One of my absolute favorite aspects of the New 52 (and given how badly DC treats it most of the time, it can be hard to find favorites), is how they’ve started to spin Wonder Woman into a new and more modern character. She’s actually a pretty complicated character with an even more complicated history… probably one of the most interesting in the entire DC Universe. So when I saw a set with her new look, complete with pants and an invisible jet, this set became the number one for me in the 2015 release cycle.
That it included The Flash, who last appeared in that awful Riddler Chase review set last year, was a bonus. Given that the Flash show is a hit in the vein of the fantastic show Arrow, this was a pretty strong selling point. Plus, who doesn’t want an insane telepathic gorilla bigfig? If you don’t want him, I’d question if you also hate sunshine, puppies, and happiness.
Of course, this is a DC set, so it’s all about Batman. Never mind that Gorilla Grodd is a Flash villain and Wonder Woman and the Flash are more than strong enough to carry a set (and shows) by themselves. But, you know, something something Batman, so we get a Bat-Mech to fight off the Gorilla. At 347 parts and a $49.99 price tag, there is a bit of sticker shock here, so the question is can the features of the set make up for the relatively low piece count?
Part of that, I guess, depends on how many DC sets you’ve bought. Last year’s lineup was a string of audible thuds when they showed up, and they still languish in stores, hitting a lot of clearance sales (and still not flying off shelves). I haven’t even picked up the set yet, though I’d like that Riddler figure (nothing else about it strikes me as all that spectacular).
For minifigs, we get the gallery you see above. Wonder Woman and Batman are kind of the outliers here, as Captain Cold and Gorilla Grodd are both marquee Flash villains. The problem with Flash, however, is that the guy just doesn’t have much use for a vehicle, which means there’s not much swooshable to make for him (not that a technicality like that has stopped LEGO before). We also get a random civilian, which is kind of awesome in a set like this.
Gorilla Grodd is a typical bigfig, one that is mostly gorilla except for his little telepathic tiara thingie. It’s a curious look for the character… I need a fan of the animation to tell me if this is how he shows up in the Justice League cartoons. In the new 52, he’s the Gorilla King, and he has more of a ceremonial armor look, while back in the Super Friend’s or JLA days he was a regular gorilla or a gorilla with a weird helmet.
Kind of a shame with that printing, honestly, because without it, we have an awesome gorilla bigfig that can be used in all sorts of different MOCs. I think the Architecture line could really use the spice of a King Kong attack. That or dropping him into the Modular Buildings lineup. I keep my Gorilla Grodd in the Pet Shop… is that wrong?
Wonder Woman gets a totally new look in this set, matching her newer New 52 look that features pants over a bikini bottom along with some weird printing for her abs and ribcage. I love the costume design that this figure is based on, so the figure is a win for me.
The printing on her back is as odd as her abs, though, which is kind of weird. I mean, what are those lines doing up there… did LEGO get Leifeld to consult on these things? I’d have to say no, since there aren’t any pouches, but having extra lines, bones, and abs with their own abs are certainly signs of his twisted, no-foot imagination. That or she has three spines. Luckily, the hair covers up this nonsense on the figure, but it’s still really weird.
We now have two designs of Wonder Woman to go with our elven billion Batmans and the few versions of Superman we’ve got around. I love both of them, one for the 70s classic look (seriously, Linda Carter rules) and one with the modern look. I’ll admit, despite being more of a Marvel guy, LEGO has done a better job on variety with the DC figures (especially when you consider Batman variety vs. Iron Man).
The Flash is the same as what we got in the Riddler Chase set, and he’s got a lot of lines, but at least they make sense. I do wonder if he fills in behind his logo to keep it from fitting his pecs. You’d think that’d look kind of weird when he ran, but it does keep his branding consistent.
If Spaceballs taught is anything, it’s that branding is everything. Spaceballs the Flamethrower… kids love it!
Luckily the Flash is apparently human and not Amazonian, so he’s got normal, if oddly well defined, shoulder blades. I like this figure, and glad to have him, but most of what needs to be said about him has already been said.
Gorilla Grodd wasn’t the only Flash villain to show up in the set; we also get Captain Cold, who is totally not Mr. Freeze or anything like that. If you read Flash comics, or watched that horribly awesome Flash show from the 90s, you know who this guy is. If you don’t, you’re probably wondering why there is an ice cream guy here. Just saying.
He gets an alt-face, and the hood is a recolor of the hood we got with Anakin and Han in their various frosty sets over in a licensed galaxy far, far away. I don’t have much to say about this guy because I honestly don’t know a whole bunch about him. I bet you could use that head to make a few other villains, though.
I suppose it speaks to the type of collector I am when I think that the Banana Co. Driver is the best figure in the set. Surprised/scared generic fleshy face + overalls with a banana is just a winning combination for me. The LEGO Movie broke down the yellow and fleshy divide for good, so I’ll just drop this guy and his cart right into my modular city. Seriously, this guy is awesome.
Last up, we get a Batman figure. For those keeping count, I believe this makes three Batmans for every LEGO set ever released. Plus or minus a couple of Batmans. This one is a new-ish variety, in that his torso only appears in one other set (the Black Manta / Aquaman set also released this year). It’s also, quite possibly, the most detailed torso that LEGO has ever made. The only thing it’s really missing is bat-nipples.
Shading, molded abs and muscles that are pretty much impossible, and the iconic utility belt, this figure has a whole lot going on. Batman figures, while showing up everywhere, are a lot more uniform in look, though, with the same general logo and feel between them. The cape is also the new spongy material that folds a lot easier…
… that also will likely tear a whole lot easier. You have to be pretty ginger with those capes or they’re going to rip apart. But they’re better to sit down our bat friend in his endless collection of shockingly specific vehicles. This is a different head for Batman as well, since it features a printed face on a black cowl. It still has the headband for the darker eyes, but so do all the Batman figures. The LEGO movie figure did it the best at this point.
