Batman Black and White
Kelley Jones

The Batman: Black and White series of statues continues to crank along. This is one of those sets that looks mighty fine together on the shelf, highlighting the various artist specific styles of the classic character over they years, all in a colorless format.

The latest in the series hit comic shops about a week ago - the Kelley Jones version of Bats, sculpted by Ray Villafane.  Yep, the box says Jonathan Matthews, but I found out that it's a miscredit. This was actually Ray's work (he's signed on exclusively to DC Direct now). 

Kelley Jones style was certainly unique, and he worked on several one shot and short run titles in the early 90's, followed by a run on the regular books in the mid- 90's. He always went for the grim mood rather than any sort of realism in his portrayal, giving Batman a demonic appearance with huge ears and wild cape.

This latest statue is a run of 4000, and will run you around $45 - $50, depending on the retailer. There's several more planned in the series, including a very cool Alex Ross version slated for next year.

Packaging - ***
It's a box. Using photos of the actual bust, they give the pertinent details in text. The style is solid, although actual Jones artwork would have been a really nice edition. In fact, adding actual artwork to the entire run would have been a great way to spiff up the packages.

Inside, you get very high quality solid foam, with little chance of breakage or damage. There's no COA, but the edition number is printed on the outside of the box, and of course on the underside of the base.

Sculpting/Design - ***
I'm lumping both the general quality of the sculpt in with the actual design of the statue this time, just to make things a little simpler.

The sculpt is well done, with extra special attention paid to the intricate folds and flaps of the huge, heavy cape. It almost reminds me of those huge curtains they used to have at the theater...

There's not a lot of small detail work though, since the style of artwork is fairly broad. The work on the teeth and curled lips is terrific though, adding to his demonic appearance. The long thin ears are a bit crooked, and have a little of that Play-doh look to them, but in this scale it's not too much of an issue.

I'm not hugely thrilled by the selected pose, however. While it's slightly vampiric, the general stance isn't one I'd consider in my mind's eye when thinking about Jones' extreme artwork. The cape, ears and facial expression are immediately recognizable as Jones - the body and stance far less so.

Scale-wise, these fit in with 7 - 8" action figures pretty well.

Paint - ***1/2
Well, we're not talking about a big color pallette here, but that means that they had to get pretty creative with the grayscale choices. It's Batman, so there's really two colors here - gray for the basic suit, and black for everything else. There's some small detail work though around the gritted rough teeth, white eyes and curled lips that is extremely well done. The only real quality issue is around the trunks, which have a slightly wavey cut between them and the overall body suit.

To get some more visual pop out of the basic paint, they've used a high gloss finish on the black gloves and boots. Set against the backdrop of the more matte finish on the huge cape and cowl, this difference in finish keeps the boots and gloves from blending in and getting lost in all the black. It was a very smart design choice, and really adds to the overall appeal.

Value - **1/2
He's running about the same price tag as the rest of the series, and they've been about the same price since the start. You can find him at $45, and that's a solid price, but if you end up paying more than $50, pull off another half star here. These are nice, but the edition sizes are large enough that there really is no reason for them to be more than $50.

Things to Watch Out For - 
Not a thing!

Overall - ***
While this is a nice addition to the overall display of Black and White statues, it certainly won't unseat the Mignola version as my favorite to date. The quality is good, but the design ends up lacking something for me. Since design is touching on the artistic nature of the statue, your mileage may most certainly vary.

Score Recap:
Packaging - ***
Sculpt - ***
Paint - ***1/2
Value -  **1/2
Overall - ***

Where to Buy - 
You can always try your local comic shop, and your online options include:

- CornerStoreComics has him at the excellent price of $45.

- Likewise, Amazing Toyz has him listed at $45, but not marked as in stock yet. That's likely just an update issue.

- Alter Ego Comics has him in stock for $47.

- Killer Toys has him at $50.

Related Links:
The only other Batman Black and White statue I've reviewed (although I have picked up the entire run) is the exceptional Mignola version.

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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