Years ago, I really liked DC Direct's move into doing toys based on certain artistic depictions of characters from various story arcs. I have so many Ed McGuiness toys, you guys. But then the New 52 happened, and DC Direct toys kind of disappeared for a while, and then when they came back they were all kind of generic. BUT NO MORE. I'm getting my damn Greg Capullo artstyle-based toys, you guys. And I am super happy.
Along the way, I'd bought one or two Batman toys based on the New 52 Batsuit, figuring if I kind of squinted at it, it'd look like Greg Capullo's art. This was not terribly effective, but that doesn't matter now. I have the real deal.
I'm also happy that DC Direct's toys seem to have gotten an articulation upgrade. Before their articulation was kind of standard -- they'd look pretty, but they didn't move much. This new Greg Capullo-style Batman has articulation closer to what you'd expect of a Mattel toy. In addition to the usual shoulders/neck/waist/elbows/hips/knees articulation you expect, there's mid-thigh and mid-torso and multi-directional wrist articulation. Also the head is on a balljoint, while the ankles go in a number of directions, too. The choice between DC Direct Pretty and Mattel Articulation is now kinda moot.
Greg Capullo Batman also comes with three small Batarangs. He has no pockets for them, but there are similarly small gaps between four of his fingers on one hand. This means you can wedge them in there to give Batman some Wolverine-style daggers. They don't bury as deep into his palm as they seem to in the comics when Batman does this -- they stick out a bit -- but it's still a neat thing. It's also kind of nerve-wracking to get them all shoved in there, as the area you're maneuvering these small pieces into is kind of small and you can easily bump one out of place and cause a domino effect. But it's still a fun thing.
These things don't seem to come with stands anymore, but Batman does have a peghole under his right heel.
I picked up the Riddler and Talon, as well. There was no Nightwing left when I'd gotten to the store. I'll find him elsewhere.
I have finally forced myself to talk about this toy. I bought First Edition Age of Extinction Optimus Prime more than a month ago, maybe two, and owning it put me into a deep depression. I'm not being hyperbolic. This thing made me feel sad inside. For a few days I had trouble getting things accomplished. I considered punting it out the front door, but then someone neighbor kid might try to have fun with it and that would be too cruel.
It's not that the thing is simple and meant for younger children. That would be fine! A large simple toy for kids that has a quick-and-easy transformation would be a fun toy, even to me as an adult. Yeah, you wrap the truck parts around the robot to make the truck. Yeah, you close the lid on him when you're done like he's sitting inside. Ha ha, big deal. No, that's not what made me sad.
What made me sad was that the toy failed at being fun and simple. It's definitely not complex, it succeeded at that -- but it in no way fits together in truck mode in a way that is intuitive or in a way that doesn't try to break physics. It wants you to fold both his arms behind his chest. You can't. They don't both fit. You have to use some sort of magic to get them to occupy the same space before you start closing the truck parts around him. It's not fun. It's anti-fun. I check the instructions, I tried the toy again, I check the instructions again to see if I'm missing anything... it was a chore. It took me 45 minutes to figure it out. And for a toy that's purposefully simple, that's just not good.
It's also very large and takes up a lot of space, which is all the more aggravating when it doesn't do what it's supposed to do. It's like a dishwasher that doesn't work, sitting in the middle of your living room. It's just there, taunting you.
Also I hate chrome, and this guy's covered in it.
I TALKED ABOUT THE DAMN THING
Ratbat is an expert at shrewdly spending resources, and so I don't think he'd be pleased by how much I paid just to get him. In fact, I'm pretty sure I'd be in pretty big trouble. I'd probably be fired.
Masterpiece Ratbat comes with Masterpiece Soundblaster, who is Soundwave with his blues swapped out for black. As I've stated previously, the two kind of look the same if you squint. It's not a very daring redeco. I've bought Soundblasters to get exclusive Recordicons before, but the Soundblaster-to-Recordicon ratio has never been quite so staggering. I paid $20 to get Fall of Cybertron Buzzsaw. I paid about $70 to get Enemy and Wingthing. But Masterpiece Soundblaster and his one exclusive little guy is about $150 depending on where you get him from. I don't expect to see Ratbat released in any other manner -- would Toys"R"Us USA bother with a black Soundwave and a bat? -- and so a bullet was bitten. I have to have Ratbat. And, hey, I have pornlord money now, so pornlord money spent!
And, yeah, it's not like it's going to be lucrative to unload the unwanted 90% of this arrangement on eBay. Nobody's buying him for the black Soundwave, and if they were, they probably also want, you know, Ratbat. It was kind of funny to see some folks claiming they'd just buy Ratbat separately, loose, on eBay, from those who only wanted the Black Soundwave. Yeah. You try that. Meanwhile, I'll find Bigfoot.
Anyway, Ratbat himself is pretty great. WHICH HE'D DAMN WELL BETTER BE, CONSIDERING. Just like the two condors and Ravage, all his parts are integrated into his transformation. You don't pop those gold chrome weapons into him at the end -- those parts are built into him from the start. And, like the condors, it's pretty amazing that it works. He's just a tiny bit more complicated than them, but not so much that it's annoying. And he's way less fragile-feeling than Ravage.
