#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?

#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.

#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.

#0774: Robin

ROBIN

BATMAN: ANIMATED (DCC)

TimDrake1

When Batman: The Animated Series returned as The New Batman Adventures, virtually every character was given a snazzy new design. Some were very minor updates (such as Harley Quinn), but some were pretty drastic. Robin’s new design was definitely a pretty big change from his old design, but he had a good reason: he was actually a whole new character. Yes, he was now Tim Drake, the current Robin of the comics at the time. So, how about taking a look at one his many action figures?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

TimDrake2Robin is figure #10 in DC Collectibles’ Batman: Animated line, and is technically part of the third series of the line. He’s based on Robin’s appearance in TNBA, specifically the episode “Old Wounds,” which is a little amusing, since that’s actually a Dick Grayson focused episode. I mean, Tim’s got a decent role in that one, but you’d think they’d go for something like “Sins of the Father” especially since that’s the episode Two-Face was based on. But, he doesn’t have much in the way of episode specific stuff, so it doesn’t really matter anyway. The figure is roughly 4 inches tall and he has 26 points of articulation. His sculpt is all new, and it’s a pretty great translation of his 2D show design. The sculpt is nice and cleanly handled, and the details are all pretty sharp. He does seem just a tad bit on the large side, at least compared to the Dick Grayson Robin from Series 2. He looks perfectly fine when placed next to the Series 1 Batman, which is the important thing. Also, there’s an odd, sculpt/paint combo issue. For some reason, the red from his torso continues onto his arms. It’s not noticeable TimDrake4in a straight standing pose, but when his shoulders are moved, it starts to look a bit odd. It feels like just leaving the shoulders straight black would have worked out a lot better. The rest of the paint is pretty decent. The colors are nice and bright, and the details are all nice and clean. Robin has a nice selection of accessories, including a pair of bat-cuffs, a batarang, a grappling hook, three pairs of hands (in batarang grip, loose grip, and…looser grip?), a hand with the grapple sculpted into it, and a display stand with his design sheet printed on it. Like the B:TAS Batman, he skips the extra cape, though it’s less of an issue with this guy.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Like pretty much the entirety of this line, Robin was purchased from my local comic store, Cosmic Comix. Truth be told, I’ve always been more of a Grayson fan, but I did like a lot of what they did with Drake in the show. Plus, I’ve got both Batmen, I sort of need to have both Robins. This guy’s definitely well done, and a solid entry to the line. Definitely a step up after being somewhat let down by the second Batman!

TimDrake3

#0381: Robin

ROBIN

DC COMICS MULTIVERSE

Just when I thought I was out, they pulled me back in! Frequent readers of the blog will probably be aware of my less than stellar opinion of Mattel. For those of you who have only recently joined us, let me ‘splain….no it is too much, let me sum up: Mattel has a tendency to make bad decisions and when said bad decisions fail like they should, they like to place the fault on their fans. It’s not a particularly endearing quality. I am also not a huge fan of the current output of DC Comics. So, it would seem that Mattel holding the DC License would be a perfect partnership for me to ignore. However, I am stubborn, and in spite of my issues with Mattel and DC, I still like the DC characters and Mattel occasionally stumbles their way into a decent action figure. Such is the case with today’s figure, Mattel’s latest version of Batman’s faithful sidekick Robin.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Robin was released in the fourth assortment of Mattel’s DC Comics Multiverse line, which is their current “collector oriented” line of 3 ¾ scale figures. Robin is based on the character’s appearance in the upcoming Batman: Arkham Knight game, which seems to take fair bit of influence from the Damian Wayne Robin design. The figure clocks in at just about 3 ¾ inches tall and he features 18 points of articulation. Robin’s articulation scheme is the same as that seen on the Christopher Reeve Superman. It’s not bad, and it’s certainly better than what we saw on Zod, but he really would benefit from some ankle articulation, some sort of swivel in his upper arms, and maybe a mid-torso joint. As it is, the figure’s posing options are rather limited, which leaves him rather stiff looking. He’s good for a standing pose, but not much else. Robin appears to have a completely unique sculpt. Overall, it’s an okay sculpt, but it has some rather glaring faults. His head is a bit too small and his torso is too large, resulting in some serious pin-headedness. His torso is also rather flat, and his waist seems to sit too low, making the torso too long. All that being said, the sculpt does have some nice detail work, especially in the armor’s various engravings. The cape is not sculpted, but rather made of cloth. The material used for capes in this line seems to be inconsistent. They go back and forth between cloth and plastic with very little rhyme or reason. I personally prefer the sculpted capes, so the cloth isn’t a huge plus for me. This one’s not too bad, so there’s that. Robin’s paint is decently handled. It’s relatively straight-forward; there aren’t any washes or different finishes or anything. For the most part, it’s rather cleanly applied, but there are one or two areas, like the shoulders, where there is a bit of slop. Robin includes no accessories. His right hand looks as if it should hold a staff or something, so it would have been nice to get something, anything. As is, the figure feels light for the price.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I swore I was done with the DC Comics Multiverse line once I got Superman and Zod. So, why then did I end up with this guy? Call it nostalgia. I was visiting some family in mountains in North Carolina. We were picking up a few things at the nearby Walmart, and as I am prone to do, I wandered over to the toy section. I saw this figure and remembered something: on my very first trip to NC, back in 1998, my Dad bought me a Nightwing figure from the Animated Series line of the time. With this in mind, I was drawn to this Robin figure (for those of you confused as to what the two have to do with each other: Nightwing is an older Robin). So, here I sit in my family’s NC house with no internet connection or cellphone service writing this review and feeling nostalgic. This is certainly not a perfect offering, but I feel like it’s better than most of what Mattel and DC are putting out these days.

#0166: Robin

ROBIN

BATMAN (MATTEL)

 

This was my April Fool’s Day post for 2014.  The following is a proper review of the figure written March 24, 2017.  If you’d like to read the original post, go here.

The original version of 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 ITSELF

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.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

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.