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Dark Knight Rises Movie Masters:
Alfred Pennyworth Review

You know it’s Summer when the days heat up, the kids run free, and the stores fill up with all manner of mass-produced, poorly-executed movie toys. Usually, they’re an easy pass for me, but this year Hasbro’s 6” Avengers and Mattel’s Dark Knight Rises Movies Masters have me hooked.

One of the things about action figure collecting that always frustrates me is the harsh retail climate for supporting cast members. See, I know that my DC Classics collection is never going to be complete. I mean, you always know that no toy company will have the time and resources to get as extensive as we ultimately want them to be. There are always minor characters, fan favorites, great (but short-lived) designs, something… someone that will get overlooked. But there are also very important characters that are perpetually overlooked.

For example, we’re not likely to ever own DCUC versions of Lois Lane & Alfred Pennyworth. At first glance, it’s kinda ridiculous. Think about how crucial both of those characters are to their franchises. Think about how many appearances they’ve made over the years, likely eclipsing even the major villains they help their respective heroes defeat. And yet, getting a Lois Lane or an Alfred figure into Classics is about as thankless a cause as my ongoing desire to see Warlord as MOTU Classics figure.

The reason for this has been a stalwart explanation for decades. Kids don’t want boring people figures. Parents won’t buy their kids boring people figures. I want to say it makes sense, but it has never applied to me. One of my all-time favorite figures growing up was the Super Powers Clark Kent. I always wanted a Lois Lane to go with that figure. I wanted an Alfred to go with Batman & Robin. Basically, I’m not the right person to try and figure out why well-known, non-spandex characters don’t have market appeal. Why a household name character like Alfred or Lois can’t be made while Captain Atom or Guy Gardner is a lock in multiple scales.

Even in recent years, as we’ve entered this “collector’s renaissance” where toys get stuck with little labels like “adult collector” or are marketed directly towards us via subscriptions or costly-to-obtain convention exclusives, that same logic unfortunately still holds sway.*

* – I never understand why toy companies don’t truly take advantage of convention exclusives. It’s a giant “nerd herd” of the target demographic** of the people that, at least in theory, would buy secret identity or supporting cast figures. And yet, the exclusives still tend to be not much different from retail offerings. It baffles the mind.

** – I know some of you out there are in disagreement. I’ve been told by collectors before that a figure of Alfred or Lois isn’t something they would buy. I fear that a figure like Lois Lane popping up in the subscription would cause all sorts of havoc. I’d be happy, but would all of you? I don’t know.

Anyway, I’m recounting all that pent up frustration because I want to make it clear how much I want an Alfred figure. I did once own the TAS version and the DC Direct version, but I sold the first and the latter broke, but that’s neither here or there. I want an articulated figure, capable of doing anything a Batman figure can do, albeit a little slower and probably with a shotgun. I want that Alfred figure so bad, that I’m willing to buy a figure that’s close, but not quite what I want. Namely, a movie-based figure instead of a comic-based one.

If you’re a Batman fan, buying movie-based figures as comic substitutes isn’t anything new. For the 90s my Batman villains were Jack Nicholson, Michele Pfeiffer, Jim Carrey, Tommy Lee Jones, and a very inaccurate, but happy Penguin. In recent years, with the success of DC Classics, I haven’t really felt the need to pick up any of the Batman Begins / Dark Knight figures. I’ve got the comic line I always wanted and didn’t need the substitutes. I did pick up a few during lean toy times or because I wanted the figure – the Aaron Eckhart Harvey Dent or the Ghoul Batman, but for the most part, I didn’t need the Movie Masters figures. Continue to Page 2…

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55 comments to Dark Knight Rises Movie Masters:
Alfred Pennyworth Review

  • dean

    That last pic is one of the most awesome pics you’ve ever captioned.

  • Jesús Santillán

    the last picture it is really funny.
    greetings from México.

