What a weird little ride this set of blind bags has been! Way way back these Series 1 figures could be found on eBay, mostly coming from the UK, priced anywhere from “sortta reasonable” to “what the shit are you thinking.” We expected these to drop at any point here in the States, but a strange thing happened – Series 2 began cropping up, first one or two little places, and nowadays you can find these at pretty much any retailer of Imaginext. I broke down the codes of Series 2 a while back – you can check it out here.
I wish I could point you straight to these Series 1 fellas, but the truth is they just kinda sprang up on me. I was at this scattered, mess of a K-mart that I try to check at least once every month or so, and wouldn’t you know, there was like 10 or 12 hanging on rack – which itself is a little strange, because most of the time there’s some unkempt box of these lying around somewhere. No, just a dozen or so on a rack. I dug through them, looking at the numbers using the “system” I’ve outlined in previous posts and again below, and dammit, they only had 7 of the 8. I sortta gave up on it, figuring I could order the last one off the web if my kid really wanted it.
And then about 4 or 5 days ago, we dropped by the closest Barnes & Noble just to see if they had anything new. I was just finishing up my survey of the small diecast and Star Wars sections when my kid came bolting around the corner waving one of those Series 1 bags in my face! I was definitely excited for him. The display was just out of his reach, so I got it down and wouldn’t you know there was only like 7 bags in the box – not a good sign. To top it off, I wasn’t 100% sure what numbers we already had since it’d been a couple of weeks since I jotted them down. However, it seemed like I remembered a gap – 81 – 86 and then 88 – but these things sometimes have gaps…turns out I found a single 87. I was like 95% sure. Just to be sure, we opened it up right outside the door and it was the missing link!
So yeah, reflexively I could say “go check K-mart and Barnes & Noble” but for the time being I think the distribution of Series 1 is so scant that it’s only worthwhile to point to specific locations. If you’ve got any info to share, I’d love to hear it.
If you haven’t read any of my previous material on Imaginext Blind Bags or you simply don’t know how to tell the difference, allow me to break it down. If you’re already familiar with this, skip down to the next blue line for the big reveal. Now this method won’t tell you which character is in which bag (although my guide below will) but it will let you tell the bags apart from one another – particularly useful because then you don’t end up with 7 of the same character (useless) while you’re trying to find those last 2. All you’ve gotta do is flip the bag over and look at the back. You want to check the upper left corner where you’ll find some numbers, usually 2. They’re embossed/pressed into the plastic, not inked on, so you might have to tilt it just right to see it. Each number represents a different figure. So two bags with “88” on it will contain the same figure, and for example, if you find numbers 88, 87, and 84, you know you’ve got 3 separate figures. Again, make sure you check the upper left, because there’s nothing in the upper right except some weird complicated manufacturing code.
I never know which is in which bag, but my kid usually wants all of them so all I have to do is make sure I know how many there are – count the number of figures on the cover – and then make sure I have that many different numbers. If there’s 6 guys on the cover, make sure you’ve got 6 distinct numbers. In the case of Series 2 we’re dealing with 8 of ’em, so we need 8 different numbers. I should also point out that the numbers may or may not be sequential. For instance, let’s say there’s a set of 4 (I’ve never seen one that small, just trying to cut down on the numbers here) and you’ve found numbers 64, 65, and 67. While it would make sense that your missing figure is 66, that may not be true. It could definitely be 63 or 68, though I’ve never seen it skip more than one number. Not sure what the missing number is about; it doesn’t represent a “secret” character or anything ‘cuz I’ve been through entire boxes of these retaining that oddly missing number.
And one last piece of advice if you’re a novice: the little codes can be tough to read, so make sure you look at them closely. It can be easy to mistake 8’s for 3’s and vice versa.
81 – DC Comics Red Hood – I don’t way Imaginext names them like this, with that “DC Comics” prefix, but whatever, I copied these names straight off the insert that came in each back just to be official. Anyway, if you have lots of other Imaginext DC stuff, this guy is the crown jewel of the series since we haven’t ever seen him elsewhere (that I know of). The figure is appropriately dark and ominous, with a fucking giant bazooka / sniper rifle to complete the no mercy vigilante package.
82 – Catwoman – My kiddo prefers the more widely available black version, though I kinda dig this purple iteration of the anti-heroine. I guess it reminds me of Batman: The Animated Series. Other Catwomans come with a whip…this one comes with one fucking ferocious feline. Seriously, shit is E-V-I-L.
