Hush Series 3
Ras, Scarecrow, Alfred, Gordon and Batman

DC Direct thrilled Batman fans last year when they announced plans to do a series of figures on the popular Hush story line from the Batman comics.  With artwork by the fan favorite Jim Lee, it was a hit before the line ever graced a peg.

The third series just shipped to comic stores this week, and includes a Bat-variant (Stealth Jumper Batman), Scarecrow, Commissioner Gordon, Ras Al Ghul, and Alfred.  Considering how rare action figures have been of a couple of these characters, and considering how popular the books are, it's no wonder that fans have been really anticipating this wave.

While some of these characters - like the Scarecrow - didn't get a lot of coverage in the story, they are all still very unique and interesting designs, different but not extreme.

These should already be at your local comic shop, and you might see them at stores like Media Play and Sam Goody within the next week or so.  Expect to pay $12 - $15 each, unless you buy a full set or pre-ordered. 

Packaging - *1/2
Zzzzzz...*snort*...Huh?  Oh, sorry.  Dozed off there looking at the package.  Yes, it's that boring.  It does use the somewhat retro logo from the books, and I do like that.  But against the dull background, all of the graphics and text seem too small.  I do like the unique photo of each character on the one side panel, but having actual art from the books would have been great.

Boxes have good points over cardback/ bubble packages, and cardback/ bubble packages have some good points over boxes.  Somehow, they managed to combine a box with a cardback/ bubble, and ended up with the worst features of both.

This box is easy to damage, hard to display, and dull, but it is easy to store.  It isn't like most boxes that are collector friendly, since the inside is like a cardback and bubble, where the bubble has to be torn off the insert to get at the many twisty ties.  Can you tell I really don't like these, and I'm liking them less with every release?

Sculpting - Scarecrow ****; Batman, Ras, Gordon ***1/2; Alfred ***;
As much as I liked the Mattel Scarecrow that I reviewed earlier this week, I have to admit that this version is now my all time favorite.  He's not perfect, and I still have a few nits to pick below, but the sculpt is simply amazing.  The head sculpt is the real stand out, with the teeth and eyes set deeply behind the intricate bag mask, and the straw hair sticking out from behind.

His body and clothing sculpts are no slouches though, both with a TON of detail work and realistic wrinkling and flow.  The thin, claw-like hands and camel toed feet give him a slightly unique look amongst the many other Scarecrow versions, but his scale might be a touch big for some folks.  He's larger in height than many of the other figures in the Hush line, but I think that works to give him a leaner appearance, in line with the style of the character.

Batman is not the most exciting variant, although he is wearing a very intricate costume.  The detail is great, but in general, the design doesn't work particularly well with the articulation.  The cape isn't removable, which is too bad, since he has various additional gadgets in back.  The soft cape is nice though, and is very similar to the normal Hush Batman.

Commissioner Gordon isn't as fat as some photos have made him appear.  In fact, I'm not sure he's fat at all, because his shirt is just pooching out a bit.  There's no sign of anything actually hanging over his belt, and we all know that dress shirts don't fit like lycra.

The rest of his sculpt matches up with the comic well, and the soft rubber is used again for his jacket and tie.  There's a nice realistic flow to the clothing, without it looking like he's standing in a wind tunnel.

His right hand is sculpted to hold his gun, and his left is sculpted in a "you listen to me, punk" pose.

Alfred has a nice detailed sculpt, and the face matches the source material extremely well, but I was disappointed in his stature. He is bent forward slightly, with no ball jointed neck, so he's stuck looking down at Master Bruce's boots.  He also lacks any difference in texture between the various pieces of clothing, which makes him look much more toy-like than we're used to in a specialty market figure.

Finally, there's Ras Al Ghul.  He's sculpted bare-chested, ready for dueling.  The musculature is comic booky, but not too over done, and the stern head sculpt looks great.  The right hand is sculpted to hold his sword, but again, there's very little difference in texture between the pants and his skin.

The scale on these figures is generally good, although as I already mentioned, Scarecrow is a tad larger than I had expected.

Paint - Scarecrow, Batman ***1/2; Ras, Alfred ***; Gordon **
The paint ops across this line are extremely hit or miss, and I'm betting that weak quality control means you might get a perfect Gordon when I did not, or you might get a bad Scarecrow when mine was perfect.

Actually, he's not quite perfect.  I love the use of color on the figure, with various shades and patches used to really make him pop on the shelf.  The detail work is extremely well done, especially in the face and stitches.  But for some reason, he has a very small spotting across his body, done in a rainbow of colors, so he looks a little like some sort of ice cream treat.  I definitely could have done without that one touch.

