DC Comics Multiverse (Doomsday Wave): Dark Knight Returns Batman and Robin by Mattel

So, if you haven’t guessed by now, I’ve been using Mattel’s ho-hum Multiverse line as filler for DC Fridays as I await some better stuff to come in. I should have something next week for sure. In the meantime, I’ve picked up a couple waves of these figures for stupid cheap and I’ve been trudging through the Doomsday Wave. Today I’m doubling up with a look at both Batman and Robin from Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns. I was actually looking forward to these figures and hoping they would be the breakouts of the wave. Turns out those were lofty and unfulfilled hopes. Let’s have a look…

The figures come in window boxes and are collector friendly. They’re not ugly, they’re not great, they just are. Sometimes I’m sad about tossing packaging, but in this case, I don’t really care. There’s some nice character art on the side panels, and you get a little blurb about each character too. Let’s start with Batman…

So, my first thought here is that the figure looks drab and unfinished and I proscribe that to the lack of paint. I suppose you could argue that they’re going for a comic look here and the art in this particular book sure isn’t cheery. In fairness, they did attempt to add a little color diversity here and there. You get the dark gray of the armor pieces, with the lighter gray and blue of the underlying suit peeking out. Then you get the blue of the cape and cowl, and the bright yellow of the utility belt. And yet still, there’s something about the coloring on this figure that looks cheap.

The sculpt itself is passable. I like that the chest armor is soft plastic wrapped around the buck. It adds to the bulk of the figure and also gives it a unique matte finish to contrast with the rest of the plastic. There are some little cinches and rumples sculpted in too. You get some panel lines in the armor rings, some nice ribbing and texturing on the fists, including reinforced plates on the knuckles, and best of all, you get those crazy spikes on the soles of his boots. Again, I think a lot of the reason this figure falls flat for me is the lack of paint. I’ll also point out that mine came out of the package with the right shoulder cape attachment warped so it looks like it’s pulled up.

The head sculpt isn’t terrible. It fits the style of the art. There’s some nice depth between the face and the cowl. But the paint on my figure is all chipped around the upper lip, exposing the gray plastic under it like some kind of unfortunate case of necro-herpes. For a figure with an MSRP of about $20, that level of quality control just isn’t here.

Articulation here is quite limited. That’s been a gripe of mine for the first two figures in this wave and it looks like that isn’t going to change. Once again, the problem isn’t with the points, but with the range of motion in those points. The elbows in particular have are laughably limited. In the case of this figure, I’m maybe willing to be a bit more forgiving, because he is wearing bulky armor, but it still means that this figure isn’t much fun to play with. Also, there’s a waist swivel in there, but mine is locked tight with the torso slightly turned to the right.

Batman comes with his EMP gun and it’s a pretty sorry excuse for an accessory. Maybe this would have been OK for a 3 3/4-inch scale weapon, but come on, Mattel. This is just embarrassing. I’ve had enough of this guy… let’s move on to Robin.

 

We’re still focused on TDKR here, so this is of course, Carrie Kelly. I like the scaling here, especially when you display her next to Batman, because she’s appropriately tiny. From the neck down, the sculpt isn’t half bad. Mattel actually did a decent job with the classic Robin outfit. It’s not overly encumbered with detail, but it definitely gets the job done and adheres to the art style reasonably well. I even like the coloring here. The bright red, yellow, and green really make this figure pop splendidly. Well, look at that, I had some nice things to say!

For a while I was a little torn on the head sculpt. At certain angles it doesn’t look too bad, but in the end I have to come down against it. The glasses look way too large and blocky and having them just painted over green doesn’t work for me. At this point, I realize it’s asking way too much to have clear green plastic and sculpted eyes behind them (although even Funko’s Pop! Vinyl managed to do it), but it doesn’t change the fact that what we got here looks kind of awkward. And speaking of awkward, the bottom part of the face and lips does not look like anything like a child to me.

Like Batman, the articulation here sucks. Again, on paper this figure should have all it needs to work, but none of those points offer any real range of motion, except the shoulders. The hips are confined by the tunic, the elbows can barely make 90-degrees, and the ankle hinges are all but useless. I pick these figures up, fiddle with them for a few moments, get frustrated, and put them back down again.

Robin comes with her slingshot accessory, which is a good thought, but executed pretty hamhandedly. The rubber band looks like a chewed stretched piece of caramel. She can hold the slingshot in her right hand or it can get tucked into the loop on her belt, where it looks like an oversized albatross.

Goddammit, Mattel! After one disappointment (Supergirl) and one meh (Superman Doomed), I’ve was hoping to finally hit a couple of Multiverse figures that I actually liked and instead I got these. They look and feel cheap, they have horrible articulation, and Mattel should be ashamed of themselves for asking $20 a pop for these. Keep in mind, I paid eight bucks for each of these and I’m still not satisfied. These are giant leaps backwards from the days of DC Universe Classics, a line that Mattel killed many years back so that they could, what… work on developing this garbage? OK, I still have two more figures in this wave to review before I can put together Doomsday, but I feel like I’m really bumming out DC Fridays with this crap, so next week I’m going determined to cleanse the pallet with something decent.

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Arkham Origins: Dr. Harleen Quinzel, The Electrocutioner, and Lady Shiva by DC Collectibles

It’s been over a week since I last had a day off from work. I’m exhausted and keeping up with FFZ’s content this week has been a real drain on me. Nonetheless, with just one day left, I wanted to finish off the week so I could collapse and rest for the weekend. Let’s see, what did I have scheduled for this DC Friday? Oh, shit… a box set of three figures? Oooook, let’s get to it…  As some of you may know, I’ve been picking up the figures based on the Arkham video games, even though I’ve only played the first two so far. I really like the designs for a lot of these characters and in some cases these allow me to get characters into my collection that aren’t otherwise available. This Arkham Origins set caught my eye at a game store a little while back and the price was right, so it went home with me.

