Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Toy Review – DC Comics Designer Series: Greg Capullo – Thrasher Suit Batman from DC Collectibles

I want to start by saying that I love DC Collectibles’ idea of basing lines around the designs of specific comic book creators. It’s something that the company has done all along to a certain extent. I have Batmans designed by some of my favorite artists – Dan Brereton, Tim Sale, Kelley Jones, Mike Mignola, and more. But now DCC is going one step further and putting the artists’ names front and center on the toy lines.

Their first venture with this more creator-centric (as opposed to storyline specific) effort is based around Greg Capullo’s fantastic work on the current Scott Snyder-penned Batman. The regular single-carded figure portion featured many of the primary characters from the book, but my interest was in this big, boxed beast.

The Thrasher Suit was the centerpiece of one of the biggest and most cinematic scenes in Snyder and Capullo’s “Night of the Owls” story arc. Bruce Wayne and Alfred are facing an invasion of deadly assassins – Talons - in the Batcave and the odds are seemingly dire. But Bruce has hinted that he has something special in reserve for these uninvited guests.

As readers, our first look at this Thrasher Suit comes as Bruce emerges from its storage chamber and tells the Talons, “Get the hell out of my house.”

It’s a pretty awesome moment.

It’s always cool enough seeing Batman get all serious with the bad guys, but to see him doing it while wearing a big-ass mech suit, the existence of which we were previously unaware of, makes it one of those panels that will send the Nerd Chills up your spine.

That panel is followed by many panels of Batman smashing the crap out of the Talons. Which is also awesome.

Similar to Heavy Metal Album Cover Swamp Thing, as soon as I saw the Thrasher Suit I knew I wanted a toy of it. And as unlikely as it may have seemed initially, DC Collectibles have delivered because they know a moneymaker when they see one.

FIRST GLANCE

So big and so heavy. And loaded with detail (which it kind of has to be to capture Greg Capullo’s intense pencil work). 
 
The design actually reminds me of the Earth Corps figures from Inhumanoids. They were humans wearing oversized armor, so when you took their helmets off there were these tiny heads poking out. As a kid I thought it was kind of silly-looking, but now I get the whole mech suit thing.

PACKAGING

DC Collectibles is good at making classy window boxes. This one gives a clear view of the product and has a nice angled panel on the front to display the name and number of this figure. The graphics are bright, clean, and appealing, but the multi-lingual print makes it look cluttered. I guess it’s a cost-saving measure to not have to print multiple versions, but I have never liked multi-lingual packaging. It just looks junky.

The back displays the rest of the figures in the wave. I like that DCC is just including these larger figures as part of the wave rather than doing a full wave and a larger boxed figure. It makes it a little easier on the wallet if you’re collecting a line. I’m not in this case, but I appreciate it.

I do wish there were some sort of bio or at least a description of the first appearance of the suit. I like my toys to have context when it’s appropriate.

DCC does get credit for including what is, to me, the most important thing that can be put on toy packaging – creator credit. DC Collectibles and NECA are both leading the toy industry in this practice and I wish others would follow suit.

LOOKS

Okay, there’s no nice way to say this, so I’ll just get it out of the way – I love Greg Capullo’s art. I’ve been saying for years that I enjoyed his work on Spawn even more than I did Todd McFarlane’s. But I don’t care for the way his art translates to toys. I think it’s mostly the eyes. They’re super weird-looking.

That being said, this is an excellent head sculpt and a faithful 3D representation of Greg Capullo’s Bruce Wayne. It looks like it leapt right off of the page. The shape of the hair, the cheekbones (Capullo loves him some cheekbones), and… those eyes. The sculpt is great, but the fantastic paint job is what really sells it. The subtle shading and the stark contrast of the blues and blacks give this likeness a ton of character.

This is one of those toys that I’ve found myself picking up and inspecting over and over again. The design is essentially “What if Bruce Wayne built a Hulkbuster suit?” and I can’t wait to put together the forthcoming Marvel Legends Hulkbuster build-a-figure to have the two face off. The design is somewhat reminiscent of the armored Batsuit from Dark Knight Returns, especially the helmet.

