#1959: Booster Gold

BOOSTER GOLD

JUSTICE LEAGUE ACTION (MATTEL)

When Hasbro first launched their Titan Heroes concept, most toy collectors balked.  Cheaply-made, all plastic 12-inch figures?  What kind of a collector market is this meant for?  Well, the answer is: none.  They were purely aimed at being a cheap toy for parents to buy you kids, without having to worry about scolding little Johnny about breaking his $20 Black Series figure.  And, if the masses of Titan Heroes and similarly-themed competitors visible at retail are anything to go by, I’d say it was a pretty successful move.  Mattel tried to get in on that success with a couple of similar lines based on the licenses under their banner.  By far the most successful has been their running DC line, which has most recently been based on Justice League Action.  It’s gotten us an interesting assortment of characters, including today’s focus, Booster Gold!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Booster Gold was released in the larger scale Justice League Action line at the beginning of 2018.  Based on the post-52-inspired costume of the cartoon, the figure stands 12 inches tall and he has 17 points of articulation.  He’s more posable than a Titan Heroes release, but still feels a little bit restricted; the lack of ankles is kind of throwing me.  Still, you can get some decent poses out of him, so there’s that.  The sculpt is decidedly more rudimentary than a lot of figures (though, honestly, not too far removed from Mattel’s higher end product from around the same time), and rather skinny and lanky.  The legs in particular seem rather long for the body.  The same basic body is shared between figures in this line, and while I can see it not being a very good fit for a lot fo characters, it’s not terrible for Booster, especially not Booster from the show.  It’s also largely hollow, meaning it feels very lightweight, and could potentially be prone to breaking, though I myself had no issues with it.  Booster’s head was a new piece, and it’s an alright one.  It’s very stylized, very blocky, and very sparse on the details.  It’s not very accurate, though.  I mean, it’s not *unlike* Booster on the show, but it’s certainly squarer and a little less expressive.  That being said, it’s not a bad piece, and does still read pretty well as Booster Gold, big dumb grin and all.  Booster’s color work isn’t all that much done with paint, but instead relies heavily on molded colors.  For a kid-aimed line, it’s a sensible choice, and it works out alright.  What paint there is is fairly cleanly handled, and the figure is bright, colorful, and eye-catching, which are the most important things.  Booster has no accessories, not even his robot buddy Skeets.  Booster without Skeets seems very odd to me, but that’s the path Mattel chose.  This is why the lost the DC license.  No Skeets.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve not really followed this line at all, apart from seeing the odd figure in various toy aisles.  I stumbled upon Booster while out looking for some last minute Christmas decorations.  I wasn’t really looking for him, but who am I to turn down a Booster Gold action figure?  He’s not amazing or particularly notable or anything, but he’s not awful, and for the discounted price I got him for, I quite enjoy him.  Even if he doesn’t include Skeets.

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#1891: Amazo

AMAZO

DC UNIVERSE CLASSICS (MATTEL)

“Amazo is a powerful android capable of absorbing and mimicking the superpowers of the members of the Justice League of America. “Absorption cells” allow Amazo the ability to duplicate the power of any superhero he encounters, but is only able to use the powers of one super hero at any given time.”

