Thursday, February 11, 2016

Action Figure Review: Man-Bat from Batman: Arkham Knight by DC Collectibles

 The first encounter with Man-Bat in Arkham Knight was definitely one of the most surprising moments in the game. I mean, it literally surprised me and, unfortunately, my wife was in the room to see me jump. Arkham Knight features the first appearance of Dr. Kirk Langstrom, AKA Man-Bat, in the Arkham-verse in the form of a side-quest that gives Batman yet something else he has to do while dealing with Scarecrow and the Arkham Knight's plot to destroy Gotham City. I was really excited to see DC Collectibles introduce Man-Bat as part of their third series of Batman: Arkham Knight action figures and even mire surprised to see that despite his larger size (and larger packaging) Man-Bat sells for the same price as any other basic figure in the line. DC Collectibles released Killer Croc from Arkham Origins the same way, and I really appreciate seeing a company trying to actually give customers some value for their money. Man-Bat's definitely a large figure, but is he a good one to add to your collection? Find out after the break...

 The Facts:

Height: 8 inches

Articulation: Swivel/hinge ankles, hinged knees, swivel thighs, ball jointed hips, hinged mid-torso, swivel/hinge shoulders, and a ball-jointed head.

Accessories: None

Sculpted by: Gentle Giant Studios

Non-Scalper Price: $22-$25 dollars
 The Positives:

*While Man-Bat is only around an inch taller than most of the other figures in the line, his wingspan makes him seem much larger. Measuring his wingspan from tip to tip at the widest point, it's around 14-15 inches across. Pose this guy right and he makes for an impressive display piece.

 * Not only are the wings huge but they look really cool. They're made from a somewhat pliable rubbery plastic that really gives them a nice, leathery looking texture. The detail on the sculpt of the wings is incredible; it's subtle but quite impressive. The wings also have a number of folds in them that grant them a nice realism.

 * The headsculpt rocks, too. Seriously, this is a creepy looking figure. I mean, that's some freaky stuff. The headsculpt reminds me of one of an unholy mixture of one of the vampires from 30 Days of Night with the mouth of Pooch from Hack/Slash. This looks really good. The bizarre tubes around the head are supposed to be oxygen tubes that Kirk Langstrom was wearing before his transformation (remember, he was testing a serum on himself with the intention of curing deafness, not turning himself into a giant bat), but they should really have been a different color. Translucent plastic would have rocked.

 *I'm going to cover the wings in a minute since their articulation is really rather limited, but I do want to point out that Man-Bat feels very sturdy and durable and has some nice articulation everywhere other than his wings. It's entirely possible to get Man-Bat in some cool poses that he can absolutely hold unaided, even with his wings not used to support him.

 * Running with the idea that Kirk Langstrom has just recently turned into Man-Bat and escaped from his lab, there are two medical bracelets on his left wrist. There's no actual writing on it (or maybe these are supposed to be barcodes) but it does look pretty good in person. Much better than a number of the other paint applications on the figure.

 * Man-bat has some more freaky detailing on the back of his legs and rear end. Is that a tail or something? I'm not a huge expert on bats so I'm not sure if there's a technical term for this, but as a reviewer of action figures? It fits in well with Man-Bat's creepy vibe.

* Mostly cast in a pale gray plastic (different than his typical depiction of brown skin) Man-Bat does have some differentiation in his pigmentation because of the darker black and gray speckles on his body. They really look very natural and organic and add a welcome dose of variation to Man-Bat's body.
 The Negatives:

* I mentioned above that the wings aren't well articulated. In fact, they're not articulated at all. Other than the swivel/hinge shoulders, there is no articulation on the arms or the wings. I guess DC had to reduce costs a bit to keep things manageable and the wing articulation would look. Honestly, it could have really hurt the figure, so maybe this isn't really a negative?

 * Jumping to the topic of soft details that some of the Arkham Knight figures have had, take a look at the IV drips that are hanging off of Man-Bat. Not only do they just look flat and undetailed but they're molded in a grayish white plastic. Wouldn't something clear have looked better? I love the idea of Man-Bat dragging these around, as if he just escaped from treatment, but the execution is really just lacking.

* See, here's another example of the odd, lazy detailing that brings down the overall excellent sculpting work here. It's supposed to be medical tape holding in an IV, but it ends up looking like...well, I don't know. It just doesn't look very good. Why was this not part of the sculpt?

* I like the idea of some tears and scars on Man-Bat's back but their is no detail here other than the edges of the cut. Considering the level of detail on other figures in this same series (and on other parts of Man-Bat) I'd expect to see some torn flesh and exposed muscle here. Arkham Knight was a Mature rated game after all, so there's no excuse for a lack of gruesome detail here.
  While you can probably tell that the oddly painted on and poorly colored medical tubes on Man-Bat drive me a bit crazy, I can't really knock the rest of this figure. Man-Bat is a pretty cool, if different, take on the character. It took me a bit to get accustomed to this new look but I do like it. It definitely feels more in line with the tone of the Arkham-verse and conveys the idea of a science experiment went wrong rather than a humanoid mutant bat. Considering this guy's size and the fact that he can be had for under $25, the same as any other Arkham Knight figure, I'm pretty impressed. Man-Bat is a Great figure and another solid addition to the Arkham Knight roster. I'm really glad to see that my disappointments with a few of the series 2 figures seem to be just flukes as so far series 3 continues to impress.

I've only reviewed two other Man-Bat's on here, even though I own a bunch more. The two I've reviewed are the Lego set Batman: Man-Bat Attack and the Imaginext Man-Bat, which my little one has now claimed as her own. I've reviewed plenty of other Arkham Knight figures, though, including:

Batman: Arkham Knight by DC Collectibles (2015)
Arkham Knight
Harley Quinn
Red Hood


  1. Replies
    1. He did turn out pretty well. I'll be anxious to see how McFarlane handles action figures for whatever the upcoming Batman game is. I hope they fit in with the DC Direct/ DC Collectibles offerings.


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