I have a confession to make: The Dark Knight Returns is not one of my favorite Batman stories. Sure, it’s got iconic imagery and some inspired dialogue and narration, but I’m just not crazy about the whole picture. But I do like how big and beefy Batman looks, and I never get tired of seeing different companies take a crack at bringing the design to statue (or other collectibles) form. In honor of Batman’s 80th, Diamond Select Toys just released a DKR Gallery statue featuring Old Man Bruce and his faithful ward, Robin Carrie Kelly. Batman News got a hold of one, courtesy of Diamond, so let’s take a look.
The big picture
DST’s package design for its DC Comics Gallery line tends to be understated. Flat color, character logos, and not much else. I love this approach, and this statue uses the tried-and-true gray and black that I’ve seen on pretty much every Batman statue or Vinimate I’ve reviewed in the past few years.
But who cares about the box, right? I know there are some of you out there, but I’m going to act like you’re just in my imagination, and move on.
Anyway, once you take the statue out of the box, the view is striking. From a big-picture perspective, this is a great take on Bruce and Carrie. Batman’s sculpt looks very on-brand, and it’s a great pose for Batman in-general—somewhat akin to Koto’s Arkham City Batman ARTFX+ from a few years ago. Carrie looks youthful and Robinly, her back straight, her legs in a crouch that only youth could sustain.
The base is nice, suggesting a rooftop, with pipes and smoke, and decent-looking bricks.
The paint looks great from this distance, too. The colors are as expected, and the contrast between Bats and Robin really makes them pop.
Once we draw near to the thing, we can see that this is pretty much par for the course for Diamond’s Gallery line. The sculpt is still very impressive, and I love the texture and wrinkling that’s visible on both characters’ suits. The posing of Bruce’s cape is especially nice, and I love all of the Batsuit details—boxy gauntlet blades, the short ears on the cowl, that Bat-emblem on his chest.
The downside, which again, is par for the course, is that the paint lacks precision where opposing colors meet. The application on that Bat-emblem is pretty sloppy, with some of the black bleeding onto the gray of the shirt, and in other spots, not going all the way to the edge of the emblem like it ought to. It’s hard to spot unless you’re right up on it, both because of the relatively small size of the errors, and because the pose obscures the Bat from most angles. It’s still an eyesore once you know it’s there, though.
Bruce’s mouth looks a little bit funny, too, and I think the biggest problem is that the teeth are not molded—they’re just painted onto the gums. The lips are a bit too colorful, as well, and there’s some sloppy line work on the bottom teeth. Another thing that you won’t notice at a distance, but it’s there.
Carrie’s paint doesn’t have any problems that are quite that obvious, and the close-up on her is maybe more impressive on a purely technical level. I love that you can see her eyes beneath the glasses, but I wish they were a bit easier to see. The material used for the lenses has a rough texture to it, and it impairs visibility. Not the end of the world, but it could be better.
One last nitpick
I’ve noticed something on a number of Diamond’s statues—both their Gallery PVCs and the resin Premier Collection: their sculptors have an aversion to properly-treaded boots. I’ve reviewed plenty of statues with poses that expose the sole of a character’s boot, and in every case—except perhaps one that I’m having trouble remembering—those boot soles had no tread. Yes, this is a bit of a nitpick, because not one of these statues featured a pose that would be displayed from an angle that would reveal the problem. But with pieces that have such nice sculpting, it’s always a bit of a head-scratcher for me when I come to this tiny area—one that would have been comparatively easy to sculpt and paint—and find that it’s been neglected.
Nitpicks and the usual caveats aside, this is an excellent take on Batman and Robin from The Dark Knight Returns. If you’re a fan of the book, or even just the aesthetic, this would make a stellar addition to your collection. You can find it in stores now.
DISCLAIMER: Batman News received this collectible from Diamond for review.
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