#1808: Spider-Man – Spider Armor

SPIDER-MAN — SPIDER ARMOR

SPIDER-MAN (TOY BIZ)

“When Peter Parker was bitten by a radioactive spider, he gained all of the arachnid’s abilities and became the amazing Spider-Man! But when even these powers aren’t enough, Spidey dons his patented Spider-Armor! This ceramic-metal battlesuit protects the web-slinger from all manner of attacks – giving Spidey the added time he needs to take it to the bad guys!”

Before devolving into some truly ridiculous variants of the title character (“who doesn’t want a deep sea fishing Spider-Man?”), Toy Biz’s 5-inch Spider-Man line actually worked pretty hard at releasing sensible variants of its main character, ones which would appeal to fans and kids alike.  One such release is actually one of my very favorites from the whole line, Spider Armor Spider-Man!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Spider Armor Spider-Man was released in Series 3 of Toy Biz’s Spider-Man line.  He was one of two Spidey variants in the assortment, with the other one being the more straight-forward super posable Spider-Man.  This figure is based on Spidey’s armored appearance from Web of Spider-Man #100.  The same design would also appear on Spider-Man: The Animated Series, as a Tony Stark-inspired alternate universe version of Spider-Man.  The figure stands 5 inches tall and has 8 points of articulation.  Thanks to an action feature, his right arm lacks any sort of elbow articulation, which makes the figures a little bit on the stiff side.  In fact, the way the articulation and the sculpt interact, the whole figure really does look rather stiff.  That’s fair, I suppose, given his armored nature, but still slightly frustrating.  The sculpt on this guy was all-new, and would see re-use for a handful of repaints down the line.  Aside the stiffness thing, it’s actually pretty good.  The bulked up look differentiates him from the average Spidey, and for once the sculpted web-lines actually make sense, and look quite decent.  The paint work on this figure was pretty basic, and rather monochromatic, in keeping with the design from the comics.  It’s black plastic with silver paint.  Voila!  The silver paint on my figure is a bit worse for wear these days, the figure having seen some decent play back when I was a kid.  Spidey was packed with a “Super Web Shield,” which could be either mounted on his left arm, or launched from the launcher built into his right.  The launching feature’s not all that impressive (it’s the same gimmick used on Professor X and US Agent), and I’d really rather he just din’t have it, but oh well.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I vividly remember watching the Spider-Man: Animated Series finale that introduced this guy back in the day.  I had all of the other Spider-Men from the crossover, but this guy seemed the coolest.  Of course, he was gone from regular retail by that point, and the toy aftermarket wasn’t yet what it would become.  I did eventually get the little metal figure to hold me over for a little while, though.  This guy would eventually make his was to my collection via KB Toys’ liquidation center, which my Dad and Grandmother took me to once, back in the 2002, I believe.  After searching to no avail for this guy for a couple of years, I found a literal wall of him at that location, which was definitely a thrilling experience for me.  He’s not a perfect figure, but he’s certainly a very cool one, and I’m still very happy to have him in my collection.

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#1544: Luke Skywalker in Imperial Guard Disguise

LUKE SKYAWALKER IN IMPERIAL GUARD DISGUISE

STAR WARS: SHADOWS OF THE EMPIRE (KENNER)

“The Empire’s victory in the Battle of Hoth has brought hard times for the Rebel Alliance. Han Solo has been frozen in carbonite by Darth Vader, and two huge bounties have been placed on the head of Luke Skywalker. The Emperor wants him alive, but Prince Xizor , underlord of the most powerful criminal organization in the galaxy, wants him dead. Worse still is that the diabolical Xizor is holding Princess Leia Organa prisoner in his castle on the Imperial Center of Coruscant. this is a tactical maneuver, part of a larger master plan to lure Luke Skywalker into his castle where he can be easily eliminated — the key step in Xizor’s plan to replace Darth Vader at the Emperor’s side. unaware of this danger, the young Jedi and Lando Calrissian sneak into Imperial City hoping to rescue Leia. Simplylaying foot on Coruscant is a dangerous act for these two: high on the Empire’s list of most-wanted outlaws, they could easily be recognized and captured — or assassinated. Disguising themselves as beggars, they “borrow” the armored uniforms from a pair of elite Coruscant stormtroopers. These troopers are some of the Empire’s finest, selected as home guards for the wealthiest and most cultured city in the galaxy. Joining forces with Chewbacca and Dash Rendar, Skywalker and Calrissian attempt to infiltrate Xizor’s nearly impenetrable stronghold and rescue the princess.”

