Monday, January 19, 2015

Action Figure Review: Red Hood from DC Comics Designer Series: Greg Capullo by DC Collectibles

     The Red Hood Gang has a long history in Batman lore, so it makes sense that Scott Snyder brought them back for the New 52's Batman origin story. Appearing originally in issue #0 of Batman and later reappearing in issue #21 to kick off the Zero Year storyline "Secret City" the Red Hood Gang is a band of movers and shakers in Gotham who conceal their identities with red armored masks. They have a leader in Red Hood One, a mysterious and sadistic villain with an inestimable reach in Gotham, and prove to be a challenge for Bruce as he is beginning his career as a crime fighter. This figure appears in series 2 of DC Collectible's awkwardly named "DC Comics Designer Series: Greg Capullo" line which is filled with Batman characters that Capullo has rendered within the New 52. It's been a great Batman line so far with a great mixture of heroes and villains, new faces and old favorites. Read to look at figure #5, the Red Hood? Then join me after the break...

The Facts:
Height: 7 1/2 inches tall (his hood is really tall)

Articulation: Swivel/hinge ankles, hinged knees, swivel hips, swivel waist, swivel shoulders, swivel biceps, hinged elbows, swivel wrists, and a ball jointed head.

Accessories: Alternate Red Hood Gang portrait, pistol, uzi submachine gun, pick axe, Waynetech sonic rifle.

The Positives:

* The sculpt on Red Hood is awesome. The box credits Jonathan Matthews for the superb sculpt, so I will too. It's not that the Red Hood is a particularly complex character design or anything; it's that he's so average that it's a real credit to Matthews that he really stands out as perhaps the most unique figure in the wave. His suit looks good and features some great crisp details in the jacket. The head sculpt for the Red Hood leader is also perfect. Check out the shape of the chin and the individual teeth? The paint is perfect on that head sculpt and overall this is just a stellar looking figure.

* One of the best things about this figure is that it includes two heads: The Red Hood gang leader (Red Hood #1) and the regular member head. Both heads look awesome, are easily swappable, and set atop a ball joint that has an amazing range of motion. You can truly get some very expressive gestures with just the heads on this gent.

 *In addition to the swappable portraits, Red Hood comes with an Uzi, a pistol, a Waynetech sonic rifle, and a handheld pickaxe. All four weapons have excellent sculpts while the sonic rifle and pickaxe have some nice paint applications, too. Army builders could really create a decent looking Red Hood Gang of their own with a few copies of this figure. Lots of options.

The Negatives

*Over the past year or two, DC Collectibles has really been selecting which of their figures get the super-articulated treatment and which don't. This makes sense: Does the Riddler really need to be as well articulated as Nightwing? Red Hood is one of the less articulated figures in the line. He's a guy in a suit who mostly uses guns, so that makes sense, but his swivel shoulders and the shape of his hands really prevent him from attaining any good shooting poses. He looks great standing around and being menacing, but he can't do the one or two things he needs to do. Honestly, this guy easily could have sacrificed his ankle and knee joints even for swivel/hinge shoulders and better wrist joints.

*The Red Hood can't really hold his pistol or Uzi in his hands in any way that looks convincing. He can carry them but not aim them at anyone. The hands are made from a very hard plastic and they have very tight grips not particularly well suited to hold these accessories. He looks great carrying a weapon but if you want him to engage in gun play, you're going to find out that he looks like an amateur.

     This is a Great figure that had it been better able to hold its weapons could easily have been Epic. I'm really excited to see DC Collectibles getting new Batman villains in the line and Red Hood was a great choice. He's a well done figure and definitely shows how DC Collectibles has tackled many of the quality control issues that have plagued them in the past; now they just need to tighten up some design issues and they'll be a force to be reckoned with.


  1. I like the small full face helmet versus the longer bullet like just looks odd to me.

    1. Yeah, the shape is definitely unusual but it's clearly a throw back to the classic Joker Red Hood but the exposed grin is different. Read the Zero Year storyline, though, and you'll develop quite an appreciation for this character. It's a really good story arc.

  2. My thinking when I first saw this character is that he looks kinda like something out of a manga rather than a batman villian. Aside from the forearms looking a bit too long (might just be the pictures), he'd be a great base to make a figure of The Friend from "20th Century Boys". All you really need to do is wrap bandages around the more normal sized head, paint on an eye, and maybe paint the suit a different colour. Hmmmmm.....

    1. I had to look that up, but I can kind of see it with the suit and the shape of the smaller, form fitting mask. The manga observation makes a lot of sense, though. I think I read that one of the decisions from Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo for Batman: Zero Year was to go in a completely opposite direction from Miller's Year One. While Year One has a very subdued color palette and clings closely to a realism of sorts, Zero Year, while paying homage to Miller in places, definitely tries to be over the top and extravagant. Bright colors, large set pieces, and almost implausible circumstances. It definitely has a manga-esque feeling to it.

  3. I do love Zero Year so I will be checking these guys out.

    1. Red Hood is definitely worth a look. I want to get the Zero Year Batman sometime, too. There's just a lot of good stuff out from DC Collectibles right now.


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