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Dark Knight Returns Son of Batman

DC Multiverse
by yo go re

Until Monkey Boy found this figure and showed off a picture, I had no idea it was even being made. And because army-builders are buying them up en masse, I would still have no idea it existed from looking at the shelves at Walmart (which is where all three of these Dark Knight Returns can exclusively be found).

And heck, while we're throwing out true confessions of yo's ignorance, it's worth noting that until reviewing Superman, it had probably been more than a decade since I'd actually read DKR. I remembered the high points - "this isn't a mudhole, it's an operating table," the death of the Joker, the fight with Supes, etc. - but the fine details had slipped from my mind. So when I first saw this guy, the name "Son of Batman" made me think this was Frank Miller's version of Ibn al Xu'ffasch. And since I didn't remember him, I assumed he was from DKR2.

I've told you before that I'm dumb, right?

While this is indeed a Son of Batman, he's not the son of Batman. The "Sons of Batman" were a gang composed of many former Mutants (another gang, not the X-Men) who switched their allgience to Batman after he kicked their old leader's ass. They weren't under Batman's guidance (at first), they were just inpired by him. You know, like the guys Christian Bale told not to wear hockey pads.

The S.O.B.s (yes, that's what they were called sometimes in the book), like the Mutants before them, were bald, and had incredibly pale skin. The toy only gets half of that right. He's got no hair, but his skin is as pink as a sunbather's. We're not asking for a chalk white face, but at least make him look like he's been inside for a while, yeah? The expression on the face is great, and the blue bat painted over his eyes is crisp, but man, that pink skin!

Gangs are often identified by a color or style of clothing, rather an actual uniform, and the Sons of Batman are no different - they all wear blue jackets (of various sorts and shades), then whatever matching clothes they had available to go with it. This S.O.B. [that really never stops being funny, does it? --ed.] has chosen big thick boots and gray pants to pair with his high-collared jacket and his Batman gloves. If "big boots and a collared jacket" vaguely tickles a memory in the back of your brain, there's a reason for that: this figure reuses the new parts that were created for Guy Gardner! Way to pull one out of the archives, guys! That's smart! It would have been even nicer if they'd used the "coat sleeve" arms to finish the look, at least above the elbows - the forearms are new, because no one else has had this combo of wrinkled sleeves and bat fins.

Since this figure uses an old DCUC body, it has the old DCUC articulation. The chest hinge really doesn't do much, since it's inside a jacket. You can bend him, but you won't notice it. However, all that re-use means we do get two new accessories: a double-barrel shotgun (the SOBs were pretty violent until the non-killing Batman took charge of them) and a torch. Neither of his hands has the trigger finger extended, so the best way you can get him to hold the gun is by just jamming it into his hand. The torch is pretty nice, but the translucent orange plastic used for the flames is so dark as to nearly be opaque.

The Son of Batman is an unusual choice for an action figure, even as part of a 30th Anniversary line. But then, it does afford Mattel an opportunity that a more conventional choice, like Carrie Kelly or Tim-Curry-Joker would not: namely, getting to reuse existing molds rather than having to create something new. And no, the S.O.B. isn't as good as he could have been, but for something with only minimal new bits, he's surprisingly true to the comics, so good for them! But you really only need one, not a whole army of them; so for Pete's sake, leave some on the shelves for the rest of the fans, huh?

-- 05/04/16

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