December 5, 2013

Batman Adventures Holiday Special #1

Picked up this GREAT Batman Adventures Holiday Special #1 for a buck quite some time ago, and was delighted by what I read when I finally got a moment to read it. The cover alone was worth the price of admission! It's dated Jan. 1995, but wonder if it came out in Dec. of '94. I already have February 2014 issues from Marvel and DC!

Things start off right in the first story "Jolly Ol' St. Nicholas" when Barbara Gordon stumbles into Officers Montoya and Bullock undercover at Mayfield department store. On the lookout for a robbery suspect that's been plaguing the establishment, Bullock makes a hilariously bad Santa, and Barbara decides to stick around in case they need any help from Batgirl!

Sure enough, the slippery thief turns out to be the shapeshifting Clayface, caught red handed by Barbara Gordon, who required the assist from officers Montoya and Bullock. Love that Batgirl- she sometimes gets in over her head, but what a brave soul!

"The Harley & The Ivy" finds Bruce Wayne captive of two of Batman's mischievous rogues, Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy, who drugged the billionaire bachelor with tainted lipstick. A whirlwind shopping trip ensues, Wayne helpless and drugged, a victim of their every whim.

Wayne manages to get away long enough to muster his self control and don the cowl, giving chase after the fugitive females. After a rough and tumble of two against one, Batman finally captures them with a Christmas tree- a glittering fascination to the Jewish Harley, and humiliating trap to Poison Ivy, self-proclaimed defender of plant life.

"White Christmas" is essentially a retelling of Mr. Freeze's origins, told around his escape from Arkham during the holiday season. Long incarcerated without incident, Mr. Freeze's disappearance perplexes the Dark Knight, doubly curious about the sudden blizzard that's swept over Gotham on Christmas Eve.

After a struggle in the snow, Batman corners the cold criminal, sudden pity interrupting his assault. When asked why he would terrorize the town for the holiday, the sullen man points to the grave of his late wife. The once brilliant inventor encapsulated his wife's body in a cryogenic state to buy her time in the fight against terminal cancer, but lost her due to a a corporate intervention, and became the dread Mr. Freeze in the struggle when exposed to his own super coolant. "We were married ten years ago on a snowy Christmas Eve. Nora loved the snow." the villain tenderly recalled, "I thought it... sad there should be none this year. And I wouldn't want my Nora to be sad tonight." 

In "...What are you doing on New Years Eve?!" the tag team pencilling duo Kevin Altieri and Butch Lukic take Bruce Timm's dark deco style to another level, their urban crowd scenes particularly impressive. They also inked it pretty heavily, making the drawings really constrasty. 

Joker takes to the air waves to invite Batman to a New Year's Eve of destruction, unaware that Batman is onto his plan to sonically stun the crowd he's gathered in Gotham Square! The Clown Prince of Crime corners the Dark Knight at gunpoint, but gets his bell rung instead! Awesome!

This was an outstanding holiday special I'd recommend to any Batman: The Animated fan! Bruce Timm worked a great deal on this, handling the cover duties, pencilling /inking/coloring the Batgirl/Clayface story, and sharing writing duties with author Paul Dini on a couple as well. See more info on DCwikia.Com! The original inked drawing by Bruce Timm, found at ComicArtFans.Com:

Thanks For Reading & Happy Holidays!

March 13, 2013

Waddle Waddle Waddle... It's the Penguin!

The Penguin was one of the first villains I picked up when the Batman the Animated Series figures were released. That is saying something, as the Penguin is probably one of my least favorite of Batman's Rouges Gallery.

Sure, I like the character and the actors that have portrayed him over the years, but he never really was that cool of a villain, in my opinion anyway. I will say that out of all the different versions I do like this first attempt at the character for the Animated Series the best.

Penguin here is sort of a cleaner version of the Danny De Vito version of the character from Batman Returns film. I believe that the Animated Series was airing about the same time as the Tim Burton Batman films. So, it would make sense that some of the characters share similar attributes. Say, like Penguin's flippers, heavy coats, and longer hair.

One thing that I did always sort of dig is that the Penguin had crazy Umbrella Weapons. This Penguin came with a Hypno-Spin Umbrella Launcher to shoot at Batman and his friends. It works pretty well meaning it will shoot off and knock things down, or even function as a spinning top.

The only draw back is the size of the launcher. You can't see in the picture, but you pretty much have to hold him up when it's snapped on his arm. The figure will not stand with all the weight of the luncher. I am sure you could get him to stand in a sort of un-natural looking pose if you were patient enough.

There is a feature I pretty much just discovered when shooting pictures, once you remove the coat, Penguin has a hole in his back that the peg on top of the launcher can fit, making a pretty nifty little (or large) Umbrella Jet Pack. look out Joker, you might have some competition flying around for the Batman's attention.

