Thanksgiving is just around the corner, but we are really thankful for the newest releases from McFarlane Toys and Spin Master--namely the Amazon Exclusive Spin Master Batman 4-pack and the DC Super Powers updated Nightwing and Robin figures.
The Spin Master 4-pack was a pleasant surprise. These four-inch figures feature new designs for Batman, Robin, Nightwing and possibly, Joker. The Clown Prince of Crime appears in his usual purple suit, but the sculpt reminds me of a more sinister version--almost reminiscent of a cross between Jack Nicholson and The Killing Joke versions.
Batman is more noticeably distinct in a brown trench coat and sleeveless uniform. I'm reminded of the Knightmare Batman from the Synder Cut, but I believe this is more inspired by the Future State event from DC a few years ago. I was a fan of the event, which showed the DC universe a few years in the future. This is even more evident with Nightwing, who wears a chin guard and more beefed up blue gauntlets and Robin (Tim Drake) in a capeless version of his armor that almost-perfectly matches the Future State artwork. And the Tim Drake figure is the first 4" version using this design, which in turn pretty closely matches the current "present day" comics version. Cereal Creatures blog readers will recall the 12" version of Tim Drake Robin, also from Spin Master, that we picked up a few weeks back. This design is one of the best that Spin Master has done and I'd love to see more sizes! Unlike some of the other "maybe, maybe not" versions that teetered between Damian and Tim's designs, this one is unmistakably Tim Drake.
And speaking of Tim Drake (has DC and it's licensor finally figured out he's popular?!), we've got the darker-painted Super Powers version. In addition to the darker paint and black cape, this version is identical to the first version and is likely inspired by the DC Knightfall event from the 90's. Accompanying Robin is Nightwing in a shiny, early 90's suit design that just pops in color.
The final Super Power figure is the Thomas Wayne version of Batman, originally seen in DC's Flashpoint event in 2011. This is a similar Batman sculpt, but featuring red holsters and eyes and the appropriate Bat logo. Also noteworthy is the art. While all of the DC Super Powers figures have unique artwork to represent their characters, some, including Robin and Nightwing are updated to reflect the design aspects of their suits and not just colors. The Flashpoint Batman one is not quite accurate, but has an almost Mego artwork feel and that makes it all the better.
The figures in this post, from McFarlane and Spin Master, have hit the bullseye on what makes a great, interesting figure. They're not just another release of Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman or Flash. The sad thing is how readily available they are. They've almost completely been resigned to the collector market. None are in brick and mortar stores. In fact, as an avid Tim Drake and Robin follower, I only stumbled upon the Amazon Exclusive 4-pack.
At the local Walmart, I've only seen the same wave of figures for six months or more. Some have only the initial Batman, Batman Who Laughs, and John Steward Green Lantern waves. There was supposed to be an exclusive Black Manta--but I've seen it nowhere. These retailers have to do better to keep fans--and shoppers--with merchandise that is relevant. And that could start with figures like Robin, Nightwing and the others in this post.