#2122: Robin

ROBIN

DC UNIVERSE CLASSICS (MATTEL)

Tim Drake is the third youngster to serve as Robin, partner to Batman. Through rigorous and constant training, Robin keeps his physical edge, which, along with his knowledge of computers, makes him a formidable foe of Gotham City’s villainous population. Tim balances his activities as Robin with his school and friends… but he is always ready to answer the call to action.”

Mattel’s DC Universe Classics line was rife with distribution issues, pretty much for its entirety, but especially at its start.  This meant that key characters had figures that were virtually impossible to find, which was a major barrier for entry.  To offset this, Mattel tried to at the very least offer up repaints of prior molds.  Series 3’s Robin figure had a direct rerelease in their World’s Greatest Super Heroes sub-line, but even still was hard to find, and to top it off, he wasn’t in the costume most collectors hoped for.  Mattel attempted to kill two birds with one stone with today’s figure.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Robin was one half of a Walmart-exclusive “Dynamic Duo” two-pack, released in 2010 under the DC Universe Classics banner.  No points for guess who the other half was.  This Robin makes use of the exact same tooling as the Series 3 version of the character.  That figure was not without its flaws, but one of the most stand-out issues was one of scaling.  He was pretty darn tiny when compared to the rest of the line, especially when you remember he was supposed to be the older Tim Drake of “One Year Later.”  It was a major blow to a figure who might have been pretty nice otherwise.  This figure changes up the entire paint scheme, going for something that more closely resembles Tim’s original costume.  While the sculpted details don’t all exactly match up with his older design (the scallops on the gloves and cape, and the pouches on the belt being the main errors), it still works surprisingly well, and in fact the head sculpt with its short and spiky hair actually makes more sense for this color scheme.  Additionally, the traditional Robin colors are just more appealing to my eye, and on top of that, the fact that it’s supposed to be a younger version of Tim means that the scale issues are a lot less pressing on this release.  The only drawback to this figure was that he lacks the original’s combat staff, since the set only included a single batarang for the duo to share.  Ah, classic Matty.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

So, you know those crappy distribution issues that prevented me from easily acquiring the original Robin release?  Well, they reared their ugly head again when it came time for the repaints that were supposed to address the issue…which didn’t really fix things, did it?  Whatever the case, I didn’t get the set new, but I was able to get ahold of Robin on his own thanks to one being traded into All Time Toys last December.  I’m glad I finally got my hands on this one, as he really manages to salvage the sculpt of the original, without being held back by scaling or overly-time-specific costumes.

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#1778: Batman, Robin, & Mutant Leader

BATMAN, ROBIN, & MUTANT LEADER

BATMAN: ANIMATED (DC COLLECTIBLES)

For someone who’s only so-so on this whole Dark Knight Returns thing, I sure do review a lot of DKRrelated items, don’t I?  Well, let me ‘splain—no, it’s too much—let me sum up: like the story or not, there’s a lot of supplemental material related to it that’s super awesome.  Take, for instance, “Legends of the Dark Knight,” one of Batman: The Animated Series’ best known episodes, which takes a look at a couple of differing takes on Batman from over the years, with DKR as one of the pair.  And now that particular take has its own figures.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Batman, Robin, and the Mutant Leader were a special three-pack, released as part of DC Collectibles’ Batman: Animated line, commemorating the previously mentioned episode.  All three are based on their appearances from the DKR segment of “Legends,” rather than the actual comic looks. 

BATMAN

I’ve had no shortage of DKR Batmen in the last month or so, with offerings from both Mattel and Mezco, so why not let DCC in on the fun?  This guy’s a pretty massive figure, standing about 6 1/2 inches tall and measuring about 5 inches across the shoulders, and he has 24 points of articulation.  His stature is certainly impressive, but if there’s one draw back, it’s his posability, or rather his lack thereof.  The joints he *does* have all have a solid range of motion (the neck joint in particular works very well), to DCC’s credit.  The issue is that he’s lacking any mid torso movement, as well as any sort of ankle mobility.  Those two things rather limit what can be done with the figure, which is kind of a shame.  The sculpt, which is totally unique, is actually a pretty good offering.  It captures the streamlined design from the show pretty much spot-on, which at this point in the line is very definitely welcomed.   His paintwork is definitely on the basic side, which is appropriate for the line.  It’s overall cleanly applied, but has some of the same fuzzy edges that have plagued this line from the beginning.  Batman was packed with a pair of alternate open gesture hands and a display stand.

