#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.

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#2061: Captain America

CAPTAIN AMERICA

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

Steve Rogers prepares for the ultimate battle to save the universe and channels all of his strength as Captain America.”

When is an amazing figure not an amazing release?  When the circumstances surrounding that release mean that not everyone who wants it is going to be able to get it.  Exclusives became the nature of the collecting beast years ago, as big box stores began to throw their buying power into guaranteeing they’d have something you couldn’t get anywhere else.  Walmart in particular has a reputation of refusing to carry certain toylines at all until they are granted an exclusive.  They didn’t carry initial assortments of Toy Biz’s Marvel Legends for this very reason, and it was because of this that Best of Marvel Legends came to exist.  Later in the line, they would get an entire series (the Giant-Man Series) to themselves, and boy was that just a pleasant experience for everyone involved.  And if you believed me there, I have a one-handed Giant-Man I’d like to sell you.  I assure you, he’s much better than one with both hands.  In recent years, Walmart exclusives have become less of an issue, but less because they actually got better at making them available and more because toymakers have started giving them less-essential stuff when possible.  I’ve not had too much trouble with the last few Legends releases, but then again, I’ve not felt like they were essential either (I also didn’t have the nightmarish experience getting Corvous Glaive that some collectors did).  Then today’s figure was announced, and I was again less than enthused by this whole exclusives game.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Captain America is the third Walmart-exclusive Legends release this year, but he’s actually the second to hit stores because, as of this writing, their Captain Marvel exclusive still hasn’t been seen anywhere domestically.  Cap actually has had a pretty fast turnaround, as we only found out about his existence two weeks ago, and he seems to be be arriving in full force, at least in physical stores.  He’s based on his newly-designed costume from the final battle of Endgame, and is what I’d classify as the “definitive” Cap look for this movie.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 34 points of articulation.  Since Winter Soldier, all of the standard MCU Caps have been built on the same body.  While I loved it when it was new, that body has grown more and more out of place as the line has moved forward.  We got a taste of something new with the Infinity War Cap last year, which was part of why I was so disappointed when the Marvel Studios release went right back to the WS body, rather than retooling the new one.  I was crossing my fingers that Hasbro wouldn’t make the same mistake when it came time for this costume.  I’m happy to report they didn’t, and, in fact, they’ve given him an almost entirely new sculpt.  From the thigh down, he shares his legs with the IW release, and he has the helmeted head from the Studios offering (which is one of my few nits with this figure, because it means he’s got the smaller ball-joint of the WS body, meaning we once again have a Cap whose heads aren’t compatible with the Quantum Suit body).  Beyond that, everything else is new to this figure.  There’s a second head included, with another go at an unmasked Steve Rogers.  I liked the Studios unmasked head a lot, but I think this one beats it.  They really got Evans’ look from the movie down.  The build of the body takes note from the IW release, and bulks Cap up a fair bit, so he no longer looks quite as shrimpy when compared to the other MCU releases.  The detailing on the uniform is some of the best we’ve seen on a  Hasbro Cap, with the “scales” on his torso and shoulders being a real highlight of the figure.  I also quite like how they’ve made the shoulder pads floating pieces, so that they can slip over the torso when you’re posing him.  It helps to preserve the look and avoid restricting his motion on his shoulders.  The paintwork on this Cap is pretty good, thought I will say parts of it are a step down from other recent releases.  Both heads make use of the face printing, which looks very nice as always.  The paint on the helmet is also improved from the Studios release, which I was quit happy about.  The rest of the body is far more basic in its application, and also quite sloppy in several spots, especially on the abdomen.  It’s not as bad as some of the stuff we used to get from Hasbro, but it could definitely be much better.  In addition to his unmasked head, Cap also gets two more extras.  The first is his shield, which uses the sculpt from the Studios release, but this time has a fancy battle-damaged paint scheme.  Unfortunately, his left hand is still in a fist, so he can’t quite hold it right.  Fortunately, the hands can be swapped between this and the IW release, should you want a gripping hand.  His final accessory is rather cleverly hidden behind his shield in the package.  It’s Mjolnir, which he wields in epic fashion during Endgame‘s final battle.  It’s just a re-use of the previous MCU mold, but it’s still a fun inclusion, and it was nice of them to hide it in the package.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As I noted in my review of the basic release of this costume, I walked out of the theatre ready to buy a figure of this design.  It was my assumption that he’d be showing up in one of the regular assortments later down the line, but I did have a little concern in the back of my mind that he might wind up as an exclusive of some sort.  I was non-plussed to find out it was Walmart.  Fortunately, I found him with only a few stops, but it did require me buying a figure with a sincerely jacked up package.  This figure is a really, really good figure, and the MCU Cap I’ve been wanting ever since Hasbro stepped up their MCU game.  He’s the definitive MCU Cap, and making him an exclusive to a chain who is notoriously bad about actually getting their exclusives out there seems like a serious misstep on Hasbro’s part.  My only hope is that they have some sort of an ace up their sleeve on this one.  He’s got a lot of new parts for a one-off release, and I can’t stress enough that he really feels like too big a figure just to be a Walmart exclusive.  Time will tell.  Until then, hopefully this figure won’t be too hard to find.

