#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?

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#1830: Spider-Man – House of M

SPIDER-MAN — HOUSE OF M

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Quick on his feet and agile as they come, Peter Parker becomes the wrestling sensation known as Spider-Man.”

Ah, “House of M”, the second in an insanely long line of mid-00s-era events that were designed to “shake the world to its core and break the internet in half.”  Boy was that a greeeeaaat time.  My distaste for most things that Brian Michael Bendis is involved in has been no secret on this site, and “House of M” is certainly high on the list of things that have earned said distaste.  But alternate universe stories are prime choices for variants of main characters, and “House of M” has some decent ones, including everyone’s favorite web-slinger Spider-Man!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

House of M Spider-Man is figure 7 in the SP//dr Series, the second Spider-themed series (I guess third if you count the Venom set) of the 2018 Marvel Legends.  He’s the resident Spider-Man variant of the assortment.  This is the second time we’ve seen the House of M design in this scale; the last one was during Toy Biz’s final year with the license, and was part of their more action-feature-prone Spider-Man line.  This one is his first proper Legends release.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  You remember when I reviewed Pizza Spidey way back when?  Cool.  Well, this figure uses the exact same sculpt as that one.  No surprises there, since the designs really aren’t that far removed from each other, and they’re supposed to be the same guy.  Sensible re-use is sensible re-use.  The main breaking point between the two is the paint.  It’s still not crazy different, since the designs are still quite similar, but it nevertheless captures the slight differences in the costume design.  I gotta say, I actually like the red/blue used on this figure a little more than the basic Spidey, for what its worth.  House of M Spidey includes a web-line piece (which I hope to see become a standard inclusion going forward), and the left leg of the SP//dr Build-A-Figure.  That’s it.  No extra hands.  No unmasked head.  Nothing special.  This late in the game, we shouldn’t be getting any Spidey built on this body without the extra hands.  That’s kinda lame.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

So, dislike of “House of M” aside, I do kinda like this variation of the standard look, and I was certainly interested when he was first shown off.  The web-line in particular had me interested, since we haven’t gotten anything like that yet for the modern Legends.  The final figure gives me mixed emotions.  Just the base figure is actually surprisingly strong, but the lack of any sort of extras really, really hurts him here. I’m not sure why Hasbro opted to cut those extra hands just for this one variant is beyond me.

I purchased House of M Spidey from my friends at All Time Toys.  If you’re interested in buying other Legends figures, or are looking for other cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay Store.

The Blaster In Question #0067: Delta Trooper

BlasterInQuestion1

DELTA TROOPER

N-STRIKE ELITE

dtrooper1I’ve talked before about how much I appreciate Nerf’s willingness to update and improve on their designs over time.  It definitely makes me, the consumer, feel that they are trying to present me with the best possible product.  That is, assuming that each iteration is actually an improvement over the last.  One of the most pervasive designs is the Recon from way back in the days of regular N-Strike.  From the Recon, we then got the Retaliator and the Recon Mk2 (which itself had an updated version to fix some issues).  Now I’ll be looking at the latest model of this type of blaster, the Delta Trooper.

