Hush Series 2
Superman, Nightwing, Riddler, Catwoman, Harlequin


One of the more popular Batman story lines - at least in the last couple years - was Hush.  Written by Jeph Loeb and drawn by Jim Lee, it introduced a new villain named, not too surprisingly, Hush.  While the writing was decent, much of the story seemed to be merely window dressing to give Jim Lee room to play in the world of the Bat.

DC Direct has already produced one series of figures based on the comics, reviewed here of course.  The second series, including Harley, Superman, Nightwing, Catwoman and Riddler, is now hitting stores.  They actually popped up at Suncoast and Sam Goody stores first, beating the comic book shops by a couple weeks.  Now you should also be able to find them at your local dealer of pulp fiction, and I have a number of suggestions for picking these up fairly cheap at the end of the review.

Let's hope we see the third series while we are all still relatively young - this second set was originally scheduled to hit shelves months ago but was repeatedly delayed.  The third series will include Commissioner Gordon, Alfred, Scarecrow, Ra's Al Ghul, and Stealth Jumper Batman.  They are currently scheduled to arrive in April of next year. 

Packaging - **
The boxes are as basic as you can get.  The retro logo is on the front, the sides carry a shot of the overall group, and the back has some very basic graphics.

Not only are the boxes boring, they are the least collector friendly packages on the face of the earth.  Sure, clamshells might be tough to get in to, but if you're a MOCer, they at least hold up and store well.  These boxes are easy to crush and damage, and if you do open them, you have to utterly destroy them just to reach the 5 to 8 twisty ties someone thought they required.

This must be how the conversation works:

DC Guy - "oh, we don't need more than three twisties on this figure, thanks"

Asian twisty tie enforcer - "ah, yes, but old Chinese proverb say, you use less than eight twisty, product mysteriously disappear on way to retailer."

DC Guy - "uh, yea, I see your point..."

Sculpting - Superman, Nightwing, Catwoman ***1/2; Harley, Riddler ***
The sculpts are all extremely solid across the line, but some of the figures suffer more from the preposed nature of the style than others.

This is a Jim Lee Superman, something folks have been looking forward to, but he's got a little problem.  He's been infected by Poison Ivy, thus he has some ivy growing on his right arm and around his throat.  That and the zombie eyes are how you can tell he's been taking over by the voluptuous shrubbery.

Never fear though - DC Direct has announced a Jim Lee Superman line for next year, so you'll get your completely normal version then.  Here we get a very well sculpted Hush version, that fits in great with the book, and looks terrific from head to foot.  I particularly love the tattered cape, done in a soft plastic rather than cloth.

Nightwing is another excellent sculpt, although I was worried about his stance when I first saw photos of him.  Actually, now that I have him up on the shelf next to the others, the stance is working for me, along with the exceptional head sculpt.

Catwoman is the other one of the set that I really think the did an excellent job with.  Her goggles can either be worn on the eyes, on the head, or completely removed, and the stance actually works well with the context of her relationship with Bruce in the book.  Most importantly, the body sculpt works well with the articulation, and she stands great on her own, as does Nightwing and Superman.

Actually, the Riddler stands great on his own too, as long as you stick with the one basic pose.  His head sculpt is extremely well done too, if you like the younger appearance that Lee went with.  I'm not overly happy with the goofy left arm though, and the articulation and sculpt do not work well together at all.  Even with four points of articulation on that arm, there's really only one or two poses it looks okay in.

Harley is a great looking figure - yowsers! - but suffers from the same problem that both Poison Ivy and Huntress had in the first series.  There's no way, under the current laws of physics, she will ever stand on her own.  It's a good thing we get a stand for her, and even with it, I'm not sure if standing is a long term objective for the little minx. 

Her hands are sculpted to hold her accessories though, which is also true for the other figures in the line.  Another negative to her sculpt though is that the large gun in her left hand is sculpted there, when it should have been an accessory.

Paint - ***
There's plenty of small detail work to try the patience of the manufacturer, but for the most part it's all decent work. 

There is some slop though, especially with the tough color combinations, like the silver on black of Catwoman, or the red and black of Harley.  Supes has lots of stray marks and some inconsistencies across his blue suit, and some of the small details, like the Riddler's question marks on his tie and hat, could have been neater.  Most of the eyes are very clean, but Harley has one a little more off center than the other.  These are all minor problems individually, but taken together indicate an average level of quality.

Overall though, it's solid B work.  I'm not deducting much for the color choice of Nightwing's mask, if you were wondering.  Yes, a bright blue mask looks as dopey as you can get, and clearly it should have been black to match his overall suit.  But it's neatly done, and I suppose I can give DC Direct one screw up.  But just one.

