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First Look – Batman Legacy Series 1

So, even though we are hip-deep into the pre-Green Lantern movie hype blitz, Warner Brothers has several other DC property movies currently in various stages of development. You may have heard about a character named Batman at some point in time, but apparently he has had a couple of wildly successful movies in the past few years and a third installment is due in theaters across the universe next summer. Yeah, it is big deal. Such a big deal that fans are already salivating to see what director Christopher Nolan is going to bring to his final dip in the Gotham pool, and the crazy marketing campaign has already begun (it is early but intriguing, and it is going to take A LOT to outdo the Dark Knight). So as you can imagine, Mattel is going to be bringing it in terms of toys. Even though we have not heard a peep about it yet, you know that 2012 is going to be the year of the Bat. But, we do not even have to wait until January as some tastes of what is to come are already coming to market in the form of the Batman Legacy line. The first series of three figures is arriving to some online and specialty shops now and already there is almost as much speculation about what this line is or might be as there is about the movie itself. Here’s your introduction.

Batman Legacy Series 1: Mr. Freeze, Batman and Joker

What we know about this line right now is that it is currently planned for two series of single card releases (each with three figures) and some two packs. The singles are taking on more of a comic/toy reference with the two-packs are borrowing from other media like the aforementioned Dark Knight movie and the Arkham Asylum video game. I am positive that we will hear more about the line at SDCC next month, but I believe that this line will indeed be very finite but will start to hold the shelf space at retail for things to come later on. With the short execution of the comic-based Green Lantern Classics line to support the GL movie, I think that Mattel has set a precedent with the fans: there is now an expectation that a “Batman Classics” type of line will be rolled out in early 2012. I know some are saying that this Legacy represents that, but I am not convinced. If Mattel does do a Classics offshoot for Batman (and I am hoping beyond hope that they do), I think it will follow the GL footprint more closely than this – with at least two series (hopefully more) of six figures and full Collect and Connect executions. It was said that GL Classics was an appetizer to whet the Lantern appetite; I think they are adding another course to the Batman spread. Legacy seems to be the appetizer to the appetizer.

Batman is pissed. Then again, Batman is always pissed.

Not that you cannot get good figures from a first course, but I think most of the releases that we have seen officially are mostly repaints with a few new parts here and there to kick these to retail as soon as possible. I am stoked for that Earth-2 Batman that is in series two but I REALLY hope the rumored Catman turns out to be true! Only six more weeks to go. Then we will know. Deadshot is so lonely… CATMAN! Anyhow, this first series features three figures that run the gamut from straight repaint, kitbash of existing parts and a new head sculpt. I know you have seen a few pictures floating around the internet already, but allow me to introduce you to Modern Batman, Super Powers Mr. Freeze and Golden Age (Dick Sprang) Joker.

My Two Dads!

Going in reverse chronological order, Modern Batman comes in his black (not dark blue) and gray color scheme with the large bat emblem on the chest. As you can probably tell, he is a combination of two previously existing figures: he borrows his body from the black and gray Bats what was released way back in the DC Superheroes line and his head comes from his Sinestro Corps incarnation that featured in DCUC series 15. It is almost hard to believe but we have actually been lacking a modern interpretation of Batman during the DCUC era. I know he has probably been held back as anchor bait for down the line and it makes sense, I really want a modern Bats with double knee joints and what not. I will consider this my “I’m the Goddamned Batman” Batman figure from Mattel because he certainly looks pissed off. I always like that DCSH Batman body and it serves well as a repurpose here. The “construction worker” utility belt is a little large for my tastes (I like the more streamlined, smaller pouch belt) but it is molded in a fairly flexible plastic so the legs get a good range of motion. The cape is soft as well, and I know I mentioned this a couple of my previous recent First Looks, but I hope the soft plastic in the belts, capes and other outfit add-ons becomes a staple across all of the Mattel lines.

This Batman has true grit.

I am a fairly vanilla guy when it comes to facial expression in sculpts. Sometimes a sneer or smile can work really well to bring out the attitude depending on the character, so I am certainly not adverse to expression being built in from time to time, but usually, I go for the stoic look that will work in a multitude of situations. But Batman is a guy that is certainly known for sneering, especially in these modern times so I can see why Mattel chose to use the SC head. Whether or not it completely works for you will be based on your personal preference, of course. Honestly, we are going to see a lot of Batman figures over the next 18 months or so (I would think) so this is most likely just the start of the variations that will have varying degrees of effectiveness. For me, this would never be what I would consider my “definitive” modern Batman figure, but for fight scenes and poses, he is pretty convincing to me. I will let you be the judge though.

Here is your requisite, expected and obvious Goddamned Batman reference: "I'm the GODDAMNED BATMAN!"