The only thing that bugs me about him is his fake kibble. He's got little sculpted cassette spools in his chest right next to his actual cassette spools in his shoulders. I understand why this is a thing that has occurred, but it's still something Ratbat's engineering suffers that the others don't, to the best of my recollection.
And he's leader of the Decepticons. Have I ever mentioned that? I probably have. But I mentioned it again. Plus he kicked Fortress Maximus's ass. He's a tiny god. A tiny accountant god.
I wasn't super-interested in Masterpiece Sideswipe when he was first announced, and I was kind of disappointed when I fiddled with my friend's, so that lack of interest felt vindicated.
I gladly threw down dollars when it was announced that Masterpiece Sideswipe was coming out in his Generation 2 color scheme with a new snarly face and two new giant Derek Yaniger guns and two spikey wheels for his shoulders and a new sword. The only thing that's missing is his bandolier. I really want that bandolier. (Okay, fine there's also a third gun we saw on his back that's missing, but eh, mostly I'm about the bandolier.)
The toy is about what I remember when I tried to transform my friend's. Masterpiece Prowl was involved but pretty intuitive and easily do-able, but Sideswipe gets in his own way too much. Sideswipe feels more fragile when you move stuff around. He definitely seems more complicated than he has to be. I mean, the original toy's legs just pulled out and you flopped the feet down. I'm not entirely sure why this toy can't do that rather than having each shin blow up into shards which you reassemble to get basically the same look.
The toy comes bare, but there's a sticker sheet included if you want to push the look of the G2 toy. The comic book's Sideswipe left off the toy's green, so if you wanna strictly comic-accurate Sideswipe you should leave those off. But while I'm in love with that first G2 comic book issue, I'd rather my toy be prettier and acknowledge the original toy more, so I applied those stickers first-thing.
All the extra parts combine into a megaweapon which attaches to the roof of the car just like in the comic. Yeah, that can also include the wheels and the sword. It's pretty awesome.
I'm not likely to transform Sideswipe much since he's kinda a chore, so I'm glad he makes a pretty great action figure in robot mode. Visually, he's everything I've ever wanted from a Sideswipe, for seriouslies. Sideswipe is just kinda boring unless you G2 him up.
Here's your damn Whirl! I was gonna talk about him, like, a week ago, when I got my FIRST one, but he kind of got his leg snapped off at the knee, so I had to get another. Those knee joints? They are a large thigh and a large shin piece very very tightly connected via a thin knee strut and rough ratcheting joints. Whoof. Be careful. I was just trying to get mine into helicopter mode to put on his stickers and BAM the kind of damage you can't pop back on.
OTHER THAN THAT I guess I kind of like him? I mean, I'm super up for a Whirl toy now that he's been pretty glorious in the past few years of More Than Meets The Eye. He's that archetypal anti-social pathological hyperviolent jerk who's somehow an Autobot. Who doesn't love that guy? No one, that's who!
Unfortunately, he's not actually the design from the comic book, which is awesomely inventive. Instead, he's a surprisingly faithful adaptation of the original Whirl toy, but with digitigrade legs because that's how he is in the comics now I guess. Seriously, this toy's just straight-up the original thing with joints. I mean it. He comes with STICKERS, and they nearly all replicate the original stickers. That's how weird this thing is.
Again unfortunately, that means they're those clear GIJOE-style stickers which I am not terribly fond of, so they leave me feeling kind of cold. And since most of them are based on the original stickers, sometimes you get stuff like the triangular stickers which originally fit into the triangular space directly behind the cockpit on the first toy, but this new toy doesn't HAVE that triangular space, so you kind of just have to put them floating there awkwardly behind the cockpit somewhere. Whaaaaaat, why?
Whirl has a third mode, dubbed a "heloped," which is really your traditional gerwalk mode. You know, like with Veritechs or whatever, in which you half-transform it so it's really a jet with backwards legs and some arms. In this toy's case, it's not strictly a midtransformation, as there's a slider along the underside of the cockpit for the crotch and legs to slide back on and center themselves on the vehicle. It's not needed otherwise. I guess it's cool this exists? It's superfluous to my needs, though.
(Another thing the instructions probably get wrong -- I'm pretty sure that it has the leg configurations for the heloped and robot modes switched. The robot mode should get the digitigrade legs, since they actually look like actual functioning legs that would actually work to walk with, and the heloped mode should get the simply backwards-kneesed legs, since that matches other "gerwalk" modes and, say, ED-209.)
(Oh oh oh oh and you can collapse the shoulder struts into the torso, y'know, the long stalks that connect the arms to the body. They're on ball-joints, but you can push them in farther regardless and then yank them out for transformation.)
Whirl comes with four weapons, all of which I believe correspond to the weapons the original toy come with. They attach via 5mm pegs or those c-clipy deals which were a big thing in Transformers a few years ago. I don't really need them, and now that I have my first Whirl AND my replacement Whirl, I've got entirely too many of these things sitting around. Oh well.
Overall... Whirl's good? I mean, he's good enough. He's Whirl. I wish he didn't try to be the original toy so much. It's not exactly that I wish he were the current design in the comic so much that I wish this toy weren't trying to be specifically the old toy with joints. Even though he's a brand new toy, his look is kinda dated. Maybe that's what they were going for. Who knows.
Anyway, be careful with his knees. And thanks to Big Bad Toy Store for being super helpful about getting him replaced.