DC COMICS MULTIVERSE (MATTEL)
“Butler. Medic. Soldier. Friend. There’s nobody more important to Bruce Wayne than Alfred Pennyworth.”
Since his first appearance in Batman #16 waaaaay back in 1943, Alfred’s been a pretty standard fixture of the Batman mythos. Even as Robins come and go, Alfred’s always there, snarking his way through life. He’s perhaps the most pivotal member of Batman’s supporting cast. Despite his importance, he is just an older gentleman in a suit, meaning he doesn’t quite lend himself to the most exciting toys. While his frequency as an action figure has certainly stepped up in the last decade, it’s still rare enough an event to be pretty exciting, and it’s certainly cool to see him squeak his way into Mattel’s final push of DC figures.
THE FIGURE ITSELF
Alfred is part of the Killer Croc Series of DC Comics Multiverse, one of the final assortments of DC product coming out of Mattel. It’s a whole Batman-themed line-up, so Alfred’s place is a natural one. Interestingly, this assortment sort of jumped the order a bit, and ended up arriving sooner at stores than many had expected. Alfred is officially branded “DC Rebirth”, but generally works quite well as a fairly standard classic Alfred. The figure stands 6 3/4 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation. So, let’s address my primary complaint about this figure: his height. He’s a good 1/4 inch taller than just about every similarly styled Batman figure that Mattel put out. Integrating this guy in with your DCUC collection’s not really happening, to say nothing of the even smaller Movie Masters-style figures. He’ll go fine with some DC Collectibles stuff, and actually fits pretty much right in with NECA figures, but it’s weird that they didn’t actually work to scale him with their own offerings. Moving on from the height, let’s also discuss the articulation. Alfred is possibly the best articulated DC figure Mattel’s ever put out. He pretty much takes the Marvel Legends set-up and ports it over to DC. As amazing as that is, I definitely had a laugh about Alfred having a neck joint that goes up and down after so many flying characters went without, and double-jointed elbows and knees when we never got a single Batman figure with those joints, given that Alfred is not a particularly acrobatic character. Whatever the case, I certainly won’t complain in the case of this figure, who is not only well-articulated, but it’s also pretty well worked into his sculpt, which is itself a surprisingly good offering for a Mattel figure. There’s quite a bit of detailing on the body, and Alfred is packed with not one, not two, not three, but four different heads. The one he comes wearing is the standard classic comics Alfred, and it definitely captures the usual spirit of the character. Also in the comics department is the head depicting Alfred in his Outsider identity; it’s the most modern version of the concept, and it’s not quite as well-scaled to the body, as well as being more situation specific, but it’s still cool. Moving away from the printed page, there are also two live action Alfred heads included. We get Alan Napier from the ’66 Batman show, as well as Michael Gough from the ’90s films. This ties back into my point about the body not scaling with Movie Masters and the like from earlier, as these heads won’t quite work with Mattel’s offerings. On the other hand, NECA produced both West and Keaton as 7 inch figures, and he’ll look good with them. It’s worth noting that both likenesses are pretty much spot-on, which really sells the whole idea here. In addition to the multiple heads, Alfred is also packed with a serving tray, a small glass, a Batman cowl, and one of the arms of Killer Croc.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
I knew only passingly about this figure, and honestly didn’t expect for him and his wave-mates to make it to shelves. I had also managed to miss that he was coming with all of the extra heads, so that was a pretty pleasant surprise when I found him in person. The base figure is a solid offering, and the extra heads are nothing short of inspired. This is how to do an Alfred figure justice, and it continues the increasingly depressing trend of Mattel’s DC Comics Multiverse figures actually being really good. He’s kind of so good that he further highlights just how awful their output had been for so long. Imagine if the Batman ’66 figures had been on par with the Alan Napier head included here. Wouldn’t that have been something? Honestly, wouldn’t it have been something if Mattel had gotten things together some time before their final year with the license?