#2588: Two-Face

TWO-FACE

BATMAN: THE LONG HALLOWEEN (DC DIRECT)

An epic tale of mystery and suspense that takes Batman deep into the underworld of Gotham City.

The Long Halloween reveals the events that transformed Harvey Dent into Batman’s deadly enemy, Two-Face!”

Though he was a long time Bat-foe by the time The Long Halloween was published, Two-Face’s background, beginning with his time as Gotham’s attorney Harvey Dent, had only ever really been touched on in brief.  Long Halloween uses Harvey Dent as one of its central characters, detailing his efforts to clean up Gotham by taking on the mob, and how it ultimately leads to his downfall.  It became rather defining for the character, and even served as a heavy inspiration for The Dark Knight‘s version of the character.  So, it’s not terribly surprising that Two-Face was included in DC Direct’s tie-in line for the storyline, I suppose.  Let’s have a look at that figure, shall we?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Two-Face was included in DC Direct’s Batman: The Long Halloween assortment of figures, which hit shelves in 2006.  He actually marked the first time DCD had done a Two-Face figure, which was really something, given how many figures they’d put out by this point.  He wouldn’t be their last, of course.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 11 points of articulation.  Of the figures I’ve looked at from this line so far, Two-Face is definitely the most restricted in terms of movement (though he’ll be outdone by Mad Hatter, should I ever get around to him), with pretty much no movement in his lower half, as well as cut joints at the shoulders.  There’s not a ton of posing to be done here.  He’s got a nice ball joint on the neck joint, I suppose.  His sculpt is again a very stylized piece, inspired by Tim Sale’s art from the series.  It’s…fine.  The pose is a little more neutral than Batman or Joker, so it’s more versatile.  The feet both pointing one way, which is a little awkward, and I’m not entirely sure why they opted for that.  Also, while the sculpted work on the scarred side of his face is a truly impressive piece of work, the unscarred side misses the mark on capturing Sale’s style…or at least on capturing Sale’s version of Harvey Dent.  There are still some Sale qualities, but his features are a little too exaggerated for Harvey.  Still, it’s far from a bad sculpt, and it’s certainly got a lot of character to it.  Two-Face’s paint work is pretty strong.  They did a great job consistently applying all of the pin stripes to his suit and tie.  It’s adds a nice dynamic flair.  I also really like how well the accenting works on the scarred side of Harvey’s face.  Two-Face was packed with two hands, in the same pose, but with different side of the coin showing, a pistol, a display stand, and a calendar page showing January 1st.  The hands are really hard to swap out, so that’s a bit of a bummer, but the stand’s nice, and the calendar page is a nifty little extra.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As I noted in my prior reviews, I hadn’t yet read Long Halloween when these figures were released, so I played the waiting game on getting them.  The same collection that had the Batman and Joker figures I reviewed last week also had this Two-Face figure, loose.  It was actually the Two-Face that caught my eye, as he was the one that was higher on my list.  I really enjoy the story’s take on Harvey, and though this figure may not be perfect, it’s nevertheless a solid rendition.  I’m definitely happy to finally have it.

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

#2581: Batman & Joker

BATMAN & JOKER

BATMAN: THE LONG HALLOWEEN (DC DIRECT)

“An epic tale of mystery and suspense that takes Batman deep into the underworld of Gotham City.”

Well, we’re firmly a week into November.  Perfect timing for me to have *just* missed Halloween in order to properly theme what I’m about to review.   Yes, I’m jumping into the world of Batman: The Long Halloween, Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale’s year-long miniseries following an early in his career Batman as he tracks down Holiday, a serial killer who strikes once a month on a holiday.  While on his quest to find the killer, Batman also manages to face down most of his major rogues gallery, making it a nice, all-encompassing Batman story, and certainly one of the best out there.  It’s distinctive style, and the fact that it includes so many heavy hitters made it a perfect choice for a toy line.  Today, I’m delving into the heaviest of hitters, Batman and the Joker.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Batman and The Joker were released as a special collector’s set from DC Direct in 2008, after they’d completed their main Long Halloween and Dark Victory lines.  The set included the two figures and some stripped down accessories, as well as a trade paperback of The Long Halloween.

