A silent guardian. A watchful protector.
A dark knight.
Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy is widely considered the greatest on-screen take on Gotham’s favorite son. Sure, like any interpretation, it has its detractors, but the aggregate sentiment seems to swing Nolan’s way. You can count me among the faithful, so when Diamond Select announced last year that they would be bringing the Nolanverse to their popular Gallery line of PVC statues, I was thrilled. The first piece—Batman, of course—comes out later this month, and Diamond seeded Batman News with a unit for advance review. So how does it measure up?
The usual level-setting
The suggested retail price for standard pieces in the Gallery line is $45. That’s incredibly inexpensive. The most obvious place where the low price shows is in the paint application: you can almost always find overspray or poor brushwork at color transitions. This Batman is no exception, with a few noticeable paint flaws. But you have to be looking for them. I will be evaluating this as a $45 plastic statue—not as a $600 Sideshow Premium Format Figure.
Diamond’s box art for the Gallery line has been trending towards “clean and simple” lately, and I like it. Batman comes in a standard three-window box, with the Dark Knight logo and his name at the bottom of the box’s front. I’ve said it before, but I don’t particularly care for windowed boxes on pieces like this—the protective plastic shell encasing the figure makes it impossible to see very clearly inside—it’s not “display-ready” like a Funko Pop!, or even Diamond’s own Vinimates. I think an opaque package with high-quality pictures of what’s inside would serve them better.
The back of the package is much better, because there aren’t any windows! We get the logo again, a nice picture of what’s inside, and a blurb about the plot of the film. That’s what I want in a package—not a window into an obscure mound of plastic.
This thing looks great, pure and simple. The Batsuit looks like pretty much just like what we saw in the film, from the different textures, to the codpiece, to the belt, gauntlets, and what-have-you. The paint color on the chest and biceps looks more gray than black in some lights, so be mindful of that when setting up yours for display—the film suit really just has two different blacks, and if you want to replicate that, you won’t want to set this up bathed in light. Go for a more Batmanny lighting set up and you should be fine.
The statue looks great from any angle, but my personal favorite is actually this:
Okay, so I won’t be displaying mine from the rear like that, because it would be somewhat odd, but I do love how iconic a look this is. Nolan gets some criticism for making things practical and departing from a comic book aesthetic, but if this isn’t universally Batman, then I don’t know what is.
*UPDATE A commenter pointed out that I didn’t have any close-ups of the cards, and when I went to take some, it turns out that the card back doesn’t suck at all. It looks sloppy from a foot away, but it is actually a printed design. I regret the negligence and the resulting error.* The playing cards…suck. The faces look good enough, but the backs? At such a small size, with less-than-meticulous paint work, they just look really sloppy. I don’t know how difficult it would have made the process, but a printed, rather than painted look would have been much better here.
The base, man
While this piece is technically still a diorama—just look at the broken pillar, other rubble, and cards littering the surface—the base is much simpler than Diamond’s usual approach, and I think that was a good call for this particular piece. There’s very little here to distract from Batman, and with such an iconic take on the character, that’s the way it ought to be. My preference would have been to leave the pillar and other details out, as none of them look particularly good, but in the end, they don’t matter that much, and I’m still able to focus on Batman without getting distracted.
I’ve reviewed a lot of Diamond Gallery pieces by now, and in almost every case, I feel like they’re legitimate achievements for their price point. I often remark that I can’t believe they’re just painted plastic, and that’s definitely the case here. Every once in a while, though, there’s a Gallery that manages to stand out: a piece that so captures the essence of its subject and feels more like something for which you might have paid three times the price—a piece that rises above the rest. And this one? This Dark Knight rises.
DISCLAIMER: Batman News received an advance statue from Diamond for the purpose of this review.
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