#2373: Iceboard Robin

ICEBOARD ROBIN

BATMAN & ROBIN (KENNER)

“Gotham City becomes a very cold place when Mr. Freeze, Poison Ivy and Bane triple team to plot the icy demise of Batman and Robin. The crimefighters respond immediately by using the Batcomputer deep within the Batcave to develop an array of cutting-edge weapons that can be used in their battle against this multitude of fiendish foes. Discover the Secrets of the Batcave! – secret technology that gives Batman , Robin and Batgirl the ultimate ability to save Gotham City!”

After the box office success of Batman Forever (I know, I’m surprised, too), Warner Brothers decided to fast track its follow-up, Batman & Robin, with its entire production process coming in at under two years, which, when you’re dealing with a block-buster of this caliber, isn’t a lot of time.  The end result was less than stellar.  Batman & Robin holds the lowest earnings of any Batman film to date, and is still regarded as one of the worst comic book films ever made.  With all that said, it did succeed on one front: it was a pretty excellent toy commercial.  The toyline that accompanied the film was easily the best part of the whole thing.  Amazingly, though I dove into the Batman Forever line, I have as of yet not looked at any Batman & Robin figures.  I’ll be changing that today, with Iceboard Robin!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Iceboard Robin was released in the first basic series of Kenner’s Batman & Robin line, which hit shelves in 1997, alongside the film.  The first series had two Robins included, with this one being the “standard” movie Robin.  The figure stands 4 3/4 inches tall and he has 5 points of articulation.  Robin sported an all-new sculpt.  Robin is actually the most fortunate of the film’s main characters, as he was the only one whose design didn’t change during the production process, meaning his was the only standard figure that was actually film accurate.  Additionally, Robin’s design, which was a pretty nifty merging of more classic Robin characteristics with the then current Nightwing costume from the comics, is really one of the nicest of the film’s designs in general, if you can get past the general Chris O’Donnel-ness of the head.  The sculpt does a nice job of capturing the look from the movie, and is generally a lot sturdier and more sharply detailed than the Forever figures were.  Pre-posing on this figure is at a minimum, but he’s a little better than the straight standing poses of prior figures.  There’s a more natural stance here, and it’s actually pretty darn nice.  The cape is a plastic piece, as were most of the capes on this round of figures, and it plugs into his back fairly securely.  Robin’s paintwork is pretty basic, which the majority of stuff being molded plastic.  However, the red detailing of the uniform is pretty cool, and has a slick metallic finish to it.  Iceboard Robin was, stay with me on this, packed with an iceboard, which is really just a big, goofy stand.  He also included a missile launcher, but mine is missing that piece.  Oh no, whatever will I do?

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was too young to see Batman Forever in theaters (though I sure got in on those toys), but Batman & Robin hit at the perfect time for me to be all about it.  I was very excited prior to the film’s release (and even after, if I’m honest, because I loved it.  In my defense, I was 5), and this guy was part of the hype.  At the time, Toys R Us was running a promotion where you got reprints of Robin, Batgirl, and Mr. Freeze’s first appearances if you bought one of the toys from the tie-in line, and my mom was awesome enough to take me over one day after work.  Unsurprisingly, given my more recent collecting habits, I opted for Robin to be my qualifying figure purchase.  Quality of the film and of the actor playing Robin aside, this figure holds up well, and is just a genuinely fun offering.

#2268: Transforming Dick Grayson

TRANSFORMING DICK GRAYSON

BATMAN FOREVER (KENNER)

For day four of my Post-Christmas reviews, I’m taking a look at something it’s been…Forever since I’ve reviewed.  Yes, the site may have started with a series of four Batman Forever reviews, but there have been none featured since.  Now, six years later, we return.  Are you feeling it?  The significance?  The shock?  The awe?  Well, you should be, because this whole thing’s a very big deal.  Let’s just revel in all of this for a bit, shall we?

