Batman (Classic TV Series): The Riddler by Mattel

Here we go… it’s the last figure from Mattel’s first wave of 1966 Batman figures. I saved The Riddler for last because he’s probably my least favorite of all the villains from that TV series. I don’t hate him, but for whatever reason, I just didn’t dig him as much as Joker and Penguin, or even King Tut and Egghead. I think I just found his riddles too damn annoying. Anyway, Mattel’s figure is based off Frank Gorshin in the role, so let’s take a look at how he turned out…

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We’ve seen this packaging on no less than four occasions already, so there’s no point in gassing on about any more. Robin’s dopey quote is new and the back of the card has a little blurb about the character and some artwork that is specific to this figure. Suffice it to say that I really like the presentation that Mattel went with here. It’s fun and it captures the wacky spirit of the show.

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The Riddler is certainly the simplest figure in this wave. You get a lean buck cast in green plastic with purple paint for the gloves and belt. Oh yeah, there’s also a bunch of question marks stamped on him. That’s not a complaint against the figure, rather just a commentary on the costume we’re dealing with here. Mattel did a good enough job for what they had to work with.

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I’ve seen a lot of complaints about the likeness here, but I’m not really sure why. For a mass market, $15 figure, I think the portrait is perfectly fine, albeit a little soft. Sure, we’ve seen better in even smaller scales, but it’s certainly not terrible. The eyes could have been set a little deeper behind the mask, and maybe Mattel could have gone with a more jovial and less angry expression, but I’m still pretty happy with what we got.

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Riddler features all the standard DCUC style of articulation. The arms have ball jointed shoulders, hinged elbows, and swivels in the biceps and wrists. The legs have the usual DCUC joints, swivels in the thighs, and hinges in the knees and ankles. He can swivel at the waist, he has an ab crunch in the torso and a ball jointed neck. Oddly enough, the ball joint in the neck doesn’t allow for much more than just side to side movement.

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Naturally, Riddler also comes with the collector card and stand. Riddler’s stand says “Ka-Pow!!!” I’m still digging the artwork on these collector cards a lot and the fact that they double as a backdrop for the stand is cool. They are also each one frame of a complete panoramic view of the Batmobile in the Batcave…

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Yep, it’s a great idea, but you really can’t see the backdrops with the figures on the stand, so it probably could have been executed better.

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And that wraps up the first wave of Mattel’s 1966 Batman figures. I really enjoy these figures, probably enough so that I will pick up the Batman & Robin two-pack just to get Robin. I’m also still waiting for the Catwoman figure, which I have on pre-order. Word is that Mattel has signed a merchandising deal with Yvonne Craig, so I’m really hoping that a Batgirl figure might be coming down the pike as well. I would certainly buy a second wave of these, especially if they rounded out the Rogue’s Gallery of the series.

DC Universe Signature Collection: Huntress by Mattel

Yes folks, Club Infinite Earths continues to wind down. After this month’s figure, there are only three releases left and truth be told Huntress here is the last one that I was really looking forward to. That means that assuming every figure that has come before has been a homerun, in the end I had little interest in about a quarter of the entire 2013 lineup. It’s no wonder that the 2014 sub didn’t make it. Anyway, let’s try not to piss in Huntress’ cornflakes over Matty Politics, let’s just check out the figure…

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It’s the same compact little window box we’ve been seeing all year. While I liked the packaging better before this year’s revision, I’m still fan of this style. If I had the space and these figures weren’t going directly into my DCUC display shelves, I would have certainly kept all of these boxes, but as it stands I’ve just been clipping out the back panels and tossing the rest.

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The back panel has a little bio for the character and some artwork. I’m usually a big fan of the Signature Collection character art, but every now and then they stumble and I think this is one of those cases. Huntress doesn’t look bad, but there’s something off about her face to me. She looks like someone doing cosplay at a convention and it’s the morning after the big drinking binge. It’s certainly not the art that was the basis for the figure’s sculpt and that makes for a strange detachment between package and product. It’s not the first time we’ve seen this, but it’s a pretty minor problem for me.

