BATMAN: MASK OF THE PHANTASM (KENNER)
Interspersed with its selection of rather faithful recreations of characters and designs from the show, Kenner’s Batman Animated offerings also had a need to keep a lot of colorful variants of its main character coming at a regular pace. So, we definitely got a *lot* of Batmen, whose importance to the overall narrative definitely had a range. Some of them were sensible additions, perhaps taking one gadget or moment and building a whole figure around it, while some were just kind of bonkers. And some were bonkers at the forefront, but ultimately not that weird when you explored them just a bit further. Today’s figure fits that particular, very narrow mold.
THE FIGURE ITSELF
Decoy Batman was officially part of Kenner’s tie-in line for Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, released in 1993. While the last two figures I looked at from this line were directly lifted from the film, this one’s a bit more dubious. His whole gimmick is that his torso launches away as a “decoy”, while the underlying Bruce Wayne figure can get away, I suppose, which kind of tracks with the scene in the movie where Bruce places his cape and cowl on a sawhorse and flings it out of a building in an attempt to escape the police…and now that I’ve written that out, I realize this figure’s maybe a better tie-in than I realized. I mean, sure he’s not a direct lift from the scene, but I guess the concept’s there. He fits into that “building a figure around one moment” dynamic. Kudos to Kenner, I guess. And, like, anti-kudos to me for not thinking this through before writing the review. I mean, sure, I could go back and re-write the whole thing and make it look like I knew from the start, but tell me: where’s the fun in that? Okay, maybe I should actually get to the reviewing. This figure stands just shy of 5 inches tall and he has 5 points of articulation. The body sculpt for the figure is unique to him and it’s not bad. The build is in line with the other standard Batmen from the line, and while the costume details are somewhat made up, they aren’t too crazy or zany. He re-uses the main line’s Bruce Wayne figure’s head, and it’s a pretty darn spot-on old-style Bruce Wayne head, so no complaints there. Perhaps the weirdest element of the whole thing is the way his action feature works; the Bruce head is on a spring-loaded neck piece, which can be depressed into the torso, much like a turtle, allowing for the “decoy” head and chest piece to snap over top. It was a gimmick that Kenner would use a few more times for their DC lines, as well as their Shadow tie-in line. It’s goofy as heck, but it does get the job done, and honestly doesn’t really impede the figure too badly. The clip-on decoy piece is another pretty solid match for the animated series designs, and is a pretty basic Batman from the show. Well, in sculpt, anyway. The paint work opts to forego the usual Batman colors for a black and red number. For some reason, they really liked making Bruce-to-Batman figure’s red. I really don’t know why that is, but it happened on three separate occasions, so that’s one heck of a pattern. Ultimately, it’s not the worst color scheme ever, and does sort of fit the art deco designs of the show, at least somewhat, but it’d certainly be cool to see this figure in a more standard color scheme. In addition to his decoy chest piece, Decoy Batman was also packed with a grapple…which I lost. Look, it hardly seemed as essential as the main gimmick of the figure, alright?
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
I didn’t get Decoy Batman new, since the whole line was gone from retail shelves by the time I was actually getting into collecting. So, I was definitely on the follow-up market for him. Ultimately, he was kind of a bit of a consolation prize, if I’m honest. I was at Baltimore Comic Con, and saw the Phantasm at a dealer’s table. It was, however, $20, and that was too much for me, so instead I got this guy because he was $5. Can’t really say I was at all let-down by the set up, because I wound up getting the Phantasm a bit later down the line anyway, and Decoy Batman’s a pretty fun figure in his own right.