ROBIN

Carrie Kelley is one of DKR’s most distinctive features, but is a slightly less common offering when it comes to toys.  That said, I’ve actually looked at a Carrie Kelley Robin before, via Mattel’s offering.  It was…less than stellar.  This figure stands 5 inches tall and he has 24 points of articulation.  She’s another new sculpt, and I gotta say, she definitely benefits from the cleaner style.  Something about Miller’s style didn’t translate so well as an action figure, but this?  This worked out pretty well.  Her smaller stature is well conveyed, and she’s actually got some fairly decent movement.  Still perhaps more restricted than I’d like, but definitely better than a lot of this line.  Carrie’s paintwork is decent.  It’s clean, and matches the show’s color palette.  She has less issues with fuzzy lines and slop.  I also appreciate the use of actual transparent lenses for the glasses, as opposed to just painting them opaque green like *some* toy companies.  Robin is by far the most accessorized in this set, with a slingshot, an three pairs of hands, and a display stand.

MUTANT LEADER

Though not a primary antagonist in the original story, like Carrie Kelley, the Mutant Leader has become a distinctive feature of DKR, and he *was* the primary antagonist of the DKR segment of “Legends of the Dark Knight.”  So, his placement here is rather an obvious one.  The figure stands 6 3/4 inches tall and has 23 points of articulation.  The Leader is a sizable guy, though not quite as sizable as Batman.  He’s about on par with the TNBA version of Bane in terms of build.  His articulation is an improvement overall from Batman’s, since he actually gets some mid-torso movement, as well as ankles.  Of course, he loses the lateral leg movement that Batman and Robin have, which has been, in general my biggest recurring issue with this line, since it makes posing these guys in anything but a basic standing pose a barren source of amusement.  The sculpt is at least a pretty strong one.  It captures the Leader’s slightly tweaked animated design very well, and he pairs off well with Batman.  The paintwork is fairly decent, though nothing beyond basic work.  He’s got a nice contrast, though, which I certainly appreciate.  Like Batman, the Leader is packed with a pair of open gesture hands and a display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

“Legends of the Dark Knight” was my first introduction to The Dark Knight Returns.  I think it spoiled me a bit for the story proper, because while it remains a favorite episode of mine, the comic not so much.  Pretty much all of the prior DKR product I’ve purchased was due to my love of the episode, so an episode-specific set certainly intrigued me.  That said, by the time the set actually hit, I’d fallen a bit out of love with the Batman: Animated line, and as such I didn’t get it new.  I actually ended up getting it this year for my birthday, courtesy of my parents.  While it still possesses a lot of the same issues that have been killing the main line for me, I do overall like this set a lot.  Sure, I’d have liked some more accessories, but the extra hands are at least useful, and there’s no denying that Bats and the Leader look good squaring off.  Plus, after the sincere disappointment of Mattel’s Carrie Kellie, this one was a breath of fresh air.

#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.

Guest Review #0048: Super Sons

SUPERBOY & ROBIN

DC ICONS (DC COLLECTIBLES)

The following is a guest review by my dad, writer Steven H. Wilson!  Check out more from him over at his blog, located at stevenhwilson.com

So I bought this set a while back, on new comics Wednesday, and Ethan suggested I review the figures here, and then do a piece over on my blog about the characters and their history. You’ll note that Ethan’s blog is very focused, a new action figure review every day. Mine is not so much. It’s pretty much just whatever the hell I want to talk about, when I want to talk about it. And it hasn’t always been every day, though it has been for a while now. Anyway, here we have The Super-Sons!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

The Super-Sons are a two-pack in the DC Icons line, what I’m told may be the last such two-pack in the series.