The figures come in a pretty standard window box with the back showing off all the other figures available in this series. This set is actually my first from the Arkham Origins game, but definitely won’t be my last. The crazy thing about this series is that the figures tend to run all over the place in terms of cost. This set was pretty cheap, while some of the individually packaged figures have become crazy expensive. Let’s start with Harley… whoops, I mean Harleen!

I’m not sure why, but DC Direct, and now DC Collectibles, have had some issues in the past with females in civvies. They tend to look more clunky than they should, but I’m happy to say that’s not the case with Dr. Quinzel here. She sports a black skirt, red blouse, and white lab coat and there’s some really nice detail here, including the sprig of holly on her lapel, her security badge, and even the diamond pattern belt buckle that hints at the costume design for her future alter-ego. Indeed, I really dig how even the colors here are just a rearrangement of Harley Quinn’s classic look. Granted, the knee joints are a bit clunky, but otherwise this is a great looking figure. And speaking of joints, the articulation here is fair. Most of the useful points are in her arms, with rotating hinges at the shoulders, hinges in her elbows, and swivels in her biceps and wrists. The legs have swivels hidden up under the skirt, the aforementioned hinges in the knees, and she has a t-crotch, which is inhibited quite a bit by the skirt. Finally, she has a ball joint in the neck.

Even the portrait is pretty damn stellar.  Keep in mind, DCC’s paint tends to fall apart when you get in real close with the camera, but to the naked eye, this is a phenomenal head sculpt with some really great paintwork to back it up. The eyes are unfortunately uneven, but it’s really hard to tell that without a zoomed lens, and these have got to be some of the best eyeglasses sculpted in this scale that I’ve ever seen. Also, check out how the collar on her blouse pops up instead of just being sculpted as part of the buck. That’s a great touch!

Harleen comes with one accessory and that’s her clipboard. She can hold it in either hand, but it’s really intended for her right. It would have been cool if they could have printed a sheet of paper on it with The Joker’s file or something, but as it is it’s just empty.

I’ve wanted a figure of Harleen for a while now, and this one really scratches that itch. It’s a great sculpt and while she may not be the most exciting figure when it comes to articulation and accessories, she looks great on display. Next up… The Electrocutioner!

Even though he’s based off the video game, The Electrocutioner is everything I could hope for in a DCEU version of the character. The bulky electro suit is packed with details, from rumples to stitching, to all the little bits of wire that presumably make shoot electric bolts of death. In the tradition of modern comic book movies, it takes a very comic-booky design and ramps it up with a dose of realism. I particularly love the battery packs strapped along each of his sides. The heavy armored chest plate, boots, and knee pads give him an even more formidable look. And while he’s mostly a dark figure, he has some bright yellow and blue on his cables that makes him stand out. He also has some red striping added, which forms a “V” on his chest, reminiscent of some of his comic appearances. All in all, I think this is a damn cool design.

The head sculpt is also excellent and features a gruesome area of scarring on the left side of his face, where the flesh has practically been stripped down to the muscle. The red paint in the left eye is a particularly nice touch.

Like Harleen, the articulation here is fairly good, but has a few unfortunate restrictions. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders, double hinges in the elbows, and the wrists can swivel. That’s all great, but the hips are a simple t-crotch, which is disappointing. The knees are, however, double hinged, and he has swivel cuts at the tops of his boots. There’s no articulation in his chest, but his neck is on a ball joint. Overall, I don’t mind the curtailed articulation here all that much, because Electrocutioner is a freaking tank and doesn’t really need it.

The Electrocutioner is completed with a pair of extra hands with open grips. I don’t feel that these were really necessary and I doubt I would have missed them if they were omitted, but it’s always nice to have options. The yellow cables simply unplug from the fists to allow you to change them out. I don’t really have a whole lot of history with Electrocutioner from my romps through reading DC Comics, but he’s a cool character and this is a great looking figure.  And that brings us to the final figure… Lady Shiva!

I was really impressed with the look of this figure before I even got her out of the box. The finery on her top is not only a great design, but DCC did a wonderful job translating it to this figure. Everything is sculpted from the gold fasteners to the sash tied around her waist and the gold fixtures at the ends and the paint really pops against the rest of the black costume. In reality, it’s probably not the most versatile attire for martial arts, but we’re talking comics and video games here, so I’m happy to sacrifice plausibility for a fantastic looking costume like this one.

Again, we have an excellent portrait with some nice depth to the face coming from the way it’s framed by the hair. I also dig the jade colored paint they used for her eyes. The articulation here is almost identical to what we saw on Harleen. The swivels in the legs are at the boots instead of up in the thighs, and Shiva has a better range of motion in the hips because she isn’t inhibited by the skirt. With that having been said, articulation that I found acceptable in the previous two figures feels really limited here. Shiva should be able to all kinds of crazy moves and poses, and you really can’t do much of that with this figure.

Lady Shiva comes with her sword and scabbard. There is unfortunately nowhere to attach the scabbard to the figure, which makes it fairly superfluous. Otherwise, the sword is a nice enough piece and her right hand is sculpted to hold it perfectly.

My guess is that this set was around $50-60 originally, but I got it on clearance for around $30 and that’s not a bad deal at all. In truth, I bought it mostly for Harleen and was just pleasantly surprised by the other two. All three of these figures look fantastic in terms of both sculpting and paintwork and really show that DCC at their best. The articulation is certainly lacking a bit, although the nature of Harleen and Buchinsky makes it more forgivable. In the case of Shiva, it hurts a little more. All this figure needed was some ball jointed hips to make her truly shine.

