Infinite Crisis series 2

The second series of action figures based on the comic arc Infinite Crisis hit comic shops this week. This second series includes Superman, Batman, Firestorm, Wonder Woman, Donna Troy, and Donna Troy in her Wondergirl outfit. Firestorm isn't a character that does much for me, and none of the three females did much to trip my trigger when I saw them in person. Supes wasn't bad…but let's face it, I'm a Bat-addict. So I picked up the Batman all by his lonesome, to add to the shelf of Batmen.

I could spend some time trying to explain Infinite Crisis to you, but you and I would both be more confused by the time I finished than when I began. My biggest complaint with DC over the years has always been with the constant retconning and multiple universes. But the artwork on this series was extremely good, with several artists (including George Perez) contributing. That translates into some good designs for them to choose from when making little plastic heroes.

These just hit stores yesterday, and you should be able to pick them up for $15 - $20 each. I paid $15 for Batman at one LCS, and the other (only a mile or two away) was actually charging $20. Clearly, I'd advise shopping around, and if you're looking for full sets, there's some excellent online shops that I have listed at the end of the review.

Packaging - ***
In general, DC Direct packaging doesn't do much for me. They did use some nice graphics here, and the card stock is fairly sturdy, but there's still a cheap feel to them that I can't shake.

However, this particular figure gets a boost because he was packed in the interior tray in the one and only best pose. It shows off the figure at it's best, even though it does suck up a little more space.

Sculpting - ***1/2
Bats has been done up in a style that follows the comic art for the series. The nice thing here is that the style also is a merging of some of the better old school and modern aspects of the character, creating a figure that appeals to a greater base of fans.

He is sculpted to look good in one very specific pose. Head down, hunched at the waist, arms at either side reaching to the middle, and walking forward to tear you a new one. The sculpt works well with this pose, and the articulation is designed to support it. Even the one accessory - the base - is there so that he can stay upright on one foot. And I can't fault the sculpt for working so well in this pose. Could the articulation be better? Yep, but I'll complain about that later.

The entire figure shows good detail, but the body is actually more detailed than the head this time around. There's more texture and detail because of the greater amount of 'battle damage' that he's taken on his body, and all the cuts and damage are very well sculpted. The tattered cape looks terrific, and small details, like the tear on the belt or the missing wings on his left gauntlet, really add a lot of visual impact.

For a lot of folks, the biggest detraction in this category is going to be scale. Batman stands slightly over 7" tall when upright, and has quite a bit of bulk to go with the height. I didn't pick up any of the IC series 1, but it looks fairly obvious to me that Bats is much too big for even the other figures in the previous wave, let alone across any other DC Direct series. In fact, comparing them on the peg, Batman seemed much bulkier than even the Superman in the same wave (although he's pretty damn buff too). This complete lack of scale has become a joke with DCD, and at this point it appears like they've pretty much given up even trying.

Paint - ***
The paint ops are relatively clean, although there's still a little slop here and there. Not all the cuts are perfect, and there's some bleed particularly around the damage. But it's an improvement over some past DC Direct paint jobs I've seen, and I didn't have any trouble finding one on the peg that was acceptable.

My biggest issue here is the lack of blood. All that damage, and there's really none. In the prototype, there were bloody areas included, but that was dropped for the final version. Considering the price point, I don't quite get it.

Articulation - ***
The Dark and Damaged Knight has a ball jointed neck that actually works pretty well, especially for a DCD figure.  Since the best pose is hunched over, it's a good thing that the head can tilt back and forward as far as it does.

There's also ball jointed shoulders, but these are about the same as usual for DCD in terms of the range of movement.  Pin elbows and cut forearms at the glove tops round out the arm articulation.

He also has the clicky chest joint.  This is another important joint to get that hunched appearance, and it holds positions quite well.

The legs have a T style crotch, but the legs are set closely together.  They look fine in the walking pose, but standing up straight they look a bit odd.  There are also pin knees and ankles, and that's it for the leg articulation.

It's a reasonable amount of articulation, and you can get a couple decent looking poses with the arms and the hunched walk.  But the articulation doesn't do you much good with other poses, although he does stand fine on his own...even if he looks a little odd doing it. 

Accessories - *1/2
This one is almost a bupkis. Yes, in the comics Batman has more gadgets than McGuyver, but we still get almost nothing with the figure. He does come with the fairly cool looking Infinite Crisis base, with a small foot peg to attach the right foot. The peg is designed with a thin end to insert in the base, and a thick end to insert in the foot. I had no trouble getting him to stand in the walking pose with the base, and the nifty clear plastic used for the interior section really looks quite good. But it's still just a logo base, so there's no way to get a big score here.

Fun Factor - ***
Kids still love Batman, and this figure is a nice representation of a damaged Bats. The articulation isn't fantastic for posing, but there's enough here for play, and the joints are much sturdier than some past DC Direct product. Not to many people will be spending $15 on an action figure for their eight year old, but if they were, they could certainly do worse than this guy.

Value - **1/2
This guy is running the same as most specialty market figures right now - too much. I'm grading him at $15, where he's a pretty average value right now. Pay $20, and you best be taking off more stars. Snag these guys around ten, and you might even feel like you scored one for Scrooge McDuck.

Things to Watch Out For - 
Keep those paint ops in mind with DC Direct. There can be quite a bit of variance from one figure to the next. Also note that the foot peg is different sizes on either end, so that the smaller end fits in the base and the larger end fits in the foot. Don't try to force something without paying attention to that detail.

Overall - ***
I really do like this Bats, even if he is clearly designed for one pose.  At least it's an interesting and dynamic pose, and the included base allows him to hold it indefinitely.  This will make him stand out nicely on the shelf of static standing Batmen, all standing around looking like they're at a cocktail party.

Score Recap:
Packaging - ***
Sculpt -  ***1/2
Paint - ***
Articulation - ***
Accessories - *1/2
Fun Factor - ***
Value -  **1/2
Overall - ***

Where to Buy -
Plenty of online options if your LCS is charging too much: 

- Alter Ego Comics has the full set of 6 figures for just $60. 

- Both CornerStoreComics and Amazing Toyz has the set for $62.50, or the singles for $12 each. 

Related Links -
There's no shortage of past DC Direct Batman reviews: 

- the most recent was the fourth series of Superman/Batman, and the Elseworlds Batgirl and Supergirl.

For lots more, hit the main Review page and doe a browser search for DC Direct.

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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