 

Done reveling? Cool.  Let’s review a Robin action figure.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Transforming Dick Grayson was one of the first assortment of Batman Forever figures released to tie-in with the movie in 1995, which was the same assortment that gave us three of the four previously reviewed Forever figures on this site.  It’s worth noting that there was no straight forward standard Robin in this initial assortment; you just had to decide whether you preferred this or Hydro Claw Robin as your go-to annoying Chris O’Donnell Robin figure.  The figure stands just shy of 5 inches tall and he has 5 points of articulation.  His sculpt was unique to him in the initial assortment, but would later get repainted blue and used as Triple-Strike Robin later the same year.  It’s an okay sculpt, being generally pretty faithful to the film design.  He’s noticeably a lot skinnier than Hydro Claw, and for that matter a lot skinnier than Chris O’Donnell was in the role.  It’s not terribly off, and works fine for the more classical Robin proportions, so I can’t knock it too much.  His pose is fairly neutral, apart from the slight bend in the left arm; this was present on Hydro Claw, and it’s also on Street Biker Robin, so maybe that’s just how they assumed Robin would pose in default.  There’s a good chance that character design sheets for the movie may have had him in such a pose, which is further supported by all of the prototypes having a totally different hair style than O’Donnell sported in the film.  Whatever the case, the pose keeps him from looking too stiff, so I can’t fault it.   The figure’s paint delivers a fairly standard set of Robin colors as you might expect, but does have one interesting feature: his Sudden Reveal Mask!  Yes, in order to give Dick his usual mask when transforming him into Robin, you reveal the mask by dipping his head in cold water, and then remove it again by dipping it in warm water. It would probably be a more compelling feature if it wasn’t bound to be just a little bit off in both modes, but it’s nifty enough as is.  To aid in his transformation, Robin also included a cape (which on my figure hadn’t had all of the excess molded parts cut off…see the picture), a chest piece, wrist guards, and boots.  And, of course, he also has Robin’s signature bat-brass-knuckles.  Never leaves home without them.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This guy was a Christmas gift from my brother Christian, who was eager to get something that a) I didn’t already have and b) would amuse me.  Apparently, he caught the packaging illustration at the top of this guy’s card and felt that alone was amusing enough to warrant getting this for me.  I can’t argue with him on that; the packaging art on this is a national treasure.  The figure?  He’s okay.  Perhaps not terrible impressive in his own right, but still one of those figures I never had that I always had this morbid desire to own just for the sake of owning him.

#2248: Red Robin

RED ROBIN

DC UNIVERSE CLASSICS (MATTEL)

“Tim Drake already had impressive detective and computer hacking skills when Bruce Wayne offered him the opportunity to train and become his protege, Robin. But when Batman disappeared, Drake went incognito and became Red Robin to find him. During his search, he masterfully formed an alliance with Ra’s Al Ghul that eventually dismantled Ra’s League of Assassins and paved the way for Bruce Wayne’s return. Drake continued to use his brilliant deductive and martial arts skills as Red Robin, working with The Outsiders and Teen Titans.”

