#3088: Nightwing

NIGHTWING

DC DELUXE COLLECTOR FIGURES (DC DIRECT)

Back in the early 2000s, everybody was starting to really try out the 1/6 scale game.  Hot Toys hadn’t quite overtaken the market, so there was still this sort of fledging “anyone could take this over” kind of vibe.  So, a lot of companies tried just that.  Among them was DC Direct, who decided that the best way to stand above the competition was to literally have their figures be taller than the competition, so they scaled everyone up by about an inch, with the argument that they were still 1/6 scale, the heroes were just supposed to be that much bigger than the average person.  Despite some odd notions right out of the gate, the line was a modest success, running from 2005 up through 2010.  Not a terrible run, all things considered.  They got a pretty decent swath of characters out there, which included a pretty solid focus on the Bat-Family.  Dick Grayson was present in both his Robin and Nightwing identities, the latter of which I’m going to be taking a look at today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Nightwing was the 14th release in DCD’s Deluxe Collector Figure line, hitting retail in the fall of 2007, during the line’s third year.  All of the figures were designed as standalone releases, but he hit right in the midst of a streak of Bat-related characters.  In a line that had certainly had a more classic focus, he was a decidedly more modern figure, sporting the character’s then-current design.  The figure stands about 13 1/4 inches tall (due to DCD’s insistence on that extra large scaling) and he has 30 points of articulation.

The figure’s head sculpt was the most notable new piece included here, as was pretty standard for the line.  The head sculpts for this line up to this point were, to be blunt, kind of ugly.  I mean, not terrible, but they were none of them particularly attractive people.  Nightwing marked a very earnest effort on DCD’s part to fix that issue.  Ultimately, the sculpt winds up looking a heck of a lot like Brad Pitt, with maybe a touch of Tom Cruise thrown in for good measure.  That certainly errs away from kind of ugly, and results in a not so terrible look for Dick Grayson.  The base sculpt is unmasked, with a mask piece that can clip into place, which sits surprisingly well on the face.  They did the same on Green Lantern, and I’ve always liked how well those turned out.  There are actually two masks included, one black and one blue, to cover the two looks he was shifting between so frequently at the time.  I personally really like the blue, but both work well.  In terms of paint work, it’s not as incredibly lifelike as Hot Toys, or anything, but it was about on par with most Sideshow offerings of the time.  It’s a little thickly applied, but other than that, it doesn’t look too bad.

Nightwing’s outfit is, predictably, mixed-media in its nature.  It’s made up of a bodysuit, glove cuffs, and boots.  Not a lot of pieces to this one, though that’s proper for the design.  The bodysuit is actually really nicely tailored, for as simple as it is, and the blue for his symbol really stands out well.  The boots (which are actual boots that slip over the feet) and glove cuffs are pleather pieces, with a plastic sculpted bit at the end, for the whatever they are things that he sometimes has on his costume.  They seem a tad bulky for his usual look, but ultimately work out alright.

The figure was built on what was the only available male base body at the time of his release.  It’s probably a touch bulky for Dick’s usual proportions, but it’s not truly atrocious, and he was certainly better served by this base body than most of the female figures were by the only female base body the line ever had.  It’s generally rather stiff in its movement, and notably can put its arms all the way down by the sides, but it does look pretty damn heroic, so I’ll give them that.

Nightwing got an alright selection of accessories, with two sets of hands (fists and bendy for posing to grip or gesture), his eskrima sticks, three batarangs, and a display stand.  The bendy hands are better than most of this type, but still not ideal for actually holding his weapons; actual gripping hands would have been better.  The display stand is notably really big and bulky and, due to how it’s designed, also kind of a risk for damaging the costume if you aren’t careful, which is kind of a shame.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I had a handful of figures from this line when they were new, and while they were never figures I felt were amazingly high-end, I’ve always had a soft spot for them.  Nightwing was one I always wanted, but it wasn’t until after his release, as he changed quite a bit between prototype and release, and by then I had missed a lot of opportunities to get him.  Thankfully, I got another shot at him when a whole batch of the Bat-themed characters got traded into All Time a few weeks ago.  He’s a figure from a line that’s been abandoned, and with good reason.  DCD made a lot of weird choices with these figures, and they suffered for it.  However, taken in a vacuum, I do really, really like this figure.  He’s honestly a lot of fun, and just feels really true to the character.

Thanks to my sponsors over at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure to review.  If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website.

#3085: Elongated Man

ELONGATED MAN

JLA (DC DIRECT)

Using an extract of the plant Gingold, Ralph Dibney transformed his body into a malleable elastic state!”

