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Jim Gordon Batman

DC Multiverse
by yo go re

At last, we can say with 100% certainty that Commissioner Gordon does know Batman's secret identity.

After the "death" of Batman, Jim Gordon dons a mechanical suit to become Gotham City's latest hero.

Yes, he does, and this isn't it. This is the normal costume he wears while inside his big silly robot suit, and we'll just ask this again: why is the Build-A-Figure for this series King Shark, and not Gordon's Bat-mech suit? I mean, I know we always say that Mattel never met an idea they couldn't do wrong, but it's supposed to be kind of tongue-in-cheek, a bit of a joke; not a Cassandra-like pre-destination that will haunt both them as a company and us as toy collectors until the end of days. Yes, the Exo-Batsuit will be in the next series, which is sort of Batman-themed, but in that case, why not move this figure back a series? How dumb do you have to be to not pair this Batman with the one piece of equipment that he's most identified with? Ah, Mattel: never change! No wait, on second thought, do.

Gordon's costume is a rather stylish design, an all-black bodysuit with a stylized yellow bat outlined on the chest and yellow double-arrow chevron on thee right shoulder - is that supposed to be his rank insignia? If you look at the actual art from the comics, the costume should be covered in panel lines like the rest of the New 52 costumes, but on this toy, that detailing is limited to the upper legs. The shins, meanwhile, have the edges of the boots sculpted, but nothing else. But hey, being solid black helps hide the lack of detail, and it's not like Mattel's all-purpose Four Horsemen body sculpts are "bad," by any means.

Jim Gordon is not as big a person as Bruce Wayne (being a Marine and staying fairly fit is not the same as receiving warrior training from childhood and fighting supervillains every night), so the toy uses a medium body sculpt. Even the head is narrower, with a face that's taller than it is wide. He has squinty white eyes and a snarl that shows off his teeth.

That probably would have been enough, but Mattel went one step further by including an unmasked head. Not that it's actually recognizable, thanks to Jim's overzealous use of a razor - he's ditched the mustache and shaved the sides of his head. This is beyond "high and tight," this is a veritable mohawk! The face is as skinny and grumpy as the masked version, so the two match. Switching the head is a bit of a pain, because this is Mattel and not Hasbro, so the balljoint is a super tight fit and the peg is small and brittle.

The articulation is as fully mediocre as we've come to expect since the second series of DC Superheroes. It's like they found their lazy groove in 2006 and promised they'd never try to get out of it. I mean, why bother improving what people grudgingly accept? Anything less than open, outright hatred is a win to Mattel! Anyway, Gordon has a "balljointed" head (it's really only a swivel), swivel/hinge shoulders, swivel biceps, hinged elbows, swivel wrists, hinged torso, swivel waist, H-crotch, swivel thighs, hinged knees, and hinged ankles. You can't do anything super dynamic with him, but it's not the worst.

Unlike the real Batman, Gordon falls back on his police training by carrying a gun. It's not a total departure, however, because it's a gun that fires tiny batarang tasers. It fits in a holster on his hip, but there's a problem with that. You see the grey strap around his thigh? That's supposed to be at the bottom of the holster, holding it in place; accordingly, the yellow belt around his waist (which is a separate piece that plugs in at the front) should be worn at more of an angle, allowing the holster to sit lower on the leg. Well, whoops!

DC Direct made a version of this suit, but because they're smart, it was sold in set with the exo-armor, not by itself. I'd have bought that one, but Mattel won me over thanks to the inclusion of the BAF, King Shark. Jimmy's got the right leg, and it's nearly as tall as he is. Oh wait, maybe that's why Mattel didn't put Gordon and his suit in the same series: because nobody would chose them over DCD. Suddenly, it makes more sense.

Putting Commissioner Gordon in Batman's shoes would only be possible with the "youngification" he underwent in the New 52. Can you imagine the old, gray-haired Gordon piloting a mech suit and jumping off buildings? Of course not! But even without his robo-bunny-bat, this is a nice design and it turned out about as well as Mattel can do.

-- 09/28/17

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