Back when these were released I had only seen one Penguin on the pegs, they must have just stocked him, because I never saw another one. Back then I realized he was sort of a rare figure, but I opened him anyway. The loose Penguin is that same figure. I was pretty proud that I had one. When I was preparing for this post, I cracked open my tote of carded BTAS figures only to discover I did have a carded version too. I remember buying a lot of carded figures years ago, just could not remember if I had a Penguin or not. At one time I was trying to put together a carded collection of the first few series of BTAS figures, so it was a nice surprise to find him to shoot a group photo.

Hope you enjoyed this look at the Penguin, he's slowly becoming one of my favorites of the BTAS figure collection. 

What's up next from me? Here's a little sneak peek, I cannot make any promises that this will be my next post, but it will be a future post...

March 2, 2013

Mission Masters Mountain Pursuit Batman

I'm not exactly sure where this strange, green Batman came from. He was found loose in an old tote of toys I decided to sell awhile back, but whatever disdain I had for him before was replaced with curiosity and enthusiasm, now that I'm a toy enthusiast and official staff member of Batman the Animated Toys Blog  :D   It looked familiar to me upon rediscovering it because I had just bought Kenner & Hasbro Mission Masters Glider Strike & Knight Assault Batman toys from the same New Adventures series not long before! So I did some hunting and found it was a Mission Masters 3 Mountain Pursuit Batman.  All the multicolored Batman figures from the animated TV show that used to bore me now delight me for some odd reason. I love them!

Initially appearing to be some type of scuba dive wetsuit, it soon became apparent that it was in fact rappelling gear strapped to his left shoulder and chest. Mountain Pursuit Batman is equipped with a pick-axe and grapple gun, so that makes sense. The grapple gun on mine doesn't fire, but it sounds as though a spring might be encased within the barrel. Some of the other figures in this line share the hooked left hand sculpt.

I went stark raving mad for the Batman: The Brave & The Bold toys in 2011, which share a lot of similarities with these figures: simple articulation, a cloth cape in this instance, somewhat ridiculously oversized accessories, and fun, exaggerated  characters. Like the Brave & The Bold toys, there are several outrageous incarnations of Batman throughout the Animated line, in a delightfully absurd assortment of inappropriate colors. Again, what bored me before I now love   :D

Oddly enough, I happen to have a few other Batman figures with green paint, so I guess that makes this a collection of sorts. This probably has a lot to do with my fascination/obsession with Batman as Green Lantern, and to the ever-elusive, highly valued DC Direct figure of the said character (which I finally scored last Labor Day weekend for the unheard of price of $14.99!).  For your pleasure, I present my burgeoning collection of Green Batmen:

Batman: The Brave & The Bold Deluxe Skyshot Batman, Mission Masters Mountain Pursuit Batman, EXP Camo Tech Batman, &  Justice League Unlimited Batman (Tech Suit Variant w/gas mask).

This is a great toy I'd reccomend to any Batman the Animated fan! Like I've said before though, in this age of environmentalism, green is the new black!
(originally posted at The Super-DuperToyBox, Sept. 8th, 2011)

*Visit the database of Batman: The Animated Series toys at Legions of Gotham!

More Later- Make It FUN!

February 8, 2013

The Jokereteer!

I cannot believe we haven't talked about a little Batman movie from 1993, that goes by the name Batman: Mask of the Phantasm before now. 

If you are unfamiliar with it you really need to check it it. Through a series of flashbacks it tells a story of one of Bruce Wayne's past loves, the one he almost married, and her return to Gotham around the same time a new mysterious vigilante takes to the streets eliminating some of Gotham's crime bosses. The Gotham crime families turn to the Joker to help take out this new would be hero and at the same time he figures he can take out the Bat.

Joker has made his hide out in the art deco filled remains of the Gotham World's Fair pavilions and in one fight scene dons the flight pack to do battle with Batman and the Phantasm.

The figure is a representation of this scene, though if I am not mistaken the Joker does not have the boots and Rocketeer style pants in the movie. 

I think they made a nice touch on the figure, which is officially known as "Jet Pack Joker". His whole sculpt is actually a vintage style flight suit with his tie and flower topping it off.

The exhaust of the jet pack also makes a "Capture Nozzle" by taking a figures hand and jamming it in the end, the Joker can then take Batman (or whomever) on a wild ride.

Another nifty feature is the stylized flight helmet, that can be removed from the Joker's head  instead of it being sculpted on.

Of the small offering of figures from the movie this is one that you should probably look into if you are a fan of the Joker. The figure can still be picked up online for a pretty good price, this one was purchased years after the movie had come and gone from theaters at a local toy show.

I will have to dig out some more Mask of the Phantasm items to post, so keep an eye out, and keep an eye on the skies for the Jet Pack Joker.