Bugs Bunny rarely went looking for trouble. His problems just arose from being in the wrong place at the wrong time - you know, when he should have taken that right turn at Albequerque. And sometimes from being in the right place at the wrong time, like when Elmer Fudd comes looking for him in his rabbit hole. A prime example of the latter is in 1952's "Water, Water Every Hare" - Bugs is sleeping soundly during a rainstorm, when the water starts to flood his home. His mattress floats upward, then drifts to the castle of the local mad scientist, who wants his brain. Hijinks ensue.
The great thing about Bugs bumbling his way into danger is that, since he never instigates things, he's free to just destroy anyone who runs across him. He's easy-going and calm, until the villain of the piece starts abusing him - and then it's on. No matter how evil he acts, we still root for him, because we know the other guy deserves it.
We already got a figure of Bugs in the first series of these figures, but DC Direct is following the same plan that Palisades did with the Muppets - release variations first, then "stock" versions of the characters later. Series 1 gave us Viking Bugs, from "What's Opera, Doc?" This time, however, we get a plain vanilla Bugs Bunny.
The figure is 6 3/4" tall, and he looks great. Absolutely like Bugs Bunny should, from the pads of his feet to the tips of his ears. He moves at the hips, wrists, shoulders and neck. Oh, and the tail. He doesn't have interchangeable arms this time, but he doesn't really need them. What he does get is an extra head: one is all happy and confident, while the other is scared out of his mind.
The frightened face is especially good, with uneven eyebrows and his jaw pulled to one side. He's even got the tiny, swirly pupils Looney Tunes characters always flashed when they were spooked. He's articulated just enough to make him look like he's backing away in sheer terror. For some reason the cowardly head doesn't want to turn properly on the neck balljoint - it sticks, rather than moving freely like the happy head does. A drop of vegetable oil on a Q-tip should take care of that pretty easily, though.
The guy he's backing away from is the mad scientist who was after his brain. The little guy has a huge, bulboud head and light green skin. One sinister black eyebrow curves over both eyes, and he's got a malicious smirk. He's wearing the latest in mad scientist couture: a white lab coat and black pants. Tres chic!
Mr. Scientist is 3 5/8" tall, and moves at the Springfield Four - neck, shoulders and waist. He's got a clear plastic disc base to help keep him standing, and he's toting a beautifully painted axe that's nearly as big as he is. It's more than 2" long, and the grey part of the head has a lighter drybrushing to help make it look more metallic. He can clutch the axe fairly well, though it is just held in place by friction, rather than pegs or anything. One of the trippiest things in the whole cartoon was when Bugs and the scientist inhaled ether fumes and embarked on a wild, low-speed chase, running about as if in zero gravity and speaking in slowed-down voices.
The mad scientist's voice was based on Vincent Price. For a long time, in fact, it was rumored that Vince did the voice himself, but no: it's actually just a really good impression. And that's not the only classic horror connection this little guy has - his face is a caricature of Boris Karloff, the man behind the make-up of Universal's Frankenstein.
The set includes two translucent bottles: one yellow, unlabeled; and one red with a black stopper and a sticker identifying it as Vanishing Fluid. Bugs is holding the Vanishing Fluid in the package, but while his hand is designed to curl around the bottle, he can't actually hold it. It just falls out of his hand. If you want him holding it, you'll have to find some way to attach it - those little clear rubberbands some toys are held in place by work well.
There's a simple platform base for the figures that measures 5" by 3" and is 1 1/4" tall. The top of the base lifts off for storage, though it's a little too shallow to hold Bugs' extra head. There's a slot in the back to display a cardboard backdrop - one side shows a row of glass jars on shelves, the other shows the robot that would have housed Bugs' brain.
This is only Series 3, but it's already given us our fourth Bugs Bunny - but this is the first time we've gotten him in the nude, so to speak. In fact, the only thing that would make this a better buy would be if he included a carrot to munch on. Otherwise? Mad scientist or no, this set is one to get.
What other cartoon pairs do you want to see? Tell us on our message board, the Loafing Lounge.