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Vault Review: Batman Legacy
Series 3 Catwoman & FA Batman

I’m rounding out my week with a couple of figures from Batman Legacy wave three, which finally started poping up at stores here and there.  Noisy was lucky enough to snag the First Appearance Batman and Earth 2 Catwoman, but I get to review them.

Before we get into the mixed review that is these figures, I just wanted to say that I’m very disappointed with the way Mattel handled this line.  Aside from a few upcoming 2-packs, Series three is the final wave of the Batman Legacy line.  Batman has enough popularity, alternate versions, and supporting characters to maintain his own line well into the future, even without a direct media tie-in.  But in a year where Batman has a popular video game, an upcoming movie, possibly a new cartoon series, and plenty of comic books, Mattel decides to cancel his personal line.  Does this boggle anyone else’s mind?

OK, enough with the ranting and on to the review.

First up is 1st Appearance Batman.  When it comes to sculpt, this figure is all over the place and I’m not quite sure how many newly sculpted pieces he has.  The obvious ones are his head, cape and belt.  What I’m not sure about are his hands.  They seem to have a lot more sculpting than the normal DCUC gloves, and their overall appearance makes his arms seem a bit too long.

I’ve compared his gloves to my other DCUC characters, but couldn’t find a perfect match.  This makes me think they may be newly sculpted pieces, but I kind of hope I’m wrong because this Batman really needs a new chest.  The super sculpted pectoral muscles clash horribly with the simplified look of Batman’s head, and the Golden Age itself.

I actually really like the head sculpt on this Batman.  I think the Horsemen did a good job of portraying the sometimes odd angles in a realistic manner.  I’m not as big a fan of the cape, which was created out of a sturdy soft plastic.  I understand that they were going for that same specific look, but it becomes almost a hindrance on the figure by limiting his movement taking up way too much room.  Continue to page 2…

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23 comments to Vault Review: Batman Legacy
Series 3 Catwoman & FA Batman

  • Braystreet

    Great review, thank you.

    I’m just basing this off the fact that Smallville never could use Batman because of Batman Begins, and that Warner Brothers has always been very harsh on their animated shows in times of upcoming movies. It’s possible that they forced somehow or strongly suggested that Mattel cancel the line in order to focus on merchandising for The Dark Knight Rises, because they seem to have some odd notion that if people find out the movies are based off comic books they’ll get confused and not remember how to buy movie tickets. Or that they’ll fool movie critics into thinking that they aren’t based off comic books if they just hide all evidence of it.

    Executives view civilians as incredible stupid, so more than one version of a character being available at a time is forbidden, for some reason, at least in competition with movies.

    Of course, the more conspiracy minded of us might point out that a majority of the Matty Online exclusive characters would have potentially seen release through a Batman sub-line at retail. “Whelp, we were just going through the pile and found Poison Ivy…”

    Fan – “You showed a Super Powers Penguin at this show, where did it go?”

    Matty – “We did not.”

    Fan – “There’s pictures of it.”

    Matty – “That was a He-Man figure that sold “okay.” It was just the lighting that made it look like that.”

  • in re. lack of accessories, all together now…

    “THAT’S SO MATTY!!!”

    🙂

  • TwoFisted

    Its really silly that Matty (or DC for that matter) can only feed us one Batman incarnation at a time. For a character that constantly is being reinvented, we only get one version at a time. Dosent make sense to me since the whole point of the Batman LEGACY line was to give us a taste of the whole spectrum of Batman. They’ll probably pull everything off the shelves when Man of Steel toys come out so we wont get Superman and Batman confused. They ARE both superheroes so its really easy confuse them

  • Eric

    Thank you for mentioning how bad Batman looks with the standard buck. I mention that anywhere else, I get shot down with “That’s the style of the line! Mattel can’t afford to be throwing away money on new sculpts! Be glad you got anything!”

  • AmericanHyena

    This wave continues the trend of only having one figure I want, in this case Catwoman (and that’s only because I own both the pearl necklace and Gotham City 5 versions so I actually have her desperately needed whip).