SUPERBOY

The fifth (I think?) Superboy in DC Comics history, Jonathan White Kent is the son of Superman and Lois Lane. The original Superboy was Superman, but it’s unclear these days if that was Jon’s dad. The original grew up to be the Superman of Earth One, which was destroyed (more correctly, merged with a few other earths) in Crisis on Infinite Earths. Jon’s father is the Superman of that merged Earth, who when introduced, was established never to have been Superboy [well, at least until they decided he was…–E]. I don’t know if that still holds because DC history is confusing. The other Superboys were Kon-El, a clone of Superman with different powers, Jon-El, sort of the same deal, and, of course, the dreaded Superboy Prime, the young hero of Crisis on Infinite Earths who later went bad.

Little Jon Kent, ten years old, is growing into his inherited powers. He sort of flies, has some strength, and uses his heat vision an awful lot. True to his father’s influence, he’s a boy scout who’s afraid to swear. True to his mothers, he’s utterly fearless.

Previous Superboy figures have included one that came in a two-pack with his cousin Supergirl from DC Direct, and two Superboy Primes released in the DC Direct Infinite Crisis line and the Mattel DC Universe Classics line.

Superboy stands about 3 ½ inches tall and has 29 points of articulation. He comes with the Icons “flying” stand, a clear plastic cylinder section with a slanted top and a pin the attach his foot. Face and body are original sculpts, about an inch shorter than the male adult figures in the line. The facial sculpt is good, capturing Jon’s confident half-smile and eternal optimism.

His “uniform” (or are they play clothes) is well reproduced—a Superman hoodie he found at a second-hand store, jeans with a rip in the knee, a red T-shirt and short red cape. I think perhaps the hoodie is a bit too form-fitting. It’s shown looser in the comics, contributing more to Jon’s “still-growing” look, and his air of casual disregard for his appearance.

He’s very poseable, although I had a hard time getting him into the “Up, up and away” pose shown on the box.

Like all Icons figures, he comes with extra pairs of hands, specifically three this time around.

ROBIN

The son of Bruce Wayne (Batman) and Talia Al Ghul, daughter of Batman’s immortal enemy Ras Al Ghul, Damian Wayne is the sixth individual to carry the code name Robin, the others being Dick Grayson, Jason Todd, Tim Drak, Carrie Kelly, and Stephanie Brown (very briefly). Damien Wayne is 13, short for his age, and pretends he only hangs out with Jonathan Kent because the kid has powers, not because he actually likes him, and not because their fathers have pretty much bullied them into being “friends.”

This is the sixth Damian Wayne Robin figure, the last coming out from Mattel’s DC Comics Multiverse line just recently, as well as one from Mattel’s online subscription service, two from DC Collectibles’ Son of Batman and Lil’ Gotham lines, and one from DC Direct’s Batman Incorporated before that.

The figure stands about 3 inches tall, with 29 points of articulation. The facial sculpt shows Damian pouting and angry, because, if Damian ever smiled, his head would explode in order to expel his face away from it with as much force as possible. Or maybe he’s just pissed that the figures so accurately represent how much smaller he is than his junior partner.

I wish he had come with an interchangeable head, so that he could be displayed with his hood up. He does come with a five sets of hands (in fists, flat, two different grips, and with bloody talons), and a staff to make up for not having a flying stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I looked forward to the Super-Sons title, because I was a kid when the original Super-Sons were having their imaginary adventures. (More about them on my own blog.) It’s such a completely hokey idea, and it was always great fun. I think Peter Tomasi has integrated the hokey idea into a fun book that works for a new generation of more-sophisticated (read: really jaded) readers. I was glad to see them rendered in action-figure form, since I doubt the original “Superman, Jr.” and “Batman, Jr.” (Yep, those were their names!) ever will be.

