Monday, February 25, 2013

Toy Review – DC Unlimited Batman By Mattel

I suppose it was inevitable that I was going to buy this figure.

Well, maybe not inevitable. If it had been priced at the twenty bucks that Mattel seemed to be moving toward when the DCUC line died I would’ve passed. But I found the new Batman Unlimited and DC Unlimited waves at Target for $15.99 and that seemed just cheap enough.

Also, any further reviews I do of these lines – be they DC, Batman, or Superman Unlimited – will all be under the “DC Unlimited” heading. I think it’s smart of Mattel to basically be running these as a bunch of sub-lines, but I’m not going to hold myself to that.

I first saw this new Batman at Billy’s Toys, but he was $24.99 there and I wasn’t about to pay that. I wasn’t even all that sure I wanted one, let alone for that price. But we stopped at Target on the way home – I was hoping to find a Batgirl – and they had a few of the figures at the lower price. Actually, they had everybody but Batgirl.

The next day I stopped at Target on the way into work and they had everybody. Since I was buying Batgirl I decided to go ahead and get Batman. I buy Batmans. Pretty much any new version that comes out. Not every Batman, but any that seem significant to canon and are actually Bruce Wayne. Although I’d buy a Dick Grayson Batman in a second.

Side Note: If you’re curious, here are my thoughts on the remainder of these new DC figures from Mattel:

Penguin – Don’t care for the sculpt or the colors. I like the character of Oswald Cobblepot a lot, but I’ll wait for a more “realistic” version.

Hawkman – I think this design is great. As a matter of fact, as much as I dislike the New 52 designs in comics I think they make for awesome action figures. All of those lines and armor plates look really neat. This Hawkman looks badass. I just don’t want another Hawkman that won’t match my Hawkgirl.

Flash – Another cool-looking action figure. I like the yellow detail on his costume and the lightning effects look awesome. But I just don’t need another Flash, especially with Wally West coming soon from Matty.

Superman – Also a cool design and overall a great-looking figure. I just don’t much care for Superman and I really don’t like what I read of the New 52 Superman. Making the godlike character an arrogant prick did not improve things. I will, however, be doing a review of this one since Lil’ Troublemaker picked one out as a reward for something or other.

Since I usually do some sort of character talk about figures I review, I’ll briefly discuss my feelings on New 52 Batman:

I think Scott Snyder is doing a bang-up job. As much as I wish we were getting the lighter-hearted Bruce Wayne that Grant Morrison brought back through time a couple of years ago, Snyder’s storytelling has been great and was perhaps the least effected by DC’s massive mistake reboot. “Night of the Owls” suffered from being spread across books and from becoming nearly incomprehensible in the middle, but everything since has been good to great. The one-shot issue with that girl was awesome and “Death of the Family” was outstanding and will clearly have long-term consequences. The finale was some of the smartest comic book storytelling I’ve seen in a long time and I think it will definitely go down as one of the greatest Joker stories ever told.

All of that also had an impact on whether or not I was going to buy this figure. Obviously I did, so let’s get to it.
First Glance: I’ll tell you this – I’d like it a lot more if Batman had a flat grey paint job rather than this metallic nonsense. He looks like some kind of goofy 90’s-era Anniversary figure. Like the 500th Batman figure or something. But sculpt-wise he looks cool. Batman is one character that should appear to have armor plating.
Articulation: Nothing new for the new line, which is okay. I’m glad Mattel didn’t decide to try and reduce costs by removing Ps of A. 

Head – ball joint
Shoulders – swivel/hinge
Biceps – swivel
Elbows –pivot
Wrists – swivel
Abdomen - pivot
Waist - swivel
Hips – swivel/hinge
Thighs - swivel
Knees – pivot
Ankles - pivot

The head is on one of those double joints, so it has a great range of motion.
The belt buckle on mine wasn’t quite centered, but the belt is a separate piece so I was able to twist it and get it into place. 

The elbows seem to have just a bit deeper pivot than older DCUC releases. Also, the new torso sculpt is done in such a way that Batman’s arms can actually hang naturally at his sides rather than sticking out a bit like a kid in a snowsuit.

The rest of the joints all function well. Everything moves freely and holds the pose you give it.
Here’s the problem – the package states that this figure is good for ages “4+”:
I almost always have Lil’ Troublemaker downstairs with me when I open and photograph toys; especially Batman and Doctor Who. He knows how to handle toys. He is careful with his own and extra careful with mine. Still, he is five and I feel like if a toy survives a half hour or so of five year old play then it’s probably good to go for adult needs. Very rarely has a toy or figure ever seen damage from my son.

No more than five minutes after I handed Batman over, Lil’ troublemaker came back into my office holding Batman and the figure’s twisted-off arm with tears in his eyes. 
I picked him up and hugged him and told him it wasn’t his fault and that Mattel had just made a fragile, crummy toy. He knows all about Mattel and DC Direct’s “fragile toys”. He’ll often ask me if a toy is going to be fragile. He knows that Ninja Turtles, GI Joe, and Star Wars aren’t fragile. Typically he doesn’t even want to touch NECA’s stuff, so their durability really never comes into question. For the most part Underground Toys’ Doctor Who line is not fragile.

