These super-articulated Batman figures are not only the
most bad-ass Batman figures recently produced, but they
are also hot collectibles
because they're very difficult to obtain. The quick version
of the story [Ed note: here we go] is that
they're not being released in American mass market stores.
They're technically in the Deluxe assortment of the comic
book styled figures. However Target, Wallyworld, and
have decided they don't want to carry any more of these
Batman and only want to focus on the animated
based Batman figures. So Mattel got a bunch of these figures
to Diamond Comics to distribute them to comic book and
independant toy stores. So technically, you should be able
to get Scarecrow and Bane sometime this summer.
However for the time being, these ultra-articulated Batman
figures are unaccounted for by either Mattel or Diamond,
and only available overseas.
It makes it that much more frustrating when you get one of these puppies in your greedy little hands. They are simply put, the best-overall Batman figures I've ever handled. Not as articulated as Microman Batman or as detailed as DC Direct's Alex Ross Batman, but the marriage of articulation, durability and overall look and feel are perfectly metered out to produce one helluva figure. Micro Batman is articulated sure, but his arms will pop off if you breath on em. And that Ross Batman looks great on a shelf, but the fool is the man who tries to put it in any kick-ass poses.
are two Batmen covered here. The first is Batsignal Batman
(black cape)... that's right, he comes with a working
light-up Batsignal. Aim it towards a wall and see
the illuminated bat insignia call our hero to duty. And
it's got a killer sculpt too.
The other figure is Attack Armor Batman (blue cape). He features a tad bit more articulation, a more stylized look (based on the work of Tim Sale) and comes with some cool snap-on gear. The other major difference is his cape is a little more transparent, and a bit more starchy than silky-smooth Batsignal Bats's cape. His cape is also a bit longer and drags on the floor.
The overall look and feel is top notch. Here is a great
looking Batman, via Four Horsemen. He looks a lot
like Zip line Bats (who
kicked off this line) with articulation added. Traditional
black and gray color scheme, human-sized proportions, nice
Bat-tread on the Doc Martins, ample pouches on his utility
belt... it's a good look for him.
For the record he sports: neck, hinged ball joint shoulder,
biceps, elbow, twisty forearm (at the glove), hinged wrist,
ribcage, waist, hip, knee and ankle articulation. (whew)
Not only that, but each one is good and solid. A nice tight
joint that holds most of the poses. Tight, but smooth. You
know a lot of times when you first get a figure and you
have to gently force the joints out of hibernation? It's
a nerve-wracking experience as you ask yourself "is
this supposed to move?" and "any harder and it
will break right?" and "oh crap do I have glue
for that?" Well I found 90% of the joints to be nice
and smooth, no extra force needed. In fact, I had to comment
to myself how nice the joint was on this figure as I turned
the head around. When's the last time you turned
your head and thought "Oooh, that's nice?"
I rest my case.
I have not been this excited about an action figure's accessory
since the brain
in a bell jar, from the Transcorcher
Xevoz pack. The Batsignal, to me, is everything an
action figure accessory should be. It's great for display,
it's great for play, and it's logical. We get a lot of accessories
that are dished out of guilt... especially World
of Springfield kids. And a lot of Batman figures come
with missile launchers, shields, rocket-packs that we have
no intention of using. I have a tackle box full of accessories
that I keep only because I may need to sell them "out of
package but complete" on eBay one day. (I am meticulous
when it comes to keeping track of accessories). This Batsignal
looks great. It's got tons of detail worked into every surface.
It looks dynamic, and you can swivel it up and down a bit.
Batman looks stinkin'-slick posed
by it. And then it actually works! Now it doesn't
light up like you think it would (the light emits from a
hole in the middle) and the resulting projection is a reverse
of your traditional Batsignal in the clouds. Whereas you'd
be expecting a circle of light with a bat shape blocked
out, this projects a lit
up bat surrounded by a dark circle. Odd, but works
great. Kudos to the designers at Mattel for producing a
Batsignal that lives up to the hope.
You also get a shiny silver snap-on chest plate and a cool arm-mounted firing grappling hook. Here's a bit of irony. This Batsignal Batman comes with more "Attack Armor" than Attack Armor Batman does. Weird. You know, I would never really use snap-on armor when displaying this beautiful piece of action figure, but it's surprisingly not obnoxious. Coming from wave after wave of white, camo, orange, puke greenbat suits and armor, this is nice and subtle, and not terribly off base. I do like the missile launcher. It shoots decently, and you can wind the string back in with the dial at the back. It's not rigged for him to zip line like zip-line Batman, but it's pretty cool.