1996’s Shadows of the Empire was important, in that it was the first time the public at large had been introduced to the Star Wars Expanded Universe.  It’s also an interesting experiment in marketing, essentially being a movie merchandising campaign that lacked a movie.  There were a handful of figures, mixed in with Kenner’s then running Power of the Force II.  Newcomers Dash Rendar and Prince Xizor got figures, of course, but there were also new variants of out heroes Luke, Leia, and Chewbacca, all of whom had to take on disguises during this new story.  I’ve looked at both Leia and Chewbacca, which just leaves Luke, who I’ll be reviewing today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Luke Skywalker in Imperial Guard Disguise was released in the basic figure assortment of Kenner’s Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire line.  The figure stands about 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 6 points of articulation.  This Luke uses the same head as all of the other early PotF2 Lukes.  It’s not the best likeness, but hey, here’s to consistency, right? The rest of the figure is brand new.  The packaging dubs his look as “Imperial Guard Disguise,” a name that tends to conjure up the red guards from Return of the Jedi, who look quite a bit different than the look Luke is sporting here.  However, the bio fills us in that this armor is actually from one of the elite Stormtroopers on Coruscant, making it a separate look entirely.  As with so much of the design work seen in Shadows, the armor is undeniably a product of mid-90s comic book design, meaning it’s a little divorced from the original trilogy designs.  His armor’s bulky and ultra padded, and seems to lack that used look we’re so accustomed to.  It’s a little hard to reconcile this as a design that would appear in between Empire and Jedi.  That being said, it’s hardly a terrible look.  In fact, it manages to be rather unique and helps this Luke to stand out a bit from the crowd of other Lukes from over the years.  The paint work on this figure is fairly decent, and, like the rest of his design, fairly unique.  The red’s a nice shade, and all of the application is pretty clean.  He’s packed with a removable helmet and half-cape to help complete his full disguise.  Since Luke lost his father’s lightsaber in Empire and didn’t build a new one until the beginning of Jedi, he of course needed a new weapon, so this figure included a taser staff weapon.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This figure was, I believe, my first Shadows of the Empire figure.  My cousin Noah had saved up to buy the PotF2 Millennium Falcon, and was along for the trip to go buy it.  Noah’s mother, who took us on the trip, agreed to get me one figure.  Luke was my favorite character, and this figure appealed to my 5-year-old self, so he was the one I picked.  I’d say having this guy in my collection already was probably what pushed me to pick up the Bounty Hunter Chewbacca instead of the normal one, and owning these two is certainly not a decision I regret in the slightest.

#1505: Kryptonite Batman

KRYPTONITE BATMAN

SUPERMAN/BATMAN (DC DIRECT)

“When the Joker got his hands on Batman, he united him with a being of practically pure Kryptonite named Mr. Kryptonite.  Possessed by this other being and bent on destroying Superman, Kryptonite Batman is a deadly foe of the Man of Steel”

In the early ‘00s, DC decided to give a go at reviving their old Batman and Superman team-ups from World’s Finest, under the more minimalist Superman/Batman title.  It started out moderately well, with an at least enjoyable opening arc, followed by a few actually decent ones, before sort of becoming a place where half-formed Superman and Batman stories went to die.  I think the first telltale sign was the story that spawned today’s figure, titled “With A Vengeance.”  I’d give a synopsis of the story, but, as someone who read every issue, I still don’t know what happened.  Anyway, let’s just look at the figure.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Kryptonite Batman was released in Series 4 of DC Direct’s Superman/Batman, which was a whole assortment based on “With A Vengeance.”  This was the main Batman-variant of the assortment, because you gotta have at least one.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 11 points of articulation.  None of these style of figures were particularly amazing when it came to mobility, but the Batman figures were actually some of the worst, because his armoire permanently stuck out.  Seriously, dude looked like Randy from A Christmas Story.  This figure’s sculpt was actually a complete re-use from the basic Batman released in Series 1 of this same line.  Since he was just a palette swap in the comics, it’s not an unreasonable choice.  Like the two JLA: Classified Supermen I looked at a while back, this guy’s based on Ed McGuinness’s rather distinctive style.  In fact, he actually uses the same basic starting point as those two figures, albeit with a variety of more Batman-specific items.  Despite the difficulties with posability, the actual sculpt isn’t half bad, and does a pretty solid job of capturing McGuinness’s Batman in three dimensions.  Paint is the main thing that differentiates this figure from the Series 1 offering, but even on that front, he’s not that different.  He’s got most of the same basic detailing, but with glow in the dark green plastic instead of the grey for his body suit.  It certainly makes for a unique look.  The figure is packed only with a display stand, sporting the Superman/Batman logo.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I picked up a number of the “With A Vengeance” figures when they were new.  This one wasn’t among them.  Instead, it took me ten years to finally get around to buying him.  Why did I finally get him?  Mostly because Cosmic Comix was selling him for $7, which was a low enough price to get me to bite.  He’s goofy, and not really for everyone, but I enjoy him.