BATMAN

Batman races agains the calendar as he tries to discover who the killer Holiday is before he claims his next victim.”

Tim Sale’s Batman is a rather distinctive piece, and the chance to own it in three dimensions was one of the primary selling points of the first Long Halloween line.  It was so popular that it sold out the first time, so they just did a straight re-issue of it when it came time for the figures from Dark Victory…and then that one pretty much did the same thing.  So, this guy was the third pretty much straight re-release of this figure, although this one did get a new head sculpt out of it.  He’s almost 7 inches tall and he has 13 points of articulation.  It’s not a ton of posability, but it’s enough to get a few decent poses out of him.  The real weakness of the joints, I’d say, is the shoulders, which don’t really have much up and down.  This means he’s always just got them sort of jutting out to the sides like that.  Given Sale’s tendency to draw Bruce in rather dynamic poses while in costume, it’s not the end of the world, but it’s somewhat limiting.  In terms of the actual sculpt, Sale’s artwork proved a little difficult for DCD to translate into 3D.  His style is somewhat impressionistic, and he likes to keep his characters fluid, so getting them really nailed down in a single sculpt is tricky.  That’s definitely the case with Batman, who ends up looking close to Sale’s work to be sure, but there’s something…off.  The face in particular seems a bit out of place.  It’s a little bit pinched, I think, and almost too simian for the character.  It’s not far off, and definitely a marked improvement over the two single releases, but it’s still not quite there.  The other piece that seems to have given them trouble is the cape.  Sale always had Bruce’s cape all over the place, and he liked for it to be really long.  This figure aims to capture that, with a cape that trails behind and even lays on the ground at the back.  It’s not terrible, but the shaping doesn’t quite seem right here.  In this case, it’s really a matter of fighting with gravity, and it’s hard to fault DCD there.  The paint work on this guy remains pretty much the same as the two prior releases.  It’s black and grey, with just a touch of brown, which is to say it’s exactly what you’d expect from a standard Batman.  It’s pretty cleanly handled, and there’s no notable issues with mine, so I’m calling it a win in my book.  Batman includes a batarang with a line on it (which is the Dark Victory release) and a simple display stand with the book’s name printed on it.  I do miss the cool sidewalk stands that came with the single releases, but it’s fairly minor.

JOKER

Sofia Falcone risked innocent lives when she unleashed The Joker after the Holiday killer!”

Joker’s an interesting choice for inclusion here.  I mean, yeah, he’s definitely Batman’s most distinctive foe and all, and his appearance in the book is a notable one, but beyond being the Joker, he’s not that prominent.  Two-Face and Catwoman are both far more plot relevant, and would have made for a more sensible second.  But, at the end of the day, DCD was hard pressed to say no to another Batman/Joker pairing, especially one the same year as The Dark Knight…which, of course, also had Two-Face in a prominent role, making his inclusion the more logical–nope, I’m spiraling again.  Stop it, Ethan.  What’s done is done.  This figure stands again just shy of 7 inches tall and he has again 13 points of articulation.  In terms of movement, Joker is even more static than Batman, largely because he’s far more pose-specific than Batman.  He’s patterned on a specific visual from the comic, which was more important for the single release of the figure, since it more tied in with that figure’s accessories.  Whatever the case, it’s got him in sort of a mid-stride appearance, which is a little tricky to work with, since it makes him rather hard to get standing.  I was mentioning above how Sale’s characters are very fluid; well, going by that method, his Joker is fully liquified.  He goes for the height of expressiveness, and that means he’s really hard to nail down in three dimensions.  Because of this, his sculpt is probably the weakest of the whole set.  It’s not bad, and when viewed from the right angle, it actually looks really cool.  The profile in particular is really killer.  It’s just not great for posing, and looking too closely at the internal proportions is bound to drive you batty, and not in the thematically appropriate way.  Joker’s paint work marked quite a change from the prior release, with a few changes to the actual color palette.  This is actually a case of DCD making good use of a second release of a mold, as Joker’s colors shift later in the series.  His single release matches the earlier appearance, while this one’s more of an end of the series look.  This release also cleans up the application a bit more, especially on the face, which is now a much cleaner end product.  The accessories are where this guy really takes a hit compared to the single.  He gets his gun and a display stand, but loses the santa hat and bag of gifts from the original.  While I get why they were cut, it’s still a little sad that they aren’t here.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I hadn’t yet read Long Halloween when DCD first released figures from it.  By the time I got around to reading it (and loving it, because boy do I love it), all of the figures, including this pack, had disappeared.  I’ve had my eye out for a set of them for a bit, but never really went to the trouble of tracking them down.  This pair came into All Time as part of a rather large collection a few months ago, and they were at the right price at the right time, so I was definitely on board.  These two were probably the weakest of DCD’s Sale-based figures, but that doesn’t make either one of them a bad figure at all.  In fact, I really quite like them, and I’m happy to finally be making my way through this set of figures.