Hey, remember a few weeks ago, when I was talking about the history of the name Red Robin?  Let’s touch on that again.  Though the name was originated by Dick Grayson in the alternate future of Kingdom Come, only one of the four Red Robin figures is Dick.  The other three are Tim Drake, who has pretty much laid claim to the name.  It wasn’t quite as cleanly Tim’s at first, though, especially when he got his first Red Robin figure, which I’m looking at today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Red Robin was released in “All Stars” series of DC Universe Classics.  Originally, “All Stars” was supposed to be the refitted incarnation of DCUC post-New 52, with this just being the first series.  Unfortunately, demand was pretty low on this particular assortment, and practically non-existent on the proposed follow-up, which retroactively makes this assortment essentially just Series 21 of DCUC, rather than the first series of the new line.  As a continuation of DCUC, Red Robin’s place in the line-up makes a little more sense, given how the line-ups for DCUC assortments tended to go.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 23 points of articulation.  Red Robin was built on the DCUC line’s medium male body which was an odd choice to say the least, given that this is meant to be Tim, and that his last DCUC figure, which is only supposed to be him about a year prior in-universe, is a heck of a lot smaller.  Admittedly, that figure is widely agreed to be really under-sized, but this one definitely goes too far the other direction, making the 19-20 year old Drake look like he’s a good decade older.  It’s worth noting that this is the same base body that Mattel used for both Dick Grayson and Jason Todd, making you wonder if this figure was originally designed to be one of the two of them, rather than Tim.  He does look a fair bit like the Jason Todd version, but that incarnation was rather short-lived, so perhaps Mattel opted to slap a new name on it for more longevity?  I don’t know.  It’s genuinely just possible that Mattel was just being Mattel and simply put him on the wrong body; that’s pretty in character for them.  Scaling issues aside, it’s worth noting that Red Robin got a decent selection of new parts, including a new head, cape, straps, belt, forearms, and shins.  These parts mesh well with the pre-existing parts, and the end result is a pretty clean looking figure, which does a solid job of capturing the costume design from the comics.  His paintwork is all pretty clean.  By this point, most of the nicer accent work from earlier in the line was gone, but there’s still nice touches like the shiny finish on the boots and gloves, as well as the slight accenting on his tunic.  It’s also pretty clean, which is really the most important thing.  The plan for “All Stars” was to cut down on production costs by removing the Collect-N-Connect pieces, so this figure does that, his only extra being a staff (which my figure is lacking).

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Though demand for the overall assortment was pretty low, Red Robin was really the only figure contained therein that anyone really wanted, which made him a little bit harder to acquire.  Not helping matters was that regular retailers had pretty much given up carrying the line by this point, so if all you wanted was Red Robin without his three case-mates, you were kind of out of luck.  Because of this, I didn’t get him new.  Instead, I got him last year when All Time got in a DCUC collection.  Choice of base body aside, he’s a pretty fun figure, and I’m glad I finally got one.

#2212: Red Robin

RED ROBIN

DC COMICS MULTIVERSE (MATTEL)

The name Red Robin is one that’s been with almost as many former Robins as the name “Robin” has.  Originally introduced in Kingdome Come as the identity of an older Dick Grayson, the name made it’s first foray into the “mainstream” universe as a possible moniker for Jason Todd, who was at the time flirting with potentially reforming after being Red Hood for a bit.  That went nowhere, and the name was eventually revived again by Tim Drake following the events of “Battle for the Cowl,” which ended with Damian Wayne taking over the main Robin identity.  The name’s pretty much stuck with Tim since, and that’s the name he’s got for this here new figure I’m looking at today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Red Robin is part of Mattel’s final series of DC Comics Multiverse, which is a Bat-themed series.  As with most of the rest of the line-up, he’s officially a Rebirth figure, and depicts Tim in his updated Red Robin costume from post-Doomsday Clock and Heroes in Crisis.  It’s not a bad design, and really gets close to his classic ’90s appearance.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and sports 29 points of articulation.  Robin is built on the same base body as Kid Flash and Ray, which is to say he’s built on pretty much the best base body that Mattel produced under their tenure with the DC license.  It’s got balanced proportions, a solid articulation layout, and just generally plays pretty well.  It’s also pretty well scaled to Legends and DCUC, which is certainly a step up from the prior body Tim was on. Tim has a new head, upper torso, forearms, knees, and shins, plus add-ons for his cape and belt.  These new parts work pretty well with the existing, making for a figure that does a pretty solid job of capturing Robin’s look.  I was particularly surprised by the new upper torso piece, which has actual sculpted elements for the logo and the details on his sides. That was definitely surprising, and it adds a fair bit to the figure.  I will say, I’m not personally as much a fan of the shorter hair on Tim as seen here, but it’s not inaccurate, so I can’t fault Mattel there.  The paintwork on Tim is fairly solid.  It’s bright and eye-catching, and represents the look from the comics well.  Tim is packed with two sets of hands in fists and gripping poses, as well as his usual staff, and the arm of Killer Croc.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I picked this guy up during my rather disappointing early morning Force Friday run at the beginning of October.  I had passed on him once before and not seen him since, but knowing he was on the same body as Ray made me really want to pick him up.  As with so much of this late-run product from Mattel, he’s genuinely a good toy, and that’s really kind of sad.  Why couldn’t they get these things together earlier?

