Looney Tunes series 2

I picked up the second series of Looney Tunes several weeks ago when they first hit comic shops, but I've been so swamped with other figures that I simply haven't had time to get to them. But let's finally correct that tonight with a review of all four new figures.

For those that don't remember, these Looney Tunes figures from DC Direct are designed to work in pairs, re-creating famous scenes from particular episodes. The first series, reviewed here, included Sylvester and Daffy facing off in Musketeer style, and Bugs and Elmer from the classic What's Opera, Doc?

This second series again includes Bugs, this time with Gashouse Gorilla, his baseball nemesis from the classic episode Baseball Bugs, and Wile E. E. Coyote and the Road Runner, in classic battle from Scrambled Aches. The figures sell individually for around $12 - $16, depending on your retailer, and all comic shops should have them in. Well, all the good ones anyway.

Packaging - ***1/2
As with the first series, the packages are actually quite well done. Lots of great graphics, and a nice description of the actual episode. They have a tough time showing the figures off well though, since some of them - like Gashouse - are extremely cramped. There's a lot in every one of these packages, and that's a very good thing.

There's a sticker on the side of the bubble that declares that the clear pins to hold the figures to the bases are inside the bases themselves.  Since I complained that I couldn't find mine - and never did - I can almost read the "this sticker is for that idiot Crawford" in the small print.

Sculpting - ***1/2; 
The first series has some issues - parts falling off, tough to keep standing, odd poses that really didn't work quite as well as planned. I'm happy to say that I had none of those issues this time around.

In fact, I was blown away by this series. Bugs and Gashouse were the first two I opened, and I was astounded by how cool they are.

The sculpts on both are appropriately detailed, and really do an amazing job of capturing the characters. Bugs face seems a *little* thin, but as I've said many times, getting the look of an animated character, who changes slightly from animator to animator not to mention even frame to frame, can be very difficult. They've done a great job, and there's no doubt who either of these characters is. I do think I like the head sculpt on the first series Bugs slightly better, but this one still looks terrific.

You will need the supplied pegs to get them to stay standing though, along with the supplied bases. Even Bugs, who has large feet of course, is sculpted with a slight curve to them, so that standing flat footed on his own is pretty much out of the question. You can dink around with him a bit and get him to stand in just the right way without the base, but adding the base will give you literally dozens more posing possibilities.

I don't mind needing the bases, since these were done in such a dynamic manner. And the comparisons with the Hanna-Barbera line from Mcfarlane is unavoidable. Both are attempting to capture classic scenes, but the simple truth is that this series blows the HB stuff away.

Why? Two reasons. First, rather than try to give us a generic classic appearance (or something not classic at all) like the HB line, these are coming straight out of scenes from specific episodes. Second, and most important, these prove that while the scenes they recreate are extremely dynamic in nature, they can STILL have great articulation that works with the cartoon sculpt and design, and provides lots of different poses!

With the addition of the extra arms and hands (which I'll discuss in much more detail in the Accessories section), both Bugs and Gashouse can be posed a) batting, b) pitching, c) fielding or d) catching. In other words, they can be playing any position on the field. Now, the sculpt works a little better with the articulation in the case of Bugs, but even Gashouse, with his contorted pose, can pull it off. That amazed me, especially when I assumed all I'd be getting for a display is Gashouse batting and Bugs pitching.

The sculpt/articulation combo doesn't work *quite* as well with the Coyote and Road Runner, but it's still pretty impressive.  And again, the sculpts match the characters extremely well.

I'm particularly happy about the Coyote sculpt.  Unlike Bugs, there's nothing about the appearance that is the least bit off to my eye.  The hands are sculpted to hold the accessories, at least the critical knife and fork, and the expression is one of assumed superiority before the fall.

The Road Runner is slightly smaller, as he should be, although still a tad bigger than I remember him from the show in relation to the coyote.  His sculpt works well with either set of legs, and practically screams "beep beep".

Just like Bugs and Gashouse, the Road Runner and Coyote are given relatively dynamic poses, and yet enough articulation (and accessories) to produce a large number of cool scenes.

If you compare these with other cartoon lines, particularly the McToys Hanna-Barbera or Simpsons lines, you'll notice that the scale is larger.  I like this larger scale, as it gives them greater flexibility in what they can do with articulation and accessories. It does tend to mean that the display bases are really too small to hold them though.

Paint - ***
It seems no different than the DC Direct superheroes - the paint remains their biggest issue.  These aren't terrible by any means, but there's enough slop between colors, poor cuts, and bleed to cause some minor concern.

The biggest issues are around the eyes, where the difficult white color shows some stray marks and bleed into the darker colors of the faces.

There's not much in terms of small detail paint work, but the large expanses of bold colors are generally consistent, and the colors tend to match the cartoon pretty well.

Articulation - Bugs ****; Gashouse ***1/2; Wile E., Road Runner ***
The articulation on these figures, for a cartoon line that's been designed for dynamic statue like poses, is truly astounding.