I had originally planned on doing an Anime Saturday post tomorrow, but I’m going to bow out in favor of some recoup time. Appropriately, I’ll be spending this DC Friday night seeing Wonder Woman and I’ll spend the rest of the weekend doing as little as possible! 

 

Arkham Knight: Catwoman by DC Collectibles

Yup, I’m still on an Arkham Knight figure kick and one day, I hope to get around to playing the game too! Honestly, even if I wasn’t starting to collect this line, I’d still probably have picked up Catwoman here, because I tend to pick up whatever Catwoman figures I can find. What can I say? I like cats and I like women. Meow!

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The packaging is the same as we saw last time with the Azrael figure. It’s an attractive and collector friendly window box with that stylish angled edge that features the figure’s name. I like the grittier box art too. The presentation here is just all around fantastic and if I weren’t so damn pressed for space, I’d keep the box. Sadly, that’s not an option.

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Free from her box, Catwoman is looking mighty fine. This isn’t a huge departure from Catwoman’s modern look in the comics, but it’s a quite a bit of a change from the Greg Capullo Catwoman I looked at a little while back. You get a much more realistic catsuit, and by that I mean it’s got all sorts of texturing and extra details. High friction areas are covered with a textured web-like honeycomb pattern while others are reinforced with just smooth padding. There’s a subtle mix of matte and gloss black to further distinguish the details. There’s also some crazy detail on the front laces of her high heeled boots. Those things must take forever to put on!

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While technically an accessory, I’ll mention her coiled whip here. It tabs into a slot on her right hip so you can display her wearing it when she’s not using it. It’s a great addition to the figure and I’ve to to say, I wish the Capullo Catwoman did something similar.

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The head sculpt is quite nice. Again, I can’t really vouch for the likeness to the in-game model since I’ve yet to play the game, but I like what we got here. The cowl has a sort of worn leather look to it and her red tinted goggles are sculpted permanently in the up position. I dig the way her hair falls over her left eye. The paint work on her green eyes and red lips is very sharp, and while Catwoman is often depicted wearing a choker, here she’s wearing a full-on kitty collar! Naturally, her front zipper is way down low to show off the kittens.

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Articulation is not something I expect in spades from DCC’s regular lines, but Catwoman here doesn’t make out too bad at all. The arms feature rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, and wrists. The legs have rotating hinges at the hips. swivels in the thighs, double hinges in the knees, and hinges and lateral rockers in the ankles. There’s a ball joint just under the chest and another at the neck. She’s by no means super-articulated, especially for a nimble minx like Catwoman, but I’m still impressed at how much she can do for a non-Icons DCC figure. If her hips had just a little more range of motion toward the front, she’d be really something.

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As far as accessories go, I already mentioned the coiled whip. She also comes with an uncoiled whip and a total of three pairs of hands: Fists, whip-holding hands, and scratching claws. And let me tell you, the claws on this kitty are serious business. They freaking hurt like hell the first couple times I swapped hands on the figure. I think some paint rubbed off on the inside pegs, because after a few times, swapping hands wasn’t so difficult or painful.

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The action whip is a lot of fun to play with. It’s a stretchy rubber and she can hold it really well.

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I picked up this Catwoman off of Amazon when they were running some pretty great deals on the Arkham Knight figures. I think she wound up being around $13 and hell, I’ll buy figures like this at that price all day long. Indeed, I would have been perfectly happy shelling out the $20-22 she usually sells for, because she really is that good. Yeah, I’m biased because I dig Catwoman so much, but this may very well be my favorite figure of the character in my collection.

Arkham Knight: Azrael by DC Collectibles

It was a crazy, busy week for me, folks, and not a lot of time for toys. Luckily I had a few hours yesterday morning to sit down and open up a new figure for DC Friday, take some snaps and write him up. And what’s this? More figures from a game I haven’t played yet. Hooray! That’s OK, though. I’m familiar enough with Azrael, I dig his character, love his back story, but most of all, I absolutely adore what they did with his design for Arkham Knight. Even if it takes a while for me to get deep enough into my “To Play” stack of games to reach Arkham Knight, I had one look at this figure and knew that I needed it!

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Azrael comes in a window box, featuring that distinctive angled side with the character name, which DCC has been using for a while now. The artwork features the game’s logo on the front and eschews the usual clean, white look of DCC’s boxes for something dark and foreboding. It’s totally collector friendly and shows off the figure beautifully. You even get a nice piece of tissue paper to protect the cape.

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Oh, where do I begin? I guess with the Suit of Sorrows re-design that just looks so damn good. Medieval history is one of my passions, and I love reading about The Templars so it should come as no surprise that I love the look of this guy. Obviously The Order of St. Dumas bogarted the design from The Order of Solomon and the idea of seeing this white surcoat with the red cross in a modern urban setting just sings to me.

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The detail in the outfit is exceptional. I love the dirty, ragged, and ancient look of the coat with the chainmail exposed underneath it. You also get a bevy of straps, buckles, and pouches all of which seem to be the key ingredient in making a costume look edgy and modern. I really dig the spiked armor on his forearms, complete with sculpted straps to secure them to his arms. What’s more, every little detail on this figure is painted from the tiniest buckles to the weathering on the armor pieces.

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From the back, you can see Azrael’s cape, which is basically a row of strips with reinforced points at the ends. There are additional sculpted strips running across and bolted into place to hold the rather unconventional design together. The entire ensemble is cast in fairly heavy plastic, but it’s still pliable and definitely suits the figure.

