The GeeksverseREVIEW | DC Comics Multiverse Batman (Mattel)

REVIEW | DC Comics Multiverse Batman (Mattel)
Published on Monday, June 23, 2014 by
Is Mattel’s DC Comics Multiverse Batman a “collector-quality” four inch-scale action figure as the toymaker’s marketing material purports it to be? Join us after the jump to find out.

  • multiversebatman_officialpromopicFigure name: Batman
  • Line: DC Comics Multiverse
  • Manufacturer: Mattel
  • MSRP: $9.99 (note, however, that some Toys ‘Я’ Us outlets are selling it for a ridiculous $14.99!)
  • Manufacturer’s description: Celebrating Batman video games and classic DC Comics movies, this highly detailed 4” DC Comics character figure has 14-points of articulation for dynamic posing and action moves. Richly authentic to its parallel, it will delight all adults seeking collector-quality action figures in the 4” scale.  

Mattel is back in the 4″ scale game with the launch of their DC Comics Multiverse line of action figures. While the first assortment of figures focus on the Batman: Arkham Asylum video game franchise character designs, the company is now drawing from the library of live-action Warner Bros. films featuring the classic DC Comics character.

Since Mattel loves Batman—the character is a top seller when it comes to toys, having had a continuous presence in the mass market retail aisles for over 20 years—the El Segundo, California-based toy giant is bringing out the big guns with designs based on the version of the character as portrayed by actor Michael Keaton in Tim Burton’s two Batman films.

Here’s where I make some of you readers feel old: Tim Burton’s Batman actually premiered 25 years ago, almost to the day! I remember “Batmania” sweeping the nation like it was yesterday. But you didn’t come here to hear me ramble about my childhood, you want to find out if this guy is worth your hard-earned cash, so let’s get on with the review and the pictures!

Packaging

Batman comes in the standard DC Comics Multiverse red-and-yellow blister card packaging. The Batman-symbol from the 1989 film is emblazoned on top of the card bubble and a picture of Michael Keaton-as-Batman is on the packaging insert. The figure and its accessory is packaged in full view, which is good for “mint-on-card” collectors, as well as for another reason I will get into later in the review.

The back of the package includes the traditional cross sell images, a blurb about the line (which we’ve reproduced in the manufacturer’s description section above), a cropped version of the same photo of Keaton-Bats on the packaging front, and a short biographical entry which reads:

  • Real Name: Bruce Wayne
  • Occupation: Billionaire Industrialist
  • High Tech Gear: Grapple Gun, Bolo Launcher, Batmobile
  • Villain: The Joker

I should note that there is a variant, unmasked version that comes packaged slightly differently as far as the insert goes.

Design and Articulation

Mattel did a pretty good job reproducing the 1989 film Batman on such a small scale. I think the sculpt looks really good—it really does look like there could be a miniature Michael Keaton under the mask. The real highlight for me has to be the pleather-like cape, though, and I want to laud Mattel for the use of soft goods, a mostly lost art in smaller scale figures these days. It looks really good draped over the figure’s shoulders.

Articulation-wise, the head can only look left and right and cannot look up or down even slightly, but I guess thats somewhat accurate based on how the costume actually worked in the film. In fact, this figure actually has a wider range of motion at the neck than Michael Keaton did while wearing the stiff, foam rubber costume designed by Bob Ringwood (which was inspired by a Neal Adams design). The toy’s arms have swivel-hinge shoulders but the aforementioned awesome cape actually restricts the movement a bit. DC Comics Multiverse Batman also has single-pin elbows and swivel wrists, but only one open hand—the left— for grasping accessories. The figure also has a swivel waist, swivel-hinge hips (which are very similar to the “H-hips” found on the six-inch scale DC Universe Classics figures), mid-thigh swivels, and single-pin knees.

All told, the figure’s level of articulation allows for a fair amount of posing, but I think some creativity might be in order to do anything super-dynamic with it.

Accessories

Batman includes the now-ubiquitous grapple gun, which was actually first introduced as part of the character’s kit in the 1989 Batman film before being later adopted by the comics and the long-running 1990s animated series. This single accessory features a dab of gold paint on the hooked end. Unfortunately, the grapple is made from the infamous Gummy Mattel Plastic, and from some angles, it looks like a decidedly different kind of “toy,” if you know what I mean.

Paint

DC Comics Multiverse Batman is cast in black plastic, and you will find the paint applications on the figure’s eyes, lower face, bat symbol, and utility belt. Remember earlier in the review, where I mentioned that being able to see the whole figure was a positive aspect of the packaging? Well, that’s because you really need to inspect these figures before you buy one. It took me a little while to choose one off the shelves, because the eyes and the yellow on the bat symbol were very poorly painted on many of these.

 

I finally found one with good eyes, but the yellow on the bat symbol is still a bit sloppy. My advice is to take the time to choose a figure with the best paint on the pegs and don’t order online if you can avoid it.

Final Thoughts

It’s really great that Mattel is expanding its offerings and drawing from different sources for the DC Comics Multiverse action figure designs, but I’m not totally sold on the line due to the issues I’ve raised in this review. I think they might be best served kept in their package or just on a shelf if you are an opener like me. Definitely do not pay more then $10 for them.

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