As I sit down to write this review, the term “out of practice” comes to mind. Whenever I miss a few days, I feel like my mojo might be gone. Will the pictures be funny? Will the writing be enjoyable? Ugh. I know I’ve missed more than a few this go round – parenthood is great when you’re still measuring in weeks, but it doesn’t leave a lot of time for other things. Right now, little Sam is off at daycare – and I have the day off – so I feel kinda guilty. I mean, we had to pay for the daycare whether he goes or not, but I feel like I’m cheating a bit to get this done.
Okay, so there, I got through a whole paragraph of this review. Though I didn’t mention the figure at all. Strike one? Funny story, I’m a huge DC fan – that much should be obvious – and I, like all but the most curmudgy of curmudgeons, loved the 90s DC Animation. BTAS, TNBA, STAS. Loved it. The DVDs are not 15ft from me right now.
But I didn’t buy the figures right away. The figures probably started in 1993? I didn’t really snap any up until I ran across Ra’s Al Ghul. And that was probably 96? I couldn’t tell you why I waited. I treasured my Super Powers figures. And I bought the various Batman movie figures every year, at least the screen accurate ones and choice Batman if the colors were cool. I was buying DC figures, but I said no to Animated versions for a while.
That might make BTAS figures the first line I had to “go back and get”. This is before eBay and any other modern collecting convenience. Somehow I managed it. Even got a deal on Penguin, who I recall being rare back in the day. Anyway, while I eventually went on to enjoy crazy Superman variants and amassed a huge JLU collection, I want my resistance to Animated figures on the record… because I feel like I’m right back in that 1995 Wal-Mart, staring down that strange, armored Ra’s Al Ghul (& the pegwarming Bane behind him).
I have alternately been overjoyed and intimidated by the announcement that DC Direct was going to go back and give the Animated guys articulated, six-inch scale figures. I love the idea! And the figures look amazing. I don’t know if these are “figures the characters deserved” as the vintage figures are still pretty awesome (most of ‘em), but I certainly don’t oppose this renaissance. What I am daunted by though, is the price. $25 a pop? $100 a wave? Admittedly, that’s normal now a days – but it’s still far easier for me to pay that online, rather than forking over $25 at a comic shop. I’m weird, I know.
There’s also which ones to get. Do I want them all? I never did like mixing the Animated styles (BTAS vs TNBA) back in the day – so this is almost like collecting two lines. I favor BTAS, but there are some designs where TNBA is superior, some where BTAS reigns, and plenty where both are pretty damn cool. In fact, looking at the advertisement insert that came with Batman – everyone looks awesome! Two-Face, Mr. Freeze, Poison Ivy, Killer Croc, Baby Doll, Robin, & the Creeper from TNBA. Catwoman, Joker, Man-Bat, Harley Quinn, & Robin from BTAS. Visually, none of them are a miss. (And why toy companies don’t do cardbacks and inserts is beyond me. That little piece of paper has worn down my will more than anything else so far).
Okay, so Batman. What makes the $25 easier to swallow is that he’s plenty awesome. I have nitpicks (don’t I always) and some issues, but overall, (spoiler alert) he’s won me over.
The sculpt is pretty well dead on. If the show were on now and there was a high quality line of figures to match – this is what they would look like. The only area that seems off is the chest. The line marking where the chest is distinct from the abdomen. It’s just a little too harsh, too inorganic. Add that the also slightly-off symbol overlaps it and it just creates one odd area on the final figure. So much of the rest is right, that I’m almost over it though and probably won’t care the longer I have the figure. Oppositely, the head sculpt is very well done, almost modeled after the original toy and is one of my favorite parts of the figure.
The real prize here for the folks excited about this line is probably the articulation. And there’s a lot to be excited about. Ball-joints at the neck, shoulders, elbows, wrists, and ankles (sorta), the h-type hips found on DCUCs, hinge knees, as well as waist & boot swivels. For the most part, everything works well. He’s fun to pose – to play with a TNBA Batman figure and get more playability out of him than ever before. And it’s addictive. Continue to Page 2…