#2181: Robin & Raphael

ROBIN & RAPHAEL

BATMAN VS. TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES (DC COLLECTIBLES)

Obviously, no company in their right mind would release just *one* of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, so that means for the purposes of these here Batman Vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles packs there’s a necessity for a Batman-character to go with each of them.  Yay for the Bat-Family and their now needed inclusion!  Today’s pack is all about teenage rage and an appreciation of the color red!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Robin and Raphael are set two of the GameStop-excluisve Batman Vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles line.  They actually ended up showing up at the same time as the Batman and Leo set, despite the initial plan being one set a month.

ROBIN

There have been six Robins in the mainstream DC universe, and the crossover opted for the most recent of them, Damian Wayne, Bruce’s teenage son.  For the purposes of unique builds and designs, he’s actually a pretty solid choice.  The figure stands 4 3/4 inches tall and he has 27 points of articulation.  Compared to the last animated-inspired Damian figure I reviewed, this one’s a far better articulated offering.  Additionally, his smaller stature means that his joints have a better range of motion than his father did, making him easier to get decent poses out of him.  Robin’s sculpt is a clean recreation of his animation design.  The build is conceivably accurate for a young teenager, going for a slightly cartoony interpretation without looking too goofy.  Unlike Batman and Mikey, Robin gets a sculpted cape rather than a cloth one.  Given the smaller size of the cape, it actually ends up working out alright.  He’s got a separate folded down hood piece which sits atop the shoulders of his cape.  It doesn’t stay in place amazingly well, but it’s easily removed if it bugs you.  Robin’s paint work is certainly the most colorful of the bunch we’ve gotten so far, which is a nice change of pace.  The application is still clean, and the line work still works very well.  Robin is packed with an even more impressive selection of accessories than his dad, with three sets of hands (fists, open grip, and closed grip), a batbomb, two batarangs, a grapple with two hooks, an extra head with the hood pulled up, a staff fully extended and collapsed, a Gotham City manhole cover, and a slice of pizza.

RAPHAEL

Raphael is something of a rage machine, which makes a degree of sense for pairing off against the usual ragey Damian.  Raph stands 6 inches tall and he has 28 points of articulation.  Raphael’s construction is much like the other two Turtles, and the articulation works much the same as with the others.  The range of motion’s pretty solid on all of them, and his joints are tighter like Leo’s.  Raphael’s sculpt goes for making him the largest of the four turtles, which is an approach I can certainly get behind.  It makes him a rather hefty figure, which pairs him off well with the quite small Robin figure.  It’s a strong sculpt, and I think it’s probably my favorite of the three Turtles I’ve looked at so far.  Raph’s paint does mix things up a bit, making his skin tone a duller shade of green than the other two turtles.  The lines here are also a bit bolder, adding to that overall chunky thing he’s got going.  Raphael includes three sets of hands (fists, open, and gripping), an extra head wearing a helmet, his sais, and a slice of pizza.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I picked this pair up at the same time as the other two, and this was honestly the set I was slightly more interested in.  While Damian’s not my favorite Robin, I’ve developed a real appreciation for him.  This figure’s honestly the best one the character’s ever gotten, meaning he’ll pair off real well with Batman in that regard.  Raph is a pretty darn solid figure in his own right, though, and I don’t feel this set is quite as one-sided as yesterday’s.

#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.

#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.