Batman: same mold, different costumes

Both of these figures can be seen in their packaging on this page. On the left is Zipline Batman and on the right the one that came with Superman in the two-pack, from here out called “2-pack Batman”. He be chillin’ in da’ Bathood, yo! My version of Zipline also came with a reprinted Batman comic (for comic fans, the first issue of the “Hush” arc) which may have been exclusive to Wal-Mart. Comic reprints would show up later in the line in other stores.

I picked up the two-pack first primarily for Superman (although I did want a Batman figure for him to hang out with) but I didn’t like his utility belt (seriously, does it even look like he can carry anything besides cylinders?) and while I grew up with the blue-and-gray color scheme thanks to his TV depictions in cartoons and the famed live-action series, the black-and-gray just feels more like a “bat man” with the simpler bat symbol. I kind of prefer it, but the blue works for him as well.

As you can already tell, this is a recycled mold with only the colors and belts changed. Nothing new from the people behind the Masters of the Universe franchise, and pretty much every Batman toy line reused the same base mold anyway. The outfits are a great likeness of the costume they’re depicting (Zipline’s is a modern translation of the original costume primary used when the figure came out while 2-pack’s is the one you usually see except for the movies and two of the last three animated shows), with a decent amount of musculature molded in. Not seen in this shot is that the gloves even have those three prong-things. The belts are also a match for that costume’s comic and TV counterpart. Even Batman’s facial expression is right for “today’s” Bruce Wayne. (If you don’t know what’s currently happening in the comic, check my other blog.)

Oddly, the ears on the cowl do come to a point. Not a sharp point since you won’t bleed and they’re rubber-like plastic, but you can still poke yourself with them. Otherwise, they’re proper ears for his silhouette. 2-pack’s right ear is bent a bit from being in that box unless it was like that in the packaging. I don’t recall.

“Why is my cape purple?” “It’s just his crap lighting. He needs one of those mini-studios.”

What is it with DC character in my collection and the way the capes are attached? Here we have the felt cape being “sewed in” (may not be a fully accurate description of the process) to the rubber plastic overhang from his cowl. It’s a bit distracting for collectors but I don’t think kids are going to notice the difference. My real problem with it is that it’s kind of short. Not top to bottom, that’s actually a good job on what I consider the coolest cape in comics. However, side to side the “wingspan” isn’t up to snuff when it comes to posing. You can’t wrap it around him, or have it accent his silhouette in one of those poses that make the criminal scum of Gotham wet themselves in fear. For my purposes this is a disappointment, but from an unbiased (or as close as a critic can get to being “unbiased”) perspective it’s a decent cape. For play there’s some decent “life” to it that is only somewhat hindered by how it’s connected to the figure.

“I’m Batman!” “No, I’m Batman!”

My real disappointment comes from the articulation, but they at least tried to make it fun to play with. Again, it’s a personal disappointment rather than they screwing anything up. Our Batmen have full side-to-side neck (but no up and down), shoulder, wrist, and waist rotation (which can achieve some unnatural positioning, but unlike the Superman figure the utility belts keep it from looking less like he dislocated his waist) as well as knees and “sitting” hip movement. I suppose it works for playtime, but for posing it’s really lacking. Remember, Batman is supposed to be one of the greatest martial artists in the world (or in the hands of a fanboy writer, THE greatest martial artist) so the lack of elbows that even the Superman figure of this series came with, the limited hips that can’t open outwards like Captain Marvel or Hyoga, and even the lack of ankles are serious losses to the figure.

“Run! Batman’s packing heat!”

Here Zipline is showing off the accessories because at the time of photographing I didn’t remember which Batman came with which gear. In the inset is 2-pack’s “transmitter”, like the one Superman had. He also came with the disk launcher that fires a Batman-symbol disk. To fire it is difficult while Batman holds it (or rather attaching it to his wrist) because of the permanently bent elbow. I don’t know how to explain how it loads, but it’s a weird system. I give them credit for trying something different but the result isn’t very good.

On his other arm is the weapon Zipline came with, a bat-shape launcher, that actually fires the projectile rather well, but again the elbow and the “prongs” get in the way of him wielding it in a normal position.

How he fits THIS in his utility belt I’ll never know.

In the inset is Zipline’s Batarang, but one with an extra purpose. In the main shot you see the other projectile he comes with, firing his “Batline”. At one end is the projectile that’s supposed to wrap itself around something that he’s going to “zip” down on his line, hence the figure’s name. You the toy owner still have to do that part manually, although it does fire well. At the other end is another Batarang that you tie to the end he’s zipping from. The other is a spare or you can use it to have the figure slide down the line. The feature works provided you have the figure hold both ends right, but I don’t have the right lighting (or someone to follow the toy with the camera, since I couldn’t get a position to have him slide on his own) to shoot video footage of it, so you’ll have to trust me.

The early days of “Batman Incorporated”. (It’s a current comic joke, folks)

Decision: goes

Like the Megaman NT Warrior figures, these are great play toys but not much fun for action posing, so I’m not getting the full value out of these figures. Actually, if I can get a better Superman (along with Steel), I might exchange those in my collection as well, but between the limited poses and the stunted cape (again, coolest cape in comics) the figures don’t really work for me and while it was a good purchase then it doesn’t work now when I seriously need the room for other things. Sorry, guys, but someone else may enjoy you more.

“2-pack Batman” and “Zipline Batman” are both available in the Clutter For Sale section.

And with that we come to an end to the DC set. Now it’s time to start going through the competition’s figures with a Marvel review set. Or sets, as I have a lot more and will divide them into smaller reviews. Luckily, I have other things to go through until then.