#2013: Corvus Glaive & Loki

CORVUS GLAIVE & LOKI

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Known for his shifting allegiances, Loki faces evil head on when he is confronted by the Black Order — a sinister group of Thanos’ cohorts that includes the menacing Corvus Glaive.”

Hey, I hear there’s like, this movie coming out this week, that’s supposed to be a big deal or something.  You’ve probably never heard of it.  Yeah…

So, Avengers: Endgame will hit theaters this Thursday night, and is already starting to break all sorts of records.  Odds are good that it’s going to be the biggest movie of the year.  As the 22nd entry of the MCU canon, it’s got a lot riding behind it.  Product for Endgame officially started hitting shelves on the 31st of March, and is making its way around right now.  And I’m going to hype myself up for the movie by reviewing some of that product this week.  First up, something that’s not *technically* Endgame-related, Corvus Glaive and Loki!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Corvus Glaive and Loki are a Walmart-exclusive two-pack in the Marvel Legends line.  Though officially based on the characters as seen in Infinity War, the set is part of the official Endgame product, and has been showing up alongside it.  Corvus was shown last year (alongside Ebony Maw, who I’ll be looking at later in the week), but it was not until just a few months ago that we knew he’d be arriving alongside another Loki.

CORVUS GLAIVE

As I noted when I reviewed his minimate release, Corvus Glaive is the Black Order’s least developed member in Infinity War.  And, if you don’t believe me, just read that bio up top from the back of the box.  That’s a Loki bio with “oh, and Corvus, too” tacked on the end of it, despite the fact that Corvus is undoubtedly going to be the main selling point for most buyers.  That said, I think he’s got the coolest name of the bunch, and I liked what I saw of him, so I’m certainly happy to have him cropping up here.  The figure stands 7 1/4 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  He ends up being a far more mobile figure than Proxima, which is a definite improvement (Cull gets a pass due to his extra bulk).  There’s some slight restricting on the left arm due to the design of the cape, but that’s a fairly reasonable sacrifice.  Otherwise, there’s a lot of potential with these joints, and he’s a very playable figure.  Corvus is sporting an all-new sculpt, and, of the three members of the Black Order I’ve looked at so far, it’s definitely the most screen accurate, thanks to having an extra year to get everything right.  His sculpt is, in addition to being film accurate, is nice and sharply detailed.  The details of costume in particular are really crisp and really pop out at you.  It’s all topped off with an impressively subtle paint scheme.  The gold detailing on his add-ons, as well as the entirety of his facial detailing, are handled via the printing technique, which gives them a nice amount of depth and realism.  Corvus’ only accessory is an acceptable choice: it’s his glaive, and it’s actually quite a nice piece, and is held well in his hands.  Plus, he can actually properly hold it, unlike the Minimate.

