#1540: GCPD Rogues Gallery

RENEE MONTOYA, BANE, KILLER CROC, MR. FREEZE, & POISON IVY

BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES (DC COLLECTIBLES)

For my ninth and final 2017 post-Christmas review, I’m returning to a line that fills me with lots of mixed emotions: DC Collectibles’ Batman: Animated.  I was very supportive of the line early on, an really liked the first couple of series, despite some of the minor flaws.  However, as the line has progressed, I’ve found a lot of the later offerings to be a bit lackluster. The thing that broke me from the line was actually the set I’m looking at today.  As I’ve noted a few times, “Heart of Ice” is hands down my favorite episode of Batman: The Animated Series, and is possibly just one of my favorite cartoons ever.  Obviously, I was eager to get a proper Animated Series Mr. Freeze.  The first figure was the New Adventures design, which is fine, but not really what I wanted.  So, what does DCC do when it finally comes time to release the classic Freeze, one of the most demanded figures in the line?  Pack him in with four other figures in an expensive boxed item.  ….Yay?

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

This five pack was released about mid-year last year, under the title “GCPD Rogues Gallery.”  All five figures in this set are based on their Animated Series designs, with the four titular Rogues being the second figure for each, following their TNBA design-sporting single-releases.

RENEE MONTOYA

Fulfilling the “GCPD” segment of this set is Officer Renee Montoya.  Montoya is noteworthy for being the second of B:TAS’s successful original creations that made her way back into the comics after the fact (following the immensely successful Harley Quinn, of course).  Montoya is the one wholly unique figure in this set.  She’s wearing her beat cop uniform, since she didn’t make it to detective until TNBA.  The figure stands about 6 1/4 inches tall and she has 22 points of articulation.  Her articulation works better than some of the Batman: Animated figures I’ve looked at, which certainly makes me feel a bit better.  Her sculpt is definitely one of the strongest in the set, recreating her animated design rather nicely. She avoids being too devoid of detail, another issue that plagued some of the line’s other figures.  Similarly, her paint is also very strong.  The application is nice and clean, and the colors all match up with her on-screen appearance.  Montoya is packed with an extra head, a handgun, a shotgun, four pairs of hands, and a display stand.  The head offers Montoya without her hat, which I guess is nice, in theory, at least.  In practice, it’s just very annoying.  Why?  Because, thanks to the design of the double barbel DCC’s used for her neck peg, if you’re not careful when swapping out the heads (a very difficult task, I might add), then the peg will pop out of the neck, rather than the head.  I ended up having to spend about 20 minutes removing the barbel from the second Montoya head to put the one with the hat back on, and after all that, the peg is mangled to the point that I doubt I’ll be able to successfully swap it again.  Okay, but what about the guns?  Well, they look nice, but I almost broke both of them taking them out of the package.  Also, despite the plethora of hands included, there’s not really a combo that can properly hold the shotgun.

BANE

The New Adventures Bane was one of my favorite figures from the single-packed line, so this figure has a lot to live up to.  I’m gonna let you all down easy here: he doesn’t.  He’s not helped by the design, to be fair.  The B:TAS Bane design is certainly one of the weakest from the original run of the show (part of why he got such a drastic redesign later).  He’s not particularly intimidating or anything.  He’s just looks like a slightly paunchy luchador.  Not the greatest design for a villain.  The figure stands 7 inches tall and he has 24 points of articulation.  Okay, let’s get this out of the way: Bane can’t stand.  Like, at all.  Just getting the photos for this review was one of the most infuriating experiences I’ve gone through.  The actual sculpt is decent, I suppose.  It replicates the show design well-enough, but I find he lacks the playability seen on the last Bane figure.  His paintwork is decent from a palette stand-point; he’s bright and colorful.  The application’s a bit iffy, and he’s got several spots of random shininess on an otherwise matte finished figure.  It’s rather distracting and makes for a fairly sloppy looking figure.  Bane includes four sets of hands, a dumbell, and a display stand.  The dumbell’s a nice extra, but, as with Montoya, there’s not actually a hand that can properly hold it.  Doesn’t that seem like the sort of thing that you would want to double check before sending this figure out?

