Thursday, February 28, 2013

DCUC All-Star Joker

I bought this All-Star DC Universe Classics Joker off Amazon two years ago, and was waiting for the right time to open him. After picking up the Batman Unlimited Penguin reviewed in my last post, now seemed like the perfect time. These two characters are a couple of the oldest Batman foes, and are strongly associated in my mind, the connection due to my childhood memories of my Joker & Penguin Mego dolls, whom the DCUC versions share much in common (especially the Joker). I seem to remember their frequent pairing on those old Filmation Adventures of Batman, Scooby-Doo, and Super Friends episodes as well. The Joker is one of the all-time best villains of pop-culture and literature in my humble opinion, and don't recall experiencing a version of him I didn't like- there is so much there to work with. Now I can't say I have a favorite, but it would be hard not to blurt out Cesar Romero from the 60's TV serial. Grant Morrison's Arkham Asylum: A Serious House On Serious Earth (1989) also made a big impression on me as a teenager, the same year we saw Jack Nicholson's enthralling portrayal of the clown Prince of Crime on the silver screen. Dave McKean's artwork is amazing in this book, and his rendering of the Joker is particularly disturbing- a must-read for any fan of the character.

This action figure is a triumph, and a great example of why I've passed over so many of the new DCUCs Mattel has produced lately. Not only were we getting three accessories with this figure a couple years ago, but also got a figure stand- a generous packing we are no longer given by Mattel (and for $14.99). The cane alone is a work of art, with it's golden jester's head handle. He's visually stunning, save the ugly rectangle on his back- a vestigial remnant of a re-purposed mold. Otherwise the attention to detail in the sculpt is excellent, and paint is perfect, right down to the tiny gold buttons. He has that great DCUC articulation, though front-to-back movement in the legs is restricted by the sculpt, and there's no waist swivel. His head is on a swivel instead of a ball-joint, which is somewhat disappointing. His bicep and thigh swivels are helpful however, as are his abdominal and ankle hinges, as limited as they are. Joker stands easily without his base.

Joker's has a couple other accessories that weren't even necessary, but thoughtful: an impossibly tiny deck of cards and a laughing fish, the latter a reference to Detective Comics #475. Extras like this, combined with the minutiae of detail in the figure, this may be one of the most deluxe DCUCs ever produced by Mattel. The picture below is a great example, Joker's tongue painted in a high gloss, adding a creepy realism that takes the cake... !   &=D  

And finally Joker's mallet, the head complete with a jester's face, handle joined at the nose. This may be my favorite accessory, simply for the fun factor, I mean really....  &=D

DC All-Star Joker with Batman Unlimited Penguin -what a pair! Joker was originally from the Wal-Mart Exclusive Wave 10, but re-released in 2011 as an "All-Star", as some of the other more popular DCUCs were.

This post wouldn't be complete without a tousle with my Legacy Edition Golden Age Batman! Can the Caped Crusader take on Penguin and the Joker at once... ?!

Ooo, the Joker gets his chops rocked by Bats again! It looks like it's back to Arkham Asylum for the insane Joker, and probably to Gotham County for Penguin! Thanks for reading!   &=D

* Visual checklist & reviews of the DCUC line at DCClassics.Com!
More Later- Make It FUN!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Batman Unlimited Penguin

I skipped over the other recent Batman Unlimited figures by Mattel, but the Penguin got my attention, a repaint of the DC Universe Classic Wave 1 Penguin, sporting a new head. Like a lot of collectors, I'm somewhat annoyed by Mattel's omission of  accessories among their 6" lines. I loved the Batman from this trio, but we didn't get anything with him, not even a mini-print. This Penguin came with his umbrella however, and the new deco is nostalgic in a very specific way for kids of my age. If you are of my generation, you know this as the Filmation/Super Friends Penguin, the Bronze-Age rendering of Oswald Cobblepot. One of the oldest of Batman's rogues gallery, Oswald is a mobster known for his specialized umbrellas that double as weapons used against the Dark Knight. His latest interpretation as an underworld nightclub owner is tolerated by Batman in exchange for information. It had been a little while since I picked up a 6" Mattel figure, but this Penguin seemed like a missing piece of my Batman-related DCUC collection, as you will see in the next two posts here on the Super-DuperToyBox.

As I said, this Penguin sports a different, more cartoony head from the 1st DCUC Penguin, which I had not initially realized was more realistic & grotesque.  The sculpt and colors on this figure are great- the details in the folds of his clothing are really well done. The hat is sculpted on, but the torso/coattails section of the jacket is a separate rubbery piece that's removable. There are a lot of those great DCUC joints in this figure, including bicep swivels and a very expressive ball-jointed head. His hip articulation is severely limited  and he has no abdominal crunch, but he does have a swivel waist.