In preparation for this review, I realized that I’ve only fleetingly discussed Ralph Dibney, aka the Elongated Man, here on the site, twice in reference to Plastic Man not being him, and once in reference to him being one of three characters for whom I own all of the action figures.  That’s it.  Well, as you may have guessed from the whole “I have all of his action figures” thing, I’m a rather big Elongated Man.  I’d go so far as to say he’s my favorite DC character.  The fact that he’s been so mistreated in modern times isn’t so great, but on the flip side, he’s done alright for himself in the realm of action figures in the last two decades.  Let’s start off what should be a lovely journey through Elongated Man figures with the very first one, released way back in 2004.  That’s right, this figure’s almost old enough to vote.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Elongated Man was released in the second series of DC Direct’s JLA line.  After a debut assortment based on the team’s current (at the time) incarnation, the second series was inspired by the Satellite Era of the team.  As noted above, this marked Elongated Man’s first action figure (also true of his assortment-mate Adam Strange), though, like last week’s Kilowog figure, he would be quite shortly followed by a JLU release courtesy of Mattel.  The figure stands 7 1/2 inches tall with his neck extension in place (6 1/2 inches without it) and he has 12 points of articulation (11 if the extension is removed).  While not super articulated or anything, his movement scheme marks what became the standard for DCD figures around the time, which wasn’t really a bad one.  The only real downside to this particular figure, in relation to the others in the set, is that, due to how the neck extension works, he lacks the ball-jointed neck that the other three in the series got.  Instead, he’s just got a cut joint.  It’s not the end of the world, but does limit him a little bit.  Elongated Man’s sculpt was all-new, and it remained unique to this release.  It’s a pretty strong one, doing a respectable job of capturing that classic Ralph look.  I particularly like the head sculpt, goofy, cheesy grin, and all.  It just feels really appropriate for the character.  Elongated Man’s paint work is pretty decent.  It’s bright and colorful, which is the main effort for the design, so it works.  The application is clean, and I really like the glossy finish on the gloves and boots.  Elongated Man was packed with a JLA-labeled display stand, which was pretty standard for the time.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This set of figures, as well as a number of other DCD figures, hit around Christmas time in 2004, so I got a handful of them as gifts that year.  I was far more fixated on the Atom figure at the time, so he wound up being the one from this series I got on Christmas morning.  Elongated Man I actually made a point of buying for myself the week after Christmas, using a gift card I’d gotten for Cosmic Comix during the holiday.  I remember being quite excited to get him at the time, and he was a favorite of mine for a while.  I like him enough that I even snagged a spare over the years, just because.  To date, he’s still my favorite, and is probably the best version of the character overall.

#3080: Kilowog

KILOWOG

GREEN LANTERN: REBIRTH (DC DIRECT)

“The alien Kilowog was recruited into the Green Lantern Corps as a protector of the planet Bolovax Vik, and was killed by his former friend and ally Hal Jordan. Recently ressurected, Kilowog will play a key role in the re-formation of the Green Lantern Corps. The Kilowog action figure features multiple points of articulation and includes a display base.”

Despite the fact that the Green Lantern Corps is made up of a very, very, very large percentage of non-human members, it’s tricky for any of the non-human members to really hold the focus for too long.  I guess it’s inherently easier for humans to relate to humans.  Over the years, a few of the alien Lanterns have caught on a bit more than others, and, perhaps the most successful of the bunch is Kilowog, a character prominent not only in the comics, but also in most other media involving the Lanterns.  That also means his fair share of toy coverage, starting way back during the Rebirth tie-in days, back in 2005.  I’ll be taking a look at that particular figure today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Kilowog was released in the first series of DC Direct’s Green Lantern: Rebirth line.  This figure was Kilowog’s very first foray into the world of action figures, shortly followed by his JLU figure later that same year.  As with all of the figures in the set, he was designed to specifically tie-in with the “Rebirth” comic event, and as such he was sporting his updated design from the comics.  This brought him closer in-line with his animated appearances in the Justice League cartoon, which had served to revitalize the character for a larger audience.  So, it was certainly a sensible direction to take the character.  The figure stands 7 3/4 inches tall and he has 15 points of articulation.  His range of motion isn’t particularly amazing, but for a DC Direct offering, especially of the era, he’s not bad.  They were experimenting with a little extra articulation on this line in particular, so he’s got wrist and ankle joints, which were hardly standard at the time.  Kilowog sported an all-new sculpt, and it was one that would remain unique to this figure.  It’s a pretty darn good one, truth be told.  It’s a nice, hefty figure, befitting his larger stature nicely.  The face has a really solid level of detail, especially on the texturing.  It really adds a lot to the overall appearance, and helps the sculpt hold up even 17 years after the fact.  Kilowog’s paint work is pretty solid.  The metallic green and pearlescent white for the outfit really lend it that proper alien feel, and the skin tone, with its slight accenting, works very nicely.  Kilowog is packed with his power battery, which is a really sizable, as well as a Lantern symbol display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Kilowog is a figure I wanted from this series, even before it was released.  He was at the top of the list.  And then the series hit, and, much like last week’s Barda, he wound up being very hard to get ahold of.  I always hoped I might find one, but a reasonably priced one never presented itself to me.  When DC Universe Classics came along, I shifted my focus over to that one, but this one was always the one that got away.  Remember how I got that Barda figure?  Well, as it turns out, that collection had two of my personal DCD grails, because this guy was there, too.  I was actually pretty enthused, and, as with Barda, I was able to get him for a really good deal.  He’s a solid figure, and one that holds up really nicely, even all these years later.

Thanks to my sponsors over at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure to review.  If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website.