#1384: Hydra Slaying Hercules

HYDRA SLAYING HERCULES

DISNEY’S HERCULES (MATTEL)

“In his most courageous battle of all, HERCULES must save Thebes by destroying the terrifying Hydra.  Each time he slays a head, the mighty HERCULES throws it back at the ferocious beast.”

To quote the muses: “Honey, you mean Hunk-ules!”  Actually, no, to paraphrase the muses, “Honey, you mean Heracles.”  Cuz, you know, if you’re gonna do Greek Mythology, maybe you should use the lead’s Greek name?   

While I do look at a lot of Disney owned properties on this site, courtesy of Marvel and Star Wars, I haven’t looked at a whole ton of their in-house stuff.  My two favorite Disney movies are Hercules and Aladdin.  Aladdin’s never been much of an action figure property, but Disney actually gave quite a go at making Hercules one.  Which makes sense, since what’s more action-y than Greek Mythology?  So, there was a whole line of Hercules figures, and I’m taking a look at one of them today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Hydra Slaying Hercules was released in the basic assortment of the Disney’s Hercules line from Mattel, which hit to coincide with the movie’s release in 1997.  This is one of the line’s many variants of the main character.  As the name suggests, this one’s (loosely) based on his battle with the Hydra at around the film’s mid-point.  Of course, in the movie, he was wearing the same hero garb he’s got on for the rest of the action, but the figure’s opted to change things up a bit and give hims a slightly more unique design.  The figure stands about 5 inches tall and he has 6 points of articulation.  There’s not a ton of motion in the joints, especially the legs, and he’s rather hindered by the lack of any neck movement, but he’s not the worst thing ever, especially for the time.  The sculpt was initially unique to this figure, but did see a fair bit of re-use in multi-packs and such.  It’s not an incredibly faithful take on him.  I mean, you can see elements that identify him as being the Disney Hercules, but he’s definitely been given an element of He-Man styling, which isn’t incredibly surprising, given the company that produced him.  He’s also got the slightly tweaked outfit, which is far more ornate than Herc’s standard look.  The torso is wearing a more defined breastplate, and there’s even sleeves with fringing and stuff.  The wrappings on the arms and legs are also a bit more detailed, and he’s got an extra strap going across his chest.  I’m not entirely sure what the genesis of the design was, but I can’t say I don’t like it.  It’s actually pretty snazzy.  His cape is a separate cloth piece.  It’s got this nice embroidered pattern on the edges, which is cool.  In terms of paint, this guy also tweaks the usual colors a bit, going for a more cool palette of blues and purples, I guess to match up better with the Hydra?  Once again, I can’t say it’s a bad choice at all.  Different from the standard, but definitely quite eye-catching.  Herc is packed with both a club and an axe, one of which can be held in his right hand, as well as the disembodied head of the Hydra.  Which is slightly morbid, but pretty cool.  The head can be balanced on his left hand, and when you push the button on his back, the arm swipes downward, throwing the head.  It doesn’t work perfectly, but it’s moderately amusing.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I didn’t have any of the proper Hercules figures growing up, but I found this guy at Lost In Time Toys when I stopped by for the opening day of their new location.  This was the only version  of Herc they had, but he’s cool enough that I don’t mind just having the variant.  That’s right, I just wrote an overwhelmingly positive review of a Mattel product.  This is weird.

#1383: Cyclops

CYCLOPS

X-MEN PROJECTORS (TOY BIZ)