Flashback Figure Friday #0008: Robin

Hey, look at that, I missed another Friday.  Last week was pretty jam-packed, and I barely had the time to right Friday’s main review, much less a second feature.  Nevertheless, I apologize to all of you who were expecting one of these last week!

This week’s Flashback Friday Figure Addendum is actually less an addendum, and more me going back and finally writing a proper review for #0166: Robin.  Why?  You’ll see in a second.

Okay guys and gals, hang on tight. The site is about to go off! No, not like “off” off. It’s still gonna be here. It’s going off in a metaphorical sense, because today, we’ll be looking at one of the greatest entries into the world of action figures ever.

This figure hails from the very first Batman line released once Mattel had picked up the DC license. I know I’ve been hard on Mattel in the past, but it’s only because I’ve been trying to hold them to the standards they set for themselves so early into their run. You see, this Batman line was important, but not for the ways you think. Oh, sure the Batmen were cool and all (especially those sweet neon colored gun-toting variants!), but the real star of this line was Robin! So, let’s have a look at the greatest toy to ever grace shelves!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Robin was the flagship figure of the first series of Batman. He was the real heavy hitter of the wave, there so that Mattel could take chances on the Joker and Martial Arts Batman. He stands about 5 inches tall, and has 10 points of articulation, which may seem like a low number, but they had to take that awesome sculpt into account. Speaking of that awesome sculpt: has Robin ever looked this cool before? I mean, they really out did themselves. I’ve always found that a bad head sculpt can ruin a great figure. In this case, Mattel has wisely chosen to leave off the head so as to avoid any potential issue. This is the first time I’ve ever truly believed that Robin could make people think he’s anyone other than Tim Drake. I mean, Tim Drake has a head and Robin doesn’t. Can’t be the same guy! I’d also love to commend Mattel on the body sculpt, which perfectly captures Robin’s physique. I mean, those muscles are so realistic! And the torso’s straight posture coupled with the relaxed muscles everywhere else? Perfection. I’m heartbroken to say that I lost the accessories included with Robin. He had his ever present Blade-Shield thingy with his logo on it, which was such an important staple of the character at the time. It even launched discs! Who doesn’t need one of those?

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I knew as soon as I saw the prototype pictures of this figure back in 2003 that it was going to be the figure to own. So, naturally, I spent all my time searching for this figure at every nearby store, day and night. Eventually I found one, and after sucker punching a four year old and his grandmother to get it, finally the figure was in my possession!

Yeah, so this was my first April Fool’s Day post.  It’s almost quaint, isn’t it?  This review was more a joke thing than anything.  Now a days, I’d have written the review both ways, but the figure was quite incomplete at the time.  Since I finally found this guy’s freaking head, I guess I can actually review him now!

The figure, officially titled “Battle Board Robin,” was released in the first series of Mattel’s 2003 Batman line.  Robin stands about 6 inches tall and has 11 points of articulation.  The main hook of this line at the time was that they’d brought in the Four Horsemen (who had just helped Mattel relaunch Masters of the Universe) to sculpt most of the figures, including the Bat-variants.  There was one exception to this in the first series.  Care to guess who it was?  Yep, it was this here Robin figure, which was handled by Mattel’s in-house team.  In their defense, it’s actually a decent enough sculpt.  It doesn’t look quite as good as the  prototype did, but what figure does?  His muscles are sort of impossible, and I’ve always disliked how stiff he was, bit there are some nice things about the sculpt.  The boots in particular look pretty solid.  But how about that head that I finally found after all these years?  Well, full disclosure: the reason it was missing when I found him was because I had fully intended to replace it with another one.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t particularly good at sculpting at 12, so the replacement I made wasn’t much better.  Ultimately, this one’s okay, but not my favorite Robin head.  I think it’s got a lot to do with the hair, which just doesn’t really look like anything Tim ever sported.  Also, still missing from the figure is his cape.  It was just two pieces of fabric glued together, and was too thick and short to actually hang realistically.  It’s kind of exhibit A of why I prefer capes to be sculpted.  In terms of paint, this figure was fairly basic colors.  For some reason the gloves are black.  Don’t know why, never did.  The accents on the muscles and some of the other sculpted work actually weren’t standard to the figure; I added them around the time that I tried replacing the head.  I really wanted to salvage this figure for some reason.  His only accessory was his titular Battle Board, which was really just a disc launcher than he could also stand on.  It was an odd choice.

