Shadows of Gotham 

The newest Toys R Us exclusive 4 pack is called Shadows of Gotham.  This time we get a newly tooled Ras Al Ghul (although it's really just the original head on body parts from other figures) and a new Talia figure.

Rounding out the four pack is a Batman and Robin figure, both of which we've seen many times before.  You won't be buying this set for those two, but you can do what I did and give them to a kid who loves to play with Batman.

Two more sets are already scheduled - a four pack that includes Penguin for sure and possibly Catwoman, called "Revenge of the Penguin", and a four pack with a repainted Killer Croc and an all new Ventriloquist/Scarface called "Puppets of Crime".  Expect to see both over the next few months.

Packaging - ****
The packaging on these four packs really is very nicely done.  Excellent graphics, particularly with the shot of Talia, sturdy, looks good on the shelf, and it's even collector friendly.  You can open it up, display your figures, and put them back for storage as well.

Sculpting - ***1/2
The Batman, Robin and Ras are no big surprises as we've seen these sculpts before.  Ras looks great, and by using the Alfred/Joker body parts, they did a nice job putting together a much better version than the first time around.

Talia is the big standout here though, as you'd expect with a new figure.  The face sculpt is fantastic, as is the body pose and style.  The details around the belt are great, and they gave her a great pose - extra important since her articulation is so poor.

The only knock is that she was given two guns, but can only hold one due to her hand sculpts.

Paint - ***1/2
The ops themselves are extremely good, particularly on the details of Ras and Talia's faces.  Rash green in his cape and body is very clean and consistent, and all the lines between various colors are neat.

The only knock here is that Talia's torso is a slightly different shade than her arms.  It detracts from what otherwise would have been a perfect figure.  Perfect statue, at least.

Articulation - *1/2
Hasbro managed to reach new lows on this set.  Batman, Robin and Ras have the expected five points - neck, shoulders and hips. 

The big disappointment here is Talia.  She's managed to lose two of those points, with no hip articulation.  Okay, they gave her waist, but it's not particularly useful.  With no joints below the waist, her sculpted pose becomes even more important.  Fortunately, she was sculpted to stand on her own very nicely.

Quality - **1/2
Normally I don't feel the need to include a quality rating, but due to Hasbro's seeming desire to use cheaper and cheaper plastics, I thought I'd bring it up.

While Batman, Robin and Ras appear to be made from the same plastics as always, Talia's arms are so soft as to be rubbery.  I can't believe it's a safety issue - the others aren't afflicted, and even her legs are such a sturdy plastic you could drive them into a man's chest.  It appears to be a cost cutting measure, and one I don't appreciate.

Accessories - ***1/2
Batman and Robin come with the same silly accessories they did in earlier versions.  Which version, I don't exactly remember, but it really doesn't matter now, does it?  Do some kid a favor and give him both figures and let him have fun.

The Talia has two new accessories - okay, really just two of the same accessory.  She has two guns, and she can hold one perfectly in her right hand.  You can always have the second in case the cat steals the first.

Ras comes with the same silly blaster dohickey he had the first time around (but no cool sword).  Due to an unfortunate choice of colors, the projectile now looks just like Jimmy Durante's nose.  I'm also counting his cloak as an accessory, and it fits perfectly and looks great.

Value - **
Four figures for twenty bucks - not a terrible deal.  Until you consider that two of those figures you already own, probably multiple times over.  I can't fault Hasbro for their marketing scheme, but that doesn't mean I'm happy buying Batman and Robin figures repeatedly.  Of course, if it means I can get a Ventriloquist and Scarface, I'll still do it.  

Overall - ***
Talia is an excellent sculpt, and a terrific addition to your BTAS collection.  Even Ras is pretty sweet, and certainly looks worlds better than the first version.  If you're a big BTAS fan, you have to have these, even though you'll end up with a couple more Batman and Robin figures for the junk pile.

I also want to throw some kudos TRU's way.  I doubt it's all Hasbro when it comes to these four packs, and I suspect that without the influence of folks at Toys R Us, Hasbro would have never bothered to even try this avenue to produce new figures.  For proof, just look at the Batman figures we get as Walmart exclusives - absolutely no imagination there at all.  Someone at TRU appears to be looking out for the collector, and I appreciate it.

Where to Buy
These are currently showing up in force at Toys R Us stores across the country.  They are an exclusive, but they are also available at

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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