THE BLASTER ITSELF

dtrooper2The Delta Trooper was released in 2018 as part of the N-Strike Elite line and moved to fill the role of the Recon Mk2 as the newest version of the slide-primed magazine-fed configurable rifle/pistol thing.  You could be forgiven for thinking it should be an updated version of the Alpha Trooper, but not this time.  It functions exactly like any of its predecessors, but with a new style of magazine release, and more importantly, with slam-fire.  Slam-fire is always nice to see added as there’s really no downside to having it, and I quite like the AR15 style push-button mag release over the latch we typically see.  All put together, it’s a pretty good looking blaster.  It has decidedly more aggressive lines than the Recon or Retaliator, which I enjoy.  Sadly, that is almost all the good things I can say about the Delta Trooper.  Here’s where we start with the complaints.  First and foremost is the ergonomics.  The pistol grip on the DT is a weird size.  It has a decent thickness to it and fills the hand quite well, but it’s about as short as it could possibly be and still fit all my fingers on it.  I could overlook this if it wasn’t made worse by the abrupt hard edge right above where my thumb sits.  If I choke up on the grip, this edge digs rather uncomfortably into my hand which makes me want to move down a bit, but then my pinky is all but falling off the grip.  I’m not exaggerating when I say I had to manually smooth out that edge to make holding this blaster normally a mostly comfortable feat.  Sure, I’ve had blasters with seams that didn’t line up where I’ve done similar modifications for the sake of comfort, but this wasn’t a seam, it was a quirk of the design that I’m surprised no one in testing had issue with.  But what about the other hand?  Well, on the main blaster body there’s a small area that can be used as a fore-grip, but trying to hold the blaster by the barrel, when dtrooper3attached, is again, thoroughly uncomfortable thanks to the design of the shell.  All those visually appealing aggressive lines just do not work with hands, but they also have another drawback.  One of the main features of the Recon/taliator is its customizability with attachments for the barrel, stock, and as rail accessories.  The DT has a stock, though short and blocky with no extra features, and a barrel, which refuses to sit parallel to the main blaster and has the aforementioned ergo problems, but what the barrel does have is the only rail on the entire blaster.  There are no rails on the core blaster itself which means that most options for customization are just gone.  The other issue, while slightly more nit-picky, is the magazine well.  With the included 12-round mag, it works as it should, but with every other magazine I had on hand, it was tight and stiff, nevermind that it simply does not accept the 35-round Raider drum mags.  Sure, the blaster still works, but this isn’t the same level of polish I’m used to seeing from Nerf.  Now, the Recon Mk2 had similar issues and those did get fixed, so maybe an update is in the works, but I’m still a little frustrated with it.  Overall, the construction does seem solid and the performance is good, but these are kind of expected at this point for a full size blaster from Nerf, so they do little to abate my annoyance with the other issues.  The Delta Trooper comes packaged with the stock, barrel, 12-round magazine, and 12 Elite darts.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION 

If I’m being honest, from when I first heard about this blaster, my thoughts on it have been a series of concessions.  First I thought it might be a new Alpha Trooper and it wasn’t, but maybe they’re going for a whole assortment of “trooper” blasters.  Then it was shown as only having one rail for the whole kit, but at least it looked really cool.  Then I got one and felt it in my hands and wasn’t thrilled, but maybe performance will justify all of it, but it’s standard Nerf performance.  I won’t go so far as to say I regret buying it, because I don’t, but I do sincerely hope it gets the same treatment the Recon Mk2 got.  Either that or I’ll hold out for the Upsilon Trooper.

#1786: Spider-Ham

SPIDER-HAM

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Part pig, part scientific mishap, Peter Porker becomes the web-shooting swine, Spider-Ham”

Spider-Ham?  It’s come to this?  I’m reviewing a Spider-Ham figure?  Yeah, I know, I’m as shocked as the rest of you.  Even with his elevated status as a variant of Spider-Man, I don’t really know that I ever expected to review a Spider-Ham figure.  Of course, I say this as a guy who just reviewed Poison, a character with far, far less comic book appearances than the esteemed Mr. Porker here, so maybe I’m just overreacting.

