#1223: Rodney Copperbottom




Does anybody else remember Robots?  That CGI comedy from 2005 about a world entirely populated by goofy robots, which starred like a dozen big-name actors?  I myself only remember it every so often, when I see my DVD copy of it sitting on my shelf.  Back when it was released, I actually thought it was really amusing, and I still enjoy it when I sit down and watch it.  But, it just doesn’t seem to have had any sort of lasting impact or anything.  It did manage to get some action figures when it came out, so that’s a plus.  Today, I’ll be looking at one of the many variations of lead character  (and Ewan McGregor-voiced) Rodney Copperbottom.


rodney2Mattel had the license for Robots, and there were several different scales offered, with less and less characters offered as the scale got larger.  Today’s figure hails from the 7-inch line, which gave us both Rodney and his friend Fender (voiced by Robin Williams in the film).  This scale offered probably the best figures Mattel offered from the license, but at the cost of offering only two characters.  The figure stands about 7 inches tall and he has 16 points of articulation.  The scale is a little odd, since it doesn’t really go with anything, but the styling doesn’t really match up with anything either, so I guess it’s not a big deal.  The articulation is somewhat low by modern standards, but was pretty solid for a non-Marvel Legends line of the time.  In terms of design, Rodney offered a lot of the typical retro-robot design elements, albeit fed through a George Lucas/Ridley Scott used-future sort of filter, and then polished off by a Disney artist.  Are you following all of that?  Yeah, me neither.  The figure actually does a pretty remarkable job of capturing the in-film design for Rodney, which is more than could be said for most of Mattel’s output from the film.  Some of the details are a little on the soft side, but the general look of this figure is actually pretty solid.  The springs on the shins and waist are separate pieces, which is fun, and the waist one is even an actual metal spring (with a weird spinning feature attached to it).  The paintwork for Rodney is decent enough.  One of the issues that plagued all of the Rodney figures was Mattel’s uncertainty as to exactly what shade of blue Rodney was supposed to be.  They were pretty much all a different hue.  This one’s probably the closest, but still seems a bit too warm.  On the plus side, the rest of the paint is pretty good, with clean base work (apart from some slight bleed over around the eyes), and some rather impressive rust detailing on the silver bits of his arms and legs.  Rodney was packed just on his own, with no cool extras or anything, which kinda sucks, since there was some pretty cool stuff they could have given him.


I didn’t get Rodney when he was new, for whatever reason.  It’s strange, because I liked the movie a lot, so you’d think I’d track down one of the line’s best figures, but I didn’t.  I ended up finding him at 2nd Avenue while I was there with my brother.  Like everything else I’ve ever gotten there, he was in a bag of several other un-related figures, for $2 or something.  That was enough for me to take the plunge on him.  I’m really glad I did, because he’s a surprisingly fun action figure.  Now I kinda want the Fender figure to go with him.

#1222: Havok & Storm




Hey, it’s been a month since I reviewed any Minimates.  That’s statistically too long a period given the make-up of my collection.  Guess I better review some more.  Today, I once again turn the Marvel license, looking at some comic-themed ‘mates (a bit of a rarity these days), based on more classic designs no-less!  So, let’s dive head-in and take a look at Havok and Storm!


Havok and Storm were released in the 14th series of TRU-exclusive Marvel Minimates.  This pair in particular was designed to complete the Outback X-Men line-up released in Series 47 of the main line, which hit right around the same time.  Why they chose to pack these two together is anyone’s guess, since it’s not like Havok and Storm have a lot of history, but I’m not really going to complain.


