The Dark Knight Batman
Review by VF5SS
Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns is one of the seminal works in modern comics with its influence being still felt today. Depicting an aging Batman in a Gotham City spiraling deeper into a seemingly unending crime wave, it had a genuinely gritty edge that enticed a lot of readers both young and old while also furthering the idea that comics could be more than just "kids' stuff."
While JoshB and I were doing our rounds at New York Toy Fair 2015, we met with the guys at Mezco for a pleasant chat about their upcoming One:12 Collective line and left with a sample of its first entry: the Caped Crusader as he appeared in The Dark Knight Returns. So let's dive in to the dingy alleyways and take good look at the big bad Batman.
Mezco's take on Bruce Wayne stands a little over six and a half inches tall and is a toy that feels as beefy as he looks. The folks at Mezco's booth explained that the whole idea behind One:12 is to make a 1/12 scale action figure that has the details of a 1/6 (or 12 inch) one, so this Batman uses mixed media to give him a cloth outfit complete with a real flowing cape. This version of the figure is a special grayscale deco that gives everything an extra bit of noir flair. Also I want to apologize if I have missed something on this toy as it didn't come with instructions.
The outfit is quite good, especially at this size, but still has some big seams in the fabric that are more or less covered by the cape.
While Mezco touts this figure as being 1/12 scale, it's hard to ignore just how much bigger he is than other six-inch people. It is easy enough to chalk all that up to how stylized this Batman is, and the fact he's just a really jacked old dude. Next to an S.H. Figuarts Shocker Combatman and my Scale Eckhart, Frank Miller's Dark Knight looks like a football player who is ready to dish out justice.
In terms of accessories, this version of the figure comes with the bare minimum, and does not have the pistol or rifle seen with the other variants. However, you still get three pairs of variant hands, an alternate head with a different expression, a grappling hook, an extra leg-mounted utility belt, and a display stand.
Batman's default head has him with a nasty sneer on his face as if he's getting ready to pound some Mutants. Note that all of the non cloth parts of his outfit have a rough texture like tough, battle hardened gear.
Popping the head off reveals the simple but effective joint setup. Batman's head can turn left or right on the main ball-joint, while a hinge at the base of the neck lets him look up or down. Also, the cowl around his collar can move down a bit to allow for extra brooding.
The Dark Knight's other head sports a powerful frown that encapsulates the grim Dark Age of comics. Swapping heads is a pretty easy affair and both work well though I did find the second head needed to be jammed on a bit more to keep it from popping off while posing.
Batman's arms have a full suite of articulation including double-jointed elbows, bicep swivels, a universal shoulder joint, and even extra ball-joints where the arm meets the body for extra flexing. As I mentioned before, this guy just feels solid as you move everything as parts like his elbows feature some ratcheting to keep things in place. You can also see how Batman's costume moves over the inner body and complements the sculpted musculature of the toy. Check out those Bat-biceps! Also be aware that the spines on his forearms are fairly pointy.
His wrists feature a rounded universal joint where the hands plug onto a thick peg with a small lip. Everything pops on and off nice and smoothly so changing out an open palm for a fist is quick and easy.
One thing that isn't as easy is getting Batman to put his arms above his head. Due to the form fitting nature of his bodysuit, you can't just move everything without twisting the fabric in ways it doesn't want to go. I found that swiveling his biceps inward and then rotating the arm up helps to re-position the costume so Bruce can block attacks from above.
Around Batman's waist is his trusty utility belt rendered in rubbery plastic. It sits securely on his body and doesn't seem to impede his ball-jointed waist at all.
And if you want, the belt can be removed thanks to a simple mushroom peg latch at the rear. Just look for the seam between pouches and pull gently until things separate. I've taken the belt on and off Batman a few times for this review and it seems to have held up just fine.
Batman's lower body is also fully featured (ahem) with universal hip joints, thigh swivels, double-jointed knees (that have ratcheting like the elbows), a swivel around the boot cuff, and dual ankle tilts.
Sadly the side to side motion on his feet is a bit limited so with wide-legged stances Batman may be resting on the edges of his combat boots.
All of this lets Bruce take a knee with a modicum of grace. I have noticed the stretchy nature of his costume can make his upper body spring back to its default position when moved too far. You can certainly tilt his torso all around but it may level off on its own.
I found that the figure's range of motion gave it a lot of Bat-appropriate character that complements the bulky sculpt. He can do action poses...
And even a subtle walk like he's cruising to bruise some of Gotham's street punks.
His cape adds a lot of personality and does the job of making the big bat look even larger. It has the appropriate wing shaped edges and has a few solid leather-like patches next to the tips so it bunches up the right way. As far as I can tell the cape cannot be removed.
With some careful positioning you can even wrap Bruce in his cape for full on bat brooding.
The large plastic display base sports the detective's iconic emblem and pegs into a hole on either of Batman's heels to keep him in place for long term display.
When you feel like the Dark Knight needs to up his 90's-ness, an extra set of pouches can be strapped around his thigh.
Its nominal position is Batman's right thigh and it does an okay job of staying in place. The accessory secures itself in place with a similar setup to the main utility belt. I am not super keen on it but it does the job adequately.
Now he's got some extra places to store potent (nonlethal) weaponry.
True to the source material, Batman is packing two fist fulls of Batarangs for taking down thugs.
They look good all set between his fingers and make this figure feel complete.
Batman's final accessory is this grappling hook that features a real piece of string for its line. Honestly I found this gadget to be pretty weak as the claws don't articulate and the whole thing feels fragile.
The most I could manage to do with it is wrap the string around Batman's hands just so he can carry it. Unless you can't accept a Caped Crusader without his grappling hook, I would just leave it in the box.
Of course it's not like this guy needs fancy gear to take down a few criminals.
Mezco's Batman looks perfect when posed in mid beat down.
"Whackos in masks from Japan? Tourists these days need to learn how to dress like the locals and embrace our Gotham culture."
"Hey Bruce, look! Both sides match..."
"Yeah Harvey... they do..."
And even under this hardened exterior we can see there is still a man behind the mask...
"I'm not finished yet... and you're not finished with me."
Mezco's One:12 Collective seems to be off to a solid start, both literally and figuratively. They managed to create a premium action figure that looks good and feels good while maintaining a style of its own. While there are a few hiccups with the costume and accessories, I feel that there's far more to like about this toy than to nitpick. It's a beefy bat bruiser that captures an iconic look for the Dark Knight. If you're into the idea of a 1/12 scale mixed media action figure, I feel that Mezco has put their best combat boot forward with this release.
Mezco has been showing off a One:12 Mutant Leader facing off against Batman so there are plans for more figures besides the upcoming Judge Dredd. They also told JoshB and me at the show that they are working on a few more body types, including a female one, so I think we can anticipate more One:12 Collective news on the horizon.
|Posted 24 February, 2015 - 10:19 by VF5SS