McFarlane Toys Gotham Knights, Batwoman Beyond, and variant action figures review

The thing that appeals to me the most about McFarlane Toys’ DC Multiverse line is how much variety they offer.  I mean, sure, there are lots of Batman figures, but that’s to be expected given that he’s pretty popular these days.  Even with a ton of variations on the Caped Crusader, that still leaves plenty of room for other characters in the DC stable, along with Batman figures based on all sorts of different media.

You won’t need to look any further than this post here just to see what I mean, as there are seven different pieces to review, and only two of them are Batman!  Heck, one of them is Terry McGinnis, so that’s two actual literally different characters who have worn the mantle, not just two different versions of Bruce.  What a deal!

From video games to comics to characters based on an animated television series, read on to see the latest crop of McFarlane action figures has to offer.

Gotham Knights Nightwing

Dick Grayson is my favorite character in all of comics, so I welcome any chance to get a new action figure of him, be it Robin, Nightwing, Agent 37, or Batman.  Thanks to the upcoming game Gotham Knights, McFarlane have a new take on Nightwing’s classic black and blue suit to work with, and the result is a pretty solid action figure.

Outside of the comics, I find most renditions of Nightwing’s suit to be too busy, whether with unnecessary piping, lots of buckles and straps, or chunky armor plating that just looks off.  Dick’s an acrobat, and he needs to be able to move swiftly, so why weigh him down with a bunch of heavy plates and pads?  The Gotham Knights look here is pretty streamlined, with a pretty faithful take on the “fingerstripes” suit minus… well, the fingerstripes.  I like that the chest symbol isn’t overly bird-like, which I always think is too silly and in the nose, and his domino mask is perfect.  That it looks like he’s wearing some fresh sneakers is a little weird, but eh, the overall figure looks pretty good.

Nightwing comes with two escrima sticks that fit nicely in holsters on his back, so you can pose him with weapons either in hand or stored away.  Since acrobatics are his thing, it would have been nice if he had been shipped with a posing arm so you could display him like he’s flipping in mid-air, but that’s not a deal breaker.

Overall, he’s a solid figure with some nice design work and cool accessories, which showcase one of the most beloved looks for Dick Grayson from his 80+ year history.

An attempt was made at a riff on the Spidey meme.

Available for purchase from Entertainment Earth.

Gotham Knights Red Hood (regular and variant)

Joining the first Robin in the Gotham Knights wave, we have the second Robin in his current guise, and McFarlane sent two different versions of this figure for review: a standard Red Hood and an all gray variant.

The standard look is pretty much in line with the game’s look for Nightwing, in that the costume for ol’ Jason here is pretty faithful to the comics with a couple of tweaks thrown in.  The namesake red helmet isn’t overly designed, which I like, because adding a ton of detail or– even worse– features to it throws the entire look off.  A molded nose and lips might work for my dude Steel, but I don’t think it does for Jason.

As for the rest of his suit, I liked the texturing of his hoodie and pants, even if mixing brown, black, and gray is a faux pas in some circles.  The molded hood of the jacket can’t be manipulated to go over his head, which is a shame, but it’s still nicely sculpted with its lopsided folds.

The biggest point of controversy for the figure is the lack of accessories, which isn’t too shocking.  What is pretty funny, though, is that he can’t be shipped with any sort of firearm… so he was given finger guns instead.  That’s amazing, and I won’t lie and say I didn’t have a grand old time posing him shooting the guns like a dad who pulled out a sick joke.

The lack of firearms is supposedly a directive from WB, and I completely understand it on one level.  Still, not even giving him a Batarang or knife or… guh… a crowbar is a shame, because a great accessory can make a good action figure even better.

Like most of these variants, Red Hood’s is the exact same figure, just with a completely gray finish.  No extra accessories or design changes, just a kind of “prototype” look.  Still, they’re hard to find chase figures and can go for some big bucks, so pick one up if you come across it.

Available for purchase from Entertainment Earth.

Batman Beyond (variant)

Here’s a variant of a different sort, and one of the cooler looking figures McFarlane have released.  With a somewhat battle-damaged look, the Platinum Edition Batman Beyond has a different paint job than the standard figure, with some electrical wiring and other bits poking through the normally black and red exterior of the Beyond suit.

Other than that, it’s the same figure as before, even packaged with the same accessories: alternate hands, a Batarang, flame elements, and a posing arm.  Still, I liked practically everything about the standard figure (save for the fact that the wings aren’t removable), and this has the added bonus of looking even more interesting and dynamic.

Batwoman Beyond

In some ways, you could copy and paste a lot of what I said about the Batman Beyond figure and have it apply to Batwoman here.  Their costumes are similar, and they’re packaged with the same types of accessories.  Batwoman has some differences, though, and some are less obvious than others.

The sculpting is clearly different, as she has a slimmer, more feminine figure than Terry, along with larger eyes on the mask and a bigger belt.  The wings are still firmly attached to her back, and can be looped into her forearms through the same hooks that Batman Beyond has, though she doesn’t come with a posing arm or flames to attach to her boots.  What she does have, though, are two Batarangs, and they’re much closer in design to the ‘rangs used by Batman in the Beyond cartoon and comics.  They’re so good and so cool that I swapped out the Batarang Batman had and gave him one of Batwoman’s, so now these heroes of Gotham’s future can fight future crimes with the best future gear.

Lobo (variant)

Another gray variant, this time for the Main Man himself.  That hook and chain accessory is still awesome, and I love the details all over Lobo’s outfit.  Like the Red Hood variant above, this would be more of a collector’s piece, I’d think, given its scarcity as part of the Platinum Edition line.

Batman: Year Two (signed)

Look, I stand by my assertion that this might be the coolest Batman action figure ever made.  I genuinely feel for fans who have managed to get their hands on one only to find out that an arm is broken or some other aspect of quality control was glossed over.  That’s a major bummer, and hopefully the manufacturer does right by all the customers affected by these oversights.

From a review perspective, I can only judge these figures based on personal experience, and I’ve yet to encounter a piece that has truly glaring flaws.  That includes both of these Year Two sets that I’ve received, each of which has reinforced my adoration of the piece.  The only difference between this one here and the one I reviewed before is that this figure comes with a trading card that’s been signed by Todd McFarlane himself, and that means that it also has a bit of a higher price tag.  Even still, despite some widespread reports of broken figures, anyone I know who has purchased this figure has heaped praise upon it, and while it’s largely out of stock once again, hopefully McFarlane listen to fan demand and put out another run of this amazing Batman piece.

Overall: With McFarlane’s willingness to offer a wide variety of action figures based on different characters and mediums, that practically guarantees that there will always be something for everyone.  Whether you like a comics accurate Batman, you grew up with the Batman Beyond cartoon, you’re just as big a fan of the “sidekicks” as you are the Dark Knight, or your love of DC extends to guys like Lobo, you’re sure to find a figure here that you’ll enjoy.

Disclaimer: McFarlane Toys provided each figure to Batman News for the purpose of review.

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