Well, hot damn, Mattel, It ain’t over til it’s over!
I’ve been in the peculiar spot of watching the great Mattel Club DC Infinite Earths meltdown of 2013 as a spectator this past year. As I’ve mentioned many times before, I purged most of my DCUC collection, save some favorites, and moved into other areas of the hobby. I made my peace with the fact that I wasn’t going to get the figures I wanted, and I got to make it well before everybody else had to, and I got to do it on my own terms.
So imagine my surprise when Amazon dropped off a double-knee’d Batman figure at my house this morning.
Arkham Origins is shaping up to be a worthy prequel to the blockbuster Rocksteady series, and I already squared away my time off work so I can spend a few days after the release going all-in. And thanks to DC Collectibles, I’ve become pretty confident that I will have some excellent figures to go with it, God and Quality Control willing. But Mattel had a last gasp to throw in here as well, and it certainly should at least make your list of considerations for game merchandise.
Both Batman and Deathstroke ship single-carded on the “Batman
Unlimited” banner, and I have to say, I still like the look of it. Good character art on the side, little bio on the back, and some cross-sell, just like the ones you find clearanced at a Target near you. Don’t go getting your hopes up on leads for new figures or anything, though, only Bats, Deathstroke and beware, beware Beware the Batman are on the back.
On the “pros” side, I think these have some of the best sculpting and paintwork I’ve seen on any Mattel figures in recent memory. Batman has some serious love put into his armor, and it has nice touches like silver rivets and grey wash along it. Even his rubber-plastic cape has some good texture to it. Slade’s armor also looks great, and the metallic blues are very eye-catching in person. He also gets the best accessory loadout in recent memory, with his G36-ish rifle, 1911-ish sidearm, katana (ish?), and staff.
Also very much “pro,” Batman finally got the articulation he needs to freakin’ crouch. He rounds out with I think the best count of points of articulation on a Mattel Batman yet, with a well-ranged ball neck, ball shoulders, ball elbows, hinged hips, waist and thigh cuts, double knees, and hinged wrists and ankles. All he’s missing was some kind of abdominal joint, which might have been an attempt to keep the armor sculpt. Even better, all the joints work very well, with only the ankles having much restriction. Needless to say, though, it’s the double knees that take this from a decent figure to a good figure — and they do it without hurting the sculpt in the least.
Good don’t mean perfect, though, and there are some “cons” to go with that list. In a spat of what looks like give-and-take, Batman gets zip to Slade’s arsenal. Just as well, since he has closed fists, also an albeit minor downer for me. And where Batman gets some good functional articulation, Deathstroke does not. Oh, sure, most of it’s there, with a decent ball-neck, shoulders, knees, ankles and elbows, hinged hips, and cut waist, and wrists, but it’s not nearly as useful as it ought to be. The “elbrows/kneebrows” are restricted enough really impact their usefulness, and his hips are hindered from going forward pretty severely.
These guys, for whatever reason, are NOT “Arkham scaled.” Now, why Mattel would depart from an established scale for an established “universe” for it’s last two figures is anybody’s guess, but these are clearly more scaled toward the DCUC side than the DCC/Arkham one. On the plus side, for me this actually increases these figures’ viability. No doubt the DCC versions will skew toward the 7-inch figure scale, so I’m free to use these guys with my remaining mish-mash of 6-inch figures. So I’ve got a double-knee’d Batman to beat up on Stormtroopers to tide me over until I get another (also very articulated) one to beat on Aliens and Predators.
So if you’re okay with a last-minute scale change, and a bulky armored tank of a Batman, then snag this one without hesitation. Deathstroke, not so much, but no denying he does look good. Problem is, he’s not going to look good with the other Arkham figures; he’s going to look like Deathstroke Jr, so he might be a pass, depending on your mercenary needs.