DC Comics Multiverse
4″ 1989 Batman Review

There are few things I love as unashamedly as the two Tim Burton Batman movies. I watch them at least once-a-year; I know their best parts by heart (& their worst). I love all sorts of eras and incarnations of Batman, but I can’t ever imagine anything replacing that one as the center of my Batman universe.

Naturally, that love has translated to action figures. From the fun, but funky early Toy Biz figures to the awesome “Dark Knight Collection”*, I was happy to always have an 89 Batman or Keaton Batman figure in the display. Or several, I could’ve dug deeper for all the various “promo”, non-action figure Keatons in that group shot, but I was in a hurry!

* – If I ever decided to go on a pure vintage kick again and spend some funds on oldies, I would hit up The Dark Knight Collection, I think. I wouldn’t need it all, some choice rainbow Batman and all the sleek Bat-vehicles. It’d pair nicely with my SP collection.

The last couple years, as the movie geared up to turn 25, Keaton Batman has had a resurgence. I picked up the fantastic Hot Toys figure back in 2012 along with an awesome Joker and the car (and still haven’t reviewed any of them!). Earlier this year I snagged the amazing quarter-scale Keaton. I wish it was a little more balanced or had a stand, but it’s great.

What has eluded me, though, is a proper 6” scale figure in the vein of Star Wars Black or Mattel’s Movie Masters line. Sure, I have the all-black DCUC and I do love it, but it’s not quite the same. After Mattel had made a Movie Master Christian Bale and went way back and made their Adam West figure, I think the Keaton figure kinda became a foregone conclusion. They were gonna do it, I was sure! And it happened relatively quickly, but not before the folks at Mattel scaled things back to 4”. Sigh.

That’s not to say there’s anything wrong with 1:18th scale. I love my Joes. The Four Horsemen are doing amazing things in that scale with OSM & Power Lords. The Marauder & Boss Fight Kickstarters blow me away. This scale can be awesome.

This Batman isn’t awesome. He’s not bad. I guess I should point out that I’ve got a lot of mixed emotions here. It’s a Keaton Batman, +4. It’s got funky articulation choices, -3. It looks nice across a room, +2. But maybe you shouldn’t look too closely, -2. It’s aggravating. I think I’m over that it’s not 6” and that it can’t be put with Bale & West for an awesome evolution display that won’t break your wallet. I get it. I’m off that soapbox. And I think I kinda love it after awhile, but I couldn’t tell you if that’s because Mattel did an okay job or just because I’m sucker for this Batman. Maybe you guys should just look at the pictures on this one?

The sculpt itself is pretty nice. It’s a little too armored or mechanical looking for the first movie suit, but the proper details can be found throughout on the belt, gauntlets, boots, that part was done well. The only thing I’m not keen on is the head sculpt. It’s almost too Bale – I think it’s a result of the ears needing to be thick & safe and the unnecessary neck articulation squaring off what should be a fairly round cowl. The nose & brow are good; if you turn the figure sideways for a profile it gets much more Keaton, so I really do think the neck peg in there is just a shame.

Which is funny because Mattel could’ve gotten away with no neck articulation, at least I think so. Some collectors might balk at the idea – all the old Toy Biz & Kenner figures could turn their heads, but the real deal can’t. The cowl was so thick in the film that Keaton turning his head wasn’t really an option. The NECA & Hot Toys figures have the cowl as one piece for that very reason. It’s neat to get it, I guess, and I know collectors would complain if it wasn’t there (Wouldn’t we!?), but I’m not sure it was the worth messing up the sculpt.

This particularly rings true when you open him and see that Mattel seated the head so far down on the neck peg that all ball-joint movement ceased to function. It’s basically a swivel cut – and, hey, a swivel cut probably could’ve preserved the look just fine, as it did on the “less advanced” toys from 25 years ago. Doh. Continue to Page 2…

22 thoughts on “DC Comics Multiverse
4″ 1989 Batman Review

  1. Man, the eyes on those Keaton heads look really messed up! The old Kenner quick change suit figure is way superior.

    I was going to say that the Multiverse series could be the answer to many an Infinite Heroes’ (remember those) prayers, but then I remembered that Mattel is not focusing on comic style figures the way they did with previous lines.

    It’s still a nice take on the ’89 Movie version (can’t believe it’s been 25 years already) although he could sure use a swivel arm battle grip of some sort since the technology has advanced, after all. Still a good fig for ten bucks, I suppose.

    1. The Keatons are terrible. Those quick change figures came to mind right away for me too. I should photoshop proper eyes in there – I think the sculpt is there, I do, but those eyes make it look like a baby doll head.

