Alliance of Fear

Hasbro is getting as many Batman related figures out as they can for this Christmas season, before the license expires and they give up the cash cow to Mattel.  A truly foolish move on Hasbro's part, but they seem unable to realize that they are losing the boy's aisle to Mattel for the first time in history.  With Harry Potter, Max Steele, Masters of the Universe and now Batman, Mattel has made a serious impact into part of Hasbro's core business.

But Hasbro isn't letting the license go without bleeding the last few bucks out.  The latest four pack - and there are two more tentatively scheduled to hit - is called Alliance of Fear.  Again containing two good guys and two bad guys, and going back to a completely new sculpt for one of the figures, it can't be too bad, right?  Guess again.

The set is a Toys R Us exclusive and contains Batman, Batgirl (the new sculpt), Scarecrow and Joker.  It retails for twenty bucks.

Packaging - ***1/2
Easily the best thing about the set is the box it comes in.  Collector friendly, with great graphics and decent text.  You can pop the figures out for display, and always pop them back in the box for easy storage.

Sculpting - **
The only thing saving this sculpting score is the fact that the re-used figures are all classic sculpts.  While this is the same Batman, Joker and Scarecrow you have seen before (this is one of the funky, aquatic Batmen I believe), those sculpts don't count enough toward the overall score to raise it very far.

Batgirl is the big deal here, as is made clear by the box.  "NEW DESIGN!" it screams, but the design is awful.  I have no idea when she joined the Bat School Cheerleaders, but this pose is horrendous.  One hand on her hip, the other arm straight with a fist, and that angle in the hips - she must have just yelled "GO TEAM!"

There are lots of great poses for Batgirl, and this isn't even in the same ball park with them.  The physicality of the sculpt itself isn't bad - the body proportions, the detailing - but it's not a pose that fits the character, and with such an in-articulated figure that's a crucial aspect of the sculpting.

Paint - *
Again, this score is predominately based on the new figure - that is why you're buying this set, right?

Scarecrow has some slightly new colors, but nothing extreme.  The same with Batman and Joker, but even their paint ops are less than adequate.  Joker had small spots of paint all over his face, and Batman's face paint was clumpy.

But Batgirl is shocking in her lack of quality.  The face is particularly awful, with sloppy lines everywhere, thick clumping in spots, missing paint in other spots, uneven white on her teeth, and in general one of the worst paint jobs I've seen in ages.  Hasbro is definitely doing this on the cheap, putting these out with as low of cost as humanly possible, and it shows.

Oh, and let's not even mention why they decided that her nose shouldn't be covered by the cowl, or that I hate the blue cowl and cape over the black.

Articulation - **
The reissued figures are no surprises, with neck shoulder and hips.  Scarecrow also has the cut joint on his left arm to allow for his scythe twirling action.

Batgirl is takes a step back with neck, shoulders and waist, similar to Talia.  However, with the hair and cape, the neck is pretty useless, the waist serves little purpose, and the left shoulder doesn't give you many options with the bent arm/hand on hip sculpt.  So that means she can hold her right fist in the air, or down by her side.  Whoop.

Accessories - **
Well, like the package says in several places, the figures come with accessories.  Of course, you can also see that by looking at the box, since you can see most of them through the plastic.

Unfortunately, they are all re-used.  Scarecrow has his original crow and scythe, Joker has his gas mask and gas gun, Batman has his firing grappling hook and bat-club, and believe it or not, Batgirl comes with...get this...the big firing nose again.  This is turning into the clipboard of animated Batman figures.

Value - *
You're paying twenty bucks for three figures you already have, and one new sculpt that is terrible.  That's a pretty bad value in anybodies book.

Overall - *1/2
It's sad to see the Hasbro Batman reign end so poorly.  Batgirl is a real disappointment, and I shudder to think what we might see in the last set.  The Girls of Gotham is scheduled next, with this same terrible Batgirl, Talia, the same old Catwoman, and a new sculpt Poison Ivy.  God help us.

Where to Buy - 
Toys R Us has these in stock at most stores for twenty bucks.  Online:

- has them as well for $20 plus shipping.  They also have the next set, Girls of Gotham.  Search for 'batman animated'. (MROTW Affiliate)


Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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