#1314: Nightwing



“As Batman’s former ward, Nightwing returns to Gotham City to fight crime during the absence of his mentor.”

I’ve touched very briefly on “Knightfall,” the huge cross-over series that introduced Bane, broke Batman’s back, and gave us the new Batman Jean Paul Valley (formerly Azrael).  It’s actually one of the better regarded big cross-over stories of the ‘90s, largely due to DC consciously using common story elements for the time, and addressing some of the issues behind them. The story got some figures as part of the then running Legends of Batman line from Kenner, but no truly devoted line, until 2005, when the story was given a dedicated line of figures, courtesy of DC Direct.  I’ll be looking at one of those figures, Nightwing, today.


Nightwing was released as one of the five figures in DCD’s Batman: Knightfall series, which, as I noted above, hit comic stores in 2005.  The figure stands 6 3/4 inches tall (he’s from the period where the DCD scale creep was really kicking into overdrive, so he was a good half an inch taller then the two prior Nightwings) and he has 11 points of articulation.  He’s sporting his early ’90s costume, which generally isn’t one of my favorites.  It’s largely to do with the particularly egregious mullet that always accompanied it, but also due to the way he tended to be depicted as super bulky in this outfit.  I really have to commend this figure’s sculpt, because it  makes a lot of those issues less present.  In particular, his build is more svelte and similar to DCD’s prior Nightwings, and they’ve also gone with what’s probably the least dated interpretation of the mullet.  The sculpt isn’t perfect, mind you.  There are some slight oddities to the posing; his feet seem a bit wide spread, and I’m not entirely sure what’s going on with the left hand.  Also, his thighs seem oddly…flat.  Still, it’s remarkably well done, given how badly it could have turned out, depending on the iteration of the source material they followed.  One of the coolest things about this guy is the paint work.  The application is all pretty clean, and the colors just really pop.  I particularly love the metallic blue color that makes up the majority of the bodysuit.  It’s a good base color, and it really helps accentuate the brighter colors that have been placed on top of it.  Nightwing included a little…disc thing?  I guess it’s some sort of throwing weapon or something?  Mine’s missing his, but he could hold it in his right hand.  He also had a circular display stand with the “Knightfall” logo printed on it.


I’m hard-pressed to come up with all that much interesting about this guy.  I know I bought him from Cosmic Comix, because that’s where I was getting all of my DC Direct figures at the time, but the exact nature of when or why I got him doesn’t seem to be coming to me.  I know I haven’t traditionally been a fan of this look, but this figure changed my mind on that.  While he’s not my favorite DCD Nightwing, but he’s still a very solid entry.  Also, one of only two figure versions of this particular design, for what it’s worth.

#1216: Knightfall Batman




‘90s comics are notorious for fostering an over-arching tone of “not your daddy’s comics,” I guess in an attempt to make the genre seem more hip and fly (see?  I’m one of the cool kids!  I can get home with the downies).  One of the ways they did this was by performing lots of edgy stunts that “rocked the comics world to its core!”  Green Lantern went nuts and dismantled the corps, Superman died and was replaced by four off-shoot characters, etc.  Even Batman wasn’t exempt, thanks to the “Knightfall” story arc that ran through all the Bat-titles in the early ‘90s, where newly-introduced villain Bane bested and crippled Bruce Wayne, necessitating his replacement by Jean-Paul Valley, a far more anti-heroic character.  The story is actually pretty well-regarded, mostly because it dove head-on into a lot of the tropes associated with the ‘90s anti-hero boom and deconstructed them, with the final moral of the story being that the new style of Batman just didn’t work as well as the original.  Since the story hit right on the cusp of the superhero toy boom, several of the key characters got figures at the time of the story.  The final, more armored incarnation of Valley’s Batman has been a particular favorite of toy companies, even in current times.


azbatsdcm2Knightfall Batman was released as part of Mattel’s smaller-scale DC Comics Multiverse line.  He’s one of the many Arkham Origins-based figures from the line, and like a good portion of those figures, he represents one of the many skins that could be swapped out for Batman’s standard look.  Said skin is based on Jean-Paul Valley’s late Knightfall look (though not his *latest* look; the armored sections got a bit more tech-y as the story progressed).  It’s the look most associated with the storyline as a whole, so it’s certainly a strong choice of both skin and figure.  The figure stands a little under 4 inches tall and has 18 points of articulation.  As with so many Mattel figures, the articulation  scheme is rather archaic, but at this point I sort of just expect that.  If Mattel’s determined to stay just behind the pack, I can’t stop them.  The sculpt is decent enough, I suppose.  It’s about on par with the other figures I’ve gotten from the line; the basic look is pretty solid, but there’s not a whole lot of small detail work or anything that really makes it stand out.  There’s also the incredibly awkward way the front of the belt is handled.  It’s supposed to not have a buckle, but since they made the belt a separate piece (because reasons), the tunic is interrupted twice where the belt connects, which ruins the visual flow.  And, of course, there are the huge hands, because no one at Mattel knows how to scale hands for this size figure, I guess.  The paint on the figure is passable, but, like the sculpt, a little uninspired.  The colors all more or less match up, but they’re just… unexciting.  The blue is dark, the gold is dull, the yellow is cold, and the black is just very flat.  Application is also a bit sloppy, but it’s far from the worst I’ve seen from Mattel.  The figure includes no accessories, which is a slight letdown.


Have I mentioned Super Awesome Girlfriend’s stress buying before?  Yeah, this guy’s a case of that.  She stopped at a Walgreens on the drive to her parents’ and this was one of the handful of figures she grabbed for me (after verifying I didn’t already own him).  Is he a perfect figure?  No.  Is he an exciting figure?  Not incredibly so, but he has his merits.  I’ve owned worse figures, and I like the design enough that I’m happy to own a figure of it.