Hey, this is convenient timing.  Just last week, the CW tv shows did their annual crossover event, “Elseworlds,” the first part of which prominently featured today’s figure in question, Amazo.  Amazo’s not a stranger to popular media, having previously appeared in both Justice League and its sequel series Justice League Unlimited.  That being said, JL and JLU rather drastically shifted the character’s design, so the casual fan might be forgiven for not quite making the connection.  “Elseworlds” used a variant of the classic design, which was pretty darn cool if you ask me.  Amazo’s actually a fairly frequent choice for various DC toy lines, including Mattel’s DC Universe Classics.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Amazo was released in Series 5 of DCUC.  It was a noteworthy series for the line, as the first Walmart-exclusive assortment and, by extension, the first assortment carried in Walmart.  It was also our first real taste of some of the worst the line was going to serve up to us, with accessories cut at the last minute, horrible distribution, and some pretty awful quality control.  Walmart had requested the assortment be produced as cheaply as possible, and Mattel delivered.  This figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 25 points of articulation.  Amazo’s a little on the small side for most depictions of the character, thanks to his sticking to the main male base body, another symptom of this assortment’s general lack of newer parts.  Amazo’s actually got one of those: his head.  It’s pretty basic, but matches the classic Doc Savage-esque design he’s been sporting for fifty some years.  He also gets the right hand from Green Lantern, since he’s typically seen replicating the ring.  It’s a sensible choice in theory, though in practice it means he has wrinkles on his hand, since the original piece was gloved.  I suppose it’s easy enough to explain away, what with him being an android and all.  Amazo’s paintwork is decent enough.  They’ve gone with his original costume, which is sensible, since it’s the most easily conveyed with just paint.  While my other Series 5 figure, Black Lightning, was all over the place in terms of paint quality, Amazo actually manages to keep it pretty clean and consistent.  Some of the stripes, especially at the top, are a little wobbly, but I’ve certainly seen worse.  Amazo was packed with one of the pieces to the Series 5 Collect-N-Connect Metallo…and that’s it.  Nothing character specific.  Not even the Wonder Woman lasso that they already had tooled for Series 4.  Sadly, Amazo was not alone on this front; there was exactly one proper accessory among all of the Series 5 figures.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Series 5 was legendarily hard to find at retail, with many regions reporting a single case of figures being put out, if any arrived at all.  Needless to say, I didn’t find a single one of them at retail.  To be totally fair, the line-up was so-so enough that I didn’t really look too hard, but I’ve warmed up to some of them over the years.  So, when All Time Toys got in someone’s DCUC collection and I fished Amazo here out of the bin, I was a pretty easy mark.  He’s an okay figure, but nothing to really right home about.  That said, he’s also a lot less flawed than I’d expected, given the assortment that spawned him.

Obviously, I bought All Time’s only figure of this guy, but they have a whole bunch of other DCUC figures listed on their eBay store.  And, if you’re in the market for something newer, please check out their website as well!

#1651: Big Barda

BIG BARDA

DC UNIVERSE CLASSICS (MATTEL)

“Born on the evil, warlike planet Apokolips, Barda was specially trained in all forms of combat by Granny Goodness. However, she fell in love with Scott Free, a child of peaceful New Genesis raised on Apokolips, and used her warrior skills to help him escape to Earth. Barda accompanied Scott, and they married after he assumed the name of Mister Miracle, world’s greatest escape artist. Since then, she has fought evil alongside her husband, both of them serving in the Justice League of America.”

When it came to DC Universe Classics‘ line-up, there was definitely a penchant for leaning heavily on Jack Kirby’s Fourth World creations.  This is something of a carry over from Kenner’s Super Powers, a line that inspired much of the DCUC line.  One prominent Fourth World member that was absent from Super Powers was Big Barda, who made her debut rather early into DCUC‘s run.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Big Barda was released in Series 7 of DC Universe Classics.  There were two versions of the character available: with helmet and without.  As you may have pieced together from the photo at the top of the review, this one’s the un-helmeted release, which, despite not being a standard look for the character at all, ended up as the easiest of the two versions to find.  Why the decision was made to make it two separate figures, rather than just tossing in the alternate look as an accessory is anyone’s guess, but it’s just the first of the problems that plague this figure.  The figure stands 6 inches tall.  I’m gonna say that again: 6 inches tall.  So, for those of you playing the FiQ home game, double-checking the stats up against prior players reviews, you’ll note that Barda is shorter than the DCUC Mr. Miracle, despite Barda being consistently depicted as a good half foot taller than Scott, and having, you know, “Big” in her name. Kind of an issue.  What’s especially odd about this is the fact that Barda has a completely unique sculpt…so, there’s really no reason for her to be the same size as all of the other female figures.  There’s legitimately no good reason for Mattel to have so badly underscaled Barda.  Apart, of course, from the looming “they’re Mattel and thereby must suck at everything” bit they’ve got going on.  And even from an internal standpoint, she’s still really off, because her arms and legs are really quite scrawny, again, in sharp contrast to that “big” descriptor.  How did nobody along the whole process stop and go “wait, something’s not right here.”  Or maybe they just thought it was an ironic nickname?  Like “Einstein” or “tiny”?  That seems like an appropriately Mattel thing to do, I guess.  If there’s one redeeming aspect to the figure, it’s the paint.  It’s from a time when Mattel was still kind of trying at such things, so she actually has some pretty solid accenting work, especially on things like the chainmail on the arms and legs, where it really helps bring out what few strengths the sculpt actually has.  In terms of accessories, Barda was rather light.  She has her staff and one of Atom Smasher’s arms, and she can’t even hold her staff all that well.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

No super exciting story about acquiring this figure.  A friend of mine bought this figure thinking there was a helmet included, and upon discovering no helmet was included, she handed it off to me.  The sans-helmet figure wasn’t my first choice, and I mostly just kept her because I wanted to finish my Atom Smasher.  She’s a flawed figure.  I can’t really get past that.  On the plus side, with the introduction of DC Icons and its rather diminutive nature, I at least have somewhere to put her.  Yay?