LOKI

Though only a small part in the overall film, Loki’s role in Infinity War is still a very prominent one.  Despite that, the sheer volume of characters in the film, coupled with his coverage in Ragnarok, meant that Loki was absent from IW‘s product line.  It’s not a huge shock to see him crop up in this set, though, especially given he was packed with the completely uniquely tooled figure.  This figure, comparatively, is a straight re-use of the Ragnarok version from 2017.  There are positives and negatives to that, because that sculpt was a bit of a mixed bag in regards to quality.  On the plus side, though, it means the two figures are consistent, so hey that’s cool.  The paintwork has been changed up to match Loki’s more stark green and black garb from the end of Ragnarok and the beginning of Infinity War, meaning we finally have the costume that actually goes with the headgear that came with the prior figure.  Also, I do think these colors work a little better for the sculpt.  Loki is packed with the most natural inclusion for an IW Loki, the Teseract, re-used from the Mandroid Series Red Skull.  It fits surprisingly well in his hand, and I’m glad it got another release.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Hey, wanna guess where I got this Walmart exclusive?  That’s right, a Walmart!  Yeah, when the Walmart around the corner from work put out their Endgame display, this showed up in surprisingly high numbers, so I had no trouble at all getting one.  I’m on record that Corvus Glaive is my favorite of the Black Order members, and I was waiting for him to get his figure due.  I’m quite happy with this figure, and I think he’s probably the best of the three we’ve gotten so far.  The Loki he’s packed with is definitely a space-filler, but he’s a reasonably well chosen one, and honestly I think he improves on the prior release enough that I don’t mind that I had to get a second one to get Corvus.

#1898: Hulk

HULK

THE AVENGERS (HASBRO)

“The world seen through the eyes of the Hulk is distorted with rage, a haze of violence like a bad dream. Trapped within the mighty frame of the Hulk, Bruce Banner is barely able to maintain control. And yet, the Hulk is a hero. His immense strength is always turned to the protection of the weak, and the defense of justice. For while the Hulk may be rage incarnate, it is rage that is always properly directed against those hoping to cause harm.”

He’s a Hulk.  Smash.  Uhhhh…..that’s all I got.  So, here’s this Hulk figure?  Yeah, here’s this Hulk figure.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Hulk is the third Walmart-exclusive 6-inch-scale Avengers figure I’ve looked at on the site.  He is, of course, based on Hulk’s somewhat updated, Ruffl-ized design of the Hulk from The Avengers.  It’s not like it’s far removed from the standard classic Hulk design, but he was decidedly more human looking for this appearance, and it shows through on this figure.  The figure stands 7 1/4 inches tall and he has 30 points of articulation.  Hulk’s sculpt was brand new to him at the time.  It has subsequently seen re-use for both the Ultimate Green Goblin Build-A-Figure (which I have not reviewed), and the Age of Ultron Hulk (which I have reviewed). Unlike Cap and Thor, this figure is widely divergent from Hulk’s smaller-scale counterpart, which, honestly, is for the best, because the basic Avengers Hulk kind of sucked.  This figure’s sculpt, on the other hand, really doesn’t suck.  The proportions are more exaggerated than the movie’s were, but it makes for a good visual for the figure.  In addition, his skin has this really nice texture work to it that I like a lot more than the much more basic, much less interesting replacement pieces we saw for Age of Ultron.  I also really like the two different hand poses this guy is sporting; I’m always down for more than just the two-fisted combo.  Hulk’s paintwork is fairly subdued, especially when compared to the other two figures I’ve looked at, but it’s accurate enough, and it looks pretty hecking decent.  Hulk included no character specific accessories, but he did have the re-purposed Heroscape-styled display stand that was packed with all of these guys.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Remember how I got Thor and Cap?  Yeah, same deal for Hulk.  I think of all three, he has always been the one I’ve been most interested in finding, just due to how underwhelmed I was by his Age of Ultron variant.  This one’s a lot better than that one, and, like the other two, ends up being a surprisingly good figure for his time.