havokstormmm2This marked Havok’s third entry as a Minimate, and his second comic-based ‘mate.  He’s more or less wearing the same costume as his first comic ‘mate, though if you want to get *really* technical, that ‘mate was in his ‘60s costume and this one is in his ‘80s one.  Not a lot of differences, but they’re there.  Also, it had been almost a decade at this point since his first ‘mate’s release, which would have made completing the team a bit difficult for newer collectors.  The figure is built on the usual ‘mate body, so he’s about 2 1/4 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation.  He’s got one add-on piece for his mask, which is a separate piece this time, as opposed to being just painted on.  I like the sculpted design a bit better, and I also appreciate that they’ve gone for the slightly more splayed design of the antenna he was sporting in the ‘80s, thereby making him more specific to this team line-up.  In terms of paint, he’s a step-up from his predecessor in some ways, but a step down in some others.  The mask is rather on the sloppy side, which is frustrating.  Also, he’s saddled with a screaming expression again, although at least this time you can swap out the head under the mask for a calmer one for another ‘mate if you want (I find that the Series 38 Iron Fist works pretty well).  The added muscle detailing on the torso and legs is definitely nice, as is the clean detailing his energy tracker on his torso.  I do somewhat miss the printed energy detailing of the last figure, but the accessories make up for that.  He included a brand-new effect piece to simulate his powers, which is the same piece that would be modded to be Banshee’s scream effect.  He also includes a spare hair piece for an unmasked look.  He does NOT include the pictured display stand; I just forgot that wasn’t always a standard piece when I was taking this picture.


havokstormmm3As much as I love Havok, there’s no denying that this set’s heavy hitter is Storm.  This marked Storm’s seventh time as a ‘mate.  Unlike Havok, this isn’t a repeat of an earlier design, although it shares a few design elements with a few prior ‘mates.  This is her post mohawk look, but her pre-90s-shoulder pads look.  It doesn’t quite have the staying power of a lot her designs, but it’s decent enough, and shown up in a few toy lines over the years.  The figure uses add-ons for her hair, glove cuffs, and cape.  The cuffs are re-used from Battle-Damaged Spirit, but the rest of the pieces were new.  Both pieces are decent enough.  The hair doesn’t have the ears sculpted like most ‘mate hair pieces, which is a little odd, but it’s otherwise pretty solid.  The cape is okay, but seems a little on the stiff side.  In terms of paint, she’s not bad.  The glossy sheen on the black is a nice touch, and I like the bright grey detail lines.  The gold could probably stand out a bit more, and the skin tone could do with a more organic hue, but the application’s all pretty great.  Storm includes a pair of electricity effect pieces (the same ones included with six of her other ‘mates), as well as a flight stand.


Okay, so Havok’s one of my favorite X-Men, so as soon as these figures hit, I made it a point to get this set.  I ordered them from TRU’s online store, which, as with most of the times I’ve done so, was quite an ordeal.  Of note, neither they, nor the other set I ordered (Heather Hudson & Box, for those who are curious) was actually listed under their name, instead being given the generic title of “Marvel Minimates 14: Figure.”  Fortunately, a kind soul over at the Minimate Multiverse provided the group with the SKUs, so I was able to determine which set I was ordering that way.  Havok is awesome.  A definite improvement over the prior release.  Storm is alright; hardly my go-to version of the character, but a solid ‘mate nonetheless.

Flashback Friday Figure Addendum #0005: Terrax


It’s Friday again, and you guys know what that means: another Flashback Friday Figure addendum!  This week, I’m moving away from the Batman Forever stuff, and jumping over to one of my earlier Toy Biz Marvel reviews, Terrax!

Today’s review is another Fantastic Four figure, this is the last of the wave one reviews: Terrax.  There was one other figure in the first wave, Benjamin J Grimm, aka the Thing, but I didn’t have that version.  I had the later wave 3 version.  And can I just address the fact that I’m reviewing Terrax, but I’ve yet to get to the Human Torch and the Invisible Woman? You know the other HALF of the title team!  How exactly did TERRAX get himself a spot in the line before two of the title characters?  He’s really not that great a character, nor has he ever really been all that important…ever.  Anyway…