#3075: Big Barda

BIG BARDA

NEW GODS (DC DIRECT)

“Warrior goddess and Female Fury, Big Barda gives her heart and soul for the New Gods. After defecting from Darkseid’s elite army, Barda escapes to Earth with Mr. Miracle. Possessing superhuman strength, she’s virtually indestructible. An armoured warrior wielding a Mega-Rod, she can manipulate space and energy – and heal others.”

Hey, I haven’t reviewed anything from DC Direct since July of last year.  I guess I could maybe do something about that.  DCD initially found their footing doing a wider spread of DC characters, specifically the non-Batman and Superman characters that larger toy companies weren’t going to touch.  When Mattel expanded their license to a proper master DC license and launched DC Universe Classics, a much wider spreading line of DC characters, DCD’s focus shifted, in order to avoid any marketplace confusion.  They had been doing more artist-specific stuff for a little while by that point, but really leaned into it.  One of the lines to come out of that was a whole line based on Jack Kirby’s Fourth World characters.  It was a rather short-lived line, with only two assortments, but it was a pretty fun one, covering some of the bigger names from that little sub-set of the DC universe.  Today, I’m looking at one of the bigger (heh) contributions to the mainstream DC lexicon, Big Barda!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Big Barda was released in the second series of DCD’s New Gods line, alongside Metron, Kalibak, and Superman.  Yes, they lumped Superman into the New Gods line.  They needed a heavier hitter, I guess.  The figure stands 7 inches tall and has 20 points of articulation.  At this point in DCD’s run, they weren’t super posable or anything, but they were at least experimenting with a little more movement on some of their figures.  In general, the Kirby figures had a pretty decent set-up.  Barda’s sculpt was an all-new one, which remained unique to this figure.  She’s based on her fully armored appearance, which is honestly her best, and the one most worth making into toy form.  The sculpts for this whole line were directly based on Kirby’s illustrations of the characters, and to that end, Barda’s sculpt does a really good job of hitting the intended target.  Barda looks pretty much spot-on to Kirby’s drawings of her, and she’s got the right heft and stature for the character.  Additionally, the level of detailing on the armor is pretty sharp, and even the cape’s rather dynamic flow feels right for a Kirby drawing.  Even the articulation is pretty well worked in, all things considered, especially given that this is a DC Direct offering.  Barda’s paint work is actually quite nice.  The application is very clean, and she’s very bright, bold, and eye-catching.  All of the New Gods figures experimented a little more with line-work, and in Barda’s case that means for a little more contouring on the face, which works quite well.  Barda was packed with her Mega-Rod, which she has a little trouble holding, but which is otherwise a nicely sculpted piece, as well as a display stand, complete with Kirby Krackle dots and everything.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I remember being very excited for this line when it was announced, and I snagged the whole first series as soon as I could.  Between the two series, my interest kind of waned a little bit, and I was generally kind of meh on the second assortment line-up.  The only one I really wanted was Barda…who wound up being the only one I wasn’t able to find when they hit, so I just sort of passed on the whole set.  I’ve moved on over the years, but every so often a swath of DCD figures will come into All Time, and that was the case with Barda here, who came in with a mixed collection, and kind of slipped through the radar, allowing me to snag her for a far more reasonable price than usually.  She’s really the best Barda out there, and I’m really glad I finally got the chance to own one, even if it took a little while to get to me.

Thanks to my sponsors over at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure to review.  If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website.

#3073: Hush

HUSH

BATMAN: HUSH MAFEX (MEDICOM TOY)

