Rocking into our world from the pages of DARK NIGHTS: METAL comes a nightmarish fusion of the technological power of Cyborg and the tactical brilliance of Batman. Hailing from the Dark Multiverse, this Dark Knight was born when an all-powerful A.I. program designed by Cyborg began to misinterpret its coding to homicidal ends.Crafted from high-quality polyresin with hints of both Batman and Cyborg in the design, this deluxe statue captures the menace and mayhem expected from a character called “The Murder Machine.”
Sculpted by Paul Harding
Limited Edition of 5,000
Measures Approximately 6.06″ Tall
$85.00 US • On Sale September 2019 from DC Collectibles
In Dark Nights: Metal, our heroes learn that everything you dread splits off into its own dark universe where the fear you imagined becomes reality. And when Bruce Wayne first pondered the consequences of the furthest lengths he would go if his Rogues Gallery every killed Alfred, The Murder Machine of Earth 44 was born.
In this dark timeline, Bruce enlisted the help of Cyborg to create an Artificial Intelligence based on Alfred Pennyworth. Recreating the nurturing support of his lost father figure was the hero’s last effort to hold onto his humanity before giving in to rage and bloody revenge. The AI was made to be a caring and supportive assistant. However, immediately after its activation, the Alfred AI built countless robot bodies and holograms so as to better serve and safeguard The Batman. This plague of overprotective, robo-butlers eventually arrived at the conclusion that Batman could not be trusted to keep himself safe, and so AI Alfred merged with Bruce’s mind and transformed The Dark Knight into The Murder Machine. It was a pretty neat story, despite the rather on-the-nose name of “Murder Machine.” In fact, it may have been the best of all the Evil Batmen backstories.
I’ll be approaching this review from two different directions. To start, you’ll get a “First Impression,” which is a quick overview with some anecdotes about my own experience showing the statue off in my home. Then there’s the “Scrutinized” section which will go into more detail about the paint, sculpt, assembly, packaging, etc. etc. That portion of the review is for anyone who is on the fence about dropping $85 smackers on this collectible, and needs to know all the particulars.
In all honesty, I was the least excited for Murder Machine out of all the Evil Batmen statues. The promo image I saw didn’t even reveal that he had an extra pair of arms you could attach, so what I saw online didn’t seem all that great in comparison to the others. And, really, just look at the grand debut of the Evil Batmen that Greg Capullo illustrated– Evil Cyborg Batman fails to make an impression. His “I’m here” balloon isn’t menacing, but 100% necessary, because otherwise we wouldn’t have seen him! But I was wrong to be underwhelmed by this character. Not only was his one-shot backstory great, but this statue is excellent as well.
What’s the usual reaction it gets in my home? Usually it’s “And that’s Cyborg Batman? That’s cool– Oh, wait! You can change his hands? That’s awesome!”
See, what I saw from the official promo image was the shot of Murder Machine holding up his dukes. It wasn’t all that visually interesting. So, when I want to show this to someone for the first time, I display the statue the exact same way. THEN while the guest is expressing their mild curiosity I bring out the clamps and the laser cannon accessory and I show how quickly and easily they can be swapped onto this Bad Batman’s body. Minds are blown every time.
He’s a fun figure, with eye-popping blue etching and the magnetic arms that attach so effortlessly give you a variety of options for how you’d like to display him. I think he even looks cool displayed all by his lonesome.
The packaging for Murder Machine is the usual routine. Our latest Evil Batman arrives in a white box with black borders and DC logos at its corners. Each side features a different image of the figure, and DC Collectibles thankfully featured the clamp and laser cannon look on the front of the box. (Showing off the ludicrous weapons is really the way to go, but more on that later!) Inside, you’ll find two-piece Styrofoam molded around the statue. Now here’s where Murder Machine begins to stand out: the statue comes in six parts– the most of any DC Collectibles Dark Nights: Metal statue so far. The arms (4), body, and base, all come in their own little cubbyhole, and they’re wrapped in plastic for extra protection as well.
Just like Dawnbreaker, Drowned, Merciless, and Batman w/Baby Darkseid, The Murder Machine sports two metal pegs on the base of his foot. These pegs fit snugly within a pair of holes that were drilled into the base’s surface– and I recommend gluing your figure to the base. Why? Because everybody has that friend who thinks they need to pick up something in order to fully appreciate it, and they’ll probably not hold the statue by the base, believing that it’s all one solid piece. Then what happens? The base plummets and clatters against the floor, resulting in an unsightly blemish or worse. Be like Batman and prepare for any disastrous scenario.
