The Batman Riddler

The Batman cartoon has been a bit of a disappointment for many adult viewers. The writing isn't as crisp or interesting as BTAS, and some are turned off by the choppier direction. But some collectors have warmed to the designs and style, if nothing else, making the action figure line a bigger hit with them.

The latest release from Mattel includes two versions of Mr. Freeze (one with a nose, one without), Catwoman without the cowl, and the Riddler. We'll look at just the Riddler tonight, which you can find soon at stores like Target or Toys R Us. I picked him up at YouBuyNow for $10, but the premium price was worth it to me to have him without any search.

The Riddler is a very unique design, and is really the first of the villains from the show done in plastic form that looks so different from his origin self, that even old school Batman fans won't recognize him. This guy is a girly-man even by Emo standards, but that doesn't mean he should be underestimated. Voiced on the cartoon by Robert Englund, better known as Freddy Krueger, the Riddler is still a dangerous opponent. But is he cool?

Packaging -  **
The packaging is standard mass market release card and bubble stuff. Logo on the front, insert in the bubble with the specific figure name, little pictures of the other figures in the series on the back. They've met all the checklist criteria, but did it without much creativity.

Sculpting - ***
The sculpt is good, but not earth shattering. It manages to capture the cartoon look, and matches up in scale fairly well. Unfortunately, my Batman from this line is currently in storage - eventually I'll be able to stop saying that, but God knows it's going to be awhile - so I shot him with the Zipline Bats, but there's a scale difference there. Zips is a 6" scale, while this line is closer to a 5" scale.

He also stands well on his own, and has fairly interesting hand sculpts. His accessory actually fits on his arm, so they aren't necessary to hold it.

The sculpt and articulation don't work very well together, with mostly odd poses coming from any movement of the arms. He's pretty much got to have them straight down, or he just looks silly.

Paint - **
The basic quality of the paint application is about average for a mass market toy, with a little bleed and over spray in some areas, and not a ton of small detail work. The basic designs from the cartoon lack that detail as well, however.

The big issue that drags this score down is the difference in color between the torso and limbs. This often happens when one piece is cast in the color, and another is painted. It's pretty obvious that the don't match, even to someone as color blind as me, and it's that kind of sloppiness that drives me nuts.

Articulation - **
Some of the figures in this line have been fairly well articulated - I have no idea what happened here. He has cut neck and shoulders, with T hips. That articulation, with this sculpt, means he has one pose. Hey, at least he stands on his own.

The neck joint on mine is also very loose, and feels like it could break off without much handling. A ball joint would have been so much nicer here, especially with the moody stance and expression.

Accessories - **1/2
The Riddler comes with one accessory, his monster question mark of death. It snaps on either arm, and is sculpted to fit up over his shoulder. It looks great, attaches tightly, and if you press a button on the back, the translucent green serated edge snaps forward. It's a pretty cool weapon as far as action feature weapons go, and works well.

One accessory, even one that has an action feature, is pretty light though, especially in a figure with clearly so little other costs.

Fun Factor - **1/2
He'll work for kids alright, and the weapon goes a long way in improving his fun. The limited articulation won't effect kids as much as collectors, but the loose neck joint will be a breakage issue.

Value - **1/2
Assuming you pay around $7 for this figure, you're paying the normal retail for the average mass market licensed action figure. This one is just that - pretty average.

Things to watch out for - 
The loose neck joint is something to pay attention to. If you have your choice on the peg, pick one that looks like it's not got the problem, but if you end up with one like mine, then handle the head with extra care.

Overall -  **1/2
There's nothing too exciting here, although I do really like the design of this character. They did a nice job capturing the sculpt, but dropped the ball on the mismatched green and poor articulation. He'll look alright on the shelf in his one pose, but my 4 year old son would have his head snapped off in record time, so his usefulness as a toy is somewhat iffy.

If you can only buy one The Batman villain this week, make it Mr. Freeze, who is a bit better than this figure. If you have no limits, then by all means pick him up and keep your little The Batman Rogues Gallery complete.

Packaging - **1/2
Sculpt - ***
Paint - **
Articulation - **
Accessories - **1/2
Fun Factor - **1/2
Value - **1/2
Overall -  **1/2

Where to Buy -
These should be hitting stores soon, but I haven't found them locally yet.  Online options include:

- YouBuyNow has him for ten bucks, along with the new Catwoman and Batman figures from this wave.

Related Links -
I've reviewed many of the figures from the line, including Firefly, the Penguin, Bane and Man-bat, the regular Batman, Bruce Wayne, and Joker, and the 10" rotocast version of Bats.

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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