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The portrait is partially concealed under a sculpted hood, which floats freely so as not to inhibit the head articulation too badly. The underlying head features a sculpted mask that gives me a hockey mask vibe and adds to the delightfully anachronistic flavor of this entire costume.

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On paper, the articulation here is excellent, in practice it runs up against the sculpt a bit. You get rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, wrists, and hips. The knees are double hinged, and the ankles feature both hinges and lateral rockers. There’s a ball joint just under the chest, and another in the neck. There’s a good range of motion in the legs, but the arms aren’t going to go much above the shoulders. Generally speaking, Azrael wants to be hunched over most of the time, so getting him to look straight ahead can be challenging. With all that having been said, his joints are all solid and he’s still plenty of fun to play with.

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Azrael comes with one accessory, and as you might expect it is indeed The Sword of Sin. This is a beefy and vicious looking sword with sword-breaker notches stacked near the hilt and a chunky grip.

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Even if I never get around to playing Arkham Knight, I’m still enjoying these figures a lot. I find the designs are so much better than what we’re seeing come out of the DC Cinematic Universe and I’m absolutely in love with what they did with Azrael here. Even if I didn’t follow or collect comic book figures (a scenario impossible for me to even imagine!) I’d still love to have this guy on my shelf as a stand alone piece. DC Collectibles took a fantastic design, poured on the love through some excellent sculpting and paintwork, and delivered an outstanding figure.

Arkham Knight: Batgirl and Oracle by DC Collectibles

It’s a familiar story to most collectors. A figure comes out, you procrastinate picking it up, and next thing you know it’s going for all the monies and you missed your shot. One of those instances for me was the Oracle figure that DC Direct released in their Birds of Prey set over ten years ago. Well, when I got wind that DC Collectibles was taking a shot at the character from the Arkham video game series, I wasn’t hesitating this time and pre-ordered this set the moment it was solicited. For a while I forgot it was coming, but here it is!

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So far, I’ve only played the first two Arkham games and Knight is still confined to my sad pile of games waiting to be played. Nonetheless, I like the aesthetics in the series and I’ve been starting to collect some of DCC’s Arkham figures, so you’ll likely start seeing some of these featured here from time to time. This set comes in a sizable window box, which gives you a great look at both Barbara Gordon figures and all the accessories. It’s a little roomier than it needs to be, but it also feels like something special. It’s also collector friendly, which is great because I tend to keep these multi-figure sets from DCC in the box, as they display really nicely. Let’s start off with Batgirl…

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The Arkham Knight version isn’t a huge departure from the New 52 look. The black body suit is still very tactical in appearance with sculpted panel lines and ribbed sections under the arms and between the thighs. Here, her boots, gauntlets, belt, and bat symbol are all painted with a snappy gold instead of the traditional yellow, making for a very sharp looking suit. She retains the scalloped boot tops from the New 52 look, but her belt is far more intricate and ornate. It almost looks like it’s sculpted to look like a ring of laurel leaves. You also get some tiny painted snaps and fasteners near her shoulders. I like the look of this suit a lot and DCC did a fine job executing it here.

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The cape is soft and pliable, with a scalloped bottom edge. It features a painted gold finish on the interior and a thin gold border running around the outside. It’s just the right length and weight so that it doesn’t throw off the balance of the figure too badly. Even in some precarious action poses, she does not tend to topple backwards. That’s a good thing, because she doesn’t have peg holes in her feet to accommodate a traditional DC Collectibles figure stand.

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Where this figure stumbles a bit (just a bit) is in the portrait. It’s certainly not bad, but I fell like there’s something a little off about it. The plastic used for the skin is soft, and the face is pretty, but the green eyes are a little dead and the face is a little too full and rounded. On it’s own, I would probably be OK with it, but she’s going to be sharing a display case with the New 52 Batgirl that DCC put out just a few years back, and the inevitable comparisons are just not that favorable. On the other hand, the sculpt work on the cowl and hair are both fantastic. Maybe I’m just being picky, because this was a somewhat pricey set.

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The articulation here is slightly better than what I’ve come to expect from the modern DCC figures. You get rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, and wrists. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, have double hinged knees, swivels in the thighs, and hinges in the ankles. There’s a ball joint just under the chest and another in the neck. The addition of thigh swivels is a very welcome treat. To help with those action poses, Batgirl includes no less than three pairs of hands. The fists are attached with the other options being open hands and gripping hands. I love that the open hands have the interior gripping parts of the gloves painted black.

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Batgirl comes with a batarang. It’s a static piece with no hinge in the middle like we’ve seen on some of DCC’s other batarang accessories. This is also pretty big accessory, so big I wonder where she would possibly keep it. It sure as hell isn’t going anywhere in that utility belt! Still, I dig that it’s substantial, she can hold it very well, and it’s a very nice sculpt along with some silver paint on the edges.  Let’s move on to Oracle…

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Oracle comes out of the box seated in her wheelchair, which is a completely separate piece, but obviously integral to displaying the figure. DCC did an impressive job with the chair’s sculpt and paint. The parts that are supposed to be metal have a metallic gray finish with orange trim. The cushions are off white with a matching orange paint. All four wheels are designed to roll. There are no pegs or tabs to secure the figure in the chair, she just sits right in it.

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The sculpt and paint on this figure are both excellent. She’s wearing yellow shorts and a lavender and yellow jacket with a grey and pink striped shirt peaking through the top. The outfit is rounded out with some finger-less gloves, yellow sneakers, and white socks. The detail in the clothing goes above and beyond for DCC. For a company that’s used to doing either spandex costumes or panel-lined armor, they really went all out with the little details on Oracle’s civvies, right down to the little buttons pinned to her jacket. The paint is pretty clean too, with one glaring exception: Mine has a glob of yellow paint on her left shoulder. It’s not a big deal for me, but had I been able to buy her at a store, I could have picked out a better one.

