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Bruce Wayne-to-Batman

DC Superheroes
by yo go re

Last year at SDCC, Mattel released a Movie Masters Bruce Wayne with pieces to turn him into Batman. It was junk. The figure was completely overshadowed by its accessories and its packaging, and rightly so. Part of what made the toy so diappointing was that Mattel had made a better version of the same thing years before.

This figure, released in 2007, was part of DC Superheroes Series 8, alongside Catwoman, Clayface and a bunch of other figures you never actually saw in person. But like several of the figures in that series, he was a repaint of one released in 2004 as part of Mattel's previous Batman-only line - like fellow rarities Scarecrow and Bane, the toy was never released in North America. So of course Mattel, in their typical "we never met an idea we couldn't do wrong" way, decides to put the repaint from a series no one ever saw into a different series no one ever saw. Classy.

To be completely honest, the "Bruce Wayne" portion of the design is better on the original figure than on this repaint - he used to have black pants and a grey sweatshirt with black trim, but now it's all black, with a white undershirt poking out at the neck. The old paint apps could pass for sports wear, like Bruce had just come back from rock climbing or polo; the new one looks like he's planning a bank heist. That's going to raise suspicions, Bruce.

The figure's head is the same one seen on the SDCC-​exclusive Unmasked Batman... at least, seen on its two variants. It's a good face for Bruce - not this good, but then, that didn't exist at the time. It's blocky in the way all the Four Horsemen's DC stuff was blocky, so he fits in nicely. You could believe this is a billionaire playboy with no dark secrets.

The style of the figures changed somewhat between Batman, DCSH and DCUC, but not so much that Bruce looks "wrong" when he's mingling. Surprisingly, all his parts are new molds (or they were, when this toy was first designed; you know what we mean). He's wearing gloves with a hole on the back of the hand and sculpted seams; the cuffs and collar of his shirt (which, under the light of a camera flash, is painted a metallic indigo, not black) have a ribbed texture; there are wrinkles on his legs, and he's wearing fancy ankle-high boots.

While most of the DCSH figures had articulation on par with DCU Classics, you have to remember that this is a holdover from the precursor Batman line, so his joints are fewer than you might be expecting. He has hinged knees, T-hips, swivel waist and wrists, swivel shoulders and a swivel neck. The shoulders are poorly articulated even by DCSH standards - you could at least count on swivel/hinge joints for them. But these had to be plain swivels, in order to accommodate his action feature. Like The Shadow, he "turtles": his head pushes down into his torso.

There's no excuse for Bruce Wayne to be dressed like this unless he's going to have a bunch of armor pieces that go over him to turn him into Batman, and this toy delivers. There's a cape/chestplate/alternate Batman head piece (with a swivel neck, so "yay" to that); two thick, armored gloves with bat symbols on the backs of the hands; a utility belt that combines the pouch and capsule styles (and why has no one ever thought of that before?); and two-piece boots that snap together to cover the lower leg entirely. That's all nice stuff, and Bruce looks decent wearing it. Metallic blue may not be the first color you think of when you think of Batman, but it beats the green the original release had. So that one does Bruce better, and this one does Batman better; buy both, and you can mix and match!

The figure also comes with an actual accessory, and it's a weird one: it's not the Batsignal, but it is a Bat-light. It's a big, handheld piece with a typical "batty" shape at the front (and four mini missiles), but most importantly, it's got a pair of giant, industrial floodlights mounted on the sides. What's that all about? No idea. Even the Batman packaging only called it a "Combat Weapon." Make something up. And then tell us.

I was incredibly fortunate, in that I was one of the only people to ever find DC Superheroes Series 8 in a store - I got this toy for $9.99 at Toys Я Us the Sunday after Thanksgiving in 2007 - I've just never opened him until now. You'd think that a toy originally released in 2004 wouldn't be able to compare to one released in 2012, but you'd be wrong. This isn't a great figure, but it's the best Bruce Wayne Mattel's made (as sad as that is).

-- 10/17/13


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