Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Man Who Broke the Bat

What the heck, he's been slimed and he's been killed. So let's check another one off the list--broken!

Enter Bane!

Here's a little of what Wikipedia has to say on this little bad boy:

"Bane has been one of Batman's most intelligent and physically powerful foes. He is best known for breaking Batman's back in the "Knightfall" story arc...

Bane was born to serve the life sentence of his father, his childhood and early adult life are spent in Peña Duro, a prison located in Santa Prisca. Though imprisoned, his natural abilities allow him to develop extraordinary skills within the prison's walls. He reads as many books as he can get his hands on, builds up his body in the prison's gym, and learns to fight in the merciless school of prison life. Despite his circumstances, he appears to have found teachers of various sorts during his incarceration, ranging from hardened convicts to an elderly Jesuit priest, under whose tutelage he apparently receives a classical education. Bane...commits his first murder at the age of eight, stabbing a criminal who wanted to use him to gain information about the prison...

Bane ultimately establishes himself as the "king" of Peña Duro prison. The prison's controllers take note and, eventually, force him to become a test subject for a mysterious drug known as Venom, which had killed all other subjects. It nearly kills him at first, but he survives and finds its effects enhance his physical strength, although he needs to take it every 12 hours (via a system of tubes pumped directly into his brain) or he would suffer debilitating side-effects."

DC Superheroes Series 1 Bane doesn't come with any accesories, but boy is he sure well detailed. And while the DCSH line has been long out of production, the detail on these figures never fails to surprise me, especially when compared with the current DC Universe Classics line.

Not that DCUC figures are poor by any stretch of the imagination (in fact it's quite the opposite), but DCSH figures such as Bane sport an older(?) method of washing that gives a different sort of paint effect.

Take Bane for example. The wash on his skin serves to give his muscles shading and definition, and at the same time makes him look a little unwashed (Like he's been Bat-bashing for hours). Haha.

DCUC figures, on the other hand, have nicely blended washes for certain colours, like the yellow on Flash and Shazam, but almost always sport flat colours (which is not always a bad thing).

I have to confess that after I impulse-snagged him for S$23 dollars, I was worried that he wasn't quite up to the mark, especially poseability-wise. You see, I realized that he didn't have a chest hinge joint present in all DCUC and leaner/smaller DCSH figures like Supes and Bats. And his leg/hip joints were probably not swivel and hinge double-joints (They're just hinges). Plus no accessory. (What?!)

But he turns out to be a very, very well articualted figure with 18 points in all. I know, that's a whole 3 points short of regular DCUC/SH figures, but what he has, he is able to move well. Bane's able to kneel on one knee (DCUC figures can't do this) all due to extra flexible swivel leg/hip joints and double ankle joints that give him forward/backward as well as side to side foot articulation. Yay!

What he lacks compared to DCUC figures are: head ball joint (Bane's is swivel), chest joint as mentioned above, 2 thigh cut joints, and 2 bicep joints. He gains the extra flexi ankles in exchange. Really, it's not bad at all. In fact, it's good. :)

And look how well he poses with Batman and Robin.

In fact, all 3 of these figures come from different generations of the DC Universe line.

Batman is from DCSH Series 3, Robin from DCUC, and Bane is of course DCSH Series 1 (which I felt has inferior versions of icons Superman and Batman. Supes with poorer face-sculpt, Bats with chest ball-joint.)

But Bravo to Mattel and DC for coming up with toys that go very well with each other across 'generations'. It gives collectors the fabulously nice option of picking fave versions of their characters and creating the ideal display. ;)


Character Accuracy: 9.5/10: Really nice likeness to the ideal look of the character (if there's ever such thing. Hah). Size and proportions are right for this line.

Poseability: 8.5/10: Only because his legs are in a perpetual open stance does he suffer in this category. Ok, so he has no chest joint as well. And no thigh cuts. But he can still be pose! Flexible joints. look at that wingspan! ;)

Aesthetics: 9.5 - Very nicely painted and washed. His head and tubes are just so well done! His boots are also higly detailed, right down to the soles and his hands are scary veiny due to Venom overuse. Beautiful! ;)

Overall: 9.2 - Lots more than I expected, especially after playing around and reviewing DC Direct Elseworlds Red Son President Superman (See below. Yes, I even went back and changed Pres Supes' poseability rating!). Bane is so refreshing in his poseability, yet he looks no less menacing than Kal-L. Especially when he's posed like this:





Monday, August 24, 2009

Vote Superman!

For President! If you wanna live, that is. Or he'll just do this to you!

Just like he did to Brianiac in Superman: Red Son.

In one of the DC Universe's many worlds, the Man of Steel crashes in USSR instead of America in the 1920s and grows up Russian!

Written by arguably the best graphic novelist, Mark Millar, the series won an Eisner Award in 2004 for best limied series, AND it is popular enough for someone to put up a Wiki entry on it. ;)

Needless to say, I highly recommend this series--it is nothing short of mind-blowing and will change the way you think of not just Superman, but also Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern(s) and Lex Luthor.

On to the toy from the DC Direct Elsewords Series!

As with all of their figures, they come highly detail but sorely lacking in articulation. President Superman is no different.

And with the relatively high price compared to the likes of the DC Universe Classics figures, which have 21 points of articulation, President Superman only has 9.

He's got a swivel head joint, ball-jointed shoulders which can only rotate outwards slightly but is fine rotating front and back, hinge elbows, hinge legs/hips, and hinge knees.

No waist, no wrists, nor boot tops. No ankles.

Neither did DC put a lot of effort into the packaging, which is generic for all figures in this series except for the one sticker that's on the bubble. The card back is also the same for all the figures in the series.

So the question is, why does a figure that's more expensive than usual have less play/collector value than a DCUC figure that has better articulation and packaging unique to the character on the card?

The only reason I got Pres Supes is because the Red Son happens to be my favourite take on Superman. And I say despite the poor articualtion, which I expected anyway, I still dig this figure.

He comes with a figure stand and only one accessory, which is Brianiac's head. But it fits perfectly in his hand. :)

Now here some shots of how great the detail can be:

Here's how I rate him:

Character Accuracy: 10/10 - Instantly recognizeable if you've read Red Son. They've also got his bulk/heft right--Superman gets drawn bulkier then less definied as he ages in the book.

Poseability: 5.0 - Just horrendous. But then again I wasn't expecting much, and neither should you if you decide to get him. :/

MacBeth moments. :P

Aesthetics: 10/10 - I have to say, I am impressed. From this haunting blue eyes to the high cut hair on the back of his head, to the folds of his costuniform, the cape, and the hammers and sickles, they could not have done a better job. His colours also remind me of a darker, less optimistic take on ol' Supes.

Overall: 8.33 - I actually love this guy, despite his obvious shortcomings. He's defeinitely worth getting, especially if all you wanna do is stand him next to Red Son Wonder Woman and Batman (when and if you get them! Lol.)

Friday, August 21, 2009

DCUC Fun Time: Bird Food!

What do Robin, Killer Moth and Kalibak have in common? Well, nothing really.

Except this action figure strip!

Enjoy. :)

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