Review > Batman (6″ Superman Batman: Public Enemies)

supes_bats-public-enemies-2

A lot of collectors–including me–were taken by surprise by the announcement of a Mattel 6″ line based on the new Superman/Batman: Public Enemies animated film (in turn based upon the popular Jeph Loeb/Ed McGuinness comic). It wasn’t clear how much the line would be compatible with DC Universe Classics, although it looked as though the figures reused many parts from that line. What got me, though, was that the line was finally offering me the black-and-gray, black-bat-symbol, pouch-belt Batman I’d wanted for so long.

Now the line is hitting Targets, their exclusive home. If you haven’t heard, it’s coming in two waves–the first has the regular Superman and Batman, along with Icicle and Banshee. The second wave will have Black Lightning, Major Force, and the Batman and Superman variants (a shiny blue Superman and a blue-and-gray Batman). Unfortunately, you won’t be able to put together the Brimstone BAF until the second wave comes out.

I’m only planning on getting the Batman, and I have to thank Poester Sped for nabbing it for me during on of his toy runs.

Packaging: Frankly, it’s nice just to get a break from the standard DCUC packaging. But Mattel has done a nice job here: there are some catchy graphics, and I like the “wanted poster” style.  That said, I’m not sure how much these will pop on the retail shelf, particularly since they look a bit like some of the Marvel packaging.

Design & Sculpt: Let me be up front: these are not the same as DCUC. They’re a bit more cartoonish (especially the heads), but more importantly, they’re a bit larger. Batman will not quite look in scale with your other DCUC figures–he’s going to look like he’s 6’6″ or so, and quite beefy.

I’ve been trying to figure out where PE Batman’s torso sculpt is being reused from, and I’m just not sure. It looks more muscular than DCUC1 Batman’s torso, but not as ripped as DCSH Batman’s. It may be a brand-new sculpt.

A brand-new sculpt that is a bit disappointing, because it lacks features found on its DCUC brethren: namely, sculpted boots, gloves, or underwear. All of it is just painted on. My hunch tells me this is because it’s intended to mimic the cartoon’s style, although I’m sure the fact that it also allowed Mattel to use the same body over half the line’s figures (Superman, Black Lightning, Major Force) didn’t hurt, either. It’s the exact same thing DC Direct did (and heck, is still doing) with their Batman/Superman McGuinness-style figures.

Of course, Batman does have his gauntlet spikes, so I’m not clear on why the edges of the gauntlets weren’t sculpted. Perhaps it’s easier or cheaper to add spikes to an existing forearm sculpt than create a new one.

The head is clearly straight out of the movie, and looks cartoonish compared to a regular DCUC head. Again, finally I get a Horsemen-sculpted Batman with those modern triangle divots in the mask just below the cheekbones, but it’s based on a cartoon! So close, and yet so far. (Obviously that’s not a knock on the Horsemen, just a lament that Mattel hasn’t seen fit to make a Batman like this in DCUC.)

All that said, the body does capture the beefier look of the McGuinness style used in the animated film, while still toned down from the full-on McGuiness look of the comics. Basically, you could put these figures alongside your DCUC and get away with it if you didn’t mind them being just a bit large and beefy, and the cartoonish heads.

His hands are fists, with no way to hold, say, a batarang.

Plastic & Paint: In my Joker review, I mentioned that Mattel seemed to have improved in the area of plastic. Well, Public Enemies seems to be a bit of a step back, because again we’ve got that gummy, possibly regrind plastic. The outer parts of my figure’s left knee, where the pin goes through into the hinge, are flared out a bit, probably due to his leg’s position in the package. (Sped‘s theory is that Mattel uses two factories to produce their figures, and one uses the gummier plastic.)

However, none of the joints were stuck, aside from the continuing problems with the neck (very little motion here except side to side).

The paint work is minimal. Sped tells me that the tips of the “boots” were pretty bad on a number of the figures he looked at, so that’s something to watch out for. It’s pretty good on my own figure, however. The black bat symbol is clean, and the work on the head is fairly sharp, with just a little bleed under the left eye.

Articulation: PE Bats has the articulation as a DCUC figure: ball jointed shoulders, H-hinge hips, hinged knees, elbows, torso and ankles, and swivels at the biceps, wrists, waist, and thighs.

The head appears like it should be a ball joint, and there’s a tiny but of motion aside from a left-to-right swivel, but not much. Given how important I find this joint to be, this problem knocks the figure down a half-star.

Accessories: Batman comes with a stand and Brimstone’s groin area. There are tons of potential gadgets and gizmos from the Public Enemies storyline he could have come with, and it’s disappointing not to get any for the $13 retail price.

Quality Control: Aside from the aforementioned neck joint issue, Batman’s cape is a little screwed up where it attaches to his body in the back. It looks like it was attached while the cape plastic was still too hot, and so it melted a bit to the body.

Overall: Painted-on boots and gauntlets, no real accessories, the neck and cape QC issues…while I wanted to like this figure, since it appeared to be a near-DCUC version of the black-and-gray, black-bat-symbol, pouch-belted Batman I’ve wanted since the line began, I just don’t think it measures up. DCSH black-and-gray Bats still reigns supreme in my book.

[raven 2]

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20 Comments

  1. Fengschwing

    I think I'll pass on this line, thanks for the review as ever, as I mainly buy online I never get a chance to hold them in my hands before buying, you save me a lot of money and disappointment!

