BATMAM: MASK OF THE PHANTASM (KENNER)
I’ve looked at a surprisingly small amount of Kenner’s Animated Batman tie-in product. I’ve certainly looked at a chunk of the DCC follow-ups, and even a handful of Mattel’s JLU-era stuff, but I’m averaging about a single Kenner animated figure a year right now. Well, I’m aiming to mix things up a bit. In tandem with my looks back at the other toys of my childhood with X-Men and Power of the Force, let’s throw a little bit of Batman into the mix, shall we? And what better place to start than with a variant of the main guy himself, hailing from one of my absolute favorite pieces of the Animated Verse, and one of my favorite DC-related things in general, Mask of the Phantasm.
THE FIGURE ITSELF
Retro Batman is one handful of Batman variants that were released in 1994 as part of Kenner’s Batman: Mask of the Phantasm tie-in line. Unlike most of those other variants, which were mostly made up by the minds at Kenner, this one was actually in the film, depicting Batman as he’s seen in the flashbacks (it also showed up during some of the flashbacks in the episode “Robin’s Reckoning”, which is a good companion piece to the film in general). He’s not terribly far-removed from the standard Batman design, and in retrospect is kind of a merging of the BTAS, TNBA, and JLU designs all into one. The figure stands just shy of 5 inches tall and he has 6 points of articulation. He keeps the standard Kenner 5 points, and also has a swivel on his right forearm to assist with his action feature. It won’t really hold many poses, but it does add a slight bit more of variation to the posing. His sculpt is fairly typical of this era of figure from Kenner. He’s not a pitch-perfect match for the animation models, but he’s pretty close, and fits consistently with the styling of the other figures in the line. The sculpt is clean, and hits all the important notes, and he’s pretty darn sturdy. As was the way at this point, his cape is cloth. Again, not super accurate, but it works for their purposes, and it certainly helps with the playability. His paint work is pretty cleanly handled overall, though Kenner for some reason opted to make the body suit a sort of bluish silver, rather than the typical grey. It’s not super far removed, and it reads the same way as the standard colors. I honestly don’t mind it, but it’s still a weird choice. Batman’s accessory selection here is…interesting to say the least. He’s got a battle spear and a sort of a gun looking thing? I don’t know exactly what they’re supposed to be, nor do they really line-up with anything from the movie or the episodes where this look appears. But, they certainly feel toyetic. The spear is meant to be placed in his right hand, allowing it to be spun using the wheel mechanism in his arm and back. It’s odd, but harmless.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
While the majority of my Animated stuff is actually from when I was a kid, this one is not. I always wanted him, but just never managed to find one. Fortunately, one came into All Time a couple of weeks ago, new, sealed, and in pretty much pristine condition, so it was almost like getting it when it was brand new. He’s a fun variant of Batman, and also a sensible variant of Batman, and those two didn’t tend to cross-over in this line too much, so I gotta say he really works for me.