“The Wall” Chapter 4 – Mattel’s Retro Action DC Super Heroes: Batman

03/06/14 UPDATE: Now you can get NEW Mego’s AND New 1966 Batman Mego’s!
Batman Retro Series 1 Batman Action FigureBatman Retro Series 1 Robin Action FigureBatman Classic 1966 TV Series 1 Batman 8-Inch Action FigureBatman Classic 1966 TV Series 1 Robin 8-Inch Action Figure

Bright and vibrant colors may not be enough to save everyone’s favorite Caped Crusader.

Na,na,na,na, na,na,na,na BATMAN! The “Caped Crusader” is perhaps one of the most popular characters to come from DC Comics and in some ways is even more popular than the original super hero Superman. And like his super friend counter part Bruce Wayne’s alter ego has seen numerous changes since his birth in 1939. Beginning as a dark and brooding character the Dark Knight’s personality has had more shifts than a 24 hour Wal-Mart. From the father figure of the 40’s and 50’s to the campy 60’s TV incarnation to Frank Miller’s return to the dark side in the 80’s the Batman has remained a fan favorite regardless of his demeanor. That’s why for this review I’m saddened by the facts that are about to unfold. In this installment of “The Wall” we look at this latest action figure rendering of Gothem’s Greatest Gladiator for Good.

Point #1. What it is.

Mattel’s Retro Action DC Super Heroes  Batman!

Point #2. Where it came from.

Another TJMaxx $9.99 find back at Christamas Time. Only the Wave 2 figures made it to these overstock stores.  Very few were ever spotted at  Toys R Us locations.

Point #3. The Good.

Vibrant “Classic Colors” Batman is a real eye catcher!

On a completely aesthetic level this Batman toy looks awesome! The Blue is brilliant, the Gray is smooth and the Yellow is so bright it almost burns your retinas. I mean that in a good way. And although his finned gloves look a bit awkward, When posed properly they actually look pretty good. In this pic however it is more the awkward that shines through.  Also the Removable cowl’s sculpt and paint is a perfect representation of the Super Friends cartoon Batman that I personally relate to the most.I also appreciate how the cowl snugs up to the cape. In the original Mego removable cowl Batman the opening at the bottom front of the mask made the cowl look far too clunky.

While the split in the back of the cowl is obvious, how often would a kid playing or an adult displaying, be looking at the backside view of Batman?

Also in regards to the removable cowl I am quite pleased with it’s design, durability and over all look. Again I use the Mego RC Batman has a point of comparison only because there is no other Batman toy of this type that I can compare it too. (For the record I don’t like to to make Mego comparisons, this toy is it’s own entity and should be judged by that alone in my opinion). With that said I have to give it to the designers on this one. With the split in the back of the cowl it makes for easy removal even though the rubber used is a bit stiff. So far I have noticed any pant rubs to Bruce Wayne’s noggin which hides underneath.

“Wayne, Bruce Wayne.”

The first time I unmasked the Bat I wasn’t sure what to think. “Was this a good likeness to Bruce Wayne?” “Can this guy with a slightly pointy nose be the greatest detective ever?” I still can’t really answer those questions. In saying that  I’m not knocking the toy at all. It’s just that I’ve never really been all that intrigued with “Bruce Wayne’s” look. It’s all about the costume in this Bat-Fan’s world. I do however like the simple haircut that was designed. Considering this guy was to wear a cowl that makes his head look as smooth as a cue ball I’d be hard pressed to believe that a Pompadour could fit under there.

Also the way the figures eyes and brows are sculpted and painted give even me the sense that this guy dos indeed mean business. He’s serious. Very matter of fact with a bit of a probing eye. I maybe over reaching with that description but I really do see that this “random” guy could indeed be the Dark Knight.

Point #4. The Bad.

In previous chapters of “The Wall” I’ve pointed out that I don’t like being negative. But like I said before, in this role as a reviewer sometimes you have no choice when certain flaws can’t be swept under the carpet.  Sadly for Batman here he has some serious issues that must be addressed…

The “slump” that plagued Wave 1     Retro Action Super Heroes returned in Wave 2. This time however it seemed to be much worse.

