Batman (Screen Test Pilot) CHASE
3.75 Inch Scale
By: Funko

For the next couple of weeks you’re going to see a lot of coverage of Funko’s new Batman Classic TV Series 3 3/4 actin figures. These toys, based on the 1966 Batman show are just starting to hit stores, with many online retailers shipping them out already. I’ve got the whole first wave and will be taking a detailed look at each figure. So if you like Batman and Infinite Hollywood, you’re in luck!

I thought it made sense to start with the single carded Batman as he appeared in the TV series “screen test pilot”. A lot of people don’t know this costume even existed, but back before the show hit the air, they did a few screen tests and this alternate costume was used. Believe it or not, Lyle Waggoner was almost cast in Adam West’s iconic role and this costume, which is similar to the Batman costume from the old serials, was used.

Funko chose to pay homage to this little piece of history with a chase variant of Batman in this outfit. This variant wasn’t announced as being packed in these cases and there’s a rumor going around that this guy may be even more shortpacked than the Eli Wallach version of Mr. Freeze. Only time will tell if that’s true or not. Continue reading

Superman movie review
It would seem we are in something of a Golden Age of superhero film. It seems like every other blockbuster is based on the exploits of a Marvel or DC Comics character, especially since 2008 when The Dark Knight was released and Iron Man began the march toward The Avengers. Conspicuous in his absence was the granddaddy of all superheroes, Superman. Though the first two Superman films are fondly remembered, the 2006 continuation Superman Returns fell flat and left the series in limbo. Now Man of Steel hopes to start an all new Superman film franchise. Is this a shiny new beginning for our oldest superhero, or another non-starter? Here are my mostly spoiler-free thoughts.

Man of Steel is very much Batman Begins for Superman, even relying on flashbacks to explain the backstory. This is not a slight against Man of Steel, the Superman story needed to be rebuilt from the ground up on film, just as Batman needed it. The choice of Zod as a villain is a bit interesting, because he is better known from the original films than he ever was in the comics. The sequel focused mindset dictates that Lex Luthor cannot be featured until movie #2 or #3 (though you are likely to spot some LexCorp logos throughout Metropolis).

The nonlinear exposition was actually refreshing for me, because I was prepared to sit through a full Smallville retread of the Superman origin. The prologue on Krypton at the start of the film does its best to reinvent the dying planet, but I found the execution a bit too Star Wars-prequelish. I say that as a fan of those movies, but the pure amount of CGI-candy, and action hero Jor-El, in that sequence gets to be a bit much. Continue reading

New 52 Batgirl Review

Batman Unlimited
New 52 Batgirl
6 Inch Scale
By: Mattel

Greetings once again true believers! Your friendly neighborhood Batced back again after a bit of an absence. Hope you, dear readers, have been healthy, wealthy and happy during the interim as I hit you over the head with another figure review.

Inspired by Batman, Barbara Gordon fought Gotham City evildoers as Batgirl. But when the Joker shot her in the spine, she was confined to a wheelchair indefinitely. Determined to walk again, Barbara trained intensely and was able to resume her work as the crime-fighting Batgirl. Although her traumatic memories will not easily fade, she can once again be seen fearlessly swinging over the rooftops of Gotham City as a sign of hope and perseverance.

First and foremost I’d like to dedicate this review to Carmine Infantino, Batgirl’s co-creator and a titanic talent during the Silver Age, along with being a brilliant editor and publisher during the Bronze Age for DC Comics and Marvel, who passed away on April 4. The comics industry is still feeling his influence sixty years later.

At first announcement, I thought DC was going to retcon “The Killing Joke” in order to make Barbara wear the cowl again. The story needs no introduction or much mention of the name; I’m sure the readers of Infinite Hollywood have read the story numerous times by now, its importance nothing to sneeze at. But DC editorial assured that certain things would still be in continuity in the New 52, especially in regards to the Batman universe. Thusly, Barb still felt the Joker’s bullet knock her down. She also still became Oracle, and was a member of Birds of Prey. Since the New 52 relaunch, Batgirl’s solo title has been a pretty moderate seller; the new title’s first trade paperback “The Darkest Reflection” was also a New York Times Bestseller. Not too shabby for a character who hadn’t been in the cowl for twenty years.

