Throughout their history, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have embodied more looks, forms, and variations than I can count. Seriously – these guys have been farmers. FARMERS. That said, the work NECA is doing with the Turtles matched with the classic Universal Monsters has been nothing short of amazing. The final (and best) Turtle finally joins the group – Donatello as the Invisible Man is here, whether you can see him or not.
It’s funny to think that matching the TMNT with Universal Monsters isn’t exactly new (there were, of course, vintage combinations), but the matching of the movie looks with more monstrous takes (as designed by James Gorman) has made for some very interesting figures, and forms and shapes I would never have imagined. It is funny to think about how each Turtle matches with the combined Monster form, but I feel like all of them have been very successful thus far, with Michelangelo as the Mummy being my current favorite.
Donatello as the Invisible Man feels like the most logical fit for the Turtles thus far. His scientific brain, and sometimes being a bit more in the background are qualities that lend themselves to the Invisible Man character persona with some being symbolic, and some being right on the nose. Those initial qualities only scratch the surface though, and the cool design work that gives all of these figures very unique qualities are definitely the best aspects. I love how Leo’s shell opens in a wink to the storage shells, and rotted movie mask alternate head for Mikey is inspired. Donatello definitely gets some features like those, and for a design that might be a bit more muted than the others, he still really stands out.
If you are familiar with this line, and NECA in general, you already know that the sculpting work on this figure is absolutely gorgeous. The long coat and bandages have lovely textures and the crisp paint work brings it all out in a lovely weathered look. The Invisible Man has this look and the smoking jacket/robes looks that are both well-known, but I would say for an adventuring Ninja Turtle, NECA made the correct call with this outfit for Donatello. I will likely use the goggled head and hat as my default look, but the head with the partially unwrapped bandages is really awesome, and the hollowed out approach really sells the invisible effect. I love it, so you can’t go wrong with either configuration.
The invisible pieces really are a delight, though – and make for my favorite parts of this figure. I love the toes peeking out of the bandage-wrapped feet, but the full-on swappable invisible feet and hands will likely be stalwarts of my display. They allow for the combined invisible qualities to shine, and they look great with the shell. Speaking of, the shell is fully on display and invisible which is a fun and logical wink to not needing it to be hidden to keep the mostly human form. The stored pizza slices are wonderful and helps ratchet up an effect that was cool enough on its own to the next level. The thoughtfulness of the design in this interpretation takes a UM quality that could be overshadowed by the likes of the Mummy or Frankenstein’s Monster, and puts it right out in front.
Another great thing about this figure is that has some of the best range and buttery-smooth movement in the joints of any NECA figure I can recall. Nothing – NOTHING – was stuck, or needed care to start moving in terms of the articulation, and the joint choices lend themselves well to dynamic poses. The lower part of the coat does, as expected, limit some of the leg movement, but not nearly as much as I would have initially thought. I would love to see NECA continue to match this articulation execution and joint engineering across all of their TMNT figures because Donny moves great and is solid as a rock.
Finally, this figure comes with an myriad of accessories and swappable parts that conform to the NECA Ultimates Edition standards. I mentioned the head, hat, and the invisible feet and hands, but you also get alternate gloved hands for various grips to hold the accessories. Also included is Donny’s signature bo staff, microscope, beaker, and TGRI book. I love that last little detail as it pushes the TMNT x UM combination past the figures and into the accessories as well.
The Turtle gang is now complete (for now), and Donatello as the Invisible Man is a wonderful final addition. He is starting to hit various online shops now, and BBTS has him available for pre-order, so don’t miss out. Casey Jones as the Phantom of the Opera is up next, and they we will see where else this cool line goes in the frightening future!