KILLER CROC

I never actually got the TNBA Croc.  I kept meaning to, but I never did.  It’s okay.  I’ve never been a huge Croc fan anyway, so I probably didn’t need two of him.  Truth be told, Croc’s another character who I feel had a stronger design initially, so this figure’s good for that.  He stands just a little shorter than Bane, and he has 23 points of articulation.  He has the mid-torso movement like we saw on the first Bane figure, which is certainly a plus.  It helps to make him one of the most easily posed figures in the set.  It also allows for a lot more fine tuning on his weight distribution, helping him stay standing a bit better.  The sculpt is another strong offering, and I’d certainly place him on par with Montoya in that respect.  He’s very true to the show’s design, and captures Croc’s character.  I look at this guy and can hear him saying “I hit him with a rock!”  The detail work is all very sharp and crisply defined, not soft like some of the others in the line.  The paint on Croc isn’t the most exciting thing, but it matches the show.  It’s all cleanly applied, and it looks pretty decent for what it is.  Croc is packed with three sets of hands and a display stand.  No rock to hit Batman with?  I guess I can supply my own.

MR. FREEZE

Four figures in and I’m finally getting to the one that actually matters!  Yeeeeeeeaaaaahhhhh! …Sorry, that’s not really appropriate for Mr. Freeze, is it?  He’d go for a more reserved, served cold sort of thing.  Ah, yes.  A Mr. Freeze figure.  Of course.  Would that it could warm his frozen heart.  But alas, there is no hope for him.  But hey, cool figure, right?  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 22 points of articulation.  Freeze has nay favorite sculpt of all the figures included here.  He’s just really got the show design down pat.  The best piece by far is the head, which just looks absolutely spot-on from every angle.  The rest of the sculpt is a solid recreation of his suit design from the show, and it’s really only marred by one thing: the head dome.  On its own, it’s fine, but it doesn’t fit the body quite right, so it never sits flush the way it should and it pops out a lot.  It’s not awful, but it’s a minor annoyance, and there was no such issue on the last Mr. Freeze figure.  If there’s a major downfall to this figure, it’s the paintwork.  It’s not the worst I’ve seen in this line, but it’s definitely sloppy, especially on the blue parts of his suit.  How they got the others in this set so clean and not Victor is honestly a bit baffling to me.  Freeze is packed with his freeze gun, five sets of hands, a snow globe, and a display stand.  Ready for the common theme of this review?  Despite the large selection of hands, he can’t really hold his gun very well, and he can’t actually hold the snow globe as well.  I appreciate the extras being included, but I wish they could be more adequately used.

POISON IVY

Last up, it’s Poison Ivy, the other hotly demanded figure in this set.  I picked up the first Ivy figure, and I liked her overall, but she was certainly a flawed offering.  I was sort of hoping that this one would fix some of those.  It does, but there are some other ones that have cropped up to replace them.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and she has 23 points of articulation.  Her sculpt is…okay? It has its ups and downs.  It’s definitely not anywhere near as accurate as the other figures in this set, which is a shame, really.  She’s far more on par with the last Ivy, in that she looks okay from certain angles, but not so great from others.  I do like that she doesn’t have the ugly seam running down the side of her hair this time.  Unfortunately, she’s now got a rather ugly bend in her right leg, as well as a severely misshapen wrist bolt.  It kind of ruins the aesthetics.  The paint on Ivy is okay, but rather on the sloppy side of things.  It’s especially bad on her legs, where there’s a few spots of errant paint.  Ivy is packed wth five sets of hands,  the Wild Thorny Rose seen in “Pretty Poison,” and a display stand.  At least she has hands that can actually hold the rose.  I guess that’s a nice change.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As I discussed in the intro, I was less than enthused by DCC’s decision to lump all of these figures into one big set, so I didn’t grab this when it was new.  My parents were nice enough to get this for me as my main gift this Christmas.  This set frustrates me because I really wanted to like it, but it’s perhaps the most frustrating thing I received this year.  Sure, most of the figures are a marked improvement on the single releases, but there are still enough flaws throughout the set that it’s infuriating.  The fact that Freeze and Ivy include more accessories also drives home the point that DCC designed them as individual releases and held them back to move this big set, which feels like a real cheap move to me.  Ultimately, I’m happy to have the Mr. Freeze I wanted.  He’s a good figure.  Montoya is also a solid addition, and Croc’s a pleasant surprise that I probably wouldn’t have gotten otherwise.  Ivy’s another flawed version of the character, though, and Bane just does nothing for me.  So, that’s 2/5 figures in this set that I would have much rather passed on.  That’s not a very good spread, especially for something that carries this hefty a price tag.

