Batman Classic TV Series
Riddler Review

While the figure – and it’s 100% unique sculpt – serves its purpose well, there are a few nitpicks I can’t overlook. Some are minor like the lack of costume details like layering or buttons, but others are a little more of an issue like the head sculpt. It’s… Gorshin-esque, but it inadvertently looks like Matthew Lilliard and I can’t “not see” him when I look at the figure (…and now I bet you can’t either!) The highlights though are the trademark lankiness and the important details like the belt, collar, and shoes being all sculpted additions instead of Mattel trying to make do with paint. I appreciate that.

The articulation is pretty much what we’re used to from Mattel. Ball-joints at the head & shoulders, hinges at the elbows, knees, and ankles, swivels at the biceps, wrists, waist, and thighs, the ab crunch, and the standard Mattel hip design. Everything works really well though some of the cuts mess up the “realistic nature” of the sculpt. The only thing I’d add is any kind of rocker ankle as those simple hinges Mattel use often squander the promise of an otherwise well-articulated leg.

The paint QC is vastly improved over my Batman set! Thankfully. I wouldn’t have him if it weren’t, but neither of the two Riddlers I found at TRU were bad, though this one slightly edged out the other with its crisp “?” tampos and the sharp lines on the hair & mask. Once I got him out of the package, I was pleased with the extent of the questions marks in their odd places too: the inner ankle, around the wrists, etc. Those details really help sell the figure. There is one inconsistency on the figure though. The difference consistency between the plastic grades. It’s exaggerated in the photos (as is usually the case), but it’s still somewhat visible to the naked eye between the upper & lower thighs in particular. And since we’re talking colors, I’d also like the figure a little more if the colors were toned down a bit. He feels like he’s more “comic colors” than the subdued tones from the classic show.

Riddler included no accessories, but did have a “KAPOW” stand and a collectible card. The card is neat (even showcasing Riddler with two great accessories – Stupid Spray and a Riddle Book), but it’s just too short to be a backdrop for the figure – plus, it’s oriented incorrectly to be used that way anyway. The reverse looks to feature a Batcave scene (which again discourages its use as a backdrop). This kinda stuff is okay to get as cheap filler, but it’s destined for a drawer in my house, if that.

Overall, this is one of those reviews I can’t stand – I like having the figure, I had fun with the pics, but the text is just a bunch of little complaints that seemingly don’t add up. That’s fine I suppose. The figure gets the point across and the articulation can contort into some of Gorshin’s crazy poses. But, the very nature of this line seems like it should really live up to the “Adult Collector” label and it just doesn’t.

There is something to be said for this version of the Riddler finally getting a figure though – some nearly fifty years later. That’s awesome. And I am happy to have it, but it doesn’t quite scratch the itch. I need to be able to remove the mask and let it hang around his neck (I think Gorshin wore it that way more often). I need some different hands for proper posing. And, yeah, I need it to really look like Frank Gorshin too. So, yes this figure will do for now, but it really just whets the appetite as I cross my fingers that either Hot Toys or NECA’s Quarter scale figures will get this “deep” in the villains roster.

Please note: the word “joygasm” was not used in this review. That was on purpose.

More Batman Classic TV Series Reviews:

Batman Classic TV Series
Collector’s Guide

25 thoughts on “Batman Classic TV Series
Riddler Review

  1. Wow – cancelling my BBTS pre-order was the smartest move of the year.

    Really underwhelmed.

  2. Yeah, I sort of lost my interest in this line over the weekend after hearing that no further waves were planned and realizing that the Batmobile couldn’t accommodate my DCUC Batman and Robin due to the narrow seating. Huge fail there on two counts.

    On the other hand, I agree 100% on all you’ve noted here. I became a Frank Gorshin fan after first watching his Batman reruns as a kid in the 70’s and 80’s. I’ve since watched everything there is out there with Frank in it. His Riddler is my favorite of the live action villains and a huge reason behind the character’s continued popularity in the comics long after the show was cancelled. (Given that he’d only appeared once during the Golden Age!) I also enjoyed his stint as a reformed gumshoe some years back. That was a fine bit of character development that truly deserved to be kept in continuity.

    I just might pick up this figure to swap heads with the DCUC version and give Frank his due. The guy left us way too soon. I always thought the Riddler depicted on the back of the old Mego cards owed a lot to Frank’s version, certainly due to the genuine sense of dynamism he brought to the TV series.