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Out of the package and Huntress is certainly a very solid figure. When I usually get a new DCUC style figure my mind begins to automatically dissect it to identify all the reused parts. Which body is it? Where’d he get that cape? Etc. etc. That wasn’t the case with this gal. While there’s obviously a standard female buck under there, she’s just brimming with newly sculpted bits and paintwork. The boots and gloves are brand new, as is the belt and the thigh straps and cape. The result is what feels like a totally fresh, new, and original figure. I love DCUC to death, but after years of collecting, that sense of new and original is not what I usually feel when getting a new figure in the line. All the newly sculpted bits here are quite good. The padded look of the boots, along with their straps and buckles, is executed particularly well. I love the scalloped look of her gloves, the holstered gun on her right leg, and all the pouches on her belt and thighs are nifty. The cape isn’t long enough to get in the way of posing, but it does make a nice support when trying to get her to stand in some tricky positions. Initial shots of the figure made me fear she was going to be a little chunky, but in hand, she looks great.

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The head sculpt is also something that I was a little uneasy about early on. The final result is quite good. I wouldn’t call it one of CIE’s best efforts, but it gets the job done rather nicely. In fairness, between the mask and her hair, there’s a lot going on with her portrait. I do like the way her hair is sculpted to hang down over part of her mask and the face is certainly pretty with clean paintwork. If I’m assessing Huntress’ head sculpt a little lower than the norm, it probably says more about the outstanding quality of other portraits in the line than it does about any real failings on this one.

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Overall, the paintwork here is pretty good. Unfortunately the only spot of slop on the whole figure is in a rather conspicuous spot, on her right shoulder, but even that isn’t all that big a deal unless you’re getting in real close with a camera. The white cross painted against her black top is nice and sharp, as is the border around the window that shows off her tummy. The shade of purple used is excellent and every little snap on the pouches and buckle on her boots has been carefully painted. Even the small parts of the gun in the holster are brushed with a metallic finish.

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Huntress features all the articulation I expect in this line. The arms are ball jointed at the shoulders, hinged at the elbows, and have swivels in the biceps and wrists. The legs have the usual DCUC style hinge at the hips, hinges in the knees and ankles, and the thigh swivels are cleverly hidden just under the straps and above the knees. She can swivel at the waist, has an ab-crunch hinge, and a ball jointed neck.

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Naturally, Huntress comes with her trusty crossbow. It’s a simple piece, sculpted in soft plastic, but it’s a solid enough sculpt and painted with a nice shade of metallic purple. Both of her hands are sculpted so as to hold it securely and she can even grip it in one hand and cradle it in the other.

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Huntress is an awesome figure and it’s kind of sad to see this kind of craftsmanship coming out of the line in its dying months. If Mattel was able to deliver a figure like this every month, I have no doubt Club Infinite Earths would have flourished for years to come. There are few figures that I regret getting, but Huntress is still one of the only ones that feel like she’s actually worth the price of $27 shipped. That having been said, I understand a little about how costing things out works in the business and it takes a lot of simple repaints and kitbashes to bankroll so much new tooling on a figure like this, but with more subscribers it wouldn’t have been as big an issue. Maybe that’s a Catch 22… I don’t know. What I do know is that this figure belongs is a high point in the line and she belongs in every DCUC collection. When considered with just a few other releases, Huntress easily justified the entire 2013 sub for me.

Batman (Classic TV Series): The Joker by Mattel

A few memorable actors have walked in The Joker’s clown shoes since the 1966 Batman TV Series and they’ve all left their mark on the character. But while the younger fans of Ledger and Nicholson and Hammill all argue for their individual champions, they tend to overlook the pioneer work of Cesar Romero. For the first half of my life, Romero was The Joker. By the time Nicholson donned the white grease paint in 1989, I was already nearly 20 years old. Toss in the fact that Romero played The Joker in something like 20 episodes and a movie, the truth is he will always be the most familiar portrayal of the character that I fall back on. And it doesn’t hurt that Romero did a f’cking fantastic job with the role. This figure is long overdue.

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The Joker comes on the same style of card that we saw earlier this week when looking at Batman. There’s a new Robin quote on the front and the back of the card is character specific. The artwork is based on the animated opening credits. I think it works better for Batman and Robin than it does for The Joker here. Apart from that, there’s nothing new to talk about here, so let’s just bust him open.

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I’m not going to mince words… I love this figure, but that does not mean it does not have its share of issues. The outfit matches his regular purple suit rather well and it’s layered on with soft plastic to give the figure some convincing depth and allow his coat tails to hang down the back of his legs. The downside of that is that he looks too bulky to me in his top half. Also, so much of his black tie is showing through his coat that it’s hard to tell he’s not just wearing a black top under that, when in fact he has a green shirt peeking out as well. These are not crippling issues, just things I think worth mentioning. If I wasn’t as starved as I am for this figure, I might be less forgiving.

