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Dark Knight Returns Armored Batman

DC Multiverse
by yo go re

If Mattel hadn't let slip that this figure was coming, I probably would have bought the Armored Batman movie figure. And then what interesting things would I have left to say to you today?

Real Name: Bruce Wayne
Base of Operations: Gotham City
After 10 years in retirement, Batman returns to take on the violent mutants plaguing Gotham City.

Last time we reviewed one of these DKR figures, we talked about how the story completely changed the dynamic between Batman and Superman, but that wasn't all it did; Frank Miller, in giving Batman a suit of armor to take Superman, also created the "given enough prep time, Batman could beat anybody" argument. That really wasn't a thing before then, and now it's how every nerd-debate ends.

Ol' Franky draws 'em thick, so just like the other two figures Mattel has released, this one is based on a MotU Classics body, though you'll have to go pretty deep to find it: every bit of figure you can see is a new mold! Assuming the sculpt is accurate to the comic designs (honestly, you never really get a "glory shot" of the armor in the book), it's surprising how little of this armor is actually armor - a lot of it looks like cloth. Did you assume Bruce covered his fragile old-man ribs with something sturdier than a heavy winter jacket? According to the tiny wrinkles around the seams, you're wrong! Maybe this is just a cloth covering over an actual breastplate, but why? The detailing on his mechanical bits - the boots and gloves, the bands around the thighs, the pauldrons, and the collar - is simple, but true to the art. The utility belt is nice, but it is missing something: remember that the Bat Armor was powered by Gotham City's power grid, because he had to plug it into a lamp post; this one has no outlets anywhere on the belt.

[You're wrong, he does have them; they're just unpainted. --ed.]

For whatever reason, Mattel has chosen to paint the helmet a dark blue, rather than the grey it was in the book. Maybe they looked at some bad source art? Whatever the case, you'll want to compare the paint before you buy: the pink of the skin can get sloppy very easily. There were three of this figure at the store when I found it, and I had to settle for the one with the fewest errors. And the best scowl.

Armored Batman moves in the usual manner. A balljointed head, swivel/hinge shoulders, swivel biceps, hinge elbows, swivel wrists, torso hinge, balljointed hips, swivel thighs, hinge knees, swivel boot tops and hinge ankles. The chest hinge is kind of useless inside the armor, and the head constantly wants to lean to one side or the other. Plus, some rocker ankles would be very welcome, to help him plant his feet flat on the ground despite those big spikes on his soles. You definitely can't get him into any of the famous poses from the comic.

He only has one accessory, the sonic gun he used against Superman. His left hand is open to hold it, but it seems slightly undersized for him. And really, Mattel missed a big opportunity, here: why does this figure not include an alternate unmasked Bruce head? He loses his helmet almost immediately, so it would have been perfect.

While the previous DKR toys were Walmart exclusives, this one is part of the DC Multiverse line, which means it has part of the Series 2 Build-A-Figure, Doomsday. Not a good Doomsday, the New 52 Doomsday. In this case, it's the head and pelvis. And just like the BAFs for Series 1, BvS and Suicide Squad, I'm probably not going to bother building the entire thing.

There have been Dark Knight Returns figures of Batman and Superman before, but Mattel has broken new ground by creating this toy of the iconic showdown armor. It's not the best, but it is a lot of fun and it's something you don't already have.

-- 09/29/16

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