Bugs has a ball jointed neck, ball jointed shoulders, cut biceps (where the arms can be swapped), cut wrists (where the hands can be swapped), cut waist, T hips, and pin knees. None of this articulation hurts the sculpt in any way, and it makes it possible for him (with one extra set of arms and two sets of hands) to pose as though he is catching the ball, throwing the ball, in the batter's box, or even waiting for the ball, mitt on his knee, carrot in his hand. The sheer number of poses that you can get out of Bugs just knocked me for a complete loop.

Gashouse isn't quite as lucky, simply due to his more restrictive sculpt, but you can still have him in several positions around the field. Obviously, he can be in the batter's box, but with his ball jointed neck (restricted a bit by the sculpt), ball jointed shoulders, cut biceps (where the arms pop off), cut wrists (where the hands pop off), and cut hips, you can alter his appearance and stance enough to have him catching and pitching as well.

The Road Runner has the least amount of all around articulation, but that's not particularly surprising given the character's design.  The head is a cut joint (wish it was a ball), with a cut joint at the base of the tail, and a cut joint for each wing.  The wings really surprised me, since it's a detail I hadn't expected them to add.

His two sets of legs aren't articulated themselves, but obviously can turn where the peg enters the torso, at least to some degree.  The regular legs have less ability to turn than the circle, due to the sculpt.

Wile E. was actually a disappointment for me in this category, after reveling in Bugs' great articulation.  I had expected the same thing with the Coyote, but he fell short.

He does have an excellent ball jointed neck, but it tends to be a little loose.  The head pops off the neck to allow you to put the napkin on, and it works easily enough.

There's also ball jointed shoulders, but the range of movement isn't quite as good as Bugs, and he has T hips as well.  There's no other arm or leg articulation though, and the lack of cut wrists was a huge let down.  They even appear like they should be jointed - they have cut lines - but they are clearly glued, and when I managed to snap the left wrist, I found that it wasn't a round peg inside, but a rectangular one, making a joint impossible.

The other missing joint that is a huge disappointment is the tail.  It's attached hanging down, and looks okay when he's in his bent position, but when he stands it gets in the way.  On top of that, the base of the tail is very thin, and can break quite easily.  Take care!

While the tail isn't articulated, both ears are, so you can turn them to get them forward or backward on his head.

Accessories - ****
All four figures in this series come with a ton of stuff, even more than the previous wave.

Bugs has his removable baseball cap (well designed to stay on, yet look good if it's off too), an extra set of arms and hands for batting, an extra hand with catcher's mitt, his grass green base that can open and store all the accessories (it's more grass green than some of the photos make it appear, too), a reversible backdrop that attaches to the base, a pitcher's mound that attaches to the base, a bat, and a baseball.

There are also three clear pegs included. Two are short, while one is much longer. One of the short ones can be used to attach the ball to Bugs' hand, or to his bat. And if you want Bugs to stand flat against the grass, the other short one can be used with his foot and base. However, to have him stand on top of the pitcher's mound, you have to use the much longer clear peg, which fits through the mound and down into the base. Excellent!

The arms and hands are all interchangeable, so you can take the bent batting arms and swap on the gloves or open hands, for lots of different fielding/catching/throwing positions. This excellent design allows for the maximum number of poses out of the minimum number of parts.

Gashouse also comes with a stand and backdrop, along with home plate (that has a permanent peg in the bottom to attach to the second hole in the base), his HUGE tree trunk bat, an extra set of arms and regular hands for other poses, an extra hand with regular glove, and extra hand with catcher's mitt, and the 'screaming' baseball. Finally, he has his trademark cigar.

The screaming baseball can attach to his log bat with a clear peg, but I'm not quite sure what happened to it's paint job. Isn't it supposed to be white? Instead it's some sort of dark green/gray. Huh.

I love the sculpt on the tree trunk bat, and they've added in the little leaves poking out all around, make from a soft plastic. You get a total of six hands with this guy, all designed to give you lots of poses. The one regular hand is even sculpted to hold the ball that comes with Bugs perfectly, with no need for any peg.  Like Bugs, Gashouse's hat is also removable, something I didn't even notice at first til a reader pointed it out.

There are still a couple minor issues here and there. I'm not a big fan of the backdrops or design of the bases. While I like that they open, most of Gashouse's stuff is too big to fit inside, and I would have preferred a flat base with each of them that could hook together. The backdrops are small, just like the first time around, not really filling in the background very well, and while reversible, don't match up to each other. This is really a pair that deserves a much better diorama, and I'm thinking about making a base out of wood, with that fake grass carpet over it, and a new, larger backdrop printed up. Just how cool would that look!

Both the Road Runner and Coyote come with a butt load of gear as well.  Much of it is specific to this episode, another nice feature.

The Road Runner has his extra set of legs, which is really an oval, depicting the way his legs were drawn when he was at full speed.  This oval has a peg to attach to his body, and one to attach to the base.