Every so often, I like to jump into the world of imported toys, just to try out some of the finer things from time to time.  See how the other half lives, or something like that.  It’s a little tricky with some of them, given that the prices can get a bit insane on the domestic market, and things don’t always have a clear line of distribution.  A line that I’ve been intrigued by for some time is Medicom’s MAFEX line, their contribution to the 1/12 scale market.  Unfortunately for me, most of what I’ve been interested in has been of the Marvel persuasion, and those don’t have direct domestic distribution, making them pricier, and therefore less appealing.  I’ve been looking for a decent entry point, and I finally found a pretty good one.  That’s…not what I’m looking at today.  I’ll get to that.  What I *am* looking at today is Hush, based on his appearance in the self-titled arc from the comics.  I said don’t talk about it.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Hush is figure No. 133 in the MAFEX line-up, the fifth Batman: Hush figure, following the two color variations on Batman, Catwoman, and Superman.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 46 points of articulation.  Hush marks my first time messing with a MAFEX figure, so it’s the first time I’ve checked out the articulation scheme.  It’s a mix of a few different styles, most closely resembling Figuarts in how it’s laid out and implemented, but I found that the motion seemed a little more fluid, at least on this figure compared to the Figuarts I’ve picked up.  Also, in a rather amusing sort of a set-up, it should be noted that four of those points are on the pouches on his belt, which can be posed up, as if he’s mid-jump.  It’s such a minor thing, but it’s also kind of cool.  The only slightly weird thing is that it’s just the pouches on the belt proper, not the lower hanging ones.  Still, it’s a nice touch.  Otherwise, the range of motion is pretty impressive for the scale.  Hush’s sculpt is a totally unique one.  He’s based on his appearance in the comics, directly patterned on Jim Lee’s art from the books, much like the old DC Direct figures.  It does a really good job of capturing the Jim Lee stylings, and there’s a lot of really good small detail work.  The technical work is just really impressive.  Hush includes three different head sculpts.  Two of them are the full bandaged look, one with a calm expression, and the other an angrier look.  The heads are nicely detailed, and internally consistent in their detailing, as well as matching up pretty nicely with Lee’s illustrations of the character.  The third head, and by far my favorite, is a Jason Todd head, based on the famous reveal panel.  It’s a great sculpt, with a ton of character, and super well-suited to the body.  Given the bare neck, this was clearly the head that the body was sculpted specifically for, with the other two being more of a package deal.  Hush’s paint work is really nicely handled.  The application is really clean, and the colors are nice and bold.  There are no missing details, or any notable slop, and the whole thing just looks pretty slick.  Hush has an impressive selection of accessories, including the three previously mentioned heads, plus five pairs of hands (in fists, gripping, relaxed, open gesture, and blade holding), two handguns, a coin, a separate knife, two different insignias for the chest (one H and one R, depending on display option), as well as two different belts (again with the H and R set-ups), and a display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As I touched on in the intro, this figure isn’t the one that broke me on MAFEX, though he did come rather close.  No, that would be the Hush Nightwing, which is just too cool to pass up, and will be added to my collection just as soon as I can get him.  Of course, right after Nightwing was announced and I got my order in for him, this guy got traded into All Time used, giving the opportunity to mess with a MAFEX in hand, and also a slightly cheaper option for getting this one to go with that Nightwing I’m already down for.  I mean, it’s not that crazy to have the two grown up Robins, both from a rather formative comic book storyline for me, right?  Right.  So, after much hemming and hawing, I brought this guy home.  Was it the right call?  Simply put, yes.  This is a really nice figure, who really feels worth the heightened price point.  I can’t really afford to go all-in on a set of them at this price point, but I’m definitely even more excited for that Nightwing, and I’ll probably be picking up one or two other figures, as they do characters I have more draw to.

Thanks to my sponsors over at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure to review.  If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website.

#3021: Batman Earth -32 & Green Lantern Hal Jordan

BATMAN EARTH -32 & GREEN LANTERN HAL JORDAN

DC MULTIVERSE (MCFARLANE)

“Hal Jordan’s life was changed twice by crashing aircraft. The first time was when he witnessed the death of his father, pilot Martin Jordan. The second was when, as an adult and trained pilot himself, he was summoned to the crashed wreckage of a spaceship belonging to Abin Sur. Abin explained that he was a member of the Green Lantern Corps, an organization of beings from across the cosmos, armed with power rings fueled by the green energy of all the willpower in the universe. Upon his death, Abin entrusted his ring and duties as the Green Lantern of Earth’s space sector to Hal Jordan.

In DC’s Dark Multiverse, on Earth -32, the green light of will has twisted an angry Bruce Wayne into something very dark and sinister. After the murder of his parents in Crime Alley, young Bruce is gifted with a Green Lantern ring, which allows him to fly and to generate deadly hard-light energy constructs. With no Alfred Pennyworth™ to guide him, he soon swallows his fear and pain and lets the void that remains corrupt him and the ring, unleashing a wave of darkness across his world, and now ours, as The Dawnbreaker.”

Hoo boy, it sure has been a lot of Marvel-centric Hasbro reviews around here lately.  I’m gonna be honest, that’s burning me out ever so slightly, so I’m voting to mix things up just a tad this week.  Don’t get too excited, though, because that doesn’t mean it’s all butterflies and rainbows.  No, in fact, I’m jumping over to the McFarlane side of things.  Oh boy, won’t that be fun and thrilling?  Well, this one’s at least half not-Batman.  So, there’s that, right?  Sure.  Without further ado, here’s some Green Lantern stuff, with a bit of Batman mixed in!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Batman of Earth -32 and Green Lantern Hal Jordan are the second DC Multiverse two-pack of 2021, hitting retail last fall.  They’re based on Dark Knights Metal, and follows up on the Superman vs Devastator and Flash vs Red Death packs previously released from the same cross-over.  Dawnbreaker is identical to his single release from 2020, for better or for worse, while Hal is a new release to this pack.