What makes this already fun action figure really cool is the excellent accessory, a multicolored, machine gun parasol, sculpted in an "armored-plated" texture and with a removable ammo cartridge. I'm not big on guns, but that's rad! The similarly styled Super-Power Penguin from 1984 had a retractable blade, and later versions shot projectiles. DCUCs aren't that kinda toy, but this is a nice tribute to the first DC action figure a lot of us adult collectors had. 

Batman Unlimited Penguin with DCUC Catwoman from the Wal-Mart exclusive Gotham City 5-pack...

I loved the relationship between these two characters in Tim Burton's Batman Returns, portrayed by actors  Michelle Pfeiffer and Danny DeVito. These two villains contrast nicely, stylistically on opposite ends of the spectrum, but sharing the common obsession with Batman's undoing. 

In closing, while I share the same love/hate relationship with Mattel that other collectors do, this offering seems like a small gift from the toy giant for our support of their long-running DC Universe Classics line. I'll temper my gratitude with the caveat that Mattel certainly anticipated our enthusiastic purchase of the product, but it's nice to think, even if half heartedly, that they cared. Thank you, Mattel- I'll take it   :)

* Visual checklist & reviews of the DCUC line at DCClassics.Com!
More Later-Make It FUN!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Hey, Mr. Postman: Kenner 1:6 JLA Kyle Rayner

I'm unapologetic about my dolly-love here at the Super-DuperToyBox, and so it's with great delight that I present my latest acquisition under that category, this 12" JLA Kyle Rayner made by Kenner back in 1998. Kenner produced very few of these DC superheroes from the JLA comic title in 1:6 scale, as best I can tell  the only others being Flash and Aquaman. Other characters like Batman & Catwoman, and Superman were released as 12" dolls, but respective to their own series, not as JLA members. These are becoming somewhat rare, especially the Flash, so I was happy to score this fellow on eBay, shipping included for around twenty bucks. His packaging was a little beat up, but I didn't mind as I planned to remove him for photography and display.

I was barely aware of  Green Lantern's evolution during the 90's, and never gave the character much of a look during my childhood either for that matter. But after getting back into comics a couple years ago and starting this blog, I read Blackest Night and Blackest Night: Green Lantern, I became a huge fan, going on to read any back issues from the last couple decades, as well as the New 52 Green Lantern, Green Lantern Corps, and Green Lantern: New Guardians. I also read a dozen assorted trade paperbacks from across that span of material. I always say I'm from the Hal Jordan era, but I've come to appreciate Lantern Rayner as well, both somewhat straddling the line of my generation. Kyle is the passionate artist, once the reluctant last hope for the Green Lantern Corps.

My Green Lantern action figure collection is in a class of it's own apart from my collection as a whole, but not too big to stop me from finally taking the plunge and picking this guy up. The articulation on these 12" Kenner JLA dolls figures is as clunky as their appearance, which I really like. He looks like a toy- colorful and fun. Kyle has hinged elbows & knees, and basic swivel shoulders & head, but also has hinge/swivel combos at the wrist, and ball-jointed hips that help out. He won't stand on his head or anything, but it's something to work with.

Kyle came with some great accessories, made of a really solid, rubbery plastic, translucent green in color. A giant rifle, complimented with a removable ammunition belt, and his signature, squat-looking lantern. Great! He can hold only one accessory at a time, the right hand balled into a fist, wielding a nicely sculpted, tiny Green Lantern ring (DC Direct: take note). The clench-teeth sculpt on his face goes great with Kyle's big, scary mask- hilarious! It's obnoxiously exaggerated in such a fun way that I really enjoy. 

Kyle's outfit is stitched up the back, and not removable, as are the boots & wrist gauntlets. The material seems amply tough and flexible, but that screen-printed Lantern symbol on his chest may be somewhat vulnerable. I'd imagine the white portions could become soiled with play, but he'll be in a plexi display case, like all my cloth costumed figures who aren't stored are.

Though I sold my Batman/Catwoman set awhile back, I've held onto my Kenner Superman, who contrasts nicely with Kyle. I have little interest in the JLA Aquaman from this series, but am on the look-out for a Flash  that's in newish condition. In fact, I recently lost one in an eBay auction by fifty cents! Drat! Well, that's all part of the fun then, isn't it Kids? You win some, you lose some   ;D

12" Kenner Kyle with my DC Direct 2010 JLA Kyle, 6" DC Direct 2003 JLA Kyle, and 8" Mattel Retro-Action Kyle:

Sometimes a big, dumb toy really gets to me like Kyle here- a product of my childhood love of those 70's Mego dolls I'm sure (Mego never produced any Green Lantern characters in it's 8" line, but Mattel rectified that generously more recently). He's ridiculous, funny, and cool all at once, He's not as epic as my DC Direct Deluxe Green Lantern Corps figure, but Kenner Kyle does his own thing!

