The Batman
10" Rotocast

The Batman hasn't hit the airwaves yet, but is already the subject of much controversy. Many fans have complained of the designs - not too much differently than they did back in 1992 - while others feel the ultimate animated Batman show was done, so why even bother?

Attendees at SDCC were treated to a full episode by Warner Brothers Animation. This was a Man-Bat origin cartoon, which was also a very early show on BTAS. I have no idea if this is the first show of the season, or one from a few shows in, but from what I saw, I remain hopeful.

Mattel is hitting the pegs hard with the toys early, and we have a full set of regular figures, deluxe figures, Batmobile, Batcycle, and Batcave already out to choose from. Tonight's review covers the 10" rotocast version of The Batman, who runs about ten bucks, and is showing up initially at Target. Have no fear though, because he should be everywhere very soon.

Packaging - **
I complain about the cheap, open boxes they use for rotocast figures because of the shelf damage and accessory theft that is inherent with the design. We shouldn't be surprised though, since this seems to be the industry standard for 10" rotocast figures, and the same thing is done by Toybiz with their Marvel and LOTR lines.

Sculpting - ***
The details of the sculpt itself aren't bad, although the design leaves something to be desired.

This 10" follows the look of the show as we know it so far. It's a slightly different Batman, although not that far off from the BTAS version. The ears are shorter, and thankfully he doesn't have teensy feet with skinny ankles, but in general the design is interesting and eye catching.

There's the appropriate amount of detail work, and the cape is nice and long, trailing behind him on the ground. Although the upcoming Incredibles will teach us all quite clearly why capes are bad for super heroes, for now we can enjoy this one.

However, unlike most rotocast figures aimed at the mass retailer (i.e. kid) market, The Batman has very little articulation, and is sculpted in a rather dynamic, yet limiting pose. The pose they selected would make a good high end statue - not a good toy.

Paint - ***
The paint is pretty standard for the usual mass market toy. Again, if this was aimed at the collector market, they should have bumped up the paint application quality a notch. There's a little bleed between the black of the mask and the white of the eyes (in reality, the white doesn't really cover out to the edges of the eyes well), and there's a little slop here and there. Nothing awful, but nothing to fluff your fur either.

Another annoying aspect of the paint is the difference in finish between the upper and lower body.  The torso and arms have a matte finish, while the legs have a plasticy gloss finish.

Articulation - **
He's not completely unarticulated, but what's here is pretty useless. There's neck, cut shoulders, cut forearms, waist and hips. The articulation only serves one purpose - finding that sweet spot that will keep him standing. Otherwise, there's only one pose this guy looks good in, and the articulation doesn't work well with the sculpt at all.

Considering that most other licensed rotocast figures have ball jointed shoulders, knees and elbows, the tremendous lack of posing possibilities on this figure is a glaring deficit.

Accessories - **
Unlike most of the Marvel rotocast figures, Batman has himself an accessory. Unfortunately, it's fairly dorky.

He comes with a batarang launcher type thingamajiggie for his left arm, which fits in nicely with the pose. It isn't particularly cool looking though, and is very large and obtrusive. It's design seems aimed at kids (don't put your eye out!), while the design of the figure itself is aimed at collectors.

It doesn't actually launch anything, but the 'wings' move in and out.  Uh-huh.

Fun Factor - *1/2
The sculpted pose doesn't really work in favor of having much fun. Batman won't be able to fight villains, climb walls, or clean up Gotham, but he can fall off shelves. It's not a particularly heroic thing to do, but it's what he does best.

Most kids will not find this figure interesting, and you're far better off going with the smaller Batman figures if you're buying for someone under 10.

Value - ***
This size and style of figure is generally ten bucks, so it's no surprise that he matches that price point. Unfortunately, this isn't as good a value as many of the other figures in this style, simply because he lacks the articulation and fun that they include. Instead of getting a great, large action figure for ten bucks, you're getting a big, hollow PVC.

Overall - **1/2
Who is this figure for? The license is clearly aimed at kids. But this figure is definitely not any fun. What kind of battles and action is Batman going to see with only this rather awkward pose possible? So maybe that means Mattel did this statue-like version of The Batman for collectors. But then why include such a silly looking batarang accessory? It seems to be a case where they tried to please both audiences, and ended up with a figure nobody is particularly excited about.

Where to Buy - 
I picked up mine at the local Target.  They are popping up at other major retailers as well.

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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