So like I said before, this is Terrax, the second herald of Galactus, part of the first wave of Toybiz’s FF line.  He’s depicted here in Terrax’s only look ever, which must have made the costume choice pretty easy for the guys at Toybiz.  At one point in time, Terrax had a rock stand and his trusty axe (which tears through stuff.  Clever name….).  Mine doesn’t have these items any more.  The figure’s actually a very good depiction of Terrax, which is nice because he’s not one of those characters who gets many chances at having an action figure made.  His hands are interesting, because they’re both molded to hold his axe, but due to their vertical placement and his limited articulation, he can only hold it in one hand at a time.  This leaves the other hand with this thumbs up position.  What is this guy, the Fonz? (AAAAAAAAY!)  Actually, that might make his character a bit more interesting.  You heard it here first Marvel! (Do they even realize that this character exists?)


Terrax was another of the gift figures.  It’s fine because he’s a great, big, bad guy for your heroes to fight.  That was always good enough for me!

Okay, by this point I was starting to get into the swing of things.  Over 300 words and an actual intro.  Still doesn’t quite follow my modern structuring, but not terrible at all.  And of course, I was still doing full series reviews at this point, which is rather different than how I do things now.

Terrax is a little over 5 inches tall and has 9 points of articulation.  Missing from my original review were his rock stand, removable skirt piece and his axe.  Of those pieces, the only one I found during The Find was his axe, but that’s okay, since the axe is definitely the most important piece!

Not a whole lot of extra thoughts on this guy, I gotta say.  That’s all for cosmic Fonzie here.

#1221: Goliath




Black Panther is the Marvel Universe’s first prominent African character and not long after his introduction in 1966, they introduced their first noteworthy African-American character into their super hero world in the form of Hank Pym’s lab assistant, Bill Foster.  Bill was a big deal at the time, being totally competent in his job, and being the best expert in Pym Particles outside of Pym himself, all while avoiding many of the negative stereotypes that struck most black characters at the time.  In the ‘70s, he was promoted to a super hero in his own right, taking on the role of Black Goliath.  He then eventually took on Hank’s old Giant-Man name for a time, before retiring for a bit due to health issues.  In the early ‘00s, he was brought back, dropping the “Black” from his name and simply going by “Goliath.”  Then he got dragged into the stupidity of Civil War and ended up dead.  Thanks, Millar.  Well, at the very least he got an action figure out of all of it.


billfoster2Goliath was released in the second series of Hasbro’s Marvel Universe: Gigantic Battles line, a sub-line of their main Marvel Universe line.  He was originally packed with Ragnarok, the evil clone version of Thor from Civil War, as well as Civil War #4, the issue where Bill died.  Those two parts of the set were a little morbid for me, so I got rid of them.  Just the Bill figure for me!  The figure stands about 12 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  Bill is wearing the costume he was sporting during Civil War (though it was introduced just prior to that, I believe during Dan Slott and Andrea Di Vito’s The Thing mini-series).  It was a short-lived look, but also one of Bill’s best designs, lacking a lot of the dated design elements his other designs possessed. Structurally, the figure’s mostly a re-use of the Marvel Icons Cyclops figure, the same body used for the previously reviewed SDCC-exclusive Giant-Man, as well as the Gigantic Battles version of Hank Pym Goliath.  As I noted in the Giant-Man review, it’s a body that’s started looking quite dated in recent years.  It’s really gangly, and the articulation isn’t particularly well worked-in.  The gangly-ness of the body is particularly notable with Bill, who was classically depicted as having a fair bit of mass in his giant form.  That being said, one of my major issues with its use on Giant-Man was how the sculpted costume details didn’t line-up with his design.  That’s not an issue for Bill, which results in him looking a whole lot less strange when compared to Hank.  Bill had a new head sculpt, which remains one of Hasbro’s greatest head sculpts to date.  The level of detail on this sculpt is really incredible, to the point that it almost kinda looks out of place on this particular body.  He’s also got an add-on belt piece, which covers up the sculpted x-belt-buckle.  Due to its design and size, it covers the original belt much better than the piece on the Giant-Man figure.  In terms of paint, Bill’s fairly decent.  The base colors match up pretty well with the comics, and there’s some nice airbrushing present on several parts of the costume.  Since the arms they used have sculpted seams and folds, they couldn’t do the proper bare arms, so instead they’re black like the pants and boots.  It sort of looks off, but I guess it works alright.


