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Arkham City - Batman, Mr. Freeze
Mattel

Batman Arkham City action figure by Mattel


Mattel has a new line of DC figures for 2014, called the DC Comics Multiverse. The concept is to pull characters from all across the various platforms - comics, movies, TV, games - into one line, all in a 4" scale.

The first wave is hitting Target as part of their winter/spring reset. It includes Batman and Mr. Freeze from Arkham City, along with Bane (also from Arkham City) and Azrael (from Arkham Origins). Each retails for about $10, and while they will also be showing up online, it's easiest to pick them up locally right now.

Packaging - ***
The packaging is small and attractive, standing out on the pegs. It's not collector friendly of course - although it clearly says 'adult collector' right on the front of the card - but there's no twisty ties and only a couple rubber bands.

The back of the package has some decent descriptive text along with some photos of the other figures in this first wave.
Click on the photo below for a life size version
Batman Arkham City action figure by Mattel
Batman Arkham City action figure by Mattel
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Batman Arkham City action figure by Mattel
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Batman Arkham City action figure by Mattel
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Batman Arkham City action figure by Mattel
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Batman Arkham City action figure by Mattel
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Batman Arkham City action figure by Mattel
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Batman Arkham City action figure by Mattel
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Batman Arkham City action figure by Mattel
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Batman Arkham City action figure by Mattel

Sculpting - Batman ***; Mr. Freeze **1/2
While the work on both figures is generally good, they do suffer from issues of proportion and scale, internal and external.

At first glance, I really liked Batman. He has the colors and the musculature design from the game, and it's a slightly different look for him, particularly in this scale. The soft rubber cape is thin, making it very light weight, and it doesn't cause him to topple over.

He's done in a 4" scale, and will fit in fine with Star Wars or Marvel Universe. But the more I looked at him, the less thrilled I was.

That's due largely to his very wide shoulders and very small head.  Just compare him to the picture right on the front of the package that's taken from the game and you'll notice that the shoulder to waist ratio is smaller there - the game version is a little more svelte, without the uber-wide shoulders. That allows the head to be better proportioned as well, whereas on the toy it's a bit pin-headed.

It's not a deal breaker though, and I do really like the work on the gauntlets, boots and belt. Considering the scale, there's some very nice detailing. The cape doesn't drape on the shoulders in quite the way it does in the game - which is a bit of a signature look - but I can live with that since it means the arm articulation is actually useful.

There's even better texturing and detailing on Mr. Freeze, with his funky cold suit. The facial sculpt is good, and the various pieces of the suit have been shown plenty of attention.

But he has a much bigger scale issue than Batman. It's not a problem of internal proportion, but of external scale. I looked up Freeze's height online, and found it to be 6' 3", not too far off Batman himself. In the 7" series from DC Collectibles, Batman is about 7" tall, and the deluxe Freeze is about 7 1/4" tall. And yet this figure is 3/4" taller than his Batman counterpart - in 1/18th scale, that's more than a full foot! Hey, the suit makes him large, but I don't think he's supposed to be well over 7' tall, and when placed next to this Batman figure, he looks ridiculous.

Paint - ***1/2
Considering the scale, the paint work is quite clean on both figures.

Edges are surprisingly good, especially around the face and eyes. Colors are consistent, as is the coverage and finish.

There's a minor slip here and there, but this is much better work than we generally get with a mass market release in this scale.

Articulation - Batman ***1/2; Freeze ***
It looks like Mattel wants to prove they can do 1/18th scale articulation just as well as Hasbro, when they set their mind to it.

Batman has a cut neck, cut waist, ball shoulders, pin elbows, ankles and knees, cut thighs and wrists, and even the very cool hinge hips that we've seen them use on the larger DCUC figures.

All the joints work great, but a couple more would have really made a difference. In particular, an ab-crunch would allow for much better posing with deep stances.

Still, things are looking up. Even Mr. Freeze, who has the more restrictive suit, is pretty well articulated. He has the cut waist, ball shoulders, hinge hips, pin elbows and knees, and cut thighs and wrists. His biggest problem is that there's nothing you can do with the head, so while the legs and arms can be posed off to the side, the head is always perfectly aligned with the torso, staring straight ahead. While it would have been tough to come up with a way to get around it, I think they could have gotten a bit more creative.

Accessories - Freeze **; Batman Bupkis
Sadly, Batman comes with nothing extra. It's odd - he certainly has enough toys, even in the game. But there's nothing extra here.

Mr. Freeze does have his cool (get it?) gun, and it fits nicely in his right hand. That's it for him, but at least it's something.

Batman's right hand is sculpted in an open position, so he can hold things - you'll just have to find something on your own for him to hold. Perhaps something from your vast box of extras?

Fun Factor - ***
While I have some issues here, there's no doubt that these figures are great toys. In fact, I have no idea why they say 'adult collector' on the package - even kids that have never played the game can enjoy these versions of their favorite DC characters.

Value - **1/2
Most 4" scale figures are running around $10 these days, and these are a pretty average value. While Bats lacks accessories, he makes up for it here with greater articulation than usual.

Things to Watch Out For -
Not a thing.

Overall - ***
I'm all for the concept behind this line. While having a single label to put a widely diverse group of characters under isn't really necessary, I'm behind it if if means getting them all in the same scale. Hasbro has been successful with the Marvel Universe series, and I'm sure Mattel has taken notice.

Unfortunately, Mr. Freeze has me worried about that. While I don't mind him being a little bigger - he does have the exo-suit on after all - he's practically in a whole different scale. It just doesn't add up on the shelf, and I'm hoping this is merely an anomaly and not a long running problem. Maybe Mattel hired some of the DC Direct folks?

I've picked up both Azrael and Bane - with a review to come soon - and I can report that the scale there seems much better.

While the line is clearly weighted towards the very popular games right now, we can only hope that it will bring in other versions of key characters as it moves along. How about an Adam West Batman to go with a Ledger Joker? Or a Nicholson Joker to go with a DKR Batman? If they can get the scale to work, it would make for a pretty cool set up.

Score Recap:
Packaging - ***
Sculpting - Batman ***; Mr. Freeze **1/2
Paint - ***1/2
Articulation - Batman ***1/2; Freeze ***
Accessories - Batman Bupkis; Mr. Freeze **
Fun Factor - ***
Value - **1/2
Overall - ***

Where to Buy -
Right now your best bet is Target, where these are hitting as part of the new reset.

Related Links -
I've reviewed a billion Batman toys over the last 13 years - check the Reviews All list or use the Search function on this page to find what you're looking for.

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Batman Arkham City action figure by Mattel


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

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