#3205: Nightwing



After retiring from his duties as Robin, Dick Grayson continued to hang around with the Titans for a while, before settling on a new identity, Nightwing*.  Nightwing’s become a pretty recognizable fixture in his own right, and has become a pretty standard play for animated stories that want to let Dick grow up, or even perhaps contrast him with another Robin.  2014’s Son of Batman aimed to contrast him with Batman’s newly discovered son (spoilers: Batman has a son), Damian, granting Nightwing a rather sizable role in the story.  It also granted him another action figure, which is where my interests really lie.


Nightwing was released in 2014, as part of the four-figure tie-in line for Son of Batman, which was part of the overall line of figures based on DC’s animated films of the time.  Nightwing was figure #09, making him the final of the four figures in this set numerically.  He’s sporting Nightwing’s costume from the film, which is honestly not a bad one.  In an era when the comics version was saddled with the New 52’s odd choice to go red and black with his color scheme, this one sticks to a more classic set-up, inspired somewhat by what he’d been wearing not too long before in the second season of Young Justice.  It’s probably amongst the best of the DC animation costume designs of the era.  The figure stands just over 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 15 points of articulation.  Nightwing has more than a few parts in common with the animation-inspired Green Lantern that I reviewed back when these figures were new…and when the site was still not even a year old.  Crazy times, really.  The base body has a nice, medium build, which matches well with the character’s design from the film.  He gets a new head and lower arms, as well as some belt pouches which have been glued in place at the waist.  The whole thing makes for a decent enough set-up for the character, given how he looks in the movie.  The head feels very true to the character in terms of likeness and personality, and the new lower arms allow him to actually hold his accessories, and even give his left hand a slightly more unique pose than “fist.”  The joints haven’t held up particularly great over time, but for the most part, it’s a solid sculpt.  The paint work on this guy is alright.  These figures were definitely on the messier side, just really for the whole run of the line, but Nightwing wound up at least a little bit better than the first series of figures.  There’s still some slop and some fuzzy edges, but nothing too terrible.  Nightwing was packed with his two eskrima sticks, which is honestly impressive for this line, which was generally not fond of giving the figures much of anything.


Son of Batman was not a movie I particularly enjoyed.  The concept was there, but the execution was lacking, and it was kind of the movie that got me out of really keeping up to date with the DC Animated fare.  Nevertheless, one of the few things I did like about it was Sean Maher’s turn as Dick Grayson.  I came very close to buying this figure on multiple occasions, but, for one reason or another, I just kind of kept putting it off, and then he’d gotten a bit pricey on the aftermarket, so I just dropped it.  He’s been on my list to look out for since then, and I was lucky enough to snag a loose one that got traded into All Time a little bit ago.  He’s not a perfect figure, but he’s fun, and I can get behind that.

*Okay, it wasn’t an entirely new identity, because it was actually the identity that Superman used to use while visiting the bottle city of Kandor.  But don’t tell Dick that, it’ll just make him sad.

#1232: Son of Batman



Two Mattel figures in a row?  Uh oh, this can’t be good.  Nah, it’s okay guys, things aren’t ugly (just wait until next week, though; oh boy).  Today, let’s have another look at Mattel’s DC Comics Multiverse line.  It’s been a real mixed bag, to be sure.  It started more than a little rocky, and has been the subject of a lot of changes, the most prominent of them being a jump from 3 3/4-inch scale to 6-inch.  The 6-inch line spent most of its inaugural year devoted to the lackluster Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad lines, but there were some slightly less sucky items in there.  For me, the best stuff was definitely released in the Dark Knight Returns 30th Anniversary sub-set of the line, which more or less returned back to the DC Universe Classic days.  Today, I’ll be looking at another figure from that set, the Son of Batman!


The Son of Batman was part of the three-figure Batman: The Dark Knight Returns series of the DC Comics Multiverse line, which was exclusive to Walmart.  For those not familiar with the story, the Son of Batman isn’t one particular character, but rather one member of the larger Sons of Batman gang, which is formed from the remnants of the Mutant Gang after the Mutant Leader is taken out by Batman.  There are quite a few of them, and they don’t have a completely uniform look, but this one more or less checks all the basic boxes, and can suitably pass for just about any of the members.  The figure stands about 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 23 points of articulation.  While the majority of the Dark Knight Returns figures were built on a variant of the Masters of the Universe Classics body, the S.O.B. (clever, right?) breaks from the back, making use of the medium-sized DCUC body.  Specifically, he uses the body of the Green Lantern Corps boxed set Guy Gardner figure, along with an all-new head and forearms.  While the DCUC bodies were alright for their time, at the time of this figure’s release, the pieces were eight years old, and very much showing their age.  This is most evident in the articulation, which, in addition to not being very well worked into the sculpt, is also not privy to the best range of motion.  The knees can’t quite make a 90 degree angle, and the elbows barely even make it to 45.  This is kind of ridiculous for a collector-aimed figure from 2016.  Also, some parts of the mold, the hands especially, are showing some serious degradation from over-use.  Those things aside, the body is hardly the worst thing ever, and at least he fits in with the older line, I guess.  As for the decision to re-use the Guy Gardner pieces, they work alright I guess, and he does bear a passing resemblance to the basic S.O.B. look.  There are some inaccuracies (the big belt being the most glaring, but the turtleneck is wrong too), but it’s pretty much a certainty that this figure only got made because of the limited number of new pieces required, so it was slightly off or nothing.  The new pieces are pretty basic stuff, but reasonable enough.  They match up with the pre-existing parts, and the head still retains a little of the Miller flair (albeit a more cleaned up version).  As far as paint, the S.O.B. is pretty basic.  Mostly, he’s molded in the appropriate colors, with some very moderate solid color application here and there.  There’s no real accent work to speak of, and the only paint of note is on the eyes and bat tattoo on the face, which is, admittedly pretty sharp work.  The S.O.B. is packed with a rifle and a torch.  They’re decent enough pieces (aside from the giant “CHINA” stamped into the side of each of them; seriously Mattel, you don’t have to label every single piece; we can figure it out on our own), though he can’t actually hold the rifle the right way, since it was outside of the budget to give him new hands, I guess.


As I’ve noted in several of the prior anniversary figure reviews, I’m at best a moderate fan of DKR.  So, the Son of Batman wasn’t incredibly high on my list.  On top of that, he was the short pack of the exclusive assortment, and an army builder to boot, so I didn’t exactly have much cause to run into him.  When I moved down to SC, the closest Walmart actually had one, which I picked up and looked at several times, over the course of several months.  Eventually, I found him moved over to the clearance section, with a tag that read $5.00.  For a quarter of the price, I figured he was worth it.  And honestly, yeah, he’s worth it.  Full price?  That’s iffy.  The fact is, this guy’s made from parts that are at least five years out of date, and for the same price, you could get a Marvel Legends or Black Series figure from Hasbro, or one of the Aliens or Predator figures from NECA, and those offer a much better value.  Still, he’s worth what I paid for him, and that’s good enough for me.

#0782: Robin




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.


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.


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.