Bill is actually one of my favorite comics characters.  It all goes back to his appearance in the tie-in comics for Avengers: United They Stand, which is one of my personal favorite runs of Avengers comics.  I liked him there, which led to me tracking down some of his other appearances (with the Champions, another favorite team of mine, as well as in his short-lived solo series).  He’s just one of those cool background characters that I really enjoy, and I was beyond pissed when he was killed in Civil War.  I was super thrilled when Hasbro announced him as part of this line, and waited patiently for the two years it took for him to make it to retail.  Goliath isn’t one of Hasbro’s best, especially in light of the leaps and bounds they’ve made with Legends, but he was actually one of the best entries in the MU line at the time, and he’s the only Bill Foster action figure out there.

#1220: Baron Soontir Fel & Hobbie Klivian




On top of the usual movie faire, a lot of the success of Star Wars is due to its continued presence in other media during the periods between films.  Star Wars has had pretty much a consistent comics presence ever since Marvel first adapted the first film.  Dark Horse Comics took over in the ‘90s and had a rather lengthy and very successful run with the license.  There were lots of different series over the years, but one of the most popular by far was X-Wing Rogue Squadron, which followed several of the X-Wing pilots we met throughout the Original Trilogy.  When Hasbro renewed the Star Wars license following Revenge of the Sith, one of the ways they kept things fresh was with comic-based figures, and a number of them were based on Rogue Squadron, including the pair I’m looking at today.


Baron Soontir Fel and Hobbie Klivian were pack 12 in Hasbro’s Star Wars: Comic Packs, and they were officially part of the 30th Anniversary line as well.  The two included figures are based on their appearance in issue #24 of Star Wars: X-Wing Rogue Squadron, which was included in the set with them.


baronhobbie2Baron Soontir Fel.  Now that’s a name I haven’t heard in quite some time.  No, wait, scratch that, that’s a name I’ve heard never.  Yeah, I got no clue who this guy is.  Going by the gear, he’s a TIE Fighter pilot, so that’s cool.  Obviously, he plays a part in Rogue Squadron, so…yeah.  Anyway, the figure stands a little over 4 inches tall (he actually seems  a little out of scale), and he has 16 points, which was really good for the time.  The sculpt for this figure is actually pretty strong, but it’s also a little odd, because it feels less like a Star Wars sculpt and more like one of the GI Joe: 25th Anniversary figures.  That’s not really a knock against the figure himself, since I quite liked a lot of the 25th Anniversary line, but it does make him stand out quite a bit from the rest of his peers.  It may have to do with his pack-mate being a bit older in style (more on that in a bit).  In terms of his sculpt, there’s a lot of cool stuff going on.  His jumpsuit has some awesome texture work, and all of the various parts of his uniform are quite sharply detailed.  His helmet and chest apparatus are removable, revealing his head and the rest of his uniform beneath.  The head sculpt is sufficiently smug and Imeperial, so that’s cool.  I also like that the helmet is pretty decently scaled to the body, and is probably one of the best trooper helmets I’ve seen at this scale.  As far as paint goes, the Baron is pretty solid.  He’s mostly grey and black, but all of the application is nice and clean, and he looks decent enough.  In addition to the removable helmet and chest piece, the Baron is packed with a small blaster pistol, which is the same style as the Biker Scout.  It’s a cool piece, and it can be stowed in his holster.


