Monday, January 5, 2015

Toy Review – Batman: The New Batman Adventures Two-Face from DC Collectibles

UPDATE: I contacted DC about the figures from this series that I had problems with and they are very conciliatory and interested in making things right. If you have any of these with issues, I strongly recommend you compose an informational non-bitchy e-mail and send it along. Don't be a dick. Remember - these folks didn't set out to make flawed toys. Things happen between design and the factory. And so far it seems like they are very aware of the problems and looking to fix them.


Two-Face must be a tough nut to crack, story-wise. Once the event occurs and the crusading District Attorney side of Harvey Dent is out of the picture (or muted, at least), the only real story to tell is that he hates crime, but in a totally different way from Batman because he commits it. Frequently.

As with all things, the animated Batman shows did a better job than most of dealing with Harvey. First of all, they actually featured Dent as a character and established his relationships with Jim Gordon and Bruce Wayne. That made his tragic disfigurement all the more impactful. This was another example of The Animated Series going far beyond the storytelling conventions of your average cartoon of the era. Two-Face didn’t just pop up out of nowhere, accompanied by a throwaway insert about his origin (no, that was Batman Forever). He emerged from a character that the audience was led to care about.

I also can’t overlook the incredible voice acting that Richard Moll did as Harvey Dent and Two-Face. The Animated Series had possibly the greatest voice cast ever assembled, but Moll’s performance in particular was incredible. As pre-accident Dent he was smooth, warm, and likeable; but prone to a scary intensity when angered. After the explosion, Moll portrayed Dent as someone tortured and struggling, while Two-Face was pure rage and sinister intent. Moll essentially had three entirely different characterizations of the same person and he handled them beautifully.

Personally, I love Two-Face as both his tragic modern incarnation and the older version that was mostly obsessed with things that came in twos. He’s not a character that you can just throw out there all the time, but writers have done great things with him over the years and I’ve seen more good stories than bad ones.

This is Two-Face from New Adventures. He’s sleeker and trimmer than the version from Animated Series. And the disfigured half of his face is a bit less ghoulish. I certainly wouldn’t mind getting a figure of the original version down the road, but first I’d like a regular Harvey Dent.
FIRST GLANCE

Look at his tiny little feet! They’re precious!

Seriously, though – as with the other figures in this line, DCC has done an outstanding job of capturing the look and feel of this character. The proportions are fantastic and all of the angles and details look great.

Unfortunately, it looks like my figure has a paint scrape on the top of its head. There’s a little jag of black where only white should be. This might be a rare case where I’ll put a dab of paint on a figure because I don’t know how long it will be before DCC gets around to reproducing and reissuing higher quality versions of this first wave.

PACKAGING

Ah, the wonderful blister card. There’s nothing I don’t like about this. Since I will –hopefully – be reviewing tons of these figures for many years to come, this is going to be the stock paragraph I use in this section from here on out.

The cardback is simple, with clean graphics and a number on the blister insert. This insert identifies the figure and which show the design comes from. It also gives credit to the sculptor, which in this case is toy legend Gentle Giant.

LOOKS

The proportions are the first thing about this figure that jumped out at me. DC Collectibles didn’t cheat on the top-heavy design. Or at least, if they did they did it so subtly that it isn’t noticeable. Harvey has that great V shape that the male characters of the show tended to have. His feet are impossibly small and his shoulders are crazy wide. 
 
The head has a very strong and pronounced sculpt. I like how the simplicity and smoothness of the Harvey half are contrasted by the details and angles of the Two-Face half. It’s easier to notice with this stationary, 3D model how skull-like the disfigured half really is. Gentle Giant produced a very clean sculpt here.

The paint on the head is mostly good. The Harvey half is near perfect. The Two-Face half has fantastic detail around the eye and the mouth – the teeth, lips, and gums are particularly striking – but that black mark in the white hair is pretty rough. I can’t tell if it’s a scrape or an error, but I’m definitely going to have to do something about it. Mrs. Troublemaker picked this one up for me and said it was the best sample at the store, but that they all looked rough.

Side Note: Mrs. Troublemaker is not a fan of this line. She holds the DC Animated Universe in as much regard as I do, but she thinks the paint on all of these first wave figures looks bad. Or, in her words, “like shit”. I don’t think it looks that bad, but I am questioning whether or not my love of the franchise is taking away some of my objectivity. As you guys might have noticed over the years, that does happen sometimes.

There’s not much to say about the body. It’s a suit. It’s the right shape. This is where even my Kiss From A Rose-colored glasses detect some questionable paint, though. The line between the white plastic and the painted black is a little fuzzy. It isn’t terrible and certainly isn’t a deal-breaker, but it’s not as clean as I’d like. There’s also some unpainted white at the top of the black shirt collar that is a definite eyesore. I’m going to have to do something about that, as well. Otherwise it looks good. It’s odd to me that the line on the tie is so much cleaner.

