did actually buy it myself, but Max let me know that the Walmart near All Time had this guy, and said “if you’re gonna grab one, mind getting one for me too?”  At that point, I felt a little obligated, because what was I gonna do, make Max stop on his way home?  That just wouldn’t be very nice, now would it?  So, I got my Nightwing, because obviously I wasn’t just gonna buy one for Max.  As with Superman, I’m very happy with this figure, and am further intrigued by the rest of the line.  Also, this has perhaps set a precedent of me trying out new DC lines by buying Superman and Nightwing.  Possible spoilers for future reviews?  You’ll have to keep reading to find out…

#2314: Superman

SUPERMAN

DC HEROES UNITE (SPIN MASTER)

It’s a time of change.  After 17 years with the DC license, Mattel lost it at the end of 2019.  In their stead, two companies are taking over as the primary holders: Spin Master and McFarlane Toys.  The first product from both companies started hitting in the middle of last month, giving collectors a chance to try out both styles.  Spin Master is handling the more kid-focused, all-ages side of the license, and I managed to pick up some of their stuff first.  Today, I’ll be taking a look at one of their versions of the Man of Steel, Superman!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Superman is part of Spin Master’s DC Heroes Unite line, and is one of two versions of Superman available at launch.  This one is marked “rare” on the included booklet, so I would assume that means he’s a one-per-case figure.  That said, Spin Master’s set-up for the line tends to suggest that none of the figures will be that hard to find in the long run.  This Superman is based on the Superman’s appearance from the 2016 Lois & Clark series, which saw the Lois and Clark of Earth-Prime return to the Nu-Earth, and gave Clark this new darker costume.  It’s clearly meant to call back to the “rebirth” costume that he wore in the ’90s after coming back to life, but it’s still effectively a modern appearance.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 17 points of articulation…or at least he should.  My figure’s right knee was fused out of the box, and ended up snapping when there was an attempt to bend it.  Probably just a one-off issue, but certainly something to keep in mind.  The sculpt of this figure is shared with the standard Superman, which actually isn’t the worst thing, given the similarities between the costumes.  The only downside is that the upper portion of the cape that’s not there is still…there.  With it being all-black, it’s not terribly distracting, but it’s too bad he couldn’t at least get a unique torso.  Aside from that, the sculpt is actually pretty nice, especially given the quality of the last Spin Master figures I picked up in this scale.  He’d certainly benefit from a waist joint and maybe some wrists, but he’s a far better offering at this scale than anything we ever got from Mattel, both in terms of sculpt and and articulation.  It’s a fairly basic layout of details, but it works very well for the style that they’re after.  Superman’s paintwork is pretty decent across the board.  The details are all pretty sharp, and the bleed over is minimal.  The painted beard works better than I’d expected, and I like how sharp the eyes are.  The primary gimmick of Spin Master’s 3 3/4 lines right now is tied in with the accessories, which are blind-boxed, and have a few different possibilities for each figure.  For my Superman, I got the armor in blue, the Kryptonite in green, and the eye beams in red, indicating this is the “Metropolis Mayhem” accessory selection.  Not a bad little assortment, and honestly not the worst gimmick for the line.  There’s also a little collector’s card, which can be removed from the front of the package, if you’re into that sort of thing.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This is Max’s fault.  I saw the Spin Master stuff and was honestly interested in checking them out in person, but Max beat me to the punch, and picked up this very figure for himself.  Then it went and broke on him, and he was going to throw it in the trash.  I can’t bear to see a figure thrown in the trash, and I honestly wasn’t quite as perturbed by the broken knee, so I salvaged him (with Max’s permission, of course), and fixed him up.  And, boom, new line tried.  Breaking knee issue aside, I’m very happy with this figure, and I think that all of Spin Master’s launch product looks really great.  I look forward to seeing more from them.

#2297: Hawkgirl

HAWKGIRL

DC UNIVERSE CLASSICS (MATTEL)

During ancient Egypt’s 15th Dynasty, Princess Chay-Ara and her beloved Prince Khufu discovered a downed Thanagarian spacecraft. After their murder, the couple’s exposure to the ship’s anti-gravity Nth Metal has destined them to be reincarnated through the ages and fight alongside the Justice Society of America.”