baronhobbie3Okay, I kinda know Hobbie.  I think.  I recognize the name.  He’s not really distinctive enough that I could point him out to you in the movies, but I know he’s in there, so that’s good, I guess.  The figure stands just under 4 inches tall and has 10 points of articulation.  He’s a lot stiffer than the Baron, which is a little sad.  A lot of that has to do with being built on the body of the 2004 Dutch Vander figure.  The line made a lot of leaps and bounds between Vander’s release and Hobbie’s, which made Hobbie feel a little out of place at the time.  He’s not really helped by being packed with Baron Fel, who was rather ahead of his time.  Nevertheless, Hobbie’s certainly not a bad figure on his own merits.  He’s got all the basic X-Wing pilot gear, and the sculpt is really sharply rendered.  I love the amount of detail they were able to get into all of the folds and wrinkles on the jumpsuit.  Also, he comes from an era when Star Wars figures were really good at hiding articulation, so his sculpt is at the very least very aesthetically pleasing.  His only truly new piece is his head, which is rather on the generic side.  He’s sporting a cap under his helmet, which aids in the generic-ness.  Honestly, this feels like the closest you can get to a straight up generic X-Wing pilot.  In terms of paint, Hobbie is once again pretty solid.  The colors all match up to what you’d expect from an X-Wing pilot.  In particular, I rather like the custom details on the helmet.  The figure includes his removable helmet, as well as a later pistol.  No holster for this guy, but his arm’s in a permanent gun-holding pose anyway, so I can’t really see many people posing him without it.


These two were a gift from Super Awesome Girlfriend.  She got them for me last summer during a visit to Yesterday’s Fun.  Honestly, they’re the sort of set I might have overlooked on my own.  And that would have been too bad.  They’re not going to blow anyone out of the water, but they’re certainly a fun little pair, and a worthy addition to my collection!

#1219: Myzax




A giant fighting robot is only as good as the giant foes he giant fights.  Giantly.  As much as Voltron is defined by its title character and the five Paladins who pilot him, it’s also very much defined by the Robeasts with which the Defender of the Universe did battle in just about every episode.  The Robeasts are just as much a part of the new series as they were the old.   Playmates line of figures based on the new show includes the Robeasts, starting things off with the show’s premiere RoBeast


myzax2Myzax is part of the first series of Voltron: Legendary Defender figures.  He’s the only non-Voltron in the lot, and from the looks of things, he’s not as heavily packed as the others.  The figure is just under 5 inches tall and he has 17 points of articulation.  He’s a lot more posable than the Lion Attack Voltron, which is definitely a point in his favor.  He’s still missing the elbow articulation on one arm, but he’s got bicep and thigh swivels, which makes for a lot more posing options than we saw with yesterday’s figure.  Myzax was one of my favorite designs from the new show, and the figure does a pretty respectable job of translating that design into three dimensions.  The arms and legs should probably be a little longer, and his right arm’s a little too thick, but aside from that, most of the details are pretty accurate.  The level of detail could probably be sharper, but he’s about on par with the work seen on Voltron, which is certainly reasonable.   Even the action feature is better worked in than it was on Voltron.  He’s still got the missile launching gimmick, but the actual missile isn’t an integral part of the figure’s design (meaning it’s totally fine to display him without it), and the feature actually half-way replicates his special attack from the show.  Plus, it’s button activated, so it’s less likely to break over time.  The paintwork on the figure is passable, but it could definitely be a bit better.  All there really is to it is the most basic colors.  The application is clean, but he’s missing a lot of the smaller details from the show.  As it stands, he looks alright, but I can’t help but feel he’d look even cooler with a top-notch paint job.  As far as accessories, his only real extra is the missile for the launcher gimmick.  It replicates the energy ball weapon that’s built into his arm in the show.


I found Myzax at the same time as Voltron.  He’s really the figure that sold me on the whole line.  I’d picked up the Voltron and wasn’t sure I wanted him, but I spotted this guy on the back of the card, and he happened to be hidden back behind several Voltrons.  Myzax is my favorite of the Robeasts from the new show so far, so I’m pretty psyched about his inclusion so early in the line.  On top of that, he’s actually a pretty fun figure, and a good indicator of how good this line can be if Playmates puts in the effort.


