As much as I love Batman, I also love the entire DC Universe, and would consider myself a DC fan first and foremost. I’m just as likely to get excited about a Jimmy Olsen comic or something featuring Jack Kirby’s Fourth World characters as I am something featuring Batman and his extended cast of characters, because I love the whole DCU that much.
But I still love me some Batman, and I’m all for anything related to the Dark Knight that McFarlane Toys want to put out. In fact, there are six figures in this review, five of them are Batman-adjacent, and three of those are Batman himself. That’s, like…
::counts on fingers::
Fifty percent Batman! How can you go wrong?
With this lot, you really can’t, even with a few caveats, so read on to see what McFarlane have in store this time around.
Getting this figure in my hands, it reminded me just how much I disliked this suit. I seem to be alone in thinking that the purple lining of the cape was cool, but everything else is a mess: the needlessly chunky boots and gloves, all that unnecessary piping all over the body, that hideous belt, and the “if you’re going to surround it in yellow just go ahead and make it an oval” chest symbol.
That said, it’s a good figure for what it is, with two pretty great accessories.
As much as I don’t like the details themselves, the sculpting and linework are pretty impeccable. It’s one of the easier Batman figures to pose, at least that I’ve come across, as his cape drapes behind his shoulders in a way that gives him a wider range of motion with his arms.
And the cape is pretty stellar too, with great molding on the folds and scallops. It has that look like real fabric, but isn’t pointed one way or the other to make it look like it’s being blown in the wind. That’s a cool effect, sure (one that another figure just a few slots down possesses), but it’s nice not feeling like you have to pose a character one specific way, you know?
Batman comes with a Batarang and a grappling gun, and while he can only hold one at a time as his left fist is molded shut, they fit in his grip nicely. And, as you can tell in the photos, that allows for some pretty cool poses, and what’s better than that?
Available from Entertainment Earth.
Dark Detective Batman
McFarlane continue their streak of making great jackets for their action figures with Batman from the Future State: Dark Detective books.
Now, I have no desire to see the future of this book actually play out– which is one of the reasons I tapped out with all that Magistrate stuff that ran through the Bat-books last year– but for what it was, Dark Detective was a pretty interesting, well-written, and wonderfully illustrated potential future. I mean, Dan Mora, am I right?
Yes. I am right.
Bruce’s look in the book was certainly interesting, but it fit with the neo-futuristic dystopian setting, and makes for a pretty cool toy. There are some neat details all over, like the little pouches on Batman’s boots or the Batsymbol that looks like it was painted on a makeshift bit of armor. Some of the armor plating makes the figure kind of stiff, particularly around the knee and shoulder joints, and the grapple and rope accessory is big, unwieldy, and can really only be held in hand in one single spot. It looks kind of cool, but it might have just been better to have it looped about his shoulders, since there’s not much else you can do with it.
And then there’s that jacket. That thing is insanely detailed, with clearly defined “stitches” running down the length of the back and other natural seams. Unlike Rebirth Batman’s cape, this jacket does have a clear “swoop” to one side, but that adds to the dramatic expression on Batman’s face. Factor in the torn and fraying ends of the jacket hem, and this is one of the best detailed pieces of clothing I’ve seen on a McFarlane figure to date.
Available from Entertainment Earth.
Copy and paste a few of the things I said about Rebirth Batman, at least in a general sense, and then multiply the distaste by a factor of ten and you’ll have a good idea of what I think about this Joker.
Put simply: I… try not to think about this Joker. The cut-off face is needlessly edgy and silly, and just flat-out gross. Sure, Joker shouldn’t be an appealing figure to look at, but what makes him so terrifying is that he should look like any other unassuming, sort of creepy clown to anyone unfamiliar with the character. It’s his actions that speak for him, not a face that he cuts off for reasons that I’ve forgotten and would rather not be reminded of only to buckle it back onto his head for… other reasons that I’m sure weren’t satisfactorily explained and I’d also rather not be reminded of, thank you.
Still, I’m here to review this figure, and not the story it came from, and it succeeds at what it sets out to do: render this particular take on the Joker in plastic.
There’s not much to say about the suit, other than from the neck down this is almost a perfect Clown Prince of Crime toy. The purple suit, spats about his shoes, and comically huge boutineer are staples of the Joker’s look. It’s the face that is off-putting, but given the source, it’s supposed to be.
And yes, McFarlane have done a great job of sculpting that macabre visage. It does look like it’s hanging somewhat loosely on his face, held in place only by the leather strap about the back of his head. The exaggerated grin and sunken, different colored eyes certainly capture this specific Joker from this specific point in time, and also he has an axe. Because sure, why not.
Infinite Frontier Robin
Ahh, Damian. You have grown from insufferable little turd to insufferable little turd that we love anyway. What a character arc.
For the Robin who’s no longer Robin but sure we’ll still call him Robin, we get one of my favorite figures from this set, because any Robin is welcome to see. What makes it even better is when said Robin’s figure rocks, and this one certainly does.