  • ero

    Oh man, Noisy, you’ve really outdone yourself with the last pic. Maybe your best.

  • ero

    Also, yes: golf club. And a golf bag. Perfect accessory, and they could have reused it in CIE when they get to a proper Sportsmaster.

  • Man, I don’t know. That head sculpt. Some of it is good, but it also sort of looks like a California Raison to me.

    Or like a tiny PVC figure you’d get in a gum ball machine, with minimal details but impressive for such a small item… Blown up to 6 inch size.

    • It reminds me of the Jean St. Jean Stargate figures. Some angles were spot-on and others not so much. I really think the gloppy paint is suffocating the sculpt in this case though.

  • If I still bought Mattle’s DC toys I would be all over this bad boy!

  • The last pic totally made my day! 😉

  • Freefire

    I want a Lois figure! I’m also totally down for Jimmy Olsen and Perry White even but that’s cause Im a big Superman fan. But I would totally be down for an Alfred and Commissioner Gordon figure too. They are all essential characters.

    Any further down the rabbit hole I don’t know though. We should probably have a Niles Caulder or Will Magnus figure before say Iris Allen or Carol Ferris (non-Star Sapphire). And probably Mera even before all of them.

    • Brainlock

      I’d love to see the Daily Planet staff as well, but I won’t be expecting it from Mattel any time soon. DC Direct has SA Jimmy and Perry, and I have Perry on my shelf, but customed Jimmy into Johnny Thunder and put up Scott Evil in his place.

      DCD has done a couple Lois’ from one of the first 2pks about a decade ago to the “Super-Lois” in the same wave as Jimmy and Perry (and Lion/Bug/Clark-headed Superman). there are enough female figures out there to sub in for her. I had the original DCD Black Canary with brunette head standing in for her for the longest time.

      As for the rest of your wish list? Star Sapphire is the only way we’ll see Carol Ferris, and I’m not holding out hope for Caulder or Magnus in DCIE sub. forget iris, completely. I will note that Dan Pickett got his DCIE Starman already and swapped his head onto a suit body, then tossed it in a movie Prof.X wheelchair and it makes a halfway decent Caulder. I don’t see why you can’t do that or grab a GB Walter Peck and repaint his hair?

      Mera finally got a figure last year with DC Direct. TWO, in fact, Brightest Day and Red Lantern Mera used the same body, but BD didn’t have the extra RL kibble and did get a different head. Mattel balked because it would be a “unique tooling” and they wouldn’t be able to cost that if they couldn’t re-use her parts. Yet characters like Magog and Hex are 100% new and I don’t see them re-using any of those parts! Hex at least, has some parts that COULD be re-used, Magog has…right hand/forearm and *maybe* his legs?

      and while I’m on the subject, how sucky is it that GL MM Hector Hammond got a shorter body so he would still come in at 6″ with that enormous noggin?

      • I’m just not big on substitutes. I kinda want the bigger MS Hulk for Avengers, but I feel like I should just have the regular Hasbro one instead. I love my DCD Mera, but I still want a DCUC one.

    • I agree on all wants!

  • dayraven

    i’ve been saying the same thing for years for the marvel stuff, i want a rick jones! rick is probably the single most lynchpin character in the MU, and he’s never had a fig, not in his civilian identity nor in any of his various super powered incarnations. likewise, we’ve never been offered a jarvis, nor a betsy banner, nor a mary jane watson, nor a gwen stacy, nor an aunt may (tell me it would not be hilarious if we got an aunt may w/ removable limbs!!) why the hell not? these characters are essential to the identity of our heroes, even bit as essential as the costume or the accessory item.

    alfred looks good, mostly. or to put it another way, if you were comparing movie likenesses from batman MM to say, the ghostbusters line, BMM makes the GB look like they were sculpted in silly putty by immigrants who lack all their digits.

