#1036: Batman

BATMAN

DC COMICS DESIGNER SERIES (DCC)

BatmanCooke1

Earlier this year, we lost Darwyn Cooke, one of my favorite artists in comics. As fate would have it, this was also the year that DC Collectibles decided to devote a sub-set of their Designer Series to Cooke’s work, with the figures arriving just over a month after his passing. The figures are nothing if not a very nice tribute to all the awesome things Darwyn did during his career. Today, I’ll be looking at Batman, a character Cooke illustrated quite frequently. DC Direct did a Cooke Batman back when they did their New Frontier line, but that one was one of the line’s weaker figures, and it was also based on Batman’s ‘50s design, so this figure, based on a more timeless design is far overdue.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

BatmanCooke2Batman is figure 1 in the Darwyn Cooke sub-set of DCC’s DC Comics Designer Series, released alongside Supergirl and Harley Quinn. The figure stands about 6 ½ inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation. The articulation count isn’t super high, but very similar to what the New Frontier figures had (with some of the range increased a bit), which helps this guy to still fit in with those figures. For the most part, he’s just going to be doing basic standing poses, but he can get a nice variety of nuanced changes, and you can even get some slightly more dynamic poses if you work at it. This Batman is based on the character’s look from the early-to-mid-40s, after his appearance had settled a bit, but before he had become his more jovial self. It’s Batman as he appears in a lot of Cooke’s work, such as Batman: Ego and the first half of New Frontier, so it’s definitely a good choice. The sculpt is very much in line with what I looked at with Doctor Fate. It’s probably one of the best sculpts I’ve gotten from DCC. They’ve done a very good job of capturing Cooke’s Batman, down to all the little creases in his costume. And, unlike the last Cooke Batman, this one doesn’t have an odd, unworkable sculpted pose, so he doesn’t look super awkward. That’s a definite plus in my book. Batman’s paintwork is all very sharp and clean. He’s certainly got a striking color scheme, and I especially like the use of glossy paint for his gloves, boots, and logo. The only slightly odd part of the paint is his mouth, or more specifically, his lower lip. It’s oddly defined and makes him look a bit pouty. Batman included no accessories, which is a bit of a bummer given the price, but certainly not the worst thing.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Cosmic Comix got this set of figures in dribs and drabs. My dad picked up Supergirl at the end of June, but she was the only figure in stock. About a month later, they got this guy, and I picked him up as soon as I saw him. This is a figure I’ve been waiting for since the second series of New Frontier figures all those years ago, which makes me very happy. Now, if I could just figure out what the heck happened to that Adam Strange figure…

Advertisements

#0583: Nightwing

NIGHTWING

DC COMICS DESIGNER SERIES (DC COLLECTIBLES)

NightwingCapullo1

Ah, yes the New 52. I didn’t really care for it. But, that’s okay, because it’s gone now! And it’s been replaced by something….more or less identical. Well, fair enough. One of the things that will not be carrying forward into the Non-52, however, is Nightwing. Of course, that’s actually not changing any of the continuity, since Dick Grayson ditched the identity following his unmasking in Forever Evil. So, the figure I’m reviewing today is essentially irrelevant. Oh well. Hardly the first time I’ve looked at such a figure here!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

NightwingCapullo2Nightwing was released as part of the first series of the DC Comics Designer Series. Like Tuesday’s Zero Year Batman, this figure is based on the work of Greg Capullo, who has been the primary artist on the main Batman series since the New 52 began. The figure is roughly 6 ½ inches tall and has 31 points of articulation. The figure features an all-new sculpt, though, as far as the body construction goes, he’s rather similar to Batman. The musculature is similar, as is the overall articulation scheme (Nightwing does manage to get some additional movement in the wrist area). The detailing on the body is simpler than Batman, which is befitting of Nightwing. Also, his uniform features more folds and wrinkles, effectively conveying that it is a spandex leotard, and not a carefully tailored suit of body armor. The head sculpt is a little on the mixed side. From some angles, it looks great. From others, not so much. The technical details of the piece are all very nice. He’s got some great texture work on his hair, and his facial features are cleanly defined. But, he’s also got these huge ears, which can look rather out of place, and they aren’t helped by the fact that the hair slopes inward as it goes down, emphasizing the issue. Nightwing’s paintwork is quite well-handled. The colors are nice and bold and everything is where it should be. I’m not the biggest fan of the red, but it’s true to the design, so I can’t really fault the figure there. The black of the body and of the armored parts are broken up through use of matte and glossy finishes, which look really great. Nightwing is not amazingly accessorized, but he does include his signature escrima sticks, which fit nicely in his hands.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Nightwing was the other half of the Amazon purchase that got me Zero Year Batman. I saw this figure several times in a few different stores and passed on him every time. So, what changed? Two things: I had a gift card and the figure got marked down about $10. That was enough for me to finally get the figure. Is he the greatest version of the character ever? That’s hard to say. It really depends on what you think of the New 52 Nightwing costume. Like I said in the paint section, I don’t care for the red accents and would much prefer blue. Still, even with that I do think the figure is a pretty decent take on the character.

