Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Toybox REVIEW: DC Collectibles "The New Batman Adventures" Two-Face

DC Collectibles TNBA Two-Face

Arguably Batman: The Animated Series and it's follow up The New Batman Adventures owe a lot of their success to the brilliance of how it handled the Caped Crusader's rogues gallery. Whether it's Mark Hamill's portrayal of the Joker, Paul Dini's incredible reimagining of Mr. Freeze or the creation of the one and only Harley Quinn - many of Batman's most famous villains received some of their finest moments in these cartoons. So to kick off DC Collectibles new range of animated Batman figures, the first villain to follow Batman himself is none other than Two-Face, the criminal persona of former Gotham district attorney Harvey Dent. Though many of Two-Face's strongest episodes appeared in the original animated series, he also played a significant part in The New Batman Adventures - having close ties to the second Robin's origin as well as having his split personality fragment even more. As such, the toyline has turned to these appearances to craft a brand new Two-Face figure that celebrates these must-see shows.

Packaging Front

Packaging BackInsert bubble

Two-Face's packaging is completely identical to that of the TNBA Batman figure's - save for the fact that it obviously says "Two-Face" down the side of the plastic bubble rather than "Batman". If I'd bought Catwoman (currently the only B:TAS figure released) I might have a bit more to say about the card since hers is different, but I've already said pretty much all I need to say on the New Batman Adventures version. It's simple stuff, but it works extremely well. Upon cutting open the bubble you'll find the Two-Face figure on the main tray along with the bulk of his accessories, but also a smaller tray hiding behind containing the stand and his alternate hands.

One thing I didn't mention in the Batman review however was that these figures are numbered, with Batman being number one in the selection (obviously) and Two-Face taking up the second spot. With the releases seemingly alternating between three figures from one series and one from the other each wave, there isn't going to be much colour semblance or pattern so other than for real completists the numbers aren't really offering much. The numbers themselves can be found on the diagonal side of the insert card at the front of the bubble.

Two-Face takes a chance

Figure frontFigure back

Doing what he does best"Where's the Bat?"Checking the clock

Two-Face is notable for being one of the few characters to keep the same design in the jump from Batman: The Animated Series to The New Batman Adventures, albeit more simplified and with slightly changed proportions to match everyone else. As such, personally I don't foresee a B:TAS version coming out any time soon when they're so similar. Once again DC Collectibles have done wonders in getting the sculpt as close to the animation model as possible - the facial expression dancing between menacing and horribly disfigured depending on which angle you look at it from. The black/white suit of the animated series design is my absolute favourite costume for the character, and the colours look just as striking as ever here. Articulation is reasonably respectable too - Harvey sports a ball jointed head, ball-jointed shoulders, hinged elbows/knees, a waist swivel just above the pelvis and swivelling wrists/feet. The hips are covered by DCC's own bizarre little joint system, which can swing forwards and backwards but then is on separate hinges to swing outward. The joint cuts aren't quite as seamless as they could be, but with half the body moulded in solid plastic they aren't quite as distracting as they are on the light grey of Batman's suit. 

Not that the figure isn't without his problems though - this IS DC Collectibles we're talking about after all. First issue of note is that the paint quality is noticeably lower than that seen on Batman - with the white suit falling victim to all kinds of smudges as well as tiny blotches on the face. Worst of all though is the fact the two sides of the face don't fully run into each other - look back up at the first picture in this review and you can quite clearly see the gap between them. Secondly, the level of articulation is a huge step down from Batman. The waist swivel is far too low to get anything good out of it, especially since what is there also has to struggle against the soft plastic hanging from the bottom of the torso either. No proper wrist or ankle articulation either is a step backward. Two-Face is also a real victim of Bruce Timm's distinct art style - sporting huge broad shoulders but EXTREMELY tiny feet. A bit more ankle articulation could have gone a long way here because Big Bad Harv needs all the balance support he can get for anything other than very basic poses.


Opening the bagGas Mask close upFully loaded Two-Face

Tommy gun fun

Two-Face's accessory count is where we begin to see the whole point of the figures supposedly representing a single episode, with a couple of his parts directly lifted from "Sins of the Father". Altogether we have three pairs of hands, a pistol, tommy gun, gas mask, stopwatch, suitcase and two chemical canisters. That's a pretty impressive selection, given that Two-Face fans probably only ever get a coin and gun if they're lucky. On the subject of his coin - it is there, it's just moulded into one of the hands - after all it wouldn't be much of Two-Face figure without it now would it? This is actually the main thing that disappoints me with the accessory count, as there's no loose coin and the one moulded into the hand is completely detail-less. I accept that a coin would be an incredibly tiny accessory, but if DC Collectibles can manage an almost-as-small pocket watch with Two-Face pattern, than a proper coin surely isn't that hard? Even if it was a just a piece of grey plastic with stickers on it it'd be something.

The gas mask clips firmly onto Two-Face's head, and while simple is a really nice piece that adds a little more to the figure than just what you'd normally expect from him. Likewise the suitcase can open up to not only fit the canisters in - it makes a neat little carry case for those easily lost alternate hands! Finally there are the two guns, the tommy gun I particularly like for fitting so nicely with Two-Face's 50s gangster motif he has going on. It's just a shame that without better arm and waist articulation he's incapable of holding it two-handed.

With stand

Stand base artAssembled stand

Just like Batman Two-Face comes with his own personalised stand depicting turnaround lineart from the series, but here the claw that attaches to the figure is a little bit different. While the claw part on Batman was only able to move up and down on the clear plastic pole, Two-Face's also has depth movement - meaning that it can be extended inwards or as far out as you see fit. It sounds a lot better than it actually is to be honest, because the plastic rods sticking out horizontally take up a considerable amount of shelf space. At first I thought maybe they could be used to hang up some of the figure's accessories (such as the gun or bag), but nope - they're just plastic rods that take up space you could easily be using for something else.

Still, a stand is most definitely a welcome inclusion. Especially with those feet.

Two-Face and his accessories

Batman vs. Two-FaceCapturing the BatmanTaking out the bad guys

Two-Face is unfortunately a step down from Batman thanks to the spotty QC and decreased articulation, but has still turned out a pretty fantastic figure (and seemingly less prone to breakages). Though more statue-esque than action figure, this is undoubtedly THE animated Two-Face figure to own and probably one of the best figures the character has received in general. The aesthetic changes are minimal enough to fit in both a B:TAS or TNBA collection too (on the off chance you're fussy and can't afford them all), which is always a plus. With Two-Face being among the very best of the DC Animated Universe Batman characters, this is a figure definitely worthy of your consideration despite the flaws.

1 comment:

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