#1508: Deathstroke

DEATHSTROKE

DC ICONS (DC COLLECTIBLES)

Remember last week when I couldn’t find Deathstroke’s accessories, so I had to review Bombshells Wonder Woman instead?  Well, I found them!  So A-HA!  …So, how ‘bout that review, then, huh?

As a whole, I tend to find Deathstroke rather overplayed these days.  He’s just everywhere, and he doesn’t tend to fit that well most places.  It’s gotten to the point that my first response to hearing he’s in any given piece of media is to roll my eyes.  That being said, I used to be a pretty big fan of the character, and I still can enjoy him under the right circumstances.  I still very much enjoy his role on the Teen Titans cartoon, and I like classic Deathstroke from the Wolfman/Perez days, so the DC Icons version is just my speed!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Deathstroke was released in the fifth series of DC Icons, and he’s numbered figure 21 in the line.  He’s officially based on “The Judas Contract,” his introductory arc from the comics.  It’s a classic story, and gives us the best standard Deathstroke design around, so it’s a very good choice.  If you really get into it, it’s kind of a goofy look, I suppose, but it all adds up to a pretty great looking design, at least to me, a classic DC fan.  The figure stands about 6 1/4 inches tall and has 31 points of articulation.  He scales pretty decently with the Rebirth figures, but Deathstroke being a taller guy, he’ll look okay next to the earlier figures.  His sculpt is all unique to him, and, like Firestorm, I find it to be one of the line’s nicest offerings.  The build of the body is nice and balanced, and the detail work on the costume is very sharp, and very evocative of Perez’s artwork.  It’s definitely one of the better translations of his art into figure form, which is a bit funny, since this is actually based on Ivan Reis’s interpretation of Perez’s work.  The work on the scale-mail is definitely some of the best work, but I also enjoy the cleaner parts of the sculpt.  Deathstroke’s paintwork is overall pretty solid, apart from one small issue on my figure.  The metallic blue looks really snazzy, and the other colors accent it pretty well.  The only issue with my figure is the slight bit of slop on the divide of his mask.  It’s minor, but an annoyance nonetheless.  Deathstroke is quite well accessorized, including an extra unmasked head, two sets of hands (in fists and grips), a sword and sheath, revolver, rifle, and a staff.  The head’s the standout, and is another top-notch sculpt.  I also really like the staff, which is three pieces, allowing you to modulate the length of it.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve looked at Deathstroke a few times in the store, but was always a bit resistant to getting him, given the whole overplayed thing.  I finally ended up grabbing him during Cosmic Comix’s 26th Annual Annual Sale.  Deathstroke’s one of the best DC Icons offerings, and I’m certainly glad I picked him up.

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#1309: Beast Boy

BEAST BOY

DC UNIVERSE CLASSICS

“While traveling to Africa with his scientist parents, Garfield Logan fell victim to a deadly virus and was saved via an experimental treatment that tuned his skin and hair green, in addition to granting him the ability to transform into any animal he imagined. After his parents died in a boating accident, Gar was taken in by the Doom Patrol, a team of misfit heroes that helped him to master his powers.”

It’s kind of odd that his bio mentions the Doom Patrol, but not the Teen Titans.  I’m not complaining, just noting that that’s the way they went.  In regards to DC Universe Classics, I’ve looked at Negative Man, Elasti-Girl, and Robotman.  The only Doom Patrol member they released that I haven’t yet looked at is the aforementioned Beast Boy, adopted son of Elasti-Girl (but we don’t seem to talk about that anymore), and, more prominently, member of the New Teen Titans.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Beast Boy hit in the Walmart-exclusive Series 10 of DC Universe Classics, alongside fellow Doom Patroller Robotman.  The figure stands about 5 1/2 inches tall and has 25 points of articulation.  The sizing on this guy is confusing to say the least.  He’s effectively wearing his costume from the Teen Titans cartoon, which was worked into the comics when Gar rejoined the Doom Patrol after “One Year Later.”  When Gar was wearing this costume in the comics, he was a full-grown adult, but this figure builds him on the small teen male body (introduced on the Series 3 Robin figure), as if he were just the version of BB from the cartoon.  This wouldn’t be a huge issue if the BB-specific parts weren’t clearly meant to be emulating the older Gar from the “One Year Later” storyline, and built with the proportions of an adult.  So, the end result is a Beast Boy that just sort of seems out of scale with just about everything.  I’m fine with Gar being a little smaller than the rest of the Patrol, but a full inch difference seems a little excessive, and he’s actually just flat-out in the wrong scale.  What’s really frustrating is that the actual sculpt really isn’t that bad.  He’s a pretty solid recreation of Gar from this period in the comics, and has a lot of nice little small details, such as the arm hair on his forearms, and even the really sharp work on his shoes.  The hair is a separate piece, which makes its contrast really sharp, and the ears even have the point they gained in later designs.  It’s clear a lot of effort went into this sculpt; he’s simply too small.  The figure’s paint is pretty solid, at least; the colors are a good match for both the comic and the cartoon, and everything is applied pretty cleanly.  There’s not a lot to mess up here, and Mattel succeeded in not messing it up.  Good for them.  Beast Boy included a green falcon (re-used from the MotUC line), meant to emulate his shape-shifting abilities, as well as the right arm of the series’ Collect-N-Connect, Imperiex.  Woo.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Beast Boy is one of the earlier figures I got from this series.  Just after it started hitting Walmart, my dad and I had a few trips just checking our local stores, and he was one of the ones we found.  I’ve always liked Beast Boy, and at the time I was super pumped about getting the Doom Patrol as action figures.  I can acknowledge some of this figure’s merit, and I certainly don’t hate him, but he disappoints me greatly.  He’s kind of a perfect example of DCUC in a nutshell; great in theory, and in 95% of the execution, but there was just enough leeway for Mattel to find a way to screw him up.  They were so close, and yet still so far.

