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Review of Batman, Mutant Leader - Dark Knight Returns action figures
One:12 Collective SDCC exclusive set

Mezco Toyz
Date Published:
Written By:
Overall Average Rating: 4 out of 4

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Batman, Mutant Leader DKR action figure set by Mezco Toyz

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Introduction

The classic story The Dark Knight Returns has been a favorite of comic fans since it's publication in 1986. With the apparent direction of the new Batman movies, starting with Batman vs. Superman, I suspect a lot of new fans will discover the material for themselves in the next 12 months.

Mezco did a lot with the license and their new One:12 Collective style of 6" scaled action figures in 2015.  It's been all about Batman so far, but boy, did they do a lot of Batman.  To change things up just a little, they created the Batman and Mutant Leader set for their San Diego Comic-Con exclusive, although you could also order it through their own online store.  The original price for the two figures and a diorama base - $150.

I go to SDCC every year, but when I have the choice of getting an exclusive there or simply ordering it on line and having it shipped to me, I always go with the latter. It makes life so much easier. However, it took Mezco quite awhile to get these sets shipped to those of us that ordered, and I just received mine a couple weeks ago, hence the fairly late review.  Better late than never!

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Batman, Mutant Leader DKR action figure set by Mezco Toyz

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Packaging - ***1/2
This is a big package, because it contains both figures and the large diorama base.  The outer white sleeve has a head shot of Batman on one side, the Mutant Leader on the other.  Inside the box are two more white boxes - the smaller one contains the two figures, while the larger one contains the base, wrapped in high quality dense foam. It's all very safe and protective, although there is a little plastic wrap that you'll end up tossing out.

Batman, Mutant Leader DKR action figure set by Mezco Toyz

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Sculpting - ****
You have three sculpted pieces here all contributing to the score - Batman, the Mutant Leader, and the diorama junk yard base.

When it comes to the Mutant Leader, there's a couple different versions.  There's the animated movie version, the animated tv version, as well as the comic book version. Mezco is doing their own take here, using key elements (like the sharpened teeth or spikes around the wrists and ankles) and giving it their own twist. I like the final result, and the sculpt detailing is extremely good. The Geordi visor is a bit much, and if I were grading this category merely on the Mutant I'd drop a half star...but I'm not.

There's also Batman, and this time the head sculpt is beaten and bruised. While much of this abuse is highlighted with the paint application, there are some terrific sculpt details in the cuts and lacerations on the face, as well as the rough damage to the mask. There's some other damage as well, particularly on the chest, and this isn't merely painted on - the injured flesh has been sculpted as well.

And let's not forget that this set comes with a terrific oil and mud covered diorama.  The sculpted surface is covered in debris, with a ton of cool items.  Most often, there might be a barrel here, a pipe there, some random junk over there, but this base has bits and parts piled everywhere.

This is a 6" scale set, and once again, Batman comes in at 6 3/4 inches tall with the ears. Both have great hand sculpts to go with the accessories, and they stand great on their own without any need for additional support.

Batman, Mutant Leader DKR action figure set by Mezco Toyz

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Paint - ***1/2
Oddly enough, the very best paint work is on the diorama this time.  That's because they had to mirror the oily, muddy look, and they've knocked it out of the park.  They've even included a couple shiny wet looking puddles, and the surface texture has that oil spill feel to it.

That's not to say the work on the figures is bad - it's not.  The paint work on the Batman face adds to the impression of damage, with the bruising actually appearing to be under the skin. If it weren't for some slight slop around the edge of the cowl along the cheeks, it would have been a four star Batman paint job.

I'm not quite as keen on the Mutant Leader, however. The paint speckle look on his torso is a bit more toy-ish, and the variation in the skin tone looks less natural. I'm not talking about the color - he wasn't the healthiest color in any version - but rather the shading and highlighting, which looks like the paint it is. The work on other areas is great however, particularly with the tongue, teeth and gums.

Batman, Mutant Leader DKR action figure set by Mezco Toyz

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Articulation - ***1/2
Both figures have the same solid articulation we've seen with the earlier Batman releases. The rocker ankles work better here than what we saw with Judge Dredd, and you should have zero problem getting some great fighting stances.  I still wish the ball neck joints had a bit more range of movement, but it's a minor nit when compared against the rest of the body.

The hands swap easily on Batman, but I did find getting the spare hands on the Mutant Leader a bit trickier.  Part of that is due to a tighter fit, and part is due to the spikes around his wrists. The leg articulation is also slightly more restricted on the Mutant Leader, thanks to the tight fitting 'leather' pants, but it's not so bad that you can't get good crouching poses with him.

There's some nice paint work with the mud and dirt as well, particularly on Batman's boots and the Leader's nasty feet. It starts out heavy and gets lighter as it moves up the leg, and the transition is fairly realistic.

