Do you remember Dark Nights: Metal? Do you remember it fondly? Did you like all those plum-crazy Bruces Wayne cosplaying as their Justice League teammates? If nothing else, Metal was a loud, nutso ball of energy that set up Scott Snyder’s run on Justice League—including the introduction of the Batman Who Laughs.
The Batman Who Laughs comes from a nightmare Earth where Bruce succumbed to Joker venom and became quite a bit more like his arch-nemesis than not. He has a wicked leather outfit, spikes, big boots, and a herd of psycho Jason Toddlers who incessantly chant “crow.”
What’s not to love?
Anyway, Diamond Select Toys are releasing their stab at this Dark/Clown Knight/Prince this month, with an entry in their $45 Gallery PVC line. They sent me one so I could take a look at it, and look we shall! Read on!
Comparing with the source
The most obvious point of comparison for this statue is Greg Capullo’s work on the main Dark Nights: Metal comic book, but it’s actually the wrong point of comparison. Diamond appears to have taken a cue from other artists, like Ethan Van Sciver: there are more chest straps, plus shoulder straps, plus taller bat-ears, and his frame and visage are a bit more realistic-looking than what Capullo went for.
So how did Diamond do? For the most part, they nailed it. The detail on the suit is excellent, both in terms of molding and paint, and that long leather overcoat comes eerily close to reality (even though it’s plastic). The tarot card is a wonderful touch, too, and it looks just like what we saw on the Metal cover that featured it.
The paint on the buckles and straps is top-notch. The buckles have bits of rust mixed in, and the paint is applied very cleanly, so there isn’t any spilling onto the straps—neither on the outer nor inner edges. The straps have a nice variance in molded and painted texture, making them look like broken-in, cracked leather. There’s even little stitching on the straps, which is a great touch, even if you have to be right up on it to notice.
The chain looks good, though I’m super-disappointed it doesn’t have the Toddlers on the end. Now, it’s just a chain.
The weakest link (of the statue, not the chain) is by far the headband and bat ears. They just look a lot cheaper—more plastic-y—than the rest of the piece. The ears should be painted metal, too, instead of black. The headband’s biggest problem is probably the seam running around its middle, but even the spikes themselves have an unconvincing appearance. It’s a shame, because the rest of the statue has some of the best work I’ve seen on Diamond’s Gallery line.
That said, in most common scenarios—at least my most common scenarios—I’m too far away to notice the texture of the band and ears, and what I’m left with is a very striking, very accurate representation of what I saw on the page.
Complaints about the headband and ears aside, the Batman Who Laughs Gallery is one of Diamond’s finest pieces. It’s an outstanding likeness for what we saw in the Metal event, and the texture and paint on the body manages to look eerily real, even (and especially) close-up. I also have to say that it’s great seeing DST tackle a current comic book design, too, and if this one is any indication of what sort of quality we can expect in such offerings, I hope they produce many more. You can find your Batman Who Laughs at comic shops this month.