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The head sculpt is great, although it’s worth noting that Mattel didn’t follow through on Romero’s sculpted mustache. A little detail like that was a big selling point for this line with collectors and the fact that it was cut in the end is a tad disappointing. Mattel still makes the nod with a little paint app under his nose. It works OK, but it’s not quite the same. Still, everything else about The Joker’s mug works so well for me that I’m willing to accept the change. His expression is just priceless!

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Lastly, I do think the one pointing finger is a strange choice. I’ll grant you, it’s amazing how many poses you can make it work in. I think a swap-out hand would have been a great idea here. I do like the idea of the pointing finger, but not so much if it’s my only option.

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Joker retains most of the articulation we saw with the Batman figures. He has ball joints in his shoulders, swivels in his biceps and wrists, and hinges in his elbows. His legs have the DCUC style hip joint, swivels in the thighs, and hinges in the knees and ankles. He can swivel at the waist and his neck is ball jointed. He may have an ab-crunch buried under that suit, but if he does it’s rendered useless.

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Joker comes with his own collectible card and I absolutely love it. It’s a great illustration and it reminds me of the kind of collectible Lobby Cards they used to have at the cinema ages and ages ago. It can also be flipped around to form the third panel of the Batmobile display for the figure stand.

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Yes, Joker also has the same style figure stand as the two Batman figures. His says, “ZAP!!” I’m not sure if I’ll be using these in my display, but I do really dig that Mattel included them with the figures.

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I could be a lot more critical of this figure, but the truth is nostalgia is blinding me here. Sure, there’s always room for improvement and I’ve pointed out all those particular areas that I thought could have been tweaked. That having been said, this is still, more or less, The Joker figure that I was hoping for. He definitely looks the part and he displays wonderfully next to his nemesis, Batman. I can’t wait to get him set up with some of his partners in crime. Next week, I’ll try to get to both Penguin and Riddler.

Batman (Classic TV Series): Batman and “Surf’s Up” Batman by Mattel

WHAT’S THIS??? A NEW WEEK OF FIGUREFAN’S FIENDISHLY FRESH FEATURES OF FIGURES?

Sorry, I couldn’t resist… Happy Monday. As a kid, the old Adam West Batman series was a big deal to me. I used to watch it in re-runs every single day when I got home from school. Every episode served up a weird mix of comic book style, camp, sexual ambiguity, latex fetish, and predicament bondage that both confused and delighted my impressionable little brain. It was also one of the few times my brother and I could sit down to watch TV and not have it come to blows over what we were going to watch. My brother is about as far from a geek as you could get, but even he couldn’t get enough of 1960’s Batman and Star Trek. Anyway, as a kid I had the Mego Batman figures and the Batmobile and whatever else I could get my parents to shell out for. It’s sad that there’s been such a long void of toys based on this classic series, but I suppose it makes it all the sweeter now that they’re actually here.

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Obviously, I picked up the entire wave in one fell swoop. It consists of Batman, Joker, Penguin, Riddler, and Robin. Oh… no. It doesn’t have Robin. It has Surf’s Up Batman. Why? Because Mattel wanted to make sure that if you bought this as a set, you got stuck with a remold of a figure you probably don’t want. And if you do want Robin you have to buy a two-pack with another Batman. Well, screw you Mattel, I’m not biting. I’ll do just fine without a Robin. I’m not buying that two-pack… Yeah, I’ll probably buy the two pack. Anyway, Surf’s Up Batman doesn’t deserve his own feature, so I’m going to look at both of them today. Let’s start off with the man himself…

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I love the packaging here. It’s obvious that the guys at Mattel had fun with this design and it really captures the spirit of the show. The front of the card is generic with only Robin’s speech bubble changed for each figure. There is, however, an insert in the bubble with the individual figure’s name. The bubble is also embossed with ‘BAM!” “POW!!” and “WHAMM!!” Maybe it’s a little too forced, but I definitely like it. Either way, I’m still just tearing it open and throwing the package away. If you are a mint-on-card collector, the die cut edges of the card are likely going to drive you crazy. Batman’s head juts out the side and will likely be very prone to bending and creasing either in shipment or on the pegs.

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The back of the card is a little more character specific. The artwork is patterned after the opening animation, which was probably good thinking for the look they were going for. There’s a blurb about the character as well. The bottom of the card shows the rest of the wave, plus Catwoman who should be following later on in a revision wave. Ok, let’s tear open Bats and see what he’s all about.

