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.

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Justice League War (DC Animated Movie Series): Green Lantern and Cyborg by DC Collectibles

I had hoped to have the most recent wave of DC Icons for today’s DC Friday, but sadly it arrived a little too late to make my deadline. So today’s consolation prize will be opening up some more figures from the animated film, Justice League War. Some weeks back, I looked at Superman and Wonder Woman, today I’m checking out Green Lantern and Cyborg.

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The packaging isn’t anything special, but it is bright and clean. The figures come on a simple card and bubble,which aren’t at all collector friendly. The cards are generic, but have some stills from the film and the inserts and bubbles feature the name of the character inside. The bubbles here really let you inspect a lot of each figure, and I highly recommend giving the paint a good once over if you have the luxury of buying these at retail. Let’s start off with Green Lantern…

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Here he is, and we’re not off to a good start, because Hal’s left arm broke off at the elbow when taking him out of the package. Normally, that would earn a fail all on its own, but there’s so much else wrong with his figure, that I think it’s worth pushing on, so I did some temporary arm surgery to get us through the review.

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Whenever a company does an animated style figure, the paint is of paramount importance, mainly because the sculpt tends to rely more heavily on the paint for details. And in this case, Hal Jordan makes use of a buck shared with The Flash, so a lot of that extra effort should have gone into some top notch paint work. From the neck down, things aren’t too bad, but there are some notable inconsistencies in the striping, but really everything could have been a lot sharper. Even the power ring, which is kind of a big deal for a Green Lantern, is just a little green square that feels like an afterthought. I actually dig the stylized look of this buck a lot, and I’d imagine that any hobbyist with a basic level of customization skills could have done a much better job. But as sub par as the paint on the costume is, it’s nothing compared to this…

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I mean, seriously? There are white splotches all over his face, the hairline looks terrible and the line between the top of his mask and his forehead is just all slop. I don’t even know what’s going on on the top of his lip. It looks like he has a half-shaved blonde mustache. This would be unacceptable even on a 3 3/4-inch figure, but on a 6-inch collector line, there’s just no excuse for it. But then, let’s remember that this figure did break right out of the package.

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Articulation, for what it’s worth, features rotating hinges in the shoulders and elbows, ball joints in the neck and hips, and hinges in the knees. Of course, in my case I have to take back one articulation point in the left elbow, because when I do a permanent fix on this guy, it’ll lose that joint. I’ve had enough of this guy, let’s move on to Cyborg…

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Cyborg came out of the package without any crippling injuries, and I’ve got to say, he looks pretty good. It can’t be easy to take a complex design like Cyborg and simplify him for an animated model, and then rework that model into an action figure, but I think DCC has pulled it off here. He features a unique buck with some added parts, like the shoulder armor and knee pads, neither of which get int he way of articulation. Overall, I really like the mix of organic curves and angular cybernetic bits. The paint is mostly silver and black, with some red and blue accents, and while it is dirty and scratched in some areas it works OK for me as a version of Cyborg who has been out in action, even if that wasn’t the intention.

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The head sculpt is pretty solid for a line that has had more stumbles than victories in that department. The paint is overall solid here as well.

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Cyborg features the same level of articulation as the rest of the line and the joints here feel a lot chunkier and solid, particularly in those elbows. It’s serviceable, but there’s only so much he’s going to be able to do with this level of pose-ability.

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While it’s true that I’m picking this line up on the cheap (about ten dollars each), the fact is that they originally retailed at $20 a pop. Obviously, Green Lantern doesn’t reflect that kind of price point, even if his arm didn’t break. And while Cyborg is a very cool figure, I’d be hard pressed to justify paying $20 for him either. Indeed, having now opened four of these, my satisfaction is at the 50% mark, with only Wonder Woman and Cyborg so far being worthwhile pick ups. If I hadn’t already grabbed a load of these on clearance, I would probably be ready to stop now, but alas, there’s more to come! Next Friday, I’ll be moving on to those DC Icons figures, and I’ll be saving these Animated Movie figures for filler as I run out of better stuff to look at throughout the rest of the year.