Thanks to my sponsors at All Time Toys for setting me up with these guys for review.  If you’re looking for toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#0684: Catwoman

CATWOMAN

BATMAN: THE LONG HALLOWEEN

CatwomanLH

A few of Batman’s foes have a tendency to go back and forth across the line of friend or foe, but none more so than Selina Kyle, aka Catwoman. She’s one of the Bat’s oldest enemies (debuting in the same issue as the Joker), but she rarely stays on his bad side for too long. In addition to switching sides a lot, she also gives the Wasp a run for her money in terms of number of costumes. She’s been in the leather catsuit for a while, but before that she seemed to be changing costumes just about every week. She did manage to keep roughly the same look for most of the 90s, and that look’s gotten a handful of figures (including my very first Catwoman figure). Let’s look at one of those figures, shall we?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

CatwomanLHWilsonCatwoman was released in the first series of DC Direct’s Batman: The Long Halloween. The series was based on the comic of the same name, which featured the work of artist Tim Sale (who’s one of my favorite Batman artists). It follows that Catwoman is based on Sale’s interpretation of the character, as she appeared in that series. She’s essentially wearing her purple bodysuit costume from the 90s, with a few tweaks. The figure is just shy of 6 inches tall and has 13 points of articulation. That’s not a lot of movement, but it was above average at the time of this figure’s release. Still, she’s not going to get into any poses more creative than a basic standing look. Catwoman featured an all-new sculpt, which has remained unique to this particular figure. DC Direct definitely had some trouble translating Sale’s artwork into three dimensions on several of the figures in this line, but Catwoman actually ended up with a pretty great sculpt. She manages to capture Sale’s style without being too cartoony or odd looking. The head is probably the most stylized part of the figure. Sale had a fairly distinctive take on Selina’s mask, and it’s been translated very nicely here. She’s missing her whiskers, but those probably would have looked silly in three dimensions, and they were absent from a lot of the silhouettes. That face is definitely a Sale face. The proportions of the body are pretty decently handled; she’s still somewhat stylized, but not absurdly so. The boots and gloves exhibit some of the best work on the figure, with some of the best sculpted wrinkles I’ve ever seen. Seriously, those wrinkles are fantastic. It’s a weird element to focus on, but it really impresses me. The bracelets on the wrists are actual, metal rings, which is a cool touch (though, I seriously have to question the practicality of such accessories on a burglar…). The tail is really the only part of the figure that’s just “ehh,” and that’s really just because it’s not in any way posable. Catwoman’s paintwork is pretty straight forward, but it’s nicely handled. The face paint does a nice job of accenting the “Sale-ness” of the sculpt. The glossy paint on the gloves and boots is also a nice way of breaking up those parts from the rest of the body, so that’s cool. Catwoman was packed with a pair of night vision goggles, a whip, a calendar page (February 14th, for those who are curious), and a display stand that looks like a section of pavement. Of course, I’ve misplaced all of those over time.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When this figure was first announced, I didn’t want it. The prototype shots looked really odd, especially the head. Then my comic book store was running a sale on DC Direct figures, and she was marked down to like $5, at which point I realized I didn’t yet own a Catwoman in this scale and figured I could do a lot worse for five bucks. Oh boy could I have done worse. In hand, this is probably one of the best Catwoman figures out there. Sure, the articulation could be better, but the figure is just a great looking figure.