When I heard Mattel would be releasing a Frank Miller Dark Knight Returns-style Batman figure in the new Unlimited collection, I was intrigued right away– I love DKR and the only (reasonably priced) toy versions ere the DC Direct series from a decade ago… and while they’re not bad, toy technology has changed so much that I wanted something more. Mattel really answered that call, because their DKR Batman figure is fantastic.
The first thing many will notice about this Batman is, he doesn’t share a DC Universe base body… he’s built on a Masters of the Universe buck! This is a very clever and inventive idea on the behalf of Mattel’s design team, and the bulkier MOTUC body works brilliantly to capture Miller’s thick, almost chunky art style. The MOTU body means Batman features plenty of articulation, allowing for some decent posing options, and new parts such as forearms, an upper tors, belt and boots all differentiate this figure from both the MOTU and Batman lines, offering a truly unique take on the character.
The new headsculpt by the Four Horsemen is phenomenal, and they really nail Miller’s art style. The face is a bit neutral, but the grimaced teeth and wrinkles around Batman’s eyes give him an appropriately determined– if not overtly angry– expression. Batman includes a cool new Batarang (with a super-simple design as they were drawn in the graphic novel), as well as an all new soft plastic cape.
If you are a fan of DKR and/ or Miller’s art style, there isn’t much to complain about with this figure. The MOTU body does a great job with Miller-esque proportions, although the Masters’ hands may be a bit small compared to the ham hocks Miller draws. And the new torso joint made for a loose ab crunch on my figure– this, plus the considerable weight of the cape mean it’s tough to lock Bruce in a hunched-forward pose, which is like half of his appearances in the comic.
These minor quibbles aside, this is one of the coolest toys I’ve seen from Mattel in a long time. Between the Watchmen line and this DKR Batman, it’s clear there are some neo-modern DC fans in the Mattel offices, and they’re very committed to bringing these iconic characters to life through these great toys. I’m not getting my hopes up that we’ll get to see a Carrie Kelly Robin (who would need to be an all-new tool), but if DKR Batman sells well with any luck we can get a Superman to go with him.