Gorilla Grodd Goes Bananas has to win an award for greatest LEGO set name ever. Never before has a set’s name encapsulate the essence of of a set so well and incorporate some pretty funny wordplay at the same time. The set is the second largest (tied with Black Manta Deep Sea Attack for price) in the 2015 LEGO Justice League theme and features yet another iconic DC villain, the ultra-intelligent psychic primate, Grodd!
I’m determined to power through my DC reviews so let’s get straight into the review and see if you should go bananas over Grodd!
Name: Gorilla Grodd Goes Bananas
Set Number: 76026
Price: AU$79.99 (Buy from LEGO.com [AUS] [USA])
Exclusive to: N/A
Theme: DC Super Heroes Justice League
Year of Release: 2015
Instructions: LEGO 76026 Gorilla Grodd Goes Bananas
When you’re greeted by such a strong cast of minifigures, you instantly know that the set is off to a good start. Unlike the Black Manta set (I’m going to make frequent comparisons as they’re both identically priced) which featured a tired bunch of characters (as well as a recycled Aquaman), LEGO went out of their way with this set.
Essential DC titans like The Flash, Batman and a brand spanking new Wonder Woman go up against a formidable supervillain duo of bigfig Gorilla Grodd and Captain Cold, two essential Flash villains. Also included is a hapless Banana Merchant as an innocent bystander that’s being assaulted by a very hungry Grodd.
Justice League mainstays The Flash and Batman are decent additions to any Super Hero collection. Neither are remotely new, with The Flash being a carbon copy of the minifigure included in last year’s Riddler Chase set and Batman sporting the same getup as the one from Black Manta Deep Sea Strike.
I really love the design of The Flash, so I don’t really mind getting doubles – in fact, I can easily give him shorter legs and turn him into the Kid Flash, so all is good. The printing on The Flash’s torso is nice and crisp with no discoloration to speak off.
Batman in his New 52 garb looks great and has a considerable amount of printing detail on his torso, which is always good. Being a DC set, avoiding Batman is like avoiding aggressive charity salespeople when you’re at the shopping mall – almost impossible.
Unmasking Batman reveals a very strange and unexplainable surprise – an overly tanned Bruce Wayne. I have no idea why his fleshy face is so dark orangey compared to the beige flesh skin tone that I’m used to. Has Batman been hitting the tanning bed too hard? The colour is quite disconcerting. Coupled with his ridiculous headband, it makes for a very odd look.
Barry Allen’s two faces suffer from the same criticisms I raised when I first reviewed him – namely that his face has a very obvious pinkish tinge to it.
The belle of the ball in the set is undoubtedly Wonder Woman. I am a massive fan of her New 52 look – it’s stylishly contemporary, with the silver colour scheme drawing influence from medieval armour to give her a convincing Amazonian Warrior Princess look that’s perfect for the 21st century.
I’m glad DC did away with her golden tiara and armour details, as silver goes so much better with red and dark blue. The only oddity about the minifigure is her pants. It definitely makes more sense if she’s going out to battle and I think as a minifigure, it looks a better than having exposed legs.
Pretty sure some fans will be irritated by her pants, but I actually quite like the look as I can take her more seriously and it’s refreshing when female comic book characters aren’t unnecessarily sexualised.
She’s got back printing as well – the flesh printing is slightly off compared to her arms but it’s a very small flaw. Diana also has a dual-sided face with an angry teeth-baring expression for when she needs to kick some ass and lasso of truth some no-good fool. Speaking of the Lasso of Truth, I was quite disappointed that one wasn’t included in this set!
You know she’s prepared for battle with her huge broadsword. Wonder Woman’s minifigure is a real treat for DC Super Heroes fans, and is hands-down my favourite core Justice League member that I’ve come across so far.
Here are the bad guys, the telepathic hyper-intelligent ape, Gorilla Grodd and the only (to my knowledge) parka-wearing supervillain, Captain Cold. Both are constant adversaries of The Flash, and are quite popular with the fans. Grodd is the supersized star of the set and one of the more original DC supervillains – he’s essentially an evil Professor Xavier in the body of a huge gorilla.
If you didn’t know, The Flash is my favourite super hero and I absolutely love the ongoing TV series starring Grant Gustin. Captain Cold and Grodd are recurring villains in the TV series and I love that I now own LEGO versions of them. Captain Cold is masterfully played by Prison Break star, Wentworth Miller.