There’s actually not a particularly exciting figure regarding the acquisition of this figure.  He, Joker, and the basic (Zipline) Batman were all really hard to find when these figures started hitting stores.  I eventually found him at the KB Toys near where my family vacationed (I got him alongside some Star Trek: Nemesis figures.  Oh what a joyous day that was).  He’s not awful, but he’s also not super great.  The saddest thing is that Mattel never actually returned to this design for Robin (apart from an inaccurate repaint of the later DCUC figure), so this is the best there is from them.   

Flashback Friday Figure Addendum #0002: Hydro Claw Robin

0002a

For my second Flashback Friday Figure Addendum, I’ll be following the lead of my actual reviews, and taking another look at my very first figure of the other half of the Dynamic Duo.  Let’s look back at Hydro Claw Robin!

So, yesterday’s post was about my very first action figure, Batman.  And, because a hero’s no good without his sidekick, here’s my very first figure of his old chum: Robin.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Hydro Claw Robin is a Robin variant from the Batman Forever line.  He’s actually a fairly standard looking Robin, though he’s not THE standard looking Robin of the line.  His main feature, now lost to me, was a jetpack with wings, a rebreather, and the eponymous “Hydro Claw.”  It’s really unfortunate that I’ve lost this piece, as I recall that it was really quite cool, but alas, 4 year old me was not very good at keeping track of such things!  Even without the accessory, this is still a pretty stand up version of Robin, even if it is based on the utterly terrible Chris O’Donnell.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This figure is a good deal less of a mystery than the Night Hunter Batman.  This guy was a gift from my dear Aunt Susan for Christmas 1995.  I had asked for a Robin figure to prevent my caped crusader from being too lonely, and she was more than happy to oblige.  Christmas morning I opened this guy up and joyfully danced around the room for a good 5 minutes, humming the Batman theme song.  I know, that story is so sweet it almost hurts, doesn’t it?

Man, I always forget how brief I used to be with these reviews.  I don’t know if my wordiness is a good thing or a bad thing.

Once again, I’ve left out a number of things I would now consider standard, namely that the figure is about 5 inches tall and he has 5 points of articulation. The main thing missing the first time I reviewed the figure was his wingpack, which has a rebreather and the titular Hydro Claw attached.  It’s actually one of my favorite parts of the figure, and I was quite bummed that it was missing, so discovering it was one of my biggest bits of excitement during “the Great Find.”  What’s pretty neat about this piece is how it sort of completes the classic Robin color scheme, with its large presence of yellow.

I love this figure no matter what, but he really feels so much more awesome now that he’s complete again!  Now he and Night Hunter Batman are proudly adorning one of the bookshelves in my living room, and I really couldn’t be happier about that.  Even if he’s still based on Chris O’Donnell….

#1178: Robin

ROBIN

POP! HEROES

robinbtaspop1

On the twelfth day of post-Christmas reviews…I decided to review another Pop.  That’s a lyric from the slightly less popular version of the song.  Amazing how the songwriter predicted the Pop craze, though.  For today’s Pop-centric review, I’m taking a look at the first Pop line, Pop! Heroes, which began it’s life as a DC-themed line, but has expanded to include a few other heroes as it’s gone on.  I’m sticking to the DC side, though, and taking a look at the newest release of Batman’s old chum, Robin!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