Batman might be a rather dull variant, but it's not the fault of the paint ops.  The colors are clean and consistent, with no slop or poor definition.

Ras and Alfred don't fair quite as well, but they aren't awful.  Ras has some sloppiness around the face, especially on the facial hair where the chops on either side of his mouth don't quite line up.  His gray isn't quite even either, and there's way too much wash used on his face.  It looks like the wash was slopped around a bit too much too, with some stray marks on the body.  His chest and arm hair looks great though, and it's nice to see a man willing to look like a man, and not a hairless dog.  Then again, his nipples are rather...disturbing.

Alfred's paint stripes aren't quite as straight or clean as they could be, and don't always follow the pant wrinkles in a realistic way.  His wispy hair on top of his head is well done, as are his eyes, but his eyebrows and moustache are spotty at best.  He also suffers from 'brown nose' to some degree, and I have absolutely no idea what was up with this.  His nose is clearly a slightly darker color than the rest of his face, and it looks intentional.  I have no idea what they were going for, but it didn't work.

My Gordon is the big disappointment though.  You think Alfred is a brown noser - Gordon is terrible!  It almost looks like he's wearing some weird Grouch disguise when he has the glasses on.  His nose is much, much darker than the rest of his face, and again, it actually looks intentional.  Am I forgetting something that happened in the books?  This really hurts the figure, and looks terrible and out of place.

Ignoring that nose that Rudolph would laugh at, the rest of the ops are okay. The moustache is sloppy, and he doesn't have the same level of detail as some of the other figures.

The big problem with poor paint ops is that they're so inconsistent.  If a sculpt is bad, it will be bad no matter what.  But the paint ops could be great on your Gordon, but terrible on your Alfred, and completely different for the next person.  With these being bought sight unseen by many people, poor QA in this area can become a huge concern.

Articulation - Scarecrow ***; the rest **
I'm not asking for much.  Really, I'm not. I simply assume that if a figure has several points of articulation in his legs, he ought to be able to stand.  Is it really that difficult?

Clearly, it is.  The only figure in this series that I had no trouble getting to stand initially, and who remained standing indefinitely was the Scarecrow.  He has neck, ball jointed shoulders, elbows, cut wrists, hips, knees and cut ankles.  His articulation works better than I expected, although a neck similar to the Mattel version would have been nice, and I'm not sure why he - and every other figure - lacks a waist joint.

Scarecrow stands in lots of poses, and his joints are plenty tight enough to keep him there.  Unfortunately, he was the only one.

The frustrating thing is that none of the stances on the other figures is weird or strained in any way.  They are just standing there, flat footed on fairly large feet, and yet every one of them wants to fall over.  I ended up forced to use the stand with Alfred, and while I did finally find a spot for Batman, Ras and Gordon where they could stand for short periods, they still aren't as stable as you'd assume from the poses and photos.

Ras has a ball jointed neck, ball jointed shoulders, elbows, hips and knees.  Actually, several of the figures have the ball jointed shoulders, but they work poorly on every one of them.  Their range of movement is very restricted, and don't give you much more than a basic cut joint would.

Alfred does better than Ras, but he lacks the ball joint at the neck. EDIT - after someone pointed out it is ball jointed, I played with it some more. Sure enough, it is - sort of. The range move movement is much less than you'd expect. Then again, so is Ras'. He also has cut shoulders, elbows, hips, knees and cut wrists. Like I said, I was forced to use the stand just to keep him standing, and he was always staring down at the ground. Seems kind of subservient, doesn't it?

Gordon has neck and shoulder joints as well, along with elbows, wrists, hips and knees. He stands slightly better than Alfred, but is otherwise very similar.

Batman has a ball jointed neck, ball jointed shoulders, elbows, knees, hips and cut forearms.  He's also articulated on his front breathing apparatus, which turns right to left to move away from his mouth.  It looks a tad bizarre to me in the lower position though - it looks like he's wearing a big heart pointing at his crotch.  I'd feel a lot less weird about that if a half nekkid Talia had been in this wave, instead of a half nekkid Ras.  Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Some folks have said the breathing unit pops off for them, but mine was firmly stuck.  Still, why pop it off - he'll just have a hole in his chest, front and center!

Accessories - Gordon, Ras **1/2; Scarecrow, Batman, Alfred *
Here's a pretty poor category for the entire wave, and for the entire line.

Every figure comes with a stand, shaped like the retro-symbol.  There's several pegs included to attach the figure to the base.  Thankfully they're included, because you'll need them.