GREEN LANTERN HAL JORDAN

We’ve gotten one of Earth’s other Green Lanterns from McFarlane already (twice over, in fact, since there were both Comic and Animated versions of John produced), we hadn’t yet gotten Hal Jordan.  Instead, he’s exclusively available in a two-pack with a figure that you inevitably already bought when it was released as a single, over a year before the two-pack was released.  But I’m not bitter about that or anything.  The figure whose release scheme I’m not at all bitter about stands 7 1/4 inches tall and has 32 points of articulation.  From the neck down, this figure’s sculpt is the same as the John Stewart figure.  I was less than enthused by the sculpt when it was used for John.  I’m still not incredibly enthused by it here.  It’s still over-designed, which is a real bummer when it comes to a GL design.  As I brought up the last time I discussed the mold, it was clearly designed with both uses in mind from the start, so there are elements of both costume designs worked it.  The John costume elements are a bit less of an issue on Hal’s costume, generally, so it works a *little* bit better, but it’s still really cluttered.  The one new piece to the sculpt is the head, which is admittedly a much better offering than the one we got for John.  It’s actually kind of a decent rendition of Hal, and probably one of McFarlane’s best human heads, so that’s certainly an accomplishment.  Hal’s paint work is alright; the colors match those used for John, which is at least consistent, I suppose.  I still think the green is maybe a bit too dark, but at least there’s more of it to sort of offset that this time.  At least the application is pretty clean.  Hal is packed with two construct pieces, a boxing glove and a jetpack, as well as a large construct stand meant for both Hal and Dawnbreaker.  After the kind of uninspired minigun piece from John, it’s actually really refreshing to get the boxing glove construct, which not only actually clips over his whole hand, but also is just appropriately true to the character.  The jetpack isn’t quite as much his speed, but it’s still a little more inventive, as is the larger display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I do like GL-related stuff, and had generally found the early McFarlane stuff lacking in that regard.  The John Stewart really let me down, I won’t lie.  And, while I liked Dawnbreaker decently the first time around, I’m also not super enthused about having to buy him a second time around to get Hal.  I mean, Hal’s a decent figure and all, and certainly a better figure than John, but saddling him with a complete re-pack just generally sucks.  Additionally, as nice as he his, he’s at best a lateral move from the DC Essentials figure, much like Superman and Nightwing were.  Honestly, I kind of wish Hal and John were reversed in terms of quality, because I don’t really *need* another decent Hal figure, but I’m still waiting on an okay John.  Well, at least Hal’s a nice figure.

Thanks to my sponsors over at All Time Toys for setting me up with this set to review.  If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website.

#3006: Kalibak

KALIBAK

SUPER POWERS (KENNER)

“Kalibak, The Cruel Crusher! This massive warrior is incredibly powerful and nearly indestructible. A savage fighter, Kalibak wields the deadly Beta-Club, which can fire nerve beams powerful enough to fell an entire army.  Despite his size and strength, Kalibak is not too intelligent. He can be bested by an opponent like Superman, who combines his strength with a sense of strategy.”

When I last discussed Kenner’s Super Powers line from the ’80s, I was getting pretty deep into the Fourth World component of the line, which hit during its second and third years.  Thus far, I’ve looked at three of Darkseid’s lieutenants, as well as one of his sons.  Today, I look at the figure that combines those two epithets, Kalibak, half brother to Orion, and the brutish son of Darkseid.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Kalibak was released in 1985, as part of Kenner’s second year of Super Powers figures.  As with the rest of the Fourth World figures in the line, this would be his debut action figure, and it would remain his only figure until Mattel got back around to him in 2009 as part of their DC Universe Classics line.  Heck of a gap there, huh?  There was definitely a preferred son of Darkseid in the toy world is all I’m saying.  The figure stands just shy of 5 inches tall (he’s got a bit of a hunch, which would place him at closer to Darkseid’s height were he standing straight up) and he’s got 5 points of articulation.  Kalibak lacks the knee joints sported by most of the line, presumably to give him a slightly more stable stance with the hunch and everything.  He still has a bit of trouble remaining standing even so, due to his hip joints being a little loose from how the action feature works.  Most of the Fourth World characters got rather changed-up designs for the line, still courtesy of Jack Kirby, of course.  Kalibak’s design was new, but he actually had a rather evolving design throughout Kirby’s actual run on New Gods, so this was really just the next step in that evolution.  It’s honestly one of the best of the updated designs, and the one that really has the most lasting influence on the character’s main look going forward.  The sculpt does a pretty nice job of capturing Kalibak’s larger build, and while he’s a little bit goofy looking, that’s on-brand for Kalibak, so it works out better here than it does for, say, Steppenwolf.  Kalibak’s paint work is pretty straight forward.  A lot of the Fourth World designs were heavy on green in the comics, and Kalibak was included in that.  For the Super Powers designs, they leaned a little more into browns and warmer colors, since there was kind of a shortage of those colors in the DC roster.  Kalibak is largely brown and yellow, with a bit of blue.  It’s not a bad look, and the application is generally pretty clean.  Kalibak is packed with his Beta-Club, which is convenient for use with his “Power Action Beta-Club Swing.”  When is legs are squeezed together, the left arm swings in and out, which is actually a pretty cool feature.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Kalibak is the newest addition to my Super Powers collection, in the continuing tradition of my Dad getting me a Super Powers figure at Christmas.  He’s slowly but surely helping me make my way through the figures that remain between me and a complete run of the line.  Kalibak is one of those figures I wasn’t in a rush to get or anything, but I actually like him a lot more than I’d expected now that I actually own him.  And with that, I’m down to just 6 more figures!

#3003: The Batman Who Laughs – Sky Tyrant Wings

THE BATMAN WHO LAUGHS — SKY TYRANT WINGS

DC MULTIVERSE (MCFARLANE)

“Born from the nightmares of the Dark Multiverse, The Batman Who Laughs is a hybrid version of the Batman and The Joker from Earth -22. This twisted version of Batman was created when nanotoxins from The Joker’s heart were released into Bruce Wayne’s bloodstream, causing the Dark Knight’s perfect mind to merge with the warped psyche of the Clown Prince of Crime. He soon became part of an attempt to plunge the entire Multiverse into ultraviolence, chaos, and utter darkness. After being initially defeated, The Batman Who Laughs managed to survive and remains a threat to the greatest heroes of the Multiverse.”

