DC Superheroes
Batman and Killer Croc

Mattel took a shot at a comic book based Batman line a couple years ago in the States, and it was met with mixed results.  With the new Batman movie coming out, retailers didn't want a flood of Batman merchandise, and cut back to focus on the movie, leaving no room on the peg for the comic based line.  Mattel however had figures of Bane and Scarecrow already completed, not to mention more articulated versions of Batman.  These were sent to European markets only, and became highly desirable in the U.S.

Diamond said they'd import cases of them, but that never panned out.  However, as the Batman movie merchandise was coming to an end, Mattel jumped on the chance to reintroduce the comic line in the U.S. market, under a new title - DC Superheroes.  This also allows them to bring in Superman, Flash, and others under this logo.

The first line is now hitting stores, including Batman, Killer Croc, Bane and Scarecrow.  All four of these figures are just basic redecos of the original releases, but it's still a fairly strong wave, giving collectors the Bane, Batman and Scarecrow they thought they'd missed out on, along with a resculpted Croc.

These are hitting Targets and Wal-marts right now, and most online dealers should have them soon.  Expect to pay around $10 each.

Packaging -  ***
I'm not a huge fan of bubble/cardback packaging these days, but these are certainly more sturdy than most.  They package shows off the included comic book, but has almost no additional individualization.  There's also no discussion of any included accessories, which turns out to be unfortunate for people picking up Bane.  These packages are also tri-lingual, saving Mattel some money.

Sculpt - Killer Croc ***1/2; Attack Armor Bats ***
Both these figures are actually great for mass market releases, although I do have one minor issue with AA Bats that holds him back.

This Killer Croc was originally released as part of the earlier Batman line. I reviewed him back then, and he got three stars overall. Now, Killer Croc has a brand new head sculpt, and it's a tremendous improvement.  He's also lost the tail, which makes sense in context.  You see, while I'm not a fan of a tail on Killer Croc (he is supposed to be a human after all), I also prefer that if he looks ALL crocodile (like the first release) that he goes all the way and has a tail.  However, with this new and improved more human head sculpt, losing the tail made complete sense.

Otherwise, his sculpt body sculpt matches up with the original version.  He doesn't have the level of small detail work as, say, the DC Direct Hush Croc, but considering that he's a mass market release, it's still quite good.  He stands great on his own, and fits in scale wise with the rest of the line nicely.

Batman is actually the Bat Signal Batman from the deluxe European release, or at least very close to it.  He has a full rubber cape, instead of the rubber cowl/cloth cape combo of the Bat Signal version.  Other than that, his sculpt is identical.  It's a good sculpt, but when we get to articulation you'll see some other differences.

One of those differences is the lack of a ball jointed neck.  This means that the sculpted neck and cape forces the head forward, tilted down.  You can compensate somewhat with the torso joint, but this effects what otherwise would have been a ***1/2 star sculpt.

Paint - Croc ***; Batman **1/2
Both of these figures have drastically different paint schemes than their earlier cousins.

Croc is really an improvement over the first, darker version.  Here we have a lighter color for the chest and arms, which offsets better with the rest of the body, and looks more realistic.  The only downside is that the color of the chest should have gradually gotten darker toward the shoulders.  As it is, there's too much of a difference between the shoulders of the arms, and the edge of the torso, making the color change too abrupt.

I have no idea what they thought they were doing with Batman.  The original Bat Signal version was done in the standard black and gray.  This time they went with blue and gray - which isn't really a problem, just not my preference.  The problem comes from the heavy wash they used, which is just a little too much for the smaller figure.  The cape has dark paint streaked across it, and the cowl is 'dirtied up' as well.  This does nothing to improve the figure, and harms the sculpt, rather than help.

Articulation - Batman ***1/2; Croc ***
Croc has the same articulation as his original version - cut neck, ball jointed shoulders, pin ankles, cut waist and cut wrists.  It's decent articulation, although without a ball jointed neck or double sided ball joints on the shoulders, you loose a lot of possible posing.

