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Let's Discuss: Medicom Mafex #215 Knight Crusader Batman


I think I'm as excited to write this review as I was to get this figure. Medicom Mafex continues to absolutely dominate when it comes to making comic book styled action figures. The Knight Crusader Batman, modeled after his appearance in the seminal Knightfall storyline draws inspiration from the artwork of Jim Aparo, Graham Nolan, Kelley Jones, and Norm Breyfogle.

"Knightfall" the story that took Batman fans to a place they'd really never been before... seeing their hero beaten and broken. In 1993, DC Comics launched a yearlong story that ran contiguously through all of the Bat-titles. The set-up to the story involved introducing two new characters; Jean Paul Valley, the assassin known as Azrael and Bane a super steroid enhanced villainous genius. Valley had rescued Bruce Wayne, who then took the young man under his wing. Wayne hoped that working with Valley would help to control the influence of "the System", the mentally embedded training which gave him the Azrael skills. Bane grew to be a man in the prison Pena Duro on the island nation of Santa Prisca. Imprisoned before birth, Bane was to serve his father's life sentence. The young man grew in both intelligence and stature until he became a legend in the prison. At this time, he also started having nightmares of a batlike creature. Bane knew he had to defeat this creature to reach his destiny. He learned from another inmate, Bird, about Gotham and Batman. Bane's mission in life was revealed... destroy the Batman and become the new "King" of Gotham City. After forming an alliance with Bird and two other prisoners; Trogg, and Zombie, Bane was subjected to experiments with the super steroid Venom. Though he survived the treatments, Bane forced his body functions to slow to a near death state. Assumed to be yet another failed experiment, the jailers threw Bane's corpse into the sea. Bane could have escaped but he chose to return and aid his compatriots in escaping. The four men made their way to the US and to Gotham City. Around this time, Bruce Wayne was beginning to suffer from a psychological crisis. His usual meditation techniques failed him and he began to feel he'd lost his edge. After encounters with Black Mask, a villain named Metalhead, and an assassination attempt on Commissioner Gordon, Batman feels his condition getting worse. However, he refuses to listen to advice and continues on his self-imposed mission. His relationship with Robin is growing strained and he stubbornly ignores his most trusted confidante, Alfred. Bane and his crew begin secretly observing Batman, while the Dark Knight orders Robin to increase his training time with Azrael. With each victory, Batman grows weaker and then Bane unleashes the Caped Crusader's worst nightmare... he blows Arkham Asylum wide open. Batman's worst villains are free and, in his condition, is Batman even capable of taking them down? One by one, he relentlessly pursues the Arkham escapees, growing further debilitated with each one captured. After rescuing Mayor Krol from the combined evil of the Joker and Scarecrow, Batman faces the gauntlet of Bane's men. He manages to defeat each of them and returns home... only to find Bane himself waiting in Wayne Manor. The villain had deduced Batman's identity and was ready for their encounter. Though weak and mentally pushed beyond his limits, Batman launches himself at the villain. This fight would end differently though as Bane would beat Batman senseless and raise the hero high over his head, only to smash Batman down across his knee, breaking Batman's spine.

(All character names and story descriptions are property of DC Comics.)

Sorry... got a bit long-winded there. Knightfall and the KnightQuest and KnightsEnd stories are among my absolute favorite Batman tales. Anyhow, without making you wait any longer, let's discuss the Medicom Mafex #215 Knight Crusader Batman