  2. @Reverend Ender: I think that "Crisis on Two Earths" is more based on "Crisis on Earth-2" and its sequels, the Silver-Age stories that were the basis for "Crisis on Infinite Earths".

    @Emerald: To be fair, Bruce Timm has always had ups and downs. For every "Return of the Joker", there's a "Mystery of the Batwoman". In the past, he's always rebounded. Personally, of the recent direct-to-DVD features, "Public Enemies" is the only one that left me completely disappointed.

    Considering what he's done, I'm more than willing to give him a few more chances.

  3. dayraven

    you know, i noticed in my target while pondering the odd size of the PE buck… both supes and bats are right about the size of the DCU ares… i wonder if, under that armor, he used the same buck? and if these aren't new at all, just new to us cuz ares' armor covered the buck… just a thought, but his blue armor is definitely an overlay.

  4. Reverend Ender

    @Emerald. You're in luck! The next film will be Crisis on Two (That's 2!) Earths! What better way to trim a storyline than to go from INFINITE earths to TWO! BRILLIANT!

    (Please I hope everyone can tell how sarcastic I am being)

  5. Emerald

    Yeah, the film was very uninspired. I hate to say this because I like a lot of what the guy has done, but they need to go through someone else besides Bruce Timm for a change. The DC animated universe needs some new inspiration and Timm seems mostly tired of it, just collecting his "Producer" checks. Having different directors isn't enough, they need new producers, the whole lot.

    I'd really like to see them take a mini-series or two from the comics and do a faithful reproduction of those — Crisis on Infinite Earths, Man of Steel, Legends, Infinite Crisis, Camelot 3000, etc.

    As for the PE figures themselves — also uninspired and mostly a waste. Definitely different manufacturing and tooling, although the master sculpt appears the same. I keep getting the feeling that 6" figures are on borrowed time retail-wise, so wasting our time with these sub-standard versions of characters is both mind-numbing and painful. If they can't cost out a fairly priced figure of quality I'd rather they not bother.

  6. Reverend Ender

    @Poe. I've seen it. It's garbage. If you want to read a good review, theclearancebin.weebly.com has an outstanding one, that really nails why the movie is bad.

  7. Poe

    @misterbigbo: Maybe another half-star, sure. But this guy disappointed me in a big way. The non-sculpted boots and gauntlets were a real surprise to me.

    I still love the sculpted details on the DCSH Batman (on the left, above), even if his head looks old and his chest is beyond insanely ripped. I agree the PE Batman makes a pretty good 6"-size New Batman Adventures Bats.

    Has anyone here actually seen the Public Enemies movie? Just curious.

  8. misterbigbo

    I can't adequately explain why I like this Batman, but I do. His lack of sculpted features, qc issues (mine has some Chinese fellow's fingerprint permanently embossed on Batman's left nipple region), oddly out-of-scale height, absence of accessories are all absolutely fair criticisms of this overpriced toy.

    However, I am also a black and gray Bats fan, and was a fan of the 90s cartoon, and just really like the look of this guy. Besides, the sculpt of the DCUC Batman head is so incredibly uninspired to me that I doubt I'd get him anyway, and especially not by spending $55 for the boxed set.

    If this toy was $8.99, would he get a higher score?

  9. Sped

    @AmericanHyena

    I have Silver Banshee and she's actually DCUC size. I think they used the standard female buck for her so she's really not oversized like the male figures. If anything I think she looks a little undersized.

    I would also give her a once over in the store because the ones I saw had all kinds of scuffs and dried glue.

  10. AmericanHyena

    I'll snag a Silver Banshee if I see her (she's supposed to be tall so the fact that they're a litte bigger works for her).

    Maybe an Icicle too (doubt he'll fit but I quite like the figure).

  11. The Flash III

    I think I'll just see if I can score a Brimstone on ebay someday.

  12. Mark

    Still would like a new Public Enemies Shazam figure

  13. Paddy Fitz

    I'm sure that whatever new parts we're seeing for the first time in this wave are intended to be used extensively in the main line as well. It's beyond disappointing that Mattel's cutting tools for new parts that have less, rather than more, sculpted detail.

  14. Ugh, not making these the same size is a real killer. I'm less tempted to buy now. Of course I haven't seen them yet.

    Mattel released some press pics a while ago of these figures and they DID have sculpted boots and such. I was excited because I thought they had fixed it… Shame the final product isn't the same.

  15. Sped

    I think the body is the DC Superheroes Superman buck but the legs are a mystery. I really can't imagine Mattel sinking in extra tooling $ for a line that seems like after thought.

  16. Nicholai

    The only figure I'm interested in out of this series is Silver Banshee as she fits in decently with DCUC. Brimstone fits in decently too, but I don't want to buy the other figures to build him.

    I might have jumped on a Captain Marvel as the one in the movie had a very cool CC Beck style look to him with the lines for eyes and musculature.

    To be honest though I'll just be happy seeing new DC product in stores rather than the same Captain Colds and Cyborgs that have been in my local stores for months.

  17. Cade

    @Poe: Okay gotcha…yeah they did do the buck body

  18. I still plan on getting him so I can have a black and gray Bats, until they make a non cartoon version.

  19. Poe

    @Cade: I think so too–I was just referring to the fact that the DCD line did re-use the same body for a lot of figures in that line, even if they added more sculpted details.

  20. Cade

    Actually Poe, I do believe that the DC Direct superman/batman stuff had sculpted details like the boots

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