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Wednesday, November 26, 2014
Tuesday, November 25, 2014
Tier One: Batgirl stuff- Figures, busts, autographs, etc. If it's based on Barbara Gordon as Batgirl (or Oracle) I'm on it like white on rice.
Tier Two: Batman, Villians, or Bat-Family members in the 6-7 inch scales: Basically any Batman figure, villains or other Gothamites from DC Collectibles, DC Direct, or Mattel.
Tier Three: Villains in any scale- This can be Batman: The Animated Series figures, Infinite Heroes, or older movie figures. I'm sort of picky with these and the more unique the villain is, the more likely I am to hunt them down.
Tier Four: Other Batman stuff- Legends of Batman, Imaginext, etc.
Today I'm looking at the Dual Destruction Two-Face from the Batman: Power Attack line by Mattel. These are the current (well, they seem to be being phased out) evergreen Batman line that are targeted more towards kids than collectors. He's a Tier Three buy for me, which is why I only picked him up in a bargain bin for $2.99 at the Great Escape in Madison, Tennessee (shout out!). He's a pretty cool version of Two-Face and I like him a lot more than the previous Power Attack figure I reviewed, Attack in the Box Joker. Ready for a closer look? Let's do it!
DC Total Heroes, the Power Attack Batman line has been Mattel's evergreen Batman line for about the past year and a half. It's definitely designed for kids and features a very stylized look, but for this set I figured "How often do you get to buy a Batcave?" Batcaves have always been some of the most prominent and best playsets available, which is interesting because rarely does much combat occur in the Batcave (part of the reason why Kenner's six paneled Batcave playset is one of the best playsets ever). Still, Batcaves are awesome in general, so I paid my cash plus tax to the cashier and left Big Lots with the Blast and Battle Batcave. How is it? Read on and find out, chum!
Mattel's Adam West styled Batman from the Batman: Classic TV Series line. While the headsculpt resembled Mr. Adam West in the cowl quite well, the body seemed too gangly and oddly proportioned. I honestly had planned to be done with the line (barring a future Yvonne Craig as Batgirl figure release, of course) but finding most of the basic figures on sale for about $5 changed my tune a bit. While these weren't $16 to $18 dollar figures to me, $5 seemed just about right. Today I'm looking at one of the wackiest figures from the line, Surf's Up Batman. Based on the third season episode "Surf's Up! Joker's Under!", this figure shows Batman as he engages the Joker in a surfing contest in his cool swimming trunks and full Batman costume. Ready for a figure that's weird, wild, wet, and wacky? Will I like this figure better than the previous Batman figure? Only time will tell, the time that it takes you to jump past the break of course....
Originally appearing in 1948, the Riddler is an interesting character who spent many years being sort of a Joker-lite. While he was more compulsively obsessed with puzzles and riddles than the Joker, both of them sort of had similar personality traits. During the 1980s, when the Joker's much darker personality really began to reemerge (the oldest Joker stories were pretty dark), the Riddler began to find his niche. Soon after, in Batman: The Animated Series, we saw the next development of the character as a brilliant, somewhat suave individual who compulsively felt the need to challenge Batman's intellect. While the Joker was Batman's equal in willpower, the Riddler truly was Batman's equal in brainpower. I always see portrayals of the Riddler as fitting in one of two camps: the laughing and goofy prankster or the cool, calculated mastermind. Gorshin's portrayal of the character might just be the definitive representation of the prankster version of the Riddler ever. Ready for a look at the figure? Then join me after the break....
First appearing in Detective Comics #58 in 1941 and continuing to harass Batman and Robin on numerous occasions, The Penguin has certainly cemented himself as one of Batman's A-list villains. While Penguin seems to be a divisive member of Batman's gallery of rogues (some fans just don't like him), there's no doubt that he's extremely well know. Much of the character's A-list status can be attributed to his appearance in the 1966 Batman TV show where he was played by actor Burgess Meredith. Meredith took all of the crazy elements of the character (the odd behavior, birdlike laughter, obsession with birds and umbrellas) and really crafted what might be considered by many to be the definitive representation of the Penguin. While I have a fondness for Danny Devito's portrayal of the character and consider Gregg Hurwitz'sPenguin: Pain and Prejudice to be the best Penguin story ever written, when someone asks me to think of the character Burgess Meredith is who springs to mind. What you might be noticing is that while I was initially very displeased with this action figure line (I didn't care for Batman) I've since come around on a few of the figures. Is Penguin going to be closer to the top of my list or closer to the bottom? Read on and find out!