robinbtaspop2Robin is figure #153 in the Pop! Heroes line.  He’s the second figure in the Batman: The Animated Series subset and the fourth version of Robin (not counting variants).  The figure stands about 4 inches tall and has an articulated neck (not being limited by the licensing restrictions that affect the Star Wars and Marvel lines).  Robin is sporting an all-new sculpt, which does its best to merge the stylings of B:TAS and the Pop! line.  It’s admittedly, not the easiest venture for Robin here, since the real differences between his comics and animated designs is one of simplicity.  Since all Pop! figures simplify the designs a bit, he has to rely more heavily on his other defining trait, his wacky hair, to make him notably different from the first Robin Pop!  Sadly, while the control art shown on the box gets the hair down perfectly, there’s something lost in translation on the final figure.  The hair ends up a lot rounder than it should be, and his spit curl is mashed into his forehead, giving it rather a different shape and eliminating his v-shaped hairline almost entirely.  It’s still a pretty solid Robin, but falls shy of being an Animated Robin.  On the plus side, the body fixes my major issue with the original Robin Pop!, which was the pose.  This one goes for a nice basic standing pose, full of heroic confidence, in contrast to the “argh, my back” pose of the original.  Paint on Robin is decent by Pop! standards, which is to say the colors are nice and bright, and the basic application is okay, but there are a lot of fuzzy lines and some slight bleed over here and there.  Nothing terrible or bad enough to ruin the figure, though. 

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Robin is the other of the two figures I got from my totally cool-tastic brother for Christmas.  It’s no secret that Loren Lester’s portrayal of Robin is my definitive take on the character and a large part of why I love Robin so much, and Christian’s no doubt heard me drone on about that more than once.  While this figure doesn’t quite live up to the control art on the box, I do still really like him, and I’m more than a little tempted to get the animated-style Batman to go with him!

#1123: Bola Trap Robin

BOLA TRAP ROBIN

BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES (KENNER)

bolatraprobin1

Growing up, there were a handful of characters that I was pretty much guaranteed to by in action figure form every time I saw them (it’s not a practice I’ve completely abandoned.  Note my Havok, Wonder Man, and Poe Dameron collections).  One of these characters was Robin (specifically Dick Grayson.  When he switched to Nightwing, those were the figures I wanted), resulting in my collection tending to have more Robins than Batmen at any given point.  A good portion of the Robins in my collection are goofy variants, including today’s entry, “Bola Trap Robin.”

THE FIGURE ITSELF

bolatraprobin2Bola Trap Robin was released in the fifth series of Kenner’s Batman: The Animated Series line.  He would also see a rerelease later on when the line was re-formatted under the Adventures of Batman & Robin banner, but mine’s the original.  The figure is about 4 1/2 inches tall and he has 5 points of articulation that were standard for the line.  At this point in the line, Kenner had moved away from focussing on show accurate stuff and had instead delved headfirst into the wacky variants that would define the Dynamic Duo’s toy presence for the next two decades.  That being the case, Robin is seen here in a costume he never sported in the cartoon, its tie-in comic, or any of the comics it was based on.  The design isn’t really in keeping with the designs on the show, mostly due to being a bit busier than they tended to be.  That being said, it’s not a bad design, per se, especially in regards to being on a toy, where business isn’t the worst thing.  It has some of the typical Robin costume elements, but also mixes in a little bit of the 1989 Batman design, and even a little bit of the ‘90s Nightwing look around the tops of the boots and gloves.  The quilted elements are interesting.  They’re well sculpted, but I do sort of wonder why he’s got them.  Are they to protect him from the titular “Bola Trap”?  Robin has a sort of a preposed nature to him, and is probably one of the earliest examples of this trend occurring in Kenner/Hasbro’s DC figures.  Fortunately, he’s nowhere near the level of something like Total Justice.  Rather, I’d guess that the pose on this guy is so that the figure can still stand while holding the big gimmicky weapon.  Robin’s head is the same basic piece that Kenner used on pretty much all of their animated Robins.  It’s hardly on the level of the DCC version in terms of accuracy, but it’s still a decent enough piece, and it fits with the slightly off styling of the whole Kenner line.  The cape, like all of the capes at this point in the line, is cloth.  This means it doesn’t get the proper yellow lining, but other than that, it’s not terrible.  Robin’s paintwork is decent enough.  There’s a clear effort to making him different from the basic Robin, giving him a yellow and black color scheme.  I’d say he was more of a stealth Robin, were it not for all the bright yellow.  Maybe he’s trying to blend into the same place where Night Hunter Batman’s hiding?  The application’s pretty clean overall.  There are a few fuzzy edges, and some slop here and there, but he’s more or less pretty good.  The main gimmick of this guy is, of course, the bola trap, which seems to translate to big…spinny…thingy.  I’m not sure what it is.  I don’t know that bola is an apt descriptor.  At least it’s not a missile launcher, right?