#1218: Lion Attack Voltron




Back in late January, Netflix dropped the second season of their reboot of Voltron, which proved to be just as good as, if not better than, the show’s first season.  The first season’s release was woefully devoid of accompanying toys, but between the first and second season, Playmates picked up the license and released a selection of action figures about a week before the second season’s premier.  There are a couple of different options for those that want a basic Voltron.  I opted for one of the two smaller versions, which I’ll be looking at today.


voltronld2Lion Attack Voltron is part of the first series of Playmates’ Voltron: Legendary Defender line.  The figure stands about 5 1/2 inches tall and he has 11 points of articulation.  Hardly the most posable figure ever. At the very least, I would have liked some bicep swivels and elbow movement for *both* arms, but I guess what this guy’s got is workable.  There’s certainly worse out there.  This Voltron figure is based on the modern Voltron design, which is really just a sleeker, more rounded out version of the classic design.  The sculpt does a reasonable job of recreating the show look.  He’s a bit stiffer, and some elements (the neck in particular) are rather on the boxy side.  All the details are pretty well defined; some of them are a little on the soft side, but it’s generally pretty solid work.  The wings are removable pieces, but don’t combine into the shield like on the show.  It might be nice to have gotten some alternate extended wings, but maybe those will show up on another figure down the line.  The biggest deviation from his established look is in order to facilitate the action feature.  The head of the Green Lion is actually mounted to a projectile, which juts out of the back of the elbow about an inch.   The actual sculpt has some tweaks to allow the missile to go through more smoothly, which means there’s some odd extra plastic in a few spots.  Fortunately, it’s not too hard to hide these inaccuracies with some careful posing, but it’s still a bit annoying.  Even more annoying is the way the missile launcher works; there’s no actual lock and release button, it’s a more simple tension hold.  The problem with this design when dealing with softer materials like plastic is that it will eventually warp, and eventually the notch that holds the missile in place isn’t strong enough to resist the tension of the spring.  How do I know this will happen?  Because it *already* happened to my figure; after a few days, the hand simply wouldn’t stay in place.  I had to deepen the notch to keep it from firing, and I’ll likely have to keep doing it every so often.  Not something I want to have to do to a mass-produced figure.  Voltron’s paintwork is decent enough.  It’s fairly basic color work, but everything is nice and clean, and colors are bold.  Voltron includes no accessories, but with the missile feature and removable wings, the box doesn’t feel too empty.


The new Voltron toys were actually an in-store surprise for me.  I had heard Playmates had the license, but hadn’t seen any prototypes.  I stumbled upon them while running some errands at Target.  There are two different smaller Voltrons available, and I went with this one because he looked to be the more articulated of the two.  He’s nothing amazing, and I really would have preferred they’d dropped the missile launcher feature in favor of just properly articulating that arm (since mine’s already broken).  Still, he’s not awful, and he’s certainly got some promise.  If Playmates is willing to try and learn from their mistakes, this like could be really fun.

#1217: Michone




So, I guess The Walking Dead TV-show starts up soon.  Or maybe it already started back up.  I don’t actually know, because I haven’t watched the show since about fifteen minutes into this season’s premiere, nor will I be going back.  But, I’ve still got all these figures, so…yeah…  Here’s Michone.


michone2Michone was released in the first series of McFarlane’s comic-based The Walking Dead line, which hit around the same time as the TV show’s series premiere.  The figure stands about 5 inches tall and has 18 points of articulation.  So, right off the bat, there’s the weird scale thing.  I’ve looked at the TV line and one or two of the comic figures, so the scale’s not new to the site, but it was actually new to this particular line.  It was an odd choice to say the least, since the rest of the industry was doing either 3 3/4 or 6-inch scale at the time.  McFarlane’s gotta be different.  Michone is based on her first appearance from the comics, which is a fairly standard look for her, but at the same time a bit gaudy compared to the character’s look as the series progressed.  The sculpt is alright, I guess.  It certainly wasn’t as bad as some of how of the other figures from the earliest days of this and the TV line.  That being said, while the sculpt isn’t bad, it’s also michone3kind of boring.  The pose is just sort of her standing with her hand holding the katana downwards.  There’s also pretty much no trace of Charlie Adlar’s art style in the sculpt; she instead looks like just some generic sort of super model or something.  Not exactly very indicative of Michone as a character.  I guess it could be worse, though.  She’s not the ultra-hideous figure that the first Rick was.  At the very least, the paint on Michone is actually pretty solid.  The colors are vibrant, which works surprisingly well, and all of the application is very clean.  Miocene was packed with her katana, a power drill, and a spoon.  The sword is pretty much expected, but the drill and spoon are some pretty fun issue specific pieces, even if she didn’t use them in this outfit.


