Kotobukiya Batman & Robin ARTFX+ two-pack review

Inspired by the cover for the ninth installment of Frank Miller and Jim Lee’s unfinished All-Star Batman & Robin (henceforward ASBR), the fine folks at Kotobukiya have delivered one of their best Batman statues yet—and thrown in a pretty nifty Robin, to boot. Featuring energetic poses and excellent sculpting, this Dynamic Duo of 1/10 scale statues is worth a look—so let’s have look!

Better than the original

Unlike ASBR, this statue set is complete. And also unlike ASBR, things actually get better when you open up the package and see what’s inside. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

The box itself is pretty nifty, with some great shots of the statues themselves. We also get a somewhat rejiggered version of the ASBR #9 cover on one side. Oddly, the symbol on the Batsuit comes from Lee’s Hush design rather than from ASBR. The same symbol appears in cutout on the top of the box, too. It’s odd, because the Batman statue has the ASBR version. It’s also disappointing, because personally, I prefer the Hush symbol, and I would rather they have broken canon on the statue, too. Oh well.

If you like to display your collectibles in the packaging, you might be a bit disappointed: Bruce and Dick are well-covered by some plastic bags, so they aren’t very easy to see unless you take them out. I suppose you could put them back in the molded plastic, sans-bags, but if you’re going to go that far, why not just put them on your shelf without any obstruction? For me, this is all irrelevant: I take my stuff out of the box, and I put that box in the recycling can, no matter how pretty it is.

No bonuses—but who cares?

Koto’s excellent Batman: The Animated Series statue comes with several configurable options for Batman’s head, facial expression, and right hand, as well as a sweet base for storing unused pieces. Other than the magnetic display base, this Bats and Robin two-pack comes with…Bats and Robin. But you know what? It doesn’t matter. For starters, that magnetic display base is a gorgeous Bat-signal shape with a black bat and yellow background. I want coasters exactly like it. And the statues themselves are just plain fantastic. I never switch out the hand, mouth, or head on my Animated statue—optional configurations aren’t necessary as long as they get the statues right the first time.

And boy did they get it right

Let’s talk Batman first. I have two other ARTFX+ statues: the New 52 Batman and (as mentioned above), the Batman Animated. I won’t compare this new one with the latter, as they’re entirely different animals. But when compared with the New 52 piece, there’s no contest: the Batman in this two-pack is superior in just about every way. For starters, the pose actually suggests some sort of movement and action. Now, I know that the New 52 version comes from that wide “all hands on deck” promo from that era, but if you’re going to have Batman frozen in one position on your desk or display shelf, you probably want something that better captures the Dark Knight’s essence. Don’t get me wrong—I really like my New 52 statue—but I don’t quite love it, and the pose has a lot to do with that.

Another area where the two-pack Bats outperforms its older brother is in the sculpting. The face of New 52 doesn’t cut a strong outline. It almost looks like the T-1000, which—while threatening—does not intimidate in quite the same way that Batman should. This new one, on the other hand, has a much stronger chin, a wider lip-line, and a stockier cowl profile. The body sculpt is likewise fantastic. While I have not seen legs quite so beefy out in the real world, the level of exaggeration in Bruce’s musculature (thankfully) never reaches Jim Lee heights, in spite of his muse-status for this project.

If I have to register a minor complaint, it would be in the obvious joints where some of the parts come together. The glove, boot, and face lines (where the face ends and the cowl begins) are easy to forgive, because they are logical points of transition. But there’s a seam where the neck joins the rest of the body that—from the right angle—doesn’t look all that good. It is definitely a minor complaint, however, because I only notice it when I’m closely inspecting the statue, even though I know it’s there. It’s never displayed in such a way that the neck seam would be visible. Unless you plan on having Batman turned sideways on your shelf, you should be fine.

One other thing, though it’s less a defect and more one of the perils of the type of finish on the cape—it scratches/marks easily. My Batman had some marks on the cape out of the box. They aren’t very noticeable (you probably can’t even see them in the pictures), but if you’re the sort of person who’s going to be obsessing about things being pristine, just make sure you handle the statue with care (and clean hands).

Robin looks great, too. I love the orientation of his cape, and the smirky expression on his face. I also love the Batarang-at-the-ready pose, although getting the Batarang between his fingers was a little tougher than I expected, and I’m honestly not sure why it isn’t permanently attached to the statue. He looks awfully weird with his fingers sticking up and no Batarang, so I don’t see any value in having the option to leave it out.

Robin’s colors are pitch-perfect. I feel like most of the time that I see Robin in comics or other adaptations, his colors (and costume aesthetics) are muted to varying degrees. But the visual flamboyance of the Boy Wonder is part of what makes him so distinct from his mentor, and it’s great to see his classic color scheme and costume here.

A very dynamic duo

While I could happily display Batman all by himself, these two are better together. If you set them up like they are on the box, it looks like they’re covering threats on both sides of the room. They’re ready to spring into action, and whoever they’re looking at is about to be in a world of hurt. And the visual contrast between the two of them manages to make each of them look even better. Batman needs a Robin. And despite recent statements to the contrary, Robin needs Batman.

With a list price of $99, this set is a fantastic value. It has the best-looking Batman Koto has produced, and a super-sweet Boy Wonder thrown in for good measure. Even if you have no love for All-Star Batman & Robin, I think you’d have a hard time not loving Kotobukiya’s Batman & Robin ARTFX+ two-pack.

You can see all of Koto’s offerings (and order them!) at www.kotous.com. You can also follow them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/kotobukiya.