I suppose it was inevitable that I was going to buy this figure.
Well, maybe not inevitable. If it had been priced at the twenty bucks that Mattel seemed to be moving toward when the DCUC line died I would’ve passed. But I found the new Batman Unlimited and DC Unlimited waves at Target for $15.99 and that seemed just cheap enough.
I first saw this new Batman at Billy’s Toys, but he was $24.99 there and I wasn’t about to pay that. I wasn’t even all that sure I wanted one, let alone for that price. But we stopped at Target on the way home – I was hoping to find a Batgirl – and they had a few of the figures at the lower price. Actually, they had everybody but Batgirl.
The next day I stopped at Target on the way into work and they had everybody. Since I was buying Batgirl I decided to go ahead and get Batman. I buy Batmans. Pretty much any new version that comes out. Not every Batman, but any that seem significant to canon and are actually Bruce Wayne. Although I’d buy a Dick Grayson Batman in a second.
Side Note: If you’re curious, here are my thoughts on the remainder of these new DC figures from Mattel:
Penguin – Don’t care for the sculpt or the colors. I like the character of Oswald Cobblepot a lot, but I’ll wait for a more “realistic” version.
Hawkman – I think this design is great. As a matter of fact, as much as I dislike the New 52 designs in comics I think they make for awesome action figures. All of those lines and armor plates look really neat. This Hawkman looks badass. I just don’t want another Hawkman that won’t match my Hawkgirl.
Flash – Another cool-looking action figure. I like the yellow detail on his costume and the lightning effects look awesome. But I just don’t need another Flash, especially with Wally West coming soon from Matty.
Superman – Also a cool design and overall a great-looking figure. I just don’t much care for Superman and I really don’t like what I read of the New 52 Superman. Making the godlike character an arrogant prick did not improve things. I will, however, be doing a review of this one since Lil’ Troublemaker picked one out as a reward for something or other.
Since I usually do some sort of character talk about figures I review, I’ll briefly discuss my feelings on New 52 Batman:
I think Scott Snyder is doing a bang-up job. As much as I wish we were getting the lighter-hearted Bruce Wayne that Grant Morrison brought back through time a couple of years ago, Snyder’s storytelling has been great and was perhaps the least effected by DC’s massive
mistake reboot. “Night
of the Owls” suffered from being spread across books and from
becoming nearly incomprehensible in the middle, but everything since
has been good to great. The one-shot issue with that girl was awesome
and “Death of the Family” was outstanding and will clearly have
long-term consequences. The finale was some of the smartest comic
book storytelling I’ve seen in a long time and I think it will
definitely go down as one of the greatest Joker stories ever told.
All of that also had an impact on whether or not I was going to buy this figure. Obviously I did, so let’s get to it.
First Glance: I’ll tell you this – I’d like it a lot more if Batman had a flat grey paint job rather than this metallic nonsense. He looks like some kind of goofy 90’s-era Anniversary figure. Like the 500th Batman figure or something. But sculpt-wise he looks cool. Batman is one character that should appear to have armor plating.
Articulation: Nothing new for the new line, which is okay. I’m glad Mattel didn’t decide to try and reduce costs by removing Ps of A.
Head – ball joint
Shoulders – swivel/hinge
Biceps – swivel
Wrists – swivel
Abdomen - pivot
Waist - swivel
Hips – swivel/hinge
Thighs - swivel
Knees – pivot
Ankles - pivot
The head is on one of those double joints, so it has a great range of motion.
The belt buckle on mine wasn’t quite centered, but the belt is a separate piece so I was able to twist it and get it into place.
The elbows seem to have just a bit deeper pivot than older DCUC releases. Also, the new torso sculpt is done in such a way that Batman’s arms can actually hang naturally at his sides rather than sticking out a bit like a kid in a snowsuit.
The rest of the joints all function well. Everything moves freely and holds the pose you give it.
Here’s the problem – the package states that this figure is good for ages “4+”:
I almost always have Lil’ Troublemaker downstairs with me when I open and photograph toys; especially Batman and Doctor Who. He knows how to handle toys. He is careful with his own and extra careful with mine. Still, he is five and I feel like if a toy survives a half hour or so of five year old play then it’s probably good to go for adult needs. Very rarely has a toy or figure ever seen damage from my son.
No more than five minutes after I handed Batman over, Lil’ troublemaker came back into my office holding Batman and the figure’s twisted-off arm with tears in his eyes.
