Packaging - ***
It can almost be considered a clamshell as the plastic goes all the way
to the edge and wraps underneath the card giving it some protection
when sitting upright on the shelf. You can see the figure easily
through the window and the removable diorama makes up the background
for the card. The graphics are nice on the front, the DC Superheroes
logo and the main symbol for the series (Batman’s symbol) are clearly
seen. On the back it features pics of all four characters and a quick
description of S3 Select Sculpt Series. I guess the S3 stands for
‘series three’ and will change to S4 next?
So why no four stars here? Because the card hook is only partially
reinforced on the back with just a little plastic strip and I saw at
least three other figures sitting on the bottom shelf because the hooks
been ripped. With a heavy figure like Azrael or Mr Freeze, this is sure
to be a problem for MoC.
Sculpting - ***1/2
Sculpt hmmm… well they weren’t kidding! The first DCSH Batman series
looked decent, if not a little toonish. The second series with Superman
got better. This time around Mattel apparently decided to pull out all
the stops and blow the others series away… along with DC Direct’s
current offerings. Folks, this is the finest Batman sculpt I have seen
yet and it looks like he jumped right out of the comics! His facial
features are stern and detailed, not soft like the first release. His
body is muscular and smooth, but with fabric wrinkles near the waist
and joints to remind you he’s wearing a suit. The bat symbol is
sculpted on this time around and looks fantastic. However you’ll notice
right off the bat (pun!) that this is not the iconic Batman costume,
but a new one that I figure was designed for this series. Of course I
don’t read a ton of DC comics, so he may have appeared like this at
The utility belt is extremely detailed right down to the individual
stitch marks that line the pouches. It has a chiseled ‘Mezco comic
hellboy’ look and resembles some sort of oversized military belt, like
something that was worn in WW2 I guess. The boots and gloves are done
with different textures to them, smooth leather with a wrinkly ‘boot’
leather. It looks great the way the two textures contrast, though like
I said before, it’s not the classic look. Batman’s cape is wonderfully
done, just the right length and with sharp edges. It hangs
realistically from him, not cartoony and mirror-perfect.
My one gripe about Batman’s sculpt is his left hand which is suppose to
hold his batarangs. They only gave him a shallow slot there to hold
them and it doesn’t do a good job at all. He can only hold the very tip
of a batarang there and you’d need to dig a deeper one with a knife tip
if you want anything more than that, meh. This could have been caught
Now for Azrael, whom as I hear, fans have requested for years. Az’s
face and hood are one piece and the inner red design is sculpted on,
not just painted. He looks downright pissed under that mask and it
works for him. The body armor is somewhat hidden by the cowl but if you
lift it up you’ll find it extremely detailed with sharp-looking lines
and nice edges to it. The diamond-shaped chest piece hovers over his
abdomen and belt. The rest of his Az’s body is pretty smooth and
doesn’t have the suit wrinkles in it like Batman’s. Az also has a great
little ‘Order of St Dumas’ medallion on his cape as well.
His gloves however more than make up for this and for me are the
highlight of this figure. Each glove has a ton of circuitry and panels
cut into it and have the most wicked looking blades jutting out. The
blades are clear flexible plastic with the fire molded right onto them,
looking as if they’re glowing hot to the touch. The fire looks
particularly amazing and looks as if its licking up off the surface!
Az’s cape is very well done as well with six separate ‘fingers’ that
extend from the shoulder sections and arch over his back. However they
lay too close to the main cape and make the whole thing look a tad
small, which is unfortunate because his cape always looked big and
menacing in the comics.
Why no four stars for Azrael? Because he’s sculpted in a ‘looking at
the penny on the street’ pose. You have to lean him way back in order
to see his face because his neck and head are so far down on his chest.
It works for him if say, he’s up top on your shelf looking down, but is
kind of annoying otherwise.
Paint - ****
They should probably call this ‘Select Paints’ too because each
figure’s paint job is remarkable enough to resemble that on a
high-grade statue. Batman has a great combination of airbrushed shadows
and painted highlights, along with a wash on his belt and face that are
just the right tone. His light blue sections look great with their dry
brushed highlights and contrast well to the rest of his gray body. I
counted three different shades of brown on his belt and it has nice
silver rivets. The cape’s paintjob is the best I’ve seen with perfect
shading all through it. Mattel decided to do bright streaks of light
blue highlighting on the hard edges too, giving it an artsy comic book
look. Even though you can see the brushstrokes it looks great and
blends in with the vertical look of the cape’s folds!
Azrael fares just as well as Batman but with a darker overall look to
him. His body armor is black with a perfect tone of gold over it giving
a realistic metallic look. The red is molded in color but the
airbrushed shading works great and is everywhere you need a shadow to
be, across the back and underside of the cape as well. Every time I
look at him he reminds me of a Bowen statue with joints, the paint job
is just that nice. There are copper wires on his gloves and the blades
are dual-toned, darkening orange at the tips and across the flames. His
medallion on his cape is a nice copper color and the spear tip design
(which is called something that I cannot for the life of me remember)
is done with precision. Overall these figures are leaps and bounds past
the last two DCSH series and if Mattel keeps this up, the line will
become a true classic for collectors and kids alike.
