Tuesday, October 28, 2014

DC Collectibles Batman: Lil Gotham: Batman Mini Action Figure Review

Of all the digital-first comics that DC Comics has offered over the last few years, Li'l Gotham has been my favorite (maybe tied with Injustice: Gods Among Us). The holiday themed tales involving the whole Bat-Family are just pure joy. It spends a little less time focusing on Batman's quest for justice and a lot more on his role as a father figure to Robin, Red Robin, Nightwing, Red Hood, Katana, Batgirl, and anyone else that ever trained under him. There was also quite a bit of focus on Alfred and Jim Gordon as father figures. They were definitely stories I can see myself one day sharing with my children. As far as I'm concerned, it's some of the best all-ages Batman stories ever done, so when DC Collectibles announced they were doing a line of Li'l Batman figures, I was very excited.

Product Description
Based on the art of Dustin Nguyen! The characters of Gotham City get an adorable make-over in the newest figures from DC Collectibles! Based on the designs by the fan-favorite artist and co-writer of BATMAN: LI'L GOTHAM comes Batman, Robin, The Joker and Harley Quinn like you've never seen them before. Figures stand between 2.75" and 4" tall. Each figure sold separately. 
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So far I've only picked up Batman, but I'm sure I'll be picking up the other three at some point. At very least I need Robin, who comes with two baseball bats. Hopefully this line gets enough support that there will be more figures. I'd list off my top picks, but really I want all the characters that appeared in the book. For now, here's my review of Batman.

Package:  The packaging for this line looks good and does a good job of showing off the figure inside. There are photos on the back showing off the characters in this line; Batman, Robin, Joker, and Harley Quinn. Unlike some of DC Collectibles' resent offerings that use a box, this packaging is a clear plastic shell that is glued to a cardboard back. Unfortunately there is no easy way to remove the action figure without damaging the package. As a collector that opens his toys, this just means I'm going to toss it.

Verdict: 5/10

Sculpt:  I love the sculpt of this figure, it's the reason I grabbed it the second I saw one in the store shelf. It captures the look of Dustin Nguyen's Li'l Batman designs perfectly. It' very much looks like a Jim Lee Batman that has been squished down to half its height. The head, cape, and utility belt are the absolute highlights. Those three elements on a full sized Batman would be an absolute win. The detail put into the folds of the cape and the texture of the belt are a nice contrast to the otherwise smooth and cartoony sculpt. I will admit that the look of the design may not be everyone's cup of tea, but it is most definitely mine.

Verdict: 9/10

Scale:  This particular series is really a scale of it's own. Batman may be 4" to the tip of his ears, but it doesn't really make him 4" scale. The cartoony nature of the design makes Li'l Batman's proportions very distorted. Personally I think he looks great next to 7" scale figures and looks completely out of place with 4" scale figures. What really matters is how he looks next to other figures in the same series. Though I don't have any of them (yet), I have seen them side by side and they look great together. Batman appropriately being the largest and Robin the smallest in the series.

Verdict: 8/10

Paint:  As much as I would have loved to have seen the paint on this figure mimic the marker rendering look of Nguyen's artwork, DC Collectibles went with a more traditional look. That doesn't mean the paint doesn't look great, because it does, it just means this series missed a chance to be truly unique.

The paint we do get, as I said, is great. The color selection is perfect for Batman. I am especially a fan of the dark bronze color that was used for the belt in lieu of the typical yellow. It strangely give a realistic look to an otherwise unrealistic figure.

All the paint is very cleanly applied and all the lines are very sharp. I had none of the thickly applied or chipped paint issues that I've had with some other recent DC Collectibles figures. I should point out that the bat logo on his chest is meant to have a few gray "sketch" lines on it.

Verdict: 8/10

Articulation:  Based on the style and proportions of this version of Batman, I wasn't really expecting much articulation and that's just what I got, not much. Here is what the figure has:
  • Swivel neck
  • Hinge and swivel shoulders
  • Swivel bicep
  • Swivel wrist
  • T-crotch
I was a little surprised by how much articulation was put into the upper arm. I would have preferred an elbow hinge over the bicep swivel. The neck definitely could have been a ball joint which would have done a lot to increase the display options. As much as I love articulation, I can live with what I got on this figure because in this case I'm more interested in it being true to the look of the artwork rather than being able to get into all kinds of crazy poses. Luckily, none of the articulation on this figure ruins the look of the sculpt.

Verdict: 7/10

Accessories:  Batman comes with only one accessory; an alternate right hand that is sculpted holding a grapple gun. The gun is similar to the one used in the 90's animated series. It's a fairly simple sculpt but it looks good and is painted gunmetal gray with a red button. It's a little disappointing that this is all he comes with. I feel like every Batman at least deserves a batarang. A display base may have been nice too, not that he needs one to stand.

Verdict: 5/10

Quality Control:  The only issue I had with my figure is that the left bat ear is bent a little out of shape. I should be able to fix it by applying some heat, but it might be something you'll want to avoid if you have a few figures to choose from. Otherwise, I had had no problems that bothered me.

Verdict: 7/10

Overall:  Despite any shortcomings (pun not intended), like few accessories and limited articulation, I still really love having this particular version of Batman. He is definately a welcome variation from the typical Batman, yet still has the classic look. Now I just need to go put in an order for the rest of the line.

Final Verdict: 8/10

Click Here for a review of the DC Collectibles Batman action figure.
Click Here for a review of the DC Collectibles Nightwing action figure.
Click Here for a review of Talon and other action figures.
Click Here for a review of the DC Collectibles Bizarro action figure.
Click Here for a review of the DC Multiverse '89 Batman action figure.
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