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#1243: Mr. Freeze

MR FREEZE

DC COMICS MULTIVERSE (MATTEL)

What am I reviewing today? <checks review docket> Mr. Freeze.  DC Comics Multiverse.  Mattel.  *sigh* Well, I’m sure this’ll be a joyous review.

Okay, so my hate for Mattel is no secret, nor is my general dislike of their current DC line, dubbed DC Comics Multiverse, which, in its small-scale form, never even came close to living up to that name.  Might as well have called it “Batman & Friends: Arkham Style (and also three ‘80s movies that get two figures each).”  Yes, there was more than a small focus on the Arkham games in this line.  And that’s not inherently bad; the Arkham games were a popular series, and a solid source of cool toys; but there’s a whole lot more DC out there, and returning to the days of no one but Batman getting any toys doesn’t exactly thrill me (the larger scale line looks like it’s avoiding this for now, which is good).  Anyway, I don’t hate Batman or his rogue’s gallery, so I’m not completely unwilling to pick up the stray figure here and there.  One of my all time favorite Bat-Villains is Mr. Freeze, who I’ll be looking at today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Mr Freeze was released in the very first series of DC Comics Multiverse figures from Mattel.  He’s based on his appearance in Arkham City, the second Arkham game.  It’s not a terrible Freeze design; it feels a little over  complicated for my taste, but it fits alright with the rest of the Arkham game aesthetic, which I guess is really the main point.  The figure stands a little over 4 inches tall and has 17 points of articulation.  The articulation is like a lot of the other figures in this line, where the lower half has reasonable movement, but the upper half is mostly pretty restricted.  Freeze’s shoulder pads in particular limit when can be done with his arms.  Also, the lack of bicep movement is a real killer on Freeze, since it means he cant hold his freeze gun with both hands.  Freeze’s sculpt was all-new to him, and it’s honestly one of the best sculpts this line had to offer.  There are some slight oddities to the proportions, especially when it comes to the placement of the pelvis.  The feet also are a bit clown shoe-y, which looks pretty goofy.  The head and helmet is a pretty solid implementation; his head is connected to the waist joint, which subverts the usual issues with neck movement on Mr. Freeze figures, so that’s something Mattel actually did right.  The paint on Freeze is decent enough.  It’s pretty straight forward work, with solid color work, and no real accent work to speak of.  The application is all pretty clean, and he has some brighter colors that help him stand out from the pack a bit.  Mr. Freeze is packed with his freeze gun, which as I noted above, he can only hold one handed.  It doesn’t look awful that way, so I guess it’s not the end of the world.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As with Knightfall Batman and Detective Mode Bane, Mr. Freeze was given to me by Super Awesome Girlfriend, who purchased him for me during one of her stress-buying sprees.  I gotta say, I came into this review kinda down on this figure, but I’ve come out the other side actually kind of liking this guy.  I mean, he’s still far from perfect, but he’s certainly not as bad as the last few Mattel items I’ve looked at.

