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Review of Dark Knight Returns Batman
Previews & Mezco Exclusives

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

Dark Knight Returns Batman Action Figure by Mezco

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Introduction

Tonight I'm checking out the two exclusive variants on the new One:12 Collective Dark Knight Returns Batman action figure from Mezco. Important! If you have not yet read my review of the regular release version of this figure, please do that first!  I've skipped going into detail with a couple of the accessories, since I already covered them in the previous critique, and wanted to use this review to expand on the differences between each of the three releases.

What are those differences? If you start with the regular black and gray release as the baseline, it's a bit easier to discern. The Mezco exclusive has dark blue, rather than black, costume pieces but the same large black bat symbol on his chest. That's the version you see in the very first photo. It also includes the rifle and second pack belt that fits around his thigh. All the other accessories are identical.

The Previews exclusive also has a different color scheme - light blue this time.  Instead of the large black symbol, he has the smaller, oval, yellow and black version. He does NOT have all the accessories of the standard release - he's missing the foot with the holster and the handgun. However, he does have the rifle and the extra belt for his thigh - confused yet? As I walk through each of the categories, I'll highlight these differences again.

Technically, there's a third version - the Toyfair exclusive that Mezco gave out to attendees in the industry. This one is in an all black and white color scheme, no yellow belt here. Finding one is the trick, and ebay is you're only hope.

Both of these guys are currently shipping, but are selling out very quickly. Expect to pay around $65 - $70 depending on the retailer, but ebay prices are already topping $100.

Click on the image below for a Life Size version
Dark Knight Returns Batman Action Figure by Mezco

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Packaging - ****
The boxes for all three releases are identical, although the Mezco exclusive does come in a white shipper designated with the One:!2 Collective logo - the other two do not. These two exclusives also have stickers on the exterior proclaiming their origin, and the photos on the back are of the correct Batman inside.

While the interior five panel box is nice, it's really the clear plastic slip cover over this box that grabs the high score. By putting some of the graphics, like the Batman silhouette, on the plastic slip and others, like the lightning bolt, on the box, it gives it depth and dimension. It's also completely collector friendly of course, and getting the figure and accessories in and out requires no damage or serious effort.

Dark Knight Returns Batman Action Figure by Mezco

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Sculpting - ****
Other than color, there's no variation in the sculpts of the heads or hands on any of the three releases.

Both of these exclusives include the frowning face, as well as the grimacing face. The heads pop off easily enough, and there's no worries about damaging the neck peg or cape in the process.

These portraits make for a good match with the source material, giving him that age and weight we expect. While the deep detailing in the wrinkles of the cowl isn't particularly realistic, it is reminiscent of the Miller artwork.  These also have a bit of the Mezco style to them, something that fans will either appreciate or not, but which is a standard for the company.

The beefy, thick body is also very true to the comic version, and the size is a bit misleading. While these are called 1/12th, that's normally considered 6" tall. This guy is about 6 3/4" and pushing 7" with the short ears. He should fit in fairly well with DCUC and Marvel Legends, because both of those lines tend to run between 6 and 7" tall as well. I included a photo in the previous review of this Batman with the earlier DCUC DKR version, showing the similarity in size.

Dark Knight Returns Batman Action Figure by Mezco

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Paint - ****
The overall paint work is solid, although there is a slight slip here or there around the edges of the mask and the white eyes.  I'm also not a huge fan of the dirty, dark look of the gums and teeth, although it does give him an even grimmer appearance.

The Mezco version is a very dark blue on the cowl, gauntlets, boots and hands. The Previews version is a lighter blue, also in the same areas.  Both have appropriately colored cloth capes, and here is where a critical factor was met - the cloth matches the plastic extremely well in color and finish. That's not by accident, and clearly they worked hard to get a perfect match.

Dark Knight Returns Batman Action Figure by Mezco

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Articulation - ***1/2
I'm loving this underlying body. There's lots of great articulation, especially at the shoulders, hips, chest, waist, and ankles. While the elbows are a little restricted by the musculature, the legs are not, and the feet even have some rocker movement, allowing them to lay flat on the ground in most stances. The wrists work great and the hands swap easily, while the knees allow for deep sitting and kneeling stances. There's even cut joints at the top of the boots!  It all works nicely together, and you'll have a ton of fun posing and re-posing these guys.

As I said in the previous review, my only nit is with the neck. While there is a ball joint deep inside the head, it doesn't allow for much tilting side to side. The joint at the body only moves forward and back - think Marvel Legends. It's not a huge problem, but it's the one area that could have used a slight improvement.