#0581: Batman – Zero Year

BATMAN – ZERO YEAR

DC COMICS DESIGNER SERIES (DC COLLECTIBLES)

BatmanZero1

When DC’s The New 52 began, I gave it a try. I picked up quite a few titles in that first month. I stuck with a very small handful of them, but after a few cancellations and creative team changes, I quickly found myself reading absolutely no DC Comics for quite a stretch of time. Whenever a discussion of the New 52’s quality begins, people will inevitably bring up the fact that the Batman titles have stayed pretty good. I gotta be honest, I like Batman, but I’ve never been a faithful reader of the comics. That being said, I love me some cool toys, and Batman sure does have a knack of having some wonderful toys. So, let’s look at this Batman figure, shall we?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

BatmanZero2Batman is from the 3rd Series of the DC Comics Designer Series, which is the second series of the line to be based on the work of DC artist Greg Capullo. The figure is based on Batman’s design from Zero Year, which was the New 52 retelling of Batman’s early career. This a more modernized take on Batman’s first appearance costume from the original Detective Comics #27. It’s close to the original design, but the original’s black shorts have been ditched (cuz DC thinks they’re lame), and some textured bits of black padding have been added to the arms and legs. The figure stands roughly 6 ½ inches tall and has 29 points of articulation. The figure has what appears to be a completely unique sculpt. With a Batman variant, you sort of assume that some parts might be re-used, but he doesn’t look to have any pieces in common with the regular Capullo Batman. It’s a pretty strong sculpt. The proportions are all pretty great, the articulation is worked in pretty smoothly, and the details are all well-defined. The head is a little flat when viewed from the side, but nothing too bad, and it looks pretty fantastic head-on or in three-quarter view. The only real issues seem to be mostly related to the “add-on” parts. The belt seems like it’s meant to be fragmented, as permanent part of the costume, but it stands out from the figure. When double-checking whether it was supposed to look like that, I discovered that the shape of it is actually quite off. The two yellow pouches should be closer to the center and the buckle should be bigger. It seems odd that these were changed, but they were. The holster could also stand to be a little closer to the body, though that’s minor, and the cape, well, I’m not sure about the cape. It’s not terrible, but it flares out in weird ways, and it’s split in the middle for some reason I’m not sure of. Batman’s paintwork is pretty decent all-around. It’s nothing super exciting or anything, but the colors are all good and there isn’t any bleed over or slop to speak of. The figure includes a gun (I’m gonna assume it’s a grappling gun of some sort), an alternate hand for said gun, and two teeny, tiny, little batarangs, which look kind of silly in his hands.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I avoided DCC at first after they did their whole re-branding thing, mostly due to the fact that I’d moved away from DCD not long before that, and the New 52 designs certainly weren’t going to draw me back in. When this figure was solicited, I thought he looked kind of cool, but I ultimately didn’t pick him up. Then, I broke into DCC’s New 52 stuff with Orion, who I quite liked. That made me take another look at some of the other DCC stuff.  I had an Amazon Gift Card from my parents, so I decided to use it on this guy and the Capullo Nightwing. While I certainly don’t see this being my default Batman, it’s a really fun version of the character, and it’s probably one of the best that DCD/DCC has produced!

BatmanZero3