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The portrait here is solid work. It’s not easy to do glasses in this scale and make them look good, but DCC pulled it off here with aplomb. That having been said, the I would have appreciated it if the two portraits matched a little closer. Apart from the red hair, the likenesses on these two figures don’t do a lot to suggest that they’re the same person.

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All of Oracle’s articulation is in her upper body. There are rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, and wrists; She also has ball joints below her chest and in her neck. My only nitpick with Oracle is that I wish she sat a little straighter on the wheelchair. The way she’s pre-posed has her perpetually leaning forward, which actually would work fine if there was a computer desk to put her in front of. I am able to get her seated back further and looking fine, even if her feet aren’t quite touching the foot rests.

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Oracle comes with a few nifty accessories, the biggest of which is her backpack. This piece is designed to hang off the back of the chair and it fits quite nicely. It has a trendy pink camo deco along with a peace sign painted on the back. There are a number of sculpted books and whatnot peeking out of the open pouches and there’s a pouch for her water bottle. The bottle is even removable. I am a little surprised that they didn’t include a laptop with her.

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Oracle also comes with a pair of stylish headphones, which are not designed to fit onto her head, but rather just hang off the back of the chair.

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I like this set a lot and both figures are quite solid. Best of all, Oracle’s design is versatile enough so that I don’t mind her standing in with my comic based figures. Speaking of which, it’s a shame that DC Collectibles hasn’t done a modern comic version of Black Canary because posing Batgirl in her place alongside Oracle and Huntress makes for a nice picture, but granted doesn’t make any sense, leaving me one Bird of Prey short. These figures set me back fifty bucks, which sounds about right when you figure about $20-22 a figure and then factor in the wheelchair as a very large accessory. It’s always possible this set will drop in price eventually, as many of DCC’s Arkham video game figures do, but this was a case where I wasn’t willing to take that risk and with the figures in hand, I’m glad I didn’t.

Femme Fatales “DC Animated Series:” Catwoman by Diamond Select

I started this week with a Marvel DST Statue, so let’s end it with a DC DST Statue. That seems only fair. Besides, the lovely Bruce Timm styled Catwoman has been sitting around waiting to be opened for over a month now. Diamond has been reworking this line into the DC Animated Gallery so that they can include some dudes, but Catwoman is still under the name Femme Fatales. Time to let this kitty out of the box!

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Speaking of the box, we’ve seen this packaging before. There are windows on three sides as well as the top panel to let a lot of light in and allow you to scrutinize the paint on your purchase before handing your money over to local comic shop guy. But not me. Oh no. My local comic shop ain’t so local. It’s over an hour away, so I have to roll the dice and hope the Amazon gods are smiling on the day their drone picks mine from the warehouse. There’s no assembly required here, so Selina comes out of the box all ready for action…

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And looking every bit like she pounced right out of the cartoon! Catwoman is wearing her skin tight gray body suit that shows off all of her wonderful womanly curves. As this is an animated piece there’s not a whole lot going on in the way of sculpted detail, just a lot of smooth surfaces. But at the same time, everything about the costume is part of the sculpt, so you get clear definitions at the edges of the boots and gloves and the string of yellow disks that make up her belt. The whip that she clutches in her left hand is a strip of bendy plastic and you can position it so it lands on the base by her foot or dangling off the side.

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As a budget line, I’ve been taking the paint quality on these in stride. None of my pieces in this line have had outrageously bad paint (just that Marvel Gallery Lady Deadpool!), but some have been better than others. I’m overall pleased with what I got here, although these statues tend to suffer from rubbing and light scratching over the large smooth areas. That was most prevalent with the gray suit on my Batgirl and it’s still the case with this piece. Granted, the studio lights and scrutiny of the camera tend to make it look worse than it is when displayed under normal lights. It would be great if they could clean this up, but I’ve learned to live with it. Otherwise, the only paint issue I can see on mine is a bit of yellow slop from her belt on her left hip, and that’s a pretty small flub.

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The portrait matches the animated style pretty well. Again, she has sculpted lines around her hood and mask and between the mask and her skin. The paint lines between skin and mask could have been a little sharper, but I’m really picking nits here, especially on a piece in this price range. The red paint used for her lips, on the other hand, is nice and clean.

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DST really went all out on the base here. It’s a rather large slab of rooftop with stone texturing and some sculpted bricks. That seriously would have been plenty, but they opted to add an adorable little kitty cat emerging from a chimney with a sack of diamonds in his mouth. This extra bit really goes a long way to give this piece some wonderful personality and I’m glad they did it.

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Once again, I find myself delighted to be collecting this line, especially since I’ve been resisting the urge to collect DST’s line of DC Animated figures. These statues give me some of that wonderful Bruce Timm style for my shelves, and between the low price point and frequency of releases, it’s something that I feel I can collect at my leisure and not worry about getting too far behind. These pieces continue to retail at about $45, but Amazon has been pretty competitive and pricing them between $30-$40, and that feels like a decent value to me.

DC Icons: (#14) The Joker by DC Collectibles

DC Collectibles is ramping up their DC Icons line to epic proportions in 2017 (seriously, there are a ton of these things coming out!), but for now, 2016 has been experiencing some delays in the last two waves. And yet, here we have The Joker from “A Death in the Family.” I don’t know what the deal was with him, but he slipped out to online retailers about a month before his wave was due to hit the pegs. I was going to wait and pick up the whole shebang when it shipped, but in the end, I just couldn’t resist getting him early.

