Kingdom Come Series 2
Batman, Shazam, Red Robin, Kid Flash

It seems like only yesterday DC Direct released the first series of Kingdom Come figures, and here we have the second.

As you might recall, the much anticipated first series was met with less than enthusiastic reactions.  Poor paint application was the biggest issue, although the stickers on Green Lantern and the gapping on many of the joints didn't help.

This time around DC Direct is giving us Batman, Shazam, Red Robin and Kid Flash.  Retail is around $15, although you're comic shop proprietor might cut you a deal if you're lucky.  I have some on-line suggestons at the end of the review.

Next series, due out in March of 2004, include Armored Wonder Woman, Magog, Deadman, and The Flash.

And if you haven't read the Kingdom Come series, do so.  It's great comic book story telling by Mark Waid, with excellent art by Alex Ross.

Packaging - ***1/2
If you picked up series one, you've seen this packaging before.  It's very attractive, with a nice retro feel, that captures the atmosphere of the books.  It's not particularly sturdy though, and it's likely to get smooshed easily.  It's slightly collector friendly, if you can ignore the million twist ties.

Sculpting - Shazam ****; Red Robin ***1/2; Batman ***; Kid Flash **1/2
Not surprisingly, the line has a real winner, and a dog.  Okay, she's not a complete dog, but she's not nearly as nice as the rest of the line.

Shazam - aka Captain Marvel - looks fantastic.  The sculpt on the body and head is excellent, and I love how they captured the age in his face, but you still know just who it is.  The expression is pure Marvel, and he reminds me of the Golden Age of comics.

His pose is also dynamic without being excessive, and of the entire set he's clearly my favorite.

On the opposite end of the scale is Kid Flash.  I have to admit that the character design was pretty dull to begin with, and the work here has done anything to improve on it.  She's in another of the female "can't stand without a base" poses, with her jacket slipping off her right shoulder.  Is she getting home after a long day, or impressing us with how fast she can take her clothes off?  Her expression is, well, fairly expressionless, and overall it's a bland looking figure.

In between are Red Robin and Batman.  I don't particularly like the Batman design from the comics either - the only one of the big guns that I didn't like - but I have to admit that they did a great job with it.  It has plenty of detail, and its only real problem is with standing on his own.  You'll have to play around a bit with the limited articulation to find the sweet spot.  Perhaps if they hadn't sculpted the legs in such a wide, silly, lock kneed stance...

Red Robin is my second favorite character of the series, and his sculpt looks terrific.  While the character design is fairly basic, they've capture the look, and added a realism that's pretty amazing.  The determined look, the set of the hands, and the straight pose, all work extremely well together.

Scale-wise, things seem okay, if not quite perfect.  Supes is bigger than Bats, about the same size as Marvel.  Wonder Woman towers over Kid Flash, and Red Robin is somewhere in between.

Paint - Kid Flash ***; the rest ***1/2
The best news is that the paint problems seem to be in the past.  Maybe I just got lucky, but I didn't work to pick these out - just took what the comic shop guy handed me - and all four look much, much better than the previous set.

They still aren't perfect though.  Kid Flash has some issues between the yellow of her cowl, the red of her mask, and the flesh color of her lower face.  The gold on Red Robin's belt is a little sloppy.  And Batman's silver belt and backpack wasn't perfectly consistent.  But overall it's a vast improvement over the previous line, and certainly much better than average.

Articulation - Kid Flash **; Red Robin **1/2; Batman ***; Shazam ***1/2
The line isn't known for its articulation, but there's enough to avoid getting slapped around too hard over it.

Kid Flash is the big disappointment again.  She has neck, shoulders, and hips.  The jacket pose restricts the right shoulder a bit (although you can pop it free from the jacket), and the leg pose makes the hips fairly useless.

Batman has a fair amount of articulation, with neck, shoulders, cut elbows, wrists, hips, and one at mid-wing on both sides.  He has that nagging issue with standing though, and he has to lean back a bit to stay upright.  The wings work extremely well though, and are unlikely to break easily.

Red Robin has fairly average articulation, with neck, shoulders, hips and cut elbows.  It's enough to do some posing with the arms, and keep him standing fine, but not enough to get an above average score.

Shazam is the big winner again, with neck, shoulders, cut elbows, hips and cuts at the top of the boots.  That's nothing amazing of course, but it does give him some basic variety in his poses, and actually works the best with his overall design. 

Accessories - Batman, Shazam, Kid Flash **1/2; Red Robin Bupkis
Batman, Kid Flash and Shazam each have one accessory.  Unfortunately for Kid, hers is a lot less appealing than the other two.  She comes with a basic oval stand, necessary to keep her standing.

Batman comes with his long, pointy sharp thing.  I don't remember if it has a name, but you wouldn't want to find yourself on the wrong end.  It fits nicely in his right hand, and looks fine in basic black.

The white and gold cape of Shazam is removable, so I'm counting it as an accessory.  Considering it's also the most attractive and cool of the paltry few accessories, it was important to give the line a boost.

Value - **
Fifteen bucks for a figure with basic articulation and really no accessories is more than just a tad steep.  These shouldn't be more than $8 - $10 each, but I'm sure the low runs and limited distribution is the excuse.  Still, that means their value score takes the biggest hit.

Overall - Shazam ***1/2; Batman, Red Robin ***; Kid Flash **1/2
Perhaps if Shazam had been closer to ten bucks, he would have been a four star figure.  But at this price point, I couldn't find a way to justify it.  Red Robin is my second favorite of the set, and even Batman is better work than the Green Lantern or Wonder Woman we were subjected to in the first series (my WW has given up all hopes of standing any more, even with the stand).  Kid Flash does little for me, and if you're a fan but looking to save cash, she's the one to skip.

Where to Buy - 
I bought these from my local comic shop.  He charged me about $13.50 each, but that was because he was feeling generous.  The normal price is $15. On-line options include:

- Alter Ego Comics has them for only $12.50 each, and they are in stock.  And if the DC Direct figures are your thing, they have the new Batman: Hush figures still available for pre-order for just $10 each!  That's a darn good deal, but it is only open until November 28th.

- If you missed out on the Kingdom Come Red Arrow figure, Killer Toys has it in stock for $16 each.

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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