The suit is made up of large, thick-looking armor plates with flexible support beneath. It’s all reminiscent of human anatomy, which I always like in these sorts of things. The Bat symbol on the chest is massive, which was the right call. Bruce Wayne is right up there with Hordak and COBRA for maintaining strong branding presence. 
 
The back has a sort of spine made up of armor plates that looks cool. 
 
I love that the feet are essentially giant robot versions of Batman’s boots – they have the pointed tops. The sculpted hinge at the ankle is nice and the feet themselves have treads and reinforced toes and all kinds of neat detailing. 
 
The hands have fully articulated fingers and thumbs. The forearms are huge, armored plates with double-pronged extensions at the front. Underneath those are Batman’s signature glove fins (or whatever) that don’t really make a lot of sense here or on Batman himself from a design perspective, but do make sense from a combat standpoint. Watching Batman deflect swords with those things is always awesome.

The utility belt (sometimes I capitalize it and sometimes I do not) has a bunch of gadgets stuck to it. None of them are removable, but whatever. I can’t remember Bruce using any of that stuff in the comic. It is all sculpted very distinctively and has a thick, oversized look that goes with the rest of the suit. This is a separately sculpted piece (but permanently attached) that is molded from a softer plastic, so it has a different look and feel, which is good.

The flexible base suit portions are all a solid, flat black that suggests Kevlar or some other flexible armor. The armor is a gunmetal with dark washes that look absolutely great. All of the applications are tight and everything is where it should be, not that this guy is too complicated. But the black extends to the edges of the Bat symbol and no further – that sort of thing.

ACCESSORIES

Just for the sake of having an “Accessories” section for this one I’ll count the helmet as an accessory.

It’s awesome. The swept-back ears are cool and have rivets running up beside them. The grill on the “mouth” is a nice touch and the black of the background is applied well. The vaguely Bat shaped viewport is painted a metallic red that gives it a bit of a glowing effect.

The helmet fits snugly around the “collar” of the armor and stays put.

FUN

A few years ago this would have been a big, clunky hunk of plastic with cut joints at the shoulders and hips. It might have had pivots at the knees and elbows. 
 
DC Collectibles has come a long way since then.

This is still a big hunk of plastic – you could easily knock a human out with it – but it’s loaded with articulation. I don’t usually expect to spend much time playing around with oversized figures like this, but this guy is loaded. Since it’s a unique figure I’m going to do my rundown of the joints:

Head (without helmet) – ball joint
Shoulders – ball joint analog
Biceps – swivel
Elbows – pivot
Wrist – ball joint analog
Fingers/Thumbs – multiple pivots
Abdomen – ball joint
Waist – ball joint
Hips – ball joints
Knees – double pivot
Calves - swivels
Ankles – ball joint

This really is a crazy amount of articulation for such a large figure, and the good news is that all of those joints are thick and sturdy. This means that the figure can hold poses and the joints are nice and tight.

I think the only figures comparable to this one in my collection are the Jaegers from Pacific Rim. Those are also big mechs (in various states of clunkiness), but don’t have nearly the bulk of this figure. I’ve had a lot of fun playing with this one and it stayed on my desk for several weeks after I opened it.

OVERALL

This is one of those rare figures that I have ended up liking way more than I thought that I would. I was excited about it, but mainly as a thing to stand on the shelf and look cool. I didn’t really expect it to have a lot of play value. But not only is it heavy, cool-looking, and just generally badass, it’s a good toy as well.

If you’re a fan of Batman or mechs or both I highly recommend you track one of these down.

5 out of 5

Here – I’ll make it easy for you. And you can help out the site!:




3 comments:

  1. I think you just sold me on this one, man. I'm probably going to hit up your Amazon link right now and snag this guy. This was absolutely an amazing surprise in a fantastic storyline (one of the best Batman stories ever) and DCC definitely knocked this figure out of the park.

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    Replies
    1. Hmm.. the Amazon link isn't showing up for me. I see the text: "And you can help out the site:" but nothing after it.

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    2. I'm not sure what happened with the link. I saw your comment and assumed I had forgotten to post it, but once I went to do it I specifically remembered looking it up. Hopefully it's fixed now, though I imagien that ship has already sailed. Thanks for your attempted support, though!
      Just in case it's not there, maybe this will work:
      http://astore.amazon.com/needlthing-20/detail/B00JYAJXOQ

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