There is no villain in comics that is more recognizable than the Joker. While he's been a long term Batman foe, much of his continued popularity can certainly be attributed to Cesar Romero's portrayal of the Clown Prince of Crime in the 1966 Batman TV series and the accompanying film. My guess is that for most fans of the 1966 Batman TV series who wanted action figures, the Joker and Batman were at the top of the list. While Romero's tone for the Joker was certainly a lighter, more whimsical approach to the character that was more in line with then contemporary representations of the character rather than the earliest representations, he certainly crafted an influential and lasting version of the Harlequin of Hate that has remained a fan favorite. I probably have more action figures of the Joker than I do of any other Bat character other than Batgirl and Batman himself, so how does this one stack up? Read on and find out, after the break....
Julie Newmar's website and order a personalized, autographed picture of her as Catwoman for around the same price you might pay for this figure. Pretty cool, huh? Ready for a look at Batman's flirtatious and feline femme fatale? Then join me after the break...
Yvonne Craig Fan Club) so I was thrilled when the floodgates opened and merchandise from the series poured forth. I originally planned on being an ultra completest with this line...but then I bought this figure. Looking at most people's reviews I'm thinking I must be in the minority, but I'll just go out and say that I think this might be the most disappointing action figure of the year for me. Ready to hear me rant and rave? Well, follow me past the break and the ranting and raving will begin...
see here) and sculpting by Gentle Giant Studios, this series of figures positions itself to expand upon the previous waves of Arkham Asylum and Arkham Cityfigures. Does it make the grade? Find out, after the break....
Deathstroke and Batman based on their appearance in Arkham Origins as the final two releases in the Batman Unlimited line. There have been quite a few Deathstroke figures lately, proving that Slade Wilson is a popular guy and fantastically designed character. I've reviewed the New 52 Deathstroke but never picked up Mattel's Arkham Origins version as I was holding out for this guy. How does he compare? Join me after the break and find out...
Talia al Ghul from DC Collectibles' Arkahm City series 4 then you know that I've had some issues with DC Collectibles over the past year or two. I haven't heard of too many problems lately, however, so I decided to give DCCollectibles another chance with their Batman: Arkham Origins line. Based on the recently released videogame Batman: Arkham Origins, the prequel to Arkham Asylum and Arkham City, Arkham Origins tells the story of a Christmas Eve early in the Dark Knight's career on which the Black Mask has ordered a hit on Batman, drawing a number of mercenaries and hitmen to Gotham. I was at the midnight release of the game (first game I'd picked up at midnight sinceSkyrim in 2011) but I'm not too far into the game yet simply because I've just been so insanely busy with Halloween, work, and being out of town. While I've been tipped off that Black Mask is probably not the true antagonist of Arkham Origins, he still plays a very important part in the game's events so it's nice to have the character represented in the Arkham series' style. Ever since his first appearance in Batman #386 in 1985, Roman Sionis has steadily become a more prominent villain in Batman's impressive gallery of villains. Ready to add this version to your shelf or should you look elsewhere? Read on and find out....
If you want proof that DC Direct/ DC Collectibles' Arkham lines could be the greatest Batman action figure collection ever, just consider this: they've made Anarky. Not only am I impressed by the fantastic Arkham videogame series Arkham Asylum, Arkham City, and Arkham Origins (I'm totally looking forward to the upcoming Arkham Knight- check out the trailer) but I'm impressed by how deep DC Collectibles seems to be going with this line. While the first series for Arkham Origins included mainstays like Joker, Black Mask, and Bane, the second series has some truly interesting characters that don't often get made into toys like Firefly, Deadshot, and Anarky. Anarky has long been one of my favorite characters for Batman to interact with because he's like Bruce Wayne in his passion for justice, but he has totally different ideas about what that means. While he's still a vigilante, Bruce ultimately trusts law and order to solve society's problems; Anarky sees law and order as the cause of those problems. Created by Alan Grant and Norm Breyfogle for Detective Comics #608 in 1989, Anarky is Lonnie Machin, a brilliant teenager who has read a few too many radical manifestos. While Anarky has appeared in far more comics than you would probably expect, he's never been one of Batman's A or B list foes. Due to his appearances in Beware the Batman and Arkham Origins, though, Anarky seems to be moving up in the world a bit. Ready for a look at this mighty cool figure? Then join me after the break...
