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Super-Articulate: DC Multiverse Killer Croc Assortment

THIS . . . is a big one. Quite simply one of the best assortments that Mattel has released since the advent of DC Multiverse, the Killer Croc wave is almost everything that you’d want out of a Batman grouping. Let’s dig in. But first: thank you to Mattel for providing us with these figures free for the purposes of review. First up . . .

Red Robin (Tim Drake): I’m glad Tim got out as Red Robin before the Drake name change. (No sir, I do not like it). DC Multiverse has done a great job getting to Rebirth characters, and I’ve been really pleased with the attention paid to the excellent Detective Comics run. I think that Red Robin looks pretty great. The RR logo is easy to read. The cape is pretty solid. Also, the staff is well done. This figure has a pretty great face sculpt, too; that’s a grim and determined expression right there. I’m kind of surprised that it took until this deep in the line to get to him, but hey, I’m happy he’s here.

Red Hood (Jason Todd): This is the figure that I struggle with the most in the assortment. I’m definitely glad that it exists, but I’m equally bummed that the pistols are sculpted into the gun belt and can’t be removed. That’s a swing and a miss. The rest of the figure itself is pretty good. I like the jacket existing as a separate piece over the torso. The Red Hood helmet sculpt is okay, but the masked Jason head is great. This particular figure has some of the best paint work in the assortment; I especially like the shininess of the helmet itself. Red Hood also comes with a few extra hands, including hands sculpted to hold guns (which is a little ironic).

Katana: I was pleasantly surprised when Katana was announced as part of this group, and I think Mattel did a fine job. The splashes of red and white on a costume that’s predominantly black make for a striking figure; I got a really good paint op on mine, as it has a sleek sheen. Katana does have an extra hand for holding her namesake weapon; that’s another well-done piece. Knowing her history in the Outsiders, I had to take a picture of her with the CW Black Lightning from two weeks back. Seeing them together makes me wish Mattel had gotten time to do Geo-Force and Halo, too. Nice work, good figure.

Batman (Dick Grayson): There’s a lot to like about this figure. First off, I loved the Morrison/Quitely/etc Batman and Robin title. Secondly, he’s sculpted differently than Bruce. You can tell that THIS Batman is different from the OTHER Batman, and that’s excellent. Another difference that’s pretty clever is the use of the cloth cape; it’s another signifier, given the predominance in plastic molded capes for Bruce. Going in that direction with the cape also echoes the way that Quitely drew him, particularly on the cover of issue #1 of that run. The figure comes with an unmasked head and a”hanging cowl” accessory that lets you mimic Dick’s appearance when he has the cowl pulled off. I like this one. It wouldn’t have been one that I would have thought of immediately, and that’s cool; it makes for a nice surprise and it’s a solid figure.

KGBeast: Holy crap; this guy’s HUGE. Originally appearing in the class “Ten Nights of the Beast” story and popping up on occasion across media (Justice League Unlimited; there by his real name in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice), KGBeast has always been a favorite weird villain of mine. I feel like they got the flavor of the guy, particularly with his crazy weapon attachment. That’s just ridiculously big, and also awesome. A pair of daggers go into booth sheaths, which is a great touch. It’s just a massive and intimidating figure, and I really dig it.

Alfred: This Alfred figure is just tremendous. The basic look is terrific. It looks just like Alfred from the comics. The choice of serving tray and glass accessories is hilarious and super-appropriate; way to be on-the-nose, Mattel. This is all well and good. But the thing that pushes Alfred into the stratosphere is the fact that he’s got not one, not two, not three, but four frickin’ heads. Love the ’60s TV show? There’s the Napier head. Love the Keaton movies? Allow us to show you the Gough head. You a comic person? Comic head! And the fourth . . . the Outsider! If you don’t know who the Outsider is (short form: bad Alfred), then trust us; it’s a little complicated to get in right now. But that choice is just awesome. I love this Alfred; obviously, there have been a few over time in various lines, but I think this is the best.

Collect + Connect Killer Croc: Did I say KGBeast was big? Good Lord. Killer Croc is enormous. But even better, he’s still extremely poseable. Frequently in figures of this type, you trade that poseability for the size. Not here. Aside from the hinged jaw, you have good mobility at the joints. And the detail! The size makes it a little easier to achieve this, but this figure is a veritable explosion of scales and ridges. The texture and general weight of this figure is off the charts. Outstanding work.

