Tuesday, October 25, 2011

DC Universe Animated Movies

I love the DC Animated films and am always glad when news and new trailers come out.  Their movies do such a great job for the most part and the films are quite entertaining.  At New York Comic Con 2011 DC showed off the new trailer for the upcoming animated film, Justice League Doom.  Check out the trailer at the bottom of this post.  Also just out this week, Batman: Year One, which i loved as well.  So, today I thought I'd take a break from the action figure reviews and go through some of my favorite DC animated fims in the form of a Top 10 list.  If you're a DC fan, these animated films are a must see.  Marvel may have the jump on DC when it comes to the big budget live action flicks, but DC is certainly holding its own in the animated movie department.   If you haven't seen them, go out and get yourself a copy as they are better then A LOT of the live action superhero movies that have been released in recent years.  



Now, lets go over some honorable mentions.  These films were not my favorites, however a lot of DC fans enjoyed these movies and just because they weren't my favorite, doesn't mean they should be overlooked. 

A lot of DC fans felt that Justice League - The New Frontier was a great film and would probably rank it in their Top 5.  It is based on Darwyn Cooke's 2003-2004 graphic novel "DC: The New Frontier" and features all the major Justice League characters.   



All-Star Superman was released earlier this year (2011) and is based on Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely's 2005-2008 comic book "All-Star Superman".  Again, a lot of fans hold this film in high regards but I myself, was not a fan of the animation in this one. 


Superman/Shazam - Return of Black Adam is a DVD made up of a bunch of short films.  In addition to the Black Adam Story, also included are short films on Green Arrow, Jonah Hex and The Spectre.  By far, the best short film on this DVD is The Return of Black Adam.  A lot of action squeezed into a short story.  I wish they would've hammered out a full length film on this one.  Black Adam kicks some ass!  Green Arrow was probably the next best story.  Worth a watch if you can get it cheap. 


Batman Gotham Knight was basically a collection of short films, each of which each has its own style of animation. It was released as a tie into the Christopher Nolan's films supposedly taking place in between the Batman Begins and The Dark Knight films. Batman Gotham Knight features short stories that include the likes of Killer Croc, Deadshot, Scarecrow and many more Batman regulars.





Okay, on to my TOP 10 DC Animated Films:



Loosely based on The Death of Superman comic book, this action packed movie did a great job of taking the concept of the popular comic series and condensing it into a 90 minute film.  It features Superman, Doomsday, Lex Luthor, Lois Lane and Jimmy Olson

Its sort of a new take on the origin story of Hal Jordan becoming the Green Lantern.  Although they rush though Hal's training process (he seems to pick things up fairly quickly), this movie is filled with some pretty tight action sequences and Victor Garber voicing of Sinestro is brilliant. For those unfamiliar with the Green Lantern world, you get a good introduction to the Green Lantern Corps characters.  The movie does have its flaws but is much better than the Ryan Reynolds live action version.   

First off, Tim Daley IS the voice of Superman, and without a doubt, Kevin Conroy is the best Batman voice ever!! When you get them both in the same movie, you know its gonna be good.  Superman/Batman: Public Enemies is based on the  "The World's Finest" comic series where Lex Luthor is President and puts a bounty on Superman's head.  So of course, you have a ton of villains looking to collect. Look for appearances from Captain Atom, Metallo, Black Lightning, Powergirl, Shazam, Hawkman, Gorilla Grodd, Toyman and many more in this one.   

  

Based on the "The Supergirl from Krypton" story, Superman/Batman: Apocalypse again features the voices of Tim Daley and Kevin Conroy as well as the equally great Susan Eisenberg as Wonder Woman.  This movie tells the story of Supergirl and features some really brutally violent fight scenes, which of course, is a good thing.  Darkseid is your main bady this time around and Granny Goodness and Big Barda to make noticeable appearances as well. 

Loosely based on JLA: Earth 2, Crisis of Two Earth tells the story of a good Lex Luthor from a parallel Earth looking to recruit the Justice League to help save his planet from the Crime Syndicate.  A very good story and animation the only real knock against this film, is no Kevin Conroy.   