#0840: Bumble Bee & Hot Spot

BUMBLE BEE & HOT SPOT

TEEN TITANS (BANDAI)

Bee&HotSpot1

You know, I hate on Mattel a lot, especially in regards to their DC Comics-related output. Believe it or not, there was a time I didn’t consider them the worst company in possession of the DC license, thanks to good ol’ Bandai America. For reasons no one was ever really able to explain, Bandai picked up the license for the Teen Titans cartoon of the early 2000s, and they put out a selection of figures that were….less than stellar. That said, some of their figures remain the only figures to date of certain characters, including both of the characters I’ll be looking at today, Bumble Bee and Hot Spot!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Bumble Bee and Hot Spot were released as a two-pack in the fourth series of Bandai’s Teen Titans line. As far as I know, the pair never interacted on the actual show, so it’s an odd pairing, but Bandai seemed to pick the pairings at random for just about every set in the line.

BUMBLE BEE

Bee&HotSpot2Bumble Bee is probably the more prominent of these two, being the de-facto leader of the Titans’ East Coast branch, and getting a prominent role in several episodes over the show’s run. The figure is a little over 3 ½ inches tall and she has 5 points of articulation, due to Bandai deciding to cut articulation on later series of the line. Because the figures didn’t have enough stacked against them! Bumble Bee had a unique sculpt, which actually isn’t too bad. The proportions are a tad off in some spots (especially the arms), but the figure does a decent job of capturing her design in the show. She’s certainly a lot better than other figures from the line. Bumble Bee’s paint work is actually not terrible. She’s got all the proper colors, and none of her sculpted work has been left unpainted. Her paint has also stood the test of time pretty well, which is a nice change of pace for this line. BB’s prototype showed her holding one of her stinger weapons, but the final figure is sadly lacking them. She does, however, get a set of removable wings. It would have been cool if they’d been articulated, but I guess it’s just good they were actually there.

HOT SPOT

Bee&HotSpot3Hot Spot was never much more than a minor character on the show. Of his four appearances on the show, only one of them actually had him do anything of substance. Still, the dude had a pretty cool look, so you couldn’t leave him out of the toyline! He’s right at 3 ½ inches tall, which makes him a little shorter than BB. Since they never interacted on the show, I can’t really say if it’s accurate of not. He seems to be in a slightly different scale going by the size of his head, but it’s hard to say. Like BB, his sculpt is unique, and it’s a pretty good approximation of his look on the show. The bent elbows are kind of an odd touch, since most of the other figures avoided such posing. The slight pre-posing of the legs can also make him a bit difficult to stand. Hot Spot’s paint is a bit of a letdown. The biggest thing is that he’s flat out missing painted details to match up to the sculpted ones on his legs, which is annoying. Also, it’s more of a personal preference thing, but the decision to go with solid yellows and reds on the head and hands robs the figure of a lot of the character’s visual interest. Hot Spot was packed with…ummm… I’m actually not sure what it’s supposed to be. Maybe it’s a flame blast or something? I don’t know, I lost mine. But hey, at least he’s got a permanent gripping pose on his right hand! That’s totally accurate to the character…

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I picked this pair up from Target back when they were still new. I was still pretty excited for the line at the time, what with the show still being on the air. These were two of my favorite characters on the show, so I was happy to get them. I have to admit, they aren’t as bad as I had feared, at least based on the others I’ve reviewed from this line. They aren’t the greatest figures of all time, but they’re still pretty fun, and they’ve managed to age pretty alright!