Batman, Mutant Leader DKR action figure set by Mezco Toyz

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Accessories - ****
I'm counting the diorama as an accessory, and that pumps this score way up.  I've already discussed the excellent sculpt and paint, and the large size allows for a good battle set up with both figures in place.

Batman comes with a good assortment of hands too, including a pair of relaxed grips, a pair of tighter grips, a pair of fists, and a set with the sharp batarangs held Wolverine style. Be particularly careful with this set, as those 'rangs are actually quite sharp and sturdy.

There's also a 'knock out foam' attachment for the front of the Leader's head.  Since Batman threw this stuff into his face, I suppose it counts as his accessory. You can also use this in another pose - put it on the back of the mutants head while he's laying down on the base, and it looks like oily mud is splashing up behind him as Batman pummels his face!

The Mutant Leader also has an couple pairs of hands, including a set of fists and a set with a gripping right and gesturing left. As I mentioned, swapping these is a bit harder, but not impossible, and I never felt like I'd break or damage anything.

His final accessory is the crowbar, which can be held in his gripping right hand.  All the accessories have terrific sculpts and paint work, including the mud effects on the additional hands.

Batman, Mutant Leader DKR action figure set by Mezco Toyz

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Batman, Mutant Leader DKR action figure set by Mezco Toyz

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Outfit - ****
There's not a lot to the Mutant Leaders outfit, but what's here is well done and proves that you can do clothing in this scale if you find the right materials.  The pants are tight and well tailored, but you can still pose the figure in deeper stances. He also has his funky belt, but the spikes around his ankles and wrists are sculpted in place, and not movable/removable.

Batman's outfit is just as sweet as it was the last several times it was released. This time the large bat symbol is cut through with exposed, injured skin beneath. Other damage includes a torn left shoulder (with more injured flesh below) and plenty of mud. Lots and lots of mud. In fact, the lower half of the cape looks like they dipped it in an actual mud bath and let it dry. It comes out of the box pretty stiff and heavy, but you can work with it to soften it up a bit and allow him to pose with it more realistically.

One of my favorite parts of all the Batman figures has been the rubbery belt.  The detailing is terrific, and it's quite easy to adjust on the hips.

Batman, Mutant Leader DKR action figure set by Mezco Toyz

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Fun Factor - ****
While these are clearly intended for the 'collector', they are terrific toys first and foremost. This isn't a statue you stick on the shelf - it's meant to be posed and re-posed, allowing the fan to recreate the famous final battle between these two over and over. I'm really enjoying this line and it's going to be in my top three somewhere for Best of the year, no doubt about it.

Batman, Mutant Leader DKR action figure set by Mezco Toyz

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Value - ***1/2
I've been giving the standard $65 figure three stars in this category.  Considering the cost of action figures with the collectors branding ($20 - $30) and the cost of similar scaled statues ($65 - $85), the price point for a basic figure has been slightly better than average.

But I've increased the value score for the more expensive $150 set? Of course - you're getting two standard figures plus a great diorama base. Breaking it down, I'd say Batman is another $65 figure, while the Mutant Leader isn't quite as complex, making it more in the $50 range. The base itself, made from polyresin, is easily worth another $65 - $75. Bottom end is $180, so getting this set as an exclusive (which tend to have inflated prices just because they are exclusive) for $150 is an extremely good deal.

The bad news is that you had to be paying attention and pick this guy up for that price last summer. The best proof of the excellent value that was $150? The going rate on ebay right now is $200 - $250. Pay that much and you can drop this score back down to two stars.

Batman, Mutant Leader DKR action figure set by Mezco Toyz

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Things to Watch Out For -
Not a lot.  I'd be careful with the spikes around the wrists when you're swapping hands - don't squeeze too tight. Either you'll damage the spikes or you'll damage your fingers, and you won't be happy either way.

Overall - ****
I'm loving the One:12 Collective so far, and I can't wait to see what else they have in store for us.  The Space Ghost they showed off at the last couple cons is a great choice, but I'm even more pumped for the Frankenstein.  Give me a Frank, a Drac, a Wolfman...I'd be in heaven.

What we know for sure is that the Dredd line will be getting the cool - but very expensive - figure with the bike.  What the future holds after that is still up in the air, but I'll be in for whatever they go after next. Please oh please make it a DKR Joker...or STOS...or pulp characters like Zorro...or just about anything!

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

Batman, Mutant Leader DKR action figure set by Mezco Toyz

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Where to Buy 
The place to get this set was either at last summer's SDCC, or direct from Mezco Toyz at their online store. Either way, it was originally $150. Now your options are not as cheap  - online options include these site sponsors:

- has the set in stock for $250.

- or you can search ebay for a deal.

Related Links -
I've checked out a couple of the Batman exclusives, the initial DKR Batman, as well as the NYCC exclusive Judge Dredd. I'll have a review of the regular Judge Dredd coming soon!

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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Batman, Mutant Leader DKR action figure set by Mezco Toyz

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This product was purchased for the review by the reviewer. Photos and text by Michael Crawford.

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