Friday, December 13, 2013

Toy Review Batman: Arkham Origins Bane from DC Collectibles

Wow. This picture is terrible. Sorry about that.
As much as I disliked The Dark Knight Rises, I was excited about this figure that combined that Bane’s practical, militaristic look with the slightly sillier look of comic book Bane.
Look – I am a huge fan of Lucha libre, wrestling, and general costumed spectacle, but Bane’s old singlet and wrist pump look was not the best.
In addition to an updated and improved appearance, Bane got slightly better character treatment in the newest installment of the Arkham video game series. He wasn’t quite the mastermind he should be, but he was an arms dealer, a leader of men, and a guy with a plan to destroy the Bat. He was also the most powerful antagonist of the game and would have had the most memorable boss battle if it hadn’t been cheapened by waves of goons to assist him.
That was one thing that annoyed me about Origins. Much of the game felt like it was artificially difficult rather than well thought out. Bane’s boss battle could have been epic and left the feeling that you had battled the most powerful physical and mental threat Batman had ever faced. A few small tweaks to Bane’s attacks would have made him incredible. But rather than spending more time with the character, the developers decided to just throw in waves of goons. It was more annoying than exhilarating and it made Bane seem weak.
There was a similar situation with the gliding in this game. I was expecting an expanded Gotham City with less restrictions on where you could go and how you could use the grapple/gliding combos. Instead, Origins actually limited what you could do. What had been one of the most fun aspects of the prior game became a source of constant frustration in the new one. Why in the world would such a great feature become more limited?
But I’m not here today to review Arkham Origins (which overall was still a lot of fun but was definitely a step down from Arkham City). I’m here to talk about Bane!
First Glance: This is a great looking figure with a scale that seems just about perfect. He’s big enough to warrant his own special box, but not so big he gets one of the new window boxes.
Articulation: I feel like this is an instance where DCC did they best they could with a tough character design. On the other hand, the jacked-up Titan Bane figure has much better articulation and seems like he would have been much tougher to work with.
Head – ball joint
Shoulders – ball joint
Elbows – swivel/pivot
Wrists – ball joint
Hips – swivel/pivot
Knees – swivel/pivot
Boot Tops – swivel
Bane has a pretty good neck joint. He can look up and down and side to side. He doesn’t have a whole lot of tilt, but I’m happy with what’s here.
The arms are extremely limited in movement. I feel like DCC knew they couldn’t do much due to the hoses stuck in his arms and just said, “Screw it”. The shoulders rotate as far as the hoses will allow, but don’t move up and down very much. The elbows rotate the same, but have very little pivot. The wrists rotate fine and are unrestricted. What bothers me even more than the limited arm movement is the fact that Bane can’t stand normally. His arms can’t hang – they just stick out like a He-Man figure. I never like that.
There was an attempt made to give Bane better hip articulation than most DCC figures have. In addition to swiveling, they also pivot out a bit, similar to how Character Options articulates its Doctor Who line. It’s a nice effort, but the grenades (?) on the character’s hips keep the joints from being as useful as they could be. I can’t really say too much, as this is what the character looks like. The knees rotate well but don’t pivot much.
The joints on this figure are blended into the sculpt quite nicely and don’t hurt the profile at all, but they are extremely limited. You just aren’t going to get very many dynamic poses out of this one.
Sculpt: This Bane is a large, beautifully sculpted figure. As with all of the Arkham figures from DCC, he looks like one of the unlockable character trophies pulled right out of the screen.
I’m not a big fan of Bane’s facial features being exposed. As a matter of fact, the first time I saw this mask in the game I thought it was downright weird. But I suppose for the purposes of a video game character with a large speaking role it is important – nowadays, anyway – to be able to see the mouth and the eyes. And yes – I use this justification despite Tom Hardy’s concealed mouth.
Side Note: While I don’t like The Dark Knight Rises or its depiction of Bane, I thought Tom Hardy was fantastic and I even kind of liked his wacky “Sean Connery on Jeopardy” accent.
Anyway, this head sculpt is true to the game. The mask has a great thickness and depth. The features underneath are well defined and distinctive.