As you can tell, I think that Mattel pretty much pulled out the stops this time. There are some fine figures here and I appreciate the selection. I got out the DCUC Signature Damien to pose Al and the boys for a couple of shots to mark the occasion. What about you, readers? You like this set? Tell us about it in the comments. Thanks for reading!

Super-Articulate: DC Multiverse Batman Ninja Assortment Part 2

Welcome back! Last time, we took a deep dive into catching up on the DC Multiverse Batman Ninja assortment.  This Titans-heavy group was released a few months ago, but are readily available at online outlets and can be found in the wild at various stores. This time, we’re focusing on the last regular figure in the group, the Collect and Connect figure, and two figures from last year that you might still see swimming around. Before we begin, we’d like to thank Mattel for providing these figures free for the purposes of review.

Beast Boy: The last regular individual figure is fantastic. Beast Boy is based on the Rebirth redesign, but also has a few cool anime touches. The face and hair definitely echo what you’d expect from a Titans manga. This is a very good sculpt overall, but the real stars are the hands and feet. If you look closely, there’s a lot of fine detail on the fingers, toes, and the nails on both. That took time, and it’s the kind of detail that a casual observer might miss.

The figure is pretty striking, and I found it to be the most poseable of the group as well. That makes sense due to the nature of the character, but it’s evident when you work the joints and set a position. It’s well done. The only issue that I have with the figure is that it probably should have come with some small green animal for Garfield to transform into; however, I also understand that there’s a lack of room here, as Beast Boy comes with more than one piece of the Collect and Connect figure. Overall, though, this is one of the better, if not the best, figure this time around.

Batman Ninja: Based on Batman’s appearance in the 2018 animated film Batman Ninja, the Collect and Connect figure is dripping with detail. Afro Samurai creator Takashi Okazaki did the design work for the film, and the figure really manages to capture the look in an exacting fashion.  It’s a beautiful looking piece once it’s all together.

A word about the construction: I found this to be a really interesting C+C in a couple of regards. The first one is that the head doesn’t connect directly to the shoulders. The cape goes on a post on the torso first, and then the head attaches to a post on the cape. That’s definitely different, but it’s innovative, and it gives the cape a full and solid look that might have been obstructed by other approaches. I also like that the figure lends itself really well to the katana-drawing pose. This is certainly a figure that you look at because there are little design elements here and there that you miss the first time.

Our two bonus guests . . .

From the Aquaman film and the Trench Warrior C+C assortment . . .

Aquaman: Aquaman is a decent movie figure. The head captures the likeness of Jason Momoa fairly well. The body sculpt is good, with the attention to individual scales being particularly praiseworthy. The trident accessory is appropriately long and a little thicker than I expected; that’s a good thing, as other tridents from other Aquaman figures from across lines come in various degrees of fragility. I think this one is better.

Black Manta: Every pun intended, but Black Manta blows Aquaman out of the water. This is an outstanding, absolutely crazy-looking figure. The head seems a little oversized, and yet, that makes it a little more awesome.  Interesting details abound here, as well as smart choices like that wrist blade. The paint quality is particularly good; those red eyes pop like crazy. There’s something about the design here that just feels so . . . modern. It’s really a top-notch version of a character that’s had more than few figures over the years.

Thanks for reading! Next time, we’re catching all the wall to the DC Multiverse Killer Croc C+C wave, which is in stores RIGHT NOW. See you then.

Super-Articulate: Catching Up on DC Multiverse (Batman Ninja Asst. Part 1)

Greetings again, friends! We have a veritable title wave of DC Multiverse to catch up on in our next couple of installments, as well as a look at the Imaginext Remote-Controlled Batmobile. We’re getting started today with five figures from the DC MultiverseBatman: Ninja Collect + Connect figure assortment. But first, we thank the fine folks at Mattel for providing us with these figures for free for the purposes of review. That said . . . Titans Together!

Nightwing: Four of the six regular figures in this group are Titans affiliated characters, and we’re starting off the ur-Titan, the original Boy Wonder himself, Dick Grayson, aka Nightwing. Nightwing has a pretty prestigious figure history at Mattel, having appeared in number of comic and animation-based lines. He lines up in verticals that include the mainstream DCU and animated product, as well as Imaginext. This particular version is a really nicely done piece; it’s look is taken from the recent Rebirth era in the comics.