Captain Cold aka Leonard Snart (worst name, ever) is the leader of the Rogues and is a perennial fan-favourite of Flash fans. Unlike most supervillains, Captain Cold doesn’t have any innate super powers and instead relies on his cold guns which emit freezing rays/beams to stop his foes dead in their tracks.
LEGO absolutely nailed Captain Cold’s design. From his iconic and totally awesome squarish visor to the powder blue parka and suit, Captain Cold’s comic book look is almost perfectly captured in ABS plastic form.
Back printing and a dual-sided face is all well and truly present and the printing on his body is reasonably sharp, with just the right level of detail. Captain Cold won’t win any fashion awards, but he definitely wins over my frozen heart.
Grodd is a relevation and an incredibly use of the bigfig format. He’s got an angry face, red eyes and some mind control device on his head. He looks a lot more ape-ish, eschewing his usual regal crown/mind-control helmet for a more gorilla-like appearance.
He’s a big bad angry monkey and looks great despite limited articulation. You can swivel his arms up and down, twirl his hands around but other than that, bigfigs tend to be quite rigid. Bigfigs are known to divide LEGO fans, but I like them for adding a lot of diversity to LEGO, especially when the need arises to portray larger non-human sized characters.
Grodd is the main draw of the set, and if you’re a DC Super Heroes collector you’d be silly to pass him up.
I’m glad to add Grodd to my primate collection.
Someone at LEGO is an Arrested Development fan as Banana Truck Driver takes the cake as being one of the sneakiest and best novelty minifigures ever included in a retail LEGO set. The minifigure reference’s Michael Cera in Arrested Development so well and is a hilarious homage to one of the funniest comedies to grace television.
I’m going to call him Michael from here on. Michael is dressed up in a bright combination of yellow polo shirt and blue overalls which have a banana mascot printed in the front and Banana Co. printed behind. Michael has a surprised look on his face, the same kind of expression you’d expect to make if a telepathic gorilla were to assault your banana truck.
I appreciate LEGO’s permitting the addition of an obscure Arrested Development reference into a proper set. Banana Truck Driver is a fantastic minifigure that’ll easily find a home in any LEGO city and I really hope to see more sneaky pop culture references like this inserted into sets.
Michael does not appreciate being manhandled. There’s always money in the banana stand – but not like this.
Moving onto assembling the set – I was pleasantly surprised to encounter one of the smallest sticker sheets I’ve seen in a while. I’m not the biggest fan of stickers so it was nice to see minimal use of these sticky abominations. At the very least they’re transparent decals and not the paper based ones which I absolutely detest.
The first thing you put together is Michael’s banana truck. It’s not a truck per se, more like a motorised cart with a trailer behind to transport crates of delicious bananas. It’s extremely basic, and looks more like a tuk-tuk than anything else.
It’s got a very basic design and you can adjust the trailer slightly, like you were folding a piece of cardboard. The crate of bananas in a very appealing nougat colour and snugly fits on the trailer.
Here’s what the cart looks like when you bend it. The feature comes in handy when you’re trying to place it in Grodd’s hands as he greedily shakes the truck down for bananas. This picture took a lot of effort to perfectly balance Michael’s vehicle on Grodd’s arms.
The next bit is extremely interesting, Wonder Woman’s Invisible Jet. Built out of mostly clear LEGO elements and some grey and white parts, the invisible jet is quite a curious build. Cobbled together using a limited amount of pieces, I guess it does do a good job of looking like an invisible fighter plane but in reality, it looks more like a glider than it does a jet.
I’m a sucker for transparent parts, so I’m naturally very excited about the clear wings (2 huge ones and 3 smaller fins) and other accompanying elements. As a model, it looks very drab and uninspired, even with blue flames shooting out from its rear thrusters.
I don’t really like that they half-arsed the invisible jet by using a mix of grey and white elements. Granted I kind of understand those parts not being available as transparent elements, but it all makes for a jarring and messy look.
The jet is tiny, with Wonder Woman having to squeeze into an awfully tight cockpit by lying down. She can’t sit upright as there’s simply not enough room. The spring loaded missiles on each wingtip also stick out like sore thumbs. Sure they’re there to add on some playability, but aesthetically, they drag the plane down.
