the image attached below is my review in full for MAFEX No.137, Batman from The New Batman Adventures
the image attached below is my review in full for MAFEX No.137, Batman from The New Batman Adventures
I'm pretty sure the Batman: The Animated Series 6" toyline is nearing its end. I think there's only the Harley and Joker mega packs left (with the extra heads and accessories), and that's it. And so the Batcave (with Alfred) is likely its last hurrah, as far as new characters go.
Which is why I bought it. I needed an Alfred, and this is the only way to get an Alfred.
I skipped the Batwing. Its, uh, footprint was just too big. I mean, it's cool, but where would I put it? The Batmobile is just narrow enough to fit on a shelf, but the Batwing is friggin' huge. And so I skipped it. However, the Batcave came along and it had the exact same problem. It's like a foot and a half diameter. A big-ass footprint. But it came with Alfred! And, again, I need an Alfred. So I bought it, size be damned.
But you know what, I'm glad I have this Batcave thing anyway. It's friggin' great. I have no idea where it's going to go once it's no longer occupying the corner floor of my workspace, but I'm really happy I have it, regardless. It's got electronic lights. It's got incredibly bright electronic lights. All of the monitors and a few other spaces besides glow with brilliant white light. Turn off the lights in your room, flip the Batcave's on switch (under the medium-sized computer table), and happiness just floods your brain. It's a pretty set-up. Makes for some dynamic photographs.
There's a large sheet of stickers you can place over many of the lights/monitors. A few different choices are available for the bigger screens. I presume the stickers are translucent enough for the lights to still glow through them. I'm not sure I'll find them necessary. I prefer the more abstract, stark white. If I make any of the monitors too "specific," it makes it harder to swap in, say, Old Bruce and Terry without you wondering why the heck they're looking at a huge monitor of Tony Zucco. Also, none of the stickers have Clock King on them, so what's the point.
There's also a large cardboard backgrop of the background of the cave you can stand up behind the Batcomputer. This is excellent, though I wish the little cliffs in the background were drawn with some thinner lines.
Alfred comes with a few accessories: a tray with some teapots and cups and saucers, some alternate hands, and a duster.
tl;dr: huge but amazing
Hey, it's the first Phantasm toy that doesn't automatically spoil her secret identity!
So you guys have been noticing that I've been super into DC Collectibles' 6-inch Batman: The Animated Series and The New Batman Adventures toyline, right? Anyway, there's a Phantasm now. Unlike most everything else, she doesn't come on her own bubble card, but instead she's in a two-pack box with BTAS Batman. I knew this was coming out ahead of time, so I skipped the single-carded Batman in favor of this set. (I think this version comes with fewer parts, though, like not as many alternate hands or something.)
This Phantasm toy is... almost perfect? Like, it's amazing until you get down to the ankles. Most toys in this series, unless they're, like, the Penguin, have ankles that position both to and fro and side to side, so that soles can be planted firmly on the ground regardless of the angle of the legs. Not Phantasm! For some reason, they didn't give her side-to-side ankle articulation like nearly everyone else. It's kind of annoying! Everything else here is up to par. I especially like how her head moves around on its neck joint inside the more-rubbery-plastic hood. But damn, those ankles, why. Why.
Phantasm's just a smidge shorter than Batman, which I guess is a compromise between her costumed height (huge!) and her height when she's got her mask off (probably 5'7").
She'll be super menacing and supernaturally unstoppable until the very moment you find out she's a girl and then you have to rescue her a bunch and then she'll disappear for like fifteen minutes while you fight the Joker because it's not like this movie is about her or anything.
SUPER BONUS PICTURE OF BABY DOLL, WHO CANNOT STAND UNLESS YOU WRAP KILLER CROC'S DISPLAY-CLAW AROUND HER HEAD->
BTAS The Riddler is here! Let's talk about him:
1) He's able to tip his hat.
That's it. That's all you need to know. Perfect Riddler toy, the end.
Yay, Poison Ivy! She was held back for a few months when DC Collectibles, an actual professional toy company, learned that, oh, hey, you guys are saying that translucent plastic painted over isn't exactly sturdy and it kind of crumbles and breaks really easily? It's like NASA learning our Moon isn't a star. You guys should know this!
But still, they re-engineered her to not have translucent plastic, and here she is, finally! I was looking forward to her second-most, out of all the BTAS/TNBA toys, because I love me some TNBA Poison Ivy. The color palette, man. I don't understand why Poison Ivy isn't always just, y'know, green. She was in the comics for a while, but the New 52 made her peachy again. Boo! GREEN. GIVE ME GREEN. And this bright minty green is the best.