For Day 3 of the post-Christmas, we’re going back to more of my usual territory, specifically the realm of super hero comics.  Even more specifically, DC Comics.  They’re pretty busy doing nothing but Batman these days, and, well, umm, here’s some more of that, I suppose.  The last few years, DC’s bread and butter (and, by extension, their main licensee McFarlane’s bread and butter) has been Dark Knights Metal, a multiversal story where everyone is Batman.  Except for Batman.  Sometimes Batman is Joker.  And here we are with that.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Batman Who Laughs with Sky Tyrant Wings is the second version of the Batman Who Laughs to be released in McFarlane’s DC Multiverse line, as part of the Merciless Collect-To-Build assortment, which was released at the tail end of 2020, at least in some quantities, and made it out more fully last year.  The figure stands 7 inches tall and he has 40 points of articulation, thanks to the extra joints present in the wings.  In terms of articulation scheme, he generally follows the usual McFarlane set-up, for better or for worse.  The notable change-up is to the hips, which don’t have the same full range of mobility that we usually see, being far more restricted to just forward and back.  Given the long jacket, it’s not a huge surprise or hinderance, but it’s still noteworthy.  This Batman Who Laughs is based on the character’s later appearance after he steals the wings from the Sky Tyrant, the Dark Knights Metal version of Hawkman.  To give McFarlane some credit, as far as I can tell, there are no shared parts between the two versions of BWL they released.  There are certainly similarities, but this sculpt just generally improves upon the shared elements between the two, making for a generally more well put-together offering, at least to my eyes.  The crazier, more exaggerated facial expression works a lot better for the character, especially in toy-form, and the texture work on the outfit is pretty solid.  McFarlane certainly does torn-up and gritty well.  I also feel that the more posed hands work a lot better for the character than the more generic gripping hands of the prior release.  The most obvious change here, of course, are the wings.  They actually work quite nicely, as they’re well-articulated, well-detailed, and not terribly balanced considering.  It would be nice to see such work on a proper Hawkman, but this is McFarlane, so a Batman variant is really the best we can hope for, I suppose.  The paint work on this figure is generally pretty good.  It’s largely rather basic work, but I think that’s for the best, especially after the weirdness surrounding the accent work on the last figure’s mouth.  It just looked odd, so going a little more straight forward here is probably the right call.  The Batman Who Laughs includes a display stand and a collector’s card for the figure proper, as well as the head, shoulder pads, and sword of the Merciless Build-A-Figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Dark Knights Metal really isn’t my sort of thing.  It’s honestly a lot of the stuff I don’t like about DC’s current obsession with Batman and the need to constantly place him above all of the other heroes rolled into one big event.  The Batman Who Laughs himself is a concept that I don’t think is terrible, but like the whole cross-over, I kind of feel like he got played out a lot quicker than he went away, and he just sort of keeps resurfacing.  So, I wasn’t seeking this figure out on my own.  That said, I received this one from Jess’s parents for Christmas, and I can certainly appreciate the thought, the gesture, and ultimately the figure proper.  The story that spawned him may not be my main thing, but the figure did turn out pretty nicely, so I can’t really knock it.

#2994: Batman, Robin, Alfred, & Clayface

BATMAN, ROBIN, ALFRED, & CLAYFACE

THE NEW BATMAN ADVENTURES (HASBRO)

Criminals beware…these relentless Caped Crusaders are ready to fight the forces of evil anytime, anywhere, and stop even the most devious villains in their tracks!

Gotham City’s Dark Knight Detective, Batman never shirks his duty to defend the city against its many bizarre criminals, no matter how powerful.  Even if it means facing the awesome might of Matt Hagan, aka Clayface.  Empowered by strange chemicals, Clayface is stronger, bulkier and meaner than ever!  Of course, Batman is far from alone in his crusade for justice.  Tim Drake, as Robin, is the newest member of Gotham’s crime-fighting elite.  Along with Alfred Pennyworth, Bruce Wayne’s ever-faithful butler and confidante, Batman is ready to continue his battle against evil!”

It’s Christmas Day, a day that I usually devote to something a little more festive and Christmas-y.  For a number of reasons, I’m not feeling that one quite as much this year, so I’ve opted to instead continue my look into Hasbro’s late-game Animated Batman sets.  I suppose it’s not the oddest connection.  This one in particular does really push the surrogate family angle, which feels a little bit Christmas-y, I guess.  So, in the spirit of a little bit Christmas-y, let’s look at this here set of figures.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Batman, Robin, Alfred, and Clayface were released as a TRU-exclusive boxed set, released in late 1999 to expand the New Adventures of Batman line under the Hasbro banner.

BATMAN

Have I mentioned the need for a Batman variant in these sets?  Because they totally needed one, in each and every one of these. For this one, they went for a rather nifty little tweak for the variant.  He’s not animation accurate, but he’s a classic blue Batman, which is rather fun.  The figure stands 5 inches tall and he has 5 points of articulation.  Structurally, he’s another re-use of Detective Batman, which is really always a nice starting point.  It’s a good sculpt, and it still worked well here.  The change up to this one comes in the from of paint, mainly the cape, cowl, gloves, and boots are all bright blue instead of the usual black.  It’s a good look, and simulates the classic look quite nicely.  Batman was originally packed with a big missile launcher.  It was goofy, and I didn’t hang onto it.

