Spinning out of the recent animated film Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (and the limited series it was based on), DC has released figures for that crossover franchise - include Ra's Al Ghul and Shredder figures exclusive to Gamestop.
Here’s the basics: Both figures stand at about six inches each, with Shredder about a quarter-inch taller than Ra’s (helmets give you an advantage). Each comes with a couple of extra hands and some accessories, along with a non-removeable soft goods cape. Isn’t it nice how cloth capes are making a comeback after years of molded vinyl?
The sculpts are where both figures shine, combing elements from different classic looks of the characters. Shredder evokes the older animated take voiced by the late great James Avery (a.k.a. Uncle Phil on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air), with a flowing purple cape (nicely ridged at the ends like Batman’s) and some bulky, blade-covered arms.
Ra’s evokes the classic design of the character, with a plunging neckline and wrist-blades that evoke how they tied that element of Batman’s costume to Ra’s training in Batman Begins. He also has a nicely stern-yet-skeptical look on his face, like he’s plotting something. His cape has a few stitched folds to it, creating a layered look; you can see him draping it around himself, or blowing in the wind as he attacks.
Articulation-wise, both are also about the same, with joints at the ankles with rocker, twist at boot, double-jointed knees, ball-jointed thighs, slightly high waist articulation, an ab crunch, ball-joint wrists, elbow joints and twists, articulation at the shoulders, and a ball-jointed neck. Ra’s has more mobility than Shredder here, as Shredder’s helmet and scarf-type folds mean you can pretty much only move his head left or right, and not so much up and down.
There are some limitations to the articulation due to the designs. Because both characters are wearing tunics, their legs can’t reach up very far. There is some potential for subtle changes in body language; you can certainly pull off the Shredder’s holding up his blades or Ra’s folding his arms behind his back, but the figures are best for display vs. “action.” It should be noted that one of Shredder’s arms popped off at the elbow literally out of the box; we got it back on, but that’s a sign that you need to be careful with these fiends.
Each also comes with, as mentioned, some variant hands and accessories. The hands pop onto a ball joint on the wrists, which thankfully is a nice solid plastic unlikely to break off…at least not with the ones we tried. You might want to be careful if the figures are fresh out of the box or have been in a cold space for a bit; we’ll elaborate on this in just a moment.
Shredder comes with three sets of hands, each with the blades slightly longer than the last (did a three-in-one comparison shot to demonstrate) that suggests a Wolverine-type SNIKT! Only the shortest bladed hands are open to hold accessories. Also, they look the most like blades that would “shred,” rather than slice or stab, but that’s just being pedantic.
Accessory-wise, Shredder has…one very tiny ninja star, which kinda-sorta fits between the thumb and forefinger of one hand and took about 10 minutes to fit in here. It’s not terribly impressive given his fearsome sculpt. He also has a can of mutagen, for mutating! We couldn’t get him to hold it for a photo.
Ra’s comes with a pair of extra hands and an old-fashioned sword…whose handle snapped like a toothpick the moment we tried putting it in his hand. If you get the figure, suggest softening the plastic in the hand by heating it with a hair dryer, which makes it easier to bend the fingers and insert the sword before it cools. One of the alternate hands has wide fingers that suggest it might be intended for sword-handling, but after re-gluing the sword handle, the sword still fell out of it. We’re at a loss here.
Comparison-wise, we don’t have a lot of Ra’s figures and most of our older Shredders are in storage, but here’s a look at Shredder vs. the NECA animated-style one from the Comic-Con: International San Diego set a few years ago (recently re-released as a Target exclusive). That should give you a sense of the scale and design differences. The figures stand about in proportion to many of the Batman: The Animated Series DC Direct figures, if you want to have them bedevil that cartoon Dark Knight.
Overall a couple of fun designs for the characters, and decent display pieces. The limited posing options and brittle accessories drag them down, but they’re solid renditions of a couple of classic masterminds.
Rating 7 out of 10