Packaging - **
The figures come boxed, like many of the other recent DC Direct releases. The front of the boxes are as dull as dishwater, with a very plain blue color, and a retro Batman symbol. They do show the figure off well, and are a little sturdier than the Kingdom Come boxes. The sides and back are a little more attractive, and the nice large picture of the specific figure on the right panel is a nice touch. Still, these will likely be in the running for worst packaging of the year come December.
Sculpting - Batman ****; Huntress, Joker, Hush ***1/2; Poison Ivy ***
When photos were first shown of the prototype, the on-line community were quick to herald this Batman as the finest ever produced. A large part of that adulation is the appreciation for Jim Lee's art. And while I have no problem giving this Batman a four star sculpt, I'm still a tad pressed to declare him the overall winner.
He fits the Jim Lee artwork extremely well, although that's not necessarily a great thing in a three dimensional world. When you get him in a 'real' format, the thighs end up a tad large, and you can't help but think that those pouches would get in the way. But overall scale is good, and the
expression and musculature fit the comic extremely well. The one negative for me is the turned out left leg, which can't be corrected with the articulation.
It's not a huge issue though, and I found plenty of cool poses to put him in.
The Huntress is my next favorite sculpt, with tons of great detail work on her intricate costume. Her scale to the male figures is good, and the expression isn't as 'dress dummy' blank as I had expected. The action hair isn't posed in too excessive of a way, but the pin joint elbows are very obvious and hurt the arm sculpt quite a bit. I'm all for articulation, but sculpting a slightly bent elbow and giving us a cut joint here might have been the wiser course. The gun is sculpted into her hand and is not removable.
The Joker looks like the nightmare version, with pointy hair horns and all. I love the elf shoes, and unique hand sculpts. The body has some level of realism to proportion and style, with a very garish, cartoonish head sculpt. This works well and matches up with the comics, and is an excellent Joker version. It's tough to keep doing Jokers and still give us something different enough to make it worth buying. Again, the huge gun with his trademark 'bang' sign is sculpted into his right hand.
If you picked up the Jason Todd version of Hush, then you've seen this body sculpt and paint before. The head is new, and the hands can be popped off. The guns are sculpted into the hands, same as the Huntress and Joker. The grimace on his face is a little too constipated, but it's not excessively bad. The overall detail work on the body is extremely nice, and across the board this set has lots of excellent detail sculpting. The lower half of Hush's coat is a soft rubber, and flows well with the rest of the upper coat sculpt.
Last, and least, we have Poison Ivy. I've heard some folks really hate this figure, but I didn't have quite that reaction. Rather for me it was more of a 'meh'. The fact that each and every leaf is sculpted in relief, and that the hair has a nice flowing appearance are strong points, but the pin joint elbows, and 'skin disease' appearance of the ivy end up making her far less appealing.
The scale on this fits in pretty good with other lines - Batman is slightly
bulkier and taller than the Zipline version, but that seems consistent with the
Paint - Hush ***; Batman, Huntress, Joker **1/2; Poison Ivy *1/2
I looked through two sets of figures, and didn't see a single one without SOME paint issues. This has always been a problem for DC Direct, and it continues to plague them.
The big issue here is poor definition between colors. The lines aren't crisp - the gold on Batman's belt is riding up on his stomach, the blue of his shorts has slipped onto his thigh, the white of the Joker's face is over onto the edge of his green hair, the Huntress' skin color on her thighs is over the edge of the top of her boots, etc. etc. etc. None of these errors alone is terrible, but in combination they show an overall lack of quality control.
The Joker gets hit hard in my set because his issues are fairly obvious, coming around his face, mouth and hair. But poor Ivy gets beat around the worst, but it wasn't an obvious error at first. At first glance, my Ivy looked pretty good, and I went home happy. But after I opened her up and started looking closely at the sculpt, it appeared as though she had a skin problem. Then I realized that it was merely unpainted leaves on her arms and legs.
The more I looked at it, the more disappointed I got.
Yours are likely to vary, and do what you can to pick out a good set. Don't expect perfection though, as you'll be looking through a lot of figures before you find it. A lack of consistency continues to mar DC Direct's work.
There is one excuse though - on all these figures, there's a TON of small detail work, and a nice wide variety in colors. That means they are much more prone to errors, and some of the colors required are naturally prone to bleed.
Articulation - Joker ***1/2; Hush, Batman ***; Huntress, Poison Ivy **
None of the articulation on this line is outstanding, but some of the figures are reasonably well articulated considering the style of the sculpt.