83 – Nightwing – Is Nightwing supposed to be blue or red? Hell if I know, but this one is red compared to the all-blue Nightwings we’ve seen thus far. (Is it just the one packaged with Deathstroke?) The trusty quarterstaff remains his only implement.
84 – Batman (Zero Year) – I’m not DC-savvy enough to know exactly what “Zero Year” is, though the term does occasionally crop up with these Imaginext figures. In this case, I guess it explains why Batman a) has purple gloves, b) a giant forehead, c) uncharacteristic stubble, and d) strange boot-kneepad things that look like they’re ready to take him straight to the bottom of the Atlantic. Seriously, we’ve got plenty of Batmans at our disposal without this weirdo variant. If that weren’t enough, he comes equipped with these claw-like things…are they restraints? A weapon? Some kind of climbing apparatus? Who knows. It’s some Zero Year shit, that’s what it is.
85 – Two-Face – For those of you who remember The Animated Series, you’ll instantly recognize this version of Two-Face…except I think the one on TV had a necktie while the figure sports a bowtie. Sure, it’s a crazy-ass Two-Face, but it’s the one that a lot of us grew up with, at least until Tommy Lee Jones’ Freddy Krueger-esque, purple-tinged visage burned its way into our memory, if only temporarily. His blind bag comes with a coin that’s way too big for the figure but a good size for a child to flip around. Imaginext screwed up the coin a bit though. Instead of a “double head-ed” misprint where one side was all scratched up, this is just a coin with Harvey Dent on one side and Two-Face on the other. Yeah right; even in Gotham City I think you’d be hard-pressed to get that minted.
86 – DC Comics Slade (Un-masked) – Why does Imaginext call him “Slade”? I don’t have a fucking clue. It’s a nice counterpart to the “masked” Slade available in the elusive Nightwing/Slade 2-pack, though he brandishes the same bone-crushing blade. Really I don’t know which is more menacing: Deathstroke with his odd one-eyed mask, or the fact that there’s an old man pirate-looking motherfucker underneath.
87 – Batman (Un-masked) – As my son lamented yet another version of Batman to add to his ranks, we came up with a good idea – it’s Hush! On the real I have no idea what, if anything, Hush has connected about Bruce Wayne and Batman, but we do know he surgically altered himself to look like Bruce Wayne. If he did know that Wayne = B-man, it’s entirely plausible that he might dress up and cause his own brand of chaos and mayhem. I can’t think of a great reason to need an unmasked Batman, but there’s always a good reason to add another villain to the mix! Oh yeah, and he comes with a GIANT ASS BATARANG. BRANG.
88 – The Joker – This Joker looks a lot like the others aside from the lighter periwinkle accents. Do other Jokers’ have that sideways smirk? Seems like I may have seen it once before. At any rate, he’s ready to crush your skull or your nuts with that comically large wrench.
Overall this set is a bit repetitive, though notable for its inclusion of Red Hood. I guess the Nightwing / Slade 2-pack is probably difficult for some people to find so this series would include an acceptable alternative. I do commend Imaginext’s tip of the hat towards The Animated Series with Two-Face and Catwoman, though other versions of these 2 are relatively easy to find. Not sure I see much point in Batman Zero Year and Batman Un-masked, unless of course you wanna get a little crazy with it like my son and turn them into different characters. Still, a proper Bruce Wayne would’ve made a better substitute for Hush. So yeah, totally awesome that Series 1 has popped up – even if it is a couple of months after Series 2 – but if you have trouble finding them, I’d tell you not to sweat it, and if it’s really tearing you up inside, just get on eBay and blow $10 – $15 on a Red Hood and be done with it!
The coolest part of it all is that if you’ve been keeping up with your DC figures, you can finally stick all 3 Robins in one place! Dick Grayson = Nightwing, Jason Todd = Red Hood, and Tim Drake = Red Robin. They don’t make a female Robin so Stephanie Brown’s out for the part (like anyone cares) so I guess the Robin mantle goes to…Damian? Right? Bruce and Talia’s dysfunctional child? Actually Damian’s dead, isn’t he? Aw fuck it. Still cool to stick the other 3 Robins together, even if we don’t know what to do with the current Robin!