#1314: Nightwing

NIGHTWING

BATMAN: KNIGHTFALL (DC DIRECT)

“As Batman’s former ward, Nightwing returns to Gotham City to fight crime during the absence of his mentor.”

I’ve touched very briefly on “Knightfall,” the huge cross-over series that introduced Bane, broke Batman’s back, and gave us the new Batman Jean Paul Valley (formerly Azrael).  It’s actually one of the better regarded big cross-over stories of the ‘90s, largely due to DC consciously using common story elements for the time, and addressing some of the issues behind them. The story got some figures as part of the then running Legends of Batman line from Kenner, but no truly devoted line, until 2005, when the story was given a dedicated line of figures, courtesy of DC Direct.  I’ll be looking at one of those figures, Nightwing, today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Nightwing was released as one of the five figures in DCD’s Batman: Knightfall series, which, as I noted above, hit comic stores in 2005.  The figure stands 6 3/4 inches tall (he’s from the period where the DCD scale creep was really kicking into overdrive, so he was a good half an inch taller then the two prior Nightwings) and he has 11 points of articulation.  He’s sporting his early ’90s costume, which generally isn’t one of my favorites.  It’s largely to do with the particularly egregious mullet that always accompanied it, but also due to the way he tended to be depicted as super bulky in this outfit.  I really have to commend this figure’s sculpt, because it  makes a lot of those issues less present.  In particular, his build is more svelte and similar to DCD’s prior Nightwings, and they’ve also gone with what’s probably the least dated interpretation of the mullet.  The sculpt isn’t perfect, mind you.  There are some slight oddities to the posing; his feet seem a bit wide spread, and I’m not entirely sure what’s going on with the left hand.  Also, his thighs seem oddly…flat.  Still, it’s remarkably well done, given how badly it could have turned out, depending on the iteration of the source material they followed.  One of the coolest things about this guy is the paint work.  The application is all pretty clean, and the colors just really pop.  I particularly love the metallic blue color that makes up the majority of the bodysuit.  It’s a good base color, and it really helps accentuate the brighter colors that have been placed on top of it.  Nightwing included a little…disc thing?  I guess it’s some sort of throwing weapon or something?  Mine’s missing his, but he could hold it in his right hand.  He also had a circular display stand with the “Knightfall” logo printed on it.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’m hard-pressed to come up with all that much interesting about this guy.  I know I bought him from Cosmic Comix, because that’s where I was getting all of my DC Direct figures at the time, but the exact nature of when or why I got him doesn’t seem to be coming to me.  I know I haven’t traditionally been a fan of this look, but this figure changed my mind on that.  While he’s not my favorite DCD Nightwing, but he’s still a very solid entry.  Also, one of only two figure versions of this particular design, for what it’s worth.

#0792: Nightwing

NIGHTWING

BATMAN: ANIMATED (DC COLLECTIBLES)

NightwingTNA1

Okay, now I’m remembering why I don’t do long strings of reviews of figures from the same line: I always run out of things to say! It’s made even worse by the fact that I kind of covered the basics of today’s focus character, Nightwing, back when I looked at my very first figure of the character for my two year milestone. So, yeah…

Anyway, when The New Batman Adventures came along, all of the characters got redesigns. I already noted that the show’s Robin was a whole new character. So what happened to the former Robin Dick Grayson? He got to take on his comics identity of Nightwing, which meant he got one of the most drastic redesigns of any of the characters. It happens to be one of my favorites from TNBA, and it just recently got a figure from DC Collectibles’ Batman: Animated line.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

