For a Batman-related show, GOTHAM is basically a prequel to the Dark Knight's hometown before his transformation into the world's greatest detective. And that carries a lot of weight with it because if there is one thing that Bat-fans are it is serious. We are very protective of the lore and mythology of Batman and how he came to be. That being said, there was a lot of skepticism when the show first premiered in 2014. However, FOX had a hit on its hands and we are almost halfway through its sophomore season that has been labeled "Rise of the Villains." There could not be a more accurate description of the show this year because the villains are pushing their Rogues Gallery ID cards into the center of the action on GOTHAM. The show is more dark and brooding than ever and is most definitely a program that Batman fans that love origin stories have taken to in droves. So as an avid watcher that reviews the show for our website here on AFJ, when I heard that Diamond Select was going to be producing the action figures for GOTHAM, I was as giddy as a Wayne Enterprises stockholder because I knew that the toys were in good hands and would be top notch. AFJ got our hands on the first wave of figures from Zach and the good people over at Diamond Select and finally had time to bust the packages open over the long Thanksgiving holiday weekend. One thing is for sure, if you are looking for authenticity and are a die-hard fan of the FOX program, these figures are a must own with Diamond's usual hyper-attention to detail and depending on which version you get, the deluxe or the regular, you have the option of making a pretty sweet diorama that looks amazing when put together. This is something that I wish more toy companies would take a cue and start doing because DST doesn't want you to just display the figures they produce, they want you to display them in awesome fashion. And that is exactly what the diorama looks like when it is done. So without any further ado, let's jump in to see how each of the first three GOTHAM figures hold up in our review.
DETECTIVE JAMES GORDON
In the role he was born to play, actor Ben McKenzie has proven to be one tough cop in the first season and a half of GOTHAM. He is tough, gritty and not afraid to get his hands dirty or get involved with criminals like The Penguin to save his own ass which seems like every other episode. The action figure is a virtual doppelgänger of actor McKenzie, just a smaller version. Its facial likeness is so spot on that it is pretty scary to see how close figure companies are getting in producing replicas of famous actors. The face and especially the hair is exact and even for those that do not watch the show but are aware of it would easily be able to recognize this figure as Detective Jim Gordon, future Commissioner of the GCPD.
The points of articulation are all there but do not need to be overwhelming on a non-superhero figure like this. It simply is not necessary the way it is on say a Marvel Legends figure. I don't see Jim Gordon flying or climbing up any walls anytime in the near future. Gordon comes with his police-issued pistol that easily slides into either one of his hands without any problems. The dark suit and striped tie are pretty much boilerplate for Gordon's character and I like that they made the tie separate from the shirt so it is actually movable. Sometimes companies cheap out and have the tie as part of the torso but not Diamond. This gives Gordon the look of the exhausted and overworked cop that he is. Gordon also comes with part of the diorama which is the bottom part of the scene with a couple of garbage cans and a box. It also has a pop-up rivet to firmly place Gordon's foot on to keep him in place should you decide to keep him on there.
THE PENGUIN (OSWALD COBBLEPOT)
I never thought that anyone could usurp Danny DeVito's portrayal of The Penguin from Tim Burton's 1992 sequel Batman Returns. Well actor Robin Lord Taylor has proved me wrong in the role he was destined to play. I honestly cannot imagine anyone else filling his shoes because he is just that good. Diamond released a special SDCC Exclusive over the summer but now is the time for those that have been waiting for a Penguin figure to act. Oswald is decked out in his very odd looking tuxedo that has become his go-to attire for business. They even nailed that weird looking tie and the vest he wears under his coat with the subtle hints of purple. The facial likeness to Taylor is frighteningly real complete with a scary smirk that fans of GOTHAM have come to both love and hate.
And what would The Penguin for the 21st Century be without his signature "I combed my hair with an eggbeater" birds nest hairdo. It is damn near perfect, no gel, pomade or hairspray required! That coif will stay pointed up forever. His shoes are at a high shine and as a bonus, Penguin comes equipped with a green apple and an interchangeable set of hands. However, what would The Penguin be without his signature umbrella? It comes with a great one here and while it doesn't have the bells and whistles of DeVito's umbrella (no umbrella helicopter), it is perfect for Oswald to carry around when you set up your figures for display. If Diamond could have made this figure limp, I am sure they would have! A dead ringer for Robin Lord Taylor, The Penguin is a new kind of villain that was destined to be made into figure form and this one is a doozy. Penguin also comes with another piece for the diorama that looks like a piece of the docks that he is always doing business at. You'll see below how it all comes together!
The future Catwoman is just starting to really form her budding relationship with Bruce Wayne in the last few episodes of the second season. Carmen Bicondova is sure to grow up to be a stunning young woman and David Mazouz' (young Bruce Wayne) love interest on the program. Selina is played by Carmen with a whole lot of gusto and is the streetwise kid with an edge that Bruce Wayne badly needs in his life in his world of privilege and entitlement. He has never met anyone like her and if last week's episode is any indication, the two are definitely going to fall in love at some point. In fact, last week was really the first time in a season and a half that we saw Selina's guard come down the slightest bit. Although the GOTHAM show is not for little kids, I am sure teen girls are loving this new take on the young Catwoman and will snatch up this figure faster than I start sneezing when I am around real felines.
The Selina Kyle figure is amazing, capturing Bicondova's beautiful features perfectly and her cool urban look. Replete with her signature hoodie, leather jacket and old-school aviator goggles, the young Catwoman to look awesome! From head to toe, Selina looks as hip as she does on GOTHAM. Right down to half gloves that she wears, her torn leggings and kick ass army boots with straps; I am amazed at all of the details that Diamond recognized and managed to capture on Batman's future friend/love interest. "Cat" also comes with a baby bottle filled with milk and the remaining pieces of the diorama that include the urban "balcony" and the fire escape ladder. Such a cool figure to own with Bicondova's great big eyes instantly recognizable as Gotham's future "cat" burglar. Stay tuned on GOTHAM to see how the rest of "Rise of the Villains" plays out. Mondays at 8 PM on FOX, same Bat time, same Bat channel!
In my professional opinion, at only about $19.95 ($12.99 without the diorama pieces), these new GOTHAM figures are a no-brainer for the Bat-fan in your family this holiday season. From the subdued articulation to the brilliant likenesses to the actors that play these icons, Diamond Select has another home run on their hands with wonderfully realized high-end figures at an affordable price. In the end, that is really what an AFJ wants in their figure-- a super high quality that doesn't break the bank. Getting the first wave for under sixty bucks is an absolute steal for all that you get in each package. Well done Diamond, can't wait for wave 2!