Batman Black and White - Frank Miller

Are you a Batman fan?  Yes? Are you collecting the Batman Black and White series of statues from DC Direct?  No?  Man, what's wrong with you!

Seriously, this is one of the best series of statues that DC Direct - or anyone for that matter - has produced.  They aren't all winners, no doubt about that, and if you aren't really a Batman fan, you aren't going to find them all that exciting.  But for the Batman fan, they're are some terrific designs.

The latest is based on the artwork of Frank Miller.  You remember him, he did that little reboot of Batman called The Dark Knight.  The sculpt itself was done by Alterton Bizarre.  Yea, I think it's a fake name too.  But the talent ain't.

This one is a fairly large edition size with 5700 statues, and it started shipping to your LCS last week.  If they don't have it, check my sponsor recommendations at the end of the review.


Packaging - **1/2
The box is the usual, with shots of the statue but no window. The interior foam keeps it safe, but there's no Certificate of Authenticity.  The bottom of the box (as well as the base) has the edition number.

Sculpting - ***1/2
I like almost everything about this version.  Not only is it a decent match to the art of Miller, but the pose is stupendous.  More on that in the design section, however.

There's some wonderful detail work in the suit, particularly with the wrinkles and folds.  It follows the musculature well, and matches with the positions of the arms and legs, something that sculptors don't always get right.  You shouldn't just throw wrinkles at him to make it look detailed - they need to be in the proper places to make him appear realistic.

The cable/rope is made from metal, probably a pewter base if I had to guess.  That makes it appear very realistic and far less likely to break with normal handling.  However, it makes it look less like rope and more like cable, because the metal can't be twisted as tightly as rope.

The belt has some nice detail work as well, and the cape is fantastic.  I generally despise dynamic cape poses, but this one goes so well with the set of his body and direction of his stare that it works perfectly.  The many layers shown on the back of the cape give it depth and power as well.

My only real complaint is around the face.  The cut between the cowl and lower jaw/nose isn't very sharp, making it even tougher for the paint boys to get a clean line.  The sculpt of the face itself is also too soft, particularly the nose and lips.  This makes them appear too Playdoh like, and takes away from some of the other excellent realism of the overall statue.  The head sculpt isn't quite as 'Frank Miller' to me as the body is, but this is a pretty minor nit.

He's done in the usual 6" scale, but because of the style he's much bulkier than the average 6" Batman.

Paint - ***
The soft face and cowl sculpt means that getting that perfect line between the two with the paint is even more difficult.  And it's clear that they had some trouble.

The lip color bugs me a bit as well, but in person this is much, much harder to see than it is in photos.

The paint is a bit gloppy in spots as well.  You'll notice a spot on the right temple where it looks like some dirt got into the paint, and there's a couple noticeable clumps in the cape as well.

They did vary the finish once again, using a much higher gloss black on the boots and gloves, with a flatter color on the cape, shorts and symbol.  On some past versions, they've used the gloss on the symbol as well, but here it's so large that it would have been too distracting in a high gloss black.

Design - ****
While there are some nits to pick with the soft face sculpt, and a few bigger ones with the paint, I can't argue with the overall design.  I've liked a lot of the dynamic poses we've had with this series, but this could very well be my favorite. Yea, I've said that before, but this line gets better with every release.

There's a major change with the design this time around.  Rather than having the base permanently attached to the statue, they are actually two pieces, and he fits down over two pegs in the base.  Yes, that means you could actually have him stand on his own without it, but I certainly wouldn't recommend it.

The general flow design, the direction of the energy in his tense and determined pose, and the combination of critical elements like the chain and batarang, all work together extremely well to produce an overall visual treat.

Value - ***
You should pick this guy up for $50 - $55, which is cheaper than some of the regular mini-busts these days.  There's a lot more here even in the smaller overall scale, and the quality is high enough to make these a good value.

Things to Watch Out For - 
Remember that the base and statue are separate pieces, particularly when you pick it up. Whoops!

Overall - ***1/2
Yea, here's another one of these statues that I really love.  I've berated DCD on more than one occasion for some of the lines and themes they've produced, but I really can't say enough good things about the overall quality and direction of the Batman Black and White series.

However, some of the statues in the set really only look good as part of the larger set.  This one is an example of one that can stand on his own in your display, even if you don't own any of the other statues.

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

Where to Buy -
Your LCS might have him, or you can try one of these great sponsors:

- Amazing Toyz has him for $51.

- Alter Ego Comics has him in for $55.25.

- CornerStoreComics has him at $51.

- YouBuyNow has him at $61.

- Related Links -
Other Batman Black and White statues I've covered include Jim Lee, Matt Wagner, Mike Mignola, and Kelley Jones.

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Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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