  • I think the 2 are great. Not a religious follower of the DC line (if even..) but the Batman strikes my fancy with his purple gloves and cool 40ies head. Catwoman looks like she’s not sporting one and the same legs and arms like ol’ Superwoman (mine came with 2 left legs while the right thigh was there and 2 left lower arms – yeahhhs, for reuse!), so that is a big plus! Though i would wish the would use Wonderwoman and Powergirls bigger thighs on the ladies today – but no beef for the charmings, i know, it’s rough times…

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  • dayraven

    sadly, i don’t think these companies know how many self-fulfilling prophecies they set up… case in point: we think “hey, i’ve seen about 35 batmen recently for sale, and there are more coming… when are we getting a killer croc? i’m done buying batmen figs till i see something new” execs respond “sales are down, let’s cut the smart accessories and switch to stands.” then we respond by not buying the crappy toy that was missing the essential accessory that’s missing from a character we’ve already bought three of… and hence, sales slump further. execs respond “sales are still slipping, pull the line!” and we collectively think “but there’s so many untapped characters you could have offered to refresh the line!”

    oh well. it really doesn’t bother me in a larger sense, the batmentum is too big for them to deny forever, it’s a matter of patience, or *fingers crosssed* someone like square enix comes along and completely flips the script.

  • Shocker Inc

    My god, these are ugly.

  • I would love a vintage Bob Kane (Bill Finger?) style Batman figure. I guess I’m still waiting.

    Otherwise DR pretty much speaks for me. The problem is the beancounters and ‘numbers theory’ people are in charge at Mattel, not anyone who actually ever goes into a store and sees what people actually buy.

    This 2-per-wave strategy is an attempt to get around the scalper created problem of ‘line dogs out because only 20% of the wave sells’. You know that many are going to jump all over that Catwoman just because of the ‘rarity’ and that means any case has sold 50% (assuming they do 4 to a case in even amounts) even as the Batmens become peg warmers. Supposedly that will encourage the stores to re-order. Except the modern thinking is toys is a dying category so there’s fixed ‘open to buy’ spent and future Dollars are already allocated to the ‘next thing’. Hence zero growth potential, nothing can become a breakout hit.

    Anyway, doesn’t matter! New Batman movie coming! New Superman movie coming! The comics have been adjusted so they look more like the movies! Isn’t that good enough? I’m SURE the kids are just going to LOVE pantless Superman!! Remember how hot the Superman Returns toys sold? YEAH BABY! THIS TIME FOR SURE!!

    (note: it was my observation that the Superman Returns toys were the Green Lantern of that year, if others have a different view please correct me. 🙂 )

  • Zach S.

    I figured out what it is…Mattel is trying to run these lines like Barbie: countless variations of the main character, with a few supporting cast members peppered in along the way.

    How did they forget the success of MOTU? Sure, they made a bunch of He-Men and Skeletors, but there were so many supporting Masters and Evil Warriors, which is what made the line so great…and they all used the same body, which is what they’re doing for their boys’ lines now…it makes no sense.

    For a company so big to be so small-minded, it makes no sense to me. How can you possibly mess up the Batman property the way they have…?

    • dayraven

      because they neither reference, nor respect, the comic books. that kind of informs their entire thinking and execution, because if you don’t respect the comics, you certainly don’t respect the guys who’ve propped that industry up for the last hundred years.

      all they know is, “batman old. people spend big money buy batman. we make batman, people buy our batman.” i suspect that is literally the entire thought process. thus, when one batman stops selling, it must be because “he’s too big. make smaller batman.” when smaller batman stops selling, he must be “too small… make bigger batman.” movie year? “movie batman, but only after movie so we make batman from one scene and no other.” video game? “no, video game smash action figure, no video game figure. video game hate action figure.” batman solo line? “must have 8 batman, 2 villain. what villain? catman… catman rhyme with batman… they make ratman? if no, we make ratman, ratman rhyme with catman rhyme with batman! we make funny!”

      • Nailed it again, DR. 🙂

        I don’t discuss that much because I’ve assumed that was common knowledge as it’s so clear and obvious, but no, Mattel has no respect for comic books. Comics aren’t sexy. Comic books don’t sell millions of copies. Comic Companies don’t fly some key execs to special showings or woo them with gifts or have the legit nature of Hollywood, which is sexy and flashy and serious business and did I mention money?

        Shoot, comic books are just for kids anyway, right?

        (OK, who can spot the obvious disconnect in that last sentence? 1000 Quatloos to the first correct reply! 🙂 )

        • To be fair, it’s not like DC is respecting their brand much at the moment… 🙁

          • There is that too! But I think they’re under such a chaotic state currently it’s as if…as if…well, they’ve been taken over by a Japanese company who is imposing some completely bats**t insane restrictions and rules on them.