    • Brainlock

      When we still had the Marvel 5″ line, pre-ML, I used an extra Peter Parker for Rick Jones. MJ got a (She-Force?) repaint, based on her 90s cartoon appearance (yellow shirt, jeans, boots), plus the first Spidey movie figure in chinese dress and the sackcloth from Spidey3. Aunt May got a Mego-esque Famous Covers figure. I want to say there was a Gwen exclusive, as well, but it may have been a custom?

      • JamesLynch

        There was also a Mary Jane Marvel Universe figure.

      • I remember a Gwen Stacy in the 5″ line too. Maybe a comic shop Previews thing.

        • dayraven

          yup… but none of those were legends, in a comic appearance. i want supporting cast in legends… the “adult collector” line. (well, i don’t think it’s officially labeled that, but no kid wants arnim zola, so it’s pretty clear who the target demographic is.)

          • Yeah, I agree. I think the MU Mary Jane (with Ms. Lion!) is the closest thing to what we’re talking about, but we still need it the larger scale.

    • I don’t think it’s that bad. I really feel like the paint is robbing us of a better looking figure.

  • Andy

    Anyone found the Walmart exclusive Gordon on the east coast?

    If you’re looking for Alfred accessories, a member on The Fwoosh said he picked up a little tea set intended for dolls for his Alfred @ Hobby Lobby. Gonna check this out this weekend.

    • Thanks for the tip!

      I don’t know if Gordon has hit retail yet? I’ll have to check around.

    • Brainlock

      Someone posted pics on FB yesterday of the DKR MMs and included a TDK 2pk mold Gordon in dark grey suit, which is apparently what we’re getting?

  • Squigiman

    Great review. I only recently saw any of these in stores, and it was at TRU. $16.50 would be a dream for a price, compared to what I saw. It had to be near $30, each. Only Bane and Bats. Hoping to nab Alfie, though I still never got Gordon from the two-packs, also a bit pricey and from when I was (trying to, at least) cut back on action figure spending.

    -Squigiman

  • Brainlock

    I saw these at Kmart last Saturday for $12.50-? and snagged Alfred. Supposedly the MM Bats comes with “exclusive blueprints”? Everywhere else has them for $16.50 on up.

    The first case of MM I saw had 2xBane/4xBats, at Target. A nearby WM had 1xAlfred/2xBane/3xBats, which is what Kmart looked to have. Everywhere else I’ve seen them since has been picked over, so I can’t confirm what’s shipping.

    Someone did say there was a MM Catwoman hitting, already, but the only one I’ve seen is in that Target exclusive 5pk? (Bane, Batman, all grey “Sonar Batman”, Catwoman and ???) but those are the cheapo Happy Meal 5poa figures. The MM cardback says the BatSignal is in six pieces, and only shows Bats, Bane, and Alfred. I don’t know if the SDCC “exclusive” Quick Change Batman is supposed to hit regular retail or not, and can’t even guess to the other two being Gordon and …Bat-variant?

    I don’t know what Mattel is thinking with some of these mixes. EVERY figure is overpriced these days and the collectors seem to be tired of X-character variant #37-49 and only want the short-packed NEW characters. and I know the 5″ line is geared toward kids, but GL fell flat and I can only guess DKR line was already in production by the time they realized it was too late to correct these into something people would actually want.

    • TwoFisted

      Yea i noticed that the card back makes the Bat-signal look like its only 3 peices

      • It’s been the trend lately to just put two or three figures on a card back instead of the whole lot. It is odd.

        The bat-signal is six pieces, but Gordon includes a seventh alternate piece.

    • I want to snag that KMart Bats to at least get something extra with him, but both KMarts I’ve visited have had bupkis.

      Catwoman’s out. I’ll have her review up next week. She has goggles up and goggles down variants. The final two figures are John Blake (the new police officer) and an unknown sixth figure. Speculation is that it’s Ra’s and that Mattel can’t reveal it since his presence in the movie is still speculation too. By that measure though, it could be anyone. There’s also a 7th figure, a Gordon repaint who comes with an alternate busted bat-signal piece.

