Toy Review: DC Collectibles Greg Capullo Batman Designer Series, Wave 3
If there's one thing DC loves, it's putting out a new Batman figure seemingly every week. This year has been a big one for the Bat, what with it being the character's 75th anniversary and all, and DC Collectibles has been celebrating the milestone with plenty of Bat-themed figures and toys all year.
One of the most consistently impressive series, the Greg Capullo Batman Designer Series, has been chock full of rock solid Batman figures all year. This latest wave of DC Collectibles' Greg Capullo Batman Designer Series is probably the strongest yet, and that's no easy task considering just how strong the collection has been since it started.
All three figures were sculpted by Jonathan Matthews, who's done a nice job in previous waves bringing Capullo's artwork to life. This latest batch is no exception, with Zero Year Batman, Commissioner Gordon and Batgirl all featuring the stylistic flourishes reminiscent of Capullo's run on Batman. Two-Face was also supposed to be part of this batch, but for some reason his release was pushed to March, and rather unceremoniously, too.
Regardless, thanks to the lack of a Harvey Dent figure, this is the first batch of figures that's solely all heroes. Previously, there had been at least two villains in each wave, but the lack of one of Batman's rogues isn't all that disappointing given the strength of the three figures released.
The differences between Zero Year Batman and the New 52 Batman (which was in series one) are pretty apparent right from the get-go. It would have been easy to reuse the head, cowl and cape from the first Batman, but the complete revision of Batman's head for the Zero Year figure gives it a completely different presence. The head is a little leaner, the ears are a little taller, and the mask itself is smoother and more defined. The New 52 Bats has the more typical eyebrow wrinkles, slighter eyes, and looks a bit more squat. Both however are still the grumpiest-looking Batman figures we've ever seen. We get it; Darkness, no parents.
Though Zero Year has identical articulation to the New 52 (more than 20 points, including a double-knee and ab crunch), the body sculpt itself is radically different. The Zero Year outfit looks more like armor, and feature clear and defined areas where extra protection was added. The early version of the Bat-symbol is a bit flatter and fatter, but it suits the more basic design aesthetic of young Bruce's get up just fine. The classic combat boots add more personality as well, and it's hard not to notice those purple gloves. They still look a bit odd against all that black and grey, but in regards to capturing the Zero Year version of Batman, they do they job.
Posing wasn't really an issue, as Bats has so much articulation, you can fit him in almost any pose. The ab crunch has a lot more flexibility than that featured in the New 52 version, but the limited hand options was a bit of a disappointment. Zero Year Batman comes with one additional hand to hold his grappling gun, but the other two hands are closed fists. That means he has no way to hold onto the minuscule Batarangs he came with. It's a shame these accessories are basically wasted.
Though I would have loved to see a Batgirl of Burnside figure turn up in this series, the New 52 version is still a really nice figure. The armor detailing is perfectly clean, and the decision to use a matte black for the body with "sparkling" yellow highlights makes what could have been a plain figure pop. Typically with character designs that are as basic as Batgirl's is here, flaws in the end product are exemplified. This particular figure is near perfect however, with little to no paint app issues, and a strong silhouette.
About the only place I have any issue with the sculpt itself is in the face. While the eyes are right in line with Capullo's artwork, the facial expression could actually have been, you know, expressive. Instead, she looks rather dour and serious, which are not two descriptors that come to mind immediately when thinking of Batgirl's personality. Additionally, she's a bit hard to pose. Babs doesn't come with nearly as much articulation as Batman, which wouldn't be a big deal if she had any ankle movement whatsoever. Unfortunately, to keep the line of her boot, all she gets is a little calf rotation below the knee, making it rather difficult to keep her upright.
It's been a long time since we've gotten a decent Jim Gordon action figure, and believe it or not, the Capullo Gordon might be the best we'll ever get. The last I can even recall are the Hush and Dark Victory Gordon figures from over a decade ago, and while those were decent, they lacked the good design sense and articulation of this newer, younger Gordon.
Gordon might just be the surprise star of this wave, and it all starts with the head sculpt. Plainclothes people don't often make the best figures, but one look at this guy's face, and you immediately recognize him. Is it the furrowed brow? Maybe it's the smirk he's hiding beneath his trademark mustache. The character is just captured perfectly in less than an inch of plastic. Sure, the rest of the design, the tie and the overcoat, the patent leather shoes, all help sell Gordon, but without that head sculpt, it could have been any generic non-powered person.
This was the only figure of the bunch I got that was a little careless in its paint application. Gordon's yellow tie is barely covered at points on the edges, and some of the brown from his overcoat seeped onto the green dress shirt. His shoes look appropriately worn, and the little hand radio and pistol he comes with are nicely detailed. As one of the few figures in the line to display so much flesh, the one glaring issue with these figures becomes apparent. The flesh tone DC is using makes it very hard to observe any details unless you're extremely up close to the figure. As such, you might miss Gordon's dimples and wrinkles at first glance. It's a minor quibble, but if more maskless characters are planned, it could be a bigger issue.
These are the kinds of figures that give DC Collectibles lots of leeway when it comes to mistakes made in some other lines. The character designs are terrific, the sculpts are fantastic, and the character selection for each wave has been on point. If only every single series of figures DC Collectibles released was given this much attention.