Poison Ivy comes with the same kinda stand everyone else does, with her model sheet printed on the face of it, plus two sets of extra hands and three various beakers and flasks. She... might be able to hold one of them? The holdy-hands -- or at least the ones that look holdy -- don't really look large enough to fit around the neck of the bottles, and I'm not gonna force it. So let's just imagine what that would look like. In addition to the holdy hands, she has fists and the open-palm hands she comes packaged with. I wish she had some open-palm hands with her fingers splayed open more. I want her to be, like, orchestrating planet growth with her mind or whatever she does. The normal open-palm hands kinda manage a little, but it's not quite there.
Poison Ivy's head is huge! I mean, this is on model. Bruce Timm lady heads are huge. But still. It's a little more obvious in 3D.
Anyway, I love her. Even though her articulation's a little shallow. She's my problematic fave.
Finally the second wave of BTAS and TNBA-inspired 6-inch figures from DC Collectibles is out, delayed a month or two to address concerns about quality control. Apparently DC Collectibles discovered a few years later than everyone else that translucent plastic isn't the best choice for joints. Poison Ivy is being held back even more, since she has more stuff to be fixed.
But here's Man-Bat! He came in a huge box, rather than being carded, with his gigantic outspread wingspan in full display. Despite this, he costs the same as the other guys, 25 bucks. It'll all even out when you pay that much for TNBA Robin.
Sure enough, nothing on him seems fragile! He feels much less breaky. However, dang are his shoulder joints loose! Man-Bat comes with two sets of arm/wings -- unfurled and furled -- and when I first looked at him in the box I worried I might break him just trying to yank his shoulders out to swap parts. THIS IS THE OPPOSITE OF THE PROBLEM, IT SEEMS. His shoulders just fall out whenever. So he's kind of annoying to play with and pose. I'll have to look into this Clear Nail Polish solution I've heard about over the years. Y'know, tighten up those joints with some clearcoat.
I also wish his neck joint had more range. He can tilt his head down well enough, but he can't really point his head up so that he can maintain a natural flying position.
Other than that, I am strongly enamored with him. But then, it's hard to hate a toy that LOOKS like this, even if it falls apart when you touch him. Also, he comes with a cassette tape and three prescription pill bottles, the latter of which I'm sure will get some hilarious use in conjunxion with other toys. (It has to be with other toys, since Man-Bat himself is not sculpted to hold any of them.) I am also darkly amused at my sweet new cassette tape accessory. I like to jokingly mock it for being a toy of a cassette tape while sitting in full view of all my Ravages and Buzzsaws.
Just like Batman in "Heart of Ice," I have the sniffles, so let's talk about Mr. Freeze. SYNERGY!
Behold, it's hyperposeable Mr. Freeze! ...which seems kind of oxymoronic. Of all the folks who need the possibility of dynamic poseability, he's kind of low on the list, if not off it completely. The old Mission Masters Mr. Freeze based on the same design seemed sufficient enough with shoulders, neck, and hips. I mean, dude is dead to emotion. He doesn't move much.
But hey, good news, sort of! Mr. Freeze does have a lot of articulation, but some of it's pretty shallow. We're talking, like, his elbows move maybe 20 degrees. So you can get a little bit of subtle movement to him, but he's never going to be dynamic. His legs are way too long for him to look anything but doofy anyway. I do appreciate his universal shoulders and his articulated ankles, though. You wouldn't think thick boots like his could integrate ankle articulation, yet they do.
Like the other toys in the line, Mr. Freeze comes with an assortmant of alternate hands. Be careful yanking them out and pushing new ones in. I broke my Batman that way, and I ain't gonna let it happen to one of these toys again. He also comes with his freeze gun, and there's a hand that's sculpted to hold it, so I'd recommend getting that hand gripped around the gun while the hand isn't attached to the wrist. It's gonna take some shoving, and you don't wanna accidentally shove something wrong and break the peg.
Mr. Freeze also comes with those sweet-ass insect legs that he had in "Cold Comfort" because his body disintegrated and he was just a head on a robot body. They are tall and sleek and they attach via balljoints to the bottom of his collar. This will also require excessive force. Those balljoint sockets are friggin' tight. Be careful to only push on the balljoint itself, because those legs may show plastic stress at other areas.
And, of course, he comes with a stand. Mr. Freeze has the largest feet of any of these guys so far, but he's so tall and lean that he needs the stand anyway. As with the others, his character model turnarounds are printed on the surface of it.