The current gray costume isn’t my favorite, but it’s definitely growing on me, and it’s rendered well here. There are lots of fun little details, like the laces on Damian’s shoes, and the smirk on his face that reads less “smug” and more “excited to wreck some dudes in an island fighting tournament of champions.” There’s a subtle difference, but McFarlane’s sculptors have nailed it.
The mask is kind of lacking, because it looks like two separate pieces that don’t connect over the bridge of Damian’s nose, as opposed to a single domino mask. That’s how it’s been drawn by more than one artist, though, so it’s consistent with the comics. It’s made of for with the excellent cape, which has that aforementioned side swoop, and also a neat little hood tucked away about Damian’s shoulders.
The included sword accessory is kind of hilariously long for a thirteen-year-old kid of diminutive stature, but hey. It’s Damian. He’ll cut you just as soon as look at you, so it tracks.
So, yeah, great figure. It’s a different look for Damian, representative of an ongoing series that’s earned some pretty rave reviews and consistently high praise. Because we have this Damian, we can also pair him with his best partner so we can have us a true Dynamic Duo.
I said what I said.
Available from Entertainment Earth.
Superman: Lois and Clark black suit Superman
Black suit Superman rarely does anything for me, mostly because the original “regeneration suit” had a very specific purpose in one specific story, yet it’s somehow become an iconic and even expected look for the Man of Steel. Yeah, it looked cool, and it was interesting seeing Clark in something other than the typical red, yellow, and blue. Still, like the electric blue and red looks, it was a temporary change for story purposes, not meant to be the new status quo.
When a variation of the black suit showed up in the excellent Superman: Lois and Clark, it also had a specific story purpose that I could get behind: namely, stealth. The pre-New-52 Clark needed some way to help from behind the scenes when he and Lois found themselves in a strange new universe, so yeah. Give him an outfit that won’t attract as much attention.
Even if it has shiny silver boots. Whatever. It’s comics, and that series got me fully into Superman for the first time in a long time.
So, yes, I like this figure a lot, whether it’s my preferred look for Supes or not. I’ll always take the red and blue over another color scheme, but anything that reminds me of Lee Weeks’ masterful art is a good thing. The spare coloring of the black and silver suit looks fantastic, the dad beard is a great representation of Clark’s new role as a parent, and the different hand accessories can be combined for some great poses. Closed fists and arms akimbo get you that classic Superman stance, and the open palms let him reach out to save someone or offer his hand in peace. That and the included posing arm base give the illusion of flight, which is fitting as this figure flies high above the rest.
Batman of Zur-En-Arrh
Yes. This is the stuff.
I’m past 1500 words for this article already, so I won’t go into everything that makes Zur-En-Arrh amazing, except to say it is peak “Grant Morrison doing crazy stuff with Batman and making it work” and I am all for it.
As for the figure, it is– and I do not say this lightly– the best standard action figure I’ve reviewed from McFarlane so far. I say “standard action figure” because the Year Two Batman is beyond incredible, but even with action figure elements, it’s more of a display piece. This, though, is very much an action figure, and it’s an awesome one at that.
First, let’s talk the costume. It is crazy, with its bright colors and patchwork “stitching,” and far from a traditional Batman look. That’s what makes it so cool, though, because it’s so different and yet so tied into Batman’s rich history. We’ve had so many variations on the standard Batsuit over the years, as well as toyetic variants like “polar attack” and “blaster shield” and “laser justice” to pad out Batman lines, and those are all well and good. To take a design that is an update of a super goofy Silver Age story, though, and one that was reintroduced into modern continuity to say “remember those weird stories where Batman went to space or whatever? Yeah, they happened, and it was just a Tuesday for him?” That’s showing knowledge of and love for the character.
But there I go talking about the comic importance of this guy. As an action figure, it’s striking, molded well, has a great paint job, and has two very, very important things going for it: it’s balanced, and the joints are smooth.
So, you can put him in a bunch of crazy poses, and he’ll stand up on his own just fine. That should sell you on this right there.
If I had to call out anything as a drawback, it’s that the knife and bat accessories are made of soft plastic, making them super flexible. This also made it incredibly difficult to get them into Batman’s hands, but it can be done and is hardly worth complaining about.
Without exaggeration or hyperbole, I can say that if you’re going to get one Batman figure from McFarlane, it should probably be this one. It’s that good.
Overall: A strong batch of figures that exemplifies how many different versions of each character DC has, while they still remain identifiable as that character. Only one of these figures has what could be considered a “traditional” look– Rebirth Batman, if you’re curious– yet you can look at Superman in his black suit and say he’s Superman, or the Joker with his messed up face and know who he is. Take the deep bench of designs and McFarlane’s masterful sculpting, and the DC Multiverse line continues to be a standard of action figure excellence.
Disclaimer: McFarlane Toys provided each figure for review.
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