DC Superheroes
12" Batman

Mattel is cranking out the DC product right now, with new comic line 2 packs of Batman/Batgirl and Superman/Clark Kent, the JLU Target exclusive six pack with Doomsday, the three and six pack sets for The Batman with the Ventriloquist and Poison Ivy, and even the fourth series of comic based figures hitting everywhere from Wal-mart to Big Lots. It's a DC cornucopia out there right now.

And since I mentioned all those lines, tonight's review must cover something not yet mentioned. It does - the new 12" Batman from Mattel based on the 6" comic based line. There's also a 12" Superman, but I didn't pick him up. More on that when we get to the Value section of the review.

This isn't Mattel's first foray into the 12" venue with this style Batman. When they first started the comic book line, before it was called DC Superheroes and Zipline Batman was the king, they did a couple 12" versions. They weren't huge sellers though, and that was the end of it...for awhile.

These two are showing up at Toys R Us stores, and run $30 each. I don't expect them to fly off the shelves, as these are no TMX Elmo, so you should have plenty of time to find them for yourself.

Packaging - **1/2
Meh. The boxes follow the same color scheme as the smaller line, and the window is nice and big, showing off the figure. They aren't collector friendly though, and the odd shape makes them difficult to store for MIBBers. They get the basic job done, but don't do too much to sell the figure.

Sculpting - ***
The sculpt matches the smaller version almost identically, although there are some slight changes due to the reduced articulation. Also, the head sculpt isn't a dead on match for the most recent release, but may be identical to the first release (or one of the European only releases).

It's a pretty standard style, with bold comic book lines and a square jaw to his profile. He has a stern but unconstipated look, with good proportions between the head, limbs and torso. In fact, I prefer the general proportions of this figure to the previous 12" comic release, which was more in line with the Zipline style.

Part of that is due to the cape though. The previous version had a cloth cape, and this one sports a rubber version. Even though this rubber version is heavier, he stands fine with it, and I think it fits the overall style much better.

The hands are both sculpted in closed fists, although his left hand still has that funky grip as though he could be holding a batarang. No hole was provided for one though, and none are included.

The greatest amount of detail is in the belt, and it's almost as good as the recent DC Direct version, although not quite. There's also two weird wrinkles in his body suit across the abdomen, just above the belt, that I could really do without.

He stands 13 inches tall with the ears, or just under 12.5 without, so he can fit in with the Marvel Icons pretty well. The body style and stance also work good when posed with Icons, but the lack of articulation does throw off the display a bit, and he's a hair big.

Paint - ***1/2
There's a little slop here and there, but the good certainly well outweighs the bad in this category.

The white eyes have some fuzzy cut lines, and there's even part of the upper chest that appears a slightly different color due to what appears to be glue. Both of these are very small areas though, and are only noticeable on close inspection. If you're matching up the quality against other mass market products, this one ranks pretty high.

The big difference here for me is the matte finish all around. The matte work on the body and cowl is a huge improvement over the more glossy appearance of the previous version, as you can see from the photo below. There's also not nearly as much dark wash, and this figure is much less toy-like than past attempts by Mattel in this scale. That's largely due to the improved paint application.

Articulation - **1/2
If you were expecting the excellent articulation of the smaller Batman to translate, you'll be disappointed. There's far less articulation on this much larger figure.

He has a cut neck, ball jointed shoulders, cut waist, cut hips, and pin elbows and knees. The cut hips are a v-joint, and their limited posability means the pin knees don't get much of a work out either. Perhaps the biggest loss though is the cut neck, that tends to turn the head as you move side to side. In effect, he only looks reasonable when staring straight ahead, and even a slight turn of the head starts moving him into goofy territory.

Considering the amount of articulation we're getting in the 12" Marvel Icons at half the price, and the amount of articulation that the smaller figure this guy is based off of, the reduction in joints was a big downer.

Accessories - *1/2
The big boy has less accessories than his smaller cousin. In fact, he only has a display base, and that might look familiar to you if you bought the previous 12" Batman comic based from Mattel - it's the same base. No batarangs, and no holes in his hands to hold them if he had them.

Fun Factor - ***
While this might not make the greatest 'collectible' version of Batman, it is a solid toy. The joints are strong, and the plastic appears capable of holding up to most regular head slamming, roof tossing, bad guy beating play. Kids who love Batman will find this one a good, all around version that's sturdy and fun.

Value - *1/2
12" Marvel Icons are around $15 - $16. Basic 12" rotocast Marvel characters are around $10. The limited 12" DC Direct Batman recently released, with tons more articulation, cloth outfit, and lots of accessories, can be had for $50 if you try hard enough, $60 tops. Charging $30 for this rather basic 2 up of the smaller figure, with less articulation and almost no accessories, is simply unsupportable.

Things to Watch Out For - 
Not much. Since you'll be picking these out on the shelf, it's a good idea to make sure you get the best paint application you can, but I'm betting it will be pretty consistent across the release.

Overall - **
For a static sixth scale Batman, this is not a bad looking figure. The matte finish is a huge improvement, and the sculpting is solid. Had this sported articulation similar to the smaller version - not even identical, but at least real ball jointed shoulders cut wrists and pin ankles, and maybe a ball jointed neck - and had cost closer to the price of either the 12" Marvel Icons or the 12" Action Cape Batman from Batman Begins, then he would have scored much higher overall.

But these issues are just to major to ignore. This is NOT a $30 figure by any stretch of the imagination, and even Mattel has produced cheaper figures in this scale of a similar quality in the past. If you can find him for $20 at some point, go for it - otherwise, I'd wait on this one.

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

Where to Buy - 
Toys R Us is the place right now!

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, along with the recent 13" classic styled Batman from DC Direct.

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

- and let's not forget the cool 13" Action Cape Batman, certainly one of the best from the Batman Begins movie line from Mattel.

- finally, there's the Medicom 12" version as well, who's a great Batman Begins version, but awfully short.

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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