So Lil’ Troublemaker knows how to handle toys, especially when Daddy has said to be careful because it might be fragile. And that bicep joint had been suspect when I was taking pictures.
I returned the broken one and got a new one no problem. I’ll be posing it once and putting it on the shelf, although I’m not sure which shelf. I have a Batman shelf and a Justice League shelf and I’m not sure where this guy will go. I’m not sure he’s Regular Batman material.
Sculpt: This Batman has a surprising number of new parts – upper and lower torso, biceps, forearms, hands, utility belt, calves, and feet. His head might even be new. It looks just different enough from my other Batman heads to at least be a re-tooling.

I doubt this was intentional – especially since I’m not even sure this is a completely new head – but the head sculpt is somewhat reminiscent of Greg Capullo’s artwork. It has a shape and face that looks like his style.

The torso is a bit leaner than some of the other Batmans and has a lot of the seams and detailing that has come to be associated with the New 52. I think it all looks good and makes for a more dynamic and interesting-looking action figure. This line work also helps to conceal the abdominal pivot, which looks much better on this figure than previous Mattel DC figures.

The new utility belt is very narrow, but as I said it moves independently of the torso and hips. It has a ton of detail and looks good for such a small belt. I have always preferred the pouch-covered utility belt since it actually makes sense. There have even been a few instances of Batman and Robin having larger pouches on the back of their utility belts under their capes.

The new gloves and boots look cool. The seams and plating lend them a weight that suggest Batman’s kicks and punches are going to be much more devastating. I like that there are treads on the bottoms of the boots:
But wish they were a little deeper and more visible on the sides.

Mattel seems to have found a middle ground between the actual good plastic that toys should be made of and the almost-rubber that they were using towards the end of the DCUC line. Batman is solid, but his extremities have the telltale give of cheaper plastic. This is probably why the joint twisted right off of the first one I bought.
Coloring: I dig that the cape and cowl are a flat black and the gloves and boots are glossy. It gives the figure a little more character. The flat black Bat symbol in the middle of the metallic grey is a nice contrast as well.

However, I do not particularly care for the metallic grey. It doesn’t look like armor, as I think it’s supposed to. It looks like a goofy variant. The shade is okay, it’s just the metallic thing. I’m also still not sold on Batman without trunks.

The yellow on the utility belt is a bit sketchy. You can sort of see through it in places.

My figure is painted very well. I can’t find any errors and the Bat symbol in particular is tight and well done. The edges are painted all the way out. My problem is this fucking thing:
Seriously? That’s the only place that could go? Not on his back or under his foot? What asshole made this choice? Fucking shit.
Flair: Batman’s cape is a new sculpt that clearly shows the sides folded up over his shoulders. I like that the neck is a bit lower on this Batman than on others.
Accessories: Not a damn thing. Despite the fact that right there on the back of the card “Vast arsenal of weapons and gadgets” is listed as part of Batman’s deal. 
By this time Mattel has plenty of gadgets already tooled – Batarangs, grapple guns, other doo-dads that could conceivably be in the Dark Knight’s arsenal. But they did not include any here. Boo.
Packaging: The new DC Unlimited packaging is virtually identical to the Batman Legacy stuff. It’s a little overdone, but it does draw the eye and looks good hanging from the pegs. The cardback features some original art and a bio:
I think everybody knows that.

Most importantly, this type of packaging is easy to open. Mattel seems to be trying to eliminate the figure warping that has been a signature of their products for so long, posing these new figures in neutral positions that don’t bend the extremities.
Also, once you open the box there are ads for MattyCollector.com all over the place:
Value: $15.99 – a price I once found outrageous for a 6” scale figure – isn’t bad for this guy. I find the lack of accessories disturbing, but that’s where we are now with Mattel. I will kindly not point out the veritable wealth of accessories that the much better releases from NECA and Diamond Select tend to have. Oops. Guess I did.
Overall: I’m not disappointed by this figure (as long as it doesn’t break again), but it’s hardly necessary. The absence of accessories and seeming fragility are definitely issues, but other than that this is a nice-looking toy that looks like New 52 Batman. If that’s something you want you should go buy one.
3 out of 5

I don’t think you’re going to have a problem finding this guy. From what I have seen it looks like he’s two per case right now and every place that I have found the new DC Unlimited figures has had at least two Batmans.

-Phantom

12 comments:

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    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wouldn't mind a guest post from time to time. Tell me a little more about your writing. Or leave a link to your site here. I'll check it out and we'll talk.

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  2. Hi. This isn't really relevant to the article, but are they re-releasing this sculpt under DC Comics Unlimited, but in more comic-accurate colors? I plan on collecting the New 52 Justice League, so Batman's kinda a key figure, but I'm really not feeling the paintjob for this figure...