#0521: Mas y Menos

MAS Y MENOS

TEEN TITANS GO! (BANDAI)

MasYMenos1

There’s sort of a tradition amongst the successful animated adaptations of comic properties of having a unique character, not from the comics. X-Men: The Animated Series had Morph, Superman: The Animated Series had Livewire, and Batman: The Animated Series actually had two pretty big ones with Renee Montoya and Harley Quinn. Teen Titans continued the tradition, not only with a number of villains unique to the show, but also with Titans East members Mas y Menos, a pair of Spanish-speaking twins who possessed super speed so long as they were touching. Now, there were a few things of note about the two of them. First of all, they never got any focus episode or anything, in contrast to the other members of Titans East. They just showed up with the fully formed team, with no real explanation. Second, they actually preceded the appearance of usual Titans speedster Kid Flash by over a season, which was certainly interesting. Anyway, they ended up with figures in Bandai’s Teen Titans Go! line, which I’ll be looking at today.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

MasYMenos2Mas and Menos were part of the 4th series of Bandai’s Teen Titans Go! line. They actually weren’t packed together; Mas came with Aqualad and Menos was packed with Wildebeast (reviewed here). Now, usually I try to review figures as they were released, but a) my Teen Titans Go! collection is scattered all over the place, and b) Mas y Menos are almost exactly the same figure, making two separate reviews seem a bit silly. Alright, so the figures are about 3 inches tall and they each have 5 points of articulation. So, remember how I give Bandai a hard time about the atrocious scale of this line pretty much every time I review it? Yeah, Mas y Menos are some of the worst offenders. In the show, they were supposed to be rather small. At 3 inches, they’re at most a half an inch shorter than the rest of the line, which isn’t really that much of a difference. And, they more or less keep the proportions from the show, making the figures look like they come from a different line entirely. When placed next to figures like Cyborg (or packed with Wildebeast) who are already too small, the result is really laughable. Okay, so the hilariously bad scale’s been addressed, but how is the sculpt looking past that? Well, from the front, it’s not bad. The internal proportions are pretty decent, and they do actually look a fair bit like the characters on the show. There are a few etched details, all of which are straight and clean. “Wait, Ethan,” you say, “Why do you specify ‘from the front’?” Well, hypothetical reader, that’s because viewing these figures from the side reveals that they’re like half the thickness they should be. It looks as if the poor twins got run over with a steamroller or something. Those poor kids! We’ve covered the scale, we’ve covered the sculpt, surely the paint can’t be that bad! Well, to be fair it isn’t. Or it wasn’t. It was well applied, it was fairly clean, and the colors were pretty well chosen. Why the past tense? Because, as I’m steadily learning, Bandai paint is the closest we’ll ever come to a physical manifestation of the past tense. Mas y Menos once had good paint, but it’s just sort of flaked off over time, not through rigorous play or poor storage, but just through exposure to that pesky air we seem to have so much of these days.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Like so many of the Teen Titans Go! line, I was actually quite excited to get these figures. Titans East in particular were my favorite set of characters from the show, and these two were a key piece of that. Why wouldn’t I be excited for these figures? I think these two may have been what shattered the illusion of the line for me. After picking them and the rest of Series 4 up, I just kind of had this disinterest in getting the rest of the line. I wish I could say these figures hold some sort of redeeming quality, but literally the only thing in their favor is that they’re the only figures of these two ever made. And that’s disappointing. Thanks Bandai….

MasYMenos3

#0494: Robin

ROBIN

TEEN TITANS GO!

I’ve touched on Bandai’s Teen Titans Go! line twice before on this site. The first time, I was at least of mixed feelings about the line. The last time I looked at something from the line, my feelings were… less mixed. And generally far less positive. So, reviews of this line are certainly a less than stellar prospect for me. But, hey, I have to review everything, right? So, let’s look at this Robin figure.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Robin was released in the second series of Bandai’s 3 ½ inch Teen Titans Go! line (which, it should be stressed, was not 3 ½ scale, but 3 ½ SIZE. Everyone was the same height). He was released in two different ways: in a two-pack with Slade (a.k.a. Deathstroke) or in a large playset thingy. Mine came from the two-pack, but my Slade literally crumbled into pieces. So, just Robin today. Robin is 3 ½ inches tall and he has 9 points of articulation. The only new piece on this figure is the head, which was an attempt to make the figure more accurate to the show. The head is, admittedly, a little better than the preceding one, though the choice of expression is a bit questionable. For some reason, he’s got a huge, toothy grin, which is an odd choice for the usually broody Robin. From the neck down, the figure is identical to the Series 1 Robin. It’s a passable sculpt, but it’s far from perfect. The figure’s paintwork is okay, if not great. The original application was pretty clean and such, but the figure still has the same issues as the rest of the line where the paint came off really easily. Robin included no accessories. Not even the dumb blaster thingy from the first series!