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The sculpt is simple, but effective. The head is the best thing about it, as I really think Mattel nailed Adam West in the cowl as best as we could expect in this scale and price range. The paint apps for the eyebrows and nose are also clean and well executed. The rest of the costume fits the part, and by that I mean it conforms to my memory after not having seen the show in about two decades. The utlity belt seems off, but again, I’m working on vague memories here and that having been said, I’m very happy with how the figure turned out.

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And then there’s the cloth cape. I’m still not sure about this. It looks OK on the figure, and I imagine it was done to let him sit in the Batmobile. I’m pretty sure I would have liked it better in soft plastic, but I don’t hate what we got. I suppose I’ll like it a lot more if I ever do buy the Batmobile.

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Despite featuring a brand new buck, Batman sports articulation very similar to what we saw in the DCUC line. The arms feature ball jointed shoulders, swivels in the biceps and wrists, and hinges in the elbows. The legs have the usual DCUC style hip joints, swivels in the thighs, and hinges in the knees and ankles. Batman can swivel at the waist, he has an ab-crunch hinge in the torso, and his neck is ball jointed. Oh yeah, my Batman has a stuck thigh swivel in his right leg. I’ll likely try freezing it to see if I can get it to give. The last time I had this problem was with my DCUC Raven figure and her leg twisted right off. I suppose if that happens, it’s more incentive to buy the Batman & Robin two-pack. UPDATE: Yup, freezing worked!

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Batman comes with a colorful figure stand with “POW!” printed on it. I’m not sure if I’ll use it for display, but it’s a very nice thing to have. You also get a Collector Card. I honestly thought it was the shitty little card showing through on the side of the bubble, but nope, there’s actually a very large card printed on heavy cardboard stock with artwork on both sides. I’m not going to say it’s any kind of major added value, but it beats the hell out of Hasbro’s Marvel Universe “Comic Shots.” It’s also designed to fit into the stand and make a backdrop, although you can’t really see it with the figure on the stand.

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Ok, let’s run through Surf’s Up Batman super-fast. Here’s the packaging, front and back.

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Again, not much new on the front. Just a different dopey Robin quote. The back of the card, however, is specific to this figure.

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It’s the same goddamn figure only wearing yellow swim trunks! Apart from the newly sculpted trunks, there are no other changes. He does retain all his hip and leg articulation despite his new swimwear.

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And, yes, he also has a big surfboard. The surfboard looks good, but it’s kind of flimsy and made of softer plastic. It has two pegs on it so you can stand the figure on it pretty well, but with the fin in the bottom, it’s kind of heard to display him riding it, unless you balance the board on something else.  I joke about Mattel sticking us with this tweaked repack, but truth is you’re getting a lot more for your money with this figure than you are with regular Batman, so long as you don’t mind your Batman wearing swim trunks and carrying a skateboard.

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You also still get a new collector car and a new figure stand. This time the card has Batman and the Joker surfing and the stand says “BIFF!!!” It also reveals that the backs of the cards are meant to form a single backdrop when the stands are put side by side. In this case, it’s the Batmobile parked in the Batcave. It’s a cool idea, but there’s a huge gap between the backdrops, and again, with the cape, you really can’t see the backdrops behind the figure when they’re plugged into the stands.

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No doubt, Batman is a solid figure. Hell, I even have to admit to digging Surf’s Up Batman just because he’s so ridiculous that he captures the spirit of the show. Part of me still wishes NECA could have procured the master license, rather than for just the quarter-scale figures, but even still Batman and Mattel have always been a pretty good fit. Despite the Adult Collectible moniker on the packages, these definitely feel more like toys than collectibles, but I’m OK with that. I’m ultimately happy with what we got so far, although I still think it’s inexcuseable to not have a single-carded Robin.

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Anyway, give me a few days to cover some other stuff, and I’ll swing back at the end of the week with The Joker.

DC Universe Signature Series: Fire by Mattel

Yes, Club Infinite Earths is dead, but its animated corpse still shuffles on, at least for a few more months. August gave us Brazillian bombshell Fire, a character that many, including myself, were eager to see released in the DCUC style. Naturally, Matty took this opportunity to pull a really clever move (or douchebag move, depending on your point of view) and release only Fire this year and save her partner Ice for the 2014 Sub. Of course, now we know there will be no 2014 Sub so we can only hope that somewhere and somehow Matty will let us buy Ice for a lot more than she’s worth just so we can complete the duo.

