Wednesday 2 March 2011

Toybox REVIEW: DC Universe Azrael Batman

This is a bit of a rarity. Not only am I going to be reviewing something that is outside the realms of the usual toy lines I collect, but its also a review of an American toy for once (something I don't believe I've done since my last Transformers review). But this was a figure that I couldn't pass up.

I'm a big fan of Marvel and DC comics, but have never really been into the figures (well, not since the days of the Batman and Spider-man animated series' anyway). Not that I have anything against them, there's just so many characters that I couldn't afford to collect them alongside the lines I'm already buying from, even if I'm just carefully selecting characters. The DC Universe line is something that's interested me for a long time - a line of reasonably poseable figures across the age of DC akin to the Marvel Legends line. It just so happens that one of the newer figures in the line happens to be my favourite Batman character and one of my all-time favourite comic characters from my all-time favourite Batman story - Azrael (John Paul Valley) in his guise as the Dark Knight himself. From the Knightfall/Knightquest/Knightsend storyline, I have a few older figures of the character (namely the 2 versions released under the 'Legends of Batman' line) but nothing quite as detailed as this. Included with the figure is the right leg of Bane, who is the wave's 'collect & connect figure'. As I won't be buying the rest of the line, that's about all the coverage its going to get. It's a leg.

Back to the figure at hand - the sculpt is simply beautiful. Its not based on the character's first appearance in Knightfall (where he had a cape rather than the fins, and the artillery belts were yet to be incorporated) but on the modified version he would use as the series continued. The blues, golds and silvers are metallic paints, standing out perfectly on top of flat grey body.

As far as articulation goes, he has it in all the right places. The arms and legs and able to both bend and twist, while the ankles are also on a hinge joint. The head is also moveable, but I have found it difficult due to the limited neck space caused by the 'cape'. The same can be said for the shoulders, which are difficult (but probably not impossible) to raise higher than chest height). My main grip is that the 'cape' fins are not poseable (by that I mean only slightly - perhaps the ability to stretch them out a bit) because they can get tangled at the bottom and aren't equally apart due to the soft plastic they're made from (a minor gripe I know, but it still bugs me). The leg spikes are also made from soft plastic, and feel like they may snap off if pressure is put on them or they accidentally bend the wrong way. I suppose Mattel didn't see it as too much of an issue - the packaging does say 'for the Adult collector' after all.

Despite these issues - this is definitely the best Azrael Batman to be released so far and probably the best one we'll ever get. It certainly puts my old versions to shame. I wonder how Mattel are with repaints on this line, because I'd certainly like a red version based upon his final appearances in Knightsend to go with it.

My interest in this line has certainly perked. As we speak I'm trying to hunt down a DC Universe Azrael figure on eBay to go alongside him. Dammit, I don't have the money for these things.

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