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Sunday Toy Chest: Greg Capullo BATMAN Designer Series

Sunday Toy Chest: Greg Capullo BATMAN Designer Series

DC Comics might not have the biggest action figure presence in your local Big Box store right now, but that does not mean that there aren’t plenty of quality figures to choose from. On both their collectibles website storefront as well as comic book and specially shops near you, some very familiar toys can be found. Over the last few years, we’ve seen DC greenlight more and more “Designer Series” action figures based on the page designs of particular comic artists like Jae Lee and Jim Lee. Even more common for the company is the release of collectible statues and statuettes based on a particular artist. Current Batman artist Greg Capullo is one such creator that has had many of his designs for iconic characters come to life, and in an affordable way no less.

Capullo has created a visually rich Gotham City since he joined author Scott Snyder on the current Batman series that was rebooted in 2011 with the rest of The New 52. His lines are very clean, and his character designs are instantly recognizable. His version of Bruce Wayne is quite the looker, if I do say so myself. The piercing blue eyes and handsome jawline are even prominent in the figure I’m reviewing today.

All told, there are twelve figures in the Capullo designer series so far. Each of the three sets of four figures (each is numbered separately from one to twelve) contains a version of Batman. The first four figures include the standard Batman from the pages, grey and black costume and cowl. He’s joined by Talon, Nightwing, and The Riddler. Figures five through eight include The Red Hood, AKA the pre-Joker, Catwoman, Mr. Freeze, and Thrasher Suit Batman. The final four figures are Zero Year Batman, complete with the purple gloves that are a clear nod to one of Batman’s earliest costumes, Two-Face, Comissioner Gordon, and Batgirl.

We’ll be looking at at least one figure from each set today.

The Batgirl figure is very much in line with most action figures based on female characters, in that it is light on opposable articulation, even with the fifteen points it boasts. Barbara’s Batgirl is the one I most closely identify with the character, as I wasn’t reading many of the Bat-books during Cassandra Cain and Stephanie Brown’s tenures under the cowl. This figure, while based on Batgirl’s New 52 redesign, features a slightly more pared-down color scheme. The underside of her cape is painted yellow, even though it was drawn purple in her own solo series. The face sculpt, just as all of the Capullo series face sculpts, is spot on to the artist’s rendition of Barbara on the page. The hair mold is lifted high enough away from the cape that the head can turn without interference to the mobility. Barbara comes with three separate batarangs which fit into the figure’s right hand. The shoulder joints, while molded to be true to design, do feel a bit stiff. If (and I rather hope when) Barbara gets an action figure based on her most recent redesign under the creative direction of Cameron Stewart and Babs Tarr, I hope that more articulation can be thrown her way.

Barbara’s father Jim is one of Batman’s most trusted non-costumed allies. His design is very much in line with not just Capullo’s artwork, but the standard Jim Gordon template: trench coat, khaki slacks, and glasses. It has been a hallmark of his design since his appearances on Batman: The Animated Series. This Commissioner doesn’t have the gray hair he had in that cartoon, however. He’s a redhead, like his daughter, and his temples haven’t grayed yet, at least on the figure’s paint job. Commissioner Gordon comes with two accessories: a GCPD-issued firearm pistol, and his walkie radio which he no doubt will need to call for backup. The smallest, but most impressive detail about the sculpt in my opinion is the Commissioner’s glasses. They are transparent plastic, and on a figure this small, it’s a marvel that they’re as clear as they are. Jim has two fewer points of articulation than his daughter, clocking in at thirteen points.

With Nightwing, Dick Grayson’s design is more muscular than we’re accustomed to seeing in his typical action figure representation. Both Barbara and Dick were proficient with their gymnastic abilities, and as such, artists and animators sometimes represent them similarly lithe. For male gymnasts, the muscular development is different based upon the different kinds of tasks. Dick Grayson was a flyer more than a tumbler, so his upper body development by Capullo’s art reflects that fact. Grayson comes with two of his signature escrima sticks, weapons he adopted after his tenure as Nightwing began. As articulation goes, Grayson clocks in at an impressive 23 points.

Finally, the Thrasher Suit Batman is one of the most impressive figures I’ve added to my collection in quite some time. The Thrasher Suit is Bruce’s equivalent of Tony Stark’s Hulkbuster. It is the suit he employs to stand against his superpower allies. The size of the figure is obvious, even in photographs, but if feels even mightier in the hand. Perhaps one of the most impressive and unexpected aspects of the figure is that each hand boasts 16 points of articulation a piece, for a total of 32 points total in just the hands! Each finger is fully posable with three points each, and the hand rotates. Considering the detailed sculpting on the rest of the figure, it would have been perfectly acceptable for the sculptors to settle on a uniform and solid mold for the hands without it seeming like a conceit. Bruce’s head moves side to side inside the suit, and each of the limbs are surprisingly mobile for the amount of hardware they protray. All in all, I’ve counted a total of 50 points of articulation on the figure, and that makes it the most articulated figure in my collection, across all properties.

I chose each of the four characters deliberately where they all relate to each other. Commissioner James Gordon, though he doesn’t know his daughter’s identity as Batgirl, and Barbara have relied on each other through very trying times. The modern Batman mythology continues to reinforce the notion that Jim was a very important figure in young Bruce Wayne’s life. Both Barbara and Dick were trainees of Bruce’s, and Grayson was his ward and the person most like a son to Bruce until Damian came along. These four characters represent the core of the Bat-Family to me.

Do you have any of the Greg Capullo designer series figures? Plan on getting a few? Let us know below!

Toy News Round-Up

Here are some of the best bits of collectible figure news from the last week!

  • May the POP!s be ever in your favor: Funk is releasing a line of Hunger Games figures.
  • Speaking of Funko, they’re releasing lines of both Fallout AND Skyrim figures. As if we didn’t already have enough digital loot to collect in those games.
  • Speed Chess is intense and doesn’t require turns. Just techno music, LED lights, and pieces with cool-down times.
  • The Luna Lamp is a Moon for your room. This stationary satellite, that gives off its own light, is sure to please wannabe space-travelers.

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