The figure’s default hands are Harvey’s holding a dollar coin and Two-Face’s in a fist. They look fantastic sculpt-wise, with a lot of definition and as much detail on the disfigured hand as there was on the face. The paint around the dollar coin is a little sketchy – it kind of edges out onto the hand. But, like the line on the suit, it isn’t terrible. The sculpted detail on the dollar isn’t great.

ACCESSORIES

Two-Face comes with a veritable jackpot of stuff – a stand, four extra hands, a pistol, a tommy gun, a stopwatch, a gas mask, two cannisters, and a satchel.

Two-Face’s hands are not jointed like the hands of the other figures in this line, so you don’t have to worry about breaking them. The extras are Harvey’s as a fist and a trigger finger and Two-Face’s with a trigger finger and relaxed. They look great and switch out easily. I didn’t mention it above, but the skin tone on the Harvey half looks really good. It’s a vibrant color that contrasts the flat, dead look of Two-Face’s skin quite nicely.

The tommy gun and pistol have wonderful, simple shapes that perfectly reflect what was seen on the show. They fit perfectly into the figure’s trigger finger hands. My only issue is that Two-Face’s arms don’t pose in a way that allows him to use both hands with the tommy gun. But I suppose there really wasn’t a way to do that while maintaining the figure’s aesthetics. 
 
The stopwatch is simple and it’s all paint job, but it looks great.

The gas mask has a great profile. The sculpt is solid and the dabs of black paint really add a lot. The mask clips securely onto the figure’s face thanks to an inner sculpt. This is a simple, yet incredibly well-executed piece.

The satchel and containers look good and interact well with each other and the figure. The containers fit inside the satchel:

And the figure can hold the satchel securely:

Finally there’s the stand. I normally despise stands as accessories, but these are cool and have reference art printed on them. The clamp has two supports and the support rods adjust horizontally as well as vertically. This is easily the most impressive stand I’ve seen at this scale. I like the graphics an awful lot, as well. I think they should have gone with a black stand with red print (to match the usual color scheme of the show’s materials). This white will likely discolor over time.

I’m truly blown away by not just the number of accessories, but the quality of them and how successfully they interact with the figure.

FUN
Two-Face is great fun! His joints are all sculpted into the design as nicely as they could be – the profile is barely interrupted. And these are very functional joints. They have a range that exceeds what you would expect from just looking at them. Two-Face can be posed in just about any way you might want, though there’s no avoiding the fact that those hip joints are fugly. Less so on this one than on other figures, but I’ll never be a fan.

Here’s the crazy thing – Two-Face can totally stand up without the stand. Like, in a solid manner. I don’t know what kind of magic spell DCC cast on this thing to make that work, but it does. And more than that, the figure can hold several unlikely poses without the stand. I wouldn’t leave him on the shelf in any of them, but the fact that they work at all is wild.

This figure is incredibly satisfying as a toy, which is not something I always get to say about collector-oriented figures (and something I should probably give the Masters of the Universe Classics line more credit for). He’s sturdy, poseable, and comes with a ton of useful accessories.

OVERALL

Mrs. Troublemaker is right in saying that the paint on this figure is not as good as it should be. But otherwise Two-Face is excellent. He has a wonderful profile and lots of different things to keep you playing around with him for a while. And – like I said – he’s sturdy. While I did what I always do and very carefully loosened each and every joint before really posing him, it wasn’t as tedious a process as it sometimes is.

You collectors know what I’m talking about – you can feel it when you move a joint. You know if it’s going to be a pain in the ass or how likely it is to break or whatever. I was terrified trying to move Batman’s wrists. But there weren’t any joints like that on Two-Face.

This is an awesome figure that I highly recommend, just inspect yours closely before buying.

4 out of 5

You should buy this figure in person at your Local Comic Book Shop, but if you can’t, help out Needless Things and buy one here!:


4 comments:

  1. I'm planning on picking up most of these figures, but I do think I'm going to wait a few more weeks to see if DC Collectibles makes any more announcements about the first run QC issues. This seems like a line that they could keep rolling for a long, long time, and I imagine they want to get it right going forward.

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    1. After talking to the DCC reps I feel confident saying that they have very long term plans for the line and that they intend to make what happened with this first wave right.

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  2. If you're talking about that little "spike" of black that runs into the white hair, I'm pretty sure that's supposed to be there as it matches the animation. Otherwise, I didn't see what you were referring when talking about the scrape. I'm pretty tempted by this figure and Mr. Freeze, and I'll wait for the series 4 batman with the yellow oval to come out before I get him.

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    1. I suppose you're right, but if you look at references sometimes it's visible and sometimes it isn't. I think for the purposes of the figure it shouldn't be. It really does look like an error.

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