The DC New 52 universe has its one year birthday this month. With the revamp of the DC universe comes the revamp of some of our favorite DC characters. Some have had new origins and back stories, while others seem to have a history in line with the old universe. But one thing has been pretty consistent across the board…everyone gets a new costume! And with new costumes in the comic book, comes new action figures.
First out the gate is (not surprisingly) DC Collectibles with their new line of action figures since they have changed their name from DC Direct. They have started with their most popular franchise, the Justice League. In Series 01 of their Justice League line, we have the seven core members (according to the New 52 universe) and up first is none other than the Dark Knight himself, Batman.
Right off the bat (no pun intended) we see the the new design for DC Collectible’s packaging. For those used to the cardboard back blister card will be (pleasantly or unpleasantly) surprised at this one. Here we have the “action figure in a box” which works on so many levels with collectors:
1) The figure in the box can be beautifully displayed
2) The figure can come out of the box, admired, posed, pictured, etc., and then can be replaced in the box.
3) For collectors with space issues, the box can be filed like a book…there are convenient pictures on both sides signifying which figure is in the box
The front displays DC Collectibles’ new logo, a “peekaboo” shot of the action figure within the box, the Justice League logo, and the action figure’s name.
The right side features a silhouette artwork of Batman (with Superman and Wonder Woman in the background). The left side shows the original prototype of the action figure along with the name of the sculptor, which for me is a first. In this case (and most likely the rest of the line), Jack Matthews sculpted this figure.
The back features thumbnails of Batman and upcoming figures Aquaman and Green Lantern. A couple of things to note: 1) this line will be released one figure at a time, and 2) even though Aquaman and Green Lantern show that they will be released in “June 2012”, they actually did not get released until later, so do not trust the dates on the back. We are then presented with a shot of the seven heroes in Series 01.
There is something very minimalistic about the nature of this packaging, but from a collector’s standpoint, this packaging just works. And as I was writing that, I realize what it was…this is like the “iPod” of packaging. White backgrounds, very few pictures and silhouettes all around. If they drew the silhouettes with headphones, this could easily be an iPod box. Still it works for me.
The sculpting on this figure is top-notch. A quick Google search of the sculptor, Jack Matthews, shows that he is not new to sculpting some of DC’s most beloved characters.
Batman’s new costume is straight from the pages of the New 52 comics. Noticeably gone are the black trunks he used to wear (to note, his last costume before the reboot featured a similar look). Batman’s insignia has normally switched back and forth throughout the years from just the plain black bat, to the black bat within the yellow oval. This redesign features just the plain black bat. Beyond that, we get the familiar cowl and cape.
One cool thing to note, this figure’s cape seemingly “flows” behind him. The cape is made of a sculpted plastic and seems to be dragging behind him. Normally on action figures, the sculpted cape ends before it touches the ground, so this touch of flair adds a little more comic realness to it.
The painting is exceptional with glossy black paint on the cowl, gloves, and boots while the rest is a flat, matted scheme. A great paint application overall.
I did notice that the sculpting on this figure was not quite as nice as the prototype on the side of the package. There seems to be more definition to the cape, the armor, and the muscles on the prototype, so we did lose some detail in translation from prototype to production, but it is not so glaringly noticeable as it is in other figures.
One of my favorite topics on action figures has become this figure’s downfall. This figure has only 12 points of articulation! What we are getting here is strictly an action figure for collectors…it is just a little more articulated than statues. Noticeably absent is wrist/forearm articulation, waist articulation, and even ankle articulation. These are not required, but it would sure make posing the figure a little more fun. As it is, I could only pose him in a few positions.
The cape interferes with some of the arm articulation…Batman can barely raise his arm beyond shoulder level. This type of articulation makes action poses nearly impossible. While I respect that DC Collectibles is beating Mattel in terms of sculpting, Mattel hands down beats them in articulation.
This one’s easy…no accessories. We usually at least get an action figure stand, but nothing with this one and I’m not expecting any of the figures (except Aquaman) to come with some sort of accessory. I would have liked to have received at least a Bat-a-rang with this figure.
This is a good starting entry into the New 52 universe…even though it is a little limited. The limitation just leads me to believe that DC Collectibles is just targeting the collector crowd. I’m not sure if this is due to limited production or whatever the reason may be, but even their Marvel competitor, Diamond Select, knows how to mix great sculpting with a compliment of good articulation. While I would have loved to have scored this figure higher seeing as he is my favorite DC character, there are a few negatives here that brought down the score.
This Batman figure is available now at most online toy retailers and in Local Comic Book shops in your area.