If you’ve even dabbled in collecting Batman-related merchandise, then you probably know Kotobukiya. They’ve produced memorable statues for all sorts of DC characters, but their Batman ARTFX statue—across several versions—is considered one of the best statues of the Dark Knight that there is. As if having one outstanding Batman wasn’t enough, a year or two ago they released their All-Star Batman and Robin two-pack, featuring what might be my favorite pose in any Batman statue ever. Not content to stop at two, Koto is at it again, this time capturing the distinctive blend of homage that is the Rebirth Batman.
But didn’t this suit come out (just) before Rebirth?
No. Well, yes. Sort of. Greg Capullo is responsible for the bulk of the suit’s design. The yellow outline around the Bat, the purple cape lining, the cleaner look of the jumpsuit. But there are a few significant departures from Capullo’s initial design. The most obvious is in the cowl: whereas Capullo designed it to feature a nose that came straight down from the brow, pretty much every artist since has used a more conventional look that follows the natural brow and nose contours. Then there’s the belt: Capullo’s dramatically swept up over the hips, and while some artists (David Finch and John Romita, Jr.) preserved this to varying degrees, most have reduced or removed the hip rise and went with something less dramatic.
But anyway, the statue
As I mention in the video above, Koto had a great design to start with, and they respected that design incredibly well. The cape has its purple lining, the cowl its fairly short ears. The Bat has its yellow outline, and the belt is shaped and colored perfectly. The few lines that appear on the jumpsuit in the comics are here, as well, and while I don’t really know why we need those below-the-belt lines drawing our attention to Bruce’s crotchola, they’re here, too. The boots and gauntlets look great, too—the latter sort of a blend between Finch and Janín, with the cleaner look and stubbier blades of Finch, and the sharp scoop at the inner elbow from Janín.
As much as I enjoy the design, though, the things that matters most to me are the sculpt and pose, and I absolutely love them. The pose can come across in a few different ways, depending on your vantage point. From one perspective, Batman is coiled, energy stored up in his bent right leg, preparing to throw his Batarang. But shift to the left, so that his right knee is directly in front of you, and he appears to be surveying the ground beneath him, looking for something that he knows is there, even if he can’t see it yet. Heck, you could even display him with his back facing you—the swirl of the cape and the tilt of the head are dramatic enough to be quite interesting, and the blades of his left gauntlet and the Batarang are still visible.
The musculature is probably closest to Jason Fabok’s interpretation—not as lean as Finch, nor as shoulder-heavy as Janín, but with much more definition than Lee Weeks or Mitch Gerads. There’s some Finchy fabric bunching in suit, which is a very nice touch, and the creases in the swirling cape also look just perfect.
Koto’s ARTFX+ statues are usually modular—they’re made in many pieces, and after those pieces are painted, they are assembled. The plus side is that you generally have very clean paint application, without any errant spray ending up where it shouldn’t. The downside is that, occasionally, the seams where these pieces join are in awkward places. This was the case in the ASBR two-pack’s Batman, with a pretty ugly joint on the neck where the head piece connected. Here, seams are still visible, but the modularity has been designed much more strategically. So there’s a line where the head joins the neck, but it is along the place where the “helmet” of the cowl joins the neck—a logical place for a break, whether or not artists typically render it. Similarly, there are seams where arms join gauntlets and legs join boots, and even where his left bicep joins the shoulder muscles; but these are all situated such that the context demands some separation, or, at least—in the case of the shoulder—minimizes it.
The paint job is very well done. There’s some variation in grey tones on the suit to imply shadow around muscles, and some similar shading on the purple cape lining, and it all works quite well. The gold lines in the belt are cleanly applied, even around back where they’re much harder to notice. The skin tone on the face is also nicely-done, with some darker color mixed in, perhaps to imply a five o’clock shadow. The eyes, perhaps the tiniest detail on the statue, are perfect. The only spot where the paint could be a bit better is the Bat symbol. The most noticeable problem is the shape of the “inner” Bat—it doesn’t uniformly fill the yellow beneath it, especially at the ears. Even at a distance, the Bat therefore looks a little less crisp than other elements on the statue. Upon closer inspection, the bottom edge of the yellow doesn’t quite fill the raised portion of the sculpt on which it sits, either.
At any rate, these are small issues, and even with the first one, you aren’t likely to notice it most of the time, and your brain will probably attribute the lack of crispness to degraded vision, anyway.
The bottom line is that this is one of the nicest Batman statues being produced today. Its sculpt is excellent, the paint work lagging just slightly behind, and the pose is very versatile, offering several equally-excellent display possibilities. If they made this exact same statue at twice or three times the size, I would be all over that one, too. Whether you’re a fan of the Rebirth design elements or not, this is a fantastic-looking Batman, and you ought to make space on your shelf for your own. It retails for $64.99 here in the US, and you can buy it straight from Koto or wherever their products are sold.
If you want to keep up to date with all things Kotobukiya, you can visit their official website at en.kotobukiya.co.jp, follow them on Facebook or Twitter, or check out their My Figure Collection page, where they post about their statues and events.