#1813: Hawk & Dove

HAWK & DOVE

JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED (MATTEL)

Jeez, when are the Teen Titans going to stop masquerading as the Justice League?  First Cyborg, now these guys?  Okay, actually, first these guys, by a little bit…unless we’re going to count Super Friends…but then it’s actually first Robin….I’m getting sidetracked.

For Justice League Unlimited’s expansive roster, the creators actually searched just about every corner of the DC Universe for characters not otherwise tied up.  While most of the Titans characters were tied up in their show, for whatever reason, Hawk and Dove weren’t, so they got tapped for Unlimited, getting their main focus in the appropriately titled “Hawk and Dove.”  They also got some figures out of it, which would end up being the very first figures of the pair.  Not too shabby at all!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Hawk and Dove were released in the second round of Justice League Unlimited figures, in a three pack that was rounded out by a re-issue of Wonder Woman.  Given her prominent role in the duo’s eponymous episode, she was a decent choice to pair off.  But, she was just a slight tweak on a character I already had, so I’ve subsequently gotten rid of her.

HAWK

First up, it’s Hank Hall, aka Hawk.  The older and gruffer of the two, he’s also voiced by Fred Savage, of Wonder Years and Princess Bride fame.  Pretty nifty!  The figure stands 4 3/4 inches tall and has 5 points of articulation.  Hawk was built on JLU’s larger male body, which was a retooling of the Superman base.  It’s a decent fit for Hawk, especially as he’s depicted in the show.  It’s worth noting that, the way the pieces work out, Hawk actually ends up with more new parts than most in this line.  He’s got a unique head, of course, but also has a slightly tweaked torso and arms, which allow for the attachment of his “cape” and gloves.  The cape piece I get needing a unique piece for, but the arms are a little surprising, given this line’s penitent for just painting details on.  Of course, I’m certainly not complaining.  Hawk’s paintwork is pretty straightforward and clean.  The red matches the show, and pairs well with the white, presenting an all-around nice looking figure.

DOVE

Hank’s younger brother Don took up the mantle of Dove…at least he was replaced by Dawn Granger following Don’s death during Crisis.  Convenient that they were able to find someone with such a similar name, huh?  On the show, Don was played by Jason Hervey, Fred Savage’s on-screen brother in The Wonder Years.  Family reunion!  Dove is built on the skinny male body, retooled from the Flash body.  It’s definitely a perfect match for Dove’s build from the show.  While Hawk got a bunch of new parts, Dove only gets a new head sculpt.  Fortunately, it’s a really strong sculpt—a pitch-perfect match for his animation model.  Dove’s paintwork is similar to Hawk’s, as you would expect.  It’s also cleanly applied, and the white is thick enough to not have any bleed-through from the blue plastic, which definitely shows some quality work on Mattel’s part.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

“Hawk and Dove” is one of my favorites amongst the earliest episodes of Unlimited, so I was slightly bummed when they were absent from the first assortment.  Their presence in the second series was definitely a plus.  As luck would have it, they were the first set I found, at a Walmart on the way back from a family vacation.  Both of the figures included are pretty strong, definitely amongst the best Mattel produced in this line.

#1738: Steve Trevor

STEVE TREVOR

DC COMICS MULTIVERSE (MATTEL)