At the start of this year, the DC comics license officially moved from Mattel (who held it for 17 years) to Spin Master and McFarlane.  Their first products started hitting halfway through last month, but right now I’m taking another look at Mattel’s tenure with the license, specifically when they were at their high point, mid-way through their DC Universe Classics run, when they were still filling out that core cast of characters.  Today, I’m taking a look at Hawkgirl!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Hawkgirl was released in the eighth series of DC Universe Classics.  At this point, each assortment was getting one core DC character, and thanks to Justice League and Justice League Unlimited, that was a category Hawkgirl fell into in 2009.  She’s undoubtedly the most marketable character of Series 8 as a whole, due in part to the generally low-profile character selection contained therein.  As a whole this assortment was really our first taste of that deep cut philosophy that would define the line going forward.  Hawkgirl would wind up re-packed alongside fellow Series 8 release Gentleman Ghost in the “Fates Intertwined” two-pack in 2010, after she (and all of Series 8) wound up being very tricky to find at retail (a common tale with this line, unfortunately).  Despite the bio’s detailing of the Golden Age Princess Chay-Ara incarnation of the character, the figure is actually based on the Silver Age Thanagarian police officer Shayera Hol incarnation, who was the one that appeared on the cartoons and is generally better known.  The figure stands just over 6 inches tall and has 29 points of articulation.  As the line was built on parts re-use, it’s no surprise that Hawkgirl had a fair amount of re-use going on.  The shoulders, upper arms, hands, lower torso, pelvis, and upper legs are shared with Series 4’s Wonder Woman, while the wings were previously used for Shayera’s husband Hawkman in Series 6.  In both cases its pretty sensible re-use (and the wings are just very nice pieces in general), and her new parts fit well with the old.  Due to the nature of her head sculpt and how it works with the articulation, she’s stuck looking a bit downward, but if you have her on a flying stand of some sort, it’s not so bad.  It is a shame they couldn’t get some more range out of that neck joint, though.  Overall, though, this is probably one of the most balanced sculpts the line produced.  The paint’s pretty straight forward too, with clean, bright, bold application.  There’s a bit of slop on the mask, but otherwise it’s a pretty clean look.  In her single-packed release, Hawkgirl included her mace, a short sword, a spear, and a display stand.  For the two-pack release, that was cut back to just the mace and the spear.  Mine’s just got the mace these days.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Series 8 was probably the worst distributed assortment in the whole DC Universe Classics line, and I don’t recall seeing any of the figures at retail, Hawkgirl included.  I ended up getting this one, which is the two-pack release loose towards the end of the line, just so I could finally fill out my JLA line-up.  She’s a pretty nice, fairly reserved figure, and one of the best Hawkgirl figures out there.

#2276: Orion

ORION

SUPER POWERS (KENNER)

“The Scourge of Apokolips. Orion is Darkseid’s son and a half-brother to Kalibak. He turned against his father’s evil ways to fight on the side of justice. Orion wields the astro-force, an energy beam of tremendous power, and bears a computer-like device whose rays disguise his true face, the visage of one born on Apokolips. Although Orion is greater than mortal, he can be defeated in battle by a stronger warrior, or injured by conventional weaponry. When traveling on Earth, Orion has used the alias ‘O-Ryan.'”