ROBIN

Since Dick Grayson was Nightwing, TNBA replaced him in the role of Robin with Tim Drake.  Tim had previously been released in the  Bat-family set, and became the first of said family to get another go in the boxed sets.  The figure stands just shy of 4 inches tall and he has 5 points of articulation.  This figure used the same mold as the two single-carded versions of the same character.  It’s generally pretty on-model for the show design.  I suppose he’s a touch tall and lanky, but not overly so.  The cape is a separate piece.  It’s a little bulky at the collar, but otherwise a rather nice piece.  His paint work is bright, colorful, and fairly cleanly applied, which is cool.  Robin was packed with a weird sled thing, which I’m missing, of course.

ALFRED

The undoubted selling point of this here set, Alfred, much like Gordon and Lois, was granted his very first action figure here.  The figure stands just shy of 5 inches tall and he has 5 points of articulation.  He was constructed from a mix of unique and re-used parts.  His arms and legs came from Wildcard Joker, while his head and torso were all-new.  The head was quite a nice in-model Alfred from the show, and it’s certainly one of their stronger ones.  The Joker parts don’t technically match the show design, especially with the gloves that he never wore, but they approximate well enough that the re-use is understandable.  Alfred’s paint work is rather basic, mostly just black and white.  At least, unlike Gordon, the eyes are painted.  Always a plus.  The hair’s not the right color, at least not for a present day Alfred, but it’s admittedly a relatively minor thing.  Alfred was packed with a serving tray, which I actually still have, thanks to it being actually relevant to the character.

CLAYFACE

Clayface hadn’t had a toy release since the BTAS days, and that one was rather scarce by this point, so I guess a re-release wasn’t the worst idea.  The figure stands just over 5 inches tall and he has movement at his shoulders, and that’s it.  The set’s definitely very New Adventures-themed, and the shaping of that design was quite different, but this figure nevertheless uses his BTAS mold, largely unchanged.  The only actual adjustment is to the left arm, which rather than ending in a shooting spike formation like the original, is now just an arm with a fist.  The whole thing isn’t the worst sculpt, but much like Batgirl and Poison Ivy, it suffers from rather plainly not being accurate to what it’s supposed to be representing.  Also, this release has some major issues with a sticky residue building up on the figure’s surface over time.  You can clean it off, but it comes back, and it’s just generally not so pleasant.  The paint work on this figure, or at least the coloring, marked a change, since he was now a much paler tan.  No idea why, but he was.  Clayface was packed with a safe and a bomb to go inside it.  He couldn’t really do anything with it, of course, and I lost mine, so there we are.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This set does hold a bit of significance to this particular date, as the year it was released, it was very definitely the item highest on my Christmas list.  I’d gotten the Bat-family pack the year prior, and I desperately wanted this set to expand my roster.  How could you not want an Alfred?  Well, and I also didn’t have a Clayface, and the blue Batman did rather excite me too, so it was really just Robin I didn’t need.  Even he was a solid release of his own, and wound up becoming my go-to figure for him.  In retrospect, it’s maybe not the most thrilling set, but I’m still very glad I got it, and I remember it quite fondly.

#2987: Arkham Asylum Escape

BATMAN, TWO-FACE, POISON IVY, & HARLEY QUINN

THE NEW ADVENTURES OF BATMAN (HASBRO)

“They’re on the loose!  Those sinister, diabolical misfits of society, Two-Face, Poison Ivy, and Harley Quinn have broken the boundaries of incarceration and once again hit the streets on a path of destruction.  But Batman is ready to put them behind bars once and for all…where they belong!”

Hey, we’re heading down this late-game Hasbro DC rabbit-hole, so I guess we might as well just, you know, do that.  I sure do like themes, right?  And at least this theme is definitively not a Marvel Legends one, which is a nice change of pace these days.  I might be suffering from a bit of Legends burn out here, you guys.  But I’m not talking about them today!  No!  I’m talking about DC!  Yeah!  Let’s do it!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Arkham Asylum Escape, a set made up of Batman, Two-Face, Poison Ivy, and Harley Quinn, was released by Hasbro in early 2000 as a Toys R Us exclusive.  The set has the four figures, as well as a selection of accessories, some character specific, some less so.  The least specific is the Arkham Asylum sign, which actually should have two additional supports not seen in my photo.  It’s a cool piece that makes for a fun backdrop, which isn’t the sort of thing we tended to get for this line.  There’s also a straightjacket, which is listed as being Two-Faces, but which can easily be used for either him or Batman, and I honestly like it more with Batman.

BATMAN

“The people of Gotham City see Batman as an almost mythological figure, able to tame any adversary, no matter how powerful.  But now, with so many bizarre criminals running amok in Gotham City, Batman turns to his trusted allies to aid him in his battle against evil.  The Dark Knight has evened the odds by creating more amazing weapons, gadgets, and vehicles, all of which are available to his crime fighting team.”

