#2143: Nightwing

NIGHTWING

LEGENDS OF BATMAN (KENNER)

“As Robin, he fought crime beside Batman all his life, and with every bit of his mentor’s determination! Now Robin has grown up, and he has a new super-hero identity: Nightwing! His sonic blaster and armored cowl make him a force to be reckoned with! Together, Batman and Nightwing can take on any villain in Gotham City!”

In 1994, we were in between Batman movies, but the holders of the DC license over at Kenner didn’t just want to sit and wait for one to role out in order to release new toys.  The went with a radical concept: basing figures on the comics…well, at first anyway.  Legends of Batman began as a rather straight comic Batman line, with one or two Bat-variants worked in, but it would eventually morph into a full-fledged Elseworlds-esque line.  For today’s review, though, I’m sticking wit the line’s early focus, with a look at Batman’s former sidekick, Nightwing!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Nightwing was released in Series 1 of the Legends of Batman line.  He’s based on Nightwing’s early ’90s design, which was still current at the time of this figure’s release, and figured into Knightfall, a storyline that was a prominent inspiration for early Legends figures.  The figure stands 5 inches tall and has 5 points of articulation, as was the standard for Kenner figures at the time.  Nightwing sported an all-new sculpt, and you can definitely see a lot of the origins of things like Total Justice in this figure’s sculpt.  He’s heavily pre-posed, and exactly what that pose is supposed to be is a little up in the air.  They were definitely going for dynamic, but dynamically what, that they never settled on.  This intended dynamic look is also passed on to the hair; it’s early ’90s Nightwing, so of course he’s got the mullet, and it’s just whipping around back there like crazy.  On top of the pre-posing, Nightwing is also really bulked up.  This wasn’t uncommon for this costume to showcase Dick bulked way up to near Schwarzenegger-ian proportions, and this figure follows suit.  Strictly speaking, it’s not inaccurate, but it sure is super goofy.  He’s more bulked up than most of the Batmen in the line, which is downright silly.  Nightwing’s paintwork was rather muted compared to the comics design, which honestly robs this design of it’s one real selling point: that it was eye-catching.  Also, despite the “feather” detail being sculpted into the figure’s torso, it goes unpainted, with the figure relying on a removable shoulder piece to provide the yellow.  Unfortunately, if you’re like me and your figure is missing that piece, it makes Nightwing look especially incomplete.  In addition to the removable shoulder piece, Nightwing includes what is obviously the most appropriate accessory for him, a missile launcher!  Clearly this is Dick Grayson’s signature item.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

While I wasn’t quite into collecting yet when this figure was first released, I did still get him within the decade of his release, albeit as a used offering.  My cousin Rusty had this one, and I always liked it.  Since he knew I was a bit more of a Batman fan than he was, he ended up giving it to me.  Sure, he didn’t have all of the parts, but it was a nice gesture.  The figure’s definitely dated, even moreso than some of his compatriots, but your can’t really say he doesn’t live up to the comics design.

#1295: Egyptian Catwoman & Batman

EGYPTIAN CATWOMAN & BATMAN

LEGENDS OF BATMAN (KENNER)

In an effort to prevent this site from becoming all Marvel Legends all the time, and risking becoming too monotonous, today I’m going to be looking at a DC-related item.  Just to add a bit of variety.  Now, yesterday, I looked at a caped vigilante of the night with a bit of an Egyptian flair.  Today, I’ll be looking at…a caped vigilante of the night with a bit of an Egyptian flair.  The more things, the more they stay the same, right?  Today’s review takes us once more to Kenner’s Legends of Batman line from the ‘90s.  While prior reviews have focused primarily on the line’s pirate-sub-line, this time we’re looking at another of the goofy reimaginings, with Egyptian Batman and his foe Egyptian Catwoman!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Egyptian Catwoman and Batman were released in 1996 as one of a pair of two-packs in the Legends of Batman line (the other two-pack was the previously reviewed Pirate Two-Face & Pirate Batman).  Like most of the goofy variants from this line, these two were original creations of Kenner, and had no ties to the comics beyond being Batman and Catwoman.

CATWOMAN

Ancient Egypt revered the cat—with the exception of Egyptian Catwoman.  The mightiest woman pharaoh ever to rule, Egyptian Catwoman tainted the royal throne through her misuse of her immense power.  Forcing whole nations into slavery to build her lavish palace, pyramids, and towering monoliths, Egyptian Catwoman was despised and feared throughout the land.  Only her sworn enemy, Egyptian Batman, could stand up to her evil-doings and massive cat-claw battle staff to release her unfortunate subjects from her iron rule.”