When it comes to action figures, you know what a lot of adult collectors really despise?  Stupid dumb gimmicks.  You know what I kind of love?  Stupid dumb gimmicks.  Well, to a point, anyway.  As a rule, I like my figures to be fun.  And a well-executed gimmick can be very fun.  Or it can be weird.  Which can also be sort of fun in its own strange way, I guess.  Toy Biz did a lot of the weird gimmicks, including the time that they decided to take all of Marvel’s most popular characters and stick projectors in their torsos.  I’ll be looking at one of those projector-in-torso figures today, specifically Cyclops!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Cyclops was released in the first assortment of Toy Biz’s X-Men Projectors line, hitting in 1994.  The Projector figures were in a totally different scale than the usual line, so this guy stands about 8 inches tall.  He’s also got 5 points of articulation, as well as a hinge on his torso, allowing for placement of the projector discs within the chest.  This figure was patterned on the Cyclops II figure from the main line in terms of style, though it’s important that he’s not an up-scale of that figure; all of the Projector figures were unique sculpts. The quality of the sculpt is actually pretty decent.  There are some slight oddities to it, such as the slightly enlarged torso, but I find the sculpt on this guy to be a far more detailed, and a lot nicer all-around than the smaller-scale figure.  Well, apart from the freaking projector that’s sticking out of the middle of his torso.  That does slightly mar the overall authenticity of him as a straight Cyclops figure a touch.  It’s sort of obvious, but far from the most obtrusive action feature.  Maybe he’s a robo-suit or something.  The paint work on this guy is pretty decent.  Nothing super fancy, but all of the basic color work is nice and clean.  His skin is even a bit more lively and colorful than a lot of the other X-Men figures of the same time, which is quite nice.  In terms of accessories, Cyclops just included the three projector discs, which could be placed in his chest.  There’s a switch on the back which turns on a light in his chest, as well as a knob to allow for the disc to be turned.  My figure has none of the discs, and I haven’t yet tested to see if his electronics still work.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Growing up, I had two of these figures: Magneto and Civilian Wolverine.  I got Magneto because there was no small-scale Magneto readily available when I started collecting, and I think Wolverine was a gift.  I never tracked down any of the others.  I was at 2nd Chance Toyz just last week celebrating my birthday, and I fished this guy out of their dollar bin, and couldn’t bring myself to leave him behind.  He’s goofy, there’s no denying that, but he’s my kind of goofy, and he’s helped to remind me that these were actually pretty nifty figures in their own right.

#1350: Cyclops

CYCLOPS

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“One of the most powerful forces on Earth, Apocalypse has become the greatest villain in the world of the X-Men. Activating the Apocalypse holo-droid, Cyclops helps the X-Men learn how to fight a foe who is as powerful as his is evil. Avoiding blasts from his gattling gun hand, Cyclops, along with Storm and Jubilee, take down the Robot Fighter with a perfectly timed series of attacks!”

Okay, so I’m gonna warn my readers up front: this month is going to be pretty Marvel-heavy.  That’s just what I’ve been picking up a lot of in the last few weeks.  I’ll mix in some other stuff where I can, but there’s a lot of figures to cover.  With that out of the way, I’ll be setting my sights on today’s focus, Cyclops, who hails from Toy Biz’s lengthy X-Men line from the ‘90s.  I know, from the bio, you might have guessed this was an Apocalypse review, but not so.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Cyclops was part of the “Robot Fighters” series of X-Men.  This was the 19th Series Toy Biz put out in the X-Men line and it was after they’d run out of steam with the more “normal” figures and switched to more gimmicky sub-lines that allowed for more variants of the main team.  The figure stands about 4 1/2 inches tall (he’s less hunched than Gambit, but still loses some height to it) and he has 5 points of articulation.  He loses even more articulation than his series-mates, bringing him down to Total Justice levels.  In fact, in more way than one, this guy feels more at home with Kenner’s TJ line than he does with most of the stuff Toy Biz was producing.  Even the design of his costume (which was unique to the figure and had no basis in the comics, apart from being vaguely inspired by his Jim Lee toggs) feels a lot like one of Kenner’s Fractal Armor designs.  As with Gambit, I’m still not certain how the Danger Room-related bios attached to these figures translates to these new, over-designed costumes, but there it is.  While the costume’s not the greatest, the thing that really holds this guy back is the pre-posing.  While Gambit’s deep crouch was workable with the articulation and allowed for a few decent poses, I have no idea what you’re supposed to do with this guy.  What’s he doing?  Is he shouting “come at me, bro?”  That’s all I can figure with the outstretched arms and slightly cocked head.  But it also appears that he’s in mid-squat or something.  Whatever it is, he’s really pissed off by it.  So pissed off that he’s gritted his teeth to the point of his visor engulfing his nose.  Wait, I think I’ve got it!  The Apocalypse hologram must have played a game of “got your nose” while Scott was right in the middle of his daily squat routine, and now Scott’s all pissed because that’s his very favorite nose, and so he’s ready to start something.  It makes perfect sense now.  The paint work on this figure is actually pretty solid, truth be told.  I like the shade of blue they’ve used, and the application’s all pretty clean for the most part.  They’ve even managed to make all of the yellows match pretty well too!  Cyclops was packed with a robotic recreation of Apocalypse, which is super goofy and super gimmicky.  It fires missiles and when you press the “A” the right arm falls off.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As I noted when I reviewed Gambit, I remember this series hitting retail, but for whatever reason I never got any of them.  I’m a dyed in the wool Cyclops fan, so I was gonna get this guy eventually.  He’s another item from Bobakhan Toys; I fished him out of one of their loose figure bins.  He’s really goofy.  There’s no getting around that.  And, unfortunately, I don’t find him to be as much fun to play with as the Gambit.  That being said, he’s a goofy, very ‘90s Cyclops, and that’s kind of right up my alley.  I’ll just stick him with my Total Justice figures, where he’s less likely to be judged.