Hulk came from my friends over at All Time Toys.  He’s one of many 6-inch Marvel figures in their back catalog of figures, which can be viewed at both their website and their eBay store.

#1897: Thor

THOR

THE AVENGERS (HASBRO)

“It is occasionally intolerable to be forced to live and work alongside humans with their short lifespan and petty troubles — but Thor has grown to have a deep affection for the people of Earth.  In the Avengers, he is gratified to have found a group of peers.  These are warriors with whom a man can be proud to serve. Thor is glad to fight alongside mighty creatures like the Hulk and noble men such as Captain America.”

Happy Thor’s Day everyone!  Despite some pretty intense audience support, Thor frequently seems to be the hardest sell of the main Avengers when it comes to toys.  Neither of his headlined toyline’s have done particularly well at retail.  But, by virtue of being a rather important member of the team, he does still warrant his token spot, which is a good thing for all of those fans, myself included, who would hate to see him left off the roster.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Thor is another figure from the six-figure Walmart-exclusive larger-scale line of Avengers figures, which hit shelves not too long after the movie in 2012.  For the line based on Thor’s own solo film, Walmart had also offered up a 6-inch figure, which featured a brand-new sculpt, but also featured Thor’s helmet, which he wore for less that five minutes of the first film’s screen time, permanently attached to the head.  Not exactly the most indicative of the MCU take on the character.  This figure is really just a quick fix to that one; he’s exactly the same, but with a new head.  He stands 7 inches tall (this is the figure that would start the trend of MCU Thors being rather on the tall side) and he has 27 points of articulation.  The sculpt is a decent enough piece of work, though it shows its age a bit more than the Cap figure from yesterday, likely because the majority of it is a year older, and Hasbro was improving rapidly at this point.  It’s mostly the articulation that shows the age, especially the hips, which are difficult enough to pose that he’ll essentially just be standing.  The detail work on the sculpt is all pretty sharp, and mostly pretty accurate to the films.  His proportions are idealized slightly, but not terribly unbalanced.  The head, as the new piece, was the main focus. The head and hair are separate pieces, and the head is sporting one of Hasbro’s best Hemsworth likenesses.  The hair, which is decidedly based on the first Thor, rather than Avengers, isn’t quite up to the same snuff as the face.  It’s decent, but feels just a bit…full?  I’m not 100% sure how to describe it, but it’s certainly a bit off.  Thor’s paintwork is pretty solid work.  Application is clean, the palette is a good match for the movie, and he isn’t missing any notable details.  Accent work is minimal, but the sculpt does the heavy lifting here.  Thor is packed with Mjolnir, as well as a stackable display base patterned on the Heroscape tiles.  My figure only has the hammer, though.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I grabbed Thor at the same time as Cap.  It was actually Cap that I’d noticed first, with Thor being the follow up.  This really wasn’t a figure I had much want for at the time of his release, and I’ve tended to prefer some of Thor’s later looks in the movies.  But, with the Mark VII already in my collection, and Cap soon to be, I was hardly going to just pass this guy up.  He’s not perfect, and he certainly shows the learning process Hasbro was going through at the time, but he still sports the best Hemsworth likeness Hasbro’s produced to date.

Like yesterday’s Captain America, Thor came from my friends over at All Time Toys.  He’s one of many 6-inch Marvel figures in their back catalog of figures, which can be viewed at both their website and their eBay store.

#1896: Captain America

CAPTAIN AMERICA

THE AVENGERS (HASBRO)

“As a soldier in World War II, Captain America fought for the safety and honor of his entire nation.  Now, as the leader of the Avengers, he fights to protect the entire world.  Villains great and small wield earth-shattering power without hesitation.  Only the original super-soldier and his team of awesome heroes stand between those ruthless individuals and the devastation of the planet.”

