The Batman Clayface


The Batman has it's fans, and it's detractors.  But it's had a tough road to travel, considering that it's father was the great Batman: The Animated Series.  And any time your father is as popular and well loved as BTAS, you can bet you'll have a tough time being compared.  Just ask Peter Fonda, or Pebbles.

The line has gotten a pretty good mix of toys, though not quite the amazing line up of past animated lines.  The latest villain to ship is Clayface, who comes in the new Extreme Power series.  This series marks a change to the packaging as well, and includes another version of Joker (pretty much a repaint), and the previously released (only through Diamond) Riddler.  I'm not sure what's up with the unmasked Catwoman, and the Batgirl pictured on the new cardbacks hasn't shipped yet.

These are hitting Targets first, although they should eventually show up at other retailers that carry the Batman line, like Meijers and Toys R Us.  With the loss of Media Play as a retailer this week, collectors have taken another heavy blow, but at least lines like these will still have an outlet.

Packaging -  **1/2
I'm not a fan of the old style cardback and bubbles, and even less of one when they're either a) dull or b) silly.  This one is more silly than dull.

You see, these are the EXP line of figures, for Extreme Power.  Yea, like any kid thinks that sounds cool.  Amazingly, marketing people get paid large salaries to come up with drivel like this, and then a packaging designer was paid a decent salary (although not as large as those marketing bastards) to put some text on the back of the card explaining the whole EXP thing, but nothing about Clayface himself.

Sculpt - ***1/2; 
The best feature of this figure is his sculpt.  It does look a lot like the new cartoon version, and has a good spooky, creepy appearance in the pose and expression.

The most unique aspect of this figure is the combination of hard plastic with a softer rubber material.  This softer material is used for the whipping right arm, the lower jaw and piece of clay attaching the lower and upper jaw, and the lower part of the feet including the spiky 'toes'.

The use of this softer material works pretty well, although some people may find the very rubbery right arm a little freaky.  Now you know what your arm would feel like if the bone suddenly disappeared, ala Harry Potter.

Paint - ***
This is one of the figures with the fewest paint ops ever.  There's his eyes...and that's really it.  The rest of the figure is cast in a clay-like color, which works well.  It's also pretty consistent from one piece to another, even the floppy right arm.

It's not perfect though, since while the color of the right arm is close, the finish is not.  The right arm has a glossy look, while the rest of the harder plastic does not.  It didn't have to be that way, since the feet are also made of a softer material, yet match the hard leg finish perfectly.

Articulation - **
There's not much here - just the basics for standing and arm movement.

The neck is a cut joint, and has a little greater range of movement than you might expect from first appearances.  The lower jaw looks like it would restrict it, but it's made from a pliable rubber, so that it closes up a bit when you twist the head far enough to the left or right.

He also has what appears to be a ball jointed left shoulder, and a jointed right shoulder intended for the action feature. I say 'appears to be', because in actuality it operates just like a cut joint, with only forward and backward movement. There's V-cut hips, and that's about it.  Like I said, you can get him to stand easily, move the arms around a little, and that's about it.

Accessories - Bupkis 
I'm a little confused by this, but there's zippo with him.  I realize he doesn't use a lot of stuff - he's his own best accessory, and all the ladies love him - but that doesn't mean they couldn't have gotten a little creative.  If I'm forking over the same money as an articulated Batman, with more paint ops and accessories, I'm going to feel ripped.

Action Feature - ***
Some folks figure the only good action feature is the one that doesn't exist, but kids do enjoy them.  However, that doesn't mean kids like LAME action features.

Fortunately, Clayface's spinning arm actually works pretty well.  Bring it back behind him once, or spin it around again for a little more oompf, and let it go.  It swings up, around and down, smashing forward anything in it's path.  The soft floppy right arm works well, and it will take out your average opponent.  Oh sure, the Were-Rabbit would just laugh, but Clayface can certainly slap the bejesus out of Batman.

Fun Factor - **1/2
His scale fits in well with the rest of the line, and the action figure works pretty well.  It also makes sense in the general play structure of a character like this, so he gets a boost from that.

Value - **
Expect to pay around $7, the usual going rate these days for your average mass market action figure.  However, you don't get any additional accessories with this guy, and considering the low number of paint apps and little articulation, he's a below average value.

Things to watch out for - 
Nothing really.  How much can go wrong with a figure like this?  Nothing to lose, nothing to assembly, and much too sturdy to break.

It might be wise to keep that soft rubbery right arm away from your other toys though - this is the type of material that in days gone by would melt when placed against other types of plastics for long periods.  No way to know if that won't still occur, so better safe than sorry.

Overall -  **1/2
This guy will actually look pretty good on the shelf for collectors of the line, and fits in nicely with the other characters.  I like the sculpt and pose a lot better than the Riddler, and if I had to choose between the two, I'd take this guy in a heartbeat.

However, at this price point you expect something more - if it isn't going to be paint, then it better be accessories or articulation.  We got none of that, and the play value of this figure suffers because of it.

Packaging - **1/2
Sculpt - ***1/2
Paint - ***
Articulation - **
Accessories - Bupkis
Fun Factor - **1/2
Value - **
Overall - **1/2

Where to Buy -
Target is where I picked this guy up, and mass retailers are your best bet right now.

Related Links -
I've reviewed a fair number of past The Batman figures:

- the most recent review covered the new Riddler figure.

- There's also Firefly, the Penguin, Bane and Man-bat, the regular Batman, Bruce Wayne, and Joker, and the 10" rotocast version of Bats.

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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