Spider-Ham is a 1983 creation, parodying Spider-Man through the lens of an anthropomorphic cartoon animal.  He began his life as a spider, before being bitten by a radioactive pig, causing him to turn into a pig, while still retaining many of his spider abilities.  He’s actually been a pretty recurring staple at Marvel since his creation, and in 2016 met up with his main universe counterpart during the Spider-Verse cross over.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Spider-Ham is figure 4 in the Monster Venom Series of Marvel Legends, and perhaps the one figure in the series who feels more like a straight Spider-Man character than a Venom one.  I guess they just really wanted a counter for all of the ‘90s X-treme-ness that was oozing from the rest of the assortment.  The figure stands 3 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation.  Okay, so let’s just rip the band-aid right off, shall we?  Spider-Ham’s biggest failing, by a country mile, is his articulation, or rather his lack thereof.  While his upper body is fairly decently articulated (though it’s not as smoothly integrated as I’d like; his arms end up with quite a segmented look), the legs only have simple cut-joints at the calves, and nothing more.  That splayed leg position is all you’re getting out of him.  This is a sincere let-down, especially after Hasbro had just last year addressed a similar problem with their original Rocket Raccoon, and released a fully articulated version for Vol. 2.  There are some characters for whom I could forgive the missing articulation, and I could even forgive it on Ham if he were a pack-in figure or something, but as a single-release figure, this is ridiculous, and quite a step backwards.  In addition, Hasbro seems to be aware of the potential problems with releasing such a small-statured figure on his own, and has subsequently upscaled him a bit, making him too large to properly scale with other figures.  It’s a minor thing, given how infrequently Ham interacts with other characters, but it’s still annoying.  Beyond that, his sculpt’s okay.  The internal proportions are fine, and he certainly looks like Spider-Ham.  The choice to go with sculpted webbing, something that all of the recent Spider-Men have forgone, is sort of an odd one.  It looks fine, but it’s anyone’s guess as to why Hasbro chose this of all figures to give that treatment to, especially since it removes their option to do any black-costumed variant down the line.  I think the oddity of the choice is further highlighted by the decision to leave the webs unpainted, making them easy to miss at first glance.  Also, they’ve used painted red for exactly one part of the figure, his belt, and it’s so obviously a different tone from the rest.  Why not just paint the legs instead? Another mystery.  Spider-Ham includes two accessories, neither of which is actually for him.  The first is the head of Pork Grind, the Venom to Ham’s Spider-Man.  It’s a really nice piece of work, and has been designed to be compatible with the standard Venom from this same assortment.  It’s a nice bonus for those of us who had the Absorbing Man release, and by far my favorite thing about this figure.  Secondly, Ham includes the largest piece of Monster Venom, the torso.  Hasbro used this same pack-out style for both versions of Rocket, so it’s not a huge surprise here.  While I certainly appreciate the two pieces included, given the smaller size of Spider-Ham, I’d have loved to see some extra heads and hands and maybe even a webline thrown in to sweeten the pot.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was so excited when Spider-Ham was announced.  He was one of the two figures in this set I was certain I’d be getting.  The prototype shots made me slightly apprehensive, but I’ve learned not to judge a Legends release by the prototype.  And then I got him in hand, and, well, most of my my problems were still there.  I really, really wanted to like this figure, but the simple fact is that Hasbro dropped the ball pretty hard on this guy.  I wish that weren’t the case.  I wish I could say this was another win for Hasbro, but this figure honestly showcases a number of problems that we haven’t seen from Hasbro in years, and I wouldn’t mistake someone for thinking he was a pre-Return of Marvel Legends release.  I don’t hate him, because I genuinely can’t bring myself to hate a Spider-Ham figure.  I’d rather have this than nothing at all, and I can enjoy him for what he is, but I’m sad that he doesn’t live up to Hasbro’s current standards, and I’m sad that he’s not this Series’ logical star like he should be.

Spider-Ham was purchased from my friends at All Time Toys.  If you’re interested in buying other Legends figures, or are looking for other cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay Store.

#1779: Girl’s Night Out

SUPERGIRL, LIVEWIRE, BATGIRL, HARLEY QUINN, & POISON IVY

BATMAN: ANIMATED (DC COLLECTIBLES)

Female action figures are, on a whole, a rarity.  This stems largely from the days when the line between action figures and dolls was really just that one was marketed to girls and one was marketed to girls.  But, in the 50 years since the term “action figure” was invented by a marketing department, the definitions have become a little more rigid, and opinions on who collects them have slightly changed.  This is my very long-winded way of saying I’m reviewing my second all-female boxed set in the space of three months, which even by modern standards is kind of cool.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Supergirl, Livewire, Batgirl, Harley Quinn, and Poison Ivy make up the “Girl’s Night Out” boxed set, released last year as part of DCC’s Batman: Animated line.  They’re based on the New Adventures of Batman episode of the same name, which sees Supergirl and Batgirl teaming up to defeat the combined forces of Livewire, Harley, and Ivy.  Only the Superman characters are actually new to this set, with Batgirl, Harley, and Poison Ivy being re-releases of their single figures from the main line, sans most of their accessories.  Since Harley’s new to me, I’ll be reviewing her here, but for my opinion on the other two, go here and here.