But that's it for most of the figures, and considering the possibilities for Alfred and Scarecrow, that's just sad.  Scarecrow does have one strand of removable straw, in case you'd like to poke Bat's eyes out.  It's a cute touch, although one that you might lose awfully quick.

Ras does come with his sword, which fits in his right hand.  Unfortunately, his right hand is made from very hard plastic, and the hilt of the sword is made from very soft plastic.  You're going to have a heck of a time getting this thing in his hand, but be careful - it's easy to damage the sword.  Get a hold of the thumb on his hand, and separate it from the fingers slightly to work the hilt into the palm.

Gordon comes with two - count 'em, TWO - accessories, practically some sort of record.  One is his gun, which fits tightly in his right hand and looks great.  The second is his glasses, which don't fit well at all and look terrible.

You'll find his glasses packed in the small bag of pegs.  There's no holes in his head, or sculpted accommodation for the frame, so getting the glasses to stay on is a real trick.  They are made from a pretty stiff plastic too, so they tend to fly off his head rather than just drop off.  There's plastic lenses, and it was a nice idea, but overall it failed completely.  They don't fit well, they don't look right, and they don't stay on.  Considering how critical they are to the character, it was a major disappointment.

Fun Factor - Scarecrow ***1/2; Batman, Ras, Gordon **1/2; Alfred **
Kids are unlikely to get too excited about Alfred, but the rest have decent play value.  The articulation is average, but they are very sturdy, and would hold up to play just fine, even if they are intended for collectors.  And kids would love the Scarecrow, a great looking version of a really scary character.  Now if the Batman Begins version looked this good.

Value - Scarecrow **1/2; the rest **
I'm going to assume you pay around $12 for these - pay $15 each and the value isn't as good of course, but if you can get them around ten, you can add to the score.

Scarecrow is an average value at this price, with a great sculpt and paint, but lacking in accessories.  The rest lack accessories as well, and don't fair as well in some of the other categories.  Most are really no better than the average $8 mass market figure.

Things to watch out for - 
Be careful pulling out Ras' sword from the package.  It's taped in, and can easily snap.  Be careful sticking it in his hand as well.

Also, if you pick these out off the pegs, look at the paint jobs VERY carefully before making your final selection.

Overall - Scarecrow ***1/2; Ras ***; Alfred, Batman **1/2; Gordon **
I was really looking forward to this series, and it was a big let down for the most part.  Alfred and Ras aren't God awful, but they aren't great either, especially at the higher specialty market price point.  Remember, this is the same market that gives us figures like Hellboy, Street Fighter, and Now Playing.

Scarecrow is clearly the winner, and he's now my all time favorite Scarecrow, even though he didn't quite score as well overall as the Mattel version. That's largely because at this price point it would have been nice to get SOMETHING with him, and I really didn't like the odd brightly colored spots all over his body.  But the sculpt is just so amazing, and the rest of the paint ops so eye catching, that he's jumped to the head of my list.

Batman is fairly average, but the costume really leaves me cold.  So cold, that I prefer some of the mass market variants over this.  And that's not good.

Gordon was the greatest disappointment though, largely due to the awful glasses and funky nose.  He's a character that we've only gotten in plastic form once before, so it was all that much more of a bitter pill.

Packaging - *1/2
Sculpt - Scarecrow ****; Batman, Ras, Gordon * **1/2; Alfred ***;
Paint - Scarecrow, Batman ***1/2; Ras, Alfred ***; Gordon **
Articulation - Scarecrow ***; the rest **
Accessories - Gordon, Ras **1/2; Scarecrow, Batman, Alfred *
Fun Factor - Scarecrow ***1/2; Batman, Ras, Gordon **1/2; Alfred **
Value - Scarecrow **1/2; the rest **
Overall - Scarecrow ***1/2; Ras ***; Alfred, Batman **1/2; Gordon **

Where to Buy - 
I picked up this set at my local comic shop, but you have plenty of online options:

- Time and Space Toys has a great price of just $50 for the full set of five!

- Alter Ego Comics has the set for $50 as well!

- Circle Red has them in stock and the full set for $55.

- CornerStoreComics still has them listed as a preorder, but I bet they're in.  You can get the set for $55, or the individuals for $13.

- Krypton Collectibles doesn't have this wave listed yet, but they do have figures from waves 1 and 2 on sale for $9 each.

Related Links:
I have reviewed the previous sets here at MROTW:

- Series 1, with Bats, Hush, Poison Ivy, Huntress, and the Joker.

- Series 2, with Superman, Nightwing, Riddler, Catwoman and Harley.

- And the 'signature series' Batman deluxe set.

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

This page copyright 2003, Michael Crawford. All rights reserved. Hosted by 1 Hour