2012’s The Avengers was a big success for the MCU, but came at an odd time for Hasbro’s Marvel toys.  The 6-inch scale had all but died out, mostly replaced by their 3 3/4 inch offerings.  However, the poor sales of the Captain America and Thor toys the preceding year meant even those offerings were decidedly modest.  For both prior films, as well as Iron Man 2, Walmart had offered up a smaller assortment of Legends-styled figures, and continued this trend at an even larger scale offering five of the team’s six members*.  Today, I’m looking at the team’s leader, Captain America!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Captain America is one of the six figure line-up from the Walmart-exclusive Avengers 6-inch Movie Series.  He is, of course, based on his somewhat derided costume from the first Avengers movie. The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall (the tallest of the MCU Caps in this scale) and he has 29 points of articulation.  The articulation is handled slightly differently than more modern releases; Hasbro was still figuring some of these things out.  The hips are definitely the weakest part and make him a little difficult to pose.  He also could do with some actual wrist joints, but given what we were getting not long before, this is pretty good.  Cap’s sculpt is unique at this scale, though it shares a rather similar construction with the smaller line’s version of the same costume.  They’re definitely divergent sculpts, though; the articulation is cut differently, and this figure, as a later offering, catches some of the design changes that appeared between the concept art and the final costume.  It’s still not a pitch-perfect match for the on-screen counterpart, but it’s very close.  The texture work on Cap’s uniform is definitely top-notch.  It’s sharply defined and nicely contrasts the various different materials that make up his costume.  Hasbro definitely took advantage of the larger scale of this figure to really go all out with the detailing.  It doesn’t so much extend to the likeness on the face, though.  It’s rather on the generic side, so it’s not like it looks un-like Evans, but it’s definitely not on the same level as the two Evans likenesses we got this year.  Cap’s paintwork is pretty straight forward and clean.  He’s got the slightly brighter colors of this particular costume down pretty well, though the reds may perhaps be a touch brighter than they should be.  The application is all clean and consistent.  Technically, that last stripe of white on his back should be blue to match the rest of the costume, but it’s an easily missed detail, and far from holds the figure back.  Cap was packed with his mighty shield, as per usual.  It’s actually a unique mold, not used since for the MCU Caps.  It’s a little bit on the small side, but it does have advantage of having extending straps, allowing for placement on his back.  It’s that one detail that I miss most from the later releases, and I was happy to see it here.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was still very much on the fence about the whole 6-inch Marvel endeavor when these figures arrived in stores.  This, coupled with their relative scarcity, meant that I skipped this set in its entirety.  After getting the Tenth Anniversary Mark VII Iron Man, I was a little bummed not to have any other figures to go with him.  Fortunately, as luck would have it, All Time Toys got in a collection with several of them in it, so I was able to assemble the team pretty quickly.  Cap’s a surprisingly nice figure, and really showcases a turning point for Hasbro’s Marvel offerings.  He’s a precursor for all of the amazing MCU figures we’ve gotten in the years since, and even 6 years after his release, he holds up pretty darn well.

*Widow was left out of the line-up to free up a slot for Loki.  There was much frustration with this choice at the time.  However, she would finally get a figure two years later as part of the Mandroid Series, and has been granted a Legends release for both of the Avengers sequels.

#1891: Amazo

AMAZO

DC UNIVERSE CLASSICS (MATTEL)

“Amazo is a powerful android capable of absorbing and mimicking the superpowers of the members of the Justice League of America. “Absorption cells” allow Amazo the ability to duplicate the power of any superhero he encounters, but is only able to use the powers of one super hero at any given time.”