I bought the corresponding Rick figure from this line first, which didn’t really make me want to pursue any of the others.  But, Cosmic Comix had their biggest sale of the year going, and she was 40% off, which was enough for me to go for it.  It’s hard to get super excited about this figure, but she certainly could have been far worse.

#1216: Knightfall Batman




‘90s comics are notorious for fostering an over-arching tone of “not your daddy’s comics,” I guess in an attempt to make the genre seem more hip and fly (see?  I’m one of the cool kids!  I can get home with the downies).  One of the ways they did this was by performing lots of edgy stunts that “rocked the comics world to its core!”  Green Lantern went nuts and dismantled the corps, Superman died and was replaced by four off-shoot characters, etc.  Even Batman wasn’t exempt, thanks to the “Knightfall” story arc that ran through all the Bat-titles in the early ‘90s, where newly-introduced villain Bane bested and crippled Bruce Wayne, necessitating his replacement by Jean-Paul Valley, a far more anti-heroic character.  The story is actually pretty well-regarded, mostly because it dove head-on into a lot of the tropes associated with the ‘90s anti-hero boom and deconstructed them, with the final moral of the story being that the new style of Batman just didn’t work as well as the original.  Since the story hit right on the cusp of the superhero toy boom, several of the key characters got figures at the time of the story.  The final, more armored incarnation of Valley’s Batman has been a particular favorite of toy companies, even in current times.


azbatsdcm2Knightfall Batman was released as part of Mattel’s smaller-scale DC Comics Multiverse line.  He’s one of the many Arkham Origins-based figures from the line, and like a good portion of those figures, he represents one of the many skins that could be swapped out for Batman’s standard look.  Said skin is based on Jean-Paul Valley’s late Knightfall look (though not his *latest* look; the armored sections got a bit more tech-y as the story progressed).  It’s the look most associated with the storyline as a whole, so it’s certainly a strong choice of both skin and figure.  The figure stands a little under 4 inches tall and has 18 points of articulation.  As with so many Mattel figures, the articulation  scheme is rather archaic, but at this point I sort of just expect that.  If Mattel’s determined to stay just behind the pack, I can’t stop them.  The sculpt is decent enough, I suppose.  It’s about on par with the other figures I’ve gotten from the line; the basic look is pretty solid, but there’s not a whole lot of small detail work or anything that really makes it stand out.  There’s also the incredibly awkward way the front of the belt is handled.  It’s supposed to not have a buckle, but since they made the belt a separate piece (because reasons), the tunic is interrupted twice where the belt connects, which ruins the visual flow.  And, of course, there are the huge hands, because no one at Mattel knows how to scale hands for this size figure, I guess.  The paint on the figure is passable, but, like the sculpt, a little uninspired.  The colors all more or less match up, but they’re just… unexciting.  The blue is dark, the gold is dull, the yellow is cold, and the black is just very flat.  Application is also a bit sloppy, but it’s far from the worst I’ve seen from Mattel.  The figure includes no accessories, which is a slight letdown.


Have I mentioned Super Awesome Girlfriend’s stress buying before?  Yeah, this guy’s a case of that.  She stopped at a Walgreens on the drive to her parents’ and this was one of the handful of figures she grabbed for me (after verifying I didn’t already own him).  Is he a perfect figure?  No.  Is he an exciting figure?  Not incredibly so, but he has his merits.  I’ve owned worse figures, and I like the design enough that I’m happy to own a figure of it.