Yep, that's right, I'm including the older animated films in my list simply because they must be seen.  Batman Beyond was not my favorite TV series but this movie is definitely worth the watch.  Released in 2000, this movie features a retired Bruce Wayne at 80 years old and his Batman protegee Terry McGinnis and tells the story of the mysterious return of Batman's arch enemy, The Joker is voiced by the great Mark Hamill


Batman: Mask of the Phantasm was released in 1993 and takes place in the Batman: The Animated Series world.  An original story about the Phantasm arriving in Gotham and killing off Gotham's crime bosses.  Batman becomes mistaken for the Phantasm and now must run from the police and apprehend the killer and clear his name. 


An origin story based on Frank Miller's Year One comic book, this story looks at Bruce Wayne's transformation beginnings as Batman but even more so, tells Commissioner Gordon's start in Gotham.  Also included in the DVD is a 15 minute short flick on Catwoman.  Very Impressed with this one.



 #2. Wonder Woman

Batman does not totally dominate the Top 5.  A great origin story released in 2009, this Wonder Woman animated movie does a great job telling the story of how Diana of Themyscira becomes the greatest female superhero ever.  Amazing story, stunning animation and brilliant voice acting, this movie really fills the void DC fans are feeling from a lack of a live action Wonder Woman film.  Hey, if Marvel can pull off a live action Thor movie, I say that DC can pull of a Wonder Woman. 


The story of Batman: Under the Red Hood is based on the comic book story "Under the Hood" where Batman and Nightwing are dealing with a new mysterious vigilante in Gotham known as the Red Hood.  This leads Batman to interactions with some of his greatest enemies, The Joker, Ra's Al Ghul and Black Mask.  Bruce Greenwood voices Batman this time around and truly does an amazing job.  If ever you need a replacement for Kevin Conroy, Bruce is the man.  Great story, violent, dark and full of emotion, Batman: Under the Red Hood will be very hard to top and is a must see animated movie for any super hero fan.

Thats it for my Top 10. Feel free to leave a comment below about which movie you liked the best or didnt like at all or check out the readers poll on the left side of your screen to vote for your favorite.   See the trailer below for a preview of the upcoming DC animated film - Justice League Doom:


Monday, October 17, 2011

DC Universe Classics & Batman Legacy - New York Comic Con 2011


 This past weekend was the 2011 New York Comic Con and Mattel revealed some cool new additions to their DC Universe Classics and Batman Legacy toy lines.  There is so much to go over so lets take a look at some of the new action figures we can look forward to seeing in 2012

 
Starting off with the Batman Legacy toy line, Mattel is releasing a "First Appearance Batman" action figure (above).  If you're not familiar with this look, google some images of some of the first Batman comic books.  


Catwoman seems to getting more press these days, with her appearance in the The Dark Knight rises movie coming next year, as well as Batman Year One and her role in the new Arkham City video Game.  Now Mattel will also be releasing a Silver/Bronze Age Catwoman action figure too.  More on Catwoman in a bit.  

  

 Mattel's next Arkham City Two-Pack from the Batman Legacy edition and based on the Batman: Arkham City Video Game, will be the combo of Robin (Tim Drake) and Joker.  We already new about these action figures from the SDCC but not that they were going to be sold together as a two pack.




 Could this combo (above) be the next two pack?  Possibly.  We have seen prototypes of Harley Quinn but not Nightwing until now.  Since it appears that these Arkham City action figures are being sold as two-packs, my money is on this group being the next edition. 