NightwingTNA4Nightwing is number 19 in the Batman: Animated line and he’s part of the line’s fifth series, which he actually shipped alongside. He stands 5 ¾ inches tall and has 24 points of articulation. He is, thankfully, taller than his BTAS counterpart (though not by a whole lot), however, he ends up losing a couple of points of articulation, which have quite an impact on what you can do with the figure, posing-wise. The most glaring omission is that of any sort of lateral movement on the legs, which causes him to be quite pigeon-toed. This is the same issue that plagued the BTAS Batman, and it’s really frustrating to see it show up again. Fortunately, Nightwing’s ankles are pointed a bit more outward, so it’s less glaring of an issue. Nightwing is based on his appearance in the episode “You Scratch My Back,” which is one of Nightwing’s more prominent episodes in the series, so it makes sense. The figure’s sculpt is frustratingly mixed in terms of quality. The head is nothing short of amazing. It’s a pitch-perfect translation of his look from the show, horribly-dated mullet and all. It’s sharp and clean, and all the angles are just right. His body is overall well built, but marred by a couple of glaring issues. First off, there’s the feet; while his feet are certainly small in the show, they weren’t that small. There smaller than Tim Drake’s feet for Pete’s sake! The real standout issue for me, though, is the logo. On the show, it was a totally flat logo, with no NightwingTNA6silhouette , as if it were silk-screened onto his costume.  Here, it’s a separate raised piece, jutting out a good millimeter from the rest of his chest. Not only is this inaccurate to the show, but it looks pretty goofy too, and it detracts from the elegant simplicity of the design. Why they opted to do it that way is beyond me. Nightwing is pretty light on paint, but what’s there (which is pretty much entirely confined to the face) is pretty good. The figure is packed with a pair of binoculars, a “night-a-rang” (just go with it….), four pairs of hands (fists, night-a-rang holding, gripping, and relaxed), and a display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Nightwing is one of my favorite designs from the animated shows, and was one of my favorite characters too, so I was eagerly awaiting his induction into DCC’s current line. When the prototype was shown off, I was less than impressed, but hopeful that he would improve like a lot of the others in the line. When I saw him in person at Cosmic Comix, I liked him enough to pick him up. When I took him out of the box, I was a fair bit let down, especially by the articulation. In fact, I kind of thought this would end up being a rather negative review. Then, I left him on my desk for about a week, and occasionally played with the figure while doing other things, and by the time he came up for review, I’d actually found myself really liking him, a lot more than I initially had. Sure, he’s not the standout figure that Bane is, but he’s also not the disappointment that BTAS Bats was for me.

NightwingTNA7

#0730: Nightwing – Force Shield

NIGHTWING – FORCE SHIELD

THE NEW BATMAN ADVENTURES (KENNER)

NightwingFS1

In case you missed it, The Figure in Question has officially made it through two years of reviews. In honor of that, today’s review will a little bit more special. I’ll get to that in a bit.

In the mid-80s, Dick Grayson gave up his Robin identity, going without a costumed identity for a little while before taking on the identity of Nightwing (previously the Kandorian alter-ego of Superman. It’s a long story). To the general populace, Dick remained Robin, mostly due to his presence in the role for Batman: The Animated Series. Nightwing made his way into the public eye in that show’s sequel series, which is how I became familiar with the character. That series’ toyline also provided the character with several of his earliest figures, one of which I’ll be looking at today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

NightwingFS2Force Shield Nightwing was part of Kenner’s The New Batman Adventures line. He was the second version of the character in the line, released not long after the first. The figure stands just shy of 5 inches tall and has Kenner’s signature 5 points of articulation. It’s a pretty low articulation count, but it’s a standard for the time, and aside from the neck joint, which is limited by the hair, the movement is pretty decent. Nightwing is, obviously, based on his design from the show, sculpturally at least. As a “wacky variant” of Nightwing, a little parts re-use is to be expected. What’s actually a bit surprising is that this Nightwing is NOT a complete reuse. The head, arms, and legs are all the same as the regular Nightwing release, but the torso is a new piece, which removes the weird plug from the original’s back. So this one’s sculpt is actually more accurate than the normal one. Nifty! The sculpt does a pretty spot on job of translating Nightwing’s show design to three dimensions, which is nice to see. The etched in logo is a nice touch, especially since it could have easily just been painted on. The paintwork is what really sets this guy apart from the prior Nightwing. Rather than the usual blue logo, this one keeps the logo black, and paints the surrounding area gold. Certainly a different look, but it’s handled pretty well. The gold, like a lot of gold paint has faded over time, but it still stands out well enough. Nightwing was originally packed with a big grappling hook launcher (Kenner was a Hasbro subsidiary at that point…), as well as his titular force shield. I’ve lost it, but it was shaped like his logo, bright yellow, and the “wings” folded out to reveal pictures of the various Batman allies and rogues. It’s an odd gimmick, but there it is.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Hey, so, this is actually my first Nightwing figure! Cool!

Story time: When I was 5, my parents took me down to visit my Dad’s family home in North Carolina. My dad came and got me from school, and one of our stops was, I believe, a Kmart, where I found this guy. I had yet to see any of his appearances on the cartoon, so my dad had to explain to me who he was. I thought he looked super cool, so my dad was nice enough to buy him for me. This guy went on the trip with me, all the way down there and back again, so I formed a bit of a bond with the guy.

Over the years, my collection grew, and this guy fell by the side. Somewhere along the way, I decided to paint him up like Jace from Space Ghost. I have no idea why. Anyway, he just got thrown in a box for a while, until I rescued him just a few years ago, while deep in my whole indexing my collection project. He was still covered in paint, but it was acrylic, so I began the process of returning him back to his original state. I finally got him cleaned up just in time to take him with me on my fifth trip down to NC. Here he is on the mantle place. Doesn’t he look so happy?

