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Batman Black and White
Ethan Van Sciver

Batman Black and White Evan Van Sciver statue by DC Direct

So one night back in October, I'm sitting on the couch, dinking around on the laptop while my wife watches one of those Food Network Challenge shows. You know the show - they get 4 different chefs together, often cake or dessert experts, to whip up some sort of themed creation. The cooks do the cooking, the judges do the judging, and somebody wins a check for ten g's.

This particular show was about carving pumpkins. The contestants had to produce the most interesting and exciting jack o' lanterns, it being the Halloween season and all. I'm kinda half listening, as husbands are so often want to do. I've got it down to a science.

And all of a sudden, the shows announcer says "Ray Villafane".  Huh? Hey, I know who that guy is - what the Hell is he doing carving pumpkins?

I bring this up because tonight's review is of the Batman Black and White statue based on the work of Ethan Van Sciver. And guess who the sculptor is? Yep, Ray Villafane. And in case you wondered, he won that jack o' lantern contest too. I wonder what he spent the money on?

DC Direct has just released this statue in the last week, and it's a limited edition of 3300. You can find it for around $65, depending on the retailer.
Batman Black and White Evan Van Sciver statue by DC Direct
Batman Black and White Evan Van Sciver statue by DC Direct
Batman Black and White Evan Van Sciver statue by DC Direct
Batman Black and White Evan Van Sciver statue by DC DirectBatman Black and White Evan Van Sciver statue by DC Direct

Packaging - ***
It's the usual box, with the usual artwork and photos. It appears to be slightly smaller than usual though, which is always a good thing. Nothing wrong with less waste. Of course, if you're like me, when it comes to statue boxes you end up keeping them anyway, so that means smaller boxes take up less space.

Sculpting - ***
While the last few statues have been based on artists from earlier periods, this one returns to a much more modern artist. Van Sciver is probably better known for his work on Green Lantern, but he draws a mean Bats too.

I think the basic style and flow matches his work quite well, although unlike some of the past statues, I don't recall this exact stance or pose. If this is from a specific panel, send along the info and I'll update with it.

EDIT: Thanks to reader Matt, I now know where this pose is from: "The pose is from the Superman Batman Vol. 5 The Enemies Among Us.  It was the main cover art for the series."

Villafane has done a very nice job adding in the right touch of detailing, particularly in the cape and cowl.  The detailing on the musculature looks great, as does the slightly more complex belt.

I wasn't too sure about this pose, since he looks like he's doing step aerobics, but what sold me on it in person is the cape. There's almost a McFarlane energy to the way it envelopes him, and it really makes this one stand out.

Bats only stands about 5 1/2" without the base, but because of his hunched pose, it's tough to tell at first if that fits in with the rest of the line. He seemed too short when I pulled him out, and I when I compared him to a couple of the other recent releases it was obvious - he IS too short. I knocked off a half star for this issue alone. He's not a dwarf, but the difference is noticeable.

It's interesting to note that the statue pictured on the box is very different than the final product in two obvious ways. First, there isn't nearly as much texture on the costume. The sculpted statue on the box looks much rougher all around. And two, the symbol on his chest has a sculpted edge in the one on the front of the box, while the final version has only a painted symbol. In this case, I prefer how the final version looks.

Paint - ***1/2
If there's one area that causes me grief with these statues, it's the paint. Rarely am I all that disappointed with the sculpts or designs, but the paint can sometimes let me down.

Not this time, and in fact, this is one of the nicer paint jobs we've seen on the whole series.

They've used the trick of different finishes on different areas of black to give the statue a bit more visual pop. For example, the gloves have a bright gloss finish, while the cape and cowl have a flatter, matte appearance.

The lines and edges are fairly clean and neat, with no bleed or slop anywhere. The symbol on his chest is centered pretty well, but if you look closely, it does seem *slightly* tilted to his right. On extremely close inspection, you can find some edges that could have been slightly better (like the top of his boots), but it's minor enough that most folks aren't going to notice.

They've also used the gloss paint on the buckle of the belt, which is a very nice touch.

Design - ***1/2
I wanted to make special note of the design here, because they've done something slightly different to make this one stand out.

They've actually incorporated the base into the overall statue, with the cape itself flowing down along the edges. I really like that concept, and it's similar to the Aparo statue, which was stepping of the base with one foot. I don't want them to over do the idea, but doing subtle things to include the base into the overall design is a terrific idea.

By the way, Van Sciver likes to incorporate hidden words and images in his art, so I searched around the wrinkles of Batman's cape to see what might be there. I came up empty. If you do stumble on something, let me know.

Value - **
Unfortunately, these statues have reached that $65 mark at most retailers. Some are charging as much as $80 or more, especially LCS'. I'm assuming you pay around that $65 mark, which is a good $10 - $15 to much. Get this guy for under $60, and you won't feel as sharp a pinch when you open him up and realize he stands less than 6" tall.

Things To Watch Out For
You always want to be careful with these when attaching the softer resin foot to the hard metal post in the base. It's pretty easy to damage the foot if you don't take your time - don't force anything! Pay particular attention this time to how the cape should line up around the base, to avoid chipping it.

Overall - ***
I generally like the Batman Black and White statues, and I think DC Direct has produced a terrific series that looks great together. Occasionally, there's one that scores lower on my list, usually because of the paint work. Fortunately, this time that wasn't an issue, and I'm really happy to see them experimenting a bit with the overall designs.

Had he not been on the short side, this statue would have pulled another half star. I like the design, but please don't let DCD's scale issues creep into this series too.

Score Recap:
Packaging - ***
Sculpting - ***1/2
Paint - ***1/2
Design - ***1/2
Value - **
Overall - ***


Where to Buy -

You have a number of online options:

- Urban Collector his it at just $59.

- CornerStoreComics has him at $60.

- Alter Ego Comics has it for $63.75.

- Things From Another Planet has it at $67.

- Entertainment Earth has it at $80.

- for the UK collectors, Forbidden Planet has it at 50 GBP.

- or try ebay.

Related Links -
I have covered several of the Batman Black and White statues:

- the most recent was the Aparo, which I wasn't all that keen on.

- prior to that, there was the Neal Adams and George Perez versions, the Gotham Knight, Bob Kane, Frank Miller, Jim Lee, Matt Wagner, Mike Mignola, and Kelley Jones.

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

Reader Ratings!
Here's your chance to weigh in!  Select your rating for this figure(s) to the right.  Yea, it's a five star system and not a four star system like mine, but it's the best I've been able to come up with so far.  You can only rate once from any particular IP.  My score converted to a five star system for comparison: 3.75

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Batman Black and White Evan Van Sciver statue by DC Direct



Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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