 You can probably also count on this duo (above) to be sold as a two pack.  Catwoman and a blue version of Batman, similar to the Batman action figure from the two pack with Arkham City Two-Face

Now, I'm not sure if the above Super Powers version of  The Penguin is going to be part of the Batman Legacy toy line or the DC Universe Classics toy line, but really, does it matter?  We know it will be released at retail but not part of a specific wave.  I'm really curious to see what Mattel will be doing with the DCUC stuff at the retail level.  Apparently just popular characters, but will they still be released as waves and no CNC figures (a la DC Superheroes toy line back in 2007-08)


Penguin's head sculpt is brand new and looks a little cartoony.  The rest of the body and his umbrella are exactly the same sculpt as the original DCUC Penguin in Wave 1 .  Okay, that's it for Batman Legacy, on to the DC Universe Classics


 Back at the 2011 SDCC, the final full wave 20 of the DC Universe Classics toy line was announced however, we did not get a look at White Lantern Flash or the size corrected Sinestro Corps Sinestro.  At NYCC 2011, as you can see, the entire set was on display.  Sinestro appears to have been given the same body size as the many Hal Jordan action figures we've seen released in this toy line. 



White Lantern Flash has been given similar attachments that we saw back in DCUC Wave 2 on the red and blue Superman variants.  


 New Toys R Us Two Packs were also announced but they are also just repaints of previous figures.  We have a Blue Lantern Kyle Rainer & Sinestro Corps Hal Jordan Two-pack.  I'm not 100% sure but i believe the Hal Jordan head is from one of the Wave 17 Hal Jordan's (White Lantern i believe). 


The second Two-Pack is a Battle Damaged Batman and Azrael two pack.  Again, these appear to just be repaints.  The symbol on Batman's chest is ripped and his head is pure blue.  Other than that, this is similar to the original Wave 1 Batman and the many repaints after that.  Azrael is a repaint of Wave 16 Azrael.  The blue on the original figure has been replaced with red.   


 A lot of Rainbow Lantern action figures coming out here and there, makes you wonder if the rumors of another Rainbow Lantern wave was true at one point.  Mattel will be releasing this Orange Lantern Larfleeze action figure at retail apparently but on an individual basis.  He will not be part of any set....?


He's got a very cool head sculpt.  Love the horns coming out of the side of his head and the teeth look amazing!!


 On display again were the Matty Collector DCUC Infinite Earth Club action figures, Starman, Jay Garrick and Atrocitus.  No other Infinite Earth Club action figures were present or announced so members will have to hold their breath a little longer for more news.  


 The winning action figure and the first large size action figure to be released in the Infinite Earth Club of the Matty collector poll is Metron and he was on display at the 2011 NYCC along with the Mobius Chair.  Metron apparently will stand 12 inches tall. 



 A close up of the Mobius chair above and a close up of Metron below. 


Finally, you can't go to Comic Con without there being an exclusive action figure.  This year is a scary version of the Joker from Arkham City.  It is different from the Arkham City two pack Joker



  That is one messed up head sculpt!  I've actually seen a few of these on eBay already.  There's only 4000
of these Joker action figures out there so if you want to get your hands on one, click here immediately!


Unfortunately, there was no sign of any Mattel version of the "New 52" Justice League or any other rebooted characters, so i guess we'll have to wait and see if Mattel does anything in the future

Thats it for this post.  Be sure to check back with Action Toy Review for all your DC Universe action figure news info and reviews.  Also be sure to help keeps Action Toy Review alive by visiting our sponsors.  Thanks Mates.  Until the next post.



Saturday, October 15, 2011

Batman Arkham City Action Figures - Two-Face

The much anticipated follow up video game to Arkham Asylum, Arkham City, is about to hit stores in a few and it looks amazing!  People who are games and/or collectors may be interested in Mattel's new Arkham City action figures which are part of the new Batman Legacy toy line.  Lets see how the Arkham City action figures measure up to the DCUC standards we've come to know.  This review will be on Two-Face for the Batman/Two-Face Legacy Edition two pack. 



When these toys were revealed earlier this year, I was intrigued.  Its Batman after all and that's right up my ally.  Two-Face is a bit of a hit and miss but all in all not a bad action figure. 


This version of Two-Face reminds me of a cross between the Batman: Animated series as well as Two-Face from the Dark Knight.  He is supporting the black and white suit which has a lot of holes burn marks and looks very cool. 



The head sculpt looks great too with the burnt side, of course, stealing the show.  Close up you can see better detail. The paint job is also pretty good. The transition lines between the two black and white are quite defined with no real areas of sloppy painting to be seen. One minor complaint about the paint, the Harvey Dent side of his face and hands could use a bit of shading but this is a main stream, mass market toy so i guess i can't have it all.