SUPERGIRL

For Superman: The Animated Series’ third season, Supergirl was introduced to open up some new story-telling possibilities.  However, due to DC’s then-standing policies on Clark being the only remaining Kryptonian, they had to money around with her origin a bit.  On the plus side, the character remained more or less the same.  This figure replicates her tweaked animated design.  She stands 5 3/4 inches tall and has 24 points of articulation.  Her sculpt is a rather faithful recreation of the design from the show, which is a real first for Supergirl, as her prior animated figures have all strayed from the proper design.  There are some minor nitpicks that can be made, like her head maybe being a smidge too big for the body.  However, that’s really looking for issues, and comes down more to personal preference than anything else.  Her paintwork is very clean, and the colors are bright and eye-catching.  Definitely a nice departure from this line’s penchant for fuzzy edges on everything.  The biggest downfall of this figure (and this set as a whole) is her lack of any accessories outside of a stand.  At the very least, a spare set of fists seems like it should come standard.

LIVEWIRE

After the successful creation and reception of Harley Quinn and Renee Montoya in Batman: The Animated Series, the creators tried their luck again with Livewire (though Livewire *actually* appeared in the tie-in comic before the show).  While she didn’t quite take off the way those two did, she did still pick up a decent fanbase of her own.  She never actually got a figure during S:TAS’s run, but she’s made out alright since the show’s end.  The figure stands 5 1/2 inches tall and she has 23 points of articulation.  Like Kara, her sculpt is quite a good match for her show appearance.  In fact, I even have trouble finding the minor nitpicks like I did with Supergirl.  The proportions are more balanced, and the lines are all very sharp and clean.  Her paintwork is appropriately monochromatic, and the blues interact well with each other.  There’s a little bit of fuzzy work on the edges, but it’s mostly confined to the “emblem” on her torso, where it’s somewhat acceptable, with her being an energy being and all.  She also is only packed with a display stand.  The lack of extra hands is slightly less frustrating for her, since she doesn’t need them as much, but I’m still not 100% okay with it.

HARLEY QUINN

And speaking of successful creations from the DCAU, here’s the character that’s by far the greatest success story, Harley Quinn!  Outside of Batman himself, she’s actually the character with the most figures in this line, which really speaks to her marketability.  This figure is a re-issue of her second single-carded figure, which was based on her TNBA appearance.  Harley is one of the characters whose two appearances weren’t that different, but they were enough for the eagle-eyed fan to need two distinct figures.  This figure stands 5 3/4 inches tall and she has 19 points of articulation.  Okay, so, first thing’s first, let’s discuss the articulation.  You know ankle joints?  Harley doesn’t have those.  Why not?  Your guess is as good as mine.  Apparently, DCC didn’t feel Harley needed them.  They also didn’t feel she needed the ability to stand either, though I guess that’s linked to the lack of ankle movement.  The point is, it really sucks.  Really, really sucks.  Her sculpt is fine, but it reminds me that I prefer the subtle differences of the B:TAS version.  The big head’s throwing me on this one.  I guess it’s not a terrible offering though.  Her paintwork is pretty decent.  The dual-toned color scheme looks sharp, and the application is overall pretty clean.  Like all of the others in this set, Harley’s only accessory is a display stand.  No extra hands, no weapons of any sort.  Nothing.  Not even the accessories from the prior figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When the Batman: Animated line launched, I was excited by the prospect of a complimentary Superman line.  It didn’t so much come to fruition, and I’ll admit, two of my most wanted figure from said theoretical line only being available in a big boxed set with two figures I already had kind of killed my excitement.  I ended up getting this set at the same time as yesterday’s DKR set, as a birthday present from my parents.  Supergirl and Livewire are very nice figures, slightly held back by a lack of accessories.  The other three are kind of dead weight.  Harley’s easily the worst version of the character from the line, and while Ivy and Batgirl are perfectly fine figures in their own right, having to buy them again, and not getting any accessories the second time around is really lame.  And a note to DCC:  if you’re only going to include a single set of hands, can you at least make it something more useful than the limp open palm?  This set’s begging for some cool fight set-ups, but as it currently stands, all they’re really prepared for is a big slapping fight.

