Batman Faces His Emotions in DC Collectibles’ Latest ‘Batman: The Animated Series’ Set
Since launching the Batman: The Animated Series and New Adventures of Batman action figure lines in 2014, DC Collectibles has been slowly filling out the complete rosters for both shows. For every wave that includes a Batman or Joker, there’s another that features Scarface or Man-Bat, and there are no signs of either series stopping any time soon. In all those figures however, it’s been hard to justify additional standard Batman figures. DC Collectibles has found a great way around that by pitting the Dark Knight Detective against his greatest enemy: emotions.
Released not that long ago, the Batman Expressions pack gives fans a range of Batman’s greatest chins to go along with a hefty arsenal of cool gadgets. This is technically the fifth release of the original Batman: The Animated Series Batman in the collection, though this one combines a number of assets and accessories from those previous incarnations into one massive package. If you haven’t already picked up one of the earlier releases, which is entirely possible given how quickly these tend to fly off shelves, you can consider this Batman to be the “ultimate” edition.
In addition to the standard body, again based on the Irene Matar sculpt, you’ll also find the standard array of hands for gripping or posed in fists. The grappling gun hand is still part of the package too, which the more I see it, makes more and more sense with these figures. The solo grappling gun accessory just doesn’t fit in any of the other open hands properly, so having a fixed grip makes sense. It would make it a bit more appealing if the fixed grappling hand had a firing projectile attachment in this set, but it’s not disappointing that something like that isn’t part of the package.
The basic “still” vinyl cape is included as well, along with a “flowing” vinyl cape, and the fabric cape which was offered with the Batmobile deluxe set. Originally the set was solicited with a massive extended cape that gave the appearance of Batman holding the tips and floating through the Gotham skyline, but that just didn’t make the cut for whatever reason. Instead that smaller “flowing” cape was included, which is okay but not nearly as different of an option from the “still” cape as the extended one would have been. Typically vinyl capes tend to limit the posing options, but DC’s don't take too much away from Batman’s flexibility. The cloth cape is rather dull, and really is only in there for people interested in making sure Batman can fit in either the Batmobile or the Batwing. It’s a little too flat to offer any dynamism to the base figure.
All of the extra accessories make for a fantastic armory for Batman, and most of them are episode-specific items. The only one I can definitively place is the baseball bat from “Christmas With The Joker,” but I remember seeing the rebreather and camera in more than a few episodes. I just can’t recall all of them. Unlike the single-card figures that have been released in the line, this one didn’t come with a handy guide detailing where everything came from. The standalone figures were always based on a single appearance in the show, and typically one where a number of items were used by said character.
Each of the gun-type pieces and the knife can make for some great diorama displays, depending on how many other BTAS toys you already have. The only trouble spots are the rebreather and the night-vision goggles, which have flexible, fixed straps attached. You can feel them being pushed to their limits when trying to slide them over Batman’s various faces, so it’d be best to be very careful with those lest they end up snapping from the pressure.
Six of the seven heads included are fantastic. The variations are distinct enough that they all offer something completely different for the figure, even though they’re all still fairly stoic Batman faces. The screaming face is really the only one that you wouldn’t see Batman do very often, though it definitely made an appearance or two on the TV series. The various grimmaces all give you different values of Batman’s anger, and all of the cowled heads fit in perfectly with the cape and body. The bloodied face is definitely a favorite, as it’s something you don’t often get with an action figure, and Batman’s seen his fair share of battles that took him to the limit. It’s just a shame a tattered cape or busted gauntlet wasn’t also included to further that illusion.
It’s unfortunate that one of the most desired heads, the unmasked Bruce Wayne, is the worst in the pack. Now that’s not because it’s sculpted poorly or doesn’t capture Bruce’s zen calmness, but because the body of Batman wasn’t made for unmasked heads. In order to have the proper animated proportions with the cape and cow, all of capes separate from the head at the base of the skull. The entire neck piece is sculpted to fit over the head’s ball joint. When the heads with cowls on are there, you don’t really notice a distinct lack of proper proportions. The unmasked Bruce placed on top makes the neck look absolutely ridiculous, and ruins any kind of immersion the figure might have offered. This is true no matter which Batman body release you put that Bruce head on too, as they’re all basically the same, so that portrait ends up being a major let down.
The last bit of extra included in this set is a deluxe dynamic posing stand. Several of the Animated Series figures in the past have come with rather basic posing stands. While they were great for keeping the thin-ankled characters upright, they didn’t offer much in the way of dramatic posing. This stand offers you much, much more in that arena. Think of this along the same quality of posing stands offered with Figmas or Figuarts toys, in that you can having Batman posing normally, or elevate him with little trouble so it appears he’s leaping into action. The only finagling you’ll have to do is ensure the claw grip on Batman’s body is snug. There are no pegs in his back to fasten the clear poles, so he can slip a little bit if you’re not paying enough attention.
The Batman: The Animated Series Batman Expressions pack is a great set for collectors and fans alike, even if it isn’t quite up to Batman’s lofty personal standards. The fabric cape is extremely limited in its appeal, and the Bruce Wayne head sculpt is a complete miss. That’s a problem DC Collectibles will have to look into in the future. Beyond those limitations, this is a strong entry in the expanding animation line. There are a lot of ways to get an animated Batman figure from DC Collectibles, but this set is clearly the ultimate choice for completionists. A Joker Expressions pack is already lined up for 2018, which will hopefully offer just as much flexibility as this one.
The DC Collectibles Batman: The Animated Series Batman Expressions Pack is available now for ~$49.99. This set was provided by DC Collectibles for review.