While the jet has quite an impressive wingspan for the number of elements used to build it, I can see myself stripping it for parts almost as soon as I’m done writing this review. Jets are notoriously hard to display on shelves, so it’ll just take up precious space.
What does a billionaire vigilante who dresses up as a bat to fight crime do with his immense fortune? Buy stupid amounts of silly Batman-themed shit, of course!
The latest addition to Bruce Wayne’s collection of novelty Batman-themed vehicles is this gargantuan Bat-Mech. It’s so over the top, so ridiculous looking and so comic-booky that I love everything about it. I can confidently announce that this is one of the best Bat-vehicles I’ve ever assembled.
The Bat-Mech is gaudy and so silly that you can’t quite dislike it. Maybe it’s because I have a soft spot for LEGO mechs, or maybe I love how garish this monstrosity looks – I simply cannot hate this. It may look like the silliest thing that Batman has ever created, but you can’t fault it for embracing the playful tone that comic books conjure.
Here’s how the Bat-Mech looks from behind.
It looks clunky, chunky and has the world’s greatest detective perched in an exposed cockpit complete witha pompuous looking chest plate with the Batman logo brazenly emblazoned upon it. You kind of know that Bruce Wayne is taking the piss by now – just construct something, anything out of black and dark grey bricks, slap some Batwings on it and it’s instantly a Bat-something. Genius.
Here’s a closer look at the Bat-Mech’s horribly designed open air cockpit. There’s a stickered console which has a simulated view of Gorilla Grodd which is in kind of an awkward position.
There’s so much space in the cockpit as you’re supposed to stand Batman on the super jumper which then goes into the cockpit, but I’ve vowed not to use the super jumper because it’s known to horribly damage minifigures. I just used a generic 2 x 1 brick instead for Batman to stand on, which solves the problem instantly.
The Bat-Mech’s arms are easily its worst features. On its right hand, there’s a massive net launcher which also has two stud launchers on top of it for extra firepower.
The more humanoid arm is designed quite weirdly as there are a lot of weird gaps between each segment for the ball joints. All the joints ensure that it’s quite flexible and posable, a feature that is something all mechs should aspire to have.
Here’s the net launcher in action. It uses a very primitive pump action to manually force the net out from the cannon. I guess the net is meant to snare Gorilla Grodd but I couldn’t get a proper recording of it successfully netting the clever ape. This is as close as it got.
This is what Batman thinks of his Bat-Mech.
Definitely my favourite thing about the beautiful hulking Bat-Mech.
What I liked:
- You get a whopping 5 minifigures AND Grodd
- The not-Michael Cera minifig
- Super awesome Bat-Mech
What I didn’t like:
- Wonder Woman’s invisible jet looks pretty blah
- Price is still a little steep
- What is up with Batman’s god-awful tan?
Final thoughts: Gorilla Grodd Goes Bananas has a distinct sense of fun that’s sorely missing in a lot of LEGO sets these days. It’s easy to pick out the set’s amazing bunch of popular minifigure characters and Grodd as the standout points of the set – which they are – but there’s an inherent tongue in cheek element that makes this set a little special.
From the Arrested Development reference to the absurd and comical Bat-Mech, it was very refreshing to see LEGO loosen up and have a little fun in a theme that’s usually quite stuffy due to the need to stay true to the source material.
The minifigures included in this set are great, there’s not a single one that feels out of place or recycled, despite The Flash and Batman being present in other sets. The 3 core Justice League super heroes and complementary duo of fan-favourite Flash villains make this a great standalone set and ideal starting point if you’re new to the DC Super Heroes theme.
The Bat-Mech is far and away my favourite thing about this set. It was a lot larger than the box art illustration made me believe, measuring almost 20cm high. Like all mechs, you can pose him in a variety of positions, giving it a very high level of playability.
Wonder Woman’s jet feels kind of incomplete, but at the very least, you can salvage it for a bunch of useful transparent parts.
At $80 RRP, this set is a little pricey for the contents, but if you’re able to get it at 20% off, it becomes a lot more attractive, especially if you’re not in a rush to get this set. This set is hands down the better set compared to Black Manta Deep Sea Strike. If you only have $80 to spend, you’ll be glad to kneel before Gorilla Grodd.
Be sure to check out the Review Hub to discover more LEGO DC Super Hero reviews!