As far as articulation goes, if you're use to Mattel's DC Universe Classics action figures, than you may be slightly disappointed here.  Two-Face has most, but not all of joints we normally see.  Missing in action are the ball shoulder joints, abdominal joint and the ankle joints.  Out of the box, most joints were in fine working condition.  One hip joint was a little looser than usual but all others were functioning properly.

As you can see above, Two-Face is holding on to his trademark coin which is part of the action figure's mold and is not removable.  If you look closely you can make out detail on the top part of the coin, however the bottom side is faceless. 

Comparing Arkham City Two-Face to Mattels' DC Super Heroes Two Face (left) and DC Universe Classics Two-Face (right), you can see that Arkham City Two-Face is slightly bigger and also thicker than
the DCUC figures.  This may be a turn off for some people who are particular about scale and mixing in your DCUCs with your AC action figures. 


As you can see comparing a DCUC Batman to Arkham City Two-Face, two face is slightly bigger than the Dark Knight. 
Overall, The Arkham City action figures are really cool looking and on their own they stand up really well.  If you're going to compare them to Mattel's DC Universe Classics, then \articulation and scale are going to be slight concerns.  At the end of the day though, you have some really nice looking toys that are worth collecting if you are a DC Comics or Batman fan. 


To find Batman Arkham City action figures on eBay, click here

That's it for this review.  Be sure to check out our sponsors to help keep Action Toy Review alive and also be sure to check back for more info, news, previews and reviews.







Monday, October 10, 2011

DC Universe Classics - Toyman

Since i decided to start collecting DC Universe Classics action figures, it was my hope to complete the entire Legion of Doom team from the Challenge of the Super friends cartoon.  Of course, I needed help from the DC Superheroes toy line as well for Scarecrow and Bizarro since it was clear Mattel would not be releasing new version of these characters in the DCUC series.  (Bizarro did get re-released in a Masters of the Universe/DC Universe Classics Two Pack).  Once DCUC Wave 18 came out, it provided the final piece of the puzzle with the release of Toyman so lets take a look. 







There are a few version of Toyman in the comic books but this action figure is based on the Jack Nimball character from the 70's which actually didn't have that long of a run before being killed off.  On the back of the toy package however, it lists this Toyman as being "Percival Schott"


This version of Toyman has been given a the slightly taller and skinner body type which we have generally seen before on previous action figures like Deadman, Thaal Sinestro and The Creeper.




The paint job on this action figure is pretty crisp with only few minor muffs on the transition lines.  The top of Toyman's head is a dark blue which gets blended into his black mask.  We've sent his before but mostly on action figures with black hair, sometimes a blue highlight gets used. 



Close up, we see Toyman's slightly sadistic looking face.  Its well sculpted and painted.  Also the shoulder pads have a cool leathery look. 


Toyman's has the usual articulation that we've come to know with the DCUC toy line.  Joints in the neck, shoulders, biceps, elbows, wrists, abdominal, waist, hips, thighs, knees and ankles.  This also includes the newer double elbow joints however he has not been given the double knee joints.  All joints are very free and full moving with no obstructions. 



In addition to the CNC piece of Apache Chief, Toyman comes with a spinning top bomb and a spiked giant yo-yo.  Both accessories fit very well in each of Toyman's hands. 


All in all, Toyman meets my expectations.  He comes with a couple of cool accessories, has better than average articulation and looks exactly like the Challenge of the Superfriends and comic book character I grew up with.  Good job on this one Mattel. 

Sculpt/Design - 9, Paint - 8.5, Articulation - 9.5, Accessories - 8, Fun - 9

If you're looking to get a purchase a DCUC Toyman, check out eBay, by clicking here
If you're looking for any of the other members of the Legion of Doom:



Thanks for checking out Action Toy Review.  Be sure to visit our sponsors to keep us alive and also to check back for more news, info, previews and reviews of Mattel's DC Universe Classics action figure series. 



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