  3. Although I liked the 2pk, I don’t see myself investing in any more figures, at least not at full price. And the Batmobile, my main reason for buying the 2pk in the first place, is severely lacking. Especially considering I paid $60+ for it!

  4. I cancelled all my orders too and I’m glad I did. I did see the first wave in person and I though Riddler and Penguin looked pretty good but they screwed the pooch with Batman and Robin. I just passed on the whole thing and I havent heard good things about the batmobile either.

  5. this is really a pity and i wanted the line to be good but when the pics showed up from SDCC i was like super miffed. Sadly, nopes, no Adam West in 6 inch scale for me. Thank you.
    i’m tempted to get the Neca one but then i’m also not cause it’s a freaking huge monster of a toy!! Gaahh…

  6. Well, I’m very impressed that you see what I saw with Gorshin’s Riddler- the sheer, frightening psychotic menace he could bring. At least in the early episodes. Meredeth’s Penguin had somewhat the same vibe.

    I am completely shocked it seems to be a total new sculpt. I’m not shocked they no plans for continuing the line. I’m sure if asked the answer would be “we have to check sales data and performance, this was a kind of risk because it’s not really tied to an event and all the new tooling makes it very expensive and the logistics…” 🙁

    (Batmobile has narrow seating? The hell? that’s a ’60s Lincoln, baby! Cars were f*sking BOATS back then! Even a concept car! So, not only no Penguin hiding in the trunk, no Penguin DRIVING either?! MATTEL!!!!!)

    But I’ll disagree a little on the likeness. I think that’s a FINE Gorshin rendered into a toy. It’s the way I think they should all be. I think trying to capture a photorealistic face on an otherwise stylized body just looks odd, as the human face is a constantly changing landscape of color and contrast and texture due to the interplay of…everything. Faces look different just by shifting angles a little, or a slight change of lighting. The best sculpts, at least to my eyes, are the ones that find that essential ‘core’ of what a person looks like. Yes, I know, the Hot Toys figures are pure ‘Uncanny Valley’ but you can get away with more the larger you make the figure. And I think the sculptors do what I’m talking about, not try for photoreal but instead try for essence.

    This Riddler meets my approval, at least in ‘looks like’. It looks like a toy of Frank Gorshin playing the Riddler.

    But otherwise…Oh, Mattel. Mattel. That packaging is a nightmare of poor choices. The backing card for the stand is…the heck? There wasn’t an available stock publicity shot that aligned vertical that they could have used?! No accessories, no swappable hands (and Gorshin really used his hands in the show), no alternate maskless head with dangling mask? Feh.

    I really hate to say it (but I must, because I am who I am 🙂 ) but seeing this now only makes me wish for a Figma or Figurarts Gorshin Riddler. With crazy articulation and a dozen hands and removable mask and stuff! Can you *imagine* what that would be like? Gee, I wish Mattel could have.

    OTOH, look, it’s a new buck for the DCU line! Oh…wait, that’s dead now. Dammit.

  7. This was the crux of the line for me. When I lost interest in Riddler, it was easy to let go of everything else. The more impressive protoshopped pics had me hoping I’d finally be able to get a Riddler who looked like The Riddler. The suit version had too few question marks and the spandex version might as well be a blank body with “Riddler” sharpied on. I mean, he looks cool, but he’s closer to a hired goon than the subgenius himself.

    This one’s just too soft and, like you, I can’t help thinking how much more impressive he’d be if NECA sculpted him.

    I love the idea of Riddler gone straight. I think I read a couple issues of that, but I’m sure I missed the meat of it. Which trades should I pick up to get the whole story?

  8. Yeah, all of the reviews of the two pack and the announcement of no future figures (no Batgirl?) really deflated my enthusiasm for the line. I currently only have Catwoman on preorder right now. I’ll have to see the other guys in stores to determine if I really want to bite or not.

  9. Oh a figma or figuart version of this Riddler would buying gold.

    Have to say it, I got to meet Frank Gorshin and Adam West at a local con one year and if these were out then I woulda brought to be signed. I loved his riddler, and still do. He was a fun guy, though, Adam West I think was still in ah of my Dad’s Vamperilla shirt.

    I have seen these and would like to buy but, hearing no other waves after Catwoman and Joker thats a waste. Was hoping for a thug/minion 2 pack. Egghead, King Tut, Mr. Freeze, Mad Hatter, Clock King. Even Shame woulda been fun to have.