#1312: Gambit

GAMBIT

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“Training in the Danger Room, Gambit has his hands full with a holographic Sentinel when he is rushed by a fully-armed Robot Fighter! Caught between a Sentinel and a hard place, Gambit pauses when the Robot Fighter suddenly launches its missiles!  Ducking just in time, Gambit turns to see the missiles destroy the Sentinel behind him, giving him a chance to fire his explosively-charged playing cards at the Robot Fighter and bringing him a hard-earned victory.”

The ‘90s X-Men line initially started as a pretty straight cartoon/comics-influenced, but as it progressed, Toy Biz started running out go authentic variants of the main characters, and had to start creating their own.  There were a number of gimmicky-themed series.  Today’s focus hails from one of those series.  So, let’s have a look at the X-Men’s resident lovable rogue (who also loves Rogue…wait, I’ve done that joke before…), Gambit!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Gambit was one of the five figures that made up the “Robot Fighters” series of Toy Biz’s X-Men line.  It was Gambit’s third 5-inch figure, following the Light-Up Series release.  The figure stands about 4 inches tall (thanks to the hunch) and has 8 points of articulation.  At this point in the line, they were cutting back on the articulation on most of the figures (likely in an attempt to capture some of the McFarlane Toys style), so Gambit wasn’t unique in this.  The Robot Fighters designs were (largely) unique to the figures; Gambit takes a lot of influence from his main design, sans the coat, albeit with a few more armored bits and such.  I’m not really sure how the Danger Room set-up given in the bio text translates to this new design, but I find the design to be pretty cool, so I’m hardly complaining.  As far as the sculpt goes, the best part is definitely the head, which I think may be my favorite Gambit sculpt out there (Toy Biz seemed to like it too; it was re-used later down the line on a Strike Team Gambit).  It’s just really sharply detailed, and they expression looks really dynamic, and almost Kirby-esque.  I’m not sure what the headset is for, but it looks kinda neat.  This whole series was really hit pretty hard by pre-posing, and Gambit sticks with that.  He’s in this really deep crouching pose, and the articulation doesn’t let him get out of it.  It’s not the worst pose ever (there were some far worse ones in this very series), and you can actually change it up a bit and get some really cool mid-action poses, which works well for the proposed setting.  The detail work on the body is a little varied, which some areas being a little more detailed than others, but it’s pretty solid overall.  I particularly like the molded playing cards; the removable ones always seem to get lost!  The figure’s paint is pretty straightforward; the palette is definitely Gambit-like, and the application is all nice and clean.  Nothing’s been left unpainted, and there’s even some nice accent work on the hair and a few of the torso’s elements.  Gambit was originally packed with the Robot Fighter mentioned in his bio, officially dubbed the “Attack Robot Drone.”  It shots missiles, because it was the late ‘90s and everything had to shoot missiles.  I don’t have that piece, having acquired my Gambit figure second hand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I remember the Robot Fighters Series hitting retail, and I remember seeing them all over the place, but somehow I never ended up with a single one of them.  Gambit amends that.  I fished him out of the loose figures bin at All Time Toys.  This is the first figure I’ve bought from them since they re-opened after Ellicott City’s Main Street flood, so he’s kind of special to me.  The actual figure is honestly not half bad.  I mean, he’s uber-‘90s, but it’s at an enjoyable level.  I’m happy that I finally tracked this guy down.  I guess I should get the rest of them at some point.

#1295: Egyptian Catwoman & Batman

EGYPTIAN CATWOMAN & BATMAN

LEGENDS OF BATMAN (KENNER)

In an effort to prevent this site from becoming all Marvel Legends all the time, and risking becoming too monotonous, today I’m going to be looking at a DC-related item.  Just to add a bit of variety.  Now, yesterday, I looked at a caped vigilante of the night with a bit of an Egyptian flair.  Today, I’ll be looking at…a caped vigilante of the night with a bit of an Egyptian flair.  The more things, the more they stay the same, right?  Today’s review takes us once more to Kenner’s Legends of Batman line from the ‘90s.  While prior reviews have focused primarily on the line’s pirate-sub-line, this time we’re looking at another of the goofy reimaginings, with Egyptian Batman and his foe Egyptian Catwoman!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Egyptian Catwoman and Batman were released in 1996 as one of a pair of two-packs in the Legends of Batman line (the other two-pack was the previously reviewed Pirate Two-Face & Pirate Batman).  Like most of the goofy variants from this line, these two were original creations of Kenner, and had no ties to the comics beyond being Batman and Catwoman.