            The new logo? Terrible. The implementation? Inept. The entire New 52 plan? unneeded, completely and I’m sure not having the desired ‘legs’ they thought it would. The new news of Watchmen prequels? Madness.

            It’s like they’re trying to put themselves completely out of business.

            • dayraven

              ok, this is my las t point on the comics thing here (though we can certainly continue this in the forum is anyone would like to) but i think DC is under inverse pressure right now. hollywood is doing really really well on the backs of the hard-earned comic book fanbase of the last 100 years. in fact, the movies are doing considerably better than the modern incarnations of the comics are… so there’s a pressure there to keep things fresh, and to make the comics more like the more-successful movies, because the comics industry is petrified of what happens if the hollywood interest rears its mercurial head.

              the joke of this is obvious to us, that interest (and hence money) won’t be going anywhere any time soon because hollywood is tapped. their creativity is dead, the production cycle is too non-stop for fresh ideas to really penetrate any more. so hollywood is dependent on other industries for ideas… and comic books represent a nearly bottomless well of ideas (though of varying merit, like any creative venture). i think you’ll see detroit weened from fossil fuels before you see hollywood weened from comics. the comics at this point need to do what they do best at this point to remain relevant to hollywood: they need to keep their current fanbase. they need to mine and re-release their own backlog of material to get it exposed to a new generation, and essentially just keep an even keel. animation was and is a great way to do that, and i think DC’s increased exposure on the cartoon network will prove enormously more successful than the new 52 will.

              • I can’t disagree, other than to point out the obvious that the Hollywood community really doesn’t understand WHY these iconic characters work, have worked for decades.

                And see, this is the failure point. DC Nation on Cartoon Network. There’s NOTHING on the CN site about WHEN it’s starting, if it’s a once a week thing or a 5 day strip, anything. And they’re still using the old DC logo.

                I *suspect* they’re going to replace the current Friday Night block with DC Nation.

                But here’s the fail. What they SHOULD do is program it as a M-F strip during the classic kidvid time slot of 3-5 PM EST. That’s where the eyeballs are and it becomes destination programming. ANYBODY WHO HAS A BRAIN IN THEIR HEAD AND REMEMBERS TV KNOWS THIS.

                but they don’t. And DC Nation will get moved so they can run more Clone Wars.

                argh. I just want to beat up people!! 🙂

  • JamesLynch

    “instead we got the familiar Bat-symbol stands which don’t actually work on male characters”

    Is this right? My Catman stands just fine on the stand, but Batgirl keeps falling over.

  • Xavion

    I really love these reviews. Mabye I’m just old school, but the video reviews on You Tube and elsewhere just don’t do it for me. I can’t catch all of the detail that I want to see like I can when I’m able to take my time and look at a great still picture. You also don’t get the priceless gags on video like the “Wanna Trade?” pic above!

  • Tom McCraw

    Such a tease with that all nude cheetah. lol!

    Will get Catwoman, but will pass on Bats.

  • Nice review. Thanks for providing a site where we can go to preview figures and get some objective info before we buy.

    I must be easy to please, because I bought FA Batman at my first opportunity and I personally find it to be a pretty awesome figure. I mean it could certainly be improved, but I’m not sure by how much considering that it comes from a mass produced toy-line that is assembled in China and sold at Target and Wal-Mart.

    As for me, I’m just very happy to have this version of Batman and that for the most part he’s spot on. For example, his cape and belt at least are faithfully reproduced and he is super-poseable. It’s not a 100% perfect figure, but most of the important details are there at least. The head sculpt, the old-style bat symbol on his chest and purple hand gloves are all accurate. They even got his belt correct. They could have probably gotten away with a reuse on that one, but they didn’t. And you really can’t criticize Mattel for reusing a “standard” DCUC body… I mean, come on they’ve been doing that since the beginning of DCUC! So, when all is said and done, I really feel that all the positives of the figure out-weigh the negatives by a long way, IMO.

    I do agree though that they could have ditched the stand and thrown in a batarang or two. However, in his “first appearance” Batman didn’t even have his batarang yet. It was actually not introduced until his fifth appearance. So, technically Mattel was (if unintentionally) just being historically accurate by not including it.

  • Preacher13

    I had both of these figs in my hand, as well as two of the new ML figs, just the other day. Unfortunately, and this is a totally different hot-button conversation, I’m having a much more difficult time reconciling the $15-$20 price tags on these things.

    That Batman is especially weak IMO, but Catwoman is decent.

    JamesLynch: My Catman doesn’t stand for sh*t, so maybe you got lucky…