Articulation - ***1/2
Both Batman and Azrael sport the same range of articulation but with a
few minor changes. Everyone will be comparing these to a Marvel Legends
figure, and while they don’t have as many joints, this is a classic
case of ‘less is more’. Batman has a ball-jointed head with decent
range to it, ball shoulders, and a great ab crunch with wonderful range
forward and back. His waist swivels and below that he has the new
standard in swing-up hips. While not ball-joint, they perform the same
universal-joint action and have corrected the wide-stance problem
Superman had in series 2. There’s also cut thighs, knee, elbow, and
ankle joints. His wrists turn at the top of the glove. You can’t quite
get his legs in a 90 degree sitting position because they smack the
bottom of the oversized belt unfortunately, but they come very
Azrael sports the same kind of articulation Batman has except the range
of his head is hindered a bit by his hood and he has a ball-jointed ab
instead of a hinged one. This works out well because his body armor is
concave looking at the bottom and that’s right where they put the
joint, good job Mattel! Azrael’s gauntlets turn at the end, and so do
the wrists, allowing you to put the blades above or below his fist as
well. Many people might not pick up on that at first, especially since
the glove and wrist look like one solid piece. Here’s where I would of
liked to have him with moveable fingers, as his hands are just in
Remember how I said ‘less is more’ with these figures? Well here the
articulation looks good while serving its purpose. It keeps the figure
sculpt looking sleek. Batman’s single joint elbow has just as much
range to it as any of my double-joint ML elbows. The knees could
benefit from a double hinge, but I’m in no way complaining. This is a
great middle ground and I really hope Mattel keeps it.
Accessories - Batman
***1/2; Azrael **
BATARANGS! Batman comes loaded with SEVEN DIFFERENT styles of
Batarangs! That just blew my mind when I picked him up. There’s two
types of folding ones (unfortunately they don’t actually fold) an old
Adam West wide style, a grappling one with a loop for a strong, a
Robin-style one without the bat ears, a long-tailed one, and a classic
Batarang. Whew! If only he could hold them well, eh?
Batman also comes with a generic folding diorama that all the figures
in the series come with. It’s separate from the actual card and done in
a glossy cardboard. This would of looked awesome except the fact
someone decided to plaster a big, hokey, comic book ‘explosion’ in the
very middle of what looks like a gritty downtown Gotham scene. Kids
will like it, but collectors may not. The diorama has the ‘tab a to
slot b’ thing going on and it’ll take you a minute or two to put it
together. It looks ok I guess, but doesn’t hold together great without
some tape as the edges of the tabs split easily.
Azrael is light on the accessory department and only comes with the
backdrop. You can’t really call the cloak or gloves an accessory
because they’re a permanent piece of the figure. I’m surprised he
didn’t come with his flaming sword, which was featured in more than one
comic appearance, but I’m just happy to finally have him.
Value - **? ****?
These figures are $9.99 at Wal Mart and Toys R Us, ouch! I was pissy
when Marvel legends went up to $7.99. These just hurt the wallet… or do
they? If you’re a kid comparing them against a Sigma Six figure, yes.
If you’re a collector, no, these are great. See, this series rivals
what DC Direct is doing, and those things are $12.99 aimed at
Not only do you get a better
paint job, better sculpting, and more
articulation, you get it for three bucks less and at a mass-market
availability. I went to Tower Records today and checked out the current
DC Direct offerings to confirm my suspicions. These ‘Select Sculpt
Series’ are heads and tails above what’s out there, and have become the
new definitive DC figures for me, no questions asked.
Things to Watch Out For
Make sure you check the paint
jobs. Even though I haven’t seen any
muddles yet, they are mass-market so things can slip by. Be careful
with Azrael’s blades. They’re soft plastic but are only glued on and
not parts of the gauntlet sculpt. You could tear one loose if you
tugged at them too hard.
Overall - ***
really want to give these figures four stars but there’s little issues
holding them back like Batman’s shallow grip and Azrael’s
emo-floor-stare. Mattel has the ability to do great, great things with
this line, and from what we saw at the SDCC they’re going to try. These
figures aren’t perfect, but they’re the best we’ve had so far in my
This is Jin Saotome saying
thanks for checking out the review and look forward to more!
Packaging - ***
Sculpt - ***1/2
Paint - ****
Articulation - ***1/2
Accessories - Batman ***1/2; Azrael **
Value - **? ****?
Overall - ***
I've reviewed, or had reviewed, most of the previous two waves:
- there was
the guest review of Doomsday,
a guest review of Superman,
my review of Superman,
and my review of Bizarro and
Supergirl, all from wave 2.
- Also, I
reviewed the Batman and Killer Croc from the first series. Since some
of these were originally released as European exclusives in the old
style card/bubbles, I reviewed the Bane
and Scarecrow from there, and have a great guest review of
the Batsignal Batman and
Attack Armor Batman.
Online options include:
has them as well for around $9 each, with a slightly better price for a
full wave purchase.
- Amazing Toyz has
them for around $9 each, and better pricing on a full wave as well.