Last year, Wonder Woman arrived in theaters, and everyone loved it.  Well, not everyone, because I actually didn’t love it.  I didn’t even like it all that much.  I won’t go so far as to say I hated it, but I was certainly disappointed.  So there’s my controversial opinion for the day.  Less controversial?  My review of the following figure.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Steve Trevor was released as part of the four-figure Wonder Woman assortment of DC Comics Multiverse figures, which hit shelves last year just prior to the movie’s release.  Naturally, he’s based on Chris Pine’s turn as Steve from the movie, specifically in his main out he wears while out on the German front.  It’s rather a departure from how I’d picture a “classic” Steve, and actually looks more like another war comics character of DC’s, Enemy Ace.  But, that’s what happens when you shift Wonder Woman to a different war, I suppose.  Regardless, that’s not actually the fault of the figure, so I’m not gonna harp on it too much here.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 24 points of articulation.  His sculpt is unique to him…which is probably for the best.  Wouldn’t want to risk this thing getting around too much, potentially affecting other figures.  As with the Suicide Squad figures, the sculpt’s implementation makes most of the articulation little more than theoretical.  He’s a little more posable than the Squad figures, but not by much.  He does at least get some range out of the mid-torso joint, but it requires him to look as if he’s been sawed in half to do so.  That’s really not ideal.  Moving past the clumsy and badly-integrated articulation, let’s look at the rest of the clumsy and badly-proportioned sculpt.  He’s…well, he’s simultaneously lanky and pudgy.  I’m not sure how that works.  The arms and legs seem too long, the torso’s too body, and his head is too small for the body, meaning it also sits too high on the neck, which in turn makes that look too long.  The head looks like it might have at one time have a decent Chris Pine likeness, but then somebody back at Mattel HQ sat on it or something, and it wasn’t corrected before the figure went into production.  It’s not great.  Then there’s the paint.  The rather hideous paint.  Once again, not entirely the figure’s fault, I suppose, since it’s a color scheme that comes from the movie, but it’s a bit ugly to look at.  To give them a little credit, I do appreciate the slight weathering they’ve done to accent the leg wraps.  However, since that’s the only accenting on the whole figure, they sort of stand out as oddly defined, and only further highlight the undefined nature of the rest of the figure.  Steve is packed with his Winchester 1897, which is a decent enough weapon.  Of course, Steve can’t really hold it, in part due to his lack of posability, and in part due to the fact that Mattel didn’t see fit to give him a trigger finger.  Gee, thanks Mattel.  Steve is also packed with three pieces to Ares: the head, torso, and sword.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

If I didn’t like the movie, and I don’t like Mattel’s product, why did I buy this figure?  Honestly?  It’s because I was at my local Toys R Us on its very last day, and I wanted to buy *something.*  They had about 5 of this guy left, and he was heavily discounted.  I also like Steve Trevor as a character, and this is still his only proper action figure. It’s not a good one, and I’m certainly glad I didn’t pay full price for it, but it’s at least a little special, and ultimately, I feel a little sorry for it.

#1737: Batman – Superfriends

BATMAN — SUPERFRIENDS

DC COMICS MULTIVERSE (MATTEL)

In addition to overall DC theme, I’m introducing a sub-theme today.  I know, that’s a lot to handle, but bear with me.  Anyway, the theme I’m going with is Batman on alternating days.  Why?  Because I have a lot of Batmen, that’s why.  Today’s Batman follows the trend set by yesterday’s Green Lantern, being at the very least inspired by the Super Friends cartoon.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Superfriends Batman was distributed through the same means as Green Lantern, being a Walmart-exclusive entry in the DC Comics Multiverse line.  He, too, would actually stay a Walmart exclusive, unlike the second half of the Super Friends sub-set (who, despite their non-exclusivity, I don’t actually have).  Unlike GL, Batman’s a pretty natural choice for this assortment, since Batman was with Super Friends for its entire run, and was a pivotal player in most episodes.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 23 points of articulation.  For the most part, his sculpt is a straight re-use of the DC Universe Classics Series 1 Batman, with one small exception.  The sculpted cape has been replaced with a cloth one, which has been done in the style of the old Super Powers capes.  Not *quite* the right source material, but it’s goofy and fits the general aesthetic.  I find myself liking the look of it quite a bit, actually, though it’s definitely not going to be for everyone.  AS with Hal, Bats’ mold is definitely showing its age and the wear from all those repeated uses.  On my figure in particular, one of the shoulders doesn’t even quite peg together the right way.  Batman’s paintwork actually ends up more faithful to the source material than GL, which is a plus.  It’s also pretty clean, and likewise very bold.  It looks good on this sculpt.  I appreciate the return of the black shading on the cowl (it’s true to the show, but I wouldn’t have put it past Mattel to leave it off).  Bats even makes out pretty well on the accessories front.  To start with, he’s got the same base and backer card as GL (with the same issue with the peg on the stand).  The back of both cards has part of the Super Friends logo, so that if you get all four, you have the whole thing.  In perhaps the most Mattel move of all, GL and Batman (who, it should be noted, shipped together) don’t have sequential cards, unless of course you really want to celebrate the “Per Inds”.  Fortunately, Batman gets more accessories than GL; he also gets a grappling hook and a batarang (and it does *not* have “CHINA” stamped on it, which was a nice change).