CATWOMAN

Ancient Egypt revered the cat—with the exception of Egyptian Catwoman.  The mightiest woman pharaoh ever to rule, Egyptian Catwoman tainted the royal throne through her misuse of her immense power.  Forcing whole nations into slavery to build her lavish palace, pyramids, and towering monoliths, Egyptian Catwoman was despised and feared throughout the land.  Only her sworn enemy, Egyptian Batman, could stand up to her evil-doings and massive cat-claw battle staff to release her unfortunate subjects from her iron rule.”

Unlike Two-Face, it would seem Egyptian Catwoman is a markedly different character from her main universe character.  With that said, despite what her bio may insist, she doesn’t seem to be all that different from the average Pharaoh, apart from her willingness to fight her own battles.  Guess the cat-claw battle staff helps.  Also, can we address how silly it is that the bio has to call her “Egyptian Catwoman” every time she’s mentioned?  It just sounds kind of silly, especially since those living in ancient Egypt would be very unlikely to throw “Egyptian” in front of their name.  It’d be like me referring to myself as “American Ethan H Wilson” all the time.  Wouldn’t “Pharaoh Catwoman” have been a better choice?  Oh well.  The figure stands about 4 1/2 inches tall and has 6 points of articulation (counting the tail, which turns at its base).  Most of the articulation isn’t of much use, since she’s rather preposed; it’s really only there to let you fine tune things so that she doesn’t fall over so much (whether it actually helps with that issue is debatable).  The sculpt is okay, I guess.  It’s not as good as Pirate Two-Face, but also not as bad as Pirate Batman.  It’s somewhere in between.  The pre-posing is at least a pretty decent pose, which is clearly designed to interact with the Egyptian Batman figure.  In terms of design, she seems to take a good deal of influence from her then current Jim Balent-designed outfit, mostly in terms of color and general layout of the various elements.  There are, of course, the Egyptian-styled elements, which are all pretty decently rendered, if perhaps a bit on the soft side.  The Wolverine claws seem a bit overkill, but there are worse things.  The paint work on Catwoman is acceptable, but far from perfect.  There’s a lot of fuzz around the edges, and the gold paint doesn’t seem to have held up particularly well.  Catwoman includes a headdress (meant to evoke her exposed hair in the comics), as well as the previously mentioned cat-claw battle staff.

BATMAN

“Many years ago, the son of a high-ranking Egyptian official disguised himself as Egyptian Batman and made it his life’s mission to out an end to evil-doers.  He didn’t have to look far for his main target: his own father’s sponsor, Egyptian Catwoman.  Battling the evil, feline pharaoh with only his powerful bat-shield staff and keen intellect as weapons, Egyptian Batman strived to make his homeland a prosperous, peaceful place once again.”

Okay, so here’s my question here: why a bat?  Like, it makes sense for Bruce Wayne, but random Egyptian dude?  Cats work into the whole Egyptian mythology thing, but bats?  I don’t know.  Anyway, the figure stands about 5 inches tall and he has 5 points of articulation.  The articulation works a little better here, since the figure’s a little less preposed, which is a definite plus.  I think Egyptian Batman may well sport my favorite sculpt of the five Legends of Batman figures I’ve looked at so far.  Sure, he’s still got slightly exaggerated proportions and kind of insane muscles, but there’s a sort of balance to it.  I definitely get a Neal Adams sort of vibe from this figure.  The general design is also one of the stronger ones.  It maintains the basics of the classic Batman design, but also perseveres the whole Egyptian aesthetic, in a way that I feel works better than his pack-mate.  I particularly dig the morphing of his traditional bat-ears into more of a jackal sort of design.  It preserves the basic silhouette, but offers something new and different for the figure.  The paint work is pretty straightforward.  It’s mostly pretty clean, and the colors suit the character.  There’s still an issue with the gold paint one this figure, but it seems less present on this guy.  Like Catwoman, Batman includes a headdress, as well as his previously mentioned shield staff, which he has a little trouble holding properly.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Like the prior two-pack, I don’t actually remember seeing this set in stores when it was released.  This one I do recall seeing a few times elsewhere over the years, but I just never got around to getting one.  Super Awesome Girlfriend picked this set up for me at the same time as the Pirate set.  I was actually more interested in the pirate set at first (since they go with my other figures), but after opening them both up, this set was actually my favorite of the two, largely due to the pretty awesome Egyptian Batman figure.  If you’re looking for a good jumping on point for this line, you could do a lot worse than this set.