You gotta have a Batman, so here’s the Batman.  He’s all Batman-y.  The figure stands 4 1/2 inches tall and has 6 points of articulation.  Amazingly, he gets a whole extra point of articulation, thanks to the swivel at the waist.  This Batman re-uses the mold of the Batman originally packed in the “Batman Vs Two-Face Battle Pack,” which is a rather basic Batman, but running.  Or lunging.  For some reason.  I guess it’s more dynamic.  It’s honestly not a bad sculpt, apart from being a little hard to keep standing.  It’s rather clean, and internally consistent with the standard Detective Batman sculpt.  To match his more dynamic pose, his cape is also more dynamic, with a whole arc and flow to it, which is really cool.  Though this set generally goes for TNBA designs, and the figure’s sculpt is clearly TNBA-based, the paint scheme on this guy is decidedly BTAS-based.  It’s not a terrible look.  The only downside is that it doesn’t really hold up so well to wear and tear.  Batman was originally packed with a grappling hook, but it was lost by foolish child Ethan.

TWO-FACE

“Two-Face (Harvey Dent), well-entrenched as an underworld crime boss, continues to be a major threat to Batman and Gotham City.  However, Two-Face is always finding himself at odds with his dual nature, torn between his own good and evil sides.”

Though prominent early in the show’s run, Two-Face’s only toy release during TNBA‘s actual run was in a two-pack with a Batman variant.  This one upgrades that to a four pack, so I guess it’s sort of a lateral move.  The figure stands 5 inches tall and he has 5 points of articulation.  His sculpt is shared with the two-pack release, and is based on his updated appearance from TNBA.  It’s a good look, and the figure does a good job of capturing the design and translating it into three dimensions.  Given how basic a suited body this is, it’s genuinely a bit surprising that no other uses came from this figure.  It seems like it would be kind of natural.  It was certainly a popular piece amongst customizers at the time.  The paint work was ever so slightly changed here.  Instead of off-white, the lighter parts are a true white, and the lip on the scarred side is red, rather than black.  Technically, the original release was the more accurate scheme, but this one I think maybe presents a bit better in figure form.  Two-Face was originally packed with a machine gun and a pistol, both of which I have been missing since shortly after getting the figure.

POISON IVY

“Villainous vixen of vines, Poison Ivy (Pamela Isley) returns to continue her crusade for botanical supremacy.  While essentially a loner, Ivy is not above ‘hanging with the girls,’ as she occasionally teams up with Harley Quinn.”

Ivy was completely absent from the TNBA tie-ins, at least for the main line.  So, this figure was the first of hers under that specific branding.  It’s a bit of a cheat, of course, since she’s actually not TNBA at all, but I’ll get to that.  The figure stands about 4 1/2 inches tall and she has 5 points of articulation…technically.  The neck joint doesn’t really do anything, honestly.  Since there was no TNBA Ivy sculpt from Kenner, this figure re-uses the BTAS sculpt.  It’s not a great sculpt, but it’s not a terrible sculpt either.  It’s biggest issue is that it’s rather squat and a bit pre-posed.  Of course, it’s biggest issue here in particular is that Ivy’s design changed pretty drastically between the two iterations of the show, so she doesn’t match the theme here all that well.  The paint is also kind of suspect.  Technically, they’re following her TNBA scheme…sort of.  I mean, she doesn’t have leggings, which is the main thing.  Her skin tone is still peach, rather than a greenish white, and her outfit is a far brighter green than it really should be.  Ivy is packed with a crossbow and a plant capture weapon.  Astoundingly, I’ve actually still got both of them.

HARLEY QUINN

“Harley Quinn (Harleen Quinzel) continues to be Gotham City’s deadly wild card.  Her lethal toys come in handy whether she’s working out her aggressions with her ‘puddin,’ The Joker, best gal-pal Poison Ivy, or taking on Batman solo.  While she masks her dark and unpredictable nature with playfulness, her hatred of Batman is never far from the surface.”

Introduced within the original run of BTAS, Harley, unsurprisingly, got her very first figure in that line.  It was, however, never an exceedingly easy one to find.  So a second release was far from the worst idea.  The figure stands about 4 3/4 inches tall and she has 5 points of articulation.  She makes use of the single-release BTAS Harley’s sculpt.  It’s a good sculpt, which is pretty on model, and unlike Ivy, it actually matches okay with the TNBA set-up of this release, since her overall design wasn’t really that different between the two shows.  Her paint work is generally pretty decent.  The only change between this release and the single release is the color of the lips, which are red here, in contrast to the black on the original.  Harley was packed with a boxing glove launcher, as well as a gun with a “bang” flag.  Curiously, no mallet.  Mine is missing the gun, but still has the glove launcher.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I actually got this set at the same time as the set I looked at last week, both of them being given to me for my 8th birthday in 2000.  I was more interested in the Gordon set overall, but this one was a definite sleeper hit for me, because all of the figures in it were actually pretty solid, at least to child me.  Harley and Two-Face are still my go-to versions for this scale, and I definitely dig the Batman.  Ivy only really ranks lower because I wound up with the original BTAS release later down the line, and didn’t need it’s off-color repaint so much.