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Public Enemies Batman and Superman
Mattel

Public Enemies Superman Batman action figures by Mattel


The animated movie "Superman/Batman - Public Enemies" was released to DVD a couple weeks ago, based on the very popular comic book series of the same name. While many, many writers and artists worked on the series, the artwork is most often connected to Ed McGuiness. His style of chunky torsos and thick limbs is a recognizable feature that was carried over to the animated adaptation.

Quite surprisingly (at least to me), Target and Mattel teamed up for a two wave exclusive series of 6" figures based on the movie. While the articulation and scale on these is almost identical to the DC Universe Classics, they aren't technically part of that line. However, many fans of the one line have been eagerly anticipating adding these to the display.

The first wave has just started to hit Targets, and includes Batman, Superman, Icicle and Silver Banshee. I haven't found the two latter figures yet, but I don't expect it to be too difficult - Target exclusives are generally easier to find than other retailers.

The second wave will feature a repainted Batman and Superman, as well as Major Force and Black Lightning. Collect the figures and you can Connect (get it? Collect and Connect? Yea, I prefer BAF too.) the included extra body parts to make your very own Brimstone figure.

These run $13 each at Target right now, and they are an exclusive, so don't expect to see them on the shelves at Toys R Us.
Public Enemies Superman Batman action figures by Mattel
Public Enemies Superman Batman action figures by Mattel
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Public Enemies Superman Batman action figures by Mattel
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Public Enemies Superman Batman action figures by Mattel
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Public Enemies Superman Batman action figures by Mattel
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Public Enemies Superman Batman action figures by Mattel
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Public Enemies Superman Batman action figures by Mattel

Packaging - ***
It's not bad enough that the boy scout Superman gets top billing in the title - they also put his picture on the top right, while my boy Batman is stuck on the bottom right. Pish.

But I still have to admit that the darker colors and graphics are eye catching. My one big beef is that the placement of the upper labels on the inside of the bubble obscure the faces on the figures. They should have designed the interior bubble to drop the figures all another half inch - I really don't need to clearly see their feet, but I would like to see the paint work on the eyes.

Sculpting - Superman **1/2; Batman **
From the low scores you might deduce that I hate these figures - that's not the case. They just don't do much for me, and don't do much to be special compared to the myriad of Bats and Supes we've gotten before.

Mattel is using mostly new parts here however, giving us a more 'heroic' torso and arms in particular. That works well for Superman, who should be pretty damn big, but using the same parts for Batman wasn't the best idea Mattel has had.

There's also very little sculpting detail on either figure. Gloves, boots and undies are all merely painted on, clearly a major cost cutting move.

The best thing about Bats is the belt, with smaller pouches and a less obtrusive appearance. I'm thinking this belt popped onto a Zipline Batman would look pretty sweet.

Batman's head sculpt is designed to look like animated counterpart, but it seems a bit too large and oddly shaped. Mine even has a weird deformation on one side, as though it was pulled from the mold improperly.

Superman's head has no deformation, but it's also the animated look. My problem is that the bodies are very much a comic book style, while the heads are very much an animated style, and the two just don't jive for me.

The capes are plastic, but not so heavy as to create an issue with posing.

These figures stand 6 1/2" tall, a little on the big side to put with your DCUC line up. It's less of an issue for Supes, since being a bit bigger goes with the territory for him, but Bats looks slightly out of place with the new large torso. This is a rare instance where one of the Mattel DC figures actually fits in better with the DC Direct line ups than with their own, at least scale-wise.

Paint - Batman **1/2; Superman **
Ooooo - low scores again. Can you tell I'm just not feeling the love for these two?

The work on the bodies is decent, but fairly mass market. The cut lines are all a little fuzzy, but at least both symbols are straight and clean.

The color combo on the Bats is one of the big draws, of course. It's a traditional black and gray with the black symbol, no yellow oval, a color combo I love as do many other fans. The old Zipline Batman has the same look though, albeit done with a bit more 'artistic license'.

There's also a number of paint rubs and stray marks, both things that I don't expect with exclusives like these.

Supes took an extra knock for some seriously wonky eyes. Sometimes they can make them too white, and this is one of those cases. Add to that a lazy eye and a bit of slop, and you get a lower score.

Articulation - ***
The joint design is very similar to the DCUC series, and collectors of that line won't find any surprises here. Unfortunately, the articulation doesn't work as well in several instances, bringing this score down slightly.

Both have a ball jointed neck, but the funky wide jawline and short peg means that it operates pretty much like a cut joint.

The post/disc ball shoulders are also a little restricted by the newly sculpted torso, reducing the number of arm poses. The cut bicep, cut wrist and pin elbow all work pretty much as you'd expect.

The legs are just like a DCUC figure with the same style of swivel/hinge hips, pin knees, cut thigh and pin ankles. In fact, the legs allowed for the greatest range of poses, improving the overall figure tremendously.

There's also a cut waist and ab crunch joint. The waist works fine, but as with the shoulders and neck, the new design seems to have limited the ab crunch a bit.

Accessories - **
Sadly, neither of these figures comes with anything that increases the appeal or value of the figure. Both have the identical stand, with a logo sticker o the front, and it's not something you'll need or want to use.

Of course, they also each have a BAF piece, Batman coming with the pelvis of Brimstone, while Supes has one arm. This additional piece actually raises this score from one star to two, but if you have zero interest in Brimstone, you can whack that star right back off again.

Fun Factor - ***1/2
The articulation on both figures works fairly well, even with the more restrictive torso and neck. Kids will like getting these two figures, particularly if they've seen the animated movie and can appreciate the style.

Value - **
At $13 each, you're paying a slight premium for their exclusivity. For these two, it's really not worth it. The lack of any accessories outside of the BAF really hurts, as does the fact that these two characters have seen better incarnations even from Mattel.

Things to Watch Out For -
Other than looking for the best paint on the peg, you should be good to go.

Overall - **1/2
Yep, these two are pretty hum-drum. Kids who are fans of the characters may appreciate the buffer bodies, but most collectors will find them less appealing. For me, the Zipline version is still the winner Batman in this color combination. These aren't God awful figures, just lackluster figures.

I'm hopeful that the four unique characters in the series will be more to my liking, but with all Mattel DC product, that depends on my ability to find it.

Score Recap:
Packaging - ***
Sculpting - Superman **1/2; Batman **
Paint - Batman **1/2; Superman **
Articulation - ***
Accessories - **
Fun Factor - ***1/2
Value - **
Overall - **1/2

Where to Buy -
These guys are a Target exclusive right now, and most Targets appear to be putting them out right now across the country. They also have DCIH sized exclusives for the same movie, and they should be on the shelf in the same area.

Related Links -
Other reviews include:

- DC Direct did their version of the comic book PE Batman.

- I also covered wave 4 of their Superman/Batman figures, also based on the art of Ed McGuiness.

Discussion:
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Public Enemies Superman Batman action figures by Mattel


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

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