Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Toy Review – DC Multiverse Jim Gordon Batman from Mattel

By Phantom Troublemaker


And here I thought that I was done with Mattel’s DC Comics toys.

When Mattel resumed production on 6” scale DC action figures at the end of 2015 I wasn’t too interested. I bought a couple of the Dawn of Justice figures just because there was a new Batman and I thought the Wonder Woman looked cool, but they weren’t good enough for me to want to start collecting. The Suicide Squad line didn’t change my mind on that, though I was impressed with the assortment they offered. Just not the quality.

Mattel also threw some comic book versions into other waves. Initially there wasn’t anyone I was interested in because it seemed that the classic characters that I was collecting as part of the old DC Universe Classics lines had been abandoned. That still seems to be the case, but Mattel has started throwing some solid modern characters into the mix.
Jim Gordon as Batman, for example.

I didn’t love the story – as a matter of fact I dropped the Batman comic because I felt it got tedious. But I still like the idea of an organization seeing the need to maintain the presence of a Batman in Gotham and of Gordon being the best choice for that role.

Well, Gordon in a giant robot rabbit suit. But whatever.

In classic toy chump form, I also wanted this figure because of the King Shark build-a-figure. It’s huge, it looks great, and even though it’s based on the model from The Flash TV show, it works for the comics. Because they went all-out on the show and just made King Shark look like King Shark instead of doing some goofy bullshit like this:


FIRST GLANCE

Yeah, this figure is pretty plain, which was one of my complaints about the old DCUC line. But this version of Batman is plain. Very cool, but plain.

The big sell here is that the disappointment of the last few waves of DCUC is still fresh enough to me that I feel like the gun, head, and King Shark piece represent a veritable cornucopia of accessories.

PACKAGING

The now-standard DC Multiverse box looks nice. Apparently window boxes are the new norm for 6”(ish) action figure lines, and I’m okay with that because they look good. I do wonder about cost effectiveness, but in a post from long ago our pal Toy Guru assured us that ultimately the packaging didn’t have anything to do with the amount of money that went into the toys. I’m not sure I buy that, but he said it, so I can sleep at night.

I still dislike the fact that everything has twenty different languages all over it now. No matter how fancy the aesthetics are, toy packaging just looks junky and cluttered because of this.
The back features a list of the figures in the wave – something of a novelty now – and a nice picture of the assembled King Shark figure. It was a smart move to make that the centerpiece of the cardback because it truly is an impressive figure.

LOOKS

The default head looks like a standard Batman head, but Mattel did a great job of making it stand out. The shape of the ears and cowl are different and we’ve never seen a Batman with this particular expression before. The sculpt is solid and the painted eyes, face, and teeth look great.


The Jim Gordon Batman is much skinnier than this figure suggests. While this isn’t the bulkiest of Mattel’s bucks, it’s just a tad too thick. But for a standard retail release action figure, it’s okay. For DC Collectibles prices I’d expect more accuracy.

The torso is a plain black buck, which is fine. The comic design features some seams that aren’t here, but that doesn’t present a problem for me (yet). The Bat symbol looks fantastic. The yellow paint is precisely applied and thick enough that no black shows through. We know from past experience that Mattel has had problems with yellow paint on black plastic, so it’s great to see that they’ve mastered that. With this figure, at least.


Gordon’s rank insignia is as bright and clean as the Bat Symbol. It’s funny how these two lines do so much to differentiate this design. The arms and hands are straight black with no other sculpt or paint, which is why I didn’t even bother with pictures.


The belt and holster are kind of a mess. While I’m happy that Mattel painted it and didn’t just make it solid yellow or solid silver, it doesn’t sit right at all. It’s supposed to hang like Han Solo’s holster and that leg strap is supposed to be attached to the holster itself. That’s the whole point of it. The way it has been designed on the figure it just looks Liefeldian in its lack of functionality, which is not the case in the comics. The holster itself is huge and clunky, but it had to be to hold the huge and clunky gun. More on that in a bit.

This area is the source of the other problem with the figure – for some reason Mattel decided to sculpt seams on the legs. They look great, but unfortunately draw attention to the fact that there are no sculpted seams anywhere else. And there should be. If they had just used standard blank legs this would have been fine. If they’d just used a clean buck and presented a look that was more like Batman Beyond the whole thing would have worked better. I would have never had a reason to look up the design and wonder about the seams. This may seem nitpicky, but it’s another example of classic Mattel decision making.


The boots are also sculpted, but this presents less of an issue to the overall profile.

ACCESSORIES

Batman comes with an extra head, a pistol, and King Shark’s leg.


The unmasked head looks great. It features an expression of very Gordon-ish concern or effort. The sculpt captures Greg Capullo’s art nicely and all the details of Bat-Gordon are present, including the military haircut. All of the paint is precise, but the eyes in particular look nice. There’s a ton of detail there and they are centered well. The heads take a little effort to swap out and once I saw the tiny plastic barbell connecting them to the neck I was a little concerned. Be careful with this.


The pistol is, unfortunately, rubber or an equally soft material. Also classic Mattel. As a result the sculpt is soft and it looks more like an accessory for an Imaginext figure. It’s also proportioned that way, as it is far larger and thicker than it should be. The metallic silver plastic looks good, but there’s no painted detail. This thing gets a D-.


This pistol fits nicely into either of the figure’s hands or the holster. The holster doesn’t look like it’s going to provide a secure fit, but it does.


The King Shark leg is huge, which makes me excited for the rest of the figure. Unfortunately, four of the six figures in this wave hold no interest for me, so I’m going to have to keep an eye out and hope they get the Captain Boomerang treatment (the Multiverse Suicide Squad Boomerang figure is currently $3.88 on Amazon).

FUN

Batman has the standard DCUC articulation.

The head swivels, but has very little range otherwise. If the neck had been sculpted differently to accommodate some up and down or side-to-side movement, that would have been great.

The shoulders are standard, but thanks to the sculpt of the chest the arms have a nice range going across.

I feel like Mattel tightened the hips up a bit. This style of hip joint is my least favorite ever, but for some reason these don’t seem like as much of an eyesore. I think the crotch portion might have a lower profile and as a result the hinged hips are less noticeable.

This isn’t by any means the most usefully articulated figure ever, but for a mass market retail release it can pose as much as I want it to. Jim Gordon isn’t Peter Parker and this suit is meant to operate from inside a robot anyway, so it’s not like we’ve seen this character do a whole lot of squatting or complicated yoga poses.

With a satisfying amount of joints and the extra head and pistol, this figure does a fine job of being fun.

OVERALL

I’ll probably never get past thinking that twenty bucks is too much for a figure like this, but given that it’s today’s standard, this is a solid Jim Gordon Batman. DCC’s was packaged with the rabbit armor and, as a result, is very expensive. So if you want Gordon in this suit, this is your affordable option.

Some poor decisions and Mattel SOP kept it from being perfect or even great, but this is still a good figure. Especially if you can find one for fifteen bucks or less (right now you can’t).

3 out of 5


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