Hush is one of those figures, although even he could use a couple more points. He has neck, shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips and knees. You can get him to stand fine on his own, and the 'guns blazin' stance works great.
Ivy falls on the low side of the spectrum, with neck, shoulders, elbows, hips and knees. The neck and right shoulder are pretty restricted though by the hair, and there won't be too much posing you'll do with this figure. She does stand on her own,
but it takes some serious effort, and she won't stay that way for long.
Huntress has the same number of joints - neck, shoulders, elbows, hips and knees - but the hair is less restrictive. Her feet have been sculpted to half-step pose though, and without using the included stand, you'll have a tough time getting her to stay standing. Also, why give her leg articulation and then sculpt her feet in such a way to limit any poses? One plus though is the use of soft rubber for the belt and pouches around her hips, allowing her legs to move a little more freely.
The Joker has the best overall articulation, which is surprising because it doesn't look that way in the box. He has neck,
jaw, shoulders, cut biceps, elbows, waist, hips and knees. While wrists would have been nice, the overall articulation works well with the sculpt and gives you some options.
Batman fits in with Hush as reasonable, yet not exceptional. He has neck, shoulders, elbows, cut
forearm on the right hand, hips and knees. His articulation works a little
better than Hush's though, and he has more posing options. The ball
jointed neck is particularly cool, and works great.
CORRECTION! As I've heard from several readers, the wrists ARE
articulated on Huntress and Joker. Not surprising since they were supposed
to have a removable hand included to swap out the gun hand. Be careful
turning them though (or popping them off), as mine were painted stuck.
Accessories - Huntress, Poison Ivy, Batman **1/2; Joker, Hush *1/2
Here's a category that DC Direct always scores poorly in. They've done a little better than usual here, but certainly not better than average overall.
Every figure comes with a base and some included foot pegs. NOTE! These foot pegs are inside the blister, and are easy to miss! The stands are all identical, so while it's a great looking base - I love the retro look to the emblem - it's still a major re-use.
The Joker and Hush figure come with nothing else. Weren't we supposed to get extra hands with this Hush?
Ivy, Batman and Huntress all come with one more accessory. There's a staff for Huntress, which fits nicely in her left hand, a swappable right hand for Batman, holding his bat-grapple gun, and a rubbery fine of ivy for Ivy. These are all fine by themselves, but overall, this is extremely light for this price point.
Fun Factor - Batman ***1/2; the rest **1/2
If you're buying for kids, the clear winner here is Batman. He looks
great, has a reasonable amount of articulation, and is always the kid favorite
in any Batman series.
The bad guys are all likely to be uninteresting to them, with the possible
exception of the Joker. But even he is far enough out there to put most
Value - Batman **1/2; Hush; Joker, Poison Ivy, Huntress **
Let's pretend you're paying $13 each for these, since that seems to be
pretty average. I have seen some comic shops charging as much as $20 each
if you want to buy them individually, and other shops forcing you to buy all
five if you want to get them down around $13.
Even at $13 each, these are pressing it. Batman is a fairly average
value, considering the sculpt and the low run you know these have. But
he's a popular character design that will cross over with all comic readers.
The others are simply too expensive, especially the girls. Compare
these figures to the quality of the Mattel unique characters - Zipline Batman,
Killer Croc, or Mister Freeze - and you'll see they aren't worth twice the
price. Ten bucks? Sure, but not $13 and more.
Overall - Batman ***1/2; Hush, Joker, Huntress ***; Ivy **
I've never been thrilled with any DC Direct release. Some have been
better than others, but overall quality has always been an issue.
Here, the sculpting saves the Batman from a lower score. The paint ops,
along with the price tag, holds him back from a four star figure. He's
definitely photogenic, and I love both the ball jointed neck and the overall
style, but the quality just isn't high enough compared to other lines on the
Ivy is clearly the weakest of the bunch, with a combination of a so-so sculpt
and terrible paint ops. Joker and Hush are solid figures, but aren't must
have figures unless you're a big fan of the comic book series.
Where to Buy -
Your local comic shop will have them in today, or perhaps next Wednesday at the latest. There are also plenty of on-line choices (all these stores also have pre-orders up for wave 2!):
- Krypton Collectibles has the best overall pricing, with the figures for $12 each individually, or the full set for
- CornerStoreComics has them individually for $13, or the set for $65.
- Alter Ego Comics has them for $13 each individually.
- Southern Island has the set for $50, or each for $14 if you go individually.
- Killer Toys has the individual figures for $13, or the set for $57.
- Time and Space Toys is sold out of their pre-orders for wave 1, but has wave 2 up for $57, and they have a bunch of older DC Direct Batman stuff on sale.