Hey, this is convenient timing.  Just last week, the CW tv shows did their annual crossover event, “Elseworlds,” the first part of which prominently featured today’s figure in question, Amazo.  Amazo’s not a stranger to popular media, having previously appeared in both Justice League and its sequel series Justice League Unlimited.  That being said, JL and JLU rather drastically shifted the character’s design, so the casual fan might be forgiven for not quite making the connection.  “Elseworlds” used a variant of the classic design, which was pretty darn cool if you ask me.  Amazo’s actually a fairly frequent choice for various DC toy lines, including Mattel’s DC Universe Classics.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Amazo was released in Series 5 of DCUC.  It was a noteworthy series for the line, as the first Walmart-exclusive assortment and, by extension, the first assortment carried in Walmart.  It was also our first real taste of some of the worst the line was going to serve up to us, with accessories cut at the last minute, horrible distribution, and some pretty awful quality control.  Walmart had requested the assortment be produced as cheaply as possible, and Mattel delivered.  This figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 25 points of articulation.  Amazo’s a little on the small side for most depictions of the character, thanks to his sticking to the main male base body, another symptom of this assortment’s general lack of newer parts.  Amazo’s actually got one of those: his head.  It’s pretty basic, but matches the classic Doc Savage-esque design he’s been sporting for fifty some years.  He also gets the right hand from Green Lantern, since he’s typically seen replicating the ring.  It’s a sensible choice in theory, though in practice it means he has wrinkles on his hand, since the original piece was gloved.  I suppose it’s easy enough to explain away, what with him being an android and all.  Amazo’s paintwork is decent enough.  They’ve gone with his original costume, which is sensible, since it’s the most easily conveyed with just paint.  While my other Series 5 figure, Black Lightning, was all over the place in terms of paint quality, Amazo actually manages to keep it pretty clean and consistent.  Some of the stripes, especially at the top, are a little wobbly, but I’ve certainly seen worse.  Amazo was packed with one of the pieces to the Series 5 Collect-N-Connect Metallo…and that’s it.  Nothing character specific.  Not even the Wonder Woman lasso that they already had tooled for Series 4.  Sadly, Amazo was not alone on this front; there was exactly one proper accessory among all of the Series 5 figures.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Series 5 was legendarily hard to find at retail, with many regions reporting a single case of figures being put out, if any arrived at all.  Needless to say, I didn’t find a single one of them at retail.  To be totally fair, the line-up was so-so enough that I didn’t really look too hard, but I’ve warmed up to some of them over the years.  So, when All Time Toys got in someone’s DCUC collection and I fished Amazo here out of the bin, I was a pretty easy mark.  He’s an okay figure, but nothing to really right home about.  That said, he’s also a lot less flawed than I’d expected, given the assortment that spawned him.

Obviously, I bought All Time’s only figure of this guy, but they have a whole bunch of other DCUC figures listed on their eBay store.  And, if you’re in the market for something newer, please check out their website as well!

#1737: Batman – Superfriends

BATMAN — SUPERFRIENDS

DC COMICS MULTIVERSE (MATTEL)

In addition to overall DC theme, I’m introducing a sub-theme today.  I know, that’s a lot to handle, but bear with me.  Anyway, the theme I’m going with is Batman on alternating days.  Why?  Because I have a lot of Batmen, that’s why.  Today’s Batman follows the trend set by yesterday’s Green Lantern, being at the very least inspired by the Super Friends cartoon.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Superfriends Batman was distributed through the same means as Green Lantern, being a Walmart-exclusive entry in the DC Comics Multiverse line.  He, too, would actually stay a Walmart exclusive, unlike the second half of the Super Friends sub-set (who, despite their non-exclusivity, I don’t actually have).  Unlike GL, Batman’s a pretty natural choice for this assortment, since Batman was with Super Friends for its entire run, and was a pivotal player in most episodes.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 23 points of articulation.  For the most part, his sculpt is a straight re-use of the DC Universe Classics Series 1 Batman, with one small exception.  The sculpted cape has been replaced with a cloth one, which has been done in the style of the old Super Powers capes.  Not *quite* the right source material, but it’s goofy and fits the general aesthetic.  I find myself liking the look of it quite a bit, actually, though it’s definitely not going to be for everyone.  AS with Hal, Bats’ mold is definitely showing its age and the wear from all those repeated uses.  On my figure in particular, one of the shoulders doesn’t even quite peg together the right way.  Batman’s paintwork actually ends up more faithful to the source material than GL, which is a plus.  It’s also pretty clean, and likewise very bold.  It looks good on this sculpt.  I appreciate the return of the black shading on the cowl (it’s true to the show, but I wouldn’t have put it past Mattel to leave it off).  Bats even makes out pretty well on the accessories front.  To start with, he’s got the same base and backer card as GL (with the same issue with the peg on the stand).  The back of both cards has part of the Super Friends logo, so that if you get all four, you have the whole thing.  In perhaps the most Mattel move of all, GL and Batman (who, it should be noted, shipped together) don’t have sequential cards, unless of course you really want to celebrate the “Per Inds”.  Fortunately, Batman gets more accessories than GL; he also gets a grappling hook and a batarang (and it does *not* have “CHINA” stamped on it, which was a nice change).