Bane’s torso is kind of crazy. The base looks like a flak vest and has detailed plates and rivets. There are straps and tubes connected to the Venom pump on his back and they all work well together. There are these piston things in his neck that are totally gross. Since there is no waist joint, Bane’s torso is all one piece. His sculpted web belt has a lot of detail and the clasp on the front is a cool design. I’m not sure why Bane needs that computer cable on his right shoulder, but it looks cool.
Bane’s arms are huge and each one sports different junk strapped to it. The left has some tubes and a strap, as well as the activation unit on his forearm. The right has a piece of shoulder armor and what appears to be an armpit tube. Everything has clean, sharp edges and matches the other doo-dads on the figure. Both hands have detailed fingerless gloves and are sculpted in grasping positions. Very appropriate for Bane.
Bane’s trousers look like some kind of fancy, reinforced combat fatigues. I like the pouch and grenade(?) designs on the thighs even if the asymmetry doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Bane’s boots are these huge, armored, steel-toed things and I want a pair badly. Those things look so heavy I doubt this guy even needs a Leg Day.
Coloring: Just like the open portions of this Bane’s mask, I am not crazy about the design being painted on. And sloppily, at that. I get that this is supposed to be Bane – The Early Years, but you’d think a guy that can afford all of this combat gear and a custom intravenous drug injection backpack could have somebody sew some trim on his wrestling mask. I mean, I can.
Regardless, it matches what’s in the game and is well done. The black is leathery looking and the white has the intended look. The facial features are painted precisely.
I am glad that Bane doesn’t have some kind of crazy color scheme. His base gear is all earth tones and it looks good. All of the silver bits – the vest rivets, D-rings, and clasps – are the same shade and stay within their spots. Everything else has a subtle wash to give texture. 
There is a gauge on Bane’s chest that I think should be centered but is too low, but it really isn’t a big deal.
Bane’s flesh has the same well done style of coloration as other figures in the line. The combination of the color of plastic and the washes used has created a great look.
Flair: I love that what we have here is a scaled-down version of the gigantic Titan pump on the larger Bane figures. It’s more than I would have designed for the character, but within the context of the game sit makes sense. I’m not going to pretend to know what the heck all of this business is supposed to do, but it looks cool and is sculpted well. I find the skull shape in the center to be a little silly, but I also love it. The pump and the connected hoses are molded out of rubber and move fairly well as you pose the figure, but they are glued into place where they connect to the arms and feel very likely to pop out. As a matter of fact, one did as soon as I opened the box:
I glued it back on and will do the same with any others that come loose. It’s not the best design in the world, and some of the hoses have lost a bit of paint at their connection points.
The green in the hoses is a striking contrast to the subdued tones of the rest of the figure and works really well.
Accessories: Nothing, but I’m not going to complain. This is basically an oversized figure being offered for the same price as the standard releases. I am shocked that DCC didn’t release it separately at a higher price like they did Mr. Freeze. I still don’t understand why that one was so expensive.
Packaging: Bane got his own special packaging. It’s like a window box version of the new clamshell.
Value: I have to admit that this figure feels like a bargain. It’s a good bit larger than the rest of the series, it has a lot going on sculpt-wise, and it comes in its own fancy packaging. Bane is one of the few from this line that truly seems worth the $24.99 MSRP.
Overall: As much as I appreciate how ell DCC captured the look of Bane as he appears in Arkham Origins, I am disappointed in this figure. I feel like the articulation could have been so much better. While he does have a nice range of joints, their functionality is so limited that he’s close to just being a statue. I can’t achieve many of the poses with this guy that I would like to. It strikes me as so odd that the massive version of Bane from the boxset I reviewed on Wednesday is so much more fun than this one.
3 out of 5
I feel like a “3” is too harsh. Bane looks exactly right, he just isn’t very functional. And I even understand why that happened. But I just feel like more could have been done here. Then again, for the price I feel like this is a good figure.
Okay, let me do that again.
4 out of 5
I’d like to see a better version, but that probably won’t happen. As-is this guy still looks great on the shelf. He just can’t do anything.
Bane should be available through your local comic shop. Failing that, try BigBad, Entertainment Earth, and all the rest.
-Phantom


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