Oh, and both he and the Coyote have their bases of course.  These can also hold the accessories when not in use, and I like the way they are like sculpted rocks, rather than the rectangular boxes that are the bases for Bugs and Gashouse.

There are two identical rocks and two identical lumps of grass that can attach to the base, and the backdrops work fine, although they tend to get in the way and are too close to the figures for many poses.  Just like all the previous backdrops, they're reversible, showing different desert scenes.

As with the other characters, there are several clear pegs included (inside the bases) to attach the figures and the various items to the bases.

Back to the Road Runner's specific accessories.  He (he was a he, right?) also comes with a cannon ball, with pegs on the top and bottom so that he can stand on top of it while it rests on the base.  Then there's the box of 'dehydrated boulders', slightly open and showing the small rocks down inside. That's a great touch, and shows the level of detail that they've gone to with these figures.

He also has a eye dropper that was used to hydrate the boulders, which is extremely tiny.  Unfortunately, I couldn't come up with a good way for either character to actually hold it.

The Coyote has another large rock that can attach to the base, and is really a ramp for him to pose on in his skates.  The skates are not removable as far as I can tell - the rubber straps across the feet are glued to the skate bottom on either side, and I couldn't find a way to remove them without damaging them.

Along with this stone ramp, you can add the sail and fan to his back.  These have clips that hold them to his body, but the one on the fan was in the wrong position.  The clip was turned to the side, so that the fan would be facing off to one side of his body, rather than toward the sail.  I had to break mine (there's no articulation down at the clip) and re-glue it in the correct position.

The fan does have a turning blade though, and the fan itself turns on the top of the post.  Unfortunately, that doesn't really help with the clip being in the incorrect position, since the poles would be running in the wrong direction.  Hopefully, they just weren't paying attention when they assembled and glued mine, and yours will actually work.

Wile E. also has a knife and fork, which he tended to carry a lot, assuming as he always did that he'd have a meal of the Road Runner any minute now.  He has to have his napkin around his neck too, and it's made from a soft, pliable rubber.

And no, that's not all.  He comes with a cannon to go with the Road Runner's cannon ball, and a itty bitty match.  The cannon can rotate at each leg, to get the perfect trajectory.  As if that wasn't enough, he also comes with the fake twisted leg!  I couldn't come up with a good way to use it - the more creative types will figure something out I'm sure.

Fun Factor - ***1/2
I jumped the fun factor up on these from the first series. Why? Because the accessories, articulation and sturdiness have all improved, making them a whole lot more fun even for kids in the under 10 range.

Value - ***
If you can pull off a great pre-order price of $10 or so, which is possible, then you can add another half star here. I'm assuming something more in line with the usual $12 - $13, which is the going rate for most specialty market figures. But, and it's a big but, most specialty market figures don't have any where near the cool number of accessories that these do, or the sheer bulk of someone like Gashouse. Even at $12, these are a *** value, and at $10, you'd be getting an excellent deal.

Things to Watch Out For - 
It's always a good idea to be mindful of the paint ops with DC Direct. I didn't have any major issues here, but still keep your eyes open.

Also, some of the swappable limbs/hands can be tricky, especially for Bugs, where the pegs are smaller. Take your time or you could snap one off.

Overall - Baseball Bugs ****; Gashouse Gorilla, Road Runner, Wile E. Coyote ***1/2
The first series of Looney Tunes were good, but not perfect.  I had trouble with parts falling off, difficulty keeping the figures standing even with pegs for the holes, and was disappointed in some of the accessories.

None of those problems exist with this series, and I'm tremendously impressed with the number of display possibilities these have.  Even with the dynamically sculpted poses, the articulation is designed in such a way as to allow them to take on several different looks.  If you thought it wasn't possible to do this kind of sculpting/articulation combination with cartoon based toys, think again.

They also have a huge number of cool accessories, and these add to the possibilities for display.  Only a couple of them have no real use, and even these are pretty cool.

The third series is a tad Bugs heavy, since both sets feature him with an opponent.  That's too bad, and I really do wish this line wasn't turning into nothing more than a Bugs Bunny line rather than a Looney Tunes line.  If there was one thing I could change, it would be the character selection.

Score Recap:
Packaging - ***1/2
Sculpt - ***1/2
Paint - ***
Articulation - Bugs ****; Gashouse ***1/2; Wile E., Road Runner ***
Accessories - ****
Fun Factor - ***1/2
Value -  ***
Overall - Baseball Bugs ****; Gashouse Gorilla, Road Runner, Wile E. Coyote ***1/2;

Where to Buy - 
If your local comic shop doesn't have them, or you can't handle the 'tude, you have lots of online options:

- Amazing Toyz has them listed at $12 for the singles or $44 for the set.

- CornerStoreComics has them listed at $12 for the individual figures, and $44 for the set.

- Time and Space Toys has the set for $45.

- And if you're looking for a great pre-order price for series 4, check out Alter Ego Comics where the pre-order is up at just $40 for the set.

Related Links - 
I reviewed series 1 back when they hit as well. Look for a series 3 review in the near future!

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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