Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Toy Review - Batman: Arkham City Bane & Batman from DC Collectibles

This two-pack is the final in a series of three that combined an oversized figure with a repaint of re-release of an existing figure. I’m still not sure if the Harley Quinn was different, but Penguin was and this Batman definitely is.
The other sets’ oversized figures were the (formerly) conjoined Abramovici twins Sickle and Mr. Hammer. They had never been released before and were therefore must-haves for me. I didn’t need a Penguin, but I did not have the Arkham City version of Harley Quinn. This set, on the other hand, included two characters that I already owned. This is the third version I have bought of each of these characters.
The first versions of Batman and Bane were the original releases from the Arkham line. Batman has limited articulation and what I thought at the time was an odd color scheme. I was never happy with that original Bane because he’s all hunched over. 
You guys know how I feel about a figure that can’t be posed in a neutral stance. The second Batman I bought was the super articulated version that came out last year (I’m not positive it was last year and a more appropriate term would be “reasonably more articulated”). The second Bane was actually the Origins Bane that I bought the same day as this set, but that does make three Banes. I’ll be reviewing him soon.
I could have done without this Batman, but I had no problem buying more Banes. As I said – I was never crazy about the Arkham Asylum Bane and this new Origins Bane is quite different from the others. Bane is one of my favorite Batman villains and experienced a tremendous character breakout in the pages of Gail Simone’s Secret Six. I have no problems buying different variations of this guy. I’m even happy to own the one from Dark Knight Rises that was essentially nothing more than Talia al Ghul’s little errand boy – even though it was barely a step up from his status in Batman & Robin.
I could go on about how much I like Bane as a character and how much he’s been abused in non-comics media over the years, but that might be a whole other post.
First Glance: It’s kind of weird to see this old Titan Bane again. Dark Knight Rises, Young Justice, and now Arkham Origins have all presented very different versions of the character since his last appearance in Arkham City, so it’s funny to see this huge monster. But worthwhile since this is a new sculpt that is more in line with the current aesthetics of these figures.
Side Note: I read a post on the internet that suggested that Nolan’s Bat movies had made great use of the comic book source material. That wasn’t the only crazy assertion in the article, but it was probably the craziest. While there are certain aspects of those movies that are very well done and even respectful of the source material, they do their best to avoid the more fantastical – or comic-booky, if you will – aspects of the franchise. To me it doesn’t matter how right you get the details if you miss the spirit entirely.
The Batman in this set is the same as the original release, but in different colors. It looks good and is actually more along the lines of what I expected the first time around. I was surprised when that one had so much blue in it. This one – all black and grey – is closer to what I picture when I think of the Arkham games.
Articulation: Both figures are articulated with the usual aesthetics this line puts forth – a smart combination of form and functionality. Bane – being a newer design – has articulation far superior to Batman’s.
Bane
Head – ball joint
Shoulder – ball joint
Bicep - swivel
Elbow –pivot
Forearm - swivel
Wrist – ball joint
Waist - swivel
Hips – ball joint
Thighs - swivel
Feet – ball joint
Bane’s neck joint is forward-facing rather than being situated on top like most figures. This means his head rotates like clock hands rather than like a barber pole, if I can use the strangest analogy ever. It doesn’t have a lot of motion other than the rotation, but it is a ball joint.
The arms are fantastic. I usually don’t expect much out of a bulky, hugely over-muscled figure like this, but when you put five joints on each arm you’ve done a good thing. I was able to achieve every pose I tried with this figure’s arms.
The legs aren’t perfect, but they’re close. The ball joints on the hips are slightly restricted in functionality. The combination of thigh swivels, decent knee pivots, and ball joint ankles work well. This guy can’t achieve the deep squat of the Asylum Bane, but he can get close enough.
All of the joints on my figure are tight and functional. None were stuck, though the knees took some careful work to get moving.
Batman
Head – ball joint
Shoulders – ball joint
Elbows - pivot
Forearms – swivel
Hips – swivel
Knees – pivot
Boot tops - swivel
Batman can look up, down, left, right, and can cock his head to either side to a certain degree. This is one of the better head joints that DCC has produced.
The shoulders work fairly well within the restrictions of the cape draped over them, but the elbows don’t achieve a 90° pivot and the forearms can only rotate so far.
The legs work fairly well. The hips have a good range of movement and the knees can achieve a relatively good pivot. The boot swivels are okay, but ankle joints would be much better.
Batman’s articulation is somewhat limited, but what’s there functions as it is supposed to.
Sculpt: Sculpt-wise this is the exact same Batman that was in the first wave of Arkham Asylum action figures. This is my favorite non-comic Batman design, as it incorporates the important elements of the comics with the concept of armor and functionality.
