Thursday, February 25, 2016

Action Figure Review: Batman from DC Comics Multiverse: Batman: The Dark Knight Returns by Mattel

 When a specific comic is still getting attention 30 years later, particularly attention from mainstream retailers, you know it's probably something special. That definitely is one way to describe Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns. Perhaps bolstered by the conflict in the upcoming Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, Mattel's new enlarged DC Comics Multiverse line has given Wal-Mart and exclusive series of three figures celebrating the 30th anniversary of Miller's seminal Batman tale. Included in the series is Superman, a Son of Batman, and the Dark Knight himself. Today I'm looking at Batman, whom I managed to snag during a trip to my local Wal-Mart last week. While Mattel has released a Dark Knight Returns Batman before in their short lived Batman Unlimited line (which this figure shares most parts with) this does represent a different costume worn by the character in that story. Ready for a closer at Batman? Then join me after the break...

 The Facts: Batman

Height: 6 3/4 inches

Articulation: Hinged ankles, boot swivels, hinged knees, swivel thighs, swivel/hinge hips, swivel waist, mid-torso hinge, swivel/hinge shoulders, swivel biceps, hinged elbows, swivel wrists, and a ball jointed head.

Accessories: Batarang.

Non-Scalper Price: $20 dollars
 The Positives:

* Since he shares parts with Mattel's previous DKR Batman, this figure is built using a number of parts from Masters of the Universe Classics. This really helps to nail the exaggerated, bulkier proportions of an older Bruce Wayne who is getting back into the game after a decade of retirement. The articulation works much like a MOTUC figure, which I love. Solid, durable, and well articulated.

* That's a pretty pissed off looking Batman, wouldn't you agree? I'm really pleased that Mattel gave us a new headsculpt here rather than just reusing the older one. It's really great and captures the spirit of Miller's depiction of the Caped Crusader early on in the story. Which brings me to my next point...
* What's cool about this Batman, wearing his classic blue and gray duds, is that he represents Batman early in the story. This isn't Bruce wearing a new outfit: This is him going and grabbing his old suit and getting back into the act. I started rereading The Dark Knight Returns after picking this figure up and I'm now really glad that I have that particular version of Bats in action figure form. The paint work is nice and clean here and looks great. It's a very traditional looking Batman with the bigger, bulkier edge.

* Want to see something impressive? Here's a Batman figure without bent gauntlets! That's because this version of Batman has shorter, stubbier gauntlets. They look great, though, and do seem to match Miller's art. It's always tough to get a perfectly comic accurate figure of Miller's art since it changes so much in the book itself, but this works nicely I do believe.

* I'm always happy when a Batman figure comes with a Batarang...
The Negatives:

* But not when the Batarang proudly advertises that it was made in China. I have nothing against it being made in China, but seriously? That writing is almost as large as the accessory?

To be honest, this would have been a great time to give us the rifle that Batman uses when confronting Two-Face and his gang. That's a really iconic moment in the book and the rifle would have been a very cool, very unique accessory.

 * I really wish Mattel had went with a cloth cape. It would have made for a more dynamic look and keep the figure from falling over when Batman is standing upright. Of course, typically he's hunched over in DKR, but still, the cape is a bit heavy here.
 It's been a few since the last DKR figure from Mattel came out, but I still really, really like this figure. The lack of a great accessory is still noticeable (particularly when Superman and the Son of Batman have some nicer extras) but the figure is pretty great. I love the juxtaposition of the crueler, more monstrous Batman wearing his silver age costume which this figure represents. It's a great figure and is definitely worth tracking down. Batman should probably be the easiest figure to find in this series since he's packed the most heavily in cases, so go hunt him down. He's still a Great figure.

 Of course, I've reviewed the Dark Knight Returns Batman from Mattel's Batman Unlimited line that I've mentioned a few times. So far as other figures of Batman go, well I've reviewed:

Batman by Mattel (2003)
Arctic Shield Batman

Batman by NECA (2013)
1/4 Scale Michael Keaton Batman

Batman Animated by DC Collectibles (2014)
The New Batman Adventures

Batman: Arkham Asylum by DC Collectibles
Batman: Arkham Asylum, Batman: Arkham Origins, Batman: Arkham City Bruce Wayne, Batman: Arkham City, and Batman: Arkham Knight five pack

Batman: Arkham City by DC Collectibles (2011)
Rabbit Hole Batman

Batman: Arkham Origins by DC Collectibles (2013)

Batman: Classic TV Series by Mattel (2013)
Surf's Up Batman

Batman: Classic TV Series Bendables by NJ Croce (2014)

Batman: Power Attack  by Mattel (2012)
"Blast and Battle" Batcave

Batman Unlimited by Mattel
Beware the Batman
The Dark Knight Returns Batman
Planet-X Batman
Vampire Batman

DC Comics Multiverse: Batman v. Superman by Mattel (2016)
Armored Batman

DC Comics Unlimited by Mattel
Injustice Batman

DC Total Heroes by Mattel

DC Total Heroes Ultra by Mattel
Batman Beyond

Legends of Batman by Kenner
Cyborg Batman
Dark Rider Batman
Dark Warrior Batman
Deluxe Flightpak Batman
Deluxe Silver Knight Batman
Egyptian Batman & Egyptian Catwoman
Gladiator Batman
Knightsend Batman
Pirate Batman and Pirate Two-Face
Samurai Batman
Ultra Armor Batman
Viking Batman

Young Justice: Invasion by Mattel


  1. Ah, sweet! I didn't know this one was out already. He's always got a special place in my heart, 'cause I used to flip through that comic (my Dad had it) all the time, when I was little. It was confusing until I could actually read it, but I loved the crazy look of it, so big 'ol Batman will always be nostalgic for me.

    1. I definitely can imagine that the Dark Knight Returns would be a confusing book just to look at. I'm rereading it right now and I definitely would have no idea what was going on half the time without the dialogue!

    2. Yeah, there's a good chance I wasn't SUPPOSED to be looking at it, since it was on my parent's bookshelf in their own room, but that didn't stop me before!

      Seriously though, I sorta made up my own story, like I thought Superman was some sorta evil robot (because I couldn't figure out why Batman would be fighting him, and his crazy fight with a nuclear bomb that left him skeletal for a moment confused the heck out of me). I also thought The Joker was an imposter, like someone dressed up as him (since Robin was obviously someone else). It's funny how vivid those old crazy ideas are.

    3. I imagine that's probably the case.

      I just reread the book yesterday since I had picked up the figures and I was interested to see them in action again. Still really good. Man, that Superman and the nuclear bomb section is crazy though!

  2. I have the previous version and love it; I may have to track this one down!

    1. Fortunately he seems pretty easy to track down. My Wal-Mart has a few pegs of just him. They actually have two Supermans left, too. The Son of Batman figures flew, though, so I'm glad I grabbed mine ASAP.


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