#1215: Silver Surfer




Didn’t I just review a Toy Biz Marvel Legends figure?  Man, usually I’m better about spacing this sorts of things out.  Ah well.  Well, the last review looked at a figure from towards the end of Toy Biz’s run; today’s review jumps back a bit, looking at the line’s second year.  So, without further ado, here’s Silver Surfer!


surferml2Silver Surfer was released in Series 5 of Marvel Legends, which hit stores starting in November of 2003.  Series 5 is easily one of my favorite series from TB’s run with the line, and in a lot of ways showcased the line’s true potential.  It was also the last series where just about every figure was easily obtained, and thus the last series I have un-compromised memories about.  Anyway, this figure stands just over 6 inches tall and he has 40 points of articulation.  Surfer exhibits one of the earliest attempts at using a buck system for Legends.  He was built on the body initially designed for the second Spider-Man Classics Daredevil figure.  I always thought the body was too beefy for DD, but it’s not a bad choice for the Surfer.  It’s a sculpt that, like so many of the TB Legends, hasn’t aged super well.  The shoulders are a bit large, and the legs are somewhat gangly, but the general appearance isn’t awful.  My figure suffers from a minor assembly error: his left forearm is actually a right forearm, just flipped around, meaning the musculature doesn’t quite line up the right way.  Nothing major, but a slight annoyance.  The head sculpt on Surfer is fairly decent.  It’s stylistically consistent with the body, and presents a pretty reasonable version of the Surfer’s noggin.  It’s a little more alien than he tends to be depicted, and certainly on the cartoony side, but a fun sculpt nonetheless.  The Surfer exhibits some of the finer paintwork from TB’s Legends.  It may not seem like much at first glance, but there’s a really nice quality to the silver paint chosen; it’s much more vibrant and lively than the silvers you tend to see on production pieces.  There’s also the slightest hint of blue, airbrushed over the figure, which really helps connect him with the comics version of the Surfer, who was often highlighted with blue.  Over the years, various Silver Surfer figures have handled his titular surfboard all sorts of different ways.  This is probably one of the more interesting ones.  There’s a magnet in each foot, and the core section of the board is metal.  In theory, this allows you to affix him to the board while also leaving it without any visible footpegs when he’s not standing on it.  Of course, since molding the whole board in metal would be cost prohibitive, they had to sort of split the difference, and give the board a plastic frame, which doesn’t quite mesh with the metal section, and sort of messes up the whole seamlessness of the board.  Still, fun gimmick, though.  There was also an included chunk of space rock with an articulated arm attached, allowing for the board to be posed as if it were flying.  Perhaps the oddest accessory included with Surfer (and maybe even one of the oddest accessories of all time) is the Howard the Duck figure.  As far as I know, Howard and the Surfer have never met, so why they chose to pair these two up is anyone’s guess.  Nevertheless, it’s a proper action figure of its own, with four whole points of articulation, and an incredibly well-detailed sculpt that looks like it jumped straight out of a classic ‘70s Howard comic appearance. 


It’s Disney’s fault.  No, not because they own Marvel.  They didn’t yet when this figure was released.  Anyway, I got this figure while visiting Disney World back in 2003.  Series 5 had just started hitting stores, and my family went to the nearby Walmart to pick up a few things.  My dad and I walked back to the toy aisle (as we do), and they had a Nick Fury and two Silver Surfers.  I wanted one of the Surfers, but my dad convinced me to wait.  Later that week, we needed to stop by again for batteries I think.  My dad went in on his own, and when he got back to the car, he was carrying this guy.  Turns out, he walked back to the toy aisle to check if they still had these, and when he got there they were all gone.  When he turned to walk back to the registers, he happened to look down and spotted this one lone Silver Surfer on the ground.  This figure’s not perfect, but he’s one of the better Surfer figures out there, even 13 years after his release.