Got a few spare minutes here, thought I’d post…just for fun, really.
As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, I tend to prefer a single action figure of a character in his “iconic” look, rather than a number of costume variations. This is because I view my toys not as collectibles but as characters, and to have two Batmen next to each other, well, it breaks the illusion that he’s Batman and not just a toy.
But ol’ Bats has been causing me trouble lately. There are just so many versions of Batman, and I’ve got a number of Bat-figures now. While the black-and-gray DC Superheroes Batman is still my “default” Batman, I’ve become very fond of both the DCUC Batman and the custom Batman I created using a Batman/Robin TRU exclusive body and a DC Direct Identity Crisis Batman head. And then there’s the blue-and-gray series three DC Superheroes Batman, who tends to get pulled out of my toybox pretty frequently as well. They all have their pros and cons.
- DCSH 1 Batman–The weakest of the bunch, this figure does have a few pros. He has the more lithe body shape I prefer on Batman, but so does my custom (see below). I like his forearm articulation, which allows for some cool posing with Batarangs (though he can’t make a fist). The pouch belt is cooler than the more well-known “capsule” belt, as seen on the DCUC 1 figure. But DCSH 1 Bats lacks a ball jointed head and has a T-crotch instead of the H-joints that allow for a full range of hip movement, as seen on the other three figures. He also has blue plastic in his knee hinge pins, for some reason.
- DCSH 3 Batman–When I first saw this figure, I thought my search for the ultimate Batman was over. My childhood nostalgia prefers a blue-and-gray Batman, while this figure featured full articulation and came with a slew of awesome Batarangs. I like the dark gray of his bodysuit and the sculpted bat symbol. The wash on the blue gloves, boots, and head is very well done, as are the sculpted, realistic details on the gloves and boots. But I’ve come to realize he’s not my perfect Batman. The shade of blue is too bright; either the gray should be lighter or, preferably, the blue darker. The belt, though very well sculpted, is too big and restrictive. While you can slip a Batarang into the slit in his left fist, one gripping hand would have been nice. He’s also a little too built for my vision of Batman. He doesn’t need to be slender, just not quite this huge. And yet, because he’s got the blue-and-gray look my inner child prefers, I find myself fiddling with this figure fairly often.
- DCUC 1 Batman–This guy probably has the perfect build; not too slender, not too ripped. But by the time this figure came out, I’d decided I preferred the black-and-gray Batman to the blue one, plus I’ve never liked the yellow oval around the bat symbol as much as I did the straight black bat. Then there’s that capsule belt, which just doesn’t seem as useful as what can be carried in a pouch belt. For those reasons, this guy can never be my ideal Batman figure, but he may just be my favorite. He has the best head sculpt of the bunch, and he’s fun to just fiddle around with. A black-and-gray repaint of this figure, featuring the pouch belt from the DCSH 1 Batman and a straight black bat instead of the yellow oval, might just be my ideal Batman.
- DCSH 8 Batman–My current “default” Batman. He’s a repaint of the DCSH 3 Batman, but with the (well painted) pouch belt of the DCSH 1 Batman. He has all the positives of the DCSH 3 figure and only two of the flaws: the buffed physique and the lack of any open hands. I loved this figure when I first got it, but I’ve since come to realize he’s close, but not my perfect Batman.
And then there’s this guy. As I mentioned, he’s the Batman from the DCSH Toys R’ Us exclusive set (which also includes a repaint of the lackluster DCSH 3 Robin–for some reason, the TRU link shows a blue Batman, but all I’ve ever seen in stores is the black one). He originally had the same ball-joint-less head as DCSH 1 Batman, but with some simple boiling and popping I replaced the head and neck peg with that of a DC Direct Infinite Crisis Batman, which both looks better (in my opinion) and allows for full ball joint poseability.
Ostensibly, this guys has quite a few cons. Most egregious is the lack of hinge-jointed hips; he can only move his legs forward and back. No roundhouse kicks for this Batman, and frankly, that drives me a little…crazy. He also has no fists, though with that huge cape, his hand sculpts allow for some really cool poses.
The cloth cape should, technically, be a turn-off for me–I prefer everything to be sculpted in plastic on figures in this scale. But because it’s so huge and well-made, this cape won me over. The fact that it’s tied to his hands, allowing him to drape it over himself like Dracula, is just gravy.
And so I find myself messing around with this figure pretty frequently too. And for someone who’s usually pretty OCD about such things, it’s both encouraging and a little maddening that I’m able to appreciate all these different Batmen. Like the dudes in Highlander, there can be only one–but apparently I haven’t found him yet. Instead, I must choose among several very worthy, but not quite perfect examples of Bat-figure-dom. Will I ever be fully satisfied with a Batman figure (as I am with, say, Superman, or Aquaman)? Only time–and Mattel and the Four Horsemen–will tell.
I don't think I'm qualified to do one for Optimus Prime–or even Spider-Man–but I could definitely do one for Wolverine. And I may just do that…though I can tell you right now, without hesitation, my #1: brown costume Wolvie from ML6.
"Heck, I’d like to see one for Spider-Man, Optimus Prime, Wolverine…"
@orionpax – Optimus Prime? I've got your answer, Masterpiece Prime! 😉
I agree though, I think it would be interesting to see some comparisons of various characters, and what the "definitive" version is, or if it has been made yet.
Its very subjective too, because everyone has their own opinions of what the "definitive" icon of a particular character is. Especially with Batman where there have been so many incarnations and interpretations from the original in Detective Comics, to Adam West, and from the Animated Series. Then again, usually when you're reading someone's article, its because you place at least some stock in what they have to say.
Excellent topic and article. I find myself cycling through all these versions, except for the "classic" Batman which I pretty much have for posterity (I too find the Scooby-Doo era yellow bat signal a bit hokey). I actually was very happy to get the TRU exclusive 2-pack, I figure its the closest and most affordable way I'll ever get to the rare and desired Bat Signal Batman.
Otherwise, I do like the 2 latter DCSH Batmen the best, they look great although they're somewhat huge compared to Superman.
Poe, you should actually write a series of these articles, running down the best and definitive plastic versions of major characters. Heck, I'd like to see one for Spider-Man, Optimus Prime, Wolverine…
Prfkt–Yeah, the only thing different in the DCSH3 and 8 sculpts is the toolbelt. The 8 version just doesn't have the wash that the 3 does, so it really changes the way the face looks.
BTW, especially after seeing the pics you took of DCUC Batman, I've kinda grown attached to the black shadow on the cowl.
Is the head the same on DCSH 3 and DCSH 8 Bats?
I think I realize why people want the DCSH S8 Batman… its way better lookin' than the Dirty Blue lookin' DCSH S3.
poe, use your custom bats body with the lower body of the DCSH 3 figure and piant over the blue.
I did a mini-rant a few weeks ago on why Batman should have a huge cape, and as much as I usually dislike cloth capes on figures, I like that TRU exclusive for the same reason you do. Honestly, I think that he may end up as my display Bats–especially if I can get that DCD figure you're talking about and ape your custom. His body is noticeably different than Superman's, which sets him apart from the DCSH3 and 8 versions, and even without the h-joints, it's just the one Batman in the line-up who *looks* ready to go prowl Gotham's nighttime.
In fact, I think I'll pair him with one of those Spider-Man movie gargoyle bases.