Wednesday, June 11, 2014

DC Comics Multiverse 1989 Batman Action Figure Review

Tim Burton's Batman is a favorite among many fans.  Personally, I seem to like it less each time I see it.  What once seemed like a dark serious movie, now seems nearly as campy as the old 60's TV show without some of the charm.  The Christopher Nolan movies seem to further reinforce this notion. Don't get be wrong, I still like the movie quite a bit, I just don't love it the way I once did.

One thing I do still very much love about the '89 Batman is the design work that went into it.  The Batmobile is still as awesome as ever, the Joker looks like he's right out of the comic, and the Batsuit, while it was a huge departure at the time, still looks pretty slick.  As long as Batman isn't trying to move in it.

Batman is a 1989 American superhero film directed by Tim Burton and produced by Jon Peters, based on the DC Comics character of the same name. It is the first installment of Warner Bros.'initial Batman film series. The film stars Jack NicholsonMichael Keaton in the title role, Kim BasingerRobert WuhlPat HingleBilly Dee WilliamsMichael Gough, and Jack Palance. In the film, Batman deals with the rise of a costumed criminal known as "The Joker". 

The figure being reviewed today is Batman from DC Comics Multiverse, a line of (roughly) 1/18 scale action figures that covers DC's movie and video game properties. This Batman is, of course, from the 1989 Batman movie. In this series there is also a mask-less Batman / Bruce Wayne, Penguin from Batman Returns, and Zod from the Superman movie. The retail price is usually around $9.99, don't fall for Toy R Us' super over inflated prices!

Package:  I don't usually talk about the package because for me, it's just more trash I have to get rid of. I like to display most of my figures out of package and put them into various action poses, because I personally believe that's what they are meant for.  I have nothing against those that do keep them in package, that's an individuals choice.  I also respect the work that goes into packaging design and sometimes really like the look of the card or box a toy comes in and I regret needed to ruin it to get the figure out. I've decided it's at least important for me to mention the package to those that do care.

The card boxes for this line are nice looking and very eye catching on the toy aisle pegs. The unique picture graphics next to the figure look good, and the figure itself is clearly displayed. The back of the card has a little information about the figure you are getting and some pictures of the other characters in the series. This box isn't something you're going to be able to reuse once you take the figure out. There is no easy way to open it with out destroying the package.

Verdict: 5/10

Sculpt:  The sculpt on this figure is quite good.  It almost seems like this was sculpted to be a larger scale but was instead made into a 4" figure.  I do realize that figures are usually sculpted at a larger size then shrunk down, I just mean that in this case it looks like it was made from a 2-up of a 6" toy, not a 4".

The costume is very accurate to the onscreen appearance and even captures a some of Michael Keaton's likeness.  There is nothing too intricate or complex on the figure, but all the subtle details that should be there are present.  For example, the logo on the chest is a raised element rather than just printed.  It even has the extra scalloped edges along the bottom that where unique to this costume rather that the logo that was used in all the promotional material.  This figure starts out strong but falls apart a bit from here.

Verdict: 8/10

Scale:  I'm going to get it out of the way now. I hate that this is a 4" figure instead of a 6" scale.  My hopes of displaying the Keaton Batman along side my Christian Bale Batman figure have not been met.

With that out of the way, I still really am not happy with the scale on this figure.  These DC Multiverse figures especially seem to be very inconsistent with the scale.  They've been promoted as 1/18, 3-3/4", or even 4" scales, but they just don't seem quite right.  When you put this Batman along side other Batmen from this line or even other lines of this scale, he is a very different size.  So not only is he not my preferred 6" scale, but he doesn't even work all that well in the scale he's meant to be in.

Verdict: 3/10
Paint:  There's not a whole lot of paint on this figure, but what you do get isn't very good.  When picking out a Batman to purchase I looked through the five or six figures that were on the pegs to find one that had the cleanest paint on its face.  Almost all the ones I looked at had very sloppy paint around the face or the eyes looked a bit off. (The versions with the Bruce Wayne head had outright googly eyes, it was really bad.)

Unfortunately I didn't look below the neck at the other major paint app on the figure.  The yellow on the bat logo is very sloppy on the one I bought.  I've looked at other figures since I opened my Batman and they seem to vary from better to worse than mine.  Chances of getting a figure with really clean paint all around seem to be slim.

Verdict: 4/10

Articulation:  The articulation on this figure is really pretty good.  I'm sure the the joke has been made many times already, but this Batman probably moves better than Michael Keaton did in that suit.  For one thing the neck moves from side to side.  The only articulation that is really missed is some ankle joints so that it would be a little easier to get the figure to stand when in an action pose.

The points of articulation are as follows:
  • Ball-jointed neck
  • Swivel waist
  • Pin and swivel shoulders
  • Hinged elbows
  • Swivel wrists
  • Pin and swivel hips
  • Swivel thighs
  • Hinged knees

Verdict: 8/10

Accessories:  Batman comes with one single accessory, a grapple-hook gun.  The nicest thing I can say about this thing is at least it's black and gold and not some ridiculous color.  This "gun" is made of some of the floppiest plastic possible that I almost thought it was gummy candy.  The handle seems over-sized, under-detailed, and just looks odd in the figures hand.  The weapons that come with G.I. Joes usually look and feel a heck of a lot better than this.  At this price point, there is no reason this figure couldn't have come with more accessories.
Verdict: 2/10

Cloth Goods:  This was honestly quite a surprise.  The cape on this figure is made of a "pleather" material and it looks and moves great.  It is much more successful than the typical cloth cape and it also allows for more movement than the plastic molded ones grant.  I'd love to see a cape like this on a 6 inch scale Batman figure.

Verdict: 9/10

Quality Control:  Once again, I spent too much time focused above the neck when picking out this figure.  There are two visible QC issues with this figure (other than the paint.)  There is some excess glue that dripped down from under the cowl onto the torso when it was put together.  The utility belt was also glued on slightly off center.  The glue from the cowl, I might be able to scrap off with a razor blade, but I might be out of luck with the belt.  I really wish I had caught it before I bought it, but you really shouldn't have to look through a dozen figures to find one that looks good.
Verdict: 4/10

Overall:  There is a missed opportunity here for a much better figure.  Unfortunately the issues with the scale, paint, and overall quality control just drag it down.  I still hope there is potential for this to be released as a 6" figure which  believe so many fans are hoping for.
Verdict: 5/10

Check out these links for other HiddenLevel toy reviews:
Batman Black Arkham City Suit

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