Episode II: Temblor
Okay, this time out we’re going to be looking at an action figure from the world’s largest toy company. Yep, that’s right, I’m taking on Mattel and an action figure from their The Batman line… Temblor! Doesn’t that name just make you shake with fear?… Me neither… Just looking at the toy in the package, he does seem a bit more intimidating than his name implies. Actually, his design reminds me quite a bit of Marv from Sin City. This character has no counterpart in the real DCU and was created for the episode "Batgirl Begins, part 1" (the season three opener of The Batman series) so I had nothing to go on besides this toy and all of the really, really bad things I had heard about it. In fact, after I opened the package and played around with the toy I assumed (mistakenly) that the character in the show was equally as lame. I was wrong. Now, don’t get me wrong, this guy doesn’t have the stuff to become a "classic" Batman Rogue, he’s just an out-of-town hired thug with a gimmick, no deep psychological quirks for this guy. Considering the character design he’s surprisingly agile and very quick, quite the opposite of this clunker of a toy (I’ve linked video of the Temblor episode at the very bottom of the story for those who haven’t seen it, mind you, it was a two part story but Temblor was only in the first half. If you want to see the rest, the same user had part 2 posted as well). Those giant metal gloves of his have the ability to generate small earthquakes, thus the name "Temblor".
The character design was carried over to the toy fairly well, but that same design does create a number of short-comings for the toy. The figure manages to have four points of articulation but only one of them really "works". For instance, his trenchcoat has a collar that restricts almost all movement of his head and for some reason the designers decided to make the upper part of the coat part of the upper body sculpt while the lower half is a soft(er) plastic piece that begins at the waist, which is the only point of articulation that has any range of movement at all. The remaining two points are his hips which are the classic t-crotch variety but those joints are pretty much useless as the coat restricts them from moving more than a couple of millimeters forward or backward. Now I’m sure that some of you who have never seen one of these out of the package are wondering why I’m not counting his shoulder articulation. Well, the shoulders *are* articulated but also part of the "action feature" and they won’t move manually. See that knob on his back?…
Yep, that’s a wind-up key. Give it a few turns and release and his arms flap about in a really bad Chicken Dance. They move quickly but barely move upward/outward at all. Try to use the action feature while he’s standing and he promptly falls over not looking at all intimidating but more like he’s trying to imitate Curly Howard. You can see in the video below that even after I taped one of the backer cards from some wind-up sushi (since there are no peg holes in his feet, but that’s a story for another blog…) that he’ll vibrate around like a player on one of those vintage electric football games. The motor also makes a high-pitched "whining" noise that I *think* is intentional sound feature since I’ve never heard a normal wind-up motor make more than the typical "whirring" noise (sorry, couldn’t capture the sound on my camera so you get a happy little tune courtesy of "Weird Al" Yankovic).
In the end he’ll look good in the back of my The Batman shelf, but as a toy he gets a failing grade. What toy designer thought this thing would be "fun"? I also have to wonder who gave the approval to waste development resources for a character that was only going to have one appearance… (Yeah, this guy gets a general release and Catwoman is a con-exclusive?… That’ll make you say "Wha…?", too!) Next time I’ll be showcasing a new(ish) toy that will make you say "Wha?…" but, believe it or not, it actually is kind of fun!
Temblor’s appearance on The Batman
Batgirl Begins, Part 1a
Batgirl Begins, Part 1b
Batgirl Begins, Part 1c