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I grabbed Batman at the same time as GL, from an Ollie’s for $3.  I couldn’t just leave him there, now could I?  That would have been cruel.  Minor issues aside, this figure is actually not terrible.  He’s hardly going to be anyone’s default Batman, but unlike GL, he seems to more fully embrace the concept Mattel was going for.

#1736: Green Lantern – Superfriends

GREEN LANTERN — SUPERFRIENDS

DC COMICS MULTIVERSE (MATTEL)

DC doesn’t get quite as much play around here as other, Disney-owned properties.  It’s not a conspiracy, I swear!  And to prove that there is absolutely no anti-DC conspiracy around these parts, I’m gonna pick up the trend I started yesterday and do a whole week of DC reviews!  …Well, a business week…let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

While Adventures of Superman, the ’60s Batman, and Wonder Woman got the main trio of DC heroes some solid public recognition, it was Hannah Barbera’s Superfriends and its subsequent spin-offs that introduced the DC Universe as a whole to a mainstream audience.  Because of its mainstream impact, it’s also a version of the characters that toy companies like to go back to.  Mattel was no exception.  I’ll be looking at one of their handful of Superfriends offerings today, namely my main man Green Lantern.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Green Lantern is part of the four figure Superfriends sub-set of Mattel’s DC Comics Multiverse.  The set was originally meant to be a Walmart-exclusive, but that was ultimately only half true.  For Mattel-ish sorts of reasons, the four figure assortment needed to be split in two, with GL and Batman hitting Walmarts back in September of last year.  By the time the second two figures were ready to go, Walmart backed out.  The long and short of it is that Green Lantern and Batman were exclusive to Walmart (at first, anyway), but Superman and Aquaman weren’t.  Of the four figures in the set, GL is admittedly the odd man out in terms of character selection.  He wasn’t in the original Superfriends roster, only appearing in the later Challenge of the Superfriends incarnation.  Even then, he was never super prominent in the series.  The choice of him instead of another founding member, like Wonder Woman or Robin, is somewhat baffling.  That said, the Green Lantern fan in me is insisting that I not complain too much.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 23 points of articulation.  In terms of construction, there’s not a single thing new about this figure.  He’s a head-to-toe re-use of the DCUC GL from 2008.  That was a good sculpt at the time, and the original figure remains one of my absolute favorite GL figures.  With that being said, it’s a sculpt that’s a decade old, and it’s definitely showing its age, not just stylistically, but also in terms of the actual life of the mold.  While some parts, like the head, still look quite good, the limbs in particular are showing quite a bit of mold degradation.  It’s still in better shape than a lot of Mattel’s more recent output, but it’s time to let it die.  The main thing that’s new here is the paint.  I’m of two minds.  On the one hand, I really do like the bright, bold colorscheme.  It’s quite aestheitcally pleasing, at it looks nice on the mold.  That said, it’s not actually accurate to his Superfriends colors, which means there’s not anything about this figure that’s truly Superfriends-inspired.  They didn’t even get the slightly different Lantern insignia from the show.  His accessories, like the figure, are nothing new.  He gets one of the Batman ’66 stands, with a new iridescent cardstock backer featuring….the Jose Garcia-Lopez illustration of Hal from the style guide.  I love Garcia-Lopez’s work and all, but it’s an odd choice here, you know, instead of, say, something from, I don’t know, Superfriends?  Also, the stand has been designed with slightly smaller figures in mind, so the peg is actually too small for GL’s foot, so it’s not actually any help…standing him.  Yeesh.  I guess I can forgive the lack of power battery, since it never figured that prominently into the show, but he still feels a little light, especially since there are no new pieces in the box and he originally retailed for $8 more than the first release of this mold, which, it should be noted, included the battery *and* a Build-A-Figure Collect-N-Connect piece.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As I noted above, these figures hit in September.  And I saw them in-store when they hit.  But you know what also hit in September?  All of the Last Jedi product.  Given the choice between that and a total rehash of a figure, I went with the Star Wars stuff.  However, I found this guy at the same Ollie’s where I got yesterday’s Batman, and he too was $3, which was the right price for me.  The thing about this figure is that, as just a Green Lantern figure, removed from the source material, he’s actually not a terrible figure.  Dated and light on extras, but decent nonetheless.  However, he’s just *not* a Superfriends Green Lantern, and he’s a really poorly-executed, rather disinterested attempt at replicating the design, which makes him feel a little bit like a bit of a cash-grab.