This year’s Post-Christmas reviews sure do involve a lot of me coming full circle on some stuff and “going back to the beginning” so to speak.  Today’s focus is perhaps not back to the beginning for the site so much, but it is certainly a return to form for my collecting as a whole.  But that’s for the last section of this thing.  Let’s get through the lead-in first.  I’ve reviewed Kenner’s Super Powers six times before on this site; I’ve probably discussed it a few more times than that.  It’s kind of the quintessential DC toy line, and quite frankly, it’s kind of the quintessential comic book toyline.  Mego may have really gotten super heroes out there, but Super Powers is the genesis of most things we think of in terms of super hero toys.  The line ran three years, each year stranger than the last.  As it progressed, they got some help on it courtesy of Jack Kirby, whose Fourth World characters would become a fixture of the line.  Orion, central hero of the Fourth World would join the line not long before its end.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Orion was released in 1986, as part of the third and final series of Super Powers figures.  He and series-mate Mister Miracle rounded out the line’s New Gods theme.  The figure stands 4 1/2 inches tall and he has 6 points of articulation….7 if you count the neck, but that’s not *really* a point of articulation.  Orion, like every Super Powers figure, was a totally unique sculpt.  While the line’s first assortment stuck to the DC style guide, but the second year there were sizable changes for some of the more secondary characters, especially the Fourth World stuff.  Orion followed suit, with one of the more intensely different designs.  Honestly, if it weren’t for his name being on the box, you could be forgiven for not realizing this guy was supposed to be Orion.  The base color scheme is the same, and you can see some remaining elements of his helmet and astro harness, but only slight elements.  The helmet in particular, typically the one constant piece of Orion’s design (and honestly the best piece of Orion’s design) received a major overhaul.  It’s…well, it’s goofy to say the least.  The sleekness of his original design is gone, and while there’s still a lot of Kirby in this look (fitting, since it was an authentic Kirby design and all), it’s just not as strongly heroic as the original design.  Some of it is a symptom of the line’s knack for action features.  Most of them weren’t an impediment to the design of the figure, but Orion was notable exception, because you can definitely tell that a lot of that helmet design had to do with being able to fit in flipping Orion’s face from “good” to “bad.”  It’s certainly a memorable trait of his from the comics, but I’m not really sure it was worth upending his classic design.  All that said, it doesn’t make for a terrible looking toy, and Kenner still put their best foot forward on translating the design into plastic form.  The paintwork is all pretty solid, with a bright palette that is nothing if not eye-catching.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Super Powers may have ended six years before I was born and nine years before I began collecting action figures, but that didn’t stop it from being a huge impact on my collecting as a child and as an adult.  The line first become notable to me as a kid due to my love Hal Jordan, and his notable lack of then-current action figure coverage.  This one being just a few scant years removed made it relatively attainable to me, and so I, with some definite help from my parents, set out on collecting my first “vintage” line.  The Super Powers archive was my home page, I knew the line-ups to each assortment by heart, and I knew the rumors for the failed fourth line-up (before we actually knew the official fourth line-up).  I would scour ebay, looking at auctions for all of the figures.  And, for Christmas every year, I would put two more figures from the line on my Christmas list, and my dad would dutifully track them down.  Interests change, and I fell out of Super Powers for a bit, and when I got back into it, I was doing most of my own buying.  At one point, I was even planning to round out the line-up by buying one figure for myself out of every paycheck.  That didn’t pan out, as you can see by my not owning the whole line yet.  This year for Christmas, I decided I to ask a Super Powers figure again, so I made up a list of the ones I didn’t have, and then this guy was the very last thing I opened on Christmas morning.  It was a nice throwback.  And with that, I have 26 Super Powers figures; just eight left.

#2269: Batman

BATMAN

JUSTICE LEAGUE ACTION (MATTEL)

As toys have become more of a collectors game, and toy companies have begun to cater to said collectors, there’s been one major issue plaguing our favorite brands: how do you keep mainstay characters affordable and easily available to younger audiences who haven’t quite latched onto that collector’s game?  The answer? Evergreen lines.  These are lines with figures that don’t follow the same sort of assortment break-down of collector lines, and aim to keep the big names on the shelves, while also producing a cost effective line.  There are a handful of different levels to these sorts of lines, and furthest down the list are the very basic figures that serve as fodder for the shelves at drugstores and places like Dollar General or Family Dollar.  Figures that are cheap, plentiful, and can stand up to some play.  I’m looking at one such figure today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Batman is part of Mattel’s budget Justice League line, which features all of the iconagraphy of Justice League Action, but sports figures that are otherwise unrelated.  This specific Batman variant was also offered a few years ago under a purely Batman branding, but saw release, as is the intended purpose of the line.  The figure is about 5 1/2 inches tall and he has four points of articulation.  He moves at the neck, shoulders, and waist; no hip movement for him, although some of the line’s more recent offerings have added that.  Structurally, this figure feels quite similar to the Ultra Hero Series and offerings like it, which I can certainly dig.  His sculpt is a fairly clean, rather basic affair.  All of the important details are there, but it doesn’t really move beyond them.  His cape is a cloth piece, slotted into his back a little clumsily, but it’s sturdy and won’t be going anywhere.  As far as paint, he’s pretty basic.  The color scheme is slightly non-standard, being mostly black with a yellow emblem and belt.  It’s not a bad look, though, and the paint for the logo and face is pretty decent.  He’s got no accessories, which isn’t much of a surprise given the usual price point on these things.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I got this guy in a big box of presents from my in-laws.  He clearly wasn’t meant to be the star attraction or anything, just something small that they presumably picked up for me while somewhere else.  I can’t say he’s the sort of figure I’d buy for myself, but as a gift, he’s kind of nifty in his own way.  And, of course, now I’m looking at what else has been done in this style, because I have a serious problem.