#1758: Captain America & Crossbones

CAPTAIN AMERICA & CROSSBONES

MARVEL LEGENDS — MARVEL STUDIOS: THE FIRST TEN YEARS

Although the Avengers survive a strike by Crossbones on Lagos, dozens of civilians are killed in the altercation. As a result, the team is presented with the Sokovia Accords – an agreement designed to keep the heroes in check – and must individually choose which side of the law they stand with.”

Like Guardians of the GalaxyCaptain America: Civil War was fortunate to come late enough in the MCU game that Hasbro was finally comfortable actually doing a pretty decent line-up of tie-in Legends.  However, while it got greater coverage than prior entries, it also had a far larger roster of characters in need of figures.  While Hasbro did their best to include everyone they could (and then to follow up and fill some of the gaps using Infinity War), the heroes really ate up all of the slots.  If nothing else, this Marvel Studios anthology line has really been about the bad guys.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Cap and Crossbones are entry 9 in the Marvel Studios: The First Ten Years sub-line of Marvel Legends.  Both figures are based on the characters as they appear in Civil War‘s opening battle.

CAPTAIN AMERICA

America’s first super soldier, Captain America must decide if he stands by his government in the aftermath of a disastrous strike on Lagos, Nigeria.”

Now, before we get to the new hotness, let’s review the old busted.  Okay, perhaps “busted” isn’t a completely fair assessment of things here.  While Cap wasn’t without a figure from Civil War (he got two, in fact; helps to have your name in the title), there’s no denying that the figure we received had some issues. This one is meant to amend….some of those issues.  I’ll get to that.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  Pretty standard stuff there.  Now, the good news is that Cap has received not one, but two different new head sculpts.  He’s got both helmeted and un-helmeted.  Both heads are very good sculpts.  The helmeted head has a decent likeness of Evans (or at least what you can see of him), and via its use of a separate piece for the helmet, has a great sense of depth to his look that prior MCU Caps have not.  The un-helmeted head edges out the other one just a bit, in no small part due to the absolutely spot-on likeness of Chris Evans.  After years of “close but not quite,” this guy gets it down nearly perfect.  Alright, I’ve raved about the good.  Ready for the bad?  You know those two amazing head sculpts that Hasbro produced, that can finally replace the two sub-par ones we’d been dealing with since Winter Soldier?  Well, they went and slapped them on the slight variation of that body from Age of Ultron.  I was already frustrated by its re-use for the original Civil War release, given the inaccuracies of the costume details, as well as the somewhat scrawny nature of the limbs.  It’s made even more egregious by the fact that Hasbro created an entirely unique mold for the Infinity War Cap, which is, canonically, wearing the same uniform as this figure.  With a handful of new pieces, that mold would have made for a far more accurate body for this figure.  Instead, for the third time, we get a Civil War Captain America whose costume is just incorrect.  That’s a real shame.  On the plus side, he does get new paint to match those new parts.  The body isn’t far removed from the prior release, but both heads are now sporting the face-print tech, which makes a world of difference in terms of making him look like a real person.  In addition to the new unmasked head, Cap also has his shield, which is another new sculpt.  I like this one better than prior releases, though I can’t really say it’s too noticeably different.

CROSSBONES

“A Hydra agent and former double-agent at SHIELD, Crossbones makes it his mission to take out Captain America, no matter the loss of life at stake.”