More Later- Make It Fun!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Miscellaneous Winter Acquisitions

Aside from the DC Direct JLA, Superman/Batman, and Blackest Night figures I've shown you between posts on new Spider-Man toys, I've gathered a few other assorted things on my regular hunting trips this season. Here at the Super-DuperToyBox, we celebrate comic, particularly those of DC and Marvel, both of which are evenly represented among the miscellaneous treasure I've gathered...

4" Young Justice Martian Manhunter & Miss Martian:
This is the first of the 4" Young Justice figures I've bought. I've liked the aesthetic of these pieces, and have several of Mattel's similarly articulated 4" Justice League Unlimited figures, but was into other things at the time. I should have bought the Batman & Robin set, and the Aquaman/Aqualad 2-pack looked cool, but this  one put me over the edge and I bought one a couple months ago after passing on it a couple times. I'm a huge Martian Manhunter fan, and Miss Martian is one of my favorite characters in the now sadly cancelled TV show.

Imaginext Aquaman & RoboShark 2-pack:
This is the only set of Aquaman & RoboShark I've seen in the wild, spotting him at a Wal-Mart I never go to  around Christmastime. I have a nice little collection of these, and am on the lookout for the New 52 Superman/Wonder Woman 2-pack Imaginext recently dropped. This is a great set!

6" Batman Unlimited Penguin:
I passed on every one of the latest DCUCs, but wanted this Penguin to go with my classic Batman DCUCs- he'll be great with the Joker I have. This is a repaint of the 1st Wave Penguin from 2008 with a more cartoony head, styled like the 70's Filmation/Super Friends Penguin. I just stopped buy DCUCs because I have so many already that I'm over it, but then picked this guy up Tuesday night.  I've passed on New 52 Batman in this series for his complete lack of accessories, but Penguin has that great umbrella gun!

3 3/4" Marvel Universe Beast:
There is no end to my constant hunt for Hasbro's 3 3/4" Marvel Universe. These parts are bereft of the last few waves of these, and I'm not sure why. I get around folks, and let me tell you, it's been slim pickings on the single carded pieces. Beast is one I've been waiting months to spot, finding him along with the Power Webs figures I reviewed in my last post.

6" Marvel Legends Heroic Age Iron Man: 
I just read the first twelve issues of The Avengers, Heroic Age and loved it. I also saw the Iron Patriot & Classic Iron Man from this new series, but decided to stick with this one. If you collect all six, you can build an Iron Monger with the included collect & connect pieces, but that's a hundred dollar commitment. I'll probably cherry-pick this line.

6" Marvel Legends X-Force Wolverine: 
I finally saw a bunch of Marvel Legends from this "Hit Monkey" series a couple weeks ago, but only picked up Wolverine. There were only a couple with decent paint jobs, and most of the rest of the series just didn't wow me. I read the  first block of Rick Remender's Uncanny X-Force last year and really liked it. I have a cool Marvel Universe Uncanny X-Force 3-pack with Warpath, Deadpool, & Wolverine in their black & grey gear that rocks! According to recent coverage of the 2013 Toy Fair in New York, this mold of Wolvie will be released in his Astonishing blue & yellow color scheme, but he does look rad in black, doesn't he?  

More Later- Make It FUN!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Power Webs Iron Spider & Iron Fist

There are a lot of Ultimate Spider-Man toys out there, the merchandising machine for the current animated TV show in full swing. I've seen the episode where Spider-Man gets a hold of an Iron Spider armor Tony Stark has been developing- an attempt to outdo his teammates that goes awry, jeopardizing the mission and all involved. While this kind of showboating seems unlike the young hero's personality in the comics I've read over the years, I did like the interesting combination of teenage teammates on this show, including Iron Fist, Nova, White Tiger, and Power Man. Fun!

The first thing you will notice is the rubber band running through the figure's left wrist, used to power their respective accessories that fire projectiles. Let's take a look at the video...

As you could see, Iron Spider's "catapult smash", didn't really offer much precision, the tension on the rubber band inadequate to power the accessory. It works, but is too cumbersome to be effective.

Iron Fist's accessory, on the other hand, works most excellently. The rubber band is pulled really tight over the rear latch, activated by the release trigger on top, firing the green disc with surprising power. When I Read the instructions, I couldn't fathom how it actually work, but it sure does.

The articulation is very simple here, but Hasbro did give us a ball-jointed head that has a little expression in it, and hinge-swivel combination shoulders. If you can get past the rubber band driven through the wrist, these are nice little sculpts, if simple. The chest insignia on both are sculpted, and the bright colors on these two are particularly complimentary of one another. 

The other figures in this Power Webs series include a Venom and two more conventional red & blue Spider-Man figures, one of which has armored gauntlets and fires a crossbow. I liked the Crossbow Chaos Spider-Man, but at ten bucks a pop I passed on him for now. I'd love to see Nova is this series, a character they did include in the new 6" Ultimate Spider-Man figures. 

Iron Spider with Night Mission & Crime-Fightin' Spider-Man, two figures from another Ultimate Spider-Man line: 

More Later- Make It FUN!