Batman is *almost* the same as his original version, but lacks the ball jointed neck.  This was a huge loss, and hurts the figure in a number of ways, since the sculpt forced the head in a downward pose.

He does have the double sided ball jointed shoulders, pin elbows, ankles and knees, cuts at the gloves, pin wrists, cut waist, ball chest, and T crotch.

The all rubber cape interferes with the articulation more than the cloth cape, but I suspect a lot of folks will prefer the appearance and will be willing to make that sacrifice. 

Accessories - **1/2 
At ten bucks a pop, I was expecting a little more in the accessory department.  Of course, it doesn't help that these figures were shown at SDCC with cool display bases as well, which have been lost by production.

Croc comes with his same chunk of sewer pipe.  That's not much, but at least he can hold it properly.

Bats comes with a batarang, and two other small black accessories that I haven't quite figured out yet.  One appears to be some sort of tiny grappling gun perhaps, and the other is a pair of handcuffs for a raccoon.  Now you know why it would be nice if they put descriptions on the package.

Both also come with a nifty exclusive comic book, which is nice if they are going to kids looking for an introduction to the characters.   The books themselves aren't anything to call grandma in the middle of the night over, but it's a nice touch.

Fun Factor - ***1/2
Kids will enjoy these, and it's nice to see a mass market line with good quality articulation, sculpting and paint.  Oh, they aren't perfect in any of those departments, but they are above average across the board, something that kids just don't get from enough lines these days.

Value - **
Unfortunately, these aren't a great value.  Target is charging $10, and Wal-mart around $9.  These shouldn't be over $8, and $7 is much closer to the mark.

Things to watch out for - 
On these two, there's really nothing.  However, on the Bane, there are two versions.  The first releases did NOT come with the teddy bear.  He IS supposed to be there though, and it looks like later releases have him included in the package.  Be on the look out!

Overall -  Croc ***1/2; Batman ***
I had huge hopes for this Batman, but unfortunately the lack of the ball jointed neck and the goofy wash hurt what could have been my new favorite generic version.  He's still good for those folks that missed out on the European release, but if you have Bat Signal, you really don't need this guy.

Croc is a real improvement over the first version, and makes him seem cartoony in comparison.  Both the sculpt and paint are a step up, and I hope this is what we can expect from the rest of the line.

If you're looking to pick up Bane or Scarecrow, be aware that nothing about Scarecrow has changed from the international release, including his accessories.  Bane has resculpted hands to hold his new Osito accessory. 

UPDATE:  A reader who has opened their Bane and Scarecrow reports that both have also lost the 'action feature' that was present on the international release.

Packaging - ***
Sculpt - Croc ***1/2; Batman ***
Paint - Croc ***; Batman **1/2
Articulation - Batman ***1/2; Croc ***
Accessories - **1/2
Fun Factor - ***1/2
Value - **
Overall - Croc ***1/2; Batman ***

Where to Buy -
I've seen these now at both Wal-marts and Target, and if you have a choice, I'd buy at Target over Wal-mart.  Online options include:

- CornerStoreComics have preorders up for the first five waves already!  They only charge around $9 each.

- Yikes Comics still has the original Croc in stock for $10.

- Amazing Toyz has them for pre-order for $8 - $9 each.

Related Links:
Some of these were originally released as European exclusives in the old style card/bubbles.  I reviewed the Bane and Scarecrow, and have a great guest review of the Batsignal Batman and Attack Armor Batman.  Also related are the earlier figures in the Mattel Batman line which match in style and scale:

- my review of the Zipline Batman and Joker from wave 1.

- my reviews of the Mr. Freeze and Killer Croc.

- and guest reviews of the SDCC Comic Convention exclusive Batman, Batman/Superman two pack, 12" Batman, and Batman/Nightwing two pack.

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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