- The Washington Times - Monday, December 18, 2017

Here’s a selection of top gift ideas for young hero fans in the family.

Batbot Extreme (Fisher-Price, for ages 3 and older, $109.99, requires 2 AA batteries) – The most impressive piece of technology in Batman’s arsenal is a towering mech that allows the Caped Crusader to climb aboard and stop the most dangerous of super-powered villains.

That’s great news for owners who control the 2-foot-tall stationary but highly interactive robotic figure that features Bat blue armor, a yellow-and-black bat logo and a pair of missile batteries on either shoulders.

A trio of power pads unleashes its noisy battle modes. Twist one pad to thrust its arms forward and extend the Batbot’s cloth and hard plastic wings. They span over 3 foot long while blue and red lights flash from its chest with sound effects.

Twist the second pad to open its command center chest cavity (more lights and sounds) to place the 3-inch-tall version of Batman (which is included) wearing a black-and-yellow costume with cloth cape and 5-points of articulation.

Twist the third pad to open a compartment on its foot that can either house the included black Batcycle or a captured villain.

Oh yeah, owners can also fire 10 yellow plastic darts from the missile bays with a push of six buttons or fire yellow discs from the Batbot’s fists.

Now, let’s discuss those fists. Each can punch forward with the help of its owner in a technique that will remind parents of the days when Rock’em Sock’em robots ruled the toy aisle.

However, the coolest feature allows the youngster to talk for up to 10 seconds into a microphone near the back of its helmet and activate a voice-changing feature to speak as Batbot. 

Suffice it to report, this is the crown jewel of the Imaginext’s DC Super Friends lineup and will give younger Batman fans an eye-popping and action-packed experience as they burst into the famed crime fighters world.

Swing and Sling Spidey (Just Play, for ages 3 and older, $39.99, requires 4 AA batteries included) – A nearly 15-inch-tall, plush version Marvel Comics’ web slinger gives youngsters a new pal to literally hang out with.

The interactive figure, dressed in his traditional blue-and-red costume, has two strands of sturdy white webbing coming out of its palms. Youngsters can hold these ropes as Spidey swings back and forth, hangs upside down and even does a 360-degree backflip while he talks it up and offers some web-shooting sound effects.

While on the ground, he’ll also perform triple somersaults with the push of a button on his foot.

When Spidey speaks, in a teenage voice, he not only instructs owners how to play with him but offers such pearls of wisdom and encouragement, such as: “We’re a great team to catch bad guys,” “All in a day’s work and “With great power comes great responsibility.”

Also, and certainly a highlight to true Spider-Man fans, the classic 1960s theme song also plays during many of the figure’s acrobatic swinging adventures.

Electronic Thor (Hasbro, for ages 4 and older, $19.99, requires 2 AA batteries included) – A lucky child controls Marvel Comics’ Mighty God of Thunder through a 12-inch-tall figure based on the character’s appearance in the “Thor Ragnarok” movie.

Sporting 5 points of articulation, a red cloth cape and wielding a pair of light-blue swords, the figure looks a bit like Thor actor Chris Hemsworth and comes to life when a button on its chest is pressed.

Thor either responds with sword-swinging effects and thunder claps or delivers around a dozen voice snippets (not from Mr. Hemsworth) such as “Hulk, you are much stronger than I remember,” “I’m always ready to fight,” “Valkyrie take them down,” and “I make grave mistakes all the time; everything seems to work out.”

When placed together with Gladiator Hulk (Hasbro, $34.99), he verbally interacts with the green behemoth.

Deluxe Omnitrix (Playmates Toys, for ages 4 and older, $24.99, requires 2 AAA batteries included) – A replica of 10-year-old Ben Tennyson’s alien transformation device makes a perfect gift fit for youngsters enamored with Cartoon Network’s superhero show.

Looking like it was plucked from an episode of “Ben 10,” the black-and-gray, watch-like unit features red and green flashing lights and over 100 sound effects and lines of dialogue from Ben and his aliens.

After strapped on its new owner’s wrist, a switch of a button powers up the Omnitrix as Ben exclaims, “It’s hero time.” Pop out and turn the hourglass dial while looking into its magnified window to select an illustration of one of 10 possible aliens. Push the hourglass down and tap a side green button to hear the voice of the chosen alien.

For example, expect Four Arms to say, “I will crush you,” or Heatblast to offer, “I have three modes, hot, scorching and extra crispy.” The device also reacts to movement — when the owner juts it forward, it delivers sound effects.

Note to parents: The Omnitrix is large, slightly heavy and box-like and could be a too loose fit on smaller wrists. It will be most appreciated more by a 6- to 10-year-old rather than much younger fans.

DC Toddler Batgirl (Jakks Pacific, for ages 3 and older, $19.99) – Younger girls’ first doll can now be one of the female stars of the DC Super Hero Girls animated universe through a line of generously sized, 15-inch figures featuring lifelike rooted hair and detailed costuming.

Children will fall in love with the adorable infant versions of Supergirl, Wonder Woman and Batgirl, Barbara Gordon’s alter ego and Batman’s trusted friend.

Specifically, this pint-sized version of Batgirl features big, bright green eyes and curling red hair dangling down to her hips, with garb offering a purple shiny jumpsuit with gold bat log; shimmering purplish cape; a black sparkly tutu; removable black mask; and yellow utility belt, boots and gauntlets.

Children will appreciate that most of the costume pieces are easily removable, so Batgirl can take a nap after a long day of fighting crime.

Hulk Smash FX Fists (Hasbro, for ages 4 and older, $19.99, requires 2 AA batteries included) – Inspired by the battles of Marvel Comics’ Green Goliath in the “Thor Ragnarok” movie, this pair of wearable fists offers plenty of role-playing potential.

One fist is made of soft foam while the other has soft foam as well as an plastic armor plate with a speaker that unleashes motion-sensing sound effects.

Specifically, swishing and punching noises as junior waves and thrusts the one fist into the air or pounds it into a hard surface (and not another human’s gut) or the other fist. The wearer will also often hear Hulk growl his approval and even sound more ferocious after a battery of punches.

Parents should note the hard plastic armor on the one fist could cause some pain if hitting another human.

Gift givers looking to give Hulk and opponent may also want to buy Thor’s Rumble Strike Hammer (Hasbro, $19.99). Based on design of the God’s mighty Mjolnir, the 13-inch-long toy hammer has soft foam on each side of the head and makes a spring-activated reverberating sound when it strikes a hard surface.

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