The bastion of bendables is entering uncharted waters…
NOTE: For a REVIEW of NJ Croce’s new Batman ’66 5-pack featuring Egghead, click here.
When I think of bendables, I think of kitschy figures that fit in the palm of your hand. The Batman ’66 line produced by NJ Croce is a perfect example, as are the company’s New Frontier and Batman: The Animated Series lines. Gumby, which they also produce, is probably the best example of them all.
But now the company has entered a new realm — detailed, 8-inch bendables that take square aim at the action-figure market. NJ Croce has already produced Batman as an 8-inch figure but now the manufacturer is pushing farther in with a high-end, 7-figure boxed set, as well as a series of singles including Superman, Wonder Woman, the Flash and Cyborg.
The boxed set lists for about $170, though you can find it online for substantially less. The singles list for about $25. As it stands now, Aquaman and Green Lantern are exclusive to the boxed set.
Since is this is pretty new territory for the company, I’ll break this down into pros and cons with a closer look at some of the figures:
— The figures are high quality and durable. This is NJ Croce’s hallmark. They make good stuff and they put a premium on getting the details right.
— Standard action figures generally have better detail and are more poseable than these. But the masked figures in this set are comparable to what you’d get from Mattel or DC Collectibles — with the advantage of not seeing any of the articulation seams. It makes these aesthetically pleasing in a way many action figures are not.
— There’s excellent detailing on the outfits. Look at the scales on Aquaman’s top, for example. That’s pretty work.
— The end result is that these look more like, say, small Kotobukiya statues but with poseability. That’s a big, big plus.
— The designs are all based on DC’s New 52 outfits, which a lot of fans were lukewarm over. This is a problem DC and Marvel present to manufacturers. Used to be that a hero or villain looked the same for decades. Now, they change every few years. Some buyers may be put off by that.
— The unmasked figures are not as strong as the masked ones. Aquaman’s face is softer than, say Green Lantern’s. But, really, that’s a quibble since it still looks good.
Overall, this is a bold move for NJ Croce. The market is saturated with standard-size action figures and lines, many with long-term followings. Nevertheless, this is a company I like an awful lot so I give them a world of credit for taking a chance.