Although many in the collecting community voiced their displeasure to Mattel with the  “slump” issue, found that the problem had not been fixed and actually seemed to be worse for Wave 2. Speculation has it that the Wave ended up in TJ Maxx stores because of this reason, factory overstock because Toy’s R Us didn’t want them. Again that’s only speculation. The only thing that I do know is that it is quite sad to see such a poor quality body damage an otherwise fun looking toy.  However toys in general are meant to be played with and not looked at. But then again even in simply looking at this guy it’s a tough sell. The loose one that I have here was a bit of a bear to get to cooperate when it came time to shoot the pics in this chapter. He kept slumping forward, leaning very strangely to the back right or worse yet leaning so far forward that you might think he found a penny on the pavement.

“What exactly is that on my boot?”

Another thing i have to chalk up to the “Bad” category is the utility belt. While it looks great I’m scared to death to take it off. Mind you why would a grown man take the belt off of a toy? Shut up, some do. But seriously kids certainly will and do. My concern is that the feel of the plastic leads me to believe that with just the wrong amount of pressure applied the notch in the back could easily snap. Again I haven’t tried to take the belt off due to those concerns but then again I did bay $20 bucks plus shipping for this guy so I can work around the slump but I don’t want a busted belt for my display piece. If you would like to send me one I’ll be glad to man handle that one all day long.

Point #5. Why I like it.

Despite his flaws, he’s still a GREAT looking figure in the package.

Ah, back to the positive! this is one good looking toy! I mean that. I love the colors obviously, since I keep mentioning them. I also really love how this particular figure comes on the same color of cardback that Mego used way back. There I go again comparing the two but somethings I just can’t help. Seeing this carded figure on “The Wall” at a quick glance makes me think for just one brief moment that I actually have a carded Mego Batman is a funny feeling even though it’s only fleeting and totally B.S. on my imaginations part. Still the color scheme overall on this toy makes for a very nice display piece.

Point #6. Why you should or shouldn’t get one.

Why you should:

I love these colors! I can’t help stressing that. My apologies for being redundant.

Again this is a wonderful display piece carded, loose is also good with a little help. And of course being that as of this writing the line is up to 17 figures released it’s hard to not have this most important Super Friend in the mix even if he looks like Bane worked him over.

Why you shouldn’t:

“For a billionaire you don’t carry yourself so well.”

With this one I have to say that you shouldn’t not own it but be very tight with your bucks. Being that Batman IS Batman Mattel will surely be re-releasing him on the new improved bodies as part of future waves. While I can’t confirm that with 100% certainty I’d be shocked if they didn’t. Wave 1 Superman got the case filler treatment with Wave 2 so it’s in my opinion fair to think that Mattel would do this mainstay justice. In the end if you can’t wait for the fixed version to show up, go for it, but I would be VERY leery of most of the one’s on ebay. I’ll bet you those are the overstock runs that were sold at TJ Maxx stores and gobbled up by scalpers. $9.99 is a fair price considering the costume, head, and accessories but I can’t recommend that a $19.99 MSRP is worth the bucks.

In Conclusion

Overall I like this figure “okay”.  Again the colors and packaging look beautiful but the figure itself is a let down because of the body. To end this chapter on a higher note I will say this, the Retro Action Batman is one of the better looking classic style Batman;s that have come out in the past ten years. It’s simple retro style for me is a nice break from either the modern stylized animation art or the super duper, extreme detailed varieties that have been released. It looks like a toy should.FUN!

Now Go Play! – Jim 4-1-11

“NO! I will not give it back until you learn to stand up straight, mister! And don’t look at me like that! My momma don’t look at me like that!”

Jim Bumgardner is a 20 year veteran of the broadcast industry and currently serves as the news director for television station TKO 8 in Harrison, Arkansas. Jim is the father of two the husband of one and firm believer in the power of toys for both the mind, body and soul. You can contact Jim via email at jimstoybox@gmail.com or visit his website at www.jimsmegos.com

All images and products are the sole copyrighted property of it’s respective owners. Specialty photographs and graphic work used for this article were done by Jim at the TKO 8 Studios located at 500 N. Main St in Harrison, Arkansas. “Little Jim” was created by Dawn O’Connell of Little Buddies Action Figures. Learn more about getting your own Little Buddy at www.littlebuddiesactionfigures.com

Author: Jim Bumgardner

Jim's Toy Box features programming that is inspirational, uplifting and motivational all the while offering encouragement to those who wish to make the most of this life in preparation for the next.

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