Accessories: 9.5/10

I am always appreciative of all the goodies Mafex includes with their figures. While this Batman comes with an amazing array of accessories, I feel like including some batarangs or additional gear would have boosted this right to a 10. As it is, the fact that Mafex went with multiple head sculpts and two different cape versions does make up quite a bit of ground. There is an Aparo/Nolan designed head sculpt with the shorter ears, a similar design with the rebreather device in his mouth, and the third featuring the Jones/Breyfogle inspired longer ears and gritted teeth scowl. All three head sculpts look phenomenal on the figure and will offer great posing potential. The cape, attached in package, has the corner points at the edges of the shoulders and the other cape is more of a traditional design. Both have four wired points, which allows for dynamic cape posing. I've never been a huge fan of the points at the shoulders and will likely display the figure with the short ear, traditional caped look. That being said, the long ears and shoulder point cape does give a much more menacing look to Batman and can be used if choosing to display him as Jean Paul Valley in the costume. Batman also comes with a bendy wire bat-line with attached batarang. This feature is spectacular as it allows for even greater range of display options. Batman also comes with six pairs of hands: one pair of fists, one pair of trigger finger/gripping hands, one pair of cape gripping fists, one pair of open/grasping hands, one pair of relaxed hands, and one pair of flat Karate/swimming hands. Lastly, there is a separate cowl piece that can be used to show him without the cape. There is a specific scene in Detective Comics Vol. 1 #663 in which Batman is swimming through a flooded tunnel that can be recreated with the accessories in this figure. The pose is actually shown on the back of the figure box. I do appreciate the options for posing that the accessories offer but feel like a couple of extra batarangs would have been excellent additions.

Appearance: 10/10

For me... this is the absolute perfect iteration of Batman. Having it in hand, it looks even more amazing than the promotional pictures. While I wouldn't have minded seeing a small black outline around the yellow oval, his chest emblem is sculpted in and the paint apps are incredible. The grey is dark and could have leapt off the comic page, while the blue areas and yellows are deep and rich. I was impressed with how closely the cloth cape blue matched the plastic blue. The difference is there but is very subtle. I'm also very pleased with the hint of wash over the figure. This gives depth and shading to the costume, both grey and blue areas. The head sculpts convey the menace of an angry Batman, with the longer eared version being especially scary. Even the joint breaks in the design don't really detract much from the look as the richness of the colors draws the eye to the overall look. The sculpted musculature is really on par with how the character looks in the comic books. He's well built, but not overly bulky. Action poses only serve to enhance the overall aesthetic of the figure making this, for me, the best-looking Batman figure in my collection.

Articulation: 8.5/10

I am an unabashed fan of Mafex engineering and while this figure is no exception, I do have a few small issues. Starting with the head... each sculpt can turn side to side and has some limited up/down range because of the sculpted cape pieces and the extra cowl piece. Those plug into ports on his upper chest and back, which limits the range of the double ball peg plugged directly into his body. There is a blue neck piece which has range of movement, but without the cape pieces plugged in, the holes are a glaring ugly weakness. With either cape on, the shoulder rotation is limited. Without the cape, the arms will rotate 360 degrees. His arms can be raised to a decent T pose, however, the butterfly joints really don't offer significant forward/backward rotation. The bicep swivels work fine and the elbows bend in very deeply. All of the hands can rotate and hinge on the wrist pegs. The upper torso joint has reasonable forward and backward crunch. However, bending back too far can lead to some ugly gapping. Also, be careful when rotating the torso to not scrape the paint. I have been lucky so far, but have seen reviews in which the reviewer scuffed the paint on camera. The lower torso can also twist and offer additional crunch range, but again runs the risk of being scraped on the belt. His legs are on drop-down hips, which allow for a solid split and reasonably high forward kicks. The hidden swivel at the hip joint does allow for some minor upper thigh rotation. The knees are double jointed and bend very deeply and the ankles hinge very well, with pivot designed to rotate the ankle inward. There are toe hinges which are sturdy and can support Batman's weight, when balanced properly. I wish the head had a bit better range and that the torso wasn't so susceptible to paint scrape. If those conditions were met, this score could have been over 9, easily.

Affordability: 9/10

Import figures are not cheap, but when you get superior quality, great accessories and fantastic range of motion, are worth it. I got this from BBTS for $109.99 and Bane will be released next month for about $10 more. I have him on order and can't wait to pose these two together.

Overall, this figure was so worth the wait. I really can't recommend it highly enough as a must have in your Mafex or Batman collection. So, to that end, I'm very pleased to give the Medicom Mafex #213 Knight Crusader Batman:

9.25 out of 10 ToyBoxes

This may not be a perfect Batman figure, but it's darned close! I may be a bit biased and though I tried to be objective, I have to admit that I really like this figure an awful lot. If you are a fan of Mafex in general and/or Batman in particular, don't let this one get away from you. Thank you, as always, for your support! Until next time... GEEK OUT!!!


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