One of the cool things about this particular figure is the hair. There was a singular look that Nightwing had in regard to his hair in the recent Titans series, via artist Brett Booth and others. Well, the sculpting and design team nailed it. On top of that, the general overall look of the figure is impressive. This is a rock-solid Nightwing. The figure comes with two sets of hands (fists and “holding”) and two escrima sticks. (I’ll talk about the individual Collect and Connect pieces in part two when I assemble Batman: Ninja).

Starfire: This is a really good representation of Kori. Focusing on the hair for a minute again, I really like the translucent effect that they used on the plastic; it allows light to pass through while also giving it a fiery and otherworldly vibe. It’s a nice resting effect for the character that gives the hair a unique look. The costume reflects that one that Kori’s been wearing in the Rebirth-era DCU, and that’s great. I have zero problem with her classic Perez look, which I love, but it’s been made a few times. This is a whole new take, and I dig it.

In terms of comic accuracy, Mattel went with the heeled boots here. Frankly, that doesn’t always work out, as figures with heels tend to fall easily. However, I had no problem standing or posing Starfire with the heels; even with the large hair, the figure is incredibly well-balanced. That’s a big win for displaying collectors. I also think that the face sculpt is fine work, with the individual tendrils of hair in front being a nice touch. This figure comes with two green energy signature/blast accessories. I found them to fit really nicely and up the display presentation of the figure.

Rebirth Wally West Flash: OG Wally West is one of my two favorite DC characters. I was a massive fan of Mark Waid’s run, and I was sad that he vanished from the DCU. I like the newer Wally, but I was also glad when our guy here made his return. For me, this was the figure that I anticipated the most from this assortment. I’m not disappointed.

Wally here has a number of cool touches. He’s got the silver accents. He’s got the two shades of red. He also has some cool hair. (Is 2019 the greatest year for action figure hair across all companies? It might be.) Including two sets of hands (fists and flat running/sprinting posed hands) makes complete sense. The silver lightning effects attach to the wrists to give the look that occurs when Wally is using his speed in the comics, which definitely shows that Mattel is paying attention to the books when they make the figures. Like Nightwing, Wally’s been represented a bunch of times in several formats, going back to Justice League, even. This is a fine version of the character that we’ve had back for a few years, and I was glad to see Mattel give it some love.

Green Lantern John Stewart: Not a Titan, but a stalwart of the DCU. With his somewhat recent return to the Justice League and his long history in animation and comics, John is definitely a DC A-lister. I’m glad to see him get a good treatment here. Of particular note are the eyes; the eyes might be the most “alive” set of eyes that I’ve seen on any of the DC Multiverse figures. That’s a really refined job there; it took some real craftsmanship to get that set and expression.

The figure overall is a pretty smooth sculpt. John doesn’t require a lot of extra details; just precision in the paint op and general quality, and this figure’s got both. In terms of extras, John comes with some alternate hands. The rest one is a ring-hang with a blooming energy signature. It’s a cool effect and looks good for display. It’s another strong showing from the team.

Black Lightning (CW TV version): Black Lightning (co-created by Tony Isabella and a Trevor Von Eeden) is back! This is a great representation of the TV version of Jefferson Pierce. First of all, that facial likeness, even around the goggles, is terrific. You can tell its him at a glance. It’s really well done.

The best thing about this figure would be all of the little fine details. The circuitry layout, etc. is captured really nicely and just pops under the right light. It makes the figure distinct from other figures. It’s a very cool effect. Also worthy of praise are the extra hands; we get three pairs here, including fists, holding, and electrified. I shot a picture of the lightning hand from the side to capture that “mid-action” look, and I think the piece turned out well. I’m historically less sure of TV or film-based figures, but this turned out to be a really good one.

So where’s Beast Boy? And the completed Batman:Ninja figure? You’re going to have to wait for the next installment for those! We’re going check out Garfield, assemble the Batman, and quite possibly check in with a couple of underwater inhabitants of the DCU. What do you think of these? Did you have luck finding them in your area? What’s your favorite? Talk to us here and on social. Thanks for reading!

