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Ra's al Ghul & Shredder

Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
by yo go re

The title may be Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but they do have other people to fight, as well.

At the beginning of the movie, Ra's al Ghul's involvement is a secret - it seems like Shredder and the Foot Clan have come to Gotham City on their own, and it's not until about a quarter of the way through that we find out the League of Shadows is involved in the scheme as well. Cartoon Ra's follows the lead of the real character closely, being an immortal Arabian with access to rejuvenative Lazarus Pits and a mastery of all forms of combat.

Big Daddy R is wearing his traditional outfit: plain boots, simple pants, and a tunic held shut by a wide brown belt. Of course, he's got the cape with the huge collar; he wears that with everything! The cape itself is softgoods, while the big ridiculous collar is plastic. It still looks pretty nice. The coolest feature, however, is the golden bracers he wears. Taking a cue from Batman Begins and providing a direct link between Ra's and Batman, the bracers have scalloped hooks on the underside, same as Batman's gloves.

The Batman vs. TMNT Ra's design owes a bit to Batman: the Animated Series, especially in the way the eyebrows and dark circles under the eyes are done. There's a little bit of visible skin between the two here, but not so much that he looks surprised. The head is wide and square, but still has those strong cheekbones, that kind of triangular hair, and of course the two little beardlets on the sides of his chin.

Befitting a master martial artist, the figure moves at the ankles, knees, thighs, hips, waist, chest, wrists, elbows, shoulders, and neck. Since the cape is softgoods, it doesn't get in the way at all! In fact, it's specifically designed to be folded out of the way of the shoulders. There's a yellow hem all the way around the edges, but it's only visible along the bottom, because the sides have been flipped over like a dog's ear, and they seem to be glued in place that way.

Ra's only gets his scimitar for an accessory, plus two alternate hands: one cupped very wide, and the other in a "touch of death" fighting pose. He's going to need all that if he's going to single-handedly fight off trained ninjas! That's not just an expression, he literally does it with one arm held behind his back. He just needs to watch out for Leonardo, who knows the one technique he hasn't mastered.

The sales of these GameStop-exclusive sets seem to be all over the place. At my local store, they last about a week before selling out, but go to a different one and they'll still have a full stock going all the way back to the first set. That's a shame, because if you've seen the movie, you know there are a bunch more villains who would make just the awesomest toys, and now they may never happen. But if you may only have one shot at making a TMNT enemy, you know Shredder is the one you'll do.

This Shredder is based more on the original comics than the toys or cartoon - color-wise, at least. He's big and bulky, easily one of the most muscular Shredders ever seen, with arms bigger than other characters' legs. His tunic is maroon, which is pure Mirage Comics. He does get one concession to the more famous versions, in the form of a purple cape. If the scarf around his neck is supposed to be part of the cape, though, it's way too light.

The head is terrific. Shredder is wearing his usual helmet, with the smooth faceplate, the tri-pointed crest wrapping around the top, and the armored plates protecting his neck. Only his eyes are visible throught the small slit. Bit of a missed opportunity not making the mask removable (or doing an alternate head). Show us his face, with its tiny rat-scratch scars on the cheek!

Shredder's articulation is the same as Ra's', so he's got enough to perform the sato-oshi strike. He comes with extra hands, of course, one pair open to hold accessories, and one pair with his hand-blades extended further. No surprise that the blades on his armor are all soft enough to prevent injury, but the spikes on his helmet are sharp! There's also a translucent green cannister of mutagen and a ninja star, but you know what there isn't? Any pizza. At all. Neither Ra's al Ghul nor Shredder come with slices of pizza, like all the other figures did. That's how you know they're evil! They're probably out there eating... clams or something.

Batman vs. TMNT did end with a little sequel bait, so maybe there's a chance we'll see more of this world. And as long as that chance exists, there's also a chance we'll get more toys. This line has managed to deliver some of the best Batman toys and some of the best Turtles toys ever, and we're sad to see it end.

-- 12/29/19

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