Comic Convention Exclusive Batman

We've got another new guest reviewer tonight - Bobby Wong!  He's done a fantastic job on this review of the comic convention exclusive Batman, with some excellent photos as well.  Take it away, Bobby!

Ever since photos of the 2003 comic convention exclusive Batman figure were released, fans of Mattel 6Ē Batman line have waited in anticipation. Limited to only 3000 pieces for the San Diego Comic Con and Wizard World Conventions, this figure is more than a special repaint of Mattelís Zipline Batman. Itís a great representation of Batman as he appears in comics from the 1970ís and 1980ís.

Packaging - ***
The figure comes well protected in 2 boxes. There is a black outer cardboard box that isnít particularly collector friendly; the flaps are glued together, and I resorted to cutting the top flap open to get to the actual box inside with a sharp razor. Removing the inner box, I was surprised to see it was wrapped in white tissue paper. A nice touch as it protects the inner box from scratches!

The inner box very nicely displays the Batman figure. It features an angled ďwindowĒ, and the box flaps are sealed with oval shaped tape. A quick slice through the tape and the Batman figure with the inner clear plastic tray is removed. The top flap of the inner box features a die cut Batman logo, and the back of the box has a beautiful iridescent drawing of Batman leaping into the Gotham night. Besides the DC and Mattel logos, there is a tiny SDCC 2003 sticker on the lower right corner of the window.

Some folks may find the iridescent silver backing behind the figure distracting, but I think itís a great contrast to the figure, and shows off his accessories nicely.

The figure itself is secured with 5 twist-ties, one on each limb, and the waist as well. This is a bit excessive in my opinion, since Batman is secured with another clear insert to the main tray. You can easily replace the figure onto the clear plastic tray, and place it back into the inner window box for display! 

I subtracted 1 star from an otherwise perfect score because of the glued flaps of the outer black box.

Sculpting - ****
The 4 Horsemen, who were contracted to sculpt the Batman figure, have truly outdone themselves. They have a good understanding of human anatomy, and have designed a Batman figure that looks powerful without resorting to an over exaggerated musculature.

The figure is sculpted with shoulders thrown back, and head jutting forward; Batman looks menacing just standing there!

The face is especially impressive, capturing the square jawed look of the Dick Giordano and Neal Adams comic art. The ears are also just right, neither too long, or too short in length. 

The Comic con exclusive Batman uses the basic body as Zipline Batman, with a new belt. Itís great to see Mattel putting extra effort to staying true to the artwork. The belt is nice, and although difficult to see, each capsule on the belt has a cap on both ends!

Like the Zipline Batman, this figure also uses a cloth lower cape. Itís made of a thicker material this time around, similar to the cloth capes found in Mattelís animated Batman figures. The pattern is different; itís not as wide, but has the characteristic jagged cut at the bottom of the cape. 

The figure is quite sturdy; the limbs are made of a stiff plastic that will not bend in the summer heat, causing Batman to fall helplessly off a shelf. The hands are sculpted in semi-closed position, but since it is made of a very flexible plastic, it can stretch to hold a wide variety of improvised weapons. Also, if you happen to flip the figure over, youíll see the tiny Bat symbol sculpted on the soles of the boots as well!

Paint -  ***1/2
This category is a bit tricky to rate. Iíll explain: The basic paint application, the flesh color of the face, the white of the eyes, and the blue in crotch area and boots are perfect. The paint application is even, with no smudges, bleed of colors, thin spots, or dust and dirt particles trapped under paint. The Bat symbol on his chest is impressive: it is neat, clearly printed, and the yellow background color is vibrant.

What sets this figure apart is the wash application used to accentuate the beautiful musculature of the figure. In some areas, such as the torso and arms, the wash is evenly applied, with a nice feathered edge. On other areas, such as the legs, the wash is a bit blotchy and uneven. When done correctly, the effect is stunning, all the details pop out, and the figure takes a more realistic look because of it. I took a half point from an otherwise perfect score; Mattel is on the right track, they just need to put a bit more effort into the application of the wash.

One noticeable feature is that the figure does not have a shiny plastic look to it. It seems Mattel sprayed the figure with a dulling spray or otherwise prepped the surface for the dark gray detail wash to bind to. 

Articulation  - ***
The figure has 10 points of articulation, at the neck, waist, ball jointed shoulders, wrists, hips and knees. Itís a good start, but I would have preferred elbow articulation as well. 

We know Mattel can do it since there is elbow and ankle articulation in the Superman figure found in their Batman/Superman 2 pack.

Accessories -  ****
There are 3 accessories included with the figure: a folding style Batarang, a pair of Batcuffs, and the mini-dart Grapple Launcher. All are molded in soft black plastic, with great surface detail. They fit in Batmanís hand, and seem to be scaled down copies of the tools included with Mattelís 12 inch Batman. Itís great to see in scale and accurate weapons included with a Batman action figure! You can even slip the Batcuffs under the belt.

Value - **
The figure is only available at 2 comic conventions in the US. It carries a hefty price tag of $20 each. On top of that, because of the huge demand at the conventions, Mattel limited the sale of figures to one per customer. The normal retail price of Mattelís Zipline Batman is less then $10 at most retail outlets, even with extra detailing wash, Iíd like to see the price of the Comic-Con Batman at no more than $15. Consider the fact that the Mattel 12Ē Batman costs only $9 more! This is especially true since they havenít perfected their wash technique yet. Mattel came close, but they can do better with the detail wash, and articulation!

Overall - ***1/4
The overall score may seem a bit low for such a great figure. Itís well sculpted, has adequate articulation, and very good paint application. This is a figure that every serious Batman fan wants and deserves. If you like a blue and gray Batman, this is the definitive figure to own. Unfortunately due to its high price and limited availability, very few fans will have a chance to enjoy such a great figure. Hopefully Mattel will someday release a similar figure for the mass market. 

Where to Buy:
Since the 2003 comic conventions have come and gone, your best bet would be Ebay or some other secondary market. Be warned, prices are inflated since demand is highÖ

Note- The Batman released in Mattelís mass market Batman and Superman 2 pack is a great substitute if you want a blue and gray figure. The blue colors are bit darker, the cowl has panel lines, and the belt is different, with more pronounced capsules. ItĎs a lot more affordable, and comes with a nice Superman figure as well. In case youíre wondering, yes the figures on either side of the SDCC Batman in the group photo have faces that I repainted with a bit of acrylic paint.

About the Reviewer:
Bobby is 31 years old, works as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) and resides in NYC. Besides being a lifelong Batman and toy addict, he likes to build military models, and paint Warhammer 40K, and fantasy gaming miniatures. Qoute Bobby "Sometimes, I'll repaint my figures slightly, usually the faces for a more realistic look. I've recently started a new hobby in radio control tanks as well." Here's a webpage of his work:

Figures from the collection of Javier Osuna.

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