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Fire comes in the same compact little window box that we’ve been getting all year from CIE. The character art is quite good and there’s a little bio on the back. The box is totally collector friendly, but in the interest of space, I’ll be clipping off the back panel for keepsies and pitching the rest of it.

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Out of the package and Fire is a pretty nice looking figure. I have some issues, but nothing terribly crippling. Her two-tone green costume consists of a pair of smooth and featureless pants, heeled boots, a pair of appropriately uneven gloves, and a boob wrap… for lack of a better term. She also has a gold and green belt that hangs from one hip. I dig the work Matty did on the costume. I think her top should have extended a little lower, like maybe just to the ab-crunch, but I’m picking nits on what is overall a solid effort.

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The head sculpt, I’m not totally keen on. She looks a little less super model and a little more severe. The hair is full on 80’s, which makes her look like she would belong jamming with Jem and the Holograms as much as fighting in The JLI. Again, I’m nitpicking, but in truth the sculpt works ok for me. The paintwork on her face is crisp and sharp and I like the wash they did on her hair.

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Running through the articulation, Fire does pretty well for a female DCUC buck. You get ball joints in the neck and shoulders. Her arms have swivels in the biceps and wrists, and hinged elbows. Her legs feature the usual DCUC style hip joints, swivels just above the knees, and hinges in the knees and ankles. She can swivel at the waist and has an ab-crunch hinge. No complaints here.

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Fire does come with an effect part, which is a translucent green flame that can fit over either of her fists. As far as effect parts go, it’s not bad.

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Yes, it’s a bitter time for Club Infinite Earths and Fire doesn’t help matters much. She’s a truly solid figure, and I am a big JLI fan, so I’m very happy to have her. But having her in hand makes me wonder how Ice will ever make it out and whether she’ll be difficult to get or expensive. It seems like the least Matty could have done was ship Ice to those who subbed as a consolation prize. I would have been totally fine with that in lieu of a refund, which still hasn’t shown up in my bank account. Anyway, I suppose it’s nice to know we have a few figures left to look forward to before Batzarro ships at the end of the year and makes me wonder whether the Sub dying wasn’t such a bad thing after all.

DC Universe Classics: Green Lantern (Alan Scott) by Mattel

Consider today’s feature as a eulogy and a review. The eulogy part comes into play because DCUC died this week with Matty Collector’s failure to get sufficient support for Club Infinite Earths. Sure DCUC proper has been dead for a little while, but the torch was being carried on by the various Unlimited lines at retail and the DC Signature Collection by way of subscription. I had no delusions about CIE going through this time, the support just wasn’t there and I’m not going to tick off the multitude of reasons as to why I think that was the case. Suffice it to say, I did my part and bought a sub, and I suppose I’ll consider myself lucky if I actually get that $35 refunded. Aaaaaaanyway… with no new figures ahead, I can now devote more time to looking back and filling the many holes in my collection. Today we’re doing just that with a look at Alan Scott, Green Lantern, from Wave 14. This figure has been sitting unopened beside my desk for over a month, and I suppose this week was as good a time as any to open him up.

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And here’s a blast from the past… it’s the DCUC packaging! I still love it! Green Lantern comes to us from Wave 14, also known as the Ultra Humanite wave because that’s the C&C figure you build with all the parts. Wave 14 was also one of those pesky Walmart Exclusive waves. Ah, yes, a great partnership that was. The only problem with it being none of the Walmarts in my area has sold any DCUC figures since Wave 10 or 11. Brilliant!

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I’ve been slowly piecing this wave together from second hand retailers ever since it first came out. I’m still missing Tyr and Hourman, as well as Alan’s son, Obsidian. Unfortunately, I bought at least one of the others loose, so even after I complete the wave, my Ultra Humanite is going to be missing something. In addition to the C&C piece, you also get a little collectible button. Somewhere, I have a cigar box with a bunch of these rattling around in there. It’s nothing special, but it sure beats those shitty little bits of cardboard that Hasbro calls Comic Shots.

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And there he is in all his Golden Age glory. I am a sucker for these vintage costumes! He sports a far more colorful and interesting outfit than the Lanterns who have come since. You get green trousers and red shirt with the old-timey lantern emblem sharply tampo’ed on his chest. The back of his cape is purple and the lining is green. The paintwork on my figure is a little rough in some spots, particularly the yellow on the buckle and there’s some stray yellow on his shirt.

