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Damian Wayne Robin

DC Multiverse
by yo go re

Remember when Mattel used to make DC figures? Me neither.

In the Robin War, Damian Wayne and others work to defeat the evil secret society the Court of Owls, with reluctant aid from Jim Gordon's Batman.

It's Batman story update time! In Gotham City, a bunch of teenagers decided that "Robin" was more of an idea than a person, and that anyone could be a vigilante, so they all adopted the name - sort of a cross between the Occupy movement and Anonymous, just with specific goals and brighter colors, respectively. Anyway, a city councilwoman tries to push through "The Robin Laws," making identifying as a Robin illegal, but her true goal is to earn a spot on the Court of Owls. And thus, we have Dick, Jason, Tim, Damien and a handful of untrained wannabes vs. an army of immortal zombie ninjas. Seems fair.

Mattel has made a Damian Wayne figure in the past, but you may recall that I was quite happy to not buy it. But that was primarily about Mattel's stupid now-defunct website (good riddance, Matty Collector; yes you deserved to die, and I hope you burn in hell!) So now there's this one, available at Toys Я Us, and it's mostly the same figure. It uses the same tiny body that's been around since the DCU Classics days, with new gloves and boots. Well, new"ish": they were used for the previous Damian, but this is the first time they've been available to everyone. The gloves have short spikes, and the boots look like real items, complete with rubber soles and laces up the front. The cape and the hem of his shirt are new pieces, too, matching his modern costume. Still, this is a "teen" body, which makes it a little too big for the kid.

The head is also new. The last one was really nice, with a smug look, while this one has its teeth bared in anger. Very "Four Horsemen." He's wearing his hood up, a first for any Damian figure, but definitely accurate to how he looks in the books. Or looked, maybe. His costume gets little tweaks more often than Iron Man's.

His colors are the Robin standard red, green, black and yellow. His red tunic has a yellow ® insignia on a black background on the left breast. The limbs are black, blending in with the lining of his cape, while his gloves and boots are green, and his shoelaces are red. He wears a green mask, pointy on the ends. There are inexplicable yellow stripes on his ribs - they're supposed to be some kind of clasp or something, but they're just painted on, not sculpted. Boo! On both sides of his belt can be found a tiny grey pouch, which doesn't seem like a real step up from a utility belt, but maybe it's all he needs. He's more about the punching and stabbing than the collecting and the sciencing. The pattern on his cape, besides making no kind of sense, is painted a bit sloppily

Mattel has made no effort to improve their DC toys' articulation, because "effort" and "Mattel" go together like "this sentence" and "ending on a strong metaphor." Damian has a balljointed head that might as well be a swivel, swivel/hinge shoulders, swivel biceps, hinged elbows, swivel wrists, a hinged torso, swivel waist, H-hips that are minorly impeded by his skirt, swivel thighs, hinged knees, and hinged ankles. His cape spreads out behind him in a very flat manner, offering no dynamic options to the toy. Part of Damian's costume is a set of green kneepads that his eariler suits didn't feature; rather than bother molding new legs, Mattel just made separate PVC pieces that slip onto the front of the knee and thus fall off whenever you move his legs. Top-notch work as always!

Other than the loose kneepads, Damian's accessories include his sword. You'd think after all this time sidekicking for two versions of Batman, he'd have gotten past his murderous ways, but apparently not. Also, since the "Robin War" storyline saw Damian joining the Court of Owls briefly (it was a way for them to force Nightwing to join their side - the Court is desperate to get its hands on Dick), he also has an owl mask - not the first owl mask to come with a figure, but the first one that can actually be worn. And now we see why Damian had his mask up: like Zartan, he uses it to help hold the mask in place!

This toy is the newest entry in Mattel's current favorite gimmick, store exclusives with variant build-a-figure pieces. He has an alternate head for King Shark, which will probably be helpful if Mattel ever gets the rest of the pieces out in any appreciable numbers. This is his stupid New 52 look, when he somehow mutated into a hammerhead. You'll want to take a look before you buy it, to make sure the pieces have been glued together straight. Fortunately, you should have plenty to choose from, because while the actual series this goes with may not be on pegs anywhere, every TRU seems to have gotten dozens of Robin.

It took a while for fans to warm to Damian Wayne, and DC Comics is on their third version of reality since he was introduced, but this toy represents him well. It's a totatally average Mattel release, for both good and bad, though the inclusion of the Court of Owls mask pushes it up a bit higher than it would otherwise be.

-- 06/28/17


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