It’s Masters of the Multiverse in a New Limited Series this November

Announced at Power-Con in Anaheim, CA, DC Comics and Mattel are teaming up once again to chronicle new adventures of Eternia’s greatest champion in He-Man and the Masters of the Multiverse, a six-issue limited series debuting in November. Writer Tim Seeley, artists Dan Fraga and Richard Friend, along with cover artist Inhyuk Lee join forces to tell this tale of heroes making their last stand to protect their kingdoms against an impossible threat. In their desperation, they’re forced to risk their futures by reaching out to an unlikely and potentially dangerous ally. 

The scourge of Anti-Eternia is unleashed on the Multiverse bent on utter destruction. Each version of Eternia has fallen in the wake of his devastation as he steals its power and grows stronger. Now it’s up to a rag-tag team of surviving He-Men from across the multiverse to stem the tide, but to do so they’ll have to recruit the one man in existence that might help them win: Prince Keldor, the man who would be Skeletor! 

On sale November 20, this 32-page debut issue also features a variant cover by interior artist Dan Fraga and is priced at $3.99.

He-Man and the Masters of the Multiverse

Super-Articulate: Catching Up on DC Multiverse

As seen at San Diego Comic-Con 2019, Mattel still has a few fine DC Multiverse figures to get out before they surrender the license to McFarlane. Among the figures are a terrific-looking Killer Croc Connect & Collect figure, Red Robin, Katana, Alfred (with three extra heads!) and Red Hood (Jason Todd). Currently shipping is the Titans-heavy Batman Ninja assortment featuring Nightwing, Starfire, Rebirth Wally West, Beast Boy, John Stewart, and TV Black Lightning; still in some stores and heavily moving on eBay is the Lobo assortment, featuring Kid Flash, Batman Beyond, Kingdom Come Superman, and Green Lantern Kyle Rayner. Rayner gets our look today.

“DC Rebirth” Kyle Rayner: It’s labelled as DC Rebirth, but this is really Classic Kyle Rayner. Hal’s Emerald Twilight replacement, the GL of Grant Morrison’s JLA, and the subject of many fine stories by Ron Marz and others, Kyle Rayner was the definitive GL of the late ‘90s and early 2000s. He’s been recostumed, renamed (Ion), rebranded, pushed aside, sent into deep space, given various love interests, lost love interests, and struggled to find his place on both a characterization level on a level of being part of a company that isn’t sure what to do with their “middle children.” (Seriously, what the hell happened to Connor Hawke?)

On the figure front, however, this is a GREAT job. The power effect is definitely appropriate to the Banks/Porter art of Green Lantern and JLA from the day. The battery looks good, and the figure itself is terrific. Imminently poseable with a great expression, this is a rock-solid Kyle Rayner.

DC Multiverse Store Report: At present, I have seen absolutely zero of the Batman Ninja wave in the Midwest. Shazam and Sivana continue to haunt stores, and Lobo wave figures still turn up. I only expect this to get worse, especially with THREE waves to get out before the end of the year (Killer Croc, Retro, Mammoth).

Flashback: Doctor Psycho: Doctor Psycho was part of a two-figure Collect & Connect wave that included Wonder Girl and Wonder Woman (DKIII version) in 2017. The torso and arms came with Wonder Woman, and the head and lower body came with Wonder Girl. I had absolutely no interest in the DKIII Wonder Woman, so I bided my time waiting to get the various pieces on eBay. I finally did. How do they look?

Doctor Psycho: Hey, not bad! This isn’t a great figure in terms of poseability, but he looks accurate as hell, particularly with the one slightly exaggerated eye. The appearance is influenced by the Villains United-era of the character. It’s not super-exciting, but I’m glad that it exists. I put him on the shelf next to DC Universe Classics Deathstroke and other villains.

While the Mattel era is almost over, they’ve given us A LOT of good stuff over the years. I’m going to keep up for now, and I’ll be interested to see what comes our way in the future. Thoughts, readers?

SDCC 2019: Mattel Celebrates 80 Years of Batman with Two Exclusives

San Diego Comic-Con 2019 is about a month away and exclusives being released are being revealed. Mattel is celebrating 80 years of Batman with two of their exclusives.