Unlike Two-Face, it would seem Egyptian Catwoman is a markedly different character from her main universe character.  With that said, despite what her bio may insist, she doesn’t seem to be all that different from the average Pharaoh, apart from her willingness to fight her own battles.  Guess the cat-claw battle staff helps.  Also, can we address how silly it is that the bio has to call her “Egyptian Catwoman” every time she’s mentioned?  It just sounds kind of silly, especially since those living in ancient Egypt would be very unlikely to throw “Egyptian” in front of their name.  It’d be like me referring to myself as “American Ethan H Wilson” all the time.  Wouldn’t “Pharaoh Catwoman” have been a better choice?  Oh well.  The figure stands about 4 1/2 inches tall and has 6 points of articulation (counting the tail, which turns at its base).  Most of the articulation isn’t of much use, since she’s rather preposed; it’s really only there to let you fine tune things so that she doesn’t fall over so much (whether it actually helps with that issue is debatable).  The sculpt is okay, I guess.  It’s not as good as Pirate Two-Face, but also not as bad as Pirate Batman.  It’s somewhere in between.  The pre-posing is at least a pretty decent pose, which is clearly designed to interact with the Egyptian Batman figure.  In terms of design, she seems to take a good deal of influence from her then current Jim Balent-designed outfit, mostly in terms of color and general layout of the various elements.  There are, of course, the Egyptian-styled elements, which are all pretty decently rendered, if perhaps a bit on the soft side.  The Wolverine claws seem a bit overkill, but there are worse things.  The paint work on Catwoman is acceptable, but far from perfect.  There’s a lot of fuzz around the edges, and the gold paint doesn’t seem to have held up particularly well.  Catwoman includes a headdress (meant to evoke her exposed hair in the comics), as well as the previously mentioned cat-claw battle staff.

BATMAN

“Many years ago, the son of a high-ranking Egyptian official disguised himself as Egyptian Batman and made it his life’s mission to out an end to evil-doers.  He didn’t have to look far for his main target: his own father’s sponsor, Egyptian Catwoman.  Battling the evil, feline pharaoh with only his powerful bat-shield staff and keen intellect as weapons, Egyptian Batman strived to make his homeland a prosperous, peaceful place once again.”

Okay, so here’s my question here: why a bat?  Like, it makes sense for Bruce Wayne, but random Egyptian dude?  Cats work into the whole Egyptian mythology thing, but bats?  I don’t know.  Anyway, the figure stands about 5 inches tall and he has 5 points of articulation.  The articulation works a little better here, since the figure’s a little less preposed, which is a definite plus.  I think Egyptian Batman may well sport my favorite sculpt of the five Legends of Batman figures I’ve looked at so far.  Sure, he’s still got slightly exaggerated proportions and kind of insane muscles, but there’s a sort of balance to it.  I definitely get a Neal Adams sort of vibe from this figure.  The general design is also one of the stronger ones.  It maintains the basics of the classic Batman design, but also perseveres the whole Egyptian aesthetic, in a way that I feel works better than his pack-mate.  I particularly dig the morphing of his traditional bat-ears into more of a jackal sort of design.  It preserves the basic silhouette, but offers something new and different for the figure.  The paint work is pretty straightforward.  It’s mostly pretty clean, and the colors suit the character.  There’s still an issue with the gold paint one this figure, but it seems less present on this guy.  Like Catwoman, Batman includes a headdress, as well as his previously mentioned shield staff, which he has a little trouble holding properly.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Like the prior two-pack, I don’t actually remember seeing this set in stores when it was released.  This one I do recall seeing a few times elsewhere over the years, but I just never got around to getting one.  Super Awesome Girlfriend picked this set up for me at the same time as the Pirate set.  I was actually more interested in the pirate set at first (since they go with my other figures), but after opening them both up, this set was actually my favorite of the two, largely due to the pretty awesome Egyptian Batman figure.  If you’re looking for a good jumping on point for this line, you could do a lot worse than this set.