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I grabbed Batman at the same time as GL, from an Ollie’s for $3.  I couldn’t just leave him there, now could I?  That would have been cruel.  Minor issues aside, this figure is actually not terrible.  He’s hardly going to be anyone’s default Batman, but unlike GL, he seems to more fully embrace the concept Mattel was going for.

#1736: Green Lantern – Superfriends

GREEN LANTERN — SUPERFRIENDS

DC COMICS MULTIVERSE (MATTEL)

DC doesn’t get quite as much play around here as other, Disney-owned properties.  It’s not a conspiracy, I swear!  And to prove that there is absolutely no anti-DC conspiracy around these parts, I’m gonna pick up the trend I started yesterday and do a whole week of DC reviews!  …Well, a business week…let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

While Adventures of Superman, the ’60s Batman, and Wonder Woman got the main trio of DC heroes some solid public recognition, it was Hannah Barbera’s Superfriends and its subsequent spin-offs that introduced the DC Universe as a whole to a mainstream audience.  Because of its mainstream impact, it’s also a version of the characters that toy companies like to go back to.  Mattel was no exception.  I’ll be looking at one of their handful of Superfriends offerings today, namely my main man Green Lantern.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Green Lantern is part of the four figure Superfriends sub-set of Mattel’s DC Comics Multiverse.  The set was originally meant to be a Walmart-exclusive, but that was ultimately only half true.  For Mattel-ish sorts of reasons, the four figure assortment needed to be split in two, with GL and Batman hitting Walmarts back in September of last year.  By the time the second two figures were ready to go, Walmart backed out.  The long and short of it is that Green Lantern and Batman were exclusive to Walmart (at first, anyway), but Superman and Aquaman weren’t.  Of the four figures in the set, GL is admittedly the odd man out in terms of character selection.  He wasn’t in the original Superfriends roster, only appearing in the later Challenge of the Superfriends incarnation.  Even then, he was never super prominent in the series.  The choice of him instead of another founding member, like Wonder Woman or Robin, is somewhat baffling.  That said, the Green Lantern fan in me is insisting that I not complain too much.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 23 points of articulation.  In terms of construction, there’s not a single thing new about this figure.  He’s a head-to-toe re-use of the DCUC GL from 2008.  That was a good sculpt at the time, and the original figure remains one of my absolute favorite GL figures.  With that being said, it’s a sculpt that’s a decade old, and it’s definitely showing its age, not just stylistically, but also in terms of the actual life of the mold.  While some parts, like the head, still look quite good, the limbs in particular are showing quite a bit of mold degradation.  It’s still in better shape than a lot of Mattel’s more recent output, but it’s time to let it die.  The main thing that’s new here is the paint.  I’m of two minds.  On the one hand, I really do like the bright, bold colorscheme.  It’s quite aestheitcally pleasing, at it looks nice on the mold.  That said, it’s not actually accurate to his Superfriends colors, which means there’s not anything about this figure that’s truly Superfriends-inspired.  They didn’t even get the slightly different Lantern insignia from the show.  His accessories, like the figure, are nothing new.  He gets one of the Batman ’66 stands, with a new iridescent cardstock backer featuring….the Jose Garcia-Lopez illustration of Hal from the style guide.  I love Garcia-Lopez’s work and all, but it’s an odd choice here, you know, instead of, say, something from, I don’t know, Superfriends?  Also, the stand has been designed with slightly smaller figures in mind, so the peg is actually too small for GL’s foot, so it’s not actually any help…standing him.  Yeesh.  I guess I can forgive the lack of power battery, since it never figured that prominently into the show, but he still feels a little light, especially since there are no new pieces in the box and he originally retailed for $8 more than the first release of this mold, which, it should be noted, included the battery *and* a Build-A-Figure Collect-N-Connect piece.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As I noted above, these figures hit in September.  And I saw them in-store when they hit.  But you know what also hit in September?  All of the Last Jedi product.  Given the choice between that and a total rehash of a figure, I went with the Star Wars stuff.  However, I found this guy at the same Ollie’s where I got yesterday’s Batman, and he too was $3, which was the right price for me.  The thing about this figure is that, as just a Green Lantern figure, removed from the source material, he’s actually not a terrible figure.  Dated and light on extras, but decent nonetheless.  However, he’s just *not* a Superfriends Green Lantern, and he’s a really poorly-executed, rather disinterested attempt at replicating the design, which makes him feel a little bit like a bit of a cash-grab.