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I found Robin along with the rest of the second series of figures at a Target, not long after their release. My mom and brother were at a concert, so my dad and I were exploring the area nearby. I remember being rather excited for the figures, although I think that was more for the new characters and less for the boy wonder here.

#0230: Wildebeast

WILDEBEAST

TEEN TITANS GO! (BANDAI)

Wildebeast

Some toylines are good, some are mediocre, and some just suck. In general, toys made by Bandai America fall into the last category. How they manage to pick up hot licenses is beyond me, given their dreck-like output. Maybe they know a guy. That must be nice. Today, we venture again into their Teen Titans Go! toyline, based on the Teen Titans TV show of the early 2000s. This time around it’s Wildebeast. Yay.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Wildebeast was released as part of series 4 of the Teen Titans Go! line. He stands 3.5 inches tall, just like the rest of the figures in the line because Bandai has no idea how scale works. The figure also only features 5-ish points of articulation, a downgrade from the 9 received by figures in previous series. I say “5-ish” because one of those points is a neck joint that has been rendered functionally useless by the figure’s sculpted mane. The figure’s sculpt isn’t too bad. Nothing to write home about, but fairly accurate to the character’s look on the show. The paintwork is pretty bad. Not only is it incredibly basic, but there is noticeable slop and bleed-over and the colors aren’t really right either. Wildebeast included a single accessory: a rock club that the character never, ever used. Way to go guys.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Bandai’s toys suck. Teen Titans Go! was no exception. I mentioned in my review of Robin and Beast Boy that I had a bit of nostalgia for them, having gone on a trip with my Mom to get them. Wildebeast doesn’t get that. I think I probably picked him up from Target, most likely because he was packed with someone else I wanted. I guess it’s not the worst figure ever, but it doesn’t have a whole lot going for it.

#0157: Nightwing & Starfire

NIGHTWING & STARFIRE

DC MINIMATES

Starfire&Nightwin g

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

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

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

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

NIGHTWING

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

STARFIRE

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

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

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

#0041: Robin & Beast Boy

ROBIN & BEAST BOY

TEEN TITANS GO! (BANDAI)

Keeping with the theme of cartoon adaptation toy lines from two days ago, I’ll be looking at two of the figures from Bandai’s Teen Titans Go! toy line, released to coincide with the Cartoon Network Teen Titans show.   The figures were released packaged with large, nonsensical vehicles, or packaged in two-packs.  I opted for the second option.  Today, I’ll be looking at the basic versions of Robin and Beast Boy.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

This two-pack was released as part of the first series of figures in Bandai’s 3 ½ inch line.

ROBIN

First up is the team leader, sidekick to Batman, Robin.  Robin is based on his look from the show.  He stands 3 ½ inches tall and features 9 points of articulation.  I feel it’s necessary to point out that this line was NOT 3 ½ inch scale, but rather every character was exactly 3 ½ inches tall.  It’s fine for the two I’m looking at today, but it will quickly become an issue.   Robin is a decent sculpt, but not the greatest.  The arms have been sculpted to hold the handles of the vehicle it was possible to purchase him with, making them awkward if you bought his separately like I did.  The legs also have a wide stance, and seem to be a tad long and definitely too bulky.  To top it all off, the head is passable at best, but certainly looks off in comparison to the show’s design.  The paint is okay, but there is a fair amount of overspray and fuzzy lines.  As you’ll notice, the paint was also not the most durable variety, with lots of the details scratched off with very little play.

BEAST BOY

Next is the team’s resident funny-man, Beast Boy.  Like Robin, he’s based on his look from the show.  He too stands 3 ½ inches tall and had 9 points of articulation.  He’s got an okay sculpt, but he’s definitely too tall, and his head is too small for his look from the show.  He has the same issue with the oddly positioned arms, and legs that aren’t the right proportion.  The paint on Beast Boy is a bit rougher than Robin, with even more noticeable slop, and a whole lot more wear, with very light play.  Also, the two different purple paints don’t really match very well.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

These guys were found on an excursion to Toys R Us with my Mom (who is super awesome, and super supportive of my insane hobby).  I recall being really excited to get them at the time, as there was a bit of a delay from the show’s premiere to the release of the toys.  I remember liking them at the time, but as time has gone by, I’ve started to see the flaws more and more.  The line did improve a bit, but man was this first wave a rough one!