Up to this point, I’ve mostly been taking a look at McFarlane’s individually packaged figures, so getting a few multipacks was a pleasant surprise. Even more surprising was the fairly eclectic stories that these sets pulled from: two are from Dark Nights: Metal, one is from Curse of the White Knight, and the final set is from that perennial classic The Dark Knight Returns. Yeah, every set has some iteration of Batman, but Batman sells, so it makes sense. And since we’re a Batman site, of course we’re going to review us some Batman toys, so check them out.
White Knight Batman vs. Azrael
Even if Sean Gordon Murphy’s White Knight universe hasn’t really appealed to me, I know that it’s an immensely popular alternate take on Batman’s mythos, which is respectable. The aesthetics are a large part of what keeps me from loving these stories, with some truly weird design choices that feel like changes for their own sake, and not anything that actually improves the looks of a lot of these characters.
So having an action figure of this Batman with those crazy thigh-high boots and the silly pokey heel spurs doesn’t make the choices any less questionable, but hey. What are you gonna do?
Especially when the Dark Knight is pitted against Azrael, who looks amazing. Batman looks fine, very faithful to the comics, with a costume that is by no means the worst thing Bruce has ever worn. The twin swords he wields are nicely sculpted, and I like the scabbard that attaches at the back, along with the line of rope you can hang from his belt. Still, I don’t like the overall design to begin with, so even with a competently crafted action figure, I can only appreciate the technical skill and craft in making the piece, without loving the look of the figure itself.
That love is saved for dear Jean-Paul Valley, who is in some truly impressive and ridiculous armor, which positively rules. The spikes, that scaly plate armor, the massive cape. I love this Azrael figure.
Or at least, I did until I tried to get his sword in his hand. Since his gauntlets have those talon-like fingers, they’re not cast in the same mold as the rest of his arm, so the fingers are separate pieces that are glued into different holes. Trying to fit the sword in his right hand caused the thumb to pop off, so beware of that if you get this set. It was a clean break, so I was able to get the thumb back in its hole nice and snug, but I still wasn’t ever able to get the sword in his hand without it popping out again.
Which is a shame, because the figure looks positively incredible otherwise, and that sweet fiery base makes for a cool setting for a battle between the two figures. I’ll still recommend it, but just be careful with those thumbs.
Batman Earth-32 and Green Lantern
Some of these figures seem like they’re tailor made just for me. Others, not so much.
This one is definitely the latter. I mean, my least favorite of the Green Lanterns, and Dawnbreaker, one of the “Evil Batmen” from Dark Nights: Metal? They could have at least used Kyle or Guy, but Hal? Nah.
But yeah, this set is actually pretty cool, despite not appealing to any of my comics sensibilities. It does appeal to my “sweet action figure” sensibilities, though, and that’s what counts.
Both Hal and the Batman of Earth-32 are nicely detailed and constructed well, and I really liked the weird pipes and such on Dawnbreaker’s costume. Hal is surprisingly lightweight, with a body that feels relatively hollow, which makes sense when you try and pose him on the included base. The only attachment point is a stud hole on the bottom of his foot, which can be placed on a peg on the base, so if you want to get any other pose out of him other than “falling on his face” he needs to be pretty light.
Though, truth be told, I’m open to that pose too, but enough dunking on Jerkface Jordan. He’s had enough.
I genuinely had a lot of fun putting this little set together. The constructs that come with each character are neat– though why Hal, who can already fly, needs a jetpack, I do not know– and the weird swirly bat thing for Dawnbreaker is nice and weird. Each figure stays on the base pretty well, and that allows for some cool shots and interesting, dynamic posing.
The Dark Knight Returns Superman vs. Armored Batman
The Dark Knight Returns.
Of course that would inspire one of these two-packs, and as you’d expect and hope from figures inspired by one of the most acclaimed comic stories of all time, the World’s Finest duo here look like they leapt off the page.
Batman isn’t necessarily a disappointment, but he’s the exact same figure that I reviewed before. The only difference is he doesn’t come with interchangeable hands, and his armor and cape have a blueish tint as opposed to the dark gray of the other figure. It’s a good figure, it just would have been nice if it wasn’t a repackaged piece.
Superman is all new, though, and boooooooy is he handsome. The body sculpt is rather hulking and muscular, just like Frank Miller drew him, and his face looks very… let’s say Reagan-esque.
…just like Miller drew him.
Really, that is a striking look on old Clark, and not necessarily in a good way, but it definitely tracks with the aesthetics of The Dark Knight Returns. Since this is supposed to be Superman from the final fight, it’s canonically after he almost gets exploded by a nuke, so yeah, we’ll say that’s why his face is a little jacked up.
Alright, enough dunking on him. The figure is sculpted really well, with a nice molded cape, and I love the bright colors of his suit. They truly pop against the included base, the wrecked city background illustrated on the inside of the box, and while standing next to the darker-hued Batman.
Speaking of standing next to each other, the best part is that we’re able to use these figures to show how every single meeting between Batman and Superman should end.
The Batman Who Laughs and Robins of Earth-22
So yeah. The Batman Who Laughs. That guy has been everywhere for the last few years, even making his way into Fortnite where of course we had to get the skin and loading screen and that weird but still kind of cool glider. I am but a man. Don’t judge.
That McFarlane would make figures based on the evil Batman of Earth -22 isn’t surprising, given the popularity of the character and the fact that they’ve made a bind of other figures based on Dark Nights: Metal. Heck, there’s another Batman from the Dark Multiverse further up the page in this very review.
What is surprising is that– despite these not being my preferred aesthetics or takes on characters at all– this set is kind of cool in its intent and execution. BWL looks pretty good, with a lean sculpt, lots of spikes and buckles, and that wide grin that telegraphs that he’s a Batman who is also the Joker. He comes with a big knife and a big scythe, so he can get all cutty and/or stabby.
The set is also packaged with three (3) of his “Roblins,” corrupted versions of the Boy Wonder that look so awful and gross that they kind of rock. Like, this is all exaggerated edginess to an insane degree, and you’ve got to just go along with the lunacy or it all falls apart.
Maybe it will still fall apart, I don’t know. What I do know is that the contorted faces and limbs of these Robins are pretty impressive from a sculpting standpoint, though they are a massive pain to try and stand upright without the circular bases. The three included chains fit around a hook at their throats, so Batman Who Laughs can keep them under control, and as goofy as the idea is, I’m kind of into the scene I snapped.
Even if it was a pain to do.
Available from Amazon.
Overall: Lots of Batman, but still a wide variety of figures. Pulling from different stories allows McFarlane to dive deep into DC’s stable of characters, and packaging different figures together has two advantages: you can make cool scenes, ripped from the pages of your favorite comics, and characters that might not have sold as well individually packaged get a chance to move units when bundled with a more recognizable hero or villain. There are a few quality control issues here and there, but nothing that isn’t easily fixable.
Disclaimer: McFarlane Toys provided Batman-News with samples for the purposes of this review.
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