    Do you think a re-release is likely? Or should I play it safe and get this one anyway? Thanks. =)

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    1. I'm terrible at speculating about such things - well, about being right, anyway - but I would bet on Mattel redoing this Batman with a different deco. He might end up being part of a multi-pack or something, though.

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  3. I would bet it will be rereleased with a flat grey tone. Matty loves to reuse.

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    1. That's probably a safe bet, thought I wouldn't be surprised to see black for no good reason.

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  4. There is a gray one out there under the DC Comics Unlimited line, but I have not seen him yet. I was able to grab this guy real cheap off of ebay, and I really like the silver color. It reminds me of all those variant batman figures I had when I was a kid.
    There was one in particular, Tec Shield Batman, that had a gold paint scheme. I always pretended that he was in an acid-resistant armor suit, because my Joker always had acid to spray on people. So this guy just kind of gives me that vibe of being some variant, and for that I appreciate him and his stupid silver/gray color.

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    1. Ha! I had that one. I bought it for the jetpack. Threw the figure away.

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    2. Isn't that grey batman from the subscription line? I remember seeing it in the lineup.

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    3. I doubt it very much. I can't imagine them putting a Batman in the sub.

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  5. I was doing a picture search for something totally unrelated. Then I see this pivoting foot thingy. I thought it was a brace for people with bad ankles. and then i see on this page a list: Head – ball joint
    Shoulders – swivel/hinge
    Biceps – swivel
    Elbows –pivot
    Wrists – swivel
    Abdomen - pivot
    Waist - swivel
    Hips – swivel/hinge
    Thighs - swivel
    Knees – pivot
    Ankles - pivot

    preface: please forgive my being an arse hole. sorry for the ramble and about me me me that follows. have mercy on a middle aged guy who never had an adolescence due to psychiatric drug torture(scarred for life) and general health going down hill ever since. I've got the body of a hundred year old it seems...sighs. oh yeah the worst: two years ago i got pains in my lower abdomen. could only sleep sitting in a chair. my f ing

    Could I purchase a full size knee for myself, and dyi operate on myself and put it where i cut off my old arthric knne? Its shot premature arthritis due to the fact a butcher of an orthopeadic surgeon fu#ked up my knee worse than the school boy knee injury. back in dah day you put a cast on a leg with a torn acl operation or no. this mofo doctor left me in an ace bandage. thus my knee kept moving and didn't heal. i should of did what my uncle did and reject knee surgery and he just stayed mostly in bed for a month with a homemade splint. it healed just fine. I am envious of this batman figure. he is as limber and flexible as a professional athlete. i just want to walk for more than a block....yeah i know what the f does this have to do with anything...thanks for letting me post. your website seems pretty cool. i like little matchbox cars like the Fiats(r) that were on the road. i love those boxy cars from foreign countries on the road back then. Also like the one or two cycle polluting Trabi(?)from east germany. I had a great 1973 Datsun sedan back in the 1980's. It was small but once you got in it, it was like entering another universe it was so roomy. it was boxy also(i mean like think of a 2X4 cut 9 inches for the length of car and 4 inches on top for...umahh?.... the windows and roof. thats what i mean by boxy). I did like the Scion mini passenger van, whatever. when it first came out. it looks like a full sized toy too, very charming, you know something that a giant monster breaking down buildings and squashing people, and then he sees this car, he smiles and starts playing with it and that ends the rampage...btw anyone know why my 7 year old toshiba laptop is running so slow? i use chrome browser too and xp os.

    thank you, very grateful

    ymous anon
    male
    usa(i hate the US empire and its bloodletting for oil, etc)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. continued...ah i guess there is no edit here. we continuing what i did not complete from preface:

      "preface: please forgive my being an arse hole. sorry for the ramble and about me me me that follows. have mercy on a middle aged guy who never had an adolescence due to psychiatric drug torture(scarred for life) and general health going down hill ever since. I've got the body of a hundred year old it seems...sighs. oh yeah the worst: two years ago i got pains in my lower abdomen. could only sleep sitting in a chair. my f ing" gp(family doctor) took several months to give me a sonogram. My bladder was not emptying. my first idiot urologist put me in a permanent catheter and pee bag for a month. then he said i could self catheter. the busy money hungry "doctor"(we need a France health care system) did not even give me a pre auth for a new sterile intermittent catheter(a relief compared to a perm catheter and a pee bag) every 4 times a day. so i had to wash one 3 times a day. i was having uti's all the time. it was hell. so out of desperation i call this University medical center in my state. mistake: never ask for the first available appointment with any urologist. its usually the worst doctor in dept, or some young doctor who wants surgery experience. the mofo was nasty. he said i needed my prostate removed. he never told me of the after effects. after a turp(transurethral resection of the prostate)you will never have your "seed" cum out of you again. it goes into your bladder. say goodbye to getting rid of your "carnal" or libidinous tension. all mechanical no feeling anymore. i wan to die....

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