I picked him up and hugged him and told him it wasn’t his fault and that Mattel had just made a fragile, crummy toy. He knows all about Mattel and DC Direct’s “fragile toys”. He’ll often ask me if a toy is going to be fragile. He knows that Ninja Turtles, GI Joe, and Star Wars aren’t fragile. Typically he doesn’t even want to touch NECA’s stuff, so their durability really never comes into question. For the most part Underground Toys’ Doctor Who line is not fragile.
So Lil’ Troublemaker knows how to handle toys, especially when Daddy has said to be careful because it might be fragile. And that bicep joint had been suspect when I was taking pictures.
I returned the broken one and got a new one no problem. I’ll be posing it once and putting it on the shelf, although I’m not sure which shelf. I have a Batman shelf and a Justice League shelf and I’m not sure where this guy will go. I’m not sure he’s Regular Batman material.
Sculpt: This Batman has a surprising number of new parts – upper and lower torso, biceps, forearms, hands, utility belt, calves, and feet. His head might even be new. It looks just different enough from my other Batman heads to at least be a re-tooling.
I doubt this was intentional – especially since I’m not even sure this is a completely new head – but the head sculpt is somewhat reminiscent of Greg Capullo’s artwork. It has a shape and face that looks like his style.
The torso is a bit leaner than some of the other Batmans and has a lot of the seams and detailing that has come to be associated with the New 52. I think it all looks good and makes for a more dynamic and interesting-looking action figure. This line work also helps to conceal the abdominal pivot, which looks much better on this figure than previous Mattel DC figures.
The new utility belt is very narrow, but as I said it moves independently of the torso and hips. It has a ton of detail and looks good for such a small belt. I have always preferred the pouch-covered utility belt since it actually makes sense. There have even been a few instances of Batman and Robin having larger pouches on the back of their utility belts under their capes.
The new gloves and boots look cool. The seams and plating lend them a weight that suggest Batman’s kicks and punches are going to be much more devastating. I like that there are treads on the bottoms of the boots:
But wish they were a little deeper and more visible on the sides.
Mattel seems to have found a middle ground between the actual good plastic that toys should be made of and the almost-rubber that they were using towards the end of the DCUC line. Batman is solid, but his extremities have the telltale give of cheaper plastic. This is probably why the joint twisted right off of the first one I bought.
Coloring: I dig that the cape and cowl are a flat black and the gloves and boots are glossy. It gives the figure a little more character. The flat black Bat symbol in the middle of the metallic grey is a nice contrast as well.
However, I do not particularly care for the metallic grey. It doesn’t look like armor, as I think it’s supposed to. It looks like a goofy variant. The shade is okay, it’s just the metallic thing. I’m also still not sold on Batman without trunks.
The yellow on the utility belt is a bit sketchy. You can sort of see through it in places.
My figure is painted very well. I can’t find any errors and the Bat symbol in particular is tight and well done. The edges are painted all the way out. My problem is this fucking thing:
Seriously? That’s the only place that could go? Not on his back or under his foot? What asshole made this choice? Fucking shit.
Flair: Batman’s cape is a new sculpt that clearly shows the sides folded up over his shoulders. I like that the neck is a bit lower on this Batman than on others.
Accessories: Not a damn thing. Despite the fact that right there on the back of the card “Vast arsenal of weapons and gadgets” is listed as part of Batman’s deal.
By this time Mattel has plenty of gadgets already tooled – Batarangs, grapple guns, other doo-dads that could conceivably be in the Dark Knight’s arsenal. But they did not include any here. Boo.
Packaging: The new DC Unlimited packaging is virtually identical to the Batman Legacy stuff. It’s a little overdone, but it does draw the eye and looks good hanging from the pegs. The cardback features some original art and a bio:
I think everybody knows that.
Most importantly, this type of packaging is easy to open. Mattel seems to be trying to eliminate the figure warping that has been a signature of their products for so long, posing these new figures in neutral positions that don’t bend the extremities.
Also, once you open the box there are ads for MattyCollector.com all over the place:
Value: $15.99 – a price I once found outrageous for a 6” scale figure – isn’t bad for this guy. I find the lack of accessories disturbing, but that’s where we are now with Mattel. I will kindly not point out the veritable wealth of accessories that the much better releases from NECA and Diamond Select tend to have. Oops. Guess I did.
Overall: I’m not disappointed by this figure (as long as it doesn’t break again), but it’s hardly necessary. The absence of accessories and seeming fragility are definitely issues, but other than that this is a nice-looking toy that looks like New 52 Batman. If that’s something you want you should go buy one.
3 out of 5
I don’t think you’re going to have a problem finding this guy. From what I have seen it looks like he’s two per case right now and every place that I have found the new DC Unlimited figures has had at least two Batmans.