And we're back! Let's cut the chit and skip the chat cause it's time to dive into yet another year of Epic Haluage thanks to the world (in)famous San Diego Comic Con 2014!
NECA - Batman (1989): 18" Batman (Keaton 89)
My favorite Batman is Tim Burton/Michael Keaton's, and there are precious few collectibles for it. The sculpt here is immaculate and the paint is pretty solid. The double-layered pleather cape is nice and the cowl is a (must-be-cut to be removed) separate piece with a fully sculpted and painted Keaton head under there - too cool! But, it's the accessories that really knock this out of the park. We get five interchangeable hands, a collapsible grappling gun which can plug into a holster that attaches to a removable belt clip (that is some insane attention to detail!), an open grapple and a clear tube that presumably connects to it, a batarang that folds in quarters, and, just to go over-the-top, there are two metal batons that can slide into the cape so that he hold it up and open just like in the film! It's actually an overwhelming volume of extras, and frankly they give the impression of being pretty fragile, but I've suffered no breakages yet. Sadly, it's not all roses here as this guy suffers the same problems as all modern NECA 18" figures: the voluminous articulation has frustratingly minimal range of motion and he is quite top-heavy, and thus difficult to keep standing for more than a minute at a time. Sigh... Other than that, the only thing that really bugs me is the way they did his torso, with the musculature as a separate piece - it tends to ride high leaving a weird, conspicuous seam and flat belly hovering above the belt (I also would have appreciated a non-folding batarang too as this one folds too easily making posing tough). Still though - we finally have a great looking Keaton Batman, and that makes me happy.
NECA - Batman (1966): 18" Batman (Adam West)
I grew up on re-runs of the Adam West Batman but it never really grabbed me the way it has older generations. But it's so iconic I'm still very pleased to finally get product from it (even though the large volume of it, all at once, is a bit overwhelming and overbearing). This figure obviously blows the Mattel figures right the eff out of the water. Just like Keaton it came out perfectly and comes with a bunch of fun accessories. Where this guy really excels is the articulation, particularly in the arms. Sure, double-hinged elbows don't look the greatest, but when combined with a great bicep swivel and good balljointed shoulders and wrists the posing options are practically limitless! This guy's boots are separate (hollow) pieces glued onto the shins - expect for only one of mine was glued, so while he too is really hard to keep standing, I'm not sure if it's the same weighting issues as the other figures or the constantly falling-off boot. Also, due to the oddly jointed torso my figure's chest seems permanently tilted to the right. Regardless, the figure looks so good it's just a cruel reminder that a certain the-bottom-line-is-all-that-matters company is sitting on the rights to DC and just flushes out "good enough" product.
DC Collectibles - DC New 52: Earth 2 Flash
I was a big fan of DC Direct for the longest time but between their ultimate decent into "we only make Batman and Superman" mixed with the generally abysmal New 52 designs I've stayed away for a couple years, but as they'd dived into lower roster characters the figures have started to become interesting again. And then... I saw this figure. I just flat out love this costume redesign for Jay Garrick! The figure turned out pretty good, especially with the metallic red and gold paint and a pretty great amount of articulation for a one-off tooling (we get hinged ankles, swivel boots, hinged knees, ball-and-socket hips and shoulders, bicep swivel, hinged elbows, swivel gauntlets and a barbell head: 17 points in total!). The range of motion is good enough but considering this guy is a runner, rockers on the ankles would have been ideal. Also, he only has a peghole on one foot - his right, which also happens to be the one with the gold stripe which is sculpted to be aimed back, and thus have a not-flat foot. The biggest issue/bummer with the figure, though, is the head & neck. They're sculpted at a bit of an odd angle and then the joint is seated a bit too far back in the head leaving young Jay with a really weird and unnatural forward-thrusted head. Still though, this figure looks gorgeous from the neck down!
DC Collectibles - DC New 52: Deathstroke
Since I had decided to just splurge a bit on DCD this year I went in for interesting figures and while I've never been too partial to Deathstroke, this figure, sculpted by Jean St.Jean, was just way too cool to pass up. I love his gun but it appears to have been over-sized a tad making it an awkward fit in his hand, though it does clip perfectly into the thigh-holster. Actually, the issue may just be the hands, which don't seem to be sculpted with his accessories in mind since none of them can be held firmly or naturally. In addition to the gun is a dagger which is a tough fit to its thigh-sheath thanks to the immovable belt, and the sword just attaches to the back via peg/hole but pops off at the slightest touch. Ultimately there just isn't much fun to this guy pose-wise due to these issues but he sure does look neat on the shelf.
DC Collectibles - DC New 52: New 52 Aquaman
I also took this opportunity to finally pick my boy. I dig the (slightly) redesigned costume enough, and the metallic orange sure does look cool, but I'm not too sure about those "hip & edgy" sideburns and having the trident permanently attached to him is just weird. The arms are well articulated but he has nothing on the torso and then only T-crotch and hinged knees, so nothing-doing should you want the King of Atlantis to actually swim through the oceans.
DC Collectibles - DC New 52: Deathstorm
I mean, coooooome on! How cool is this!? How did it take this long for anyone to realize how cool an Anti-Firestorm would be!? I take it this just the bizarro Crime Syndicate version of the character but the concept of the design and the name make him a perfect, iconic villain for the nuclear hero! The head of the figure is immaculate - beautifully sculpted and well painted. The rest of the figure is weird mix, though. The arms are rubber with an articulated armature underneath which just doesn't work as well as intended. Then his torso has a hinged ribcage and waist swivel but his "logo" is only painted on rather than sculpted. Plus, he gets balljointed hips, thigh swivel, double-hinged knees, and hinged ankles with rockers. It's just... so different from all the other figures, and thus confusing. However, he stands as one of the most articulated and thus one of the most fun figures of this batch! I just wish they'd done "normal" arms and sculpted on his "logo" to maintain the stylistic continuity.