#0985: Mr. Freeze

MR. FREEZE

BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES (KENNER)

FreezeBTAS1

There’s no denying that Batman: The Animated Series is probably the greatest comic book adaptation in the history of comic book adaptations, and it’s also one of the greatest things to come out of the ‘90s. While the show as a whole was always very high quality, there are definitely some episodes that stand out above the rest. My two favorite episodes of the show’s run are “On Leather Wings” and “Heart of Ice” (which, no small coincidence, were both animated by Spectrum Animation, a sadly short-lived studio that produced some of the best animation ever seen on Saturday morning TV). “On Leather Wings” was the debut episode, which perfectly set the tone of the show. “Heart of Ice” comes later in the first season, but is just as defining an episode, taking a second-string Batman villain and turning him into one of the mythos’ greatest characters. I speak, of course, of Mr. Freeze, who is the subject of today’s review.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

FreezeBTAS2Mr. Freeze was released in Series 3 of Kenner’s Batman: The Animated Series line, based on his appearance in the above noted episode, “Heart of Ice.” Despite that being the story that elevated Mr. Freeze to the public eye, this is actually the third Mr. Freeze figure to be released, following the Super Powers and DC Super Heroes versions (though, if you want to get technical, those two are almost the same figure). The figure stands 5 inches tall and he has 4 points of articulation (it’s possible there’s an articulated neck, but since the dome isn’t removable, it’s not ever moving). He’s based on Freeze’s initial animated appearance, which, in my opinion, is the superior of the two. Kenner was known for tending to approximate the animated looks, without getting them dead-on. Freeze actually fairs quite a bit better than most of the figures Kenner put out. The head’s a little on the large side, but it’s a pretty much perfect recreation otherwise. Likewise, the body is overall quite solid, with the only real downside being the very skinny arms featured. That being said, they don’t look terrible, and the figure as a whole recreates the look very nicely. Freeze’s paint is pretty straight forward, but that’s to be expected with the animated designs. The colors are a very good match for the show, and the application is generally pretty clean. Freeze was packed with his freeze gun, which was connected to an over-sized version of his cold-tank.  The tank could be filled with water, and when squeezed, the water would shoot out of the freeze gun. Not a perfect effect, but not bad.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Okay, I don’t know for sure, but I’m fairly certain that this Mr. Freeze was the first Batman rogue I ever owned. My dad got him for me not long after I saw “Heart of Ice” for the first time. This figure went a lot of places with me, including a trip to Gettysburg with my dad and Mr. Freeze himself, Michael Ansara. He also got stuck on the roof of my house once, through no fault of my own.  This is probably one of my favorite figures I own, mostly for sentimental value.

#0428: Mr. Freeze

MR. FREEZE

BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES (DC COLLECTIBLES)

FreezeTNADCC1

DC Collectibles (formerly DC Direct) has made quite a splash in the collecting world with their new line of figures based on the much-loved Batman: The Animated Series. Toylines were something of a different beast at the time of the cartoon’s release. BTAS actually had one of the better lines of the time, but the figures were severely lacking in articulation and were often off model in order to facilitate action features and a smaller-scale toy budget. DC Collectibles’ line looks to be giving the characters the proper high quality treatment they deserve.

When it came to BTAS, there were few characters who benefited from the show’s new takes on the Bat-Rogues Gallery more than Mr. Freeze (formerly Mr. Zero). The show took the character from one-note villain to compelling and tragic anti-villain in the course of 22 minutes. So, it’s only fitting that Freeze would be one of the first four figures in DCC’s line.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