Overall This figure is impossibly sweet. Great look, great articulation, a working Batsignal, it's durable... the one downside? The price. $18Ouch. Technically not Mattel's fault here. If Target, et al, decided to carry this, it should be in the $10 range (it is a Deluxe figure), but it's not. The exchange rate plus the fact that figures are priced more to begin with overseas anyway puts this slightly out of range. The big question though, is it worth it? To me, yes. As you know, every action figure line I fall in love with dies a fiery death (MOTU, Xevoz, C3(?)...) and I latched onto Batman (in general) to help me through. They couldn't possibly kill BATMAN I thought... well "we" were both wrong. It's true, there will always be more Batman for me to hunt after, it's a far from dead property... but my curse proved even too powerful for this specific line, and I guess a sacrifice had to be made. (Why does everyone else in the toy-reporting industry want me to start collecting these so-called "Marvel Legends"?)
Back on topic here, I felt that $18 (plus shipping) was a decent arrangement for me. Now it's true, these could possibly pop up in comic book stores later this summer when Bane and Scarecrow do. But it'll be at comic book store prices, and they can't always afford to undercut the retail price like TRU, Target, etc are able to.
Attack Armor Batman
The Look The first thing you'll notice about this Batman is that he's a little off-from-center than your typical Batman. Like I said earlier he's based on the look of Tim Sale's interpretation of Batman, and he has a more grizzled, hulked-out look. The most noticeable aspect is his tiny head. Yeah, he's got a smaller head but with longer ears. [Ed note: I always called them horns] so he stands as tall as other 6" Batman figures. It's an odd situation, sometimes you look at it and it looks comically shrunken, other angles it looks more acceptable. His utility belt is quite different and he has a different tread on his shoe. It's true, he has no Batsignal, but he does sport a bit more articulation than his brother.
I'll go ahead an point out now that though I love the different hand sculpts these Bats haveBS has one open-finger-spankin' hand, and one for holding rope; AA has a closed fist and gun-with-trigger type griphowever I wish the American buying public was more acceptable to replacement hands. I love the assortment of hands you get with Microman Batman, and understand that the inclusion of extra hands instantly places the toy in the collectable category, and makes it even harder for toy stores to sell. They look nice, but I wish that I had the ability to change them. Kudos Mattel for taking the risk of giving us non-standard hands.
Articulation This guy has neck, hinged ball joint shoulders, bicep, elbow and twisty glove forearm. (No hinged wrist like BS Batman) Ribcage, waist and here's where it gets goodhinged hips and swivel thighs, knees and ankles. The joint below the utility belt allows for a sitting position, or a split type position, and I found this (in conjunction with the swivel thighs) to lend to some great action squatting poses. I wish BS had these joints. It's nice and solid, and he can look pretty mean.
Accessories Well Attack Armor Batman comes with a pretty nice missile launching shield thing (it is me or did my toys growing up not have nearly this many firing accessories?) and a monsterly sized Batarrang. I like the shield because it's got these great pop-out chrome wings, and I actually wish it would snap onto his back (not that I would do that mind you) but he does seem to have less "attack armor" than Batsignal Batman does. These are nice, but not really a selling (or detracting) point for me.
I love, love, love the poseability this guy has. He's pretty
stinkin' close to the mobility that Microman Batman possess
(yeah Micro Bats can get a lot more range, but those poses
are the sissy boy ballerina poses... no offense Lando
da Pimp) All in all, I do wish that he had a look closer
to the Four Horsemen design, but the tiny head doesn't bother
me so much that I'd research how to do a head swap on the
All Together The one last thing I have to point out on both of them is that they're nice and durable. If you have any of the other comic-style Bats, you know that they'll stand up to a bit of rough-housing. Well these two are no different. I wouldn't purposely shoot B.B.s at them from your cat blind, but if they should happen to take a header off your shelf, no worries.
What a Package I'll tell you, it was the kindness of DiveBomb, our friend from MinimatesCentral.com who got these figures in my hands. He read my tales of woe from my search in France and offered to send these three to me for a box of Minimates. So the trade worked out well for us. Check out his site on everything Minimates.
Did I say three? - Win my Scarecrow That's right, DiveBomb also kicked in a Scarecrow that I've kept mint on card. It's a nice looking figure, just packed with articulation, but I'd rather give it to one of you guys to say thanks for reading this far. I will mail this to one lucky reader that is able to answer the following question and e-mail it in. Good luck.
My biggest hurdle during my search in France was that we didn't know how to ask for the Batsignal Batman in French. How do you say "Bat signal" in French?