Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Toy Review – The New Batman Adventures Batgirl from DC Collectibles

Barbara Gordon as Batgirl is one of my favorite comic book characters. Admittedly, the fact that she’s a redhead is a good start, but I always liked the idea that she was inspired by both her father and by Batman to fight crime.

As with pretty much every character that was used in the DC Animated Universe (which I hope that this line grows to accommodate the entirety of and as of now I can’t help but feel that a Superman is right around the corner), this Batgirl is the best iteration of the character. Voiced by the incomparable Tara Strong, the Barbara that appeared in The New Batman Adventures is wily, independent, and brilliant.

She was also central to one of my favorite episodes of the series – “Over the Edge”. In it, Commissioner Gordon discovers that his daughter is Batgirl as she lays dying in his arms. It’s absolutely brutal and leads to an episode that explores the influence that Batman has over not just people, but Gotham City, as well as his responsibility to those he works with.
I assume at some point we’ll also get a version from The Animated Series, but I’m honestly not sure which I prefer. This design has the same color scheme as my Batgirl tattoo, but I do like the grey and blue color scheme of the older one:

And if you look, you’ll see that the differences are more than a simple repaint will account for, so it might be a while before we see this one. For Now I’m just happy that I’ve got a DCAU Batgirl to put on the shelf.

FIRST GLANCE

She’s so tiny! I love how much attention DC Collectibles is giving to scale in this line. Yes, it’s a bit odd that her head is roughly four times the size of Batman’s, but for whatever reason it works.

In addition to the figure’s diminutive size, I was also struck by the figure’s proportions. DCC has made an art of capturing exactly the right aesthetics on these figures regardless of how much they might seem to defy physics.

PACKAGING

These come in just about the simplest blister card you could ask for and I love it. The character specific information is all on the plastic blister because the backing cards are all the same.

It’s classy packaging, but it’s as simple as can be – much like the style of the cartoon these figures are adapted from.

Most importantly, DCC provides credits.

LOOKS

I was struck by the detail on Batgirl’s face. The sculpt is spot-on, but it’s the precision of the paint apps that is blowing me away. This line has been nailing it with paint, and Batgirl in particular is stunning. The fine detail of her irises and the highlight on her bottom lip is so impressive. And the rest of the figure is excellent as well, as yellow and black are not the easiest colors to work with together on toys.

Both the Bat Symbol and Babs’ utility belt are sculpted – both clear signs of this being a higher-end line. The paint apps are thick and precise. There’s no blotching and also no sign of the black underneath the yellow paint.

The cape is perfect. It’s made of rubber and the yellow and blue are perfect – at no point is either bleeding too far into the other. It isn’t glued to the neck, so it can be moved around on the figure.

The scalloping on Batgirl’s gloves looks great. Each point is well-defined and has a thickness to it. The hands are delicate but sturdy. I’m very impressed with the latest batch of female hands, which I’ll get into more with Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn. And also Tim Drake’s tiny little hands.

Barbara’s boots have the signature points on the front on top of swivel joints. They look exactly right, and yet have good enough construction and surface area on the feet ot support the figure.

ACCESSORIES

Batgirl comes with eight extra hands, a Batarang, a two-piece grapnel gun, and a stand.

The stand is the same style as the rest of the series and I still wish it was black with blue or yellow or red graphics. The white is almost certainly going to yellow over time. I think this was a bad call. But the stand is great, functionally.

The hands are all excellent sculpts. They switch out easily and stay put. One of them is, however, the biggest flaw in this series to date:

That grapnel should obviously be black. This is such an amateur mistake that I’m kind of shocked. The other issues this series has had have all been quality in production. This one is just straight-up a missing paint app. Granted, it’s as likely a factory error as the others, but it’s a lot more apparent.

The Batarang and grapnel gun are much sturdier than they look, which is good given their size. The sculpts are great and the flat black plastic looks good. No need for paint here.

FUN

I mentioned above the proportions of these figures. You might think that because of tiny legs and feet they are essentially useless without their stands. This is not the case. So far I have had no problems getting the figures to hold many poses unassisted and Batgirl is no exception. Despite her top-heavy design, she can stand normally and even in various action poses. It’s very impressive.

I do wish they could have handled her hair differently. Because of the sculpt her head is essentially in a fixed position and it would be nice to be able to move it. I have a Japanese Batgirl figure that actually has a hinge on the top of the hair where it meets the cowl and it works nicely. I’m not sure such a thing could be made to work with the aesthetics of this figure, but maybe a plug-in piece that was sculpted differently could have? I think of what a great job Mattel has done with some of the ladies of the Masters of the Universe Classics line and I think there might have been an alternative with this figure.

Still, this is a fun figure with plenty of articulation and lots of accessories to mess with. I don’t expect this level of play from what is essentially a line aimed at collectors. Aside from the price and fragility of some of the figures, kids could easily enjoy these.

OVERALL

The only true flaw is the uncolored grapnel in the alternate hand. Otherwise this is an excellent action figure and a must-have for any Batgirl fan. The head’s lack of posability is a slight letdown, but I understand. This is one of my favorite figures from this line so far.

4 out of 5

If you want to try your luck, go to Amazon and buy a Batgirl so you can help out Needless Things!:



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