The all-new DC Designer Series: Greg Capullo Batman, Talon, Nightwing, and Riddler figures can be purchased online and at your local comic shop as of today, May 14th. Every 6-7-inch character is modeled after all-star artist Greg Capullo’s work on the New 52 Batman series and crafted by professional statue and action figure sculptor Jonathan Matthews. I talked about the Batman figure a couple of weeks back and how impressed I was with it and today I’m turning my attention to the former boy wonder, Dick Grayson!
The figure comes in a white and red box with front and side window for viewing the character and the accessories that come with him. Nightwing includes 2 Eskrima sticks, which fit into his the grip of his hands and do so fairly easily. The Eskrima sticks were a bit of a disappointment though since they are just black plastic sticks with no carving whatsoever. A tiny Nightwing symbol in the handle would’ve been nice, but it’s a nitpick only fanatics will grumble about. The back of the box shows you a colored image of all four Designer Series 1 figures and on the non-windowed side you’ll find a circled #3 (marking this as the 3rd character in the Series 1 set) and a snippet of a panel from Capullo’s Batman #1, which featured Nightwing speaking with Batman.
While impressed with the quality of the figure, it doesn’t quite have the wow-factor and blazing originality of the Batman or Talon collectibles. When imagining a series of Capullo-inspired action figures, I think of those characters that Capullo totally made into his own and I must say that Nightwing doesn’t immediately jump to mind. He looked great, like any other being conjured up by that artist’s pencil, but it wasn’t a take on Nightwing that had never been seen before. Also, Nightwing hasn’t exactly factored into the pages of Batman all that much! No, I would’ve expected an Owl Man, Faceless Joker, Gordon, or maybe even Alfred! Man, I would’ve killed for an Alfred or Gordon toy as a kid… Anyway, the New 52 Nightwing in general isn’t quite as captivating as Batman. He’s almost entirely matte black with a red emblem that wraps around his chest and shoulders and that’s it. You’ll have to look closely to really appreciate the subtler details like the linework in the figure’s bladed gauntlets or the definition of his musculature. The eye is drawn to Nightwing the least in the set because of the New 52 design’s simplicity. It wasn’t until Brett Booth redesigned the character in the pages of Kyle Higgins’ Nightwing that the hero found a slightly more dynamic flair with stripes that ran down his arms and red highlights beneath the lenses of his mask– a figure mimicking this is actually on the way.
A Capullo Nightwing may not be a top choice for what I would like to see from a series celebrating the artist’s work, but sculptor Jonathan Matthews captures the likeness of Capullo’s take on Grayson extremely well (the ball-jointed neck seems a teensy bit thick and the facial expression are my only real complaints), appears lifted from the page in both form and color, and he looks great side-by-side with The Dark Knight. Unfortunately, it’s harder to achieve a really iconic pose. With Batman it’s easy to come up with a variety of bold and intimidating postures (and the cape helps with balance), but that’s not what Nightwing is all about, which is why I was also a little let-down to see Grayson wearing a grimace instead of a smile. Nightwing is a more lighthearted character popular for his flexibility as an acrobat and so any pose that came to mind required an amount of limberness that the figure just doesn’t possess or he couldn’t maintain balance while holding it. Instead of trying to pull off a crouching pose of some kind or lift a leg in the air or do the splits, I just went for something more combat-oriented and defensive using the Eskrima sticks. It’s a high-quality figure that Wingnuts should like to add to their collection, but it’s the least exciting of the four released in Series 1.
Series 1 including Batman, Nightwing, Talon, and Riddler will be available May 14th. Later this year, Series 2 will be released and that features the likes of Red Hood One, Catwoman, Mr. Freeze, and Batman Thrasher (who should be called Owl-Buster Armor Batman, dangit). All figures retail for $24.95 with the exception of Batman Thrasher, who will sell for $39.95.