#0575: Man-Bat

MAN-BAT

BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES (DC COLLECTIBLES)

ManBat1

While I love pretty much every episode of Batman: The Animated Series, there are two episodes I love above all the others.  The first is “Heart of Ice,” the episode that re-invented the character of Mr. Freeze and made him into one of Batman’s most memorable Rogues.  The other is “On Leather Wings,” which is the very first episode of the series, and is responsible for kicking things off with a serious bang.  The episode steered away from the more established Bat-Rogues in order to focus on the lesser-known Man-Bat.  Man-Bat serves as the logical counterpoint to Batman, and allows for a unique way of introducing the audience to the main character.  The episode perfectly established the tone for the rest of the series, and has some of the best writing and animation of the entire show.  It was an important moment for the series, and Man-Bat is a key part of it, so it’s no surprise that Man-Bat showed up in the latest round of BTAS figures from DC Collectibles.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

ManBat2Man-Bat is figure 07 in the Batman: The Animated Series/The New Batman Adventures line from DC Collectibles.  He is the third and final figure in Series 2 (Poison Ivy was supposed to be the fourth, but she got pushed back due to production issues).  The figure is just shy of 7 ½ inches tall, has a wing span of 15 inches, and has 15 points of articulation.  The design of the character means that he’s a little less articulated than some of the others in this series.  That said, he’s actually the first figure in the line to get any torso articulation, and most of the articulation has a pretty great range of movement.  The only point that’s really limited is his head, which really would benefit from the ability to look upward.  As with the Kenner figure, this version of Man-Bat is based on the Kirk Langstrom Man-Bat from “On Leather Wings” as opposed to the Francine Langstrom (wo)Man-Bat from “Terror in the Sky.”  The figure’s sculpt is, generally, a pretty great translation of the show’s design for the character.  The only real mis-step, as far as I can tell, is the figure’s head.  It’s not terribly far off from the show design, but it seems like it’s a little flatter, depth-wise, than it should be.  In particular, the jaw line seems too shallow.  That being said, it’s closer than Kenner’s attempt, and the differences can be chalked up to the show design not translating quite as well to three dimensions.  Man-Bat is a much larger figure than the others in the line, but that doesn’t mean he gets left out of the accessories game.  The most ManBat3important extra pieces are definitely the extra arms, which are sculpted in a more relaxed position. The default arms are sculpted in an outstretched fashion, which can take up a lot of shelf space and limits the possible poses, so it’s good to have the extra pieces.  Now, it’s too bad that DCC couldn’t find a way to work in elbow and wrist movement, but I can certainly appreciate their desire to not hinder the quality of the sculpt.  These make for a decent enough compromise.  In addition to the arms, the figure includes three medicine bottles, a tape recorder, and a display stand.  The bottles and the recorder are episode specific, and pretty nifty to have, even if Man-Bat can’t really use them.  The stand is pretty much an essential piece of the figure, however, due to his inability to stand very well on his own.  But, at least it’s there, right?

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

If you’ve read the last two days’ reviews, it should be no surprise that I got Man-Bat from Amazon.  It doesn’t make for a terribly exciting story, but it’s relatively stress-free on my end.  Man-Bat was a figure I was really looking forward to, mostly due to how much I love the character’s first appearance on the show.  It’s too bad that DCC couldn’t come up with a way to articulate the arms, but the swappable parts do make up for it a bit, resulting in a pretty fun figure, and probably one of the best Man-Bat figures to date.

ManBat4

#0389: Man-Bat

MAN-BAT

BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES

Batman: The Animated Series started off with quite a bang (quite literally; it’s one of the first things in the opening credits). The first episode, “On Leather Wings,” showed the full potential of the series, and to this day remains one of my two favorite episodes of the series. One of the most interesting things about the episode was the choice of foe. They steered clear of any of the major Bat-Rogues, such as Joker or Penguin, or even Riddler, and instead turned their focus on Man-Bat, a character who to date still remains foreign to all but the most die-hard DC fans. When people do know the character, they tend to remember the animated incarnation. Today, I’ll be taking a look at Kenner’s version of the character from the tie-in toyline of the time.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Man-Bat was released in Series 2 of Kenner’s Batman: The Animated Series. The figure marks Man-Bat’s very first action figure, though Kenner themselves had planned to release a classic comic version of the character had their DC Super Powers line continued past Series 3. Man-Bat is about 5 ½ inches tall and he features 12 points of articulation, which was stellar for the time. Man-Bat had two appearances on the show, and the look was a little different in each. This one is based on the first version, which is the actual MAN-Bat (Kirk Langstrom’s wife ends up being the creature in the second, resulting in a “Woman-Bat”). Standards for figures have changed over the years, but for the time, this figure was quite good. It’s not a spot on recreation of Man-Bat, mind you. The shape of the head is a little off, the arms are a bit too skinny, and the legs are a bit too small when compared to the rest of the figure. But, as a whole, the figure makes a good approximation of the character from the show. It’s certainly as accurate as, say, Kenner’s Joker figure, so the inconsistencies help the figure blend more with the rest of the line. Man-Bat’s paint work is pretty straight forward. He’s mostly molded in an appropriate brown plastic, with paint for his pants, eyes, and mouth. Everything is pretty cleanly applied, so that’s good. Man-Bat originally included a small length of string and a hook so that the figure could be made to look as if he were flying.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I missed out on the first few series of BTAS figures, due to not quite being into collecting. So, Man-Bat was a figure I didn’t have while growing up. I went through a period immediately after my freshman year of college where I attempted to fill as many holes in my 90s collections as possible. Man-Bat was a rather pricey figure at the time, so I had to hold off on him. As luck would have it, while visiting that year’s Mego Meet, I come across a loose Man-Bat for $2 or $3. Man-Bat was certainly one of the more unique figures in the line, and his presence in the inaugural episode of the show means he holds a special place in the line. Incidentally, DC Collectibles has announced that a more accurate Man-Bat will be released in the second series of their own BTAS line. Until then, this guy’s still pretty important.