The head has a great shape and the longer-style ears. Ever since I was a kid I’ve preferred longer ears on Batman. I still can’t get used to the visible eyes on this design, though. They creep me out. All of the detailing – including the creepy eyes – on the head is accurate and tightly done. The Dark Knight has sort of a stern expression that works and at least isn’t deadface like Harley Quinn has. The only issue here is a line on each of the ears from the molding process. It isn’t that noticeable until you start looking closely, but it shouldn’t be there.
Batman’s upper body is well-muscled and features the armor plating seams from the game design (which I believe are what led to Batman’s New 52 look). The lines are good and there are even rivets in places. I’d like it if the Bat Symbol was sculpted rather than just paint, but I can’t say I’m sure if it had a raised surface in the game. It would just look better.
The gauntlets are giant to the point of almost looking like anime. Almost being the key word. This is probably my only issue with the design of the Arkham Batsuit. It would be one thing if some of the gadgets were built into these things, but they aren’t. They’re just huge for no apparent reason. Although they do have a function in Arkham Origins. Still, they do look kind of cool and the straps and clasps on the inner arm are a nice touch. The gloves appear to be weighted and might even have some tech built in. There’s also some texture sculpted into them. Batman’s right hand is open in an almost claw-like position and his left is an open fist – ready to hold something.
The utility belt is excellent. Make fun of pouches if you will, but I’ve never understood any of the designs that don’t incorporate them. Batman has lots of equipment. And while I support the idea that he actually wears a small backpack under his cape, I don’t buy that Batarangs fit into three-inch long capsules. I like the pouch design on this figure and that the buckle actually resembles a buckle.
The Arkham Batman’s trunks are less like briefs and more like shorts, which actually looks a little weird. The boots look like motocross boots with armor on the front. Obviously they’re not motocross boots, because those things don’t bend at the ankle all that well. I learned this in my one and only attempt at a homemade costume years ago.
Anyway, while this figure’s articulation might be a bit lacking (which was remedied in a recent figure), this is a great sculpt that perfectly represents what is seen in the game.
Bane is an entirely new sculpt. While portions of this figure very closely resemble the original, they are all new. I would be curious to see how these figures are made. They look so incredibly accurate to the 3D models in the game I would imagine they are scanned directly from those. That’s got to be why, despite the difference in pose, all of the Bane parts look the same – all of the hoses and knobs and weird stuff stuck in his body are the same size and shape.
The head is kind of funny because this is crazy Titan Bane, yet his face is fairly calm. If anything it looks a bit sullen. Maybe because he wants his teddy bear. Actually, I just remembered that after you defeat Bane in Arkham City he ends up locked in a cage and actually does look a bit pouty. If you talk to him, he’s all like, “Puh-leeze Mr. Batman – just lemme outta here. I’ll be good. I promise.” That’s what this face looks like. I am glad that this is the full-on luchador mask and that the trim is sculpted on rather than just painted. I want the same thing for the Phantom Troublemaker figure that will almost certainly happen someday.
Bane’s musculature is huge and veiny (keep your jokes to yourself). The harness that secures the Titan pump to his back is a sculpted part of the torso. It has a ton of detail in the straps and buckles and the collar has rivets and defined plating. All of the tubes running out of Bane have connectors implanted in his skin. I realize that this isn’t actually a more efficient delivery system for whatever Bane’s performance enhancing drug of the day may be than what’s in the comics, but it makes for a great visual.
Bane has a creepy robo-spine running up his back. I like the idea that it’s there to support his increased muscle mass. I don’t know if that’s actually its intended purpose, but that’s what makes sense to me. Regardless, it looks cool.
Bane’s gauntlets look awesome. They’re a nice combination of gadgets and armor. The straps look great. I’m not quite sure about the functionality of the right gauntlet. The left one traditionally houses the activator for Bane’s injection system and I can buy that one of the buttons over there does that. But I can’t quite figure out why those two tubes are running from the left gauntlet into the back of Bane’s hand. I mean, other than it looking awesome and creepy. Because it does.
Bane’s lower body is much simpler. Well, once you get past the wacky harness thing he’s got on. I don’t know what’s up with that. The belt portion looks really cool, and now that I’m thinking about it – did he hit that belt buckle to activate the injector? I can’t remember. I feel like that thing had a function, though. Anyway, whatever the harness is it is well done. It has straps and buckles and junk.
The asylum pants are all torn up at the bottom. Under that are restraint cuffs and big ol’ Bane feet. It all looks good and is consistent with the video game version.
Coloring: Bane’s flesh parts are molded out of a plastic that looks very much like human skin. I’m not sure how the effect is achieved, and the painted washes certainly help, but it looks amazing. Another improvement over the old Bane is that this one does not have glowing, green veins. Granted, this isn’t out-of-his-mind Titan-crazy Bane; but those green veins that looked cool in the game didn’t translate well to a figure (in my opinion).
Bane’s mask is painted precisely. The white of the trim extends back into the holes – the flesh tone doesn’t creep up onto the mask at all. Bane’s eyes are centered. There are darker flesh tones around his eyes and lips to give depth and bring out the details.