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Remember in the intro, where I talked about collecting every figure of certain characters?  Well, I didn’t get this guy growing up.  Instead, in an event similar to the acquisition of the Talking Cyclops figure from earlier this summer, my family found this guy in an antique store about a month ago, and got me this on the pretense of there only being so many chances for them to pick me up a Robin that I didn’t have.  They gave me Robin, alongside a whole bag of things they’d gotten me, when I went up to visit over Halloween.  Also in the bag?  The complete soundtrack to Batman: The Animated Series, which served as my motivational music during this review!  Alright!

#1078: Robin – Dark Knight Returns

ROBIN – DARK KNIGHT RETURNS

DC COMICS MULTIVERSE (MATTEL)

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One of DC’s longest lasting legacy characters is Robin.  It’s fitting, what with Robin being one of the earliest examples of a sidekick in comics.  As many times as legacy characters may be rolled back to prior  incarnations, Robin always seems to keep moving forward.  Since Dick Grayson vacated the role in 1984, there have been many others to take on the title.  The first is, of course, Jason Todd, but a fairly close second (albeit in an alternate future) was Carrie Kelley.  Carrie hails from Frank Miller’s Dark Knight Returns, and is easily one of the most distinctive parts of the story.  So, it’s not a huge surprise that Carrie has just gotten an action figure in commemoration of the story’s 35th anniversary.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

carriekelly1Carrie Kelley was released in the Doomsday series of Mattel’s DC Comics Multiverse line.  It’s the same series that features armored Batman and the Mutant Leader, all of which bear the 35th Anniversary insignia.  This is Carrie’s second figure, with the first coming several years ago courtesy of DC Direct.  The figure is 5 1/4 inches tall and has 24 points of articulation.  As with a lot of Mattel’s output, the articulation count may be high, but the figure’s mobility is just so-so.  The elbows and knees can’t even bend a full 90 degrees, which is really weak.  Surely this is all for the sake of the sculpt, though, right?  Well, sort of, but not really.  The head sculpt is easily the best part, as it’s a pretty spot-on recreation of several panels of Miller’s artwork.  There’s one major issue I have with the head, but I’ll touch on that when I get to paint.  The rest of the sculpt is passable at best and mediocre at worst.  The overall appearance is fine, and she looks decent when in a straight standing pose. That being said, if you move her out of a basic standing pose, the sculpt exhibits a carriekelly3large number of flaws, where the articulation just leaves these odd flat spots on the limbs.  Also, the freaking cape block makes it’s awful appearance once again here, and I think this is probably the worst example of it I’ve seen so far.  I’m really not sure why Mattel has no idea how to attach a cape other than a huge solid brick of plastic sticking out of the figure’s back.  It shouldn’t be this hard.  You should be able to have a caped character without giving them a freaking hunchback.  The paintwork on Carrie is alright, but there are a few pressing issues.  The colors are nice and bright, and match up nicely with the comic colors.  The biggest issue here is the lenses of the glasses.  In the comic, Carrie’s eyes are consistently visible through the lenses, but here, they’re opaque.  Matte’s done clear lenses in the past, so I’m not sure why they were left out here.  Carrie includes a sling shot (which she can’t hold very well, due to her right hand only having a hole drilled halfway through, for reasons beyond me), as well as the leg of the New-52 Doomsday.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I found Carrie at Toys R Us a little while ago, while looking for the X-Men Legends figures.  I had been looking forward to this figure to go with the other three figures I’ve got from this set.  I can’t lie, this figure is kinda a letdown.  She’s not a bad figure, but she’s just not up to par with the likes of Hasbro and NECA, or even Funko, all of which are in the same price range.  This figure should have been a home run, but instead she’s just another mediocre figure from Mattel.