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The package design is exactly the same as what we’ve been seeing all along. You get a nice, clean window box with a spiffy angled edge. The side panel has the figure’s name, number, and the source comic he’s based on. Everything is collector friendly and if space wasn’t such an issue, I’d certainly be keeping these packages. Sadly, they have to go to make room for more figures. So, let’s get him out of the box and check him out!

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Damn, I love the look of this version. For a character that has spanned comics, cartoons, TV and film, it would be impossible for me to pick a favorite incarnation of The Joker, so many of them have their merits. I could definitely pick a least favorite, but why pour gasoline on that fire? With that having been said, this figure takes some of my all time favorite elements of the character and blends them together into a why-so-seriously great look. The purple high collared trench coat, the pimp hat, orange waistcoat, striped trousers, and spats is the epitome of Joker outfits for me, and I particularly love the long and lanky body that this guy is built on.

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Complaints? I have a few. The way the waistcoat is painted on below the ab-crunch doesn’t look all that great, but I don’t see any other way around it. There are also a few stray marks of paint on my figure’s coat, but nothing too bad.

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The head sculpt here is fantastic. I love how they did the mouth. You can see straight between the teeth and there’s all kinds of detail in there, including his tongue. The paint on the face is pretty solid too, so long as you don’t get in too tight. He’s got some sparkly eye makeup and the bright green they used for his eyebrows and hair is perfect.

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The articulation here is consistent with what we’ve been seeing. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists, double hinges in the elbows, and swivels in the biceps. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, have double hinges in the knees, and the ankles feature both hinges and lateral rockers. There’s an ab-crunch hinge in the waist, and the neck is ball jointed. You get a total of five hands with the figure, but they aren’t complete sets. The figure comes with a set of fists, but the other three are all right hands. Here’s my biggest complaint with the figure, but first, let’s look at the two accessories.

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First, you get this nifty crowbar. There’s a hand designed to hold it, although the crowbar tends to slide in the grip. There’s a gap between the fingers if you want to pass it through and have him hold it that way, but I think it looks a little awkward.

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And then there’s my favorite accessory, the Thompson sub-machine gun. This thing is absolutely fantastic. I mean, just look at the paint apps and sculpt on this little weapon and compare it to what Hasbro is doing with their Marvel Legends weapons. It’s night and day. I think this is even better than most of the incredible small arms NECA is putting out with their figures these days. And that’s high praise indeed! Unfortunately, DCC included what appear to be two slightly different right gun holding hands, instead of a left hand to grab the front grip of the gun. They were already including an extra hand, so why make it an additional and unnecessary right hand. I’m baffled by this.

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Hand issues notwithstanding, this Joker is another top notch addition to my DC Icons shelf. This entire line has been quality from day one, and it’s exciting to finally be expanding on some of the more tightly related characters in the DC Universe. The Joker looks great alongside Harley or facing off against Batman. The fact that DCC is expanding this line next year pleases me to no end, and I’m particularly excited to pick up Firestorm when the rest of this wave finally hits.

Batman (Classic TV Series): Batman, Robin & Batgirl Box Set by Mattel

For today’s DC Friday, I’m pulling out a line that I thought I was done with. As most of you probably remember, the 1966 Batman TV Series was in licensing limbo for a long time. No DVDs, no toys, no nothing. Well a couple of years back some lawyers reminded everyone involved that money is a good thing and managed to break that log jam. The result was an avalanche of toys and merchandise. Mattel scored the 6-inch scale action figure license and produced a couple of series of figures and while they were far from exceptional, they were fairly decent by Mattel standards.“Holy backhanded compliment, Matty, are you going to let him get away with that?” SHUT THE HELL UP, ROBIN, ADULTS ARE TALKING!!! I liked the figures well enough, but let’s face it, they would have been in better hands with just about anyone else. Where was I? Oh yeah… let’s look at this…

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Yvonne Craig was one of the last hold outs in terms of likeness rights, Mattel finally got them, but the timing was awkward and unfortunate as the line was already breathing its final breaths. The package even makes a funny little jab at that fact with Robin’s quote: “Holy return from oblivion, Batman!” Mattel managed to get the figure out anyway, but in a typical Mattel dick move, they released her in this three-figure boxed set, making sure that pretty much everyone buying her was going to be re-buying the Batman and Robin figures too. This is actually my third time out with the same Batman figure, because Mattel made us buy him again in order to get Robin. Sheesh! In the end, this set arrived on store shelves around the same time the earlier figures were deep discounted on the clearance racks. I’m pretty sure this set was a Toys R Us Exclusive (that’s where I got mine), but there’s nothing denoting that on the package.

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The packaging here is actually quite nice, although based on early promo pictures, I assumed the box opened up to look like this, but nope, it’s just a weirdly shaped three-window box. Presentation was always this line’s strongest suit , and I think that’s reflected here. The colorful artwork is great and the box shows off each of the figures beautifully. The back panel even shows Batgirl’s motorcycle. which would have been a pretty cool vehicle for Mattel to make if this line had lived longer. While the individual carded figures were not at all collector friendly, this set is, so between the Batmobile and these figures, I still have the look of the package represented on my shelf. Anyway, if you haven’t guessed by now I’m really here to check out the Batgirl figure.  I’m not going to spend a lot of time with Batman and Robin, because I’ve already featured them here several years back. But let’s take a quick look at them anyway…

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Batman is the same as the carded release, which just means he doesn’t have the wire running through his cape. So, I suppose if you only bought the Batman & Robin 2-pack, this figure is new to you. Robin also comes sans cape wire, which means he’s also sort of a new figure and he’s nice to have as he fits in the Batmobile better than wire-cape Robin. The paint on this pair is OK, but the quality seems to have dropped a smidge from the earlier runs. My Robin has a stray mark of green paint on his upper right leg and my Batman has a stray blue mark on his chest. Overall, though, not bad.