Justice League War (DC Animated Movie Series): Superman and Wonder Woman by DC Collectibles

Marvel may be ruling the world of live action movies, but DC has long been kicking ass with their animated direct to video presentations. Justice League War was one of these and boy was it great. Superb characterization, a really fun Batman vs. Superman fight, some dude called Wonder Woman a whore and got outed as a transvestite, and overall a really good feature length treatment of the first story arc from The New 52’s Justice League book. Rather than just bring us animated Jim Lee art, these films tend to skew a little more stylized and if nothing else that gives them the opportunity to market action figures of the same characters to idiots like me.

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Now let me say straightaway, that I would have included Batman here, but for some inexplicable reason, they didn’t make a Justice League War version of Bats. Shazam? Sure! Batman, nah! That seems really shortsighted to me, but they did release him from Son of Batman, naturally I have him and I’ll get to him eventually. Anyway, the packaging here looks nice, but it’s a simple bubble on card affair and not collector friendly. You get some stills from the feature behind the figures and character art on the right panel insert. The figures are numbered, with Superman and Wonder Woman being #2 and #4, respectively. Let’s start with Superman!

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Oh, boy. This is a stylized re-imagining of the New 52 look, and I think the work on the costume is pretty solid. Keep in mind that this line uses some buck sharing, so with the exception of the cape, all the details on Superman’s costume are achieved with paint alone. I like the rich shades of blue and red they used and for the most part the lines are fairly sharp. The intricate panel lines of the comic look have been toned down to just a few. The package suggests these might glow in the dark, but I don’t see much evidence of that. There are a few unfortunate globs of glue on my figure, one by his right cape attachment and another on his left bicep. These were priced about the same as regular DC Collectibles figures, but the quality control on Supes could have been better.

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The cape is OK. It’s not too heavy and it doesn’t drag on the floor, so it doesn’t inhibit wider stances. There’s no S-shield printed on the back. I can’t remember if he had it in the film, but I’m guessing not. Moving on to the portrait…

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Sweet Kryptonian Jesus!!! While everything from the neck down is passable, I don’t know what is going on with this head sculpt. It’s like someone cast older Robert Z’Dar to play Supes. Too soon? Sorry Z’Dar fans. Anyway, this portrait is just all sorts of wrong and I’m hoping that the mold got pinched in production or something, because I don’t want to call anyone out on their work. Phil Ramirez sculpted him and he’s a talented guy. I have lots of his work in both action figure and statue form, so I’m just not sure what happened here. The promo pictures were actually spot on and should have been enough to warn me off the figure, but I remember thinking, there’s no way the actual figure’s portrait is going to look like that. I have no one to blame but myself.

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Articulation is pretty good for a DCC release. You get rotating hinges in both the shoulders and elbows, as well as swivels in the biceps. The wrists look like they have swivel cuts, but mine won’t budge and I don’t want to twist them off trying. The legs are ball jointed and the knees are hinged. And lastly, you get a ball joint in the neck. Let’s move on to Wonder Woman…

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Diana is an entirely different story, in that she’s excellent in almost every way. Granted, you have to buy into the the stylized design, and the fact that her costume got a pretty unique overhaul for this movie, but I happen to like it a lot. Wonder Woman is the only female in the Justice League War series, but I believe they might have recycled some of the parts for the buck for Mera from the Throne of Atlantis.

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Either way, her costume is also all achieved through a deco of red, blue, and silver paint, coupled with some flesh tones. There are a few lines that could have been sharper, there’s a stray spot of silver on her left heel, but all in all, I think the paint is good here. Her sculpted lasso is permanently attached to her hip.

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While Superman looks like he caught a freight train full of bees with his face, Wonder Woman’s portrait, sculpted by Jack Mathews, is very well done and quite faithful to her likeness in the film. The painted features on her face are very sharp and I especially dig her ponytail.

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The articulation here is close to Superman’s, just minus the bicep swivels.

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Wonder Woman comes with her short sword. It’s a welcome accessory, because she used the sword a lot in the movie… even to inadvertently demand ice cream at the point of a blade.

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I’d call my first foray into the DC Animated Movie Series to be a hit and a miss. Superman would have been fine if not for his unfortunately weird face, but I’ve got nothing but love for this Wonder Woman. In fact, she’s so good it makes me all the more sad that I don’t have a decent looking Superman to go with her. Ah, well… I also have a lot more of the Animated Movie Series to open, because most online retailers were blowing them out at $9.99 and I can’t help myself.