Completing DC Collectibles’ DARK NIGHTS: METAL statue line, the final epic piece features the Batman Who Laughs and Robin minions! Standing tall and imposing, surrounded by his three Robin minions in chains, the Batman Who Laughs is here to haunt your nightmares.
Sculpted by Jason Frailey
Limited to 5,000
Measures approximately 8.14″ Tall
$170.00 US • On Sale December 2019 from DC Collectibles
“Oh damn, that’s crazy!” is the response I get from comic readers who walk into my home and gaze upon this frightening polyresin scene. Next, they spin the statue around to admire it from all sides, and that’s something that hasn’t happened with the rest of the Evil Batmen statues I have displayed, and I’ve displayed all of them. I think it’s because of the crowing Robins skittering about the clawed black pedestal– everyone wonders if there’s an even nastier fourth Robin hiding somewhere in the back. There isn’t. However, when my friends have checked out the reverse side of the statue they’ve all noticed that there’s just a bit too much grey highlight painted on the back of The Batman Who Laughs’ cowl.
The Batman Who Laughs arrives in the same stylized packaging you’ve come to expect from this set, but inside you’ll find that the foam encasement is totally different since it was structured to house the base of the statue separately from the four figures. Additionally, the Batman Who Laughs (henceforth referred to as TBWL for the sake of brevity) also comes with the DARK NIGHTS: METAL line’s very first slip of instructions. The informative sheet explains how to attach the genuine metal chain to the three minions and the best way to plug the metal rods protruding from each figure into the heavy foundation.
Just like the previous Evil Batmen, TBWL stands on a matte black hexagon carved with red “runes” and, in keeping with the satanic METAL motif, a pentagram with a Bat-themed twist. The platform rests on felt feet to protect the surfaces of your tables, shelving, and more, and the underside is also hand-numbered so you know which piece from the limited run of 5,000 is yours and yours alone.
Most of what we’ve covered so far regarding the components are quite nice, particularly a finishing touch provided by Jason Frailey, who also sculpted Devastator (who you’ll remember was depicted stomping his base into tiny fragments). See, if you look closely at the front of the hexagon, you’ll notice that the Robin who has taken point is digging into the polystone with his claw-like fingers. I love details that make the figures look like they’re actually interacting with the elements around them.
Unfortunately, I did have a bit of trouble with the itty-bitty metal chains, especially the hook on the foremost Robin. There was some paint from his cape gunked inside the metal link affixed to his collar. In order to fix it, I had to take a knife and carefully carve out some of the paint in order to get the chain to attach properly. Not a big deal, but I hope it doesn’t happen too often with other statues, as any instance when you have to make your own alterations to a collectible can be extremely nerve-wracking. And I did have to apply a fix to TBWL as well. If you look at the photos in the gallery, you’ll notice that one of the metal rods extending from his left foot (used to secure the figure to the base) is curved. This curve was drastic enough that it caused the villain to lean too far forward and even wobble. So to fix that I had to apply heat and carefully bend the metal with a pair of pliers. I was worried that this might bust the delicate polyresin construction of TBWL’s slender leg, but thankfully no breaks or cracks occurred and everything is A-OKAY now. The baddie is standing proud on shiny (painted) metal cleats that lay flush to the floor beneath him.
As you can see, this statue is the spitting image of Greg Capullo’s illustrations. The look is a little Clive Barker cenobite with a dash of Mouth of Sauron and a hearty portion of Judge Death. And, hey, it’s proven to be a killer combination because Dark Nights: Metal ended ages ago and the character is still everywhere in the comics– and the flood of merchandise is only just beginning. Scott Snyder’s vision of a Batman from a parallel universe that’s been twisted by the Joker’s last laugh (a toxin carried on the Clown Prince’s dying breath) is supposed to be Bruce’s worst nightmare and it only takes one look at this statue, a triumph of creepiness, to see why.
The pose of TBWL, and his accompanying Robins, looks like the natural progression of movement between the gutters that followed the “I’m right here” panel that first introduced us to the monstrous horde of Evil Batmen. TBWL stands in nearly identical fashion to Capullo’s drawing, but the arms are different, and that was a smart decision in my book. Rather than have the hand that’s clutching the leash be the main focus, the statue version of TBWL lowers the leash in his right hand and raises a weapon in his left. Which weapon? Well, that’s up to you. You can swap in a gun-wielding grip or if you’d like a prop of greater importance to the Dark Nights: Metal story you can insert a hand that bears a mace. Each hand is well painted and features a peg at the base which slides easily into a hole at the statue’s wrist (it’s hidden away within the sleeve). While I like the mace and often display it over the gun, it lacks embellishments that make it feel fully formed. And its metallic coat only pairs with the cleats and visor whereas the gun features more detail with highlights to match the villain’s costume. And those highlights are definitely a defining characteristic of the statue.
In fact, it can be argued that the brushing of gray over every crease of matte black faux fabric is overdone and I’ll go ahead and say it totally washes out the back of the cowl. I’ve praised the effect on previous Evil Batmen for giving each piece a look that feels plucked straight out of the pages of the comic, but in my opinion TBWL would have done well with 10-20% less. Thankfully, the most distracting strokes are at the back, which you will hardly ever see. What you will indeed see, however, is that ginormous gingivitis grin. While the gray highlights may be the defining characteristic of the statue, the mouth opened wide beneath a spiked metal visor is the defining characteristic of the character. While the spikes could’ve been sharper it is, mostly, fine. As for the maw of TBWL, well, it should be utterly sickening, and the sculpted and hand-painted one you see here doesn’t disappoint. It’s just the right number of overlapping teeth (too many) and the shades of brown and yellow make each gnarled tooth disgustingly distinct. You even get some smeared lipstick that is painted in a variety of red that’s distinguishable from the hue used for his inflamed gums. Lovely.
In a market that’s already filling up with too many options for TBWL statues and action figures, this one stands out from the crowd thanks to its inclusion of these hideous brats. You can almost hear them screeching and cackling just by looking at them, they’re so wonderfully expressive. And while the highlights of TBWL may have been somewhat excessive, the trio of bird boys all feature just the right level of detail. Every crisp black line and shade of gray is carefully chosen to make the character pop the way inker Glapion and colorist FCO intended. I love the color, I love each Robin’s unique pose, and including an actual chain to use as a leash was a fun addition to this piece. Can it be frustrating attaching the chain to each boy’s collar? Absolutely. But you’ll only have to do it once, and it’s totally worth it.
What a relief! We started collecting the Evil Batmen of Dark Nights: Metal back in June, and they aren’t cheap. Each new release would make anyone who already invested in the full set nervous! I mean, what if this one is terrible and it ruins the whole collection? Well, I fretted over that with each new release, but the worst never happened. DC Collectibles along with sculptors Jason Frailey, Adrienne Smith, Djordje Djokovic, and Paul Harding pulled it off in a way that did Greg Capullo’s artwork justice. The Batman Who Laughs rounds out this ensemble beautifully, and it can also stand on its own as a captivating display piece even without the likes of The Merciless or Devastator surrounding him. After all, this sinister take on the Caped Crusader brings his own company with those three uniquely terrifying Robins! Yes, I believe that if you loved Snyder and Capullo’s limited series Dark Nights: Metal or if you simply dig the creepy look of this demented new foe, you are going to be more than pleased with this limited edition statue.
Disclaimer: DC Collectibles sent Batman News a copy of this statue for the purpose of this review.