#1285: Water Patrol Woody

WATER PATROL WOODY

TOY STORY 2 (MATTEL)

As a action figure collector that grew up in the ‘90s, it was nigh impossible that I would run this site and not ever touch on Toy Story.  What’s a bit surprising is just how long it took for me to get here.  Moreover, I’m kind of starting at an odd point.  The toys for the first film in the franchise sort of came and went.  It was the ‘90s, so every movie was getting toys.  This one was no exception, obviously.  But, aside from some serious scarcity of a few choice items, it was a fairly standard line.  When it came time for the sequel, things got a little weirder.  Which is admittedly a bit of a surprise, since the first film hit in the mid ‘90s, when action figures were at probably their weirdest, while the second film hit in ’99, when things were cooling down.  The first film’s toys were done by the relatively unknown Thinkway Toys (who actually have the license again), but for the second movie, Disney partnered up with Mattel to secure Barbie for the film.  Part of the deal was that Mattel got to make the action figures.  They released some fairly straightforward versions of most of the main characters, but after the main movie stuff was mostly through, they launched a few sub-lines, showcasing non-film variants of the main characters.  I’ll be looking at one of the variants of Woody today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Water Patrol Woody was released in the “Aqua Action” sub-line of Mattel’s Toy Story 2 tie-in.  The figure stands about 6 1/2 inches tall and has…movement.  I don’t know that I’d classify the movement as “articulation.”  Thanks to the non-removable head dome, there’s no movement at the neck, and his arms and legs are just a rubber mold over a wire.  So, he’s posable in theory, I guess. The figure sports a totally made-up design, just like all the other figures in this particular series.  It’s supposed to be a dive suit, I guess.  I personally always thought it looked more like a space suit, but I guess there’s an old dive suit quality about it.  It’s not a bad design.  It keeps the important elements of Woody’s main design (the hat, belt/holster, and boots), but also crafts a pretty solid protective suit for him.  The head’s a little odd; Mattel’s Woody likeness was never quite as good as others, and the hat had to she shrunk to fit inside the helmet.  I personally would think it would make sense for him to lose the hat all together, but I’ve been told in the past that I’m not good with “brand identity” so what do I know?  At the end of the day, the head’s close enough that you should be able to pick up on who this is supposed to be.  It’s worth noting that despite being clearly engineered for water play, Woody’s helmet was far from air-tight; more than once, this figure ended up with a full helmet of water, followed by a day or two with a fogged up helmet while the condensation cleared.  It was rather frustrating to 8-year old me.  In terms of paint, this guy’s pretty decent from a technical standpoint, but I can’t help but feel that Mattel chose the dullest possible color scheme for him.  Ooooh, varying shades of brown.  Such fun!  Couldn’t we have at least gotten some of Woody’s regular colors worked in here and there?  A little blue and yellow would have gone a long way.  Woody’s one accessory was a “Quick Draw Squirter” which sounds a little bit…off.  I’m also not sure what constitutes it being “Quick Draw.”  He just stands on it.  Wait, it’s always out.  The quickest draw of them all!  That’s it!

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Water Patrol was a gift I got for my eighth birthday.  I’m not 100% sure who gave him to me, but if I had to guess, I’d say it was either my Nana or my cousin Rusty.  It feels like a “mom’s side of the family” gift.  While that was the year of me being largely obsessed with the then recent X-Men Movie figures, I know that Woody was a figure I had specifically requested.  I was on a Buzz Lightyear of Star Command kick at the time, and I wanted this Woody figure because he looked like he was in a space suit, and therefore made sense with all of my Star Command figures.  Even as a kid, I didn’t really buy him as a Water figure.  He’s not the most exciting figure of all time, but he amused me as a kid, and that’s the most important thing, really. 

#1277: Pirate Two-Face & Pirate Batman

PIRATE TWO-FACE & PIRATE BATMAN

LEGENDS OF BATMAN (KENNER)

Remember when I reviewed Buccaneer Batman, the inexplicable pirate-themed Batman variant from super wacky ‘90s Legends of Batman line?  Well, he wasn’t the only inexplicable pirate-themed variant in the line.  Not by a long shot!  Today, I’m looking at the *other* pirate-themed Batman from the line, dubbed “Pirate Batman” (real original on that one, guys), alongside one of his pirate-themed foes, Pirate Two-Face (again, great job on the name, guys…).  Let’s have a look!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Pirate Two-Face and Pirate Batman were released in 1996 as one of the two two-packs from Kenner’s Legends of Batman.  These two wrapped up the Pirate subset that was started in Series 3 of the main line.

TWO-FACE

“After a tragic accident left half his body hideously scarred and half his mind horribly insane, the once promising ship’s captain Pirate Two-Face sailed the seven seas as the most ruthless pirate leader in the annals of history.  Upon boarding captured ships laden with treasures, Pirate Two-Face would decide the fate of the crew and passengers with the flip of a coin.  His unpredictability, unchecked greed, and sword fighting skills could be challenged by just one man, Pirate Batman, who he eluded at every port of call.”