Batman is getting a box set featuring four figures including Negative Suit Batman from Detective Comics #284, Zebra Batman from Detective Comics #275, Rainbow Batman from Detective Comics #241, and a classic Batman as well. Each figure features 23 points of articulation. The set retails for $80.

Batman is also getting a diecast car replica straight from 1989’s Batman (which celebrates 30 years this year). The set features the Batmobile as well as a protective shell you can pop off. It’ll retail for $25.

Super-Articulate: What Will the Wizarding World Bring?

These things we know. We know that McFarlane Toys has the Harry Potter/Wizarding World license. We know that four figures (Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Voldemort from HP&TDH2) and one Hippogriff are up for pre-order. We know that McFarlane will likely bring their long history of A-game sculpting to the line. Here’s what we don’t know: why has no one else ever made a successful long-term go of a Harry Potter action figure line?

Early in the life of the films, Mattel picked up the license for the line. And they, well, they Matteled, didn’t they? Those early figures (shown on the shelves in the pictures) lack inspired sculpting; consider that these figures were coming out against Toy Biz’s Lord of the Rings line, among others, and you’ll see that they effort just wasn’t there. Factor in early gaffes like the famously backward-armed Dumbledore, unequal pack-outs of Fred and George, and other weirdness, and one might remember those early message boards being rife with complaints. A second group came out for the second film, but the scale was off and they kind of stiffed at retail.

NECA picked it up later with some good sculpts (like this Harry and Sirius), but they didn’t make an overly large amount. In 2007, PopCo picked up the European license and did some decent figures. Mattel even recently came back to make some “action figure dolls” of the leads, McGonagall and Dumbledore. However, the fact remains that there’s never been a truly comprehensive line at U.S. retail.

Mattel Harry Potter Figures

McFarlane has a crack at changing that. Aside from their general quality, they have wide-ranging distribution. The first four figures also have clever accessories; Harry, Hermione, and Ron each come with their patronus, and Voldemort is packed with Nagini. I also like the idea that McFarlane is starting with The Deathly Hollows Part II. For one thing, it’s the last film in the series, and the one that is the freshest in our minds, overall; for another, these versions of the cast have simply never been done before. It’s also a film that includes a huge variety of characters (the Weasleys, the Order, the Malfoys, most of the professors, Neville, Cho, Hagrid, etc.), so you could conceivably go about knocking out a big portion of the cast just from that film before reaching back into other stories and characters.

It’s important to note that the license in for the Wizarding World, so it also includes Fantastic Beasts. Buckbeak the Hippogriff looks great, so I’m already looking forward to what they do with other magical creatures. I think it would be smart for McFarlane to do an assortment of the main four humans (Newt, Tina, Queenie, and Jacob) at some point in the near future to plant a flag for the franchise, given that the third film now won’t be released until 2021.

What do you think, muggles? Are you interested in the new line? What would you like to see? Have you placed pre-orders? Talk to us. Thanks for reading.

Super-Articulate: Let’s Have the Legion

I want to circle back to something that I discussed in a video a few weeks ago, and that’s the idea of “unfinished teams” when it comes to toy lines. It’s a phenomenon that plagues a lot of collectors, and not just line completists. Often, fans of a particular team begin buying figures based on that group, only to see the figures stop without the basic, core team ever being finished. Sometimes, a line even gets several figures in before screeching to a halt; then, false hope comes when another line picks up the baton, only for that to fold, too. Today, I want to talk specifically about one of the most popular and, simultaneously, misunderstood teams of all time, and how they’re ripe for figure rehabilitation. I’m talking, of course, about the Legion of Super-Heroes.

Created by Otto Binder and Al Plastino in 1958, the Legion became one of the most popular and longest-running DC Comics teams of all time. The group was in some form of continuous publication from 1958 through 2013; they first appeared as teen allies of Superboy from the future, and grew into a sprawling team whose membership came from more than two dozen planets. The Legion occupied Adventure Comics for several years before bouncing around as a back-up feature at the beginning of the ’70s; finding a home in the Superboy series, they eventually received co-billing by 1973 and completely evicted Superboy in 1980.

