DC Direct Deluxe 13" Batman

DC Direct brought out their deluxe 13" line last year, debuting with the Batman Begins figure.  They've released a number of others over the last several months, but being the big Bat-whore that I am, it wasn't until last week that another arose that forced my wallet right out of my pocket.

This time around it's a more traditional comic book Batman, done in gray and black.  We've seen this style from several different artists, some more famous than others, but it's a truly classic look.

This guy just shipped last Wednesday, so your local comic shop or favorite online retailer should have them in stock right now.  These generally run around $60, although I have some sponsors selling for a little less before shipping, and I've heard of some comic shops charging close to $80.

The next release in this series will be another one I pick up - Two Face.  Originally, he was scheduled to be released before this Batman, but with the ever fluid DC Direct shipping schedule, Bats managed to beat him to the shelf by two weeks.

Packaging - ***
As DC Direct packaging goes, the deluxe boxes are a real step up.  As far as sixth scale packaging in this price range, they still have a way to go.

The graphics are great though, with some nice action shots of the figure.  The box is also relatively collector friendly, although there's still seven twisty ties.  The package is relatively small too, so there's very little waste.

Sculpting - ***1/2
Unlike some of the other recent smaller scale DC Direct releases, this head sculpt isn't based on any particular comic artist.  It's a more generic version, done in a classic style.

The cowl has short ears, and the expression is stoic but non-constipated.  He's a man to take seriously, but he's not gritting his teeth in personal pain.

The head is also nicely scaled for the huge, comic book muscle body.  It's still a hair small, but not enough to cause much concern.

The standard hands are sculpted in tight fists, and are also scaled pretty well.  All too often, super hero figures end up with oversize bear mitts, but these seem reasonably correct.

The body sculpt is also very good, although the articulation is another story.  This body is designed with a huge chest and over developed legs and arms, but wrapped in a tight nylon suit, looks great.

Scale between this figure and others is the biggest issue in this category.  Batman is HUGE. He towers over sixth scale figures, and is clearly NOT a sixth scale, unless Batman has reached basketball player height.  From foot to the top of his head, he's about 13 1/4" tall, or around 6' 7" to 6' 8".  I don't care who you are, that's a pretty damn big guy.  Add in the massive comic book physique, and he isn't going to fit in with any other line BUT the DC Direct Deluxe 13 inchers.

Paint - ***1/2
There's not a whole lot of paint here to discuss, but what's here is great.  The cowl, eyes and chin look great, with clean cuts and nice finishes.

The chin has a more matte finish than the cowl, which is painted to match the pleather cape.  Going with solid white eyes is a good choice, and the lips are just slightly darker than the face, avoiding the lipstick look but making them different enough to look realistic.

The other paint work is on the hands, which are also done in a glossy black to match the pleather cuffs.  This is tricky to do well, and often the plastic does not match the cloth.  The good news here is that DC Direct did an excellent job making the hands look as much as possible like the cuffs.

Articulation - ***
This DC Direct body is simply not as articulated as many of the standard 12" bodies on the market today.  However, some of the joints that are here really excel at what they do.  I was not impressed by this body in the Batman Begins suit, but in a nylon suit where there is much more opportunity for movement, I'm much happier.

Bats has a ball jointed neck, and it has an excellent range of movement.  In fact, it's one of the best I've seen on a large scale figure.  He also has ball jointed shoulders, cut biceps, double jointed elbows, cuts wrists, a mid-chest joint, cut waist, ball jointed hips, cut thighs, double jointed knees, cut calves, and great ankle joints even down inside those boots.

The hips are worth noting because they aren't traditional ball joints.  The hips are designed to have a wide range of movement, and yet maintain an attractive look for the ladies.  I didn't strip my Bats down for you, but Action Figure Insider has some terrific photos of the nekkid Bruckner sculpted body.

All the joints are tight but smooth, and most have an excellent range of movement.  The sculpt hinders the elbows a bit, and some folks may find the lines in the costume created by the cut biceps and cut thighs distracting.  But I'd rather have them and live with the lines.

Another great joint here is the mid-chest.  This and the waist joint are much tighter than usual, can work together with the ball jointed head to give him some very interesting poses.   