FreezeTNADCC6Mr. Freeze is part of DC Collectibles’ first series of Batman: The Animate Series line. The series ended up not really being a strict “series” as it were, as the four figures ended up being released separately. Freeze here was released along with Two-Face. He’s figure 03 in the line, following Batman’s 01 and Catwoman’s 02. The figure is just a hair over 6 inches tall (making him just a little taller than Batman, which is accurate) and he has 26 points of articulation. Freeze is based on his re-design from the New Adventures era of the show, which was actually one of the more radical re-designs. It’s a pretty sharp design, though it’s a little marred by the fact that it’s only cartoon appearance is the mediocre “Cold Comfort.” Still, the design is sharp, and starting with this one means they can hook people for the inevitable “Heart of Ice” version. Like Batman, Freeze sports an all-new sculpt. It’s a near perfect rendition of the design from the show. All of the details are smooth and symmetrical, and he really looks like the character would in three dimensions. They’ve done a great job working the articulation into the sculpt pretty seamlessly, allowing for a fair bit of movement without marring the design itself. The head dome is perfectly symmetrical and, it should be noted, removable. This allows this version of Freeze to be the first animated Mr. Freeze to sport neck articulation. How cool is that? For Batman, paint was the area where the figure really took a hit. While the paint on Freeze isn’t quite as good as it could be, it’s definitely an improvement. He still has a few spots of bleed over, and the flat black leads to some issues with scuffing. The blue used seems a bit off; I think there’s too much yellow in it. Of course it may just be that I’m used to the metallic blue from the Kenner figure. It’s hard to tell comparing this figure to the show. Freeze includes 6 hands (the pair of fists he comes wearing, a pair of relaxed hands, a gripping right hand, and a semi-gripping left hand), his trusty freeze gun, and a display stand with his character design sheet. They’ve already changed the nature of the clasp that holds the figure in place since the Batman figure, and I can’t say I’m a fan of the new design. It sticks out too far in the back. In addition to all that, Freeze also includes four mechanical spider-legs, which can be plugged into the bottom of his head, allowing for his…umm…head on spider-legs look. The legs are kind of a pain to get in, and the plastic is sort of soft, leading to some stress-marks (which you can see on mine). It’s a nice touch, and kind of essential to this version of the character (even if I don’t particularly care for the whole “he’s just a head now” thing).

FreezeTNADCC2 FreezeTNADCC4 FreezeTNADCC5

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Mr. Freeze was another purchase from Cosmic Comix. Unlike Batman, I never needed any convincing on this guy. I’ve been on board for him since the day he was announced. Freeze was always my favorite of the animated rogues gallery, mostly due to “Heart of Ice” easily being my favorite episode of the show (getting to meet Michael Ansara when I was a kid may have contributed to that just a bit too). While I still want a BTAS Freeze, this one’s a really strong figure of a pretty great design. He looks fantastic next to Batman, and I can’t wait to get the rest of this series. It’s really fun!

FreezeTNADCC3

#0331: Mr. Freeze

MR FREEZE

BATMAN: THE NEW ADVENTURES (KENNER)

FreezeNA1

Batman: The Animated Series is easily one of the best interpretations of the Batman mythos ever. The characters that benefited best from the series were the more obscure Bat-villains, and none more so than cold-themed villain Mr. Freeze. When the series returned under the New Adventures label, all of the characters received new designs. Freeze received one of the most radical re-designs, and the design eventually made its way into Kenner’s then-current toyline based on the show.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

FreezeNAWilsonMr. Freeze was released in the first year of figures from Kenner’s Batman: The New Adventures line. The figure is based on the character’s appearance in the episode “Cold Comfort” which premiered his TNA design. The figure stands 5 inches tall and features 4 points of articulation. He lacks the usual neck joint present on the Kenner figure, thanks to his removable head. The figure sports a unique sculpt, which is meant to capture the Bruce Timm design of the character. The head is the best part, nicely capturing the gaunt look of Freeze, as well as nicely replicating his clear domed look. The body is pretty good, though the proportions don’t seem quite right. The biggest issue is that the legs are a little bit warped to one side. I’d be tempted to think it was just limited to mine, but ever other figure I’ve seen suffers from the same issue. The figure also has a flip down compartment in his torso, which has some pretty nice mechanical detailing on the inside. Like with the sculpt, the head features the best paint work. Everything is really clean and sharp. On the rest of the body, it’s not terrible, but it’s a little bit sloppy. Mr. Freeze included a freeze gun and a set of robotic legs that his head can be placed on.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Mr. Freeze was always one of my favorite characters on the show, so I got Mr. Freeze when he was originally released. I lost the figure’s head, leaving me with a headless body. Recently, I found the head, but because life hates me, the body had gone missing. So, when my local comicbook store, Cosmic Comix, got Mr. Freeze in with a bunch of other loose figures, I just gave up and bought a replacement. The figure is pretty great, and he’s still one of my favorites from the line. I’m glad to have a complete one again!

FreezeNA2