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In addition to the colorful costume, you also get a fair amount of unique sculpting here. The yellow wraps on his boots are sculpted, he’s got a new belt and buckle, and his high collared cape looks fabulous. Naturally, he has his power ring sculpted on his left hand. The head sculpt is pretty good, albeit a little ambiguous. His mouth is a little open, he’s showing his teeth. He doesn’t exactly look fierce, maybe he’s about to dispense some verbal justice. Maybe he’s yelling at kids to get off his lawn. Either way, it works for me.

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Of course, you get the standard DCUC articulation. The arms have ball joints at the shoulders, hinges at the elbows, and swivels at the biceps and wrists. The legs have the usual universal joint at the hips, hinged knees and ankles, and swivels at the thighs. Alan cannot swivel at the waist, but he does have an ab crunch hinge in the torso and his neck is ball jointed.

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In addition to the collector button and the C&C part, Green Lantern comes with his trusty lantern. It’s the old style, which is very cool. What’s not cool is that the metallic green paint on the handle flakes off if you look at it funny. When I put it into or take out of his hand it flakes all over the place.

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Yes, I’ll confess that Alan Scott is not top of my list of Green Lanterns, but I still enjoy the character, I love the retro feel of his distinctive outfit, and I really dig this figure. It surprises me that it took fourteen waves for him to make it into the line. As for the death of Club Infinite Earths being the end of the line for the series, well it’s really not for me. I’ll be able to divert my resources backward and start working on completing my collection. There are still a lot of figures and C&C parts for me to hunt down. Besides, I’ll be surprised if we don’t see some more figures in the DCUC style popping up here and there in the years ahead.

DC Universe Classics: Captain Boomerang by Mattel

My quest to fill in the holes in my DCUC collection continues. Today I’m celebrating the recent pick-up of Captain Boomerang from the Ebays at a pretty good price. He harkens back to Wave 18 and came to me loose, sans the Apache Chief C&C piece, but he was still clutching his boomerang, bless his little heart. The last time I saw Digger Harkness pre-reboot he was killed after murdering the shit out of Dick Grayson’s father to impress his own son, Owen. Yes, Identity Crisis had some lovely father-and-son bonding moments. And yes, he was resurrected after that. More recently, Boomer has been mixing it up with Deadshot in the pages of the “New 52” Suicide Squad comic, which I do enjoy quite a lot. As I said, there’s no packaging so we’re just going to dive right in with a look at the figure.

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While technically, this is Digger Harkness, the figure works fine for Owen Mercer as well. For a villain, I always thought Boomerang had a dashing looking costume. Sure it’s all drab EVIL colors, but the combination of the trenchcoat, skullcap and flowing scarf really works for me. Besides, if you want to use him as Owen, he’s ain’t all bad anyway. Either way, Mattel did a bang-up job translating the ensemble into plastic form. The trenchcoat is designed as a vest with the arms sculpted to look like sleeves. Both Hasbro and Mattel use this trick a lot and I think it works fine in this scale. Digger has his trademark bandolier strap of boomerangs slung across his chest and each one is individually painted. I think it would have been cool if they had left one loop empty to tuck his loose one in, but oh well.

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Boomer’s head sculpt is definitely among my favorites in the DCUC line. The likeness is great and the expression is priceless. The unshaven look is sculpted right into his face, and the paintwork on his eyes and eyebrows is clean and vibrant. Even the texturing on his hat is cool. It’s a great portrait with a ton of personality.

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Articulation is standard DCUC fare, plus a couple of extra hinges. You get ball joints in the neck and shoulders. The arms have bicep swivels, wrist swivels, and DOUBLE-hinged elbows. The legs have the usual DCUC joint, thigh swivels, DOUBLE-hinges in the knees and hinged ankles. His torso swivels at the waist and has an ab crunch hinge. The nice thing about his coat design is that it doesn’t impede his articulation much at all!

Boomerang comes with… wait for it… a boomerang! Well, mine came with “A” boomerang, I’m not sure how many the figure originally came with. He can hold it fairly well in his right hand.

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I’m always happy to add another figure to my DCUC rogues gallery, especially when the figure turns out as well as Boomerang. It’s funny, but as I look at my shelves it’s apparent that Flash and Batman are winning with the most bad guys. But in all likelihood, Boomerang will be chilling with Deadshot a lot more than with Captain Cold, Mirror Master, or Zoom. Damn, I really need to get me a Gorilla Grod and Mattel, you really need to make a King Shark. Get on that, please.

