This review has been a long time coming, and I think I finally know why.
So as I have mentioned in earlier reviews, posts and comments, 2020 was a surprisingly good year overall for figures, maybe even one of the best. The slowdowns and shutdowns were definitely pervasive in the Spring, but by Summer it started to feel like the floodgates were opened, and, even though we’re closing in on almost a year since, they haven’t slowed down much.
I spent half of 2020 eagerly awaiting Supreme Knight Batman. When he started reaching the UK in August, a good buddy helped me get one stateside in a matter of days. Surely, for a review, most people thought. I wanted to be first.
I did it for me, and me only. I would review it, certainly, but I didn’t care about being first. As much fun as this hobby is to share, if we are being honest, this is sometimes a deeply personal and insular thing that we spend our money on. A lot of people wouldn’t understand, but some of you are nodding your heads. I can’t explain it specifically, but there are somethings we do just for ourselves, and to hell with the rest.
But about that review… well, when we started to see the MezEx teasers, and the PX, I realized exactly how I wanted to review Supreme Knight: I didn’t want to be the first word– I wanted to be the last.
And now, here we are. I think I’ll do this review in 2 parts, and there will also be some video components, because, simply put, these are special figures to me. I want the review to be special as well.
Across 4 variants, and several color palettes, we are looking at the ultimate manifestation of the two words “Mezco” and “Batman.” He is the Dark Knight Returns, without a doubt, but he’s that Dark Knight with the benefit of an additional 25+ years of reinterpretation and style. He’s certainly the thick, gray and white-haired aging warrior of the story, often with the same short ears and massive black bat emblem, but he’s also picked up some lightweight armor, and heavy gloves, boots, and kneepads. So I would like to start with the Standard and PX versions.
The “standard” release– as if that word could do it justice– is probably the closest to the source material in terms of presentation. The black bat emblem, that famously came out of it’s own retirement in book two, after two decades of sporadic flashbacks and Earth 2 stories, is now practically a piece of plate armor. And by now, we all know why he wears that target on his chest.
But that doesn’t make for the only reinforced part of the suit: the fabric has segmented lines and textures alluding to some light, flexible plating, and the usual dark parts are are considerably more armored, maybe severely so. The gloves, kneepads and boots are composed of hard edges, reinforced striking points, and even some damage. Even his cowl shows that this Batman does armor his head, with some segmented panels. This version has a stationary grim mouth-closed head, and a more in-battle teeth bared one, and honestly, I go back and forth between them constantly.
These two also feature the shorter DKR ears, and I dare say they are even more effective in conveying this look than the actual Dark Knight Returns figures were.
The belt is more a final phase of the Mezco utility belts than a specifically DKR one, but this and the MezEx figure use the recent and clever aesthetic of casting it in darker colors. Still, there are several large and unmistakably utilitarian pouches mixed in, with the buckle and capsules that keep it from feeling overly “techy” or too modern.
The PX version eschews closer to maybe a Book 1 visage– close to the PX Sovereign Knight other than a very striking metallic blue color– with a traditional blue, gray and gold scheme. PX Batman feels a little more heroic in these colors, with the cold silvers and blacks now golds and blues, and that makes the boot and gauntlet sections really pop. This Batman returns to the longer ears, and I have to say, as a look for this figure, it quickly won me over and feels just as legitimate as the short ears we usually associate with this type of Batman.
In fact, I’ve mentioned this before, prior to and since his release, but I feel pretty confident that this older Batman’s directly inspired by one of my personal all-time favorite comics- Superman: Man Of Steel Annual #3 from 1994, by Christopher Priest and Doc Bright. I won’t go into the story here, because I genuinely want folks to go read it for themselves, but as an elseworlds take on a character similar to DKR Batman, this figure absolutely evokes the look he had. Especially that unique long-eared headsculpt with that savage grin– we’ll come back to those headsculpts in more detail later. The uniform is similar to the first setup, with a slightly simplified design that omits the kneepads, and it’s done in a lighter gray. Obviously the rest of the suit is the same sculpt, but like I said, the metallic blue and gold accents make those other parts very distinct, not to mention very pretty.
Both figures have the same “parts count,” as in the have the same number of heads, hands and weapons, but as you would imagine, there are specific parts for each as well. Both come with the grapple gun –my favorite yet– that holsters in the back of his belt, and massive Equalizer cannon. The scattergun has some real-world shotgun features, like a pistol grip and a slide, but with some futuristic elements. DKR Batman has been known to run a gun or two, but a shotgun is certainly a new wrinkle. But before you feel compelled to comment on your personal opinion about Batman and guns, which I’m super excited to hear, a shotgun makes a lot of sense if you want to use non-lethal ammo. And the tech means it could easily be an adjustable pulse-type weapon too.
No Batman should ever come without batarangs, though some have, but that will never happen with Mezco. They keep with the tradition of giving you an arsenal of single batarangs, and brought back the “handful” for the pre-throwing poses. Both versions have unique styles, though, with a thicker DKR for the black, and a sharper bat-shuriken style for the blue, including the larger parrying sized ones as well. And, while it isn’t exactly a batarang, both have folding Bat-karambit blades.
Articulation is (and will be) the same across all four figures, and I think all but the most hardcore extreme pose junkies will be satisfied:
Lastly, Supreme Knight introduces a magnetic cape attachment that makes it easy to swap capes without making it a part that separates when posing. And in doing so, Mezco solves the wired cape debate in true El Paso taco girl fashion: why not both? The wired capes give you all the attitude you would ever need for photography, and the regular ones allow for all free-flow that playing with your figures demands. Both capes have pleather laminated type feel to them, but for whatever reason the black one flows more naturally, while the blue feels a little more rigid.
If for some reason, you were wanting to limit your Supreme Knight selection to just one of these two, I honestly can’t recommend one over the other. Sure, for maybe a general purpose DKR Batman, the black and gray might make the most sense, but then you miss out on the longer ears and bat-oval. Oh, if only there was some way to combine these looks…
…see you in a week or so.