On Leather Wings was the episode that captured my heart for this series. Coming out of the Burton Batman fever, having a series that was going back to its comic essence was something I never thought I’d see from Warner Brothers. The dark deco style, the incredible voice acting, the musical score of Shirley Walker, and the tremendous work of Spectrum Animation all came together to give us the Batman we have all longed for. This toy line celebrates that for me, so apologies again if I get extremely critical in my reviews. Man-Bat is a monster, both as a character and scope. His replaceable limbs, his packaging, and his stature really set him apart from the other pieces in the assortment.
Man-Bat has an impressive height, topping out just over 7-inches. He has articulation on his neck, ball shoulders, ball torso (a new one for the line), hinge and swivel Y-crotch hips, knees, and shin swivel. The face is quite show-accurate, and kudos to the sculptor for not shortening the legs. Though Dr. Langstrom’s anatomy changes, the legs shouldn’t be truncated to fit in a package, as it had been done on previous versions of the character. He really has no other accessories of use to him, other than the extra set of arms he includes. Man-Bat’s other accoutrements are the cassette of bat sounds and pill bottles: key evidence Bruce and Batman gather when solving this mystery. It makes me long for a Bruce Wayne figure.
As blinded I can be by the sheer enormity of the sculpt, there are few things that I wish were done differently on Man-Bat. First, the extra arms are designed to be at relaxed and to his sides, making him stand upright on the figure stand. That’s actually not Man-Bat’s posture in that form. I mistakenly assumed he would have a set of arms that are bent at the elbow with his hands limping in front. It’s how he poses when perched, when blocking defensively, and when frightened. A set of arms to convey so many display opportunities is a pretty glaring oversight, especially when depicted on the model sheet. Secondly, for a flying character, Man-Bat has no ability to look up during flight. If he should ever see re-release, a proper neck joint needs to be addressed, but this may be an issue that can impact the line as a whole. Thirdly, from the bent positioning in the knee, I mistakenly thought you could straighten his legs for flying poses. I wound up hyper-extending the left knee, cracking the upper leg open, and scuffed the paint on the joint from the front. When being in the correct direction, it moves maybe 20-degrees back. It’s disappointing his lower body has such poorly conceived articulation. The y-crotch renders forward hip movement limited. The hip hinge joint is not aesthetically-pleasing, nor very useful unless in conjunction with more useful articulation. The feet are made of very sturdy plastic, but being a heavy figure, I still worry about the long-term durability. Flying poses may be best. If it were me, he would have had a t-crotch waist, straight legs with knees that bend to his default crouched stance, and two sets of interchangeable feet for both standing and for grabbing a figure by the arms or shoulders.
What a visually-dynamic release for Batman: the Animated Series in Man-Bat. While his selected articulation leaves something to be desired, one can’t help but smile when you string him up and watch him hang in the air. I personally can wait to use Man-Bat’s ball torso to bend him forward and drape him over my Batman figure as Bruce makes his daring escape from the GCPD with Dr. Langstrom in tow. One can hope another set of bent arms and a “flying” head are in the not-to-distant future. Even with heavy hitters like Robin and the Joker, Man-Bat is the standout in this wave.