Talia al Ghul, the daughter of Ra's al Ghul and Melisande, first appeared in Detective Comics #411 back in 1971. Created by Dennis O'Neil and Bob Brown, Talia has proven over and over again to be an interesting and unique part of Batman's life. While Talia is certainly not part of the "Bat-family," she isn't quite a traditional villain, either. It has long been established that Batman and Talia both have an affection for each other despite their differing philosophies towards crime and killing. In the video game Batman: Arkham City, Talia (voiced by Stana Katic of ABC's Castle) plays a significant role in her father and Dr. Hugo Strange's plot to violently wipe out the criminal element of Gotham City. I promise, I'll get to the figure after the break....
Batman cups and cinnamon twists at Taco Bell? Batman cereal? Commercials for the film non-stop? There was nothing that existed that made me want to not see this movie. Well, except my parents. For reasons I can only speculate to my therapist, no one took me to see Batman. Oh, I had the trading cards and read them over and over (trading cards told stories back then), but I didn't see the film until either TV or video. Here's a list of lame movies my parents took me to in 1989 instead of Batman: Honey I Shrunk the Kids, Prancer, and She-Devil. Yup. At least we saw Ghostbusters II and Field of Dreams in theaters. Anyways, that's really neither here nor there; my parents certainly have made amends by continuing to buy me plenty of Batman toys, comics, and novelties every year for Christmas. My college graduation also had a Batman pinata. They also took me to Batman Returns. My parents and I are square now and I'm here to talk about NECA's 1/4 scale Batman based off of Michael Keaton's Batman in the 1989 film. Ready for a review of a behemoth of a figure? Then join me after the break...
It would be impossible to discuss action figures from the mid 1990s to the present without discussing McFarlane Toys. Known as Todd Toys at their inception, Mattel pressured them to change their name, believing that consumers would confuse the company with Barbie's little brother, Todd (I know that Ken's Steakhouse brand salad dressing has always confused me, leading me to purchase lots of disappointing birthday gifts for my little female cousins). In 1995 the company would become officially know as McFarlane Toys, and the age of the "Ultra Action Figure" would begin. Today I'm looking at Tremor, a character who first appeared in Spawn #25 and released in December of 1994 as one of the six action figures from series 1 of McFarlane's Spawn toy line. I'm not a Spawn expert, so what I know about Tremor comes from the included comic book and a little bit of research: Tremor appears to be a former Mafia tough guy named Richard Masullo who was turned into an experimental bio weapon. Having held onto his conscience and failing to be the killing machine that Don Tony Twist wanted, Tremor escaped to become a thorn in the mob boss' side. Initially believing that Spawn was connected to the mob in some way, Tremor attacked the dark hero before learning that Spawn was also hunting down the mob. The comic included with Tremor seems to have them partnering up at the end to hunt down bad guys together. Now that the introduction is out of the way, let's take a look at Tremor.....
Who?Skuzzbeast, one of the villainous Trashors from the Trash Bag Bunch by Galoob
What?Created by Mel Birnkrant (of Outer Space Men and Colorforms fame) and released by Galoob in 1991, the Trash Bag Bunch had two things going for it: An environmental theme and a cool gimmick. Skuzzbeast is a solid plastic minifigure of a vicious evil creature that stands just a hair shy of 2 1/2 inches tall. Unlike many minifigures, he's also fully painted. More, after the break...
real life battle Birnkrant had with the State of New York centering around their desire to put a landfill right next to his home. The second cool thing about the toyline was that they were sold in little biodegradable trash bags. When you dropped the bag in water (I remember my parents filling up the sink for me) the green trash bag dissolved and an effervescent tablet inside fizzed, revealing your plastic minifigure. Would you get an evil Trashor or a heroic Disposer? Who would it be? Today's figure is Bio-Degrador, one of the Disposers. He isn't from my original collection; I obtained him secondhand recently as I'm working to complete my collection of the original 36 figures. Ready for a closer look at this crazy cool minifigure? Then join me after the break...
Raphael since he was my favorite turtle, but I wasn't overly impressed with him. The Stealth Tech Turtles, however, captivated me. Any figure dressed in tactical styled spy gear automatically registers on my action figure radar, so these guys ended up in the armful of TMNT figures I purchased last week. Ready for a look at Stealth Tech Raphael?