Well, here we are. We have entered the final week before the end of the 2014 Matty Collector subscription sales period comes to a close. The future of Club Eternia and Club Infinite Earths hang in the balance, and, as of this writing, Eternia is at 57% and Club IE is at 33% of their respected goals. So there is still quite a bit of work to do before we hit 11:59 pm on Monday, August 19th, and if you have been holding off on placing your orders, head on over and get it done now. I am really, really hoping that it will come through for both Clubs since I have been collecting them from the outset and am a completist as well, but things looked grim at about this time last year, so with some luck and some last-minute subscribers, we might get this done again. So, for the rest of the week, we are going to feature some First Looks at some upcoming Club Eternia and Club Filmation figures. I suppose the best way to show just what we will be missing if these Clubs go away is, well, showing exactly what we will be missing. Simple enough, yeah? All right, since there is not a Club Eternia figure scheduled to ship in September, we are going to kick off our series with the Club Filmation figure: Batros. The long-enigmatic Eternian denizen finally comes to action figure form, and even in this diverse figure line, he is destined to be a unique entry.
I have gone on and on about how pleased I am that we have a mini-sub for all of those Filmation-originating characters that we have been waiting so long for. Batros is the third entrant behind Icer and Shokoti, and we still have some big guns like Seahawk and Strong Arm coming before the end of the year. That is a really great start into the Filmation pantheon, but if the 2014 subs go through, I really hope we get another Club Filmation too. Oh, I could make a list. Okay, okay, let’s focus on the present and consider all things Batros — that is why you are here, right? Like most Filmation characters, Batros only had one appearance during the run of the show, his episode is titled “The Great Books of Mystery,” and it aired during the first half of the second season. So, as I said before, he has remained an enigma for almost 30 years, and while his brief appearance certainly contributed to that, his characterization on the show certainly helped, too.
Batros was really into books. I mean, that was the basis for the title of the episode, and the guy certainly did surround himself with enough of them. Well, I say good for him, you know? Usually the bad guys are all about plotting or fighting or kicking puppies, but Batros was on a quest for knowledge, and if you had a young and impressionable child growing up in the ’80s, you knew that he was a role model for all of your little bad guys in the making. He was no slouch when it came to those other things, though, and he did not pledge his allegiance to Skeletor in his appearance on the show nor in his new Classics bio — he is his own man. Er, bat, or um, Bat-man. But not Batman. He is a man that has bat-like traits and is named Batros. Whatever, he still kicked Trap Jaw’s butt in the middle of it. So, like Shokoti, even though Batros was a one-and-done character, his episode and characterization made him an enigma, but also made him memorable.
The thing that got me, though, was that looking back at him now, the little emblem he wears looks like a little proto-Horde logo. Now, we all know that the Horde has a long history on Eternia, so I played it out as he was a member of the Horde but was exiled on the planet after the last attempt at invasion. I know, that goes against the precedence that is set, but he is a bat guy wearing a bat-like symbol, so it works for me. That is the cool thing about MOTU and Batros specifically — you can make him what you want: independent, a minion of Skeletor, a Hordesman, or even the supreme ruler of the Tri-Solar system works, if that is your fancy. Oh, but if you are going the Horde route, you have a few extra crossbows he can have, and the Fighting Foe Men Horde badges can be rigged right on his chest. See? It all works out.
As a figure, Batros has a lot going on as well, and he is one of the very few evil characters that can fly in this mythos. Draego-Man has kind of been on his own holding that down for a while now, so whoever gets to align themselves with Batros will be at a distinct aerial advantage. His bat wings are certainly one of the most distinctive traits to the figure, and while I was skeptical about them at first due to their attachment to his triceps, they actually turned out very nice and are quite functional. The wing sculpts are, of course, very nice and they certainly have a leathery-skin look to them. They have sculpted creases and ridges to look like real bat wings, and they are painted red in the front and black in the back (that is kind of his theme). I am happy to report that his arm movement is not inhibited much at all by the wings and he looks very natural in both a neutral and “flying” pose. I realize that the Four Horsemen have been sculpting a lot of wings and things as of late, but it is still really nice when something like this can come all the way through production successfully. I did not think I would like the design of the wings nearly as much as I do, but I will take this as a success and hope that Vultak can get a nod into the line as well to bolster those aerial ranks.
The rest of the figure in an interesting hodge-podge of both new and reused pieces. He is built on the standard base body (not the furry one) and has the normal furry shorts, but he uses Demo-Man’s hands. I like the choice here as it adds a bit of batty-ness to him with black and sharpened nails. The aforementioned loincloth is made of a very pliable plastic, so you should not have any troubles posing him in dynamic setups. His color scheme is an interesting one as well. He wears a lot of red and black, but his body is actually a very soft purple, and his cowl, shorts, and boots are light blue. So, even in the color realm of MOTU, there is not really any figure currently standing on your shelf that looks much like Batros.
Another striking thing about this figure is that he is actually pretty tall. His new boots and feet look to give him some added height and his head is fairly tall, so he gains some height there as well. I have to admit that I was surprised that he got new boots out of his coming to Classics, but I am glad that he did. They are still furry, but certainly in a different style than we are used to with a single strap across the top. So his boots are shorts are blue, but so is his collar and cowl. To me, this would indicate that those are actually something he wears as well, and while it looks like he has rather large bat ears, those might just be a part of his getup. What do you think? At any rate, there is a lot of fur detailing in these pieces and the collar is separate (and removable) from the rest of the figure.
Batros’ face sculpt, while somewhat placid, has a threatening feel about it. His lifeless yellow eyes are large and inset and are surrounded by thick black lines. This does a nice job of capturing the bat theme, and since the yellow is bright and stands out due to the fact that the color does not appear anywhere else on the figure, they are an instant focal point. Batros also has some nice fangs jutting down from the top of his mouth, and they REALLY make me wish Shokoti got the same treatment too. So he is kind of funny in that he is certainly a amalgamation of different pieces and colors; they all follow a bat theme in their look to help pull together a cohesive theme to the character.
He does include one accessory — a black and red repaint of Spikor’s mace. This is the one place that I wish we would have gotten a little bit more. I realize that Club Filmation is in its first incarnation and they need to see how it goes before being able to dump more money into it, but I am left a bit cold by this weapon. Sure, it’s nice and the metallic paint is cool, but I really wish we could have gotten his memorable energy blast or even a book or two to go along with it. Since I will be displaying him as a member of the Horde, he will get a crossbow, so it is not a huge deal to me, but still, I would have preferred if he would have gotten something from his appearance over a full repaint of an accessory that is unrelated to him. That is not a complaint since the mace is kind of cool in its own right –it’s just a preference. Oh, and if you are still wondering, the 2013 quality train is still running high and Batros doesn’t have a weak joint or sloppy paint spot to speak of.
Club Filmation is running strong and they are really delivering some of the most memorable characters from the show. Batros has been on wish lists since before the Filmation rights were even secured, so I know a lot of people are excited to get him. I am sure that his “real name” of Wiley will cause some grumbling, but that can be ignored. The actual physical figure is very nice and probably the best of the Filmation guys so far. Batros is another character that I never would have thought we would be able to add at the outset of this line, and here we are. We are really getting into the cool and more obscure characters in the mythos now, and for me, that is the most exciting. If you want to still get cool-looking figure like Batros next year, the subscriptions are still open — Evil Seed, General Tataran, Lizard Man, Kittrina, and a host of others are waiting!
*Thanks for reading and thanks to Toy Guru for sending along Batros for an advanced Look; we really appreciate it. Stay tuned, we have much more to come!