Legion of Super-Heroes

In the early ’80s, the team’s popularity was white-hot with the team of writer Paul Levitz and artist Keith Giffen; their “Great Darkness Saga” in 1982 is considered an all-time classic. They were so big that a second book was launched in 1984; Legion of Super-Heroes was sold only in comic shops, while Tales from the Legion of Super-Heroes was sold everywhere. After a year, Tales started reprinting the direct market title, but proved popular enough to run three more years. The 1984 LSH ran until 1989, when the book got a new number 1 and a story that picked up five years later. Known to some as the “Five Year Gap” Legion, the new series told challenging stories about an occupied Earth and the Legion fighting to free it.

In 1994, the old Legion was pushed aside for a new Legion in Zero Hour. The young Legion was fairly popular, but that continuity only lasted 10 years before a completely new one came in. Referred to as the “Threeboot,” this new angle only stuck around for five years. In 2007, the original Legion returned in the JLA/JSA “Lightning Saga” crossover. Every version of the Legion got to play together in the Final Crisis tie-in Legion of Three Worlds. When the “New 52” settled in in 2011, the Legion again had two books, but these were gone by 2013. Since then, there have only been teases and hints that the Legion was coming back, most recently in Doomsday Clock.

The core concept of the Legion (“teen heroes from the future!”) is pretty durable, and has proven pretty adaptable to other media. The Legion have appeared in episodes of Superman: The Animated Series, Justice League Unlimited, Smallville, The Flash, and Supergirl. Beginning in 2006, they had their own animated series for two seasons. The Legion has also popped up in direct-to-DVD films like JLA Adventures: Trapped in Time, Lego DC Comics Super-Heroes: Justice League – Cosmic Clash, and this year’s Justice League vs. The Fatal Five.

For all this, the Legion have had a relatively finite showing in action figure form. There’s been a lot of representation in HeroClix, and a handful of figures (Brainiac-5, Lightning Lad, Cosmic Boy, and Saturn Girl) made it in the DC Animated line offered online. In the DC Direct days, just over a dozen Legionnaires were made, along with villain Mordru; the Legion members were Lightning Lad, Cosmic Boy, Saturn Girl, Brainiac-5, Star Boy, Chameleon Boy, Invisible Kid (Lyle Norg), Ultra Boy, Mon-El, Timber Wolf, Colossal Boy, Sun Boy, and Ferro Lad, as well as Superboy and Supergirl. These were well-made figures, but a consistent complaint was that the figures were made in their 1960s costumes, when their later 70s and 80s looks were by far the most popular versions of the characters.

Those looks were reflected in the online exclusive boxed set that DC Universe Classics offered through Mattel’s MattyCollector in 2011; that epic 12-figure boxed set included Lightning Lad, Cosmic Boy, Saturn Girl, Matter-Eater Lad (YES.), Wildfire, Karate Kid, Superboy, Brainiac-5, Chameleon Boy, Ultra Boy, Timber Wolf, a super-sized Colossal Boy, and sidekick Proty. A figure of Star Boy/Starman Thom Kallor was also available that same year as an orderable figure through Matty’s Club Infinite Earths subscription series. Legion villain Validus made it into production as the Collect-n-Connect figure in one wave. DC Universe Classics was gone at retail by 2012, and the subs dried up by 2014. The DC Multiverse line became Mattel’s DC offering in 2016, but aside from the arguable inclusion of various Supergirl figures, no Legion members have hit shelves since.

So what have we learned, Charlie Brown? When McFarlane Toys takes over the line in 2020, it’s high time for some Legion. For one thing, outside of Saturn Girl and Supergirl, there have been ZERO other women produced as figures. And this is for a team with a huge number of female characters. Dawnstar would likely be the most popular, given her unique appearance, but fans have waited a long time for mainstays like Phantom Girl, Shadow Lass, White Witch, Duo Damsel, Sensor Girl, and many more. Likewise, we’ve been left hanging for years on visually interesting characters like Blok, Gates, and Tellus.

When the McFarlane line starts, it’s very likely that we’ll start with new versions of the big three and others right away. Such has always been the way of new DC lines. But I’d really like to see McFarlane embrace the idea of scale equilibrium and create some complementary, long-requested figures to make up the balance of those assortments. There are plenty of gaps in the JLA, the JSA, the Titans, the Outsiders, and more, but for a team that’s been around since the late 1950s, there needs to be some more respect given to the LSH. Long Live the Legion, kids.

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