BATMAN, ROBIN, & MUTANT LEADER
BATMAN: ANIMATED (DC COLLECTIBLES)
For someone who’s only so-so on this whole Dark Knight Returns thing, I sure do review a lot of DKR–related items, don’t I? Well, let me ‘splain—no, it’s too much—let me sum up: like the story or not, there’s a lot of supplemental material related to it that’s super awesome. Take, for instance, “Legends of the Dark Knight,” one of Batman: The Animated Series’ best known episodes, which takes a look at a couple of differing takes on Batman from over the years, with DKR as one of the pair. And now that particular take has its own figures.
THE FIGURES THEMSELVES
Batman, Robin, and the Mutant Leader were a special three-pack, released as part of DC Collectibles’ Batman: Animated line, commemorating the previously mentioned episode. All three are based on their appearances from the DKR segment of “Legends,” rather than the actual comic looks.
I’ve had no shortage of DKR Batmen in the last month or so, with offerings from both Mattel and Mezco, so why not let DCC in on the fun? This guy’s a pretty massive figure, standing about 6 1/2 inches tall and measuring about 5 inches across the shoulders, and he has 24 points of articulation. His stature is certainly impressive, but if there’s one draw back, it’s his posability, or rather his lack thereof. The joints he *does* have all have a solid range of motion (the neck joint in particular works very well), to DCC’s credit. The issue is that he’s lacking any mid torso movement, as well as any sort of ankle mobility. Those two things rather limit what can be done with the figure, which is kind of a shame. The sculpt, which is totally unique, is actually a pretty good offering. It captures the streamlined design from the show pretty much spot-on, which at this point in the line is very definitely welcomed. His paintwork is definitely on the basic side, which is appropriate for the line. It’s overall cleanly applied, but has some of the same fuzzy edges that have plagued this line from the beginning. Batman was packed with a pair of alternate open gesture hands and a display stand.
Carrie Kelley is one of DKR’s most distinctive features, but is a slightly less common offering when it comes to toys. That said, I’ve actually looked at a Carrie Kelley Robin before, via Mattel’s offering. It was…less than stellar. This figure stands 5 inches tall and he has 24 points of articulation. She’s another new sculpt, and I gotta say, she definitely benefits from the cleaner style. Something about Miller’s style didn’t translate so well as an action figure, but this? This worked out pretty well. Her smaller stature is well conveyed, and she’s actually got some fairly decent movement. Still perhaps more restricted than I’d like, but definitely better than a lot of this line. Carrie’s paintwork is decent. It’s clean, and matches the show’s color palette. She has less issues with fuzzy lines and slop. I also appreciate the use of actual transparent lenses for the glasses, as opposed to just painting them opaque green like *some* toy companies. Robin is by far the most accessorized in this set, with a slingshot, an three pairs of hands, and a display stand.
Though not a primary antagonist in the original story, like Carrie Kelley, the Mutant Leader has become a distinctive feature of DKR, and he *was* the primary antagonist of the DKR segment of “Legends of the Dark Knight.” So, his placement here is rather an obvious one. The figure stands 6 3/4 inches tall and has 23 points of articulation. The Leader is a sizable guy, though not quite as sizable as Batman. He’s about on par with the TNBA version of Bane in terms of build. His articulation is an improvement overall from Batman’s, since he actually gets some mid-torso movement, as well as ankles. Of course, he loses the lateral leg movement that Batman and Robin have, which has been, in general my biggest recurring issue with this line, since it makes posing these guys in anything but a basic standing pose a barren source of amusement. The sculpt is at least a pretty strong one. It captures the Leader’s slightly tweaked animated design very well, and he pairs off well with Batman. The paintwork is fairly decent, though nothing beyond basic work. He’s got a nice contrast, though, which I certainly appreciate. Like Batman, the Leader is packed with a pair of open gesture hands and a display stand.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
“Legends of the Dark Knight” was my first introduction to The Dark Knight Returns. I think it spoiled me a bit for the story proper, because while it remains a favorite episode of mine, the comic not so much. Pretty much all of the prior DKR product I’ve purchased was due to my love of the episode, so an episode-specific set certainly intrigued me. That said, by the time the set actually hit, I’d fallen a bit out of love with the Batman: Animated line, and as such I didn’t get it new. I actually ended up getting it this year for my birthday, courtesy of my parents. While it still possesses a lot of the same issues that have been killing the main line for me, I do overall like this set a lot. Sure, I’d have liked some more accessories, but the extra hands are at least useful, and there’s no denying that Bats and the Leader look good squaring off. Plus, after the sincere disappointment of Mattel’s Carrie Kellie, this one was a breath of fresh air.