Dark Knight Returns Batman Action Figure by Mezco

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Accessories - ****
Here's an area where there are some key differences between the three figures. Let's compare:

All three releases - yellow and black translucent bat symbol stand, support post for 'flying' poses, 8 sets of hands, grappling hook with rope, and two head sculpts. I didn't spend a lot of time in this review with these accessories, since I already went into quite a bit of depth with my look at the standard figure. The hands include fists, a gun grip right and rifle stock grip left, a set with sharp batarangs between every finger, and a set of relaxed poses. They all work quite well although a gun grip left might have been handy for the pistol.

The stand is just as cool with these two as the previous figure, allowing for lots of great flying, jumping and landing poses.  They've gone the extra mile here as well, making the little clips at the end of the wires on the stand match the color of the cape of each Batman, allowing them to better blend in.

Common to the standard release and the Mezco exclusive: Swappable left boot with holster and a handgun that fits inside perfectly. These look great, and are a must have for this character.

Common to the Mezco and Previews exclusives: a rifle with scole and strap, and a second 'belt' with oouches for his right thigh. The right gun hand works perfectly with the rifle, and you can actually get some pretty good shooting poses. The rubbery thigh belt works well, and the detailing in the sculpt and paint is excellent. It does snap apart, but getting it to snap together again can be a little tricky, thanks to the soft material.

The winner here is clearly the Mezco Direct exclusive, having the greatest assortment of extras.

Dark Knight Returns Batman Action Figure by Mezco

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Dark Knight Returns Batman Action Figure by Mezco

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Outfit - ****
The outfit consists of the cloth body suit, the undies, his cape, and his belt with sculpted pouches.

The rubbery belt tends to rid a little high on his body, but you can adjust it down without too much trouble.  Like the smaller thigh belt, it pops free at one spot.  This is a useful feature, since it's easier to unbuckle it, lower it on his hips, and re-buckle it, than it is to shift it around.

I love the detail work on the belt, especially in terms of the sculpt. Considering the scale, it's really impressive work.

The cloth suit, undies and cape are the same on the exclusives with the exception of color and the aforementioned bat symbol. The tailoring and quality are excellent, and the micro fiber material is very much in proper scale for this character.

Dark Knight Returns Batman Action Figure by Mezco

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Fun Factor - ****
You're going to have a ton of fun posing and re-posing this guy, and you shouldn't feel any stress over breakage or damage. It's extremely well made, and should survive any normal handling for a long time. Even older kids who love the character will really enjoy this figure - I wish I'd had something like it when I was 10! I suppose my Captain Action Batman was pretty close...

Dark Knight Returns Batman Action Figure by Mezco

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Value - **1/2
These guys will run you around $65, depending on the retailer. That's a lot of scratch for a 6 - 7" action figure, but you're getting something quite outside the norm. Mezco is looking to bring the quality of high end figures to this scale, and they are well on their way.

Dark Knight Returns Batman Action Figure by Mezco

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Things to Watch Out For -
Not a thing, which is saying quite a bit for a figure like this. Everything is sturdy and solid, and unless you start posing him with mud on your hands, you should be good to go.

Dark Knight Returns Batman Action Figure by Mezco

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Overall - ****
Hopefully, my first review of the standard release already sold you on how terrific these figures are. You know you have to have at least one, but which one? That's the question for this review.

I prefer the black and gray colors of the standard release, but these two include the very cool rifle and thigh belt.  Unfortunately, the Previews version does not have the handgun and boot/holster, and I'm not really a huge fan of the yellow oval symbol. While I prefer the black color scheme, the rifle that comes with the Mezco Direct version is a huge draw...so what does all that mean? For me, the Mezco exclusive offers the best combination, between colors, symbol and accessories.

Then again, you could just do what I did and buy all three. Then you can mix and match to your hearts content!

We know that Mezco's next release in this line will be Judge Dredd, but I'm hoping that we see more information on additional Batman characters, as well as Universal Monsters or even Star Trek by the time SDCC rolls around.

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

Dark Knight Returns Batman Action Figure by Mezco

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Where to Buy 
Mezco was the place to pick up their direct exclusive, but it is sold out now. Online options for the Previews exclusive include these site sponsors:

- Entertainment Earth has the Previews version for $70.

- has the Previews exclusive for around $77.

- had the regular and Previews exclusive for $75, but appear to be sold out at this point.

- or you can search ebay for a deal on either version.

Related Links -
I just reviewed the standard release version as well, with a black cape and all black symbol. We've seen a couple other versions of Batman from the Dark Knght Returns series of books, including this version from DC Direct, this statue from Kotobukiya, the Batman Black and White statue, and of course, the version from Mattel as part of their 'Unlimited' series.

Discussion:
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Dark Knight Returns Batman Action Figure by Mezco

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

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