The Bizarro World. A place of opposites to the things we know in this world. Up is down, good is bad, me is you — you get the picture. As a DC fan, it kind of feels like I have been walking around in the Bizarro world for about the last six weeks or so. The DC Universe Classics/Infinite Earths/Four Horsemen-designed action figures that we have been collecting for so long now look to be coming to an end, and an untimely and abrupt one at that. The subscription did not get enough supporters to continue for another year on Matty Collector, and with the retail strategy completely shifting gears, we are left with the last of the Four Horsemen DC Universe coming between now and the end of the year. So, in somewhat strangely appropriate fashion, Batzarro is putting an end to the Club Infinite Earths and validates that Bizarro-world feeling I have been carrying since mid-August.
“Wait, what?” “Who?” – those where the questions that were heard immediately after the reveal of Batzarro around the panel room at SDCC. A surprising choice to the present fandom, Batzarro’s case was defended with the popularity of Batman and how a form of Batman has not been done in the subscription up to that point. Some bought into that explanation, but I don’t think most people did. I could spend all day arguing for and against Batzarro’s inclusion in the sub, but I could do that for a lot of characters. The discussion has played out in the forums since the reveal and you can read all about the suggestions of him being “more appropriate for the retail line” to “doesn’t deserve a figure at all” to your heart’s content because if we have gotten this far, you have probably made you mind up about the character, but there is still the figure itself to consider.
For me personally, the fact that the sub was not renewed is pretty disappointing. I have been “all in” with this line since the DC Superheroes execution, and I was satisfied with the current strategy of getting out the diverse and sometimes fan-demanded figures. So I always knew that not every figure was going to be a “win” for me, and I am good with that. Heck, I have never collected a line where that wasn’t the case. What I can say is getting Batzarro as the last figure of 2013 is something very different than getting Batzarro as the last figure of the line. The former is no problem for me; the latter has a bit of a bitter taste. That is not a specific knock to the character per se, but I think I have a list about five- or six-hundred characters deep ahead of him. So before the sub failed, it wasn’t an issue; now that it has, I can’t say that I wasn’t left a little let down by the pick. That is how it goes, I suppose, and like I said at the opening, it is almost strangely appropriate that he is the last figure of the Club Infinite Earths.
If you don’t know the character, Wayne Bruce is just what you are thinking: the Batman version of Superman’s Bizarro. Batzarro does a lot of things opposite of the Batman, like saying out loud whatever is on his mind, and wearing a “futility belt,” which is an upside-down utility belt that cannot hold stuff due to being, well, upside down. Created by the Joker, this chain-fighting, Crime Alley murderer even wears the Bat symbol upside down, which, if you think about it, is the way most real bats spend a lot of their time. I will be completely honest with you when I say I only read this character after he was announced at SDCC (just to get some background), and all I can say about my personal opinion of the character is that I still really want a Liberty Belle figure. Okay, I am done.
Now comes the tricky part because now that I have this guy in hand, I cannot deny that he is actually a really well-done toy. Like, one of the best DCIE figures we have gotten in a while from a sculpt and quality standpoint. Sure, there is not a lot to the former, but what is there is pretty darned spot-on. Yes, he is basically a Batman figure with a new head, belt and cape, but the construction is solid, the plastic is good, the joints are tight, and paint is clean. I know that QC can be hit and miss in any line, but for this one, Batzarro is actually representative of the high end. So, if you are getting him in December due to your subscription commitment and no other reason, he does have that going quite well for him. Plus, at the end of the day, he cuts the same iconic silhouette and shares the same color palette as Batman, so there is recognition that comes with that, but maybe I am just strengthening the case for him being a better figure for the retail line. If, you know, there was still a retail line for this style.
The head sculpt of the figures appears to be quite accurate to the source material, and it has some nice little details to bring out the perversion of Batman. The costume is unique in that the cowl does not have eye slits and he is basically blind. Again, this is a stronger trait of bats that Batzarro holds over his heroic counterpart. So you basically only see the actual character between the upper lip and the jaw, but the sickly coloration, evil smile and jagged teeth pretty much tell you what you need to know. Past his icky mug, the upside-down belt is probably the biggest draw to the eye on the figure. The concept is ridiculous (that’s the point), but the belt is well done. I could not put my finger on it until about Saturday afternoon of SDCC, but the inside lining of his cape is also a focus as it is the same gray as his costume, which makes it almost … unsettling. Again, that is the point, but it is in stark contrast to Batman’s look, so it is effective.
Other than that, he comes with a Batarand (Bizararang?) that is serviceable, but I think giving him his trademark chain would have been a bit cooler of a choice. I have a whole stack of Batarangs at this point, so I would have at least appreciated it a bit more. He can hold it just fine, but since it is a little thicker in the width than most Batarangs, you will have to pry his hand open to get him to grip it at first.
So this could very well be the last DCUC/Four Horsemen-style DC figure First Look we get to bring you. The future is VERY uncertain right now, though in his last preview video, you could see a carded sample of the hook-hand Aquaman right over Toy Guru’s shoulder. That is not a 100 percent indication that he will be released, but I take that as a good sign for him at least; everything else is up in a wait-and-see status. Hopefully NYCC will bring good news for Ice at least.
And so the DC Club Infinite Earths subscription line sunsets with Batzarro, a solid figure of a character no one was really expecting. I am torn on him as the very last figure of the line, but as I said, it is kind of appropriate. The DC Universe is a really big place, so I never expected that we would get to EVERYONE, but I was still enjoying the run to get there. Right now, I will just have to wait and see if I will still be a collector of DC action figures (the DCC stuff doesn’t really appeal to me due to the era). I hope I will get the chance, this has been a fun ride.
*Thanks for hanging with us all this time in our DCUC/IE previews, we have had a blast. Thanks also to Toy Guru for sending along the sample of bookend figure. We started with Batman, and so shall we end with his doppelganger.