DC Collectibles - DC New 52: Earth 2 Green Lantern
This Alan Scott sports yet another remarkably cool redesigned costume - what the hell, Jim Lee? Why hold off on the cool redesigns for the JSA and and shortchange all the major players!? Of course, having read the first two (pretty bad) trades of Earth 2 this costume, the name "Green Lantern," a power ring and particularly the Green Lantern Corps icon make no logical sense for the character... but ultimately that doesn't matter because we get a pretty cool figure as a result. The lime-green detailing pops wonderfully and the matte green bodysuit with the metallic green armor looks killer.
DC Collectibles - DC New 52: Bizarro
WOW....! I LOVE THIS FIGURE!!! There but for the grace of Aquaman goes my lust for Bizarro and pretty much everything about this figure is PERFECT! I don't quite get the Superman pants with a T-shirt (or why the T-shirt has 3D S-Shield), but the concept of it is pretty cool and the metallic-versus-matte paint looks stellar - and besides, it's Bizarro! It's okay if it doesn't make sense. His crackly grey skin looks stellar and the head is perfect in that Karloff-Frankenstein sort of equal-parts-sympathetic-and-monsterous sort of way. But where this guy really shines is the articulation! Remarkably voluminous (22 points) and it all moves fluidly and with great range - I honestly can not remember the last time I had so much fun posing and, moreover, playing with a figure! Perfect sculpt. Perfect paint. Perfect articulation. I'll have to get at least one more. The only problem with this guy is that the rest of DCD's figures aren't at this level! Seriously, how is Bizarro, in every possible way, a superior figure to all the first-string heroes!?!?
DC Collectibles - Arkham Origins: Killer Croc
I really dig this Croc design so I was pretty jazzed to find a booth with a reasonable price on him. He's got a good amount of poseability with some letdowns (ab-crunch is pretty restricted) and surprises (the wrists are ball-hinged and the ankles have rockers). Ultimately I don't really feel like I can do as much with him as I expected, but he still looks remarkably cool and is a pretty fun, pretty big (~9" tall) figure to have on the shelf! (even if his head is super reminiscent of the Goombas from the Super Mario Bros movie) I may not be into videogames at all but this one sure has some pretty cool-looking takes on the characters!
DC Collectibles - Arkham Asylum: Killer Croc
Well that flat-out blows - his arm broke off in the plastic tray as I was removing him from it... I love you, brittle clear-plastic joints! I really, really like seeing comicbook villains in prison-orange so I've been a sucker for some of the figures from the first Arkham game. The sculpt is is fantastic and the paint is remarkably good too. He seems pretty well articulated for his size, though i would have liked better ankle joints, like the figure above, to allow for more poses). I'm not crazy about his head, or at least the giant fangs but they do fit well together when you close the hinged-jaw mouth. His head shackle is removable and while it and the wrists do have metal chains, they are too short to connect together - which would have been fun. Figure breakage is the one real problem with toy buying at conventions... no receipts, no return policies and no real way to remember which booth it was you got it at (at least in this case).
DC Collectibles - Artist Series, Greg Capullo: Batman
I was a little surprised to see DCD get back to the "Artist Series" format and while this first series didn't appeal too much to me the subsequent ones A) looked neat enough and B) showed they were really "going for it," so I decided to buy in. I mean, come on... Capullo is the artist behind most of those awesome "Art of Spawn" figures McFarlane used to do back with they were still relevant. This figure is surprisingly good despite his boring-as-hell costume (thanks Jim "Corporate Style Guide" Lee). The only complaint would be that the ankles lack rockers, but really there is a remarkably high level of poseability at play here. I really worry about losing those tiny batarangs but it is pretty cool that he can hold them!
DC Collectibles - Artist Series, Greg Capullo: Riddler
This guy turned out remarkably excellent, mainly because he can actually hold this pose! Man I hope they do a "'classic" Joker with this body!!! The paint and sculpt are stellar here - I just love the look of the figure! Sadly, and oddly, he only has swivel shoulders which really limits poseability much more than I'd figured. Other than that, though, it's a good figure - which is great since half the line uses it as a base body!
DC Collectibles - Artist Series, Greg Capullo: Nightwing
Guh-roan. Boring design, mediocre character, limited appearances in the comic. His wide-ness also seem odd. He can hold the batons well but there is nowhere to put them when not being held. This figure just does nothing for me beyond completing the set.
DC Collectibles - Artist Series, Greg Capullo: Talon
This is pretty nice figure of a relatively neat design of a fairly dumb concept (a super secret evil society in Gotham among the richest families though Bruce has never turned up any evidence of their existence... until NOW - duhn Duhn DUHN). The guy gets two swords, which fit well on his back, a dagger, a knife (which snapped in half while removing it from the package) and an owl mask for the super secret but shockingly numerous society members to wear (though the backside of it wont really fit well over any figure's face). What's really impressive, though, is that all the knives are removable from the bandolier! Overall its a pretty solid figure for the "iconic" villain that kicked off the New 52 book so he's a reasonable addition to the collection.
NECA - Prometheus: Hologram Chair Suit Engineer
I've ended up with every figure from the line save but for this "third series" which just repaints the first series. I was comfortable sitting it out, but the urn with removable vials, brought me back because it would be an excellent accessory for my second David 8 figure! The cap fits on the base very snugly but the collection of vials is pretty tough to pop out. It's nice enough and I'm marginally tempted to get the Holographic Flight Suit Engineer just to have a second Urn. While I do greatly prefer that look for the Engineers this one seemed like the only relevant version to get since the chair suit is really the only holograms we see in the movie.