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Catwoman & Batman

Batman Legacy
by yo go re

Mattel is just having no luck with its 6" DC figures. DCUC ended, DC All-Stars died before it began, Young Justice has been clearanced out, and the DC Signature Collection can only be had through Mattel's store. Not even the Batman Legacy line was immune: Series 1 shelfwarmed, Series 2 barely made it out of Kmart, and Series 3 might as well be a legend told around campfires. If you wanted any of the singles or the associated two-packs, your only real hope was to shop online.

Orphaned at a young age, Selina Kyle was forced to fend for herself on the cold cruel streets of Gotham City, ultimately turning to a life of larceny in order to survive. To help ensure her success as a cat burglar, Kyle studied martial arts and gymnastics, honing her strength and athleticism. As her thieving exploits grew more audacious, she adopted the nom de guerre Catwoman, partly inspired by Batman, her crime-fighting foil. Now, armed with her cat-o-nine-tails whip, she is on the hunt for Two-Face - a target that may lead to her undoing!

Now, you may be thinking that this doesn't look like the Catwoman you know and love, and you're right: the advertising campaign for Arkham City chose to show the characters in grayscale, and this variant two-pack follows suit. The sculpt is identical to the Catwoman in the regular two-pack, she's just been given a different set of paint apps.

For whatever reason, Mattel chose not to have the Four Horsemen sculpt the Arkham toys, and that definitely shows on Catwoman. Oh, her sculpt is perfectly fine - it's got a lot of molded detail, that's for sure - but the proportions seem wonky. For instance, the widest part of her hips seems to be too low on the leg, and her feet are almost comically undersized. If you compare the figure to the game model, you'll see that there are details missing there, too: for instance, the ridiculous G-string molded on her butt; the game render has it, the toy doesn't. That... may be for the best. Even then, a lot of the detail is rather soft, not as crisp as we know Mattel has gotten things in the past.

The paint on this figure is really neat. The various shades of gray are used to great effect, suggesting highlights and shadows while still looking like a black and white photo. The only spot of color on Catwoman are her metallic red goggles. A bit of hair pokes out the front of her mask and is painted dark grey, but it ends up looking like she has a unibrow.

Catwoman comes with her whip, the only accessory in the set. Her right hand is curled to hold the handle, but she only clutches it lightly, rather than getting a good, firm grip. The figure has a balljointed head, swivel/hinge shoulders, swivel biceps, hinged elbows, swivel wrists, hinged torso, swivel waist, swivel/hinge hips, swivel thighs, hinged knees and hinged ankles. The front/back motion of the hips is very limited, and remember that she has stupid-tiny feet, so don't expect to get a lot of fun dynamic poses out of her.

As gangs of criminals prowl the streets of the walled Arkham City, Batman searches for a sign of Catwoman, aka Selina Kyle. But time is running out. Now in the acid-charred hands of Two-Face, Catwoman is about to face trial and public execution with the insane former district attorney as the judge and jury. batman must find Catwoman in time, save her from Two-Face and escape alive - a feat even Batman will find nearly impossible!

Like you learned last time, I have enough Batmans to last me until DC manages to make a satisfying non-Batman superhero movie, which is a long, long time in the future. And just as Detective Mode Batman came home with me because he was blue, this Batman has a home because he's grey.

This figure is the same sculpt as all the other Mattel Arkham City Batman releases - the normal version of this two-pack, of course, but also the Batman/Two-Face set and the TRU-exclusive "Silver Age" repaint. The "sculpt" is actually taken from the digital renders, and cleaned up slightly to work better as a toy, which is probably why the Four Horsemen weren't involved: they're expensive, and Mattel was looking to cut corners. The body has none of the wonkiness of Catwoman's sculpt, and the texture is adequate. His boots, belt and gloves are the thick, technological kind seen in the videogame, rather than the comics.

Batman's not a very colorful figure to begin with, but this one is even more desaturated than usual. His body is pale, almost white, while the trunks and other details are darker grey. There's heavy shading on his cape, and even his cowl gets some of that: it's light in the center, but dark around the sides. The area right around his eyes is nearly black, but the exposed skin is the same gray as the mask, which is really the only indication that something weird is going on with this figure's color.

The paint isn't the only thing about this set that makes it a variant: there's a packaging change, as well! The normal release is listed as Batman & Catwoman, while this one is listed as Catwoman & Batman - that's why we reviewed them in that order! And that may seem like a minor change, but the figures are actually placed differently in the tray, too - they swap sides and even get different poses. This isn't just a case of putting a different paint app on the set and calling it new, Mattel really went the distance to make these two offerings unique.

Unfortunately, you have almost zero chance of ever seeing them. These have allegedly been out for some time, yet I've never even seen the standard Batman/Catwoman pack in a store, let alone this chase variant. Luckily, Amazon had it for retail price, so I got it through them with free shipping. I wish I could have compared samples in person, to find a Catwoman who didn't look like Frida Kahlo, but these grayscale figures are worth it.

-- 06/06/12


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