  2. I just can’t. This scale just destroys all my hopes and dreams. And knowing they’re doing a Chris Reeve Superman, just soul destroying.

    That pic of the Bale, Keaton and West figures together just makes me rage. Why Mattel?? Why???

  3. This is horrible. I feel more for folks like Noisy that have yearned for a proper Keaton Batman in the more affordable markets, but I would’ve liked one for the collection. I don’t get what Mattel’s trying to do with this line, but it can’t be to get many collectors to buy them. Who other than collectors would actively seek an ’89 Batman figure?

    Thankfully other more worthy manufacturers are handling the movie Batmen. NECA seems to he chugging right along, and I quite enjoy Medicom’s 6″ Bale. I’m hoping the NECA Ledger Joker is as awesome as most of their 1/4 scale work and that they eventually do their own Bale. I suppose I’m grasping at straws hoping that NECA or Medicom scores rights to make a proper Keaton Batman at the 7″ or 6″ scale.

    1. Medicom would do a nice one, surely.

      The market for Multiverse seems skewed a little. I would love to see the kids into owning Devito Penguin & Zod, but maybe it’s to get us with fond memories and of parenting age to buy them for our kids? I’m not sure.

      I’m going to be positive and be happy that it’s been made – that’s at least got to get us closer to a 6″ one then we were before.

  4. Is that the plush 89 Batman that would only be found at like Sam Goody? That was my first Batman toy ever, and you couldn’t get that thing away from me if you tried.

  5. Great review! I love to see all of those Keaton Batman figures together :). Keaton has always been my favorite movie Batman, too and I guess he will always be. Unfortnately none of the movie merchandise action figures were sold in Germany when I was young but I was lucky on one vacation to Italy and my parents bought me the toy biz batman there which I still owe and love.
    Oh and: Review the Hot Toys Batman!!! 😉

    1. That stinks! At least you found the on in Italy!

      And, Hot Toys Batman. He’s like two years old, doe he still need reviewed?? 😉

  6. Except to finish some BaFs and JLI, JSA, and Lantern leaders basically done with DC. Untill see the Animated Batman figs hitting and a review to how they are. Love to see that line make it.

    Movie figs I just don’t do but debating this and the Christopher Reeves superman. I kinda fead it now though seeing Derpyton Batman maskless head.

  7. Saw the devito penguin, was a beautifully painted and well sculpted figure, but my toys r us was charging $17.99 for it… for 3 3/4… they can go fuck themselves

    1. My TRU was $15, and I went against my better judgement and snagged one since it was better done. I’ll have that review up shortly.

  8. This is why I am done with Mattel. I bought every DCUC figure and then they bone us at the end and change to 4 inch scale. Mattel is dead to me and these new figures are crap. I wouldn’t take one for free.

    1. I still blame DC for ending DCUC more than Mattel, but Mattel going 4″ doesn’t help with keeping their movie toys together, that’s for sure.

  9. I defended Mattel on the scale change, thinking we had a better chance of at least of getting more characters and even a vehicle. But man, when I saw this guy, the variant and Zod at TRU, I was so disappointed. The T joint on Zod looks very dated (first thing I thought of was the Bob the Goon figure). The unmasked Keaton is just awful. The best is this Keaton Batman, and even then, it’s not great.

    So I stand corrected. Mattel, you’re best at 6″ scale. Go back to it. We’ve waited for so long for a solid cast of Keaton Batman. Please go back to the drawing board and deliver.

    1. Go back, Mattel! Go back! lol

      The underlying sculpts do some pretty top notch, it’s just running them through Mattel’s machine that interrupts the process.

  10. I saw these and I just couldn’t look past the (dis)proportions. I even eyeballed Zod for a good five minutes before putting him back. Sorry, I just can’t. 🙁

    otoh, I did find ’66 Catwoman at SoCo TRU yesterday, so there is that. Checkout guy said she had come in a few days ago and he was surprised she was still there. (then tried to push the BatMobile on me.) Now if only Robin had made it to retail…. 🙁
    (or Batgirl, Green Hornet, and Kato!)

  11. I’m about to get internet slapped, but I really like the 3.3/4 inch figures. I even liked Infinit Heroes, although the articulation sucked, the sculpts were OK and towards the end of the line I got them for 1.75 at most stores, and I’ve paid more for a pack of gum. I own the Arkham Batman, and I really enjoy him, because they’re all I wanted for Infinite Heroes. I liked DCUC’s, but same deal as Infinite Heroes, they all use the same buck, and while it was a good buck, I got tired of buying paint and heads for 20.00 dollars. In the end, I get that it’s a backstab, but 4 inches is a lot more versatile and cheaper in the end.

    Rant Over

Comments are closed.