“He’s just a theorist. He was afraid to put it to the test. But I wasn’t. I knew he discovered a formula to create a totally new species, neither man nor bat. And once I started taking it, I couldn’t stop. I desperately wanted to, but… *it* took over.”– Man-Bat, Batman: The Animated Series “On Leather Wings” (1992)
Batman has the best villains. This is an immutable fact. Some other heroes may have some stand-outs, but lack the depth of breadth of the Batman Rogues Gallery. Spider-Man & the Flash have impressive rosters as well, but they come up just a little short. No, Batman’s got the villains and one thing that has been incredibly helpful is exposure.
The 60s series did wonders for the fab four: Joker, Penguin, Catwoman, & Riddler, but not all the big-name villains excelled or were even featured in that showcase. In some cases, they weren’t created yet, like Man-Bat here. Now, here is where the opinion comes in, while there are certainly some awesome Man-Bat stories in those first twenty-two years (I’ve read more than a few), Man-Bat is one of those characters like Mr. Freeze, Poison Ivy, Two-Face, etc. that greatly benefited from Batman: The Animated Series.
I know, for me, that those early episodes where the first time I really took notice of many Batman’s Rogues. I don’t know that the show did anything substantively different with any of them, but it seemed new & fresh to me and rearranged many of my favorite villains. Man-Bat comes in pretty high on that list. Kirk Langstrom took on a whole new dimension for me after watching his obsession consume him, his family fail him, and then Batman’s intent on saving him versus just taking him down. It’s not the best episode of BTAS, but it’s good enough. When I went back to grab the BTAS figures, Man-Bat was a huge get for me. He was a massive figure, the wing-flapping action was cool, and the smart neck articulation made him fun to fly around.
Flash forward twenty-three years later (aren’t we getting old) and that great animated take on Man-Bat has gotten a new figure. The first, great thing about DC Collectibles Man-Bat is that it wasn’t a Deluxe Figure. Look at the box up there again. He’s a standard release with the standard price. He’s nearly 7” tall and he’s got a 15” wingspan with this extended arms. That’s for the same $25 we paid for Catwoman & Batman. That’s pretty awesome right there.
Outside the package, the sculpts for this line continue to be the best part. He looks like he walked off the show. He’s an impressive hulking figure that can really visually hold his own as the shelf fills up around him. The head sculpt is similarly impressive and one of the highlights of the figure. The only crime is that he’s sculpted looking down and the lack of articulation hides that great sculpt. The sculpt is so spot-on compared to the animation that it makes me realize how off-model the original toy was – it doesn’t take anything away from that great old toy, but it’s funny to see what we overlook. I’m still plenty nostalgic for it – I actually miss that big button on his back to make the wings flap! The paintwork has been solid for the line and Man-Bat isn’t much of an exception. The teeth aren’t as spot-on as many of the other areas like the ears and wings. Continue to Page 2…