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The articulation on these figures is pretty good for what are essentially Mattel’s Movie Masters line. The arms feature rotating hinges in the shoulders, swivels in the biceps and wrists, and hinges in the elbows. The legs feature those lateral hinges, which should be familiar to people from the DC Universe Classics days. There are swivels in the thighs and hinges in both the knees and ankles. There’s an ab crunch in chest and the necks are ball jointed. The right thigh swivel on my Batman is fused. It’s probably an easy fix with a little heat, but seeing as I now own three of these, I don’t think I’ll bother. A lot of people loved to shit all over these figures, but I really do enjoy them a lot. If these were available when I was a kid, it would have blown my little mind. Moving on to Batgirl…

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I watched the intro of every episode of Batman with baited breath to see if Batgirl was going to drive by in the animated intro sequence. They did that whenever she was going to appear and while I’m not sure I knew why back then, I always wanted her to appear. She made me feel funny in every good way possible. Mmmm… Batgirl. What? Oh, the figure… right. This was a great costume. It was campy and colorful and it really showed off Barbara’s Bat Assets. The costume itself is recreated quite nicely here, but something about Batgirl’s figure is lost in her figure. She just ends up looking a little too boxy in the hips and a little too lanky in the limbs. The same was the case with this line’s Catwoman. Still, all in all, I think the good outweighs the bad here.

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The cape is cool, so long as you’re OK with it always being spread out. The stitching is surprisingly well done for a figure in this scale and the fabric matches the purple paint on the cowl fairly closely. It’s definitely going for a singular look, but it displays nice on the shelf, so long as you don’t stand anyone behind her.

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The head sculpt is fine, although it really begs the question why Mattel needed the rights to Yvonne Craig’s likeness to make this figure. Sure, it looks like her, but I attribute that mostly to the cowl and mask and hair. The eyes are painted sharp and straight and the extra flare of mascara really sells it, but it’s hard to believe they had to pay out to the actress just for the eyes and the lower half of the face sculpt. If this were a Hot Toys figure or even a NECA release, I could understand it. You’d get more of an attempt at accuracy in the sculpt. This feels more like what we might have had in a vintage action figure likeness.

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The articulation here is pretty close to what we saw in The Dynamic Duo. You get identical articulation in the neck, arms, and legs. The only difference here is that the ab crunch on Batman and Robin is replaced with a ball joint under the chest. At least I think it’s a ball joint. Truth be told it only allows for a swivel on my figure. Despite her tiny feet and high heeled boots, she can stand surprisingly well. As for getting her to high kick? Well, as the fine print on the packages often say, that required some additional support.

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One of the fun little gimmicks of this line was the inclusion of stands for all the figures, each of which featured one of the comic style fight expletives. In this case, Batman gets “BAM!” Batgirl gets “SOCK!” and Robin gets “WHAMM!!” Each has a foot peg to secure the figure and there’s a slot in the back to stick in the collector card, which doubles as a backdrop. I’ve opted not to remove my cards from the box, but the fronts have animated shots of the characters, and I presume the backs have stills from the TV series. At least that’s how the carded figures did it.

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As I mentioned earlier, I really do like these figures and think it’s a shame they get dumped on as much as they do. I would have certainly been all in for another wave of villains. I think one of the big problems is that despite the “Adult Collector” moniker on the package, these feel more like toys to me than collectibles. But that’s fine, because in that sense they’re fulfilling a wish that I had as a kid. There’s no doubt a company like NECA could have done these better, hell they proved that with their one off Adam West Batman release, but I’m all for enjoying these for what they are, rather than lamenting over what they could have been. One legitimate gripe I do have about these was the price. These figures retailed for $20 a pop and these are definitely not twenty dollar figures. Not in any dimension. Fifteen? Yeah, I guess. And here’s where having to buy this whole set to get Batgirl won back a little favor with me. I got mine for $30 on clearance, which means if I factor Batgirl in at $20, I only paid five bucks a piece for the Dynamic Duo.

Son of Batman (DC Animated Movie Series): Batman by DC Collectibles

I know, a lot of you were probably expecting me to wrap up Wave 3 of DC Icons today on DC Friday. Pfft… like I’m going to buy Aquaman! Kidding! Kidding! Of course, I picked up Aquaman and he’s a fantastic figure. Truth be told, I’ve had a busy week and I didn’t have enough time to do Aquaman justice, so I opted to take a little detour and check out another one of the DC Animated Movie Series by DC Collectibles. These are pretty simple figures and don’t take nearly as long for me to look at. So let’s have a look at Batman from the Son of Batman movie! Hopefully his arm won’t fall off like Green Lantern’s did.

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It’s confession time! I haven’t seen Son of Batman yet, but I hear it’s pretty good. I actually bought this figure as a stand in for a Justice League War Batman that was never produced. Regardless, the figure comes carded in the same style as the JLW figures only with Son of Batman on the front insert and stills from the movie on the card behind the figure. The back of the card shows other figures in the line: Robin, Nightwing, and Deathstroke. If you’ll give me a moment, I’ll say a quick prayer to the QC Gods and get Bats out of his package.