I do have one huge complaint though that holds this body back.  If it weren't for this issue, this body would certainly get another half star, and might even get a full star added in if I was in a particularly good mood.  And what is that problem?  Those damn wrists.

This body is designed for swappable hands.  The posts are in the body, and the hands pop onto those posts.  Unfortunately, these posts are already extremely short, but once you have cuffs on as well, there's almost nothing there to keep the hands in place.  They fall off if you look at them funny, especially the extra bendy hands.  Fix this problem, and they'll have a terrific base body.  Well, a terrific oversized base body. 

Outfit - ***1/2
Batman has a heavy pleather cape that fits tightly under his head around the neck, a tight nylon gray body suit, black underwear that, like all good superheroes, he wears outside his tights, cuffs for his gloves, boots, and a nifty Bat-belt.

The nylon body suit fits well, but I did notice at least three snags already, and I'm betting more will appear.  The material seems to snag pretty easily, so take care.  The body suit also sports the big black bat symbol, but this is a rather cheap iron-on type sticker.  I've heard of some folks getting figures with very crooked symbols, but fortunately mine is nice and straight.

The pleather cuffs, boots and cape are all made from heavy yet properly scaled pleather.  The cape doesn't have any lining, which was a bit of a disappointment, because you can't flip it back over his shoulders without seeing a rather nasty set of seams.  A wire inside the edge would have also been nice, especially at this price point, but the cape flows nicely as it is.

The cuffs simply use stiffer pleather material for the 'spikes', and it works great.

The boots - and the body suit itself for that matter - have very tiny, in scale zippers in back.  I actually like them, and they give the figure a more realistic appearance.

The belt has hard plastic sculpted pouches all the way around, which look quite realistic, but there's no place to put any of the included batarangs.

Accessories - ***
Batman has some really unusual batarangs, rather different than we've seen before.

One is a little more traditional, with batwings that can fold at the middle.  The other three are various alterations on the basic bat design, with one almost completely round.  They are all made from a fairly stiff, hard plastic, which makes them look great, but easy to break.  Since this is a collector's figure, looks are more important than their ability to hold up to hard play.

There's also an extra set of open hands with bendy figures.  These hands are much, much better than the God awful catcher mitts that came with the Batman Begins version.  The proportion to the body is much better, and there's no little holes down the fingers.  They also work better from a bendy perspective, but they do tend to fall off even easier than the fisted hands.

Finally, he has a display stand, with the Batman logo on the base.  While it works fine, you really don't need it, as this figure stands terrific on his own in lots of poses.

Fun Factor - ***1/2
This is actually a great toy, although I doubt too many kids will ever get to play with one.  The figure himself is quite sturdy, and the articulation makes for a fun figure.  You'd have to keep the rather fragile batarangs away from the little ones, but a 7 or 8 year old kid that's a big fan of the character would love this guy.

Value - **
As good as this figure is, he's not a $60 figure.  $40?  Oh, Hell yes.  $50? Eh, I can say that's about average.  But this price point is about a ten spot more than you should be paying.

If you can find a local comic shop selling them closer to $50, then you'll be much happier with the value you're getting.

Things to Watch Out For - 
If you are buying this in person, be sure to check that bat symbol to be sure it's straight.

Overall - ***
This is a much improved figure over some of the other 13" deluxe's released so far.  The base body only needs better wrists, and it can compete with the better bodies on the market.  The paint and sculpting are solid, and he has more accessories than most of the other deluxe releases.  But he's still not a $60 figure, and if he were below $50, or had better wrists, he'd be much closer to another half star.

I'll be picking up Two Face in a couple weeks as well, so you can expect another review of the Deluxe line very soon.

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

Where to Buy - 
Your local comic shop should have gotten these in last week, but they might be charging a premium.  Online options include:

- Amazing Toyz has him in stock at $55.

- Fireside Collectibles has him at $56.

- CornerStoreComics has him at $56.

Related Links - 
I've done many, many Batman reviews, but in related sixth scale Batman stuff:

- there's the first 13" Deluxe Batman Begins figure.

- but if you're really looking for a sixth scale Batman Begins figure, you need to look at the Takara offering.

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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