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Captain Toy/Michael's Review of the Week

Review of Batman, Superman - Dark Knight Returns
Action Figure Two Pack

DC Collectibles
Date Published: 2016-06-15
Written By: Michael Crawford
Overall Average Rating: 3 out of 4

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Dark Knight Returns Batman, Superman action figures by DC Collectibles

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Introduction

The new movie Batman V Superman brought with it a renewed interest in the classic comic series The Dark Knight Returns, and an interest in collectibles based on the Frank Miller's best work. Mezco and Mattel have both done some interesting figures, but long before either touched the license, DC Collectibles (aka DC Direct) did their own take.  They also did a wider group of figures, including Robin and Joker, but it's been 12 years since they were first released, making it a bit tougher to find them these days.

They've re-released them a couple times, including a four pack of the first series with slightly different paint jobs.  With younger fans just discovering the comics, they have once again released Batman and Superman as a two pack, and altered the paint to provide something fresh for the old timers.

This pair will cost you around $40, depending on the retailer.  I received mine from Fun.com, where it's currently $39.

Click on the image below for a Life Size version
Dark Knight Returns Superman action figure by DC Collectibles

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Packaging - ***
The two pack box is decent, with a sticker proclaiming the anniversary. It's not quite collector friendly, thanks to far more twisty ties than they need or you'll appreciate, but it's close, and the huge window does show off the figures nicely.

Dark Knight Returns Batman, Superman action figures by DC Collectibles

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Sculpting - ***1/2
These appear to be the same sculpts, but the paint work highlights the detailing much better, particularly on the heads. Batman's scowl is better defined, as are the lines along his face and the wrinkles in the forehead. Superman's eyebrows even stand out, sculpted onto his face rather than merely painted.

There's good texturing on Batman's uniform as well, and Superman has s smoother, cleaner look in contrast. There's even a stark contrast in the belts - Batman's has the detailed pouches, while Superman's has a clean, smooth appearance.

These figures have rather limited articulation, so the sculpted pose is critical.  Batman is ready for battle, in the crouch he spent most of the comic in.  Superman is standing tall, looking all authoritarian and proud.

Batman, in his hunched position, stands about 6 1/2 inches tall, while Superman is stock straight at 7 1/4 inches tall.

Dark Knight Returns Batman action figure by DC Collectibles

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Paint - ***1/2
As I mentioned in the earlier category, the sculpt seems pretty consistent with the earlier release, but the improved paint job really brings out the details. Batman's textured belt and suit wouldn't be nearly as obvious without the dirty wash, and Superman's skin tone is much more realistic and less toy-like in appearance. The improvements in the paint quality lift this release above the original pair from 2004.

Dark Knight Returns Superman action figure by DC Collectibles

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Articulation - **1/2
This is not an area that DC Collectibles (or Direct) have really been known for, so it's not surprising that a re-release of a 12 year old figure isn't particularly articulated.

Batman has a ball neck, but it's pretty restricted. The same is true for the rotating hinge shoulders, pin elbows and knees, cut waist, and ball hips.  You can get him to stand easily, with a solid center of gravity, but getting very far from the sculpted pose is tough.

Superman has a similar set up when it comes to joints, but his pose tends to make things even more restricted. The stock straight stance means even lifting the arms can look awkward, and deep fighting stances are out of the question. Again, he can stand great on his own, but the poses he stands in will be quite limited.

Dark Knight Returns Batman action figure by DC Collectibles

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Accessories - Bupkis
Neither figure comes with any accessories. That's a bit of a disappointment, since the original releases had some decent extras.

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Fun Factor - **1/2
With limited articulation and no accessories, these aren't particularly 'fun' figures.  They are super sturdy, so they can take a ton of play and keep on keeping on. In fact, they are more likely to be fun for kids than adults, even if they are geared toward the collector. Kids can find ways to play around less articulation, whereas collectors can be frustrated by limited posability in their display.

Value - **1/2
Twelve years ago, these guys cost around $15 each, but had additional accessories. Still, $20 is pretty much the average going rate for any action figure in that 6" - 7" range, and these do have some heft and quality.  I'm going with an average rating here, which means the price point won't have any effect on my personal overall score.

Dark Knight Returns Superman action figures by DC Collectibles

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Things to Watch Out For -
Not a thing.

Overall - ***
This is a solid re-release of a terrific pair of old school DC Direct action figures.  They've improved the paint, which is a big plus, but the lack of accessories holds them back from a higher score.

As a big fan of the comic, I'm hoping we see more attention paid to this license. Perhaps Mezco can get us that One:12 Collective Joker soon...perhaps SDCC will bring us some answers.

Score Recap (out of ****):
Packaging - ***
Sculpting - ***1/2
Paint - ***1/2
Articulation - **1/2
Accessories - Bupkis
Fun Factor - **1/2
Value - **1/2
Overall - ***

Dark Knight Returns Batman action figure by DC Collectibles

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Where to Buy 
Online options include these site sponsors:

Related Links -
This pair was part of the a wave of DC Direct Dark Knight Returns figures back in the day. Mattel has also done a Walmart exclusive set based on the DCUC style, and Batman in their Unlimited series. Mezco has done several versions of Batman, as well as the Mutant Leader as part of their One:12 Collective line.

You should also hit the Search Reviews page, in case any other applicable reviews were done after this one was published.

Discussion:
Want to chat about this review?  Try out one of these terrific forums where I'll be discussing it!

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Dark Knight Returns Batman, Superman action figures by DC Collectibles

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This product was provided for the review by the manufacturer. Photos and text by Michael Crawford.

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