It seems like that not-so-distant tomorrow has gone from the gleaming utopia of the 1950s outlook to a permanent “Blade Runner” mix of technology gone awry in the ruins of decaying society. But, with each subsequent future’s darker, edgier raising of the stakes, the heroes of that future get meaner and cooler looking.
Obviously that has been true for Batman Beyond for almost a couple decades now. The Gotham of the future doesn’t look like a dystopia, but under that shiny glass and space age polymer is the same old ugly, just smarter and more efficient. So the Batman of that future emulates his element: clean and streamlined black and red, with some silver, a simple design that hides a whole lot of power and hardware. It’s been one of the best received new looks for a character of all time, and it’s less-is-more approach, like Spider’s black suit, is likely a big factor.
But in toy form, that kind of streamlining isn’t quite the same silver bullet it is in media. Where a costume that hides it’s techy details works fantastically in animation or comics, in a figure that just means another heroic build with a costume literally spray-painted on it. And hey, it does work in the sense of accuracy to the material. And in the case of a suit like Spidey’s, it makes sense- even as the symbiote, the costume is coating the wearer like a second skin. But the advanced suit that Bruce hands to Terry isn’t just a black bodysuit. It’s decades of Bat-tech condensed into something that, for the sake of adaptation, just looks like a skin-tight superhero costume.
So Mezco approached their take on the character with an intention to make some of that tech show through, without losing all of that streamlined charm. And while the vinyl applications seem to cause major heartburn to some in this line (yeah, I still read the boards once in a while), it’s never been a problem for me. Because outside of the movie figures and the inaugural figure, One:12 Collective has never been about direct translations of certain depictions of a character: it’s those characters and depictions through the lens of a Mezco design.
But when that design is somewhat known for its simplicity, that can make for some tough optics. Luckily in this case, I think they nailed it.
The Beyond suit’s base material is a matte black with a little texture to it- very different from the kind on other stretchy uniforms. The vinyl details are done in a gloss, and they are a mix of tech details and almost muscle lines. And the result very cleverly mimics the way Batman’s suit would pick up highlights in the cartoon. This is easily one of the neatest designs Mezco has done yet; it’s intricate but feels well balanced. And while the plastic gloves and boots are a definite deviation from the one-piece look on screen, they too are partitioned in ways to make them feel less like an actual glove or boot, and more just a segment of the overall suit.
The base body isn’t quite as nimble as the incredible one on the black suit Spidey, but it is close. The build fits in between that one and Ascending Knight in terms of size and poseability, and that feels appropriate. I like in particular how Terry is a smaller build, but not at all the teenager-esque look he sometimes gets in the comics- it’s been a long time since 1989, nobody’s buying a five-nine, buck-fifty guy as Batman, even if nobody’s seen the guy in a decade.
The accessories are fantastic- the batarangs have some really crisp paint details, the alternate head and hands, especially those claws, make for tons of personality. The blast effects do the job, if not overly remarkable,but thanks to those wings, they don’t have to be.
And those wings pop into a panel on Batman’s back once you remove a small cover. The “backpack” looks like a convincing place to store those wings on its own, but all the dynamic presence this figure already has gets a major amp up once you pop them in. I like the matted red on the inside of them- it does much the same job the two-tone capes do for the other batsuits.
I sincerely hope you guys ordered one of these already if you were interested. He is easily one of the most visually impressive as well as just stupid fun to play with figure this line has done yet, and with the figures that have come out this year, that is no damn faint praise. Thanks to Mezco for helping me get this one!