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by yo go re

A Gotham City construction crew uncovers a sealed vault housing an unspeakable horror! Eighty years ago, an expedition to the South Pole uncovered a crashed spaceship, a spaceship containing the bloodthirsty Aliens. Now, after years in hibernation, a nearly desiccated Alien is unleashed upon the modern world. And it's very, very hungry! Only one man has a chance of stopping this murderous beast... the Dark Knight Detective known as Batman!

One of the neat things about the three Batman/Predator crossovers was that there was nothing that specifically marked them as non-canon to either franchise. Like, yes, the Predator killed lots of mobsters and corrupt businessmen, but those are a dime a dozen in Gotham, so who cares if you never heard of them before or after? It's not like Batman or his allies underwent any massive changes during the story, but neither were they out of character. Like, If you picked up the first issue of the crossover on December 3, 1991, and Batman #472 a week after that, you'd see the same guy with the same personality and the same costume. And since a defeated Pred isn't likely to hang around on Earth to relive his failures, the fact that it never appeared again isn't that weird.

The same holds true for Batman/Aliens: the first story saw Batman going to South America in search of a missing Wayne Enterprises geologist and, after encountering the xenomorph, opting to keep the entire situation secret lest anyone try to exploit the Aliens' existence - at once wrapping up the story and handily explaining why he never brought the event up in the "real" comics. So basically, short of a panel where Batman turns to the "camera" and says "I've never met a Xenomorph," the stories are things that actually happened to him.

This Batman is based more on the sequel than on the original. We already know that NECA doesn't feel particularly bound to the comic designs when it comes to these DC crossover figures, but Batman/Aliens came out in 1997, when Bruce was wearing a black costume, and Batman/Aliens II came out in 2003, when he'd gone back to gray and blue. The ears on his mask were short, not long Simon Bisley ones like on this toy, but as we said, some liberties can be taken.

The sculpt goes uncredited on the box, so we don't know who did the work on Batman, but we can say he's got the same body used for all the other heroes in this line: if you were able to take all the armor off anti-Predator Batman, you'd find this same sculpt under there. It helps tie the entire line together visually, and the paint is detailed enough, with highlights and shadows accenting the striated musculature, that the characters don't look like carbon copies of one another. 2003 Batman had the pouchy utility belt and a large black bat-symbol, while this toy goes for a capsule belt and a small symbol in a yellow circle - a more "iconic" combo.

His articulation is what you expect from NECA: he moves at the head, shoulders, biceps, elbows, wrists, chest, waist, hips, thighs, knees, ankles, and toes. A few of those points were slightly stuck when he came out of the package, but didn't require anything other than force to get moving. He wears a huge softgoods cape that's made from a surprisingly heavy fabric and drags on the ground behind him in a most pleasant manner. His accessories include a small silver batarang and an alternate right hand to hold it, nothing more.

The Alien included in this set is the same mold used for Superman's Argo Alien, the Resurrection Warrior. For the specifics on the sculpt, we'll just direct you to that review, but the broad strokes are: the 1979 Alien looked like a guy in a suit, the 1986 Aliens looked less like that, and the 1997 design looked even less like that. They just keep moving toward "inhuman," and that's good. The way this is sculpted, a person would never fit inside. Well, not in one chunk, at least.

The choice to use this mold was a good one, because while the xenos in Batman/Aliens were fairly normal for the time, the Batman/Aliens II ones were sharper, with extra spikes on their elbows and heels, and very long legs. They were also different from the standard look in another very distinctive way: instead of being black (or blue) (or brown) (or red) (or yellow) (or green) (or orange or copper), they were white. Even whiter than the prototype suit! Possibly as a result of being grown in isolation, possibly just because it looked cooler. The toy is molded in grey, with all the white painted on the surface - you can tell by looking up under the ribcage to see the bare plastic.

What really makes this toy stand out, though, is the rest of the paint. Seemingly inspired by the cover of issue #3, this Alien has a dark green dome that, coupled with the blood smeared on its mouth and inner jaw, make it look like the Joker. It's definitely not anything that happened in the comic, but it looks really cool. There's a matching red app on the end of the tail, suggesting it's been used to slice someone open.

The Alien has hinged toes, balljointed feet, swivel/hinged heels, hinged lower knees, swivel/hinge upper knees, swivel thighs, swivel/hinge hips, a swivel tail, balljointed chest, hinged fingers, swivel/hinge wrists, double-swivel/hinge elbows, swivel/hinge shoulders, a hinged neck, balljointed head, and hinged jaw. In addition, the tail is bendy, and the inner mouth can slide out. Several joints were stiff or stuck, but nothing broke, and that's what matters.

This pair of figures was shown alongside the Batman vs. Predator and Superman vs. Aliens sets back in 2017, so it's excellent that they were finally released. But, as it turns out, they're also not the end...

-- 02/13/21

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