As one of the prominent members of the Batman family, Barb has seen several incarnations as a figure under many different corporations. Under the Four Horsemen’s watchful eye for Mattel, we’ve had two previous versions of Barb, one in Silver Age appropriate colors, the other coming from late in the Bronze Age (when she ditched the black bodysuit and dark blue cowl for a gray bodysuit and lighter blue cowl). And now we have one for the New 52 Age (if anyone’s calling it such a thing) courtesy of the new Batman Unlimited series from Mattel. Swing a bat-line with me and we’ll go over its finer points. Continue reading

Teen Titans GO

Just the other day I was watching a re-run of Teen Titans on Boomerang, wondering to myself how the 2003 show ever got canceled. The show had just enough DC Universe to be interesting, but mostly focused on teenage and pre-teen issues that garnered the program a huge fanbase of non-traditional fans. In fact, comic fans were the last to flock to this show, instead it was mostly people who never read comics in their life that loved this program. To me, that’s exactly the kind of marketing DC needs. Hooking kids when they’re at that pre-teen age.

Teen Titans GO to premiere in 2013

Low and behold, DC has announced that Teen Titans will return to the Cartoon Network in a spin-off/sequel/relaunch titled Teen Titans GO! Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like the cartoon will share a lot in common with the comic of the same name (which was a slightly more comic-y version of the TV show) but may be a more wacky “comedy show”.

DC Nation, Cartoon Network’s programming block for animated series and original shorts based on characters from DC Comics (Saturdays 10:00–11:00 a.m. ET/PT), will host the new program Teen Titans Go!, a half-hour comedy/action series inspired by the original show. It is said the series will “show the humorous side of being a teenage hero.”

“Character-driven comedy is the order of the day as this new take on the super hero series focuses on the funny business that happens between saving the world and living together as teenagers without adult supervision. They may be super heroes who save the world every day … but somebody still has to do the laundry! With the ability to turn into any animal or detach their robotic limbs, teenage pranks reach a whole new level. And even super heroes have to take Driver’s Ed. to get a license – especially after wrecking the Batmobile on an unauthorized joy ride to impress a girl!”

The series is executive produced by Sam Register (Green Lantern: The Animated Series, The Looney Tunes Show, Teen Titans) and produced by Michael Jelenic (Thundercats, Batman: The Brave and the Bold) and Aaron Horvath (MAD, El Tigre). It will premiere on Cartoon Network in 2013.

They’ve already put some little clips up on the DC website and the toon looks to be redesigned into almost Chibi characters. I’m not sure how well that will play out as the designs were already anime in nature. Though I always loved the design for Robin and Cyborg in particular.

The good news is that the full original cast is back including Greg Cipes as Beast Boy, Scott Menville as Robin, Khary Payton as Cyborg, Tara Strong as Raven and Hynden Walch as Starfire. So this is definitely just a new version of the same characters. Hopefully it’ll turn into an entertaining program that can do as good of job as the original at embracing some of that real Teen Titans spirit, as we haven’t had a good DC cartoon since Brave & The Bold went off the air.

Remember yesterday when I showed those awesome photos of ZICA Toys promo shots for the new Buck Rogers figures? Well here’s proto shots of Mattel’s Retro-Action Wave 4. Obviously the head sculpts are a bit rough here and hand painted, but… I dunno. At $20 a pop these have to look a LOT better in person.

I don’t even know why you’d attempt to do guys like Darkseid in the Mego format, honestly. He looks like an old Stretch Armstrong with those gloves. I’m sure some diehard Megoheads will say we shouldn’t complain and that they are awesome, but I’m left feeling a bit underwhelmed. I love the idea here Mattel, but the execution just seems so weak. I mean if Buck Rogers can look THIS GOOD, why can’t the DC Universe?