#1216: Knightfall Batman




‘90s comics are notorious for fostering an over-arching tone of “not your daddy’s comics,” I guess in an attempt to make the genre seem more hip and fly (see?  I’m one of the cool kids!  I can get home with the downies).  One of the ways they did this was by performing lots of edgy stunts that “rocked the comics world to its core!”  Green Lantern went nuts and dismantled the corps, Superman died and was replaced by four off-shoot characters, etc.  Even Batman wasn’t exempt, thanks to the “Knightfall” story arc that ran through all the Bat-titles in the early ‘90s, where newly-introduced villain Bane bested and crippled Bruce Wayne, necessitating his replacement by Jean-Paul Valley, a far more anti-heroic character.  The story is actually pretty well-regarded, mostly because it dove head-on into a lot of the tropes associated with the ‘90s anti-hero boom and deconstructed them, with the final moral of the story being that the new style of Batman just didn’t work as well as the original.  Since the story hit right on the cusp of the superhero toy boom, several of the key characters got figures at the time of the story.  The final, more armored incarnation of Valley’s Batman has been a particular favorite of toy companies, even in current times.


azbatsdcm2Knightfall Batman was released as part of Mattel’s smaller-scale DC Comics Multiverse line.  He’s one of the many Arkham Origins-based figures from the line, and like a good portion of those figures, he represents one of the many skins that could be swapped out for Batman’s standard look.  Said skin is based on Jean-Paul Valley’s late Knightfall look (though not his *latest* look; the armored sections got a bit more tech-y as the story progressed).  It’s the look most associated with the storyline as a whole, so it’s certainly a strong choice of both skin and figure.  The figure stands a little under 4 inches tall and has 18 points of articulation.  As with so many Mattel figures, the articulation  scheme is rather archaic, but at this point I sort of just expect that.  If Mattel’s determined to stay just behind the pack, I can’t stop them.  The sculpt is decent enough, I suppose.  It’s about on par with the other figures I’ve gotten from the line; the basic look is pretty solid, but there’s not a whole lot of small detail work or anything that really makes it stand out.  There’s also the incredibly awkward way the front of the belt is handled.  It’s supposed to not have a buckle, but since they made the belt a separate piece (because reasons), the tunic is interrupted twice where the belt connects, which ruins the visual flow.  And, of course, there are the huge hands, because no one at Mattel knows how to scale hands for this size figure, I guess.  The paint on the figure is passable, but, like the sculpt, a little uninspired.  The colors all more or less match up, but they’re just… unexciting.  The blue is dark, the gold is dull, the yellow is cold, and the black is just very flat.  Application is also a bit sloppy, but it’s far from the worst I’ve seen from Mattel.  The figure includes no accessories, which is a slight letdown.


Have I mentioned Super Awesome Girlfriend’s stress buying before?  Yeah, this guy’s a case of that.  She stopped at a Walgreens on the drive to her parents’ and this was one of the handful of figures she grabbed for me (after verifying I didn’t already own him).  Is he a perfect figure?  No.  Is he an exciting figure?  Not incredibly so, but he has his merits.  I’ve owned worse figures, and I like the design enough that I’m happy to own a figure of it.

3 responses

  1. I’d love for this figure to make it’s way into the 6 inch Multiverse line. I was actually thinking about this guy yesterday because my wife, daughter, and I were looking at the little Thomas the Tank engine trains that look like DC characters and one of them was Azrael Batman. That’s pretty obscure for a toyline aimed at toddlers.

  2. A few facts wrong here. Dennis O’Neil has gone on record many times saying that Azrael, the breaking of Batman’s back, and Azrael becoming Batman were never gimmicks having to do with competing with the anti-hero trend at that moment by Marvel and Image (Wolverine, Puisher, Ghst Rider, Spawn, W.I.L.D. Cats, etc), It was mainly to create a very large cross issue story arc. Additionally, contrary to what bloggers like to boast now, when it happened no one hated the Azrael character or him as Batman. It was far from a disaster and people were pretty excited and open to it. Next to the figure put out by Hasbro in 1999, this figure is very comic accurate and is of the Knighfall version of the suit which was from Azrael’s start as Batman with his costume, not a later version.

    • A thousand apologies! Didn’t mean to get that stuff wrong. I actually knew that the story wasn’t purely gimmick, but somehow that didn’t make its way into to the intro. I don’t have any issues with Azrael and always thought he was actually pretty popular with fans. As far as the costume? That’s my bad. I was thinking he ran around in Bruce’s costume with the extra gauntlets (seen here: https://hopeburnsbright.files.wordpress.com/2015/11/notgoodenough.jpg) for a bit longer. I blame writing most of this review during a layover for that one.

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