DC Universe Signature Collection: Red Hood by Mattel

It’s been a long week, I’m coming down with something, and I just want to flop onto the sofa and do very little of anything. It’s no coincidence that today I’m going to look at a figure based on a character I don’t care a hell of a lot about: Red Hood! Yeah, for the most part, I’ve been lucky with my Club Infinite Earth subscription. My interest in the DC Universe runs pretty broad and deep, but sooner or later I was bound to get a figure that I could have done without. And so, this guy arrived on my stoop this week in complete disregard for my apathy toward most Batman comics. Let’s get this over with, so that I can pop in a DVD and go back to being horizontal again.

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There’s the packaging we’ve all come to either love or tolerate from DC’s Signature Collection. I still dig it. You get a nice window box that shows off the figure quite well and is totally collector friendly. The character art is usually excellent on the DCSC packaging, but in this case, it seems off. There’s just something about the character likeness that doesn’t work for me. Maybe it’s the head sculpt? I kid, I kid… Red Hood’s head is a giant Tylenol gel capsule. It’d be hard to screw up the likeness on the box art. It’s fine.

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And here he is in all his glory. Red Hood is a f’cking terrible character design. It’s possible that he’s more credible in the comics, but as an action figure, he looks like he could have been one of the MOTU designs that lost to Fearless Photog back in the 80’s. But he is what he is, so I’m going to try to not beat up on the figure too badly. Oh, who am I kidding? Yes I am.

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Red Hood uses a standard DCUC style buck molded in pale grey plastic. His gloves are sculpted, but his boots are just painted on, as is the chest emblem. None of the paint lines are particularly sharp and there’s some mold flashing on the arms. The cape is plugged into a hole in the back of the buck and the head is just a big pill painted red. At the very least, Mattel could have used a clear dome for the head and painted the inside red to give it a little illusion of depth. What’s here looks like the quickest, cheapest, and dirtiest of cash grabs. On the bright side, at least you get two pistols. Too bad they’re so thin that they’re almost two-dimensional. Functional holsters might have helped nudge the figure up a notch in my eyes, but no. On the contrary, only one of his hands is sculpted with a trigger finger to hold the gun properly.

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Articulation is the standard DCUC affair. The arms feature ball joints in the shoulders, swivels in the biceps and wrists, and hinged elbows. The legs have the usual DCUC style joint in the hips, hinges in the knees and ankles, and swivels in the thighs. The torso has a waist swivel and an ab crunch hinge. And yes… the dome will turn from side to side… brilliant!

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And that’s it… I’m spent. If you’re a big Jason Todd fan, then this figure might scratch your itch, but it’s the first one in the CIE sub that I would have preferred to have opted out of. In fact, he may still find his way onto Ebay. Despite acquiring a renewed love for the character, I hate this appearance. It just feels like  lazy character design, and the figure feels like a slop job. In the congested shelves of my DCUC display case, I’m not sure I even want to spare him any standing room. $28 for this guy?  Blah!

And that’ll do it for DC Week. I’ll try to mix things up a bit more next week, but I have a feeling the pendulum is going to swing the other way and we’re going to be in store for a fair amount of plastic Marvel tat. See ya’ll on Monday!

DC Universe Classics: Etrigan the Demon by Mattel

Ok, let’s kick off this DC Week… Jack Kirby and 1972: Both are awesome. 1972, because that’s the year I was born, and Jack Kirby because… well, he’s Jack friggin Kirby… architect of so many of the fictions and characters that I have consumed and loved since I was a child. Of course, 1972 was the year that Kirby created Etrigan, a great character, albeit one that Kirby reluctantly nurtured. He’s been missing from my DCUC shelf for far too long. These past few weeks, I’ve been filling the holes on my DCUC shelf via the Ebays, and Etrigan was one of the first characters that I went after. And so, for today’s feature, we part the veil of time itself and journey into the past… taking us all the way back to the beginning… DC Universe Classics… Year One… Wave One… Insert dramatic lighting crack here!

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I picked this guy up loose, so there’s no packaged shot, but DCUC’s packaging has only gone through superficial changes throughout its twenty wave lifespan, so we aren’t missing much. He was packaged with a Collect & Connect part for Metamorpho, but mine came without the part. Metamorpho will have to be one of those C&C figures that I splurge on as my collection nears completion.