#1735: Batman – Dark Knight Returns

BATMAN — DARK KNIGHT RETURNS

DC COMICS MULTIVERSE (MATTEL)

Hey hoooo, it’s a Mattel review.  Haven’t done one of these in a little while.  Ooooooo boy, this’ll go well.

Running parallel to Hasbro’s hit line Marvel Legends, Mattel has their own DC line, DC Comics Multiverse.  It started as a 3 3/4 inch line, before making a jump a few years ago when 3 3/4 inch figures were largely dropped by the toy industry.  One of the earliest offerings from the reformed Multiverse was a set of commemorative figures celebrating the 30th anniversary of Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns.  Of the three figures offered, I’ve looked at two.  Today, I’m looking at the last of those three, Batman himself!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Batman was a Walmart-exclusive release from the DC Comics Multiverse line.  The figure stands 7 inches tall and he has 25 points of articulation.  Batman’s actually just a slight retooling of an earlier Batman Unlimited Dark Knight Batman, with a new head.  By extension, that means he shares a lot of pieces with the DKR Superman I looked at back when they were first released.  It’s very similar to the Masters of the Universe Classics base body, but Mattel to this day insists they are completely separate molds.  I guess I just have to believe them.  It works well enough for what they’re going for.  Obviously, it doesn’t really look that much like Frank Miller’s artwork, but it melds decently enough with the DCUC style that Mattel was trying to carry forward.  In the context of the whole MotU concept, and even Superman to a smaller degree, the body works, but for Batman, it feels a little….lumpy?  Balloon-y?  I don’t know.  It just feels somewhat off.  The new head goes for a more reserved look than the prior DKR Bats, though he’s still a little grumpy.  I think it’s perhaps a little large for the base body, and it’s definitely on the softer side.  Compared even just to the other two figures from this same assortment, it looks rather off, as both Superman and the Son of Batman figures have much crisper details.  Batman’s sculpt has a quality not unlike mashed potatoes, if I’m honest.  It’s kind of lumpy and ill-defined, even by Mattel standards.  Also bad even by Mattel standards?  The paint.  Sloppy doesn’t begin to describe it.  It looks like the yellow paint was applied from across the room.  It’s just everywhere.  His logo’s at least not terrible, but the general lack of paint overall just makes the rest of the mistakes that much more noticeable.  Batman was packed with a single accessory: one lone batarang…with “CHINA” stamped on one side.  Apparently he gets all those wonderful toys from China.  Who knew?

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

So, I bought the Superman figure at full retail, and I liked him well-enough.  And I got the Son of Batman for a decent discount, and he was alright.  I already had the Unlimited figure of this guy, though, so I wasn’t in much of a hurry to get him.  I ended up buying him *not* from Walmart at all.  I instead found him at an Ollie’s, for $3.  That was enough to get me invested.  I gotta say, I’m really glad that I didn’t pay full price for him, because…well, he’s just not that strong a figure.  I guess I’ve had worse figure, but there’s not a lot that this figure does right.

#1713: Animal Man

ANIMAL MAN

JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED (MATTEL)

“When a teenage Buddy Baker went hunting in the Adirondacks, he found more than big game – he found an alien spacecraft! After being exposed to its strange radiation, Buddy found he could take on the powers and characteristics of any nearby animal – down to regenerating severed limbs, like an earthworm. He has faced many surreal menaces, traveled through space, and seen his entire reality torn apart more than once, but he always remains plain old Buddy Baker, family man and occasional hero – an oasis of sanity in the stranger corners of the DC Universe.”