The base is the same elongated hexagon you’ve seen from the other statues in this line (but unlike Devastator, Murder Machine’s foundation has not been destroyed by a massive foot-stomp). This platform is painted matte black and it is detailed with blood red etching that forms a spooky Bat-Pentagram-esque pattern.
The Murder Machine, even with all his bright blue circuits and interchangeable arms, looks the most like Batman of any of the Evil Batmen, except, arguably, The Batman Who Laughs. In my opinion, all of the other amalgamations take on too many of the characteristics of their Justice League counterparts to be instantly recognizable as a fallen Dark Knight, but Murder Machine’s design is simply a Cape-less Crusader with red eyes, blue skin, and blue techno-inspired accents that are breaking down (or possibly regenerating) his matte black costume. He truly looks like a Batman that has been corrupted by some sort of techno virus, as he should.
I appreciate how the blue circuitry isn’t simply painted onto the black outfit on this statue. No, when you have The Murder Machine in hand and you run your thumb across his back or over his his calf you’ll be surprised at the texturing. Every hint of blue is actually scored into the surface at varying depths. I imagine the statue was blue first and they used a roller to paint black on the raised bits. These blue crevices contrast nicely with the rest of the costume and nearly convinces the eye that the figure is glowing. These details add to the illusion that this being isn’t entirely whole, that he might even be a hologram himself.
And, surprisingly, with the ample demand for a blue and black geometric pattern to take shape on Murder Machine’s body, there’s remarkably little bubbling or bleeding from the paint. In fact, I only spotted two faint traces of paint drip on my figure and those were hidden within the grooves of the laser cannon. I mean, if you look at his hips, there are teeny tiny stripes of black coursing through the sockets, and these fine, precise additions looks neat and tidy. The only aspects of Murder Machine’s otherwise beautiful paint application are that I think the red eyes are too dark to stand out from the cowl, and a nitpick that’s more a matter of personal opinion. I go back and forth on whether or not I’m sold on the minor gray accents that you see on the kneecaps, top of the feet, bordering shoulders, finishing his elbows… There are indeed some subtle grays in Capullo’s panels if you squint hard enough (Murder Machine is essentially a load of floating parts and holographic projections for the bulk of Dark Nights: Metal) but the blue highlights are so prominent that I almost wonder if it was the right choice to add those smokey bands and bolts here and there to break up the color scheme. I suppose it adds to the confusing nature of Murder Machine– you’re never quite sure if what you’re seeing is a hologram or not. Is there any Bruce Wayne left under all of the shifting parts and glowing lights?
The pose chosen for The Murder Machine isn’t all that special. His knees are slightly bent and his arms aren’t held up quite high enough to really seem like he’s prepared to engage in fisticuffs with anyone. While all the other statues of Evil Batmen have stood in a more dramatic or intimidating fashion, The Murder Machine’s neutral stance and expressionless face are true to the “I am a machine, I feel nothing” characterization, but do little to add any kind of pzazz to your shelf. Thankfully, DC Collectible placed magnetic joints on the shoulders and gave you another pair of interchangeable arms to use. If you like the fists, that’s cool. If you want one fist and a self-generated cyber-weapon, also cool. And if you desire to go all the way with dual robo-weaponry, you can make that vision a reality– and effortlessly too thanks to the magnetic snap-on feature. And I like the options of weapons we’re given. The giant, clawed clamps are so silly, but so fun, making it perfect for anyone who wishes to fully embrace the over-the-top themes of the graphic novel. Meanwhile, the tried and true cannon arm works well for anyone who wants to add a little wow-factor while still not going too outrageous.
If it wasn’t for these interchangeable arms, I would have told readers to buy this statue eventually if you’re a collector of the entire Evil Batman crew. But by adding these excellent accessories, I’ll go ahead and call it an item worthy of purchase at full-price whether you’re snatching up all of the Metal series or not.
I hadn’t expected much based on the available promo images, but this statue makes a great impression when viewed in person. I love the blue paint that’s been applied to the engraved squares and faux circuitry, and the option of swapping out his arms for over-the-top, high-tech weaponry is incredibly fun. I totally recommend picking up The Murder Machine, if you’re at all a fan of Dark Nights: Metal. This is a wonderful piece for around $80 bucks.
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