All of Bane’s implants and armor are silver with a dark wash that looks fairly unhygienic. The applications are outstanding. There isn’t one part where the silver bleeds out into the surrounding area.
The lower half of the figure is spattered with grime. I’m not usually in favor of this sort of thing, but it is part of the character’s look in the game. The spatter is well done – it starts out faint and light above the knees and thickens as it goes lower.
Most of the figures in the Arkham lines have great paint jobs, but this Bane is one of the best. Everything is accurate and precise and this is one of the few figures in my collection that doesn’t have even a tiny error of some sort.
Rather than including the blues of that first Arkham figure, this Batman is all black and grey. Well, and gold.
All of the blacks match, which may seem like a dumb thing to be impressed with until you look back at the last four decades of toys and take in all of the different shades and glosses of black that different materials used on the same figure have produced. And I’m not talking about the intentional use of different glosses. I’m talking about TIE Fighter pilots with jumpsuits where the sleeves and legs are shinier than the torso. Or members of the Sinestro Corps who have really shiny thighs for some reason. Or a Snake-Eyes with… actually, all of my Snake-Eyes figures look pretty great. But you get my point. Good job on the blacks, DCC.
Batman’s face is well done, even if his visible eyeballs creep me the eff out. The skin doesn’t bleed out onto the cowl and the eyes… Yeesh.
The armored bodysuit looks absolutely great. The base is a grey color, but there are washes that give it a more lifelike look than if it were simply grey. This also helps to highlight the detail of the seams and rivets. The Bat Symbol is centered and precise. The edges are sharp and there’s no blotching at all.
The utility belt is silver and gold. It looks like a piece of combat-ready gear. It might make more sense for it to be metallic black, but I don’t care because it looks awesome.
Flair: Batman’s cape is a separately sculpted piece of soft rubber. It’s an interesting design because the cape and cowl are clearly intended to be not only different parts but different materials. The cape has a great shape and is a slightly different shade from the rest of the blacks. This is intentional; on the original figure it was blue. The sculpt of the folds and the way that the cape hangs are well done. Also, it is long enough that it sits on the ground and serves as another point of support for the figure.
Bane’s Titan injection pump (or whatever) is a separate piece that is permanently attached by the hoses that connect it to Bane’s body. The pump itself has a tab that fits into a slot in Bane’s back. I would prefer if the thing was just permanently attached. As it is it’s loose in that slot and falls out easily, but it can’t come completely off because of the hoses. Also, it doesn’t fit snugly against the figure’s back – it’s always sticking out just a bit. I realize I could fix these problems myself with a Dremel and some Super Glue, but I don’t like doing that sort of thing.
The hoses look great and are firmly secured in their connection points. The coloring on all of this apparatus is solid. The pump matches Bane’s other metallic portions and has some hazard stripes in addition to the red of the Titan juice. The hoses have the red coloring in addition to a wash that gives the hoses themselves a texture – it makes the red look like it’s inside.
Accessories: Not a darn thing. I would have expected this set to come with a Batarang or maybe even the grapnel gun that came with Detective Mode Batman. But nothing. Considering the pieces that came with the other two sets – and just how many gadgets Batman could have come with – this is pretty disappointing.
Packaging: Just a window box. I do like the uniformity of the DCC window boxes, though. They are all designed to look like the stupid new DC logo, with the logo itself peeling down to reveal whatever the product or franchise is.
I don't see a lot of people reenacting anything with these normally higher-priced figure. 
I kept forgetting to mention that DCC has been crediting the sculptors on these sets.

Value: Each of these three sets is the amazing low price of $29.99, which is ridiculously good for two great figures, one of which is oversized. GREAT value.
Overall: This is another awesome deal and a great way to start an Arkham figure collection if you haven’t already. Both figures are very well done, though the Batman has been improved upon. Still, this one looks great standing on the shelf and I would consider this Bane a must-have. He’s truly an excellent figure.
4 out of 5
Check with your local comic shop first. If you can’t find this pair there you can hit up Entertainment Earth, BigBad, or probably even Amazon.
-Phantom


4 comments:

  1. I'm not sure why you got him so cheap... does your Comic Book Store have a deal or something? Mine cost $59.99 for the Bane/Batman pack. The other two sets were $39.99 each. I belive the Bane pack is $49.99 on BBTS too. I'm super jealous that you got them so cheap!

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  2. I was incorrect on all three of these - the standard price was $39.99, though I got them for a good bit less with the discount I get for having a subscription service at the shop. I don;t know why the Bane set is so much more in some places, but you're right - an online search brought up ridiculous prices for this set. When they were first offered they were all the same.

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  3. Hi, how tall is the Bane? I think the Batman is a 7" figure?

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    1. From the tips of his toes to the top of his hose, Bane is about 9.25" tall.

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