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#0782: Robin

ROBIN

SON OF BATMAN (DC COLLECTIBLES)

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Pretty much since his inception, Robin has served as a stand-in for Batman’s son. It adds to the whole surrogate family aspect that the creators built over the years. And, in classic TV Sitcom fashion, when said son grows up and starts to grow up and become less cute and adorable, they just bring in a younger model. Hey, those dark-haired, similarly built, already athletically trained orphans all need a home, right? Eventually, there came a point where they dropped the “stand-in” bit entirely and just gave Batman an actual, biological son to serve as the next Robin. Okay, it was more convoluted than that, but just trust me here. Anyway, his son was named Damian and also had the notoriety of being the grandson of Batman villain Ra’s Al Ghul. Damian’s whole story was adapted into one of the more recent DC animated movies, titled Son of Batman, and said movie got action figures, which included the Damian figure I’ll be looking at today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Damian2Robin was released as part of DC Collectibles’ four figure assortment for Son of Batman. Said assortment was actually part of DCC’s larger DC Animated line of figures, which includes Justice League: War, Justice League: Throne of Atlantis, and Batman vs. Robin. Damian is figure #08 in the overall line, making him the third figure in the Son of Batman assortment. Which is weird, what with him being the title character and all. Oh well. The figure is about 4 ¾ inches tall and has 13 points of articulation. The articulation is rather on the stiff side here.  You can get some decent poses out of the arms and legs, but the neck (despite being a ball joint) isn’t good for anything more than side to side movement, leaving him perpetually staring down. While the rest of the animated figures are built from mostly shared body parts, Damian gets his own unique sculpt. Not terribly surprising, since his build is so notably different from the others. What’s interesting to me is that this sculpt doesn’t seem to have been sculpted with any real re-use in mind, since just about every piece has a character specific element to it. What’s more interesting is the amount of details not present in the sculpt. Despite it clearly being a unique piece, things such as the straps holding his arm and shin guards in place and his belt buckle are just painted on. Maybe they wanted him to look like the rest of the figures in the line? Slight oddities aside, the sculpt is fairly well handled. The proportions are nice, and what sculpted details are there are sharply defined. One frustrating thing is the figure’s copyright information, which is stamped onto the interior of his cape. While the figure hides in from most angles, thee fairly obvious lettering does jump out at you occasionally. As noted above, a certain degree of Damian’s costume details are handled via paint. The paint here is a marked improvement over the prior animated figures I’ve looked at. The lines aren’t fuzzy, he doesn’t have any obvious scuffing, and bleed over is minimal. There’s still room for improvement, but he doesn’t look half bad. Damian is packed with one accessory: a Katana. It’s reasonably well-sculpted, and he can hold it alright, though it’s not particularly imposing.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I got this figure from my local comic book store, Cosmic Comix, during the annual “Biggest Sale of theYear” event. I picked him up in part because he was reasonably cheap, but also because I kind of like Damian, and I didn’t yet own a figure of him. Despite being the son of Batman, and serving as Robin for a few years, the figures of Damian Wayne are rather limited. To date, he’s had five, counting this one. DC Direct made two: one was from before he was Robin, and the other, while a nice figure, had a hefty aftermarket price. The next figure was from Mattel, and was….how do I put this? Abysmal. Like, they gave him bulging muscles and stuff. That left me two options: the super cartoony Lil’ Gotham version, or this one. I think I chose well. This figure’s got a handful of drawbacks, but the overall result is pretty good.

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