FIRST APPEARANCE (DC DIRECT)
“Adopting a ghastly, bat-like costume designed to inspire fear in the hearts of the “superstitious & cowardly” criminal element of Gotham City, Bruce Wayne burst onto the comics scene as Batman in 1939’s Detective Comics #27!”
2700 reviews. That’s a nice sort of clean number, easily divisible by 27. 27’s a notable number in the world of comics, what with it being the issue number of the first appearance of Batman, who’s kind of a big deal, I guess. What a crazy great tie-in for my 2700th review, right? What great planning, right? I’m very clever and organized, aren’t I? ….Are you buying any of this? Or is it just patently obvious that this was totally a coincidence, and the significance that I picked a First Appearance Batman for my 2700th review only dawned on me when I actually sat down to write the review. Because, well, that’s what happened. Thrilling story, I know. Look, let’s just get to the review, shall we?
THE FIGURE ITSELF
Batman was released as part of the first series of DC Direct’s First Appearance line in 2004, the 65th anniversary of the character. Batman got into the first assortment over Superman, despite Superman’s first appearance being, you know, first, but hey, it was early ’00s DCD; if there was a chance at making a Batman, they were making Batman. The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 13 points of articulation. He was by far DCD’s most articulated Batman at the time, possessing movement at both the wrists and the tops of the biceps. He could almost cross his arms, even. How quaint. DCD was beginning its hard turn to artist-specific figures at this point in time, and First Appearance really embraced that. Batman’s sculpt is very clearly patterned on Bob Kane’s….studio’s illustrations of Batman from the pages of Detective #27. It’s a simpler style of art by modern standards, but the figure nevertheless stuck to it. It’s a pretty clean looking sculpt, and it captures the highlights of what made this version of the costume distinctive, as well as doing a pretty alright job of making him work as an actual posable figure. That’s something DCD historically had a lot of trouble handling, so they did a very respectable job here. The range of motion on the joints is actually pretty respectable, especially on the neck, which is really the most key. For the first few assortments, the First Appearance line dabbled in some cloth goods for most of the figures, a rather new venture for DCD at the time. In accordance with this, Batman’s cape is a cloth piece. It’s rather thickly constructed, with two sides; on black, one blue. In order to give Batman’s the wing-like presence it had in the comic, there are some wires running through. It’s one of those “better in theory than in practice” deals, but it’s not awful, especially for the time. Batman’s paint work is pretty straightforward, as is to be expected, given its attempts to stick to the source material. The colors are rather vibrant, and they’ve even done some rather nice work on the black sections, which have a quite impressive glossy sheen to them. In terms of accessories, DCD was still going rather sparse. Batman got a display stand and a small reprint of Detective Comics #27.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
While only a moderate Batman fan myself, I’ve always really liked his first appearance look, and I used to doodle it a lot on various papers and such as a kid. This figure was really right up my alley at the time, and I snagged him back when he was new, courtesy of my local haunt, Cosmic Comix. He’s perhaps not an incredibly impressive figure by today’s standards, but he was quite good for a DCD figure at the time, and he still holds up as a really good recreation of the design from the comics, and a distinctive figure at that.