Though Justice League Unlimited covered most corners of the DC Universe, there were a few characters left notably absent.  In many cases, it was where duplication of powers or gimmicks came into play, and a more minor character was chosen because of production team preferences.  One such instance was Animal Man, whose role as an animal expert was passed off to the more minor B’wanna Beast.  But at least Buddy found himself in the toyline.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Animal Man came from towards the end of the Justice League Unlimited line, after it had left retail and moved to Matty Collector.  Buddy was part of a three-pack which also included Adam Strange and a blue variant of the Prince Gavyn Starman.  It’s almost a sensible pack-out, were the last sylable in that last name “fire” instead of “man,” but oh well.  Buddy had no official JLU design, since he never appeared on the show, so this figure just animates his usual design.  The figure stands 4 3/4 inches tall and he has 5 points of articulation.  He’s built on the medium-sized male body, and re-uses the sleeved jacket arms from Mr. Terrific.  He also gets a brand-new head sculpt and a new jacket add-on piece, replicating his denim jacket from the comics.  The head is definitely a nice piece, and it’s well-fitted to the body.  There’s a nice friendly sort of smile that seems appropriate for the character.  The jacket piece is cool, because it could have easily been left out, and instead been replaced with another repaint of the Mr. Terrific piece.  The unique piece adds a character specific flair to the figure, that makes him that much more impressive.  Animal Man’s paintwork is clean, crisp, and very bold.  The shiny black on the gloves and boots looks particularly sharp.  Animal Man included no accessories, but that’s about normal for the line.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

By the time this set was released, I had mostly abandoned the JLU line, so I didn’t get Animal Man new.  Instead, I got him last year from the largest antique mall in the country, on one the many long coastal drives I made over the course of last summer.  He’s a very nice figure, and I’m glad I tracked him down.

#1692: Robin

ROBIN

DC UNIVERSE CLASSICS (MATTEL)

In a similar fashion to Toy Biz’s early Marvel Legends offerings skipping any thing Spider-Man-related due the Spider-Man Classics line that sort of launched Legends, thanks to the lead-in DC Superheroes line, Mattel’s DC Universe Classics was slightly slower introducing Batman and Superman-themed figures.  While Batman found himself in the line’s first series, he would have to wait another two series before getting his trusty sidekick, Robin.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Robin was initially released in Series 3 of DC Universe Classics, and then ultimately re-released in the World’s Greatest Superheroes sub-line.  He was Mattel’s second go at Robin, following the mold that went back to their original Batman line.  This one is based on Tim Drake, the third Robin, and still the current one at the time of this figure’s release.  He’s seen here in the costume he was wearing at the time, which was introduced following the “One Year Later” time-jump caused by Infinite Crisis and 52.  It’s a design that doesn’t quite have the staying power of Tim’s prior look, but it did stick around for a few years, and it’s certainly not terrible.  The figure stands 5 1/2 inches tall and he has 23 points of articulation.  This figure’s biggest flaw is his height.  He was a full inch shorter than the standard adult male from this line, but not in a “oh, he’s just a teenager who isn’t fully grown yet” way.  He actually looks like he’s a smaller scale than the rest of the figures.  It’s especially annoying because the later Red Robin figure, meant to represent Tim from just a few years later in the timeline, was just on the standard male body.  That wasn’t the right fit either, but at least he looked vaguely right scale-wise.  The most frustrating about the height issue is that the figure’s sculpt is actually pretty good.  Robin lacks some of the more annoying stylistic elements of the larger bodies, such as the goofy larger shoulders, or the painfully obvious hip joints.  His proportions are fairly balanced, and there are actually quite a few uniquely sculpted pieces, such as the buckles on his tunic and his utility belt, which add a lot of character to the figure.  The head’s maybe more of an early career Tim than one in this costume should be, but it still looks quite nice, and even the cape is a pretty solid sculpt.  Purely from an internal standpoint, it’s a strong sculpt.  Even his paintwork’s not terrible.  I mean, there’s no crazy detail work or anything, but the application is all pretty clean, and there’s some slight accent work on the red sections of the costume.  He was originally packed with a combat staff and the left arm of the Collect-N-Connect Solomon Grundy.  The re-release (which is the one I had), dropped the CnC piece.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When Series 3 of DCUC was unveiled I was thrilled.  I wanted every figure in the set.  To date, of the five figures (six if you included the CnC), I own three, and this one’s not even the original release.  Why?  Mattel’s sucky distribution, that’s why.  I desperately wanted Robin, but I never actually saw him at retail, so I finally settled for the re-release, which I found at Baltimore Comic-Con a few years back.  He’s a frustrating figure.  I love so much about him, but he’s cursed never to really fit-in with his line-mates.  Fortunately, last fall I got the similarly mis-scaled DC Icons Batman, so at least they both have a companion.