DC Collectibles Celebrates ‘Girl’s Night Out’ With Its Latest Animated Batman Set [Review]
One of the great things about Batman’s rogues’ gallery is how prominent the women of Gotham City’s underworld are among the other villains taking up the Dark Knight’s time. This was especially true of the animated adventures, with both Batman: The Animated Series and The New Batman Adventures focusing on the femme fatales with regularity. Heck, BTAS even gave us one of the most popular characters in DC Comics’ history, with the emergence of Harley Quinn. It’s with that in mind that DC Collectibles paid tribute Gotham’s most wanted women in a special pack commemorating the all-female ensemble episode of New Batman Adventures, “Girl's Night Out.”
After several solid seasons of Batman: The Animated Series, Warner Bros. Animation switched things up, replacing the afternoon favorite with The New Batman Adventures. This revamp was still chock full of the Batman action that fans had grown to love over the previous three seasons, but featured new designs, characters, and a bit of a darker tone. It was also the first time that characters from another DC animated series ever appeared in a crossover. While Batman had been on every single animated show, characters from contemporaries like Superman: The Animated Series never wandered out of Metropolis. That is, until 1998’s TNBA episode “Girl's Night Out.”
The episode, which aired in the second season of TNBA, focused on Superman villain Livewire being transferred to Gotham City. Unfortunately for the guards transporting her, the truck drives past a downed power line, giving Livewire the boost she needs to escape. She manages to fend off Batgirl, and eventually meets up with Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy to cause trouble.
Meanwhile, Batman is out of town, but gets the message Livewire escaped in Gotham. He calls his friend Clark Kent about a hot tip for the Daily Planet, only Supergirl happens to be house sitting, and answers the call herself. She flies to Gotham to lend Batgirl a hand, and two team-ups on both sides of the law lead to one of the animated show’s most memorable episodes. It also provided the inspiration for this mostly solid action figure collection.
The “Girl's Night Out” pack features the five female characters prominently, although only two are actually new. Harley Quinn, Batgirl, and Poison Ivy all saw individual releases in the New Batman Adventures line in the past. Supergirl and Livewire are entirely new, and can only be found in this set. Of course, Harley, Batgirl, and Poison Ivy are a lot tougher to find individually at retail price these days, given that the edition sizes of DC Collectibles’ waves are fairly limited, and there are a lot of people collecting this line. Reusing those three to fill out the box set is a common practice, and when they are three of the most popular characters from the animated show, it’s hard to complain.
Still, having all three figures included without the original pack-in accessories from their solo releases is a bit of a bummer. All five figures in the box set are as basic as they come, featuring only their open hands and display stands. There are no additional hands for posing, no weapons or episode-centric accessories for display. What you see is what you get. While that may not be a dealbreaker for completionists, it certainly makes DC Collectibles valuing this set at a discount almost not worth it.
Five figures would normally cost you upwards of $100 individually, but this box set retails for around $80. You’re basically getting one of the figures for “free,” but you're also missing out on the great additions DC Collectibles painstakingly added to the core figures in the line. With each figure’s solo release based on a specific appearance, you got some great props from the show to pose them with, and you always got more hands to create more interesting stances. Lacking those elements, this set limits what you can do with each of the five figures included when displaying them.
Since Harley, Ivy, and Batgirl have all been released before, I won’t spend too much time talking about them individually. Harley has arguably the best sculpt in the entire line to this point, as she’s well-detailed and still has tons of articulation for acrobatic poses. Batgirl is a fine figure, and I like her TNBA design more than the BTAS one. Poison Ivy is one of the most frustrating action figures ever created. It’s a wonderfully faithful sculpt from Irene Matar (who did all five figures in this set), but that adherence to the show’s artwork leaves much to be desired from real-world practicality.
Her legs and ankles are much too thin to support such an enormous head, and getting her to stand upright without help is a tremendous undertaking of patience. When you consider DC Collectibles held off on releasing this figure initially for months due to reworking the product to be more stable, it’s a bit astounding that Ivy still turned out to be such a hassle.
As to Supergirl and Livewire, both figures are excellent. Though I do like the more traditional blue and red costume Supergirl wore on later episodes of Justice League Unlimited, her initial design from Superman: The Animated Series is still a good one. Her actual head seems a bit too large for the body, but the other elements are all the proper proportions. The only area in which Supergirl is truly lacking is hip articulation, as she can’t really move a whole lot with that sculpted skirt. Giving her a big, beaming smile was the right choice, and in spite of the over-sized head, this figure captures the essence of Supergirl quite well.
I love Livewire. Like Harley Quinn, Livewire was first introduced in the animated DCU, and then brought over to the comic world nearly a decade later. Voiced by Lori Petty, the shock-jock-turned-shock-villain was a strong addition to an already solid cast of villains in Metropolis. It certainly helped that her design was simple and near-perfect in conveying everything you needed to know about her powers. Capturing the electric personality of Livewire seems like it was no challenge for DC Collectibles, and she’s wonderfully represented here in this set.
Since a larger animated Superman action figure line is no certainty at this point, we’re glad that DCC turned its eyes towards another of the great original characters from this world to make the leap to action figures. It would have been even better had she or Supergirl had some accessories to make more of an impact. Livewire getting some translucent electric power hands or snap-on parts would have gone a long way in giving her figure that much more meaning. The same could be said for Supergirl, who merely needed a set of fists to give her a bit more oomph.
The Batman: The Animated Series and New Batman Adventures action figure lines have been some of the most beautiful and frustrating toys ever released by DC Collectibles. The line has only been out for a few years, but has become the most prominent series released by DC Collectibles, mostly for its wonderful adherence to the original animated shows. Though the designs have been undeniably phenomenal, both shows’ figures haven’t been without their faults.
The “Girl's Night Out” set doesn’t do much to differentiate from that trend, but still gives us some of the most gorgeous toys DC Collectibles has ever released. The pack may be lacking the accessories, but even without extras these characters are a welcome addition to your growing animated collection (provided you didn’t snap the non-exclusive figures up the first time around).
The DC Collectibles' The New Batman Adventures "Girl's Night Out" set is available now for ~$80. This set was provided by DC Collectibles for review.