Toy Review: Batman the Brave and the Bold Action League – Arch Rivals Battle Pack Exclusive 6-Pack

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Batman the Brave and the Bold Action League is often compared to Hasbro’s Super Hero Squad, and with good reason. Both are highly-stylized figures of classic superheroes that are sold in either twopacks, vehicle sets or in collector packs. Toys R Us got their own exclusive 6-pack of Action League figures that features five repacks and one exclusive figure!

Mattel’s obsession with including Batman in almost every pack released doesn’t bother me too much, but what does bother me is that they insist on including the same Batman sculpt. The mid-step pose that is notorious for toppling over whenever it’s nudged, or if someone is near it, or even thinks about it. If you’re a collector, you probably own several copies of this figure but if you don’t own any, he isn’t a bad figure, just one that dislikes standing up. His paint is fine, and he has the standard four points of articulation: arms, waist and neck, though his arms are slightly limited by his solid cape.

Continuing on the side of the good guys, this set also includes the Blue Beetle. He’s almost a straight repack but with a single exception: his eyes. While the 2-pack version of Blue Beetle had him looking off to the side, this one is looking straight ahead. It’s very subtle but is a nice touch to add some extra personality to the figure.

Armed with his hand canons, Blue Beetle still looks great. The modern blue and black suit design is dynamic and very nicely done. The paint is crisp and clean with no noticeable issues. His articulation is the same as most figures with all four points. While the different eyes are nice, it isn’t terribly exciting for a variant. For someone just getting into the line, he’s a great figure that really is a lot of fun.

The last good guy in the set is none other than the king of the ocean: Aquaman! A straight repack of the version that came out in the 2-pack with Black Manta (also included in this set), it’s a decent figure that is plagued by the same one-step forward stance that Batman has. His sculpt is still well done with a nice cross between detailing and keeping the look cartoony.

The paint on this version of Aquaman is better. His beard is lined up properly and he’s lost the double chin and his yellow belt looks a little better but still is the issue of yellow painted over black. Aquaman has the same 4 points of articulation as everyone else.

On the evil side of this pack, each hero is paired with a respective villain. Black Manta is ready to go up against Aquaman in an undersea battle. Again, Black Manta is a straight repack which was a bit of a disappointment because a simple change like making his eyes red would have been enough of a visual difference to make him worthwhile.

Black Manta is in an attack pose, with his harpoon raised over his head. It works well, and is a decent counter to Aquaman’s more relaxed pose. Black Manta moves at the arms and waist, but his head is render immobile by the tubes that connect his head to his back.

Kanjar Ro is the cosmic bad guy in the set to go across from Blue Beetle. Another straight repack, he’s identical to the version that came with Batman. No difference in paint but this one did seem to be better packaged so his legs didn’t get warped, allowing him to stand just fine. I do like the Samurai-esque outfit but the lack of a weapon still bothers me. Plus, I’d still love a Kanjar Ro Blue Beetle figure. Kanjar Ro moves at the standard four points just fine.

The final figure is the exclusive: a clear Gentleman Ghost to face off against Batman! Cast entirely in clear plastic, he’s otherwise identical to the figure released with his skeleton horse. The clear plastic allows many of his details to be lost, like his tie and skull buttons.

Gentleman Ghost is completely unpainted, which makes him look unique and a good display of his powers, since he is able to control what parts of him are invisible. What would be exceptional though would be if Mattel released a version that was a cross between the solid white and the solid clear, like his DCUC counterpart did. Gentleman Ghost’s articulation is very limited because of his design. He has no head, and his cape limits each arm to only 90 degrees of mobility. His waist is also limited by the cape to around 180 degrees.

The big question about this set is: is it worth the money? It retails for around $22, which is a tiny bit cheaper than buying 3 2-packs, but the fact of the matter is: it’s a set of repacks. If you’re trying to stretch your dollar as a collector and want to avoid extra Batman figures, this works pretty well. Aquaman & Black Manta already are sold as a 2-pack, while Gentleman Ghost is only available in the larger deluxe sets with his horse. But it would still leave you short a Plastic Man. It really comes down to what kind of collector you are and how badly you want some of the figures.

For a younger audience that is more focused on playing with their toys, this is a very well done set – especially for fans of the show. Each hero comes with a villain to fight that makes sense, and really brings up the playability of the set. If Mattel had been willing to bite the bullet and sell this pack for $20, it would be a fantastic deal. But it isn’t too bad at $22.

Written by jestergoblin

March 10th, 2010 at 12:16 am

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