AIR ASSAULT BATMAN
BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES (KENNER)
“Gotham City’s most dangerous villains have escaped from Arkham Asylum! In order to save humanity. BATMAN and ROBIN have armed themselves with special rapid-deployment techno-cape backpack equipment and highly- camouflaged suits to track down every last criminal- no matter where they are hiding! Join the BATMAN Crime Squad on their life or death mission to save humanity from its most dangerous enemies!”
Last Friday, Kevin Conroy passed away. Though perhaps not a household name, he was well known through the world of fandom as the voice of Batman for three decades. He was the definitive voice for the character, and the one that legions of Bat-fans hear in their voice whenever they think of the character. Like so many greats, I never met Kevin Conroy, but I’ve heard plenty of stories from people that did that support that, outside of being the definitive Batman, he was also just a really great person, who very genuinely appreciated the support of his fans. Batman: The Animated Series launched the year I was born, so, for me, Kevin was always Batman. There was no time where he wasn’t the voice I heard in my head, and his portrayal shaped my view on the character almost entirely. It’s going to be very odd to not hear him as Batman in future projects. But, there’s no denying the impact he had, and the legacy he left behind. So, in his honor, today I’m taking a look at a Batman figure.
THE FIGURE ITSELF
Air Assault Batman was released in 1995 as part of the “Crime Stoppers” sub-branding of Kenner’s Batman: The Animated Series tie-in line. “Crime Stoppers” was designed as Kenner’s justification for doing a bunch of wacky Batman and Robin variants, under the trappings that these new suits were designed to aid in rounding up a bunch of escaped villains. The first series has six Batmen and one Robin, and notably no actual villains for them to stop. This guy was very areal themed, as you might guest from his name. The figure stands about 5 inches tall and he has 5 points of articulation. His sculpt was largely unique, apart from sharing his head with all of the standard Kenner Batmen from the line. The head was, admittedly, a pretty good recreation of the animation model, so it’s a respectable re-use. The body sculpt was new, and sports a bit of an armored up look. Presumably, it’s to help combat g-force, or something like that. It also looks pretty sweet, so it’s got that going for it. The extra armoring details are rather fun, and do a rather nice job of changing him up a bit from the basic Batman look. The color scheme on this guy goes for a very sky-oriented look. He’s largely a light blue shade, with some white accenting that got a sort of art deco kind of patterning to it. It’s funky, and honestly doesn’t feel too out of place with the overall aesthetic of the line. The finish on mine has taken a bit of a beating over the years, but it’s not as bad as some in my collection. Air Assault Batman only included one accessory, but it was the source of his whole gimmick: his Transforming Techno-Wing Backpack, perfect for all your assaulting in the air needs! It’s honestly a pretty fun piece, with a bunch of moving parts, and just a cool overall look.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
This figure’s pretty notable, because, while he’s not my first Batman (that was this guy), he’s still a very early one, more than likely my second, and very definitely my first Animated Batman figure. I got him for Christmas in 1995, alongside my very first Robin, which sort of cemented the two of them as a pair, especially given their similar gimmicks. He got a lot of play time as my go-to Batman, until I had more standard versions to replace him (and even then, he just got shifted to being Earth-2 Batman for all of my JLA/JSA cross overs). And, of course, he always sounded like Kevin Conroy in my head. Thank you for everything you did, Kevin.