The mask is somewhat made up for by the cool use of a gloss black for his boots, that contrasts nicely with the matte black of his outfit.  I really like it when a company goes that extra step, and they did this not just with Nightwing, but with Catwoman as well.

Articulation - Superman, Catwoman, Harley, Nightwing ***; Riddler **1/2
These figures arent' designed to be 'super articulated', but they have enough of the major points to work well.

Only Riddler was a disappointment in this category.  He is the only one of the set to not have a ball jointed neck, but a simple cut joint.  He also has cut shoulders, cut biceps, pin elbows, cut wrists, and hips.  However, few of these joints really sure much purpose, and even the excellent arm articulation is hampered by the sculpt itself.

Most of the rest of the figures also have ball jointed shoulders, although the range of motion depends on the character.  Superman is the best articulated of the bunch, with a ball jointed neck, ball jointed shoulders, pin elbows, hips, pin knees and pin ankles.  The neck joint doesn't quite have the mobility of some of the others, but it's still a nice touch.  Wrist joints would have been really nice here, as they would have been with Nightwing.

Nightwing's missing wrist joints are really his only articulation flaw.  He has an excellent, highly expressive ball jointed neck, along with ball jointed shoulders, hips, pin elbows and pin knees.  Without the wrists, he is very limited in the number of arm poses he can take with his batons.

Harley and Catwoman have similar articulation, with ball jointed necks, ball jointed shoulders, pin elbows, hips and pin knees.  Harley also has wrist joints, and her neck joint has a greater range of movement than Catwoman's.

The articulation is adequate enough to get one or two decent poses, and keep most of them standing on their own.  The ball jointed necks are particularly useful, and easily the best single joint any figure can have.

Accessories - Supes **1/2; the rest ***
Most of the figures have one, perhaps two accessories, but that's actually a step up from most DC Direct lines.

Superman comes off with the short stick.  All the characters come with the emblem base, but Superman has an addition to his.  There's a set of rocks which attach with pegs, and a steel rod to suspend him above the base in the air.  It's a nice look, but is still pretty light when it comes to this category.

Nightwing has two batons, and they fit tightly in either hand.  Riddler also has two accessories, if you count his removable hat with his cane.  You may want to keep his cane rubber banded into his right hand.  I removed the band on mine, and found it almost impossible to keep him from dropping it.

Catwoman also has two accessories, again if you count her removable mask.  There's also a whip, and I didn't remove the rubber bands that keep it in her hand.

Harley should have had two accessories, since her big silly gun should have been removable.  However, she doesn't - she just has a huge, red hammer.  The handle of the hammer fits nicely in her right hand, but don't expect her to hold it for long periods up over her head, even when she's using the display stand.

And use the display stand she will.  While I don't mind getting the stands, I hate being forced to use them.  They waste valuable shelf space, and make it very difficult to get the figures to stand close to one another. 

Fun Factor - ***
While these figures might have their issues, they are some really great toys.  Most of the joints seem fairly tight, although I did notice that one of Nightwing's knees seemed like it might be easy to break.  While the accessories are light, these are figures that kids could have fun with, especially Nightwing and Superman.

Value - **1/2
I'm assuming you'll pay about $12 - $13 each for these.  You won't be feeling guilty for getting by cheap, that's for sure, but this is a pretty average price on the current market.

What's most interesting is that this is a drop in price from a year or two ago for DC Direct.  At one point, it was impossible to find the figures at comic shops for less than $15 - $18, but with stores like Suncoast getting in the game, the prices have actually fallen into a nice, reasonable range.

Overall - ***
These aren't perfect figures by any stretch of the imagination.  None of them will be on my 'best of 2004' list.  But none will be on my worst list either.  There are a few minor problems that hold them back from higher scores, like the blue mask of Nightwing, or the sculpted gun of Harley, but they look decent on the shelf are are shaping up to be a nice looking set together.

Packaging - **
Sculpt - Superman, Nightwing, Catwoman ***1/2; Harley, Riddler ***
Paint - ***
Articulation - Superman, Catwoman, Harley, Nightwing ***; Riddler **1/2
Accessories - Superman **1/2; the rest ***
Fun Factor - ***
Value - **1/2
Overall - ***

Where to Buy - 
You can find these at your local comic shop, or at your local Suncoast/Media Play.  There are plenty of online options as well, including these sponsors:

- Qwiksand Collectibles sells them individually for $12, or the set of five for $57.50.  They have series 3 up for pre-order for the excellent price of $51!

- CornerStoreComics has the individuals for $13 - $14, but the complete set is just $55.  They also have some of series 1 still in stock, and pre-orders up for series 3.

- Alter Ego Comics has the individuals for $13 each, or the set of 5 for $60.  They have series 3 up for the low, low price of just $50.

- Killer Toys has some of this series as low as $10 each, or the whole set for $57.

- Time and Space Toys only has the set listed, at $57.

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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