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DC Universe Classics
by yo go re

Mattel first released a figure of Bane in their original Batman line, but he was never available inside the US - the only reason I have one is because Shocka hooked me up from Australia. The figure was later made available in Series 1 of DC Superheroes, and got a repaint in Series 7. But that mold had some problems, so we're not disappointed to see Bane as the build-a-figure for DC Universe Classics Series 16.

Born into a life sentence in Santa Prisca's maximum security Peña Dura prison, the boy who would one day be known as Bane knew nothing but hardship from his earliest days. When the warden volunteered Bane for a medical experiment, he saw his opportunity for escape. He made his way to Gotham City to take on its defender, Batman. When the two finally met, Bane was the victor, the man who broke the Bat.

Bane comes in seven pieces: head and hips, arms, legs, and torso. If you buy the six figures included in Series 16 (linked down at the bottom of this review, like we do for all BAFs), you can assemble the big guy. The pieces all click together firmly, so once he's together, he's together for good. Even the tube that fits into the back of his head is tight: it feels loose at first, but push it in farther and you'll feel a "click."

Standing upright, Bane is an even 8" tall, which means he looks big, but doesn't look out-of-scale with the other characters. He's just as articulated as any other DCUC figure, with a balljointed head, hinge neck, swivel/hinge shoulders, swivel biceps, hinge elbows, swivel wrists, hinged torso, swivel waist, H-crotch, swivel thighs, hinged knees, swivels at the boot tops, and swivel/rocker ankles. He's already doing a ton better than the previous version! Don't believe us? He can get into the same pre-set pose as the old version, plus many more besides. Articulation is always better.

The sculpt is all-new: none of Bane's parts come from pre-existing BAFs. Despite being larger than the previous Bane figure, the sculpt on this one is softer: he doesn't have as many veins pushed up against his skin, and his muscles aren't as defined. In short, he's not as ripped as he used to be. That works, though, because you can pretend the last one was all hopped up on venom, while this one represents his later decision to quit the drug. Before you put him together, decide if you want to show off those muscles: the tank top is a separate piece, but it's held in place by the waist (So it might leave a gap if you strip him down).

He's also apparently started shaving his back: while the old figure duplicated the comic art by having his back and shoulders fairly hairy, this one is sculpted to be smooth. Hey, maybe hair growth is a side-effect of venom? You know, like how Viagra was originally meant to be a heart medicine. The hoses on the back of his mask are solid green, rather than being cast in translucent plastic to match the one that runs up from the control panel on his left wrist.

Bane was conceived as a villainous version of the pulp hero Doc Savage, and if you're familiar with the character, you can see the similarities. His design, however, owes more to a Mexican luchador, which is why he's wearing a wrestling singlet. He's got a full-head mask, with a zipper sculpted over the top. All his clothes have a very detailed sculpt - not just wrinkles and folds, but seams and stitching. The costume itself isn't the same style as the one he wears currently, but that's a result of whatever official style guide DC sends its licensors (and really, it's just things like "he has a different belt" and "the cut of his shirt is different," so nothing earth-shattering).

This is a great build-a-figure: he looks superb, he's highly articulated, and though it's a character we've had before, he really needed an update. Not that the figures in DCUC16 aren't worth buying on their own, but this is a BAF that helps sell its series. So now we've got Bane, we've got Deadshot, Catman is coming in the "Legacy" line... that's half the Secret Six team right there. Now just give us a Scandal Savage, Ragdoll and Jeannette in a series with a King Shark or Knockout BAF, and we'll be all set!

Jonah Hex | Creeper | Riddler | Robin | Mercury | Azrael Batman

-- 07/24/11

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