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Alright! I’m happy to report that Batman made it out of the package without any breakage and looking pretty sharp. I was expecting a recycled buck from the JLW Hal Jordan or Barry Allen, but Batman looks mostly new. The overall shape and style of the body is similar, but Batman lacks the detailed muscles in the abs, making this look more like light armor. Most of the costume is achieved through paint apps. It’s a very dark charcoal gray with black painted panel lines, boots, gloves, and bat symbol on the chest. The gold belt is a mix of sculpt and paint and looks pretty good.In fact, all the paint on this figure is quite solid.

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The cape is particularly well done. I love the way it covers the shoulders rather tightly, it fans out just the right amount, and the scalloped edges end just a bit above the ground, so it’s not dragging. Nice!

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The head sculpts have been hit or miss in this line. We’ve had the sloppy Hal Jordan, the deformed Superman, and a pretty solid Wonder Woman and Cyborg. I’m happy to report that Batman can be counted with the better ones. Not only is the cowl excellent, but the exposed part of the face is clean and sharp and actually looks great.

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The articulation on these figures is the same throughout all the male bucks. It’s OK, but not great. It’s loads better than what we used to get from DC Direct, but not quite up to snuff with the other modern DC Collectibles lines. You get rotating hinges in the shoulders and elbows, hinges in the knees, ball joints in the hips, and a ball joint in the neck. A couple of my figure’s joints were a little tight out of the package, but I was able to coax everything into moving without breaking.

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That’s it! I said today was going to be quick and it was. I’d rate Batman among the best of these figures so far, or at least of the ones I’ve already opened. The stylized sculpt suits him beautifully, the paint is sharp and neat, the portrait is solid, and I’ve really got nothing at all to complain about. Well… at $20, the original price is a bit high for what you’re getting here, but I’ve been picking these up for ten bucks a pop, and I’m certainly satisfied here.So far, the best I can say is that I’d be happy to just own this one and Wonder Woman as stylized stand alone figures, but it’s not a line I’d recommend at anything other than deep discounts.

Femme Fatales “DC Animated Series:” Talia Al Ghul by Diamond Select

DST continues to work overtime churning out the statues from their new Femme Fatales and DC Animated Series partnership. I’ve been enjoying this line a lot, but I’ll confess it’s getting a bit exhausting to keep up with it since the line launched late last year. The modest little nook I set aside for the initial releases has now grown to a full shelf. Not only are they up to a half dozen regular releases, but there have already been a pair of Exclusives. The first was the 2015 SDCC Supergirl variant and now we have the first completely original Exclusive via e-tailer, Entertainment Earth… Talia Al Ghul!

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The box features the lovely deco based off Batman: The Animated Series and with windows positioned front, top and both sides, you can really get a great look at the statue before even removing it from the box. The front window has an EE Exclusive sticker and the top flap is sealed with a strip of Exclusive foil tape denoting that this is #1369 of 2000. There is no statement of limitation on the statue itself. Looks like I’m going in through the bottom! Talia first appeared B:TAS in the S2 episode “Off Balance” and later in the S3, two-parter “The Demon’s Quest” and this statue is an amalgam of both appearances. These were solid episodes with the unexpected Helen Slater voicing Talia and the great David Warner (always a favorite of mine) voicing Ras. Ah, Ras. “Have sex with my daughter or I’ll kill you!” Those are the kinds of arch villains I want if I ever get to be a superhero.

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Talia dons her “all business” black catsuit from “Off Balance” as opposed to her “all pleasure” temptress harem garb from “The Demon’s Quest.” While there was certainly something to be said for the later, I’m glad DST went with this look. Talia’s character started out strong only to get neutered somewhere between the two episodes and I think this version is a much better fit for the line. But, hey… if they want to do the other version somewhere down the road, I’d be on board. Since this is an animated style statue, the amount of sculpted detail is limited. I really like the way the edges of the gloves and boots are sculpted so as to look real and not only achieved with a shallow cut and paint lines. The portrait is well done, particularly the way her hair covers half of her face. The belt, holster, and thigh strap are all also part of the sculpt and look good. At about 9-inches tall, she scales perfectly with most of her fellow Femme Fatales.

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With these simpler animated style statues, the paint is all the more important in order to carry the day and Talia here sports some of the best quality paint I’ve seen in this series so far. There is virtually no slop to speak of here and the gray and purple on her outfit are very clean. The paintwork on her face looks especially crisp, which is a nice change after having a little flub on the right eye of my Wonder Woman statue. If I had one complaint here it would be the paint on her pistol isn’t as sharp as it could be, but I can live with that.

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Speaking of the pistol, it’s one of the two “accessories” that Talia is holding, the other being the Mask of Anubis. This is one of the points in which this statue straddles Talia’s first two appearances in the series, as the mask appeared in “The Demon’s Quest” and was worn as a disguise by her father.

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The other nod to “The Demon’s Quest” is the base, which depicts Talia standing on rocky ground at the end of a Lazarus Pit. It’s a great choice for a base and it looks pretty good. The bubbles added to the life-restoring soup are a nice touch. This contextual liberty that draws aspects from both episodes doesn’t bother me at all, but it might irk some purists out there looking for a statue from a definitive episode.

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Talia is another solid release in this line, and quite possibly one of my favorites so far. It’s great to be able to get all the animated styles of DC’s ladies together in one place and scale, especially for someone like me who hasn’t bought into DC Collectibles Animated figures… yet. Of course, the other big draw here is the price. With MSRP’s in the forty dollar range, these pieces really are some of the most affordable statues on the market and perfect for collectors who want to add some statues to their shelves, but not break the bank on higher end pieces. Talia is still available from EE at $45 plus shipping, but even as a limited store exclusive, this one can currently be had at a better deal elsewhere. I picked up mine from Amazon at $35 shipped, which is a solid deal for a regular edition, but even better for a limited piece like this one.