WHAT’S THIS??? A NEW WEEK OF FIGUREFAN’S FIENDISHLY FRESH FEATURES OF FIGURES?
Sorry, I couldn’t resist… Happy Monday. As a kid, the old Adam West Batman series was a big deal to me. I used to watch it in re-runs every single day when I got home from school. Every episode served up a weird mix of comic book style, camp, sexual ambiguity, latex fetish, and predicament bondage that both confused and delighted my impressionable little brain. It was also one of the few times my brother and I could sit down to watch TV and not have it come to blows over what we were going to watch. My brother is about as far from a geek as you could get, but even he couldn’t get enough of 1960’s Batman and Star Trek. Anyway, as a kid I had the Mego Batman figures and the Batmobile and whatever else I could get my parents to shell out for. It’s sad that there’s been such a long void of toys based on this classic series, but I suppose it makes it all the sweeter now that they’re actually here.
Obviously, I picked up the entire wave in one fell swoop. It consists of Batman, Joker, Penguin, Riddler, and Robin. Oh… no. It doesn’t have Robin. It has Surf’s Up Batman. Why? Because Mattel wanted to make sure that if you bought this as a set, you got stuck with a remold of a figure you probably don’t want. And if you do want Robin you have to buy a two-pack with another Batman. Well, screw you Mattel, I’m not biting. I’ll do just fine without a Robin. I’m not buying that two-pack… Yeah, I’ll probably buy the two pack. Anyway, Surf’s Up Batman doesn’t deserve his own feature, so I’m going to look at both of them today. Let’s start off with the man himself…
I love the packaging here. It’s obvious that the guys at Mattel had fun with this design and it really captures the spirit of the show. The front of the card is generic with only Robin’s speech bubble changed for each figure. There is, however, an insert in the bubble with the individual figure’s name. The bubble is also embossed with ‘BAM!” “POW!!” and “WHAMM!!” Maybe it’s a little too forced, but I definitely like it. Either way, I’m still just tearing it open and throwing the package away. If you are a mint-on-card collector, the die cut edges of the card are likely going to drive you crazy. Batman’s head juts out the side and will likely be very prone to bending and creasing either in shipment or on the pegs.
The back of the card is a little more character specific. The artwork is patterned after the opening animation, which was probably good thinking for the look they were going for. There’s a blurb about the character as well. The bottom of the card shows the rest of the wave, plus Catwoman who should be following later on in a revision wave. Ok, let’s tear open Bats and see what he’s all about.
The sculpt is simple, but effective. The head is the best thing about it, as I really think Mattel nailed Adam West in the cowl as best as we could expect in this scale and price range. The paint apps for the eyebrows and nose are also clean and well executed. The rest of the costume fits the part, and by that I mean it conforms to my memory after not having seen the show in about two decades. The utlity belt seems off, but again, I’m working on vague memories here and that having been said, I’m very happy with how the figure turned out.
And then there’s the cloth cape. I’m still not sure about this. It looks OK on the figure, and I imagine it was done to let him sit in the Batmobile. I’m pretty sure I would have liked it better in soft plastic, but I don’t hate what we got. I suppose I’ll like it a lot more if I ever do buy the Batmobile.
Despite featuring a brand new buck, Batman sports articulation very similar to what we saw in the DCUC line. The arms feature ball jointed shoulders, swivels in the biceps and wrists, and hinges in the elbows. The legs have the usual DCUC style hip joints, swivels in the thighs, and hinges in the knees and ankles. Batman can swivel at the waist, he has an ab-crunch hinge in the torso, and his neck is ball jointed. Oh yeah, my Batman has a stuck thigh swivel in his right leg. I’ll likely try freezing it to see if I can get it to give. The last time I had this problem was with my DCUC Raven figure and her leg twisted right off. I suppose if that happens, it’s more incentive to buy the Batman & Robin two-pack. UPDATE: Yup, freezing worked!
Batman comes with a colorful figure stand with “POW!” printed on it. I’m not sure if I’ll use it for display, but it’s a very nice thing to have. You also get a Collector Card. I honestly thought it was the shitty little card showing through on the side of the bubble, but nope, there’s actually a very large card printed on heavy cardboard stock with artwork on both sides. I’m not going to say it’s any kind of major added value, but it beats the hell out of Hasbro’s Marvel Universe “Comic Shots.” It’s also designed to fit into the stand and make a backdrop, although you can’t really see it with the figure on the stand.
Ok, let’s run through Surf’s Up Batman super-fast. Here’s the packaging, front and back.
Again, not much new on the front. Just a different dopey Robin quote. The back of the card, however, is specific to this figure.
It’s the same goddamn figure only wearing yellow swim trunks! Apart from the newly sculpted trunks, there are no other changes. He does retain all his hip and leg articulation despite his new swimwear.
And, yes, he also has a big surfboard. The surfboard looks good, but it’s kind of flimsy and made of softer plastic. It has two pegs on it so you can stand the figure on it pretty well, but with the fin in the bottom, it’s kind of heard to display him riding it, unless you balance the board on something else. I joke about Mattel sticking us with this tweaked repack, but truth is you’re getting a lot more for your money with this figure than you are with regular Batman, so long as you don’t mind your Batman wearing swim trunks and carrying a skateboard.
You also still get a new collector car and a new figure stand. This time the card has Batman and the Joker surfing and the stand says “BIFF!!!” It also reveals that the backs of the cards are meant to form a single backdrop when the stands are put side by side. In this case, it’s the Batmobile parked in the Batcave. It’s a cool idea, but there’s a huge gap between the backdrops, and again, with the cape, you really can’t see the backdrops behind the figure when they’re plugged into the stands.
No doubt, Batman is a solid figure. Hell, I even have to admit to digging Surf’s Up Batman just because he’s so ridiculous that he captures the spirit of the show. Part of me still wishes NECA could have procured the master license, rather than for just the quarter-scale figures, but even still Batman and Mattel have always been a pretty good fit. Despite the Adult Collectible moniker on the packages, these definitely feel more like toys than collectibles, but I’m OK with that. I’m ultimately happy with what we got so far, although I still think it’s inexcuseable to not have a single-carded Robin.
Anyway, give me a few days to cover some other stuff, and I’ll swing back at the end of the week with The Joker.