NightwingFS3

#0583: Nightwing

NIGHTWING

DC COMICS DESIGNER SERIES (DC COLLECTIBLES)

NightwingCapullo1

Ah, yes the New 52. I didn’t really care for it. But, that’s okay, because it’s gone now! And it’s been replaced by something….more or less identical. Well, fair enough. One of the things that will not be carrying forward into the Non-52, however, is Nightwing. Of course, that’s actually not changing any of the continuity, since Dick Grayson ditched the identity following his unmasking in Forever Evil. So, the figure I’m reviewing today is essentially irrelevant. Oh well. Hardly the first time I’ve looked at such a figure here!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

NightwingCapullo2Nightwing was released as part of the first series of the DC Comics Designer Series. Like Tuesday’s Zero Year Batman, this figure is based on the work of Greg Capullo, who has been the primary artist on the main Batman series since the New 52 began. The figure is roughly 6 ½ inches tall and has 31 points of articulation. The figure features an all-new sculpt, though, as far as the body construction goes, he’s rather similar to Batman. The musculature is similar, as is the overall articulation scheme (Nightwing does manage to get some additional movement in the wrist area). The detailing on the body is simpler than Batman, which is befitting of Nightwing. Also, his uniform features more folds and wrinkles, effectively conveying that it is a spandex leotard, and not a carefully tailored suit of body armor. The head sculpt is a little on the mixed side. From some angles, it looks great. From others, not so much. The technical details of the piece are all very nice. He’s got some great texture work on his hair, and his facial features are cleanly defined. But, he’s also got these huge ears, which can look rather out of place, and they aren’t helped by the fact that the hair slopes inward as it goes down, emphasizing the issue. Nightwing’s paintwork is quite well-handled. The colors are nice and bold and everything is where it should be. I’m not the biggest fan of the red, but it’s true to the design, so I can’t really fault the figure there. The black of the body and of the armored parts are broken up through use of matte and glossy finishes, which look really great. Nightwing is not amazingly accessorized, but he does include his signature escrima sticks, which fit nicely in his hands.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Nightwing was the other half of the Amazon purchase that got me Zero Year Batman. I saw this figure several times in a few different stores and passed on him every time. So, what changed? Two things: I had a gift card and the figure got marked down about $10. That was enough for me to finally get the figure. Is he the greatest version of the character ever? That’s hard to say. It really depends on what you think of the New 52 Nightwing costume. Like I said in the paint section, I don’t care for the red accents and would much prefer blue. Still, even with that I do think the figure is a pretty decent take on the character.

#0157: Nightwing & Starfire

NIGHTWING & STARFIRE

DC MINIMATES

Hey, let’s take another look at some Minimates, shall we?

For a fourth time, I’m taking a look at the far too shortly lived DC Minimates.  This time around, it’s a set from closer towards the end of the line.  This set comes from the Teen Titans side of the DCU, which was sadly never completed.  But, let’s not get stuck on what we didn’t get, let’s look at what we did: Nightwing and Starfire.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

This two pack was released in the 7th wave of DC Minimates, just one wave before the end of the line.

NIGHTWING

Dick Grayson actually lucked out quite a bit with DC Minimates, receiving a whole two figures.  This one depicts him in his most recent Nightwing costume at the time.  Nightwing is built on the basic Minimate body, which means he has the standard 14 points of articulation and stands about 2 ½ inches tall.  He features one sculpted piece: his hair.  It’s a very nice piece, and has been reused a few times in the Marvel line, like on the recent Winter Soldier.  The rest of the figure’s detail is done with paint work.  All of the paint is excellent, with lots of sharp lines, and pretty much no slop of any kind.  Nightwing included two silver fighting sticks, though I misplaced mine at the time I took the photo.

STARFIRE

Starfire was not quite as blessed as Mr. Grayson, but she still was lucky enough to make it into the line, which is better than many prominent DC characters.  Star is based on her original Perez design, which is the look she’s sported for most of her career.  Like Nightwing, she’s built on the typical body, so she has all the usual stats.  She also only features a single sculpted piece: her hair.  It’s a bit more of a substantial piece than Nightwing’s, though also a bit more character specific.  It’s a nice piece, with plenty of nice details, and it’s pretty spot on to what Star’s hair looked like in the comics.  Star’s paint is more impressive than Nightwing’s, with lots of great little details, particularly on her torso an boots, which have some really great texture work.  Star included no accessories, but I can’t think of many they could have given her.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Like the rest of the DC Minimates line, I picked up this two pack as soon as it was available at my local comic book store.  I recall being fairly excited for this set, as I was a fan of both characters at the time.  Looking at this set in comparison to the two second series sets I’ve looked at previously is quite neat, as it really shows how far the line advanced in its short run.  This set wouldn’t look the slightest bit out of place with the most recent wave of Marvel Minimates, and that’s quite astonishing.