#1277: Pirate Two-Face & Pirate Batman

PIRATE TWO-FACE & PIRATE BATMAN

LEGENDS OF BATMAN (KENNER)

Remember when I reviewed Buccaneer Batman, the inexplicable pirate-themed Batman variant from super wacky ‘90s Legends of Batman line?  Well, he wasn’t the only inexplicable pirate-themed variant in the line.  Not by a long shot!  Today, I’m looking at the *other* pirate-themed Batman from the line, dubbed “Pirate Batman” (real original on that one, guys), alongside one of his pirate-themed foes, Pirate Two-Face (again, great job on the name, guys…).  Let’s have a look!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Pirate Two-Face and Pirate Batman were released in 1996 as one of the two two-packs from Kenner’s Legends of Batman.  These two wrapped up the Pirate subset that was started in Series 3 of the main line.

TWO-FACE

“After a tragic accident left half his body hideously scarred and half his mind horribly insane, the once promising ship’s captain Pirate Two-Face sailed the seven seas as the most ruthless pirate leader in the annals of history.  Upon boarding captured ships laden with treasures, Pirate Two-Face would decide the fate of the crew and passengers with the flip of a coin.  His unpredictability, unchecked greed, and sword fighting skills could be challenged by just one man, Pirate Batman, who he eluded at every port of call.”

So, in this pirate scenario, Two-Face is more or less unchanged, it seems.  Mostly, they just threw the word “pirate” in there a lot.  Fair enough.  It’s worth noting that this was Two-Face’s only figure in this line; Joker, Catwoman, and Riddler all had standard comic figures, but Harvey was stuck as a pirate all the time.  I mean, at least he got a figure at all, right?  The figure stands about 5 inches tall and he has 7 points of articulation.  Pirate Two-Face was a unique sculpt, and it’s actually a pretty solid one.  His design plays up the “good vs evil” dichotomy, but in true pirate style.  Rather than his usual suit, Pirate Two-Face is half naval officer, half dastardly pirate captain.  His naval officer side is clean and pressed while the pirate side is disheveled and wrinkled like crazy.  His collar on the pirate side is even slightly popped, before settling back down on the “good” side.  The pirate side gets the usual facial scarring (which is surprisingly gruesome for a kid’s toyline), and he also seems to have lost an arm and a leg along the way, replacing them with a peg-leg and some sort of swiss army knife-sword-hook combo replacing them.  As a whole, he really sells the pirate angle pretty well, while still sticking close to the Two-Face side of things as well.  For paint, Pirate Two-Face is generally pretty good for the time; his colors are obviously split down the middle, with blue on the right and red on the left.  The changeover works pretty well, though there’s a bit of slop right on the line, where some of the primer coat under the red shows through.  Most annoyingly, the paint for his belt doesn’t continue all the way around, so it’s just flat blue and red back there.  It looks kind of sloppy.  Pirate Two-Face included no accessories, which is slightly odd, since his hand seems to be begging for something to hold.  He does have a “sword-fighting action”; when you turn the wheel in his back, his sword hand spins.  Woooooooooo!

BATMAN

“Taking it upon himself to make the world’s waterways safe from marauding bands and looters, Pirate Batman relentlessly scoured the seas in pursuit of the most villainous of them all—Pirate Two-Face.  Armed with a razor sharp sword and dagger, Pirate Batman was renowned for his extraordinary dueling ability and courage in the face of danger.  He ceaselessly hunted his evil foe with the split-personality, hoping to rid the seas of his maniacal menace once and for all!”

There was already a Buccaneer Batman in Series 3 of Legends of Batman, but I guess Kenner felt a second one was needed to be made.  The bios for the two indicate they actually might be two different people, which is a somewhat interesting idea.  The figure stands about 4 1/2 inches tall and has 6 points of articulation.  Of course, one of those points is on his right shoulder, which does jack-all in terms of posing, thanks to the outstretched arm.  The figure is actually a complete re-hash of Series 1’s Power Guardian Batman.  Admittedly, the Zorro stylings of that figure lend themselves to a pirate-theme as well, so it’s not a terrible re-use in theory.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t one of the stronger sculpts when it was new, and two years later, it felt even more out of place with the rest of the line, especially the pirate subset it belonged to.  He’s more pre-posed than even the worst of the Total Justice figures, in this really deep lunge.  Remember when I said Buccaneer Batman had the widest stance I’d seen?  Well, this guy’s topped him on that, which has the added bonus of making him virtually impossible to keep standing.  Also, I’m not really sure what’s going on with the left arm; it’s just at an odd angle, and the hand’s doing…something.  Not really sure what.  And it’s at least half an inch too long and isn’t attached to the shoulder in a natural way at all.  In general, the proportions are just super wacky on this guy.  The cape is a removable piece, and while it looks okay, it never really seems to sit right and it falls off a lot.  Pirate Batman’s paint is decent enough.  His scheme is actually somewhat reminiscent of the “Gotham By Gaslight” design, albeit slightly bluer.  I personally find this design to be a bit more exciting than the Power Guardian look, so I guess that’s a plus.  The figure is packed with the sword and dagger mentioned in the bio (they’re the same pieces included with the PG version).  He’s also got his own sword-fighting action, which works fairly similarly to Pirate Two-Face’s.  Honestly, it’s probably the best thing about the figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I don’t actually recall seeing this set when it was new.  It wasn’t until years later that I even knew that it existed.  When I dug out my Buccaneer Batman to write his review, my interest in completing the set was piqued.  A few months back, while picking up Super Awesome Girlfriend’s comics, I noted that the store had this set in stock.  Super Awesome Girlfriend, being who she is, insisted on getting them for me.  Pirate Two-Face is pretty cool.  Goofy, but cool.  Pirate Batman is…well, he’s the other figure in the set.  And that’s about it for him.  He just feels really tacked on, and almost as if he’s from another line entirely.  Still, the set’s more than worth it for Two-Face!

