SEARCH REVIEWS    LIVING WITH LATE FEES    FEATURES    LINKS    BIO    MISSION    EMAIL    MAIN PAGE >


Batman - The Brave and the Bold

Batman Brave and the Bold action figures from Mattel

The newest cartoon to hit Cartoon Network is Batman - The Brave and The Bold. I've been watching it with my son every Friday night, and we've been enjoying it quite a bit. It's a KID'S cartoon however, written in a relatively light hearted way. There's nothing stupid like Battle Droids doing their best Three Stooges impersonations, but it doesn't have the dark edge of the old Batman: The Animated Series either.

Mattel is doing a series of action figures of course, since it is a KID'S cartoon. I just felt the need to point that out again, lest the Nerd Herd get their collective panties in a bunch and trample all the fun with cries of "but it's not serious enough!".

I came across the first series at a local Meijers, and picked up the regular Batman, along with three additional characters. The Blue Beetle should be popping up too, but he wasn't on the pegs. These were just $8 at Meijers, proof action figures don't have to be ten bucks a pop.

I'll be reviewing the regular Bats, Kanjar Ro, Aquaman, and Black Manta. Like I said, Blue Beetle should be in a shipping assortment as well.
Batman Brave and the Bold action figures from Mattel

Batman Brave and the Bold action figures from Mattel
Batman Brave and the Bold action figures from Mattel
Batman Brave and the Bold action figures from Mattel
Batman Brave and the Bold action figures from Mattel
Batman Brave and the Bold action figures from Mattel
Batman Brave and the Bold action figures from Mattel
Batman Brave and the Bold action figures from Mattel
Batman Brave and the Bold action figures from Mattel
Batman Brave and the Bold action figures from Mattel
Batman Brave and the Bold action figures from Mattel
Batman Brave and the Bold action figures from Mattel

Packaging - ***1/2
I really like these simple packages, especially for a mass market release.  The colors are bright and eye catching, and they actually went to the trouble of adding personalized photos on the front of the card as well as the bubble for each character. There's no twisties or rubber bands inside either!

Sculpting - ***
The animation style on the show is fairly old school, with a somewhat blocky, sharp appearance. Some of that has been translated here, but they've also gone off on a slight tangent as well.

Because of that slight deviation from the show, some folks may not find these as appealing. I do like the final product though, quite a bit more than I thought I would.

They've gone with an even blockier foot design, similar to what we've seen in other kid DC lines from Mattel like Super Friends or even Imaginext. It fits in fine here, and it ensures that the figures stand well on their own.

They've also added hexagonal holes on the back, shoulders, elbows and lower legs. These holes can be used to attach the accessories to the character's body, and which holes you use depends on the accessory.  All the characters have all the holes though, giving the basic design some consistency (and re-use). These holes pull the score down a half star for me, as they are quite distracting, especially on the shoulders and legs.

The figures clock in at just a hair under 5", making them too small to go with the DCUC or Marvel Legends figures, but they should look decent with the old BTAS stuff. I didn't have any handy however to do a side by side comparison. The five inch scale also means more likelihood for play sets and vehicles, and some are already pictured on the back of the packages.

Of the four, my favorite is easily Black Manta. The added holsters, excellent boots, and nifty breather/pack all add quite a bit to the basic design.

I'm also glad they went with a cloth cape on Bats. A hard plastic or even rubbery one would have been too heavy for him to easily stand.

Paint - ***1/2
For a mass market line, things were pretty clean. Of course, much of the figures are actually just cast in the proper color, but there's enough paint added that they could have screwed up royally. Eyes, eyebrows, teeth, and hair lines are all cleaner than we've seen from most mass market and even some specialty market lines in the last few months.

Articulation - **
Unfortunately, they aren't very well articulated. It's better than most of the old BTAS figures, where the basic five points were it, but they didn't add much.

The all have cut neck joints, cut shoulders, cut waists and standard T hips. There's you're five points, just like the old days of Hasbro and Kenner.  However, Mattel has added pin elbows, which give some additional posing potential.

Cut wrists would have been really nice, as would ball jointed necks and shoulders, all of which would be easy to add with this body style.

Accessories - **1/2
They did give each figure a weapon of some sort, critical for a conflict based series like this.

Batman comes with his "battle slam", a battering ram looking thing. Aquaman has his Trident, referred to as a "sea spear", and Black Manta has his "skiff ripper", which looks like a Manta Ray with a deadly tail. Finally, Kanjar Ro comes with his "ray blaster". None of these weapons figure anything, and there are no action features.

As I mentioned earlier, these weapons can be held in either their hands, or attached to their bodies at the various post holes.

Fun Factor - ***1/2
Although they lack a few things I'd like to see, they are still a fun line. Kid's that enjoy the show should enjoy these as well, and it's a nice opportunity to introduce another generation to Batman and the rest of the DC universe.

Figures like Imaginext and Super Friends are great for the under 4 set, and something like DC Universe or even DC Direct figures work great for the over 8 or 10 crowd. These figures are intended to hit that 5 - 7 age range, very much like the cartoon.

Value - **1/2
At just eight bucks a pop ("just"...that doesn't seem right) these are a solid value. Sure, there's only one accessory, and it's a five inch line, not six, but considering the price some figures are going for at even Toys R Us and Wal-mart these days, seeing something reasonably well done in this range is a relief.

Things To Watch Out For
I'd make sure the paint is the best you can get, but other than that, you should be just fine.

Overall - ***
I'm liking these so far.  It's not love yet, but it's definitely a solid like. The Sigma Six style holes ain't doing it for me (I wouldn't mind the one on the back or on the forearms, but drop the rest), and the articulation, or lack thereof, is maddening. But it's nice to have a new animated line to watch for at the regular stores, and I'm hoping that Mattel actually gets these things out and distributed, unlike the failed DC Infinite Heroes series.

Score Recap:
Packaging - ***1/2
Sculpting - ***
Paint - ***1/2
Articulation - **
Accessories - **1/2
Fun Factor - ***1/2
Value - **1/2
Overall - ***

Where to Buy -
I picked these up at Meijers, and they should be popping up at other mass market retailers very soon.

Related Links -
I have a billion Batman links, and you're best bet is to head over to the main Review Listing page and search for 'batman', or use the Search Function. You'll find a ton.

Discussion:
Want to chat about this review?  Try out one of these terrific forums where I'll be discussing it!

KEEP SCROLLING DOWN FOR LOTS MORE PHOTOS!


Reader Ratings!
Here's your chance to weigh in!  Select your rating for this figure(s) to the right.  Yea, it's a five star system and not a four star system like mine, but it's the best I've been able to come up with so far.  You can only rate once from any particular IP.  My score converted to a five star system for comparison: 3.75

Share this review with others! 
  Digg it!    StumbleUpon Toolbar Stumble It!      Reddit


Batman Brave and the Bold action figures from Mattel



Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

This page copyright 2000 - 2008, Michael Crawford. All rights reserved. Hosted by 1 Hour Hosting.com