So, in this pirate scenario, Two-Face is more or less unchanged, it seems.  Mostly, they just threw the word “pirate” in there a lot.  Fair enough.  It’s worth noting that this was Two-Face’s only figure in this line; Joker, Catwoman, and Riddler all had standard comic figures, but Harvey was stuck as a pirate all the time.  I mean, at least he got a figure at all, right?  The figure stands about 5 inches tall and he has 7 points of articulation.  Pirate Two-Face was a unique sculpt, and it’s actually a pretty solid one.  His design plays up the “good vs evil” dichotomy, but in true pirate style.  Rather than his usual suit, Pirate Two-Face is half naval officer, half dastardly pirate captain.  His naval officer side is clean and pressed while the pirate side is disheveled and wrinkled like crazy.  His collar on the pirate side is even slightly popped, before settling back down on the “good” side.  The pirate side gets the usual facial scarring (which is surprisingly gruesome for a kid’s toyline), and he also seems to have lost an arm and a leg along the way, replacing them with a peg-leg and some sort of swiss army knife-sword-hook combo replacing them.  As a whole, he really sells the pirate angle pretty well, while still sticking close to the Two-Face side of things as well.  For paint, Pirate Two-Face is generally pretty good for the time; his colors are obviously split down the middle, with blue on the right and red on the left.  The changeover works pretty well, though there’s a bit of slop right on the line, where some of the primer coat under the red shows through.  Most annoyingly, the paint for his belt doesn’t continue all the way around, so it’s just flat blue and red back there.  It looks kind of sloppy.  Pirate Two-Face included no accessories, which is slightly odd, since his hand seems to be begging for something to hold.  He does have a “sword-fighting action”; when you turn the wheel in his back, his sword hand spins.  Woooooooooo!

BATMAN

“Taking it upon himself to make the world’s waterways safe from marauding bands and looters, Pirate Batman relentlessly scoured the seas in pursuit of the most villainous of them all—Pirate Two-Face.  Armed with a razor sharp sword and dagger, Pirate Batman was renowned for his extraordinary dueling ability and courage in the face of danger.  He ceaselessly hunted his evil foe with the split-personality, hoping to rid the seas of his maniacal menace once and for all!”

There was already a Buccaneer Batman in Series 3 of Legends of Batman, but I guess Kenner felt a second one was needed to be made.  The bios for the two indicate they actually might be two different people, which is a somewhat interesting idea.  The figure stands about 4 1/2 inches tall and has 6 points of articulation.  Of course, one of those points is on his right shoulder, which does jack-all in terms of posing, thanks to the outstretched arm.  The figure is actually a complete re-hash of Series 1’s Power Guardian Batman.  Admittedly, the Zorro stylings of that figure lend themselves to a pirate-theme as well, so it’s not a terrible re-use in theory.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t one of the stronger sculpts when it was new, and two years later, it felt even more out of place with the rest of the line, especially the pirate subset it belonged to.  He’s more pre-posed than even the worst of the Total Justice figures, in this really deep lunge.  Remember when I said Buccaneer Batman had the widest stance I’d seen?  Well, this guy’s topped him on that, which has the added bonus of making him virtually impossible to keep standing.  Also, I’m not really sure what’s going on with the left arm; it’s just at an odd angle, and the hand’s doing…something.  Not really sure what.  And it’s at least half an inch too long and isn’t attached to the shoulder in a natural way at all.  In general, the proportions are just super wacky on this guy.  The cape is a removable piece, and while it looks okay, it never really seems to sit right and it falls off a lot.  Pirate Batman’s paint is decent enough.  His scheme is actually somewhat reminiscent of the “Gotham By Gaslight” design, albeit slightly bluer.  I personally find this design to be a bit more exciting than the Power Guardian look, so I guess that’s a plus.  The figure is packed with the sword and dagger mentioned in the bio (they’re the same pieces included with the PG version).  He’s also got his own sword-fighting action, which works fairly similarly to Pirate Two-Face’s.  Honestly, it’s probably the best thing about the figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I don’t actually recall seeing this set when it was new.  It wasn’t until years later that I even knew that it existed.  When I dug out my Buccaneer Batman to write his review, my interest in completing the set was piqued.  A few months back, while picking up Super Awesome Girlfriend’s comics, I noted that the store had this set in stock.  Super Awesome Girlfriend, being who she is, insisted on getting them for me.  Pirate Two-Face is pretty cool.  Goofy, but cool.  Pirate Batman is…well, he’s the other figure in the set.  And that’s about it for him.  He just feels really tacked on, and almost as if he’s from another line entirely.  Still, the set’s more than worth it for Two-Face!