Next up is what I am calling the “Super Powers” Mr. Freeze figure. Since this series is closely coinciding with the release of DCUC 18, the push to finally complete that SP line-up is at a high. Really, I think this will almost do it. I know there is a pretty good chance that we will see repaints of the Penguin and Brainiac to more closely match their SP counterparts, but I think Kalibak is less likely and I hope Orion is completely off the table. Yuck. But with this Freeze and Samurai in DCUC, I am feeling pretty complete. It is funny though, I am considering this the SP Mr. Freeze, but really, it is only his paint scheme that is SP in spirit.

Super-Powered Mr. Freeze

Victor here is a straight repaint of the Mr. Freeze from DCSH (which itself was a modified Freeze from the old Batman line, it has gone the distance) so he has a lot more tech on his suit than the SP version. He also shares that goggles and those were not a part of the get up, but I know Mattel has a pissed off goggle-less Freeze head tool somewhere, would have been neat to get that on this figure, but it is not a huge deal to me.

Legacy and Super Heroes Freeze

The freeze tanks on his back are still detachable but instead of all the tubes connecting from the tank to the tank, this time they connect to Freeze’s sleeves. That is fine, but it is interesting to note that they are not removable so the pack is stuck with him (without modification).

Purple Dome
Cords and tubes and such

I usually only display one version of each character on my shelf so, even though this version is about a gaudy as it gets and I have no real attachment to it, I am in a quandary. I actually like the colors for being so off-kilter. I know, the original DCSH (or even the Tech Suit version) make much more sense from a cold storage technology standpoint, but damnit – these are comic figures. Go nuts.

Here is your requisite, expected and obvious Ice to see you reference: "Ice to see you!"

Finally we come to my most anticipate figure in the series, a very nice Dick Sprang-esque classic Joker. Ever since the DCUC 10 Joker figure was debuted and then the Question came along in series 11 fans knew a trench coat Joker would be coming eventually. Here is our first dip in that pool. From a construction standpoint, this is the series 10 Joker, minus his coat, plus Questions jacket, which is made of that flexible plastic I am so fond of. I always thought this body was perfect for Joker and I still believe that, he is tall, skinny and very posable.

The hostile harlequin

His head sculpt though is the very best part of the figure though. I LOVE it. LOVE. IT. I thought I really loved the DCUC Joker head, but I think this one is just fantastic and it captures the reference to a tee. It looks nothing like the previous Joker sculpt, but it still looks exactly like the Joker. Fun! I cannot wait for that Legacy series 2 Batman now, he will be teaming up with that classic Dick Grayson Robin to take on this diabolical clown.

Honestly, I think this his scariest look. Joker doesn't need to look edgy, he is bat%#!% crazy
Jokers to the left of me. Um, Jokers to the right... but they are all clowns.

I do have an issue with this figure though that keeps me from giving it a gold star. I HOPE it is just due to this being a figure that might be early in the production run, but… he is wearing two different colors of pants. It is subtle, especially in the pictures, but while his pants above the knee match his vest, below the knee they are the same color as the coat. The problem with that is the coat and vest are two different purples. I really do not know why the coat and vest would be two different colors in the first place, but it hurts because otherwise, this figure is so good. What makes this stranger is that, depending on the lighting, the severity of the color difference changes. I know that makes sense, but while I would expect to vary slightly, it changes significantly. In natural sunlight, it is hard to tell if there is a difference. Under fluorescent lighting, it is practically invisible. Under those incandescents though, it is pretty apparent. I took one of the pictures in my bathroom so you can see. In the photo cube though, you probably won’t even catch it. So, how much you care about this will depend on you, one thing I have found though, standing naturally and neutrally, the coat folds around the legs so it is a non-issue in that regard. It is peculiar. It bothered me a lot more yesterday than it does today and now I don’t really notice it, but I would be remiss in not mentioning it. I am sure there will be sounding off over this once more people get the figure in hand so I wonder what the overall consensus will be. Other than that quibble, I love this figure.

Dapper Dan!
The wrong trousers!

Each figure also comes with a Bat-logo display base with their name and a mini poster/comic book cover recreation. These are rolled pretty tightly in the blister so you might dig out a few phone books (if you still have one) and let these sit under them for a week or so. I certainly love the Joker’s the most, it is one of the best Joker covers of all time in my opinion.

Time to scramble those bat and bird brains!

Overall, I am pretty happy with this first series. We get some versions of characters that are sensible variants and the series acts as a good lead-in to the lead-in of what will surely be a Bat-blitz next year. I know these are hitting the specialty shops now and I would imagine the two packs will be soon as well. For me, Joker is the real winner (if you can get past the pants) but I find myself liking Freeze a lot more than I thought I would.

*Thanks to Fwoosher trs for the assist on this series, glad we could bring the pictures!

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