    Glad these would be a line I would buy and not open. Seen just Penguin, Riddler and Batman is that the whole first wave and will Robin get a single release.

  10. “That’s not a riddle, is it?” LMAO! I’m kinda torn on these, they’re cool in theory but in practice….kinda fail.

  11. I’m gonna buck the trend and say that your review actually made me want this figure MORE. He looks better to me than the original proto shots.

    My excitement for this line dropped when I found out Mattel have no current plans in continuing it (no Batgirl? Mad Hatter? Riddler in sport coat? Robin single release? Shame. Oh, yeah– no Shame!)but I suppose keeping it limited means it’s easily complete-able.

    Anyway, while I think they could have done a stronger, bolder likeness of Gorshin, it’s still pretty good.

    1. Shame… Now that’s a guy I’d take 2 of… One to keep as is, the other to turn into an Uncle Ben for my Spider-Tobey stuff…

  12. The removable mask was one of the first things I looked for in the pics, so I agree with you on that point.

    Something I never noticed before was the ?’s running down his legs.

    The body is all new? I thought it was a kitbash based on the lean buck (Deadman) body? Altered to make the cloth costume more obvious?

    No sign of anything new coming in up here, as Target just reset and the WMs are in the middle of shuffling things around, so I’m keeping an open mind while looking out for Cesar and CW, but I’m almost disappointed with this line before I even see it in person. :/

    Random thought: Who would have played Riddler in Nolan’s Bat-films? I just saw Kick-Ass 2 and Carrey was decent, but I don’t see him returning to the role, esp for Nolan.
    I know Phillip Seymour Hoffman was the seeming fan-favorite choice for the new Penguin, but there didn’t seem to be a clear pick for Edward here. (shudders at thought of BeneCumby or his effete “Jim Moriarty” in the role!)

  13. There is a clear difference in QC between the Batman & Robin 2-pack and Riddler here. Whereas Robin either looks like he’s got a fat lip (or a cold sore) Riddler looks nice and crisp & clean. Accessories would have been nice, but the closed fists would have hurt that. A mask would have been nice though.

    As a mask substitute, maybe you could take a rubber band (a regular brown one would do, just take a magic marker and color it) then poke some holes in it with a needle or pin, cut off enough with just a little slack and glue it together (LET IT DRY) and viola, you’ve got a mask?!

  14. Oh Matty, when will you learn. This was may favorite show when I was a wee tot. I should be frothing at the mouth like a rabid racoon over these. I should feel like one of the Forsaken has placed a weave of Compulsion on me, and I must, I MUST have them. Problem is I don’t want them. They look cheap. They do not look like collector quality figures. They do not look worth my scratch. Dangit, I want to want them. There is no universe in which I should not want these. Somehow, Mattel, you have made this universe into that impossible universe. Congrats, again.

    Matty, please ease up a little on your profit margin, make @$$ kickin’ ultimate figures, charge a little more for quality and people will buy them aplenty. Or, keep doing business as usual, and watch your action figure lines fade away. And we all know it is better to burn out than fade away. 🙂

  15. Off topic of the review, can ya’ll maybe update the MU checklist page please? It’s been a loooooong time.

  16. I too really enjoyed Paul Dini’s pre nu52 take on the Riddler. Like the rest of the bat books at the time, it just really seemed like a natural evolution, as opposed to the garbage that has come afterwards. Great review!

    1. What has happened to Paul Dini? Did he go completely to scriptwriting? He hasn’t been around in awhile since abandoning Zatanna to the fill-in writers back before Nu52.

  17. The comparison of the ’66 Riddler and the DCUC Riddler is funny. It’s hard to imagine the Riddler being a gym rat.

    Half the DCUC figs would look better with the ’66 buck. I mean those kind of muscles on the DCUC “lean” bucks would take hours a day at the gym plus a rigorous diet. I just can’t see it. You don’t turn to a life of crime to be a slave to your personal trainer. “Guys, we gotta re-schedule taking over the world to a Wednesday. That’s my down-day after working my pecks and triceps.”

  18. i liked 12 Monkeys just a just bit more because Frank Gorshin was in it, playing a psychiatrist of all things.

  19. Funny, i pre-ordered this set as soon as I could, then cancelled shortly after. So far, the line has looked okay, but not as awesome as I had hoped.

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