#1735: Batman – Dark Knight Returns

BATMAN — DARK KNIGHT RETURNS

DC COMICS MULTIVERSE (MATTEL)

Hey hoooo, it’s a Mattel review.  Haven’t done one of these in a little while.  Ooooooo boy, this’ll go well.

Running parallel to Hasbro’s hit line Marvel Legends, Mattel has their own DC line, DC Comics Multiverse.  It started as a 3 3/4 inch line, before making a jump a few years ago when 3 3/4 inch figures were largely dropped by the toy industry.  One of the earliest offerings from the reformed Multiverse was a set of commemorative figures celebrating the 30th anniversary of Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns.  Of the three figures offered, I’ve looked at two.  Today, I’m looking at the last of those three, Batman himself!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Batman was a Walmart-exclusive release from the DC Comics Multiverse line.  The figure stands 7 inches tall and he has 25 points of articulation.  Batman’s actually just a slight retooling of an earlier Batman Unlimited Dark Knight Batman, with a new head.  By extension, that means he shares a lot of pieces with the DKR Superman I looked at back when they were first released.  It’s very similar to the Masters of the Universe Classics base body, but Mattel to this day insists they are completely separate molds.  I guess I just have to believe them.  It works well enough for what they’re going for.  Obviously, it doesn’t really look that much like Frank Miller’s artwork, but it melds decently enough with the DCUC style that Mattel was trying to carry forward.  In the context of the whole MotU concept, and even Superman to a smaller degree, the body works, but for Batman, it feels a little….lumpy?  Balloon-y?  I don’t know.  It just feels somewhat off.  The new head goes for a more reserved look than the prior DKR Bats, though he’s still a little grumpy.  I think it’s perhaps a little large for the base body, and it’s definitely on the softer side.  Compared even just to the other two figures from this same assortment, it looks rather off, as both Superman and the Son of Batman figures have much crisper details.  Batman’s sculpt has a quality not unlike mashed potatoes, if I’m honest.  It’s kind of lumpy and ill-defined, even by Mattel standards.  Also bad even by Mattel standards?  The paint.  Sloppy doesn’t begin to describe it.  It looks like the yellow paint was applied from across the room.  It’s just everywhere.  His logo’s at least not terrible, but the general lack of paint overall just makes the rest of the mistakes that much more noticeable.  Batman was packed with a single accessory: one lone batarang…with “CHINA” stamped on one side.  Apparently he gets all those wonderful toys from China.  Who knew?

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

So, I bought the Superman figure at full retail, and I liked him well-enough.  And I got the Son of Batman for a decent discount, and he was alright.  I already had the Unlimited figure of this guy, though, so I wasn’t in much of a hurry to get him.  I ended up buying him *not* from Walmart at all.  I instead found him at an Ollie’s, for $3.  That was enough to get me invested.  I gotta say, I’m really glad that I didn’t pay full price for him, because…well, he’s just not that strong a figure.  I guess I’ve had worse figure, but there’s not a lot that this figure does right.