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Etrigan has a face that even Jason Blood’s mother couldn’t love, and while that may be a slam against Etrigan, it’s high praise for the figure. The head sculpt is definitely up there among my favorites in the DCUC line. They really captured his scowl perfectly, along with the heavy brow and piercing red eyes. I also really dig the glossy paint, which gives him a bit of a slimy look. Is Etrigan supposed to be slimy? I don’t know, but it looks great on the figure.

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Etrigan’s top half is mostly standard buck, although keep in mind, this was the first wave, so there really isn’t a standard buck yet. The combination of jagged cut sleeves and wrist cuffs give him a nice medieval look. The bare legs are sculpted with nasty demon skin and veins, right down to his little medieval booties. His whole ensemble is tied together by his ragged, blue cape. Mattel certainly nailed Etrigan’s iconic look here. Brilliant!

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Of course, you get what will become the standard DCUC buck. He has ball joints in the neck and shoulders. The arms have hinged elbows and swivels in the biceps and wrists. His legs have the usual DCUC style hip joints, swivels in the thighs, and hinges in the knees and ankles. He also has the ab crunch in the torso.

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And so, Etrigan joins the ranks as addition number 160-something to my DC Classics/Unlimited/Signature/Etc. shelves. He’s a great indication of the awesome figures to come in future waves and it’s nice to finally have the character represented in my collection. To celebrate, I think I’ll go watch the excellent Justice League episode, “A Knight of Shadows” and maybe even finally get around to reading some of Paul Cornell’s Demon Knight books. Tomorrow… we’ll check out some DC Direct goodness.

DC (Batman) Unlimited: “New 52” Batgirl by Mattel

Bringing back Barbara Gordon as Batgirl… it was easily the most controversial thing for me about the “New 52” because it meant in turn that Oracle had to go. I was pretty bummed about that… until I saw Gail Simone was at the helm of the new book and I got over it… sort of… kind of… a little bit. Needless to say Batgirl has been regular reading for me since the reboot and I was rather anxious to pick up the new action figure of Babs for my “New 52” DCUC shelf. Alas, this one proved to be a tough figure to find at a reasonable price, but we’ll get to that in due time. First, let’s have a gander at the packaging.

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Yes indeedy, I do love the Unlimited packaging, particularly for the snazzy shingle of character art that runs beside the figure. It’s just gorgeous. I feel bad for the mint-on-card collectors because these packages are huge. They’re also apparently hard to keep in good condition. I don’t think I’ve gotten a single DCU figure where the card wasn’t all frayed at the edges. If I didn’t already own the comics, I’d be tempted to keep the insert with the character art. But… I care not. I’m ripping this baby open with extreme prejudice.

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Unlike a lot of people, I dig many of the New 52 costume redesigns (just don’t get me started on what they did to Zatanna), and Batgirl here is par for the course. The head sculpt sticks fairly true to tradition. The hair looks really great flowing out from the back of her cowl and it doesn’t inhibit her neck articulation nearly as bad as I assumed it would. I’m also very pleased with the paintwork on the eyes and lips as it is both clean and precise.

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The New 52 Batgirl is sporting more of an armored look then past incarnations, and that’s reflected nicely in the sculpt. The scalloped armor and panel lines are all present and her bat crest is sculpted rather than just painted on. I’m a big fan of the cape, particularly its triangular configuration that keeps it from dragging on the ground. In the end, though, I think it’s the coloring that really makes this such a stand out figure. The mix of high gloss black and the more subtle gold go great together, and I love the purple for the interior lining of the cape and the black matte used for the back. It’s a killer deco that makes her pop on the shelf, even next to her colorful superhero peers.

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Batgirl features solid articulation, although she is missing two points that are rather crucial to me. There are ball joints in the neck and shoulders. The arms feature hinges in the elbows and swivels in the wrists. The legs have the usual DCUC style hip joints, swivels in the thighs, and hinges in the knees and ankles. She does have a ball joint in the torso. It’s very well concealed and it doesn’t offer a lot of movement, but it is there. So what’s missing? Bicep swivels! Matty’s been a lot better at including them on the female figures, but I guess Batgirl missed out.

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I’ve got no chance of finding any of these figures hanging on the pegs, so I’ve had Batgirl on my Amazon Wish List for a while, where she languished at the price of $25. Even with my Prime free shipping, I wasn’t going to pay that much. Although, seeing as how that’s about what I pay for my Club Infinite Earth figures, I’m not sure why I was so reluctant. Anyway, just last week she dropped to $15.99 and I pulled the trigger. She’s a fantastic figure, thanks to a solid sculpt and a stellar paint job and another great addition to my New 52 shelf!