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New 52 Red Hood

DC Direct
by yo go re

Remember when we used to keep track of all the times DC Direct schooled Mattel? This toy would earn a spot on the list just for the fact that it's not wearing the wrong goddamn costume!

Superhero-turned-renegade Jason Todd stands ready for action as a member of the Outlaws.

The text goes on from there, but just like on the back of Orion's packaging, they seem to have gotten their "marketing speak" file mixed up with their "informational copy" file. First clue: if the text on the packaging refers to the action figure as an action figure? Wrong text. Also, saying it's "based on the designs from his action-packed monthly comicbook, Red Hood and the Outlaws" is not helping matters either. Tell us who the character is! Tell us how he worked in Europe as a member of Batman Incorporated under the name "Wingman" before deciding that being Red Hood suited him better, or that the reason he partnered with Arsenal was because they were both "failed" sidekicks. You tell everybody about the character, DC, and we'll tell everybody about the toy.

The sculpt, by Steve Kiwus, is based directly on the art of RHatO artist Kenneth Rocafort, which is evident everywhere, but nowhere so strongly as on the head. Instead of a smooth, round dome with the only facial element being the eyes, it's a series of shaped plates forming a full face - eyes, cheeks, nose, and even lips.

The body is skiny, even with the bulk of a leather jacket and the fancy body armor he's wearing beneath it. Jason wasn't an acrobat like Dick, but he was still lithe - growing up a malnourished street kid will do that to you. His armor is very angular, with the sort of harsh lines you'd expect from someone (eventually) raised by Batman. One of the new features created for his New 52 suit is the addition of a red bat symbol on his chest - it was never on the old costume, because he hated Bruce so much, so its inclusion here is an instant cue to us that his attitude is different. His jacket rides up in the back, allowing a glimpse of the armor back there, too. Holsters hang on his hips, he's wearing dark grey pants, and he's got very ornate technological boots.

The only downside to the sculpt are the truly, utterly, epically idiotic blades on his arms. "Oh yes, we're making the first-ever Red Hood figure that looks even remotely like anyone wants it to; let's go ahead and graft on some crap that fell off one of Michael Bay's Transformers!" Dumbasses. These stupid things did appear in the comics - they're some kind of glider wings, not weapons - but they're still dumb as &*(@. All four blades on each arm are articulated, but you can't fold them out of the way or anything. If they were removable, if they plugged in (even if they left a big hollow spot on the arm), then it would be better. They're eyesores, and they drag the quality of the toy way down. You could probably cut them off pretty easily, but still, what a bunch of crap.

And the thing is, they're not even complete! When he wore them in the comic, he held control sticks in his hands - there's no such thing here. The only things that go in his hands are his guns, and then only when they're not in his holsters. Those are nice accessories, but they don't make up for the forearms.

Red Hood doesn't have a waist (even though the belt makes it look like he does), but the rest of his articulation is still quite good. He has a balljointed head, swivel/hinge shoulders and elbows, swivels at the top of the glove and the wrist, swivel/​hinge hips, hinged knees, and hinged ankles. Plus the eight hinges for the blades, if you haven't already melted those down into unrecognizable stumps. The joints were stiff out of the package, but nothing has broken when getting him moving. Not even the blades, sadly. Oh, if only!

If Mattel had released the Red Hood they should have done instead of the one they actually did (free recipe: Sportsmaster body with Jonah Hex arms), this figure would be superfluous - but the sad fact is, even with the stupid freaking arm-blades, this is the only Red Hood that's even close to being right. We suppose there's some chance that DCD will re-release this mold the right way, but for now? This is the only Red Hood you can get, and on that merit he's good.

-- 10/02/14

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