Mr. Freeze is friggin' beautiful, but fragile. The former wins out with me, and so I adore him, but you still wanna keep your mind on the latter.
Shortpacked!-the-comic has talked about the upcoming series of 6-inch poseable Batman The Animated Series/The New Batman Adventures toys from DC Collectibles a few times, usually in terms of intense sexual arousal. Well they no longer upcoming, man, they are finally here.
They started with the thing I have always wanted forever and ever, which is New Batman Adventures Batman. I've probably talked about this before, but that version of Batman is my mind's eye's Batman. That will always be the real Batman to me, until I die. That's just how he looks. If he were a real guy standing in front of me, he'd look like that cartoon character somehow. Real people in suits, Batman doesn't look like that. Real life does Batman a disservice. He's actually a drawing, uncontained by your dumb physics and anatomy. He's a man-shaped tower of specific shapes and lines. That's just how Batman is.
And this is a toy of that.
Yeah, I've got kind of a pile of toys of that, but they were just prophets sent on ahead to herald the arrival of our true TNBA Batman toy, as if they were all John the Baptist. They were relatively tiny and immobile and they didn't come with such a wealth of important extra stuff. This Batman is not just the base humanoid figure, but he comes with three extra sets of hands. Don't like the clenched fists? He has open, relaxed palms you can swap in instead. Want him to be holding a grappling hook launcher? He comes with both a hand sculpted holding a grappling hook launcher and just the launcher itself as a separate accessory. (And a Batarang, obviously) He comes with an extra cape if you want the cape to hang over more of his shoulders and don't mind his shoulder articulation being more limited. And he comes with a friggin' stand with his character model sheet printed on it. There's a plastic rod you shove in the back of the stand that comes with a claw arm that can hold him in place over the stand, because, let's face it, this is a Bruce Timm design, so his feet are kind of small.
It's everything I've ever wanted.
However, I did break my first one. I don't think it was a very good specimen -- his leg popped off at the hip when I tried to splay it to the side, but it went back on easy enough. It was the wrist swapping that did the real damage -- the wrist peg broke clean off in the arm stump like chalk. I got a second one, though, and it was perfect. I have no idea how pervasive the bad QC ones are, but I definitely encountered one bad one myself. Hopefully not too many are like that first one. (On the same day I bought a Lil' Gotham Damian Wayne and his arm crumbled off out of the package, whoof. Geez, DC Collectibles.)
You have to remove Batman's head to swap the capes, and this requires excessive force. But this is something you want to do anyway, because once you loosen that head, make sure you don't push it back in all the way it was before. The head has a much greater range of movement now. He can look up and down and tilt his head to one side or the other. It's great. Otherwise it just turns left or right despite being on a ball joint.
So, yeah. This guy stands on my desk and I look over and can't believe it's a real physical object in front of me. It's one of the favorite things I own.
Just, uh, don't buy a bum one, somehow.
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've bought two Batman-affiliated action figures within the past few weeks, and it wasn't until I opened up the second one and set it down on the coffee table where the first happened to also reside that I realized, oh, okay, yikes, these two guys. These two guys.
I'd bought Surf's Up Batman earlier from The Laughing Ogre. I have a growing collection of various six inch scale Batmen that increasingly reflect Batman's history through the years and in various important cornerstone styles, and you really can't not have a 1966 Adam West Batman in a mix like that. And when there are two possibilities and one of them is Batman in friggin' swim trunks and with a surf board, there isn't really any doubt which of the two is the one you should be going home with.
A week or so later, again at the Ogre, I picked up Death of the Family Joker, partly because we're getting a handful of Greg Capullo-styled Batman figures early next year which I will probably buy all of, and this Joker seems like he'd complete the set.
So what I'm saying is, my coffee table was a battle between Surfing Batman and I-Cut-Off-My-Own-Face-And-Wear-It-As-A-Mask Joker. There may be no better incidental illustration of the ... spectrum of tones in Batman stories.
Need I remind you that Surf's Up Batman is based on the episode "Surf's Up, Joker's Down" in which Joker tries to steal the surfing skills of surfers in order to "rule the waves." And Batman has to stop him because, you know, I guess it's a crime to rule the waves or something, hey, it's the Joker, you should probably stop him if he's doing stuff.
And, again, Death of the Family Joker is wearing his own cut-off face as a mask and killing more people before noon than cancer does in a year. Because, you know, that's how you measure the awesomeness of a DC villain these days, how many dudes they kill in 22 pages. I just can't see any reason to be into, say, the Riddler unless he's snapping necks left and right.