  • Sandman

    I cracked up so bad over the last picture.

  • Even though Avengers has proven a mega blockbuster film, the chances of our getting a comic-accurate Jarvis are still zero to nil. So yeah, I feel your pain.

    Caine’s likenesses is good enough to have Alfred sub as Stephen Miles from “Inception” although passing him off as Alfie or Matthew from “Blame It on Rio” would be quite a stretch. Still, he persuades.

    Can the Bale head be swapped for Caine’s? If so, instant Patrick Bateman.

    • It should be an easy swap, I’m just always afraid I’m gonna snap those Mattel neck pegs. Putting the Bruce head on that Batman body was traumatic…

  • that last picture is hillarious!

  • j1h15233

    Count me in the group that would like an Alfred and a Lois Lane figure. I’d also love a bat signal, but there’s NO WAY I’m buying all those crappy movie masters figures to get one.

    • Another vote for the civilians!

      The only thing I’m not too keen on for DKRMM so far is “Batman Again” and the Bane (he lacks articulation).

  • JamesLynch

    I need to get an extra Alfred and a loose DCUC Gentleman Ghost. That right there is the making of a great Muppets Christmas Carol Ebeneezer Scrooge.

    • Shadow_Contact

      Hmmmm Noisy needs to show a pic of Alfred next to some palisades Muppets now.

    • LOL Lots of fun to be had with a Michael Caine figure! Dr. Wilbur, anyone? 😀

      • Brainlock

        I know, right? Get him together with a Bob Hoskins’ Smee from Hook and Ray Winstone and you have the main (big name) cast from “Last Orders”! Forget about “44 Inch Chest” or “Nil by Mouth”, tho.

        or what was that …”Harry Brown”-? that Michael did a few years back? (think UK Bronson movie)

  • Gildeft

    Last picture is so funny.

  • GlobalDominationMachine

    Hahahahahaaa!!! Excellent last pic!

  • Thanks for the excellent review!

    Great point about the head being painted this time–I agree it kinda ruins the good sculpt. I’ve seen Alfred in stores but have passed because of the crazy high prices in these parts (Singapore). They cost in the region of US$37 a pop.

    And yes, more 6″ scale supporting cast.

    And love the last comic! Simply hilarious. 😉

  • MegaGearMax

    That last pic is so funny…and so true!

    I hope Mattel starts to make more iconic civilian characters. Make them sub exclusives of something. We need Alfred, Jim Gordon, Lois, Jimmy, maybe some alter egos such as Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent.

  • Fallen Eldor

    I once paid a $100 just to make a Johnathon and Martha Kent LoL. I was so happy when Mattel made a Marlon Brando Jor-El in 2006 that I didn’t care how crap the toy was! For this reason alone, am I glad that Batman is more of a loner. Heh. Batman MM will go incomplete without Rachel, just like the GL line did without Carol as will Man Of Steel MM no doubt be as we beg Mattel to make Lois in 2013! That’s not the only thing missing though…Since 2008 Mattel has made a knife, a gun and a fucking Ax…Now if we want a batarang we have to pay $30+ finder fee & shipping in July! How much do you whanna bet that the 4HM sculpted a serving tray w/ removable meal but Mattel cut it for cost purposes? Mattel makes it hard to be a fan of the MM line…

    On the topic of move based figures acting as comic substitutions, BTAS penguin quickly replaced the Super Powers repaint in my play patterns! My Returns Penguin did get some playtime…I covered him in modeling clay one I saw “Feat of Clay” for the first time!

  • demoncat

    surprised of all the movie master figures. Alfred is becoming hard to find since the toy companies really do not see a big collector market for civilians like him and Lois lane even though Alfred has been part of the batman world since day one. not to mention who can pass up having a legend like Michel Caine in plastic though think most fans are buying him because of the part of the bat signal he comes with and that’s way he hard to find