DC MULTIVERSE (MCFARLANE)
“Walter Shreeve was a skilled audio engineer living in Neo-Gotham, trying to fund his research in the field of sonics. Unable to do so, Shreeve used his highly advanced sound technology to build an armored suit capable of demolishing buildings with sonic blasts. Going by the name Shriek, he was soon hired to destroy Batman and nearly succeeded, but lost his hearing in the ensuing battle. He was then sent to Blackgate Penitentiary where he was able to continue his research behind bars. Since then, Shriek has managed to break out on occasion, each time seeking revenge against Batman and wreaking havoc on the citizens of Neo-Gotham!”
It was bound to happen eventually, I suppose. After two days of McFarlane DC reviews that weren’t Batman-related, we’ve circled back to what Todd truly knows best about DC. I mean, it’s not specifically a Batman, of course, but it’s a Batman villain, and it’s also got a stupid variant structure, so we’re right back in that McFarlane comfort zone!
Batman Beyond‘s creator’s strove to give Terry his own unique cast of villains, which wouldn’t just be cheap re-hashes of Bruce’s old foes. Introduced early on, and becoming a rather recurring opponent, was Walter Shreeve, aka Shriek. He’s got one of the most distinctive and memorable designs of Terry’s foes, making him a solid choice for toy treatment. That said, he never did get it during the show’s original run, with his McFarlane figure being his very first…or second, I guess, what with there being two of them and all.
THE FIGURE ITSELF
Shriek Unmasked is a solo release within McFarlane’s DC Multiverse line. As with Batman Beyond, he was preceded by a Target-exclusive release, which also included a Build-A-Figure part, and was fully armored, rather than unmasked. Yes, in classic McFarlane form, rather than giving us one figure with an extra head, they’re selling us two of the same figure with different heads, and thereby making both figures less valid than one single figure with an extra accessory would have been. Greeeaaaaat. The figure stands 7 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation. It’s largely the same as the usual set-up, but the movement on the arms is predictably kind of restricted by how the armor works. To McFarlane’s credit, the movement is all pretty decent, and the arms work better than you might expect at first glance. The sculpt is a pretty decent piece of work. He’s technically based on the comics, as was the Batman Beyond, but it’s a good merging of the aesthetics. The armor’s detailing is pretty sharp and cleanly detailed, and there aren’t too many extra details shoved in to really mess things up, so it’s generally a nice piece. The head is likewise a very nice piece of work. It’s real world-styled version of Shreeves, but it really still feels like the character as depicted in the show. There’s just the right level of slimy sleezebag, and I love it. Shriek’s paint work is well handled; the suit has some nice contrast on the black/white, and the clear blue parts are definitely fun. His head has a rather involved paint deco, which gives Shreeves his usual sickly pallor. He’s clearly a guy who doesn’t get out much. Shriek is packed with two sound effect pieces, a display stand, and a collector’s card.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
This guy reminds me of exactly why I don’t like how McFarlane does things, because the splitting of the two looks just really sucks all around. I certainly was down for a Shriek to go with my Batman, but I wasn’t really big on how the helmet looked on the first release. I wanted an alternate head of some sort, which this figure gave me, but, of course, at the cost of him never actually being helmeted now, which is limiting in its own right. Sure, I may not be thrilled by the helmet’s design, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want the potential option of displaying it. Ultimately, I was going to feel he was lacking either way, but I felt slightly less so this way, so it’s what I went with. I do really like this figure, and I think he turned out really well. He’d be better with the extra head, though.
Thanks to my sponsors at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure for review. If you’re looking for toys both old and new, please check out their website.