DC Direct 13" Classic Batman

I've been a huge Batman fan since I was a wee boy.  And yes, I grew up watching Adam West parade around in his tights, overacting and hamming it up for the delight of all us goofs.

I'll be the first to admit that I much prefer the darker Batman of the last twenty years though, and he makes for a much more interesting character.  I have no desire for him to return to the Goofy Town district of Gotham.

Still, there's a nostalgia factor with figures and collectibles that harken back to the style of the 60's and 70's Batman.  The latest release from DC Direct in their 13" line is exactly that, called Batman 'classic'.

There are obvious artist influences here, most notably from Neal Adams and Carmen Infantino.  But there's even a bit of the old West Batman in there, especially in certain poses.

This guy just shipped last week, and runs about $55 - $60 depending on the retailer.  At the same time, two versions of Batgirl hit, and I'll be reviewing her as well in the coming weeks.

Packaging - ***
On the plus side, the packaging is *relatively* collector friendly.  There's still a couple annoying twisty ties, which don't serve much of a purpose, but keep the twisty tie cartel from coming after DCD.

On the negative side, I have a bit of an issue with how the figure is represented on the box.  First, it's somewhat implied in the photos that the cape is poseable.  There's a couple shots that I'm not sure how you get without a wire in the cape (or without faking it).  Also, one of the photos shows him on a black rope which is running THROUGH his fisted hands.  Ignoring the fact that he doesn't come with a rope, there's the little issue of no way to put anything in the sculpted fists.  I don't mind obvious photoshopped poses, but something like the usefulness of the fisted hands shouldn't be misrepresented.  EDIT - there's a rope alright (more about that later) but my real issue remains that those fists aren't capable of holding anything.

Sculpting - ***1/2
The head sculpt truly harkens back to the days of yore when we played with rocks and sticks and liked it.  The head sculpt, taken independent of the position on the body or the other issues with anything from the neck down, is extremely good.  There's nice sharp cuts to the lines, and a very appropriate expression.  The head tends to sit too high on the neck post, but at least the proportion of the head to body is much better here than with some of the past 13" line.  He's still a little pinheaded, but aren't all superheroes?

The fists are solid (no holes there!), and a smidge small.  Again, this isn't quite as much of an issue for me this time around, probably because the associated cuffs don't exaggerate the problem.

Any additional sculpting - belt, accessories, etc - are done with about the right amount of detail for the style, and fit in quite nicely with the look of the rest of the figure.

I've also complained about this before, but for the first time readers it's worth moaning about again.  These guys are NOT sixth scale by any stretch of the imagination.  Batman is a full 13" without the ears, and his body is very buff.  He'll dwarf any of your other sixth scale characters, but looks great with other figures in this particular line.  Fortunately, this line is filling out well enough that you will have less of a problem with the scale issue.

Paint - ***
The paint is fairly good here, although I had some specific issues with a few rub marks and sloppy lines on the mask.  The lips and face tone are great, and had the cowl and mask been a little cleaner, he would have gotten another half star here.

The symbol is neatly attached to the front of the costume too, and is nice and straight.  While the paint work on the accessories is pretty basic, it's certainly clean and consistent.

And while the color of the costume isn't really 'paint', I thought I'd mention here that they did a good job of matching the blue leather and cloth with the blue hard plastic and rubber hands.

Articulation - ***
I've been pretty clear about my thoughts on this body.  But I'm softening on this review, giving them a half star more than usual.

Why?  Well, the neck joint works a bit better than usual.  It has some tilt to it, and it bends backward a fair piece.  But there's no forward movement, so it's not quite there yet.

The body itself is fairly tight, and I can live with the lightweight construction a bit better on a more heavily clothed figure like this.  The arms and legs hold various poses well, and are nice and tight.

There's still two big issues holding it back from getting a better score.  First, there's the God awful rubber oven mitts that they call extra hands.  These means we get nothing but a bad cut wrist joint, and the rubber hands tend to fall off if you breathe on them.  The bendy hands are absolutely worthless.

The other big issue is the cut bicep and thigh joints, which tend to show through the material.  I have less of an issue with this than some folks though, but it's worth mentioning.

Accessories - ***1/2
Compared to some of the earlier releases, this Batman has a ton of stuff.

First, there's the included display stand.  You won't really need it since he stands fine on his own, but it's nice to have if you live in an earthquake zone.  The retro Bat emblem is emblazoned on the base.

There's also three itty bitty batarangs, which your cat will love to play with.  There's one big batarang, which folds in the middle for easy storage.  Where you'll store it I'm not sure, but it folds.

There's a nifty set of bat-cuffs, which can open and close.  They are designed to be distinct for Batman, and they have a real metal chain running between them.  They work pretty well with figures in this scale.

There's also a weird sort of 'gun', that looks like it might be some form of grappling gun, or maybe a huge funky light.  It's tough to tell exactly what it's supposed to be, but I'm sure some reader will enlighten me.  EDIT - I knew you'd come through! (thanks Ryan!).  Yep, there is a rope hidden in the gun that can be pulled out, once you figure it out!

Oh, and yea, there's those bendy hands.  But let's pretend those don't exist, since when I think about how these are so useless with the other cool accessories, that I end up wanting to deduct stars.

Outfit - ***
The outfit follows the rest of the style nicely, giving you that nostalgic feel for the good old days. 

The body suit is the basic gray, with blue shorts that fit over top.  These tend to ride up a bit, which I'm betting would be true in real life as well.  The boots are the usual pleather, and have those annoying zippers in back, but they move nicely with the ankle articulation, and hold the body up in deep stances.

The pleather cuffs look decent, and I like the look of the belt as well.  It feels a bit cheap, and tends to ride up on his back, but I like the general appearance.  We're not talking about knock-your-socks-off work here, but it's a solid B effort.

The best part of this costume is the unique cape.  It's pleated to look very much like the old Neal Adams artwork, and this effect works extremely well.  The long neck tends to cause it to bunch up a bit around the shoulders, but that's a minor issue. 

Fun Factor - ***
While these aren't really intended for kids, they're actually very good toys.  The articulation is sturdy, and even the costume is fairly resistant to basic handling.  I wouldn't recommend letting a six year old think about what he can do to destroy Batman, but it's nice to know that the figure hasn't forgotten its roots.

Value - **1/2
If you end up paying the $55 or so that this guy is currently running, you're actually getting a decent, average value.  There's enough accessories this time around, and the outfit is well enough done, that I didn't feel nearly as bad about coughing up the green.

Things to Watch Out For - 
I found that swapping the hands was quite a bit more difficult this time around.  The bendy hands STILL fell off way too easy, but the hard plastic fists were very difficult to remove and replace.

Overall - ***
This is *almost* a three and a half star figure.  I really do like the overall appearance, but the individual scores required that I ignored a few of the on going issues with this line.  Take away the awful bendy hands, cut wrists, and zippers on the boots, and that extra half star would have been a gimme.

Still, this is the best 13" Deluxe figure I've bought, and I hope that with some of the other classic characters like the upcoming Green Arrow, we continue to see this visual improvement.

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

Where to Buy -
There are a number of excellent online choices:

- Amazing Toyz has him for $55, or you can buy him with the recently released Batgirl for $105.

- CornerStoreComics has him for $55.

- Alter Ego Comics has him for $56.

- Related Links -
I've covered several of these so far, including Nightwing, a guest review of Catwoman, and my reviews of the Martian Manhunter, Two Face, Batman Begins and classic Batman.


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Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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