And here we have the new hotness.  Crossbones may not be in Civil War for super long, but he had a very important roll to play, and, more importantly when it comes to toys, he had a pretty sweet design.  At the time of the movie’s release, he got a Minimate and one of those Microverse figures, but that was all.  Obviously, that means this figure is a very welcome addition.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  Unlike his pack-mate, his sculpt is completely new.  It’s quite an impressive piece of work, with lots of separately sculpted pieces that just give the whole figure a ton of depth.  I love the helmet, especially the way they’ve handled the eyes; they’re a separate piece from the actual mask, so it looks like there’s really a whole face under there.  The vest and his “fighting fists” are likewise separate pieces, although in this case they’re removable.  The vest isn’t really meant to be removed, though, so the underlying torso’s a little off.  The figure’s legs also end up looking a little bit wonky, but that’s about the only complaint I can come up with, and even that’s a rather minor one.  Crossbones’ paintwork is fairly decent.  A lot of it’s very subtle, with just some slight variations of black and dark brown.  The white parts stand out quite well, though, and I love how the eyes turned out.  Crossbones is packed with an extra un-masked head, depicting his scarred visage from the film.  It’s actually a little bit toned down from the movie, but close enough to get the point across.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Cap and Crossbones are actually the last of these figures that I got, though they were still picked up for me by my Super Awesome Fiancee.  They arrived at her work about a week after the others.  This set was second on my list, after Ronan.  Crossbones was just a really cool design that I really wanted a good figure of, and I was hopeful that the second try at the Civil War Cap would be much better.  Crossbones lives up to my expectations, no denying that.  Cap?  Well, like the last several MCU Caps I’ve gotten from Hasbro, he’s frustrating.  Sure, the new heads are awesome, but saddling him with the same old body is super weak, and prevents him from being the definitive Cap I was really hoping for.  I guess there’s always Avengers 4

#1745: Iron Man

IRON MAN

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“A Sleek suit design and technological upgrades let Tony Stark gear up as the Armored Avenger, Iron Man.”

I thought I was more or less done with the Infinity War-themed Marvel Legends, barring any late-game releases (which I’ve no doubt there will be), but no, no there was one more figure, that’s just been sitting there.  Waiting.  Watching.  Other “w” words as well…

Anyway, I’ve looked at most of the film’s major players, but there was one very prominent one missing, namely Tony Stark, aka Iron Man.  In a further effort to work my way through that pile of figures awaiting review, I’ll be looking at Stark’s latest Legends release today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Iron Man is the final figure in the Thanos Series of Marvel Legends, the first Infinity War-themed assortment of the year.  He’s also the last of the four specifically movie-based figures in the line-up.  And, most importantly, he’s the only figure in the set that isn’t needed to built the Thanos figure, which is why everyone was skipping him.  Tony’s wearing his Mark 50 armor from the film, which is also his *only* armor for the film, so I guess it’s a sensible choice, now isn’t it?  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  His construction is very similar to the Mark 46 figure from the Giant Man series, but there are no actual pieces shared between the two.  This guy is an all-new sculpt, which does an okay job of capturing the Bleeding Edge armor’s design from the movie.  It’s not a spot-on recreation; it’s definitely not quite as sleek as the design in the movie.  There are far more pronounced ridges and connecting points, bringing its overall design closer to the Mark 46.  This is likely a symptom of Hasbro working from earlier designs to get the figure out before the movie.  Ultimately, it’s close enough that you know which armor it’s supposed to be, and it’s nowhere near as off as either Captain America or Cull Obsidian.  Fortunately, it’s got some pretty great proportions, and the articulation is also worked in pretty well.  Iron Man’s paintwork is decent and certainly eye-catching, but like the sculpt, it’s not 100% accurate.  The main culprit is the red.  It should really be a deeper, more metallic color than it is.  That being said, the color they’ve used is still nice to look at, so I’m not going to complain too much.  What I will complain about?  Just the figure’s single greatest failing: his accessories.  In the movie, Tony’s using this armor to create all sorts of nano-tech-based weaponry and tools.  What does this figure get?  An extra set of hands and the same blast effects pieces they’ve been using since the 46.  No extra attachments, no unmasked head, no build-a-figure piece.  The extra hands don’t even have hinges on the wrists.  That’s really weak.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I passed on this figure quite a few times at retail.  After seeing the movie, I was really impressed by the armor.  I had some Cosmic Cash to spend at Cosmic Comix, so I ended up grabbing him from them.  And then he sat on my shelf for three months.  I know, bad Ethan.  I’ll be honest, I actually kept forgetting I hadn’t reviewed him, since I’d already looked at the basic figure.  The only real difference between the two is posability, and that’s a little sad.  He’s a figure that could have been a lot of fun–well, okay, he’s still a fair bit of fun, but he could have been a lot more fun than he is.  As it stands, he definitely feels phoned in.

#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.

#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.