Retro-Action DC Super Heroes – BATMAN & TWO-FACE
Old-fashioned figure fun comes to Gotham...
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I’ve been sitting on these figures since Comic-Con just waiting until I found them in the stores to properly time this review. Three months later, DC’s Retro-Action Super Heroes return for another round with four new figures to add to your Mego-style collection. These are not re-issues, but Mattel did a superb job in bringing that old style back of The World’s Greatest Superheroes” in an updated fashion and it’s how they say, good old-fashioned fun. The second series features Batman, Two-Face, Aquaman, and Black Manta. And if you’re just learning about these figures now, you’re on series and one exclusive behind. Fortunately, most Toys’R’Us stores still carry series 1 (Superman, Lex Luthor, Green Lantern, Sinestro) which leaves only the exclusive Green Arrow.
The packaging styles of these figures definitely are retro, looking as if they came straight out of 1976. As much as I would prefer the earlier box styles of 1973, they did a fantastic job with the classic card and bubble. Front and back of the cards feature classic DC Comic art that really take me back to my youth. It’s a great look and almost terrifying when you start ripping it out of the package. The figure itself stands in the bubble freely, just as it did in the 70s and I LOVE that. No twisty ties, no clear rubber bands, no excess plastic. Just simple open and you’re ready to go. There’s the instant satisfaction factor that really spoiled my generation and I’m glad Mattel stayed true to it. The difference between series 2 and series 1 aside from the different characters featured is the color of the card backs entirely. Series 1 was a tint of orange while series 2 went bold with a hot pink (the original figures sported purple card backs). I don’t mind the change and it makes hunting for these all the easier.
The sculpting on these figures have most definitely been updated. The vintage Mego Aquaman sported seventies sideburns. This new Batman retains a retro simplistic style without going overboard. Two-Face, who never got the Mego treatment is an all new figure but still features the very retro stylings and fits in rather well.
Articulation-wise, these 8” figures aren’t very advanced but perhaps that was the point. You do get cut neck, ball-joint shoulders and wrists, elbows, waist, hips and knees at least, but the lack of a cut bicep joint prevents you from doing a good number of poses. The waist is also a bit wonky because of the body construction using the O-ring (remember your old G.I.Joes?). The problem with all of these figures is that the waist has a hard time staying up right due to the band inside being too tight. You basically end up with a figure that has the occasional posture problem. Sometimes though, it does fall into place so it might just need some messing around before it finds a comfortable spot. Some figures however may never find that perfect spot.
The fabric outfits of these figures are reminiscent of the old style but executed in a less humorous way than the vintage inspirations. Batman has molded hands rather than the over-sized oven mits and with a sporty removable mask, there’s additional play value. Batman also has the removable cape as well. Two Face dons a colorful suit, making him the sharpest dressed of all the retro figures. The outer jacket conceals the problem most other figures have in regards to snaps in the back of their costumes.
The retro figures don’t have much when it comes to accessories but since Batman comes witih a removable cape and cowl, I’d forgive them for that one. Two-Face also comes with nothing but he does have a snazzy looking suit. These doll-like figures can’t hold an action pose to save their life anyhow so accessories aren’t really necessary.
The cost of these figures aren’t going to be a happy sight for those who bought these back in the day. The $2 price tag has been updated to today’s standards of $19.99. $19.99 was also the price of Hasbro’s 12” Star Wars collection over a decade ago so that shows you just how far our dollar value has declined. What was geared ages 3+ in the 1970s has also doubled to today’s 6 and up.
Still, there’s no denying the charm of these doll-like action figures as they really do remind us of the “good old days”. The innocence of these toys only add to the fun, so go on. Play as if the words politically incorrect weren’t invented yet.
You can check out my review of Aquaman and Black Manta here.
Review and photography by David Yeh.
Review samples provided by Mattel.