#2264: Batgirl & Donatello

BATGIRL & DONATELLO

BATMAN VS TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES (DC COLLECTIBLES)

Over the summer, DC Collectibles launched their Batman Vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles line with a crossover Mikey as Batman figure, before moving onto the main series of two-packs.  I looked at the first two sets when they hit at the end of September, and liked them enough to stick around for one more, which is my personal favorite pairing of the line, Batgirl and Donatello.  They had a little bit of wait associated with them, but they’re finally here, so let’s have a look at them, shall we?

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Batgirl and Donatello are the third Batman Vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles two-pack, who were supposed to hit stores in October, but ended up hitting throughout November in most locations.  As with the other offerings from this line, they are available exclusively at Gamestop.

BATGIRL

Barbra Gordon as Batgirl is no stranger to animation, having been a regular fixture since The New Batman Adventures.  This version of Babs is based on her recent(ish) “Batgirl of Burnside” redesign from the comics, which, in addition to just being a solid design in its own right, also really lends itself well to the style of animation from the movie.  The figure stands just over 6 inches tall and she has 26 points of articulation.  Barbra’s articulation is about on par with the Damian figure from the same line, so she’s pretty mobile, and has a slightly better range than the main Batman.  That said, she’s still a bit more restricted than any of the Turtles, especially at the right hip, due to the structure of the belt.  The sculpt on this figure is another nice, clean recreation of the film design, and ends up looking quite flattering in three dimensions.  Like Robin, her cape is a sculpted piece, rather than cloth like Bruce’s, but it’s sensible for the shorter style.   The paintwork on Batgirl is pretty decent overall.  It’s bright and colorful, but not quite as sharp and clean as Batman and Damian were.  It’s certainly not bad, but I feel like it could be just a little better.  As is, she feels about on par with one of the middle-of-the-run Batman: Animated figures: not terrible, but not as strong as I’d prefer.  Batgirl is packed with a respectable selection of accessories, including three sets of hands (fists, closed grip, and open grip), a batarang, a blowdart, a small vial, her cellphone, a grapple with two attachments, and a slice of pizza.

DONATELLO

Donatello is the resident tech expert of the Turtles, as well as a fan of purple, so he pairs off pretty decently with this more recent incarnation of Batgirl.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and he has 28 points of articulation.  His articulation scheme follows the same set-up as the other three Turtles, so there’s a lot of range to be had, and he’s generally a little more mobile than Batgirl.  The joints on my figure were a little on the looser side, more like Leonardo than like Raphael.  I wasn’t super thrilled about that, but it’s not terrible. It’s not bad enough to cause any difficulty standing or anything.  Design-wise, Donnie follows the lead of the 2012 show, making Donnie the tallest and skinniest of the four Turtles.  It works quite well for the character thematically, and translates pretty well to the design of the toys.  The head does end up looking a little bit off in my eyes, mostly due to it departing the most from that classic Turtles shaping.  That said, it’s more a question of finding the right angle for it.  Donatello definitely has the best weapon storage of the four, I think largely because it’s the one area where he doesn’t stray from the classic design.  There’s a spot on the back where the staff can slide in, and it stays pretty securely, and doesn’t feel like it could snap at any moment.  After changing up the coloring slightly for Raphael, Donatello is again approximately the same shade as tho other two.  His paintwork is alright.  It’s clean, it’s bold, and it looks decent.  Donatello is packed with three sets of hands (fists, gripping, and flat), his Bo Staff (which splits in the middle for an easier time putting it in his hands or on his back), an extra helmeted head, a TCRI canister, a shellphone, and another slice of pizza.  Now we’re up to seven slices!

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When the line was shown off, this was the only pack I actually knew I wanted, so I went ahead and pre-ordered it through Gamestop.  Ultimately, I ended up seeing the others in person and decided to pick them up, which only made me more anxious to pick up this pairing.  So, it was getting more than a little frustrating when people were finding the set and I still hadn’t heard any word on mine coming in, what with it being, you know, the only one I actually bothered to pre-order and all.  Fortunately, Super Awesome Wife has her connections and made darn sure that this set eventually got to me.  As the set that features my favorite Turtle and my favorite of the Bat-cast from the movie, there’s a lot riding on this one.  I do enjoy it overall, and I’m certainly happy to have the figures, but if I’m entirely honest, I’ve cooled off a bit on the line since it started, meaning I don’t really see myself going back for the standard Mikey/Alfred or the Shredder/Ra’s sets.  If they opt to do maybe a non-movie-based follow-up with a Nightwing and Casey, we might be back in business, but that’s something of a longshot.