#0966: Buccaneer Batman

BATMAN – BUCCANEER

LEGENDS OF BATMAN (KENNER)

In Super Hero toylines, it’s rarely a shock to see wacky, non-cannon variants of the main heroes . After releasing a basic version of the heroes, variants are the easiest way to get them into every assortment. They’re kind of one of those necessary evils (and honestly, they aren’t even that evil). Oddly enough, in the mid-90s, Kenner released the Legends of Batman line, which was a line of figures pretty much exclusively devoted to weird variants of Batman and his supporting cast. Today, I’ll be looking at one of those Batmen, specifically Buccaneer Batman, because who doesn’t love pirates?

THE FIGURE ITSELF
Buccaneer Batman was released in the third series of Legends of Batman. He was part of the “Pirate” sub-line that Series 3 introduced, alongside First Mate Robin, Laughing Man Joker, and … Pirate Two-Face. Yeah, they kind of gave up on the names after “Buccaneer Batman.” The figure stands a little over 5 inches tall and has the standard 5 points of articulation for a figure of the time. There’s a slight bit of limited motion on the right shoulder, thanks to his “Slamming Mace Action,” which would swing his arm downward when the button the figure’s back was pressed. As far as I know, this figure (and all the other Pirate figures) is not based on any particular comicbook appearance of Batman, but rather comes from the minds of Kenner. The design takes the classic Batman design, and makes a few tweaks here and there, to play up the whole pirate angle. His mask is no longer a cowl, but is instead a bandana tied into shape (though, how he got it to duplicate the bat ears is anyone’s guess). Gone is the utility belt, replaced by a simple sash, albeit one where he can still stow a batarang. He’s also got a belt running along his chest, which has a bat-logo affixed to it, just in case you didn’t know who this was. What’s slightly odd about the logo, though, is that it’s oriented parallel to the belt on his waist, despite the belt it’s attached to being diagonal. It almost feels like the logo was meant to be diagonal too, but then someone in DC’s merchandising insisted it be oriented flat, so as to not cause any brand confusion or something. Anyway, the design’s interesting enough. The actual sculpt isn’t bad, but it definitely has some oddities. For one thing, Batman’s really beefy, more so than he usually is depicted. Despite the fact that the costume is clearly meant to be loose and flowing, his muscles are still bulging through in every spot that they can. Also, he’s in a very strange pose, with one of the widest stances I’ve ever seen on an action figure. It’s not that this sculpt is bad, but rather that it seems uncertain of what it’s trying to do. Also, he did have a cape at one point, but I seem to have lost mine. Batman’s paint is fairly standard, but still pretty cool. He predominately uses the basic Batman colors, but they’ve given him red in place of the usual yellow. It makes it so this is clearly Batman, but he’s just different enough that you’re given pause. Plus, red seems more pirate-y anyway. Batman included a sword and a mace, both of which had been given slight bat-makeovers. He could only hold one at a time, and, if I’m honest, the sword was a lot cooler.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I received Batman (and his corresponding Robin) for my fourth birthday. I definitely recall seeing the commercials for this particular set of figures and being rather excited to get them. Which is odd, since I’ve never been much of a pirates guy, but whatever. The figure took quite a beating over the years, and as goofy as he is, I still have something of a soft spot for him. This figure, like the rest of the Legends of Batman line, goes to show that wacky variants aren’t inherently a bad thing, provided you’re having fun with them.

BuccaneerBatman3