Batman also features one of the spring jump stands, and my issues with the stand in the Green Lantern vs. Sinestro set still apply here. It fights way too tightly on the figure and is hard to remove, and will likely damage these minifigs before it’s all said and done. However, it’s a bit different in one aspect from the other sets, in that the stand and Batman are designed to fit into the mech together.
The Bat-Mech is actually a pretty decent little model, especially when you forget to take the flick-blaster studs off the feet and he gets a couple of lights on his feet. I mentioned that particular problem in my Imperial Troop Transport review… you just forget about those things sometime. Like the Lex Luther mech from the first non-Batman set (there is such a thing), this feels as much of a character as the minifigs themselves.
It’s not a perfect build. The “engines” on the legs get knocked off really easy, and the net launcher is just as weak of a design as it was in the Batcave set. It’s also pretty top-heavy, which means while you can pose it in a whole bunch of different ways, only a few are viable for display or actually standing-up. I do kind of wish I had more expertise in stop-motion, because this thing is just begging to be animated to “Stayin’ Alive.”
Putting Batman with the jumper is actually a pretty cleaver solution, even if it adds a bit of width needed for the minifigure. I don’t like those jumpers, but that’s a great little feature for playability. You can see the net launcher on his arm, because Batman doesn’t kill (it makes sense… settling wrongful death suits is probably a lot easier for a billionaire to get out of than dodging a murder rap).
You know, when I was first looking at this set, I don’t think I even noticed this little cart. Your eye just goes to the Invisible Jet or the Gorilla, so it’s easy to look over what is basically a joke addition. Once I built it, I just zoomed it around, laughed, and tried to figure out where I was going to put it with my modular buildings.
It’s a simple little thing, but just so much fun to look at and unlike the vast majority of vehicles. This is a tight little build that uses stickers and colors well. You can’t argue with having more bananas either (even if they’ve gotten a lot more common between the CMF line and the Board Games), and there’s nothing saying you couldn’t change out the cargo.
If I was to buy extras of this set, it’d be so I could get more of these little guys (or, more likely, I’d buy the stickers and just build more of my own… there should be a modular Banana Co. Building). The only point I’d knock it is the little connection between back and front, since it’s just a hinge that tends to fold when you put the cover back on the front. It takes a decent amount of pressure to close up the cab, and that tends to deform it. But for display, especially around a modular town, this guy is fantastic.
The Invisible Jet is probably the most “wow” thing when we saw the initial leaks, and when you build it, I’m happy to say that those initial impressions hold. By itself, the jet is a good little mix, even if it’s smaller than most of the historical versions (which are usually closer to a military jet in design, often a bit larger or almost bomber sized at times). In the New-52, I don’t think it’s even really the nice magical jet, but I haven’t read much with her in it there.
For being “invisible”, there’s a whole bunch of light stone and other color parts, but somehow it all just works out. The addition of the tiles gives it a look that just works out so well, and it’s also pretty swooshable. Flick-fire bricks are still a bit “sigh” but it’s easy to understand why they are there.
This is also a kind of unique little section, since as a jet it’s good, but it’s also just a great batch of parts. Clear bricks, wings, and tiles are going to be some pretty hot building parts in select circles. I can see them working into space builds and MOCs, or just being used to hide some structural elements are more elaborate builds.
Ultimately, the biggest issue with this set is the price, followed closely by the focus on Batman. With the popularity of The Flash on TV (or the DC TV Universe in general), this set could have easily been more Flash-centric and still been successful. The Bat-Mech is actually a cool build, but you just feel all-along that we could have gotten something more if it wasn’t there. More animals for Gorilla Grodd to control, throw in Green Arrow or maybe even Reverse Flash and more of a city scene for them to run around.
The set is a weaker set, and the cost likely higher (though all bigfig sets seem to carry a high price premium), because it’s all about Batman. The little cart is absolutely awesome, the minifigure selection (outside of Batman) is wonderful, and the Invisible Jet is great… but the price and the instability of the Bat-Mech are hard to ignore. Having some great parts and stickers are cool and all, but almost half of the parts seemingly go into that mech and it’s easily the least interesting part of the set.
I wrestled with this score probably more than any other review, moving back and forth between a three and a four several times.One more figure (maybe another Banana Co. Helper), a more substantial jet, more stuff for the Flash or Gorilla Grodd, or just lowering the price a few bucks would have been a difference maker. But I have to knock off a point for the price alone, and more for the mech stability, making this a three out of five. It hits a sale and this is one that any serious Super Heroes collector should buy.
What I liked
- Wonder Woman in more modern costume, Flash in a good set, and Banana Co guy are all great figures to have
- The Invisible Jet is as good as it looked initially, and the Banana Cart is a little surprise of awesome
- Some great parts in this set, especially in the invisible jet, and even some great stickers
What I didn’t like
- I know it’s beating a dead horse, but until it changes we’re going to keep making horseburger: not every single set needs Batman
- Gorilla Grodd’s printing is different from any of the current versions (though I’m sure I’ll get corrected on this in the comments)
- Mech has some serious stability issue outside of a handful of poses due to the top-heavy nature of the build
- The price feels high for what you get… maybe we don’t need to tack on $10 just because there’s a bigfig in a set… right?
Verdict: If you’re impatient (like me), go pick it up now. Otherwise, when this thing goes on even a bit of a sale, it’s going to be worth getting. Pick up 76026 Gorilla Grodd Goes Bananas right now on Lego [email protected]!