Medicom Mafex #139 Dark Knight Returns Batman (Blue Ver.) and Robin Action Figure Reviews
Mafex continues to impress with their Dark Knight Returns line. The newest edition (#139) is the Batman and Robin two pack. Once again, Mafex has shown that the QC issues that plagued their products before are becoming a distant memory. Seeing how small this Robin figure is brought back my concerns from the Mafex Into the Spiderverse: Miles Morales figure. Are those fears justified? Read on and find out!
In a dystopian future, 10 years into retirement, Bruce Wayne finds himself called back into action as the Batman. He faces a new threat, in the form of the Mutant Gang and their insane, powerful leader. After nearly falling in combat to the Mutant Leader, Bruce is rescued by 13 year old Carrie Kelley. The young girl was one of the first people Bruce rescued on his return from retirement. Inspired by the Batman, Carrie purchases herself a Robin costume and sets out fighting low level street crime; card game hustlers and the like. Carrie soon learns that the Mutants have a big event planned and knowing that Batman will be there, she goes to the location. After dispatching almost all of the Mutants with his heavily armored Batmobile, Batman is goaded into hand to hand combat by the younger, deadly Leader. Initially things seem to go his way, but Batman soon learns that his younger, savage opponent is not so easily defeated. He suffers a severe beating from the Leader and only through Carrie’s intervention is Batman able to gain the advantage and beat the Leader. Carrie helps Batman into the Batmobile, sets his broken arm and returns to the Batcave with the injured crimefighter. Here, Batman tells Alfred that with Carrie’s help, he can end the Mutant menace, once and for all. With these words, Robin is reborn and the Dynamic Duo are reunited.
We’ve seen two offerings of Batman in the Dark Knight Returns series from Mafex. They’ve both been excellent and this one is no exception. The biggest differences here are the Bat emblem on his chest with the yellow oval and the belt pouches around his right leg. Otherwise, this is the same figure as the previous versions. Robin is definitely built on a much smaller body, so much so that it seems proportionately too small to stand next to Batman. However, when looking at the comic book art, Robin is drawn significantly smaller than Batman, which makes sense, given he’s over 6’ tall and very broadly built by the time he is 50 years of age, while she is a 13 year old teenage girl. Let’s jump into the review and see if these figures earn the coveted Triple A scoring for Accessories, Appearance, and Articulation.
As readers of this column know, I’m a HUGE fanatic for accessories. I harp on Hasbro for the minimal number of goodies they pack with their figures. I also praise them when they add more accessories than a simple extra pair of hands. So, all of that being said, you all very well know how much I love Mafex, in large part due to the accessories they include. Both of the figures in this box come with multiple accessories of their own. Batman comes with three head sculpts, a masked frowning sculpt, a masked teeth gritted sculpt, and an unmasked Bruce Wayne sculpt (this time without the injuries of the previous figure) which so remarkably resembles the artwork in the comic book that you’d swear this was the model for that work. He also has four batarangs (mine actually had a FIFTH that I discovered in the box. This immediately became the replacement for the batarang I lost from the black and gray DKR Batman!). He has the cowl accessory which fits around the unmasked sculpt neck and lastly he has five pairs of hands; 1 fisted, 1 batarang grasping, 1 relaxed, 1 open, grasping, and 1 pair of fisted, slightly open hands for holding the cape. Robin also has a fair number of her own. She comes with two head sculpts, 1 windswept hair, 1 hair combed, two slingshots, 1 loaded and ready to fire, 1 with the dangling strap and four pairs of hands; 1 pair fisted, 1 pair slingshot holding, 1 pair, slingshot pulling, and 1 pair of relaxed hands. Plus all of the hands for both figures come with sprues to keep the wrist peg holes open and store the hands easier. Both figures also come with their own stands. I know the Mafex stands aren’t liked by everyone, but I have to admit that I really enjoy mine and I’ve yet to have one break. I was really pleased with all of the accessories, especially finding the extra batarang!!! Both of these figures easily earn a solid A for accessories and all of them are very well done.
Both of these figures really look spectacular. I do have some gripes and some things I’d have liked to have seen done better, but overall I’m very pleased with their appearance. The Batman has the traditional yellow oval around the bat emblem which is sculpted on his chest. The design is fantastic, but the paint application is a bit disappointing. The black paint on the bat doesn’t reach all the edges of the sculpt, so there is a touch of yellow on the bat itself. The yellow utility belt and leg pouches are painted the same yellow, but the strap around the leg is just a bit off color from the pouches. It looks as if they didn’t get quite enough paint applications on the strap itself. I really like the shade of blue used on his gloves, mask, boots, and trunks. Even his cape, while being lighter blue, looks great with the figure. The cape also has wires down both sides and thankfully, my wires are attached on both sides of the figure, ensuring excellent posability. There is a black wash over the blue of the boots, gloves, and masks which gives them depth and shadow. The wash is also applied to his body, but I did notice on mine it’s not totally evenly applied, leaving some light gray spots in areas, which is distracting at best. Because this is the same, previously used, body, the wrinkles on the costume and bulky body design have the same great look to them. What I find most enjoyable about all three of these Batman offerings is that, though they were released in this specific order, you can see the progression of the character’s appearance and aging from the comic book echoed in these three figures, albeit in the reverse order of how they were released. I digress though. My only other gripe about this figure is that it would have been nice to be able to remove the leg pouches. Aside from that, I will say this is likely going to be my favorite of the three Batman DKR Mafex figures. Robin was a pleasant surprise. As I mentioned earlier, her very slight build was reminiscent of the Miles Morales Into the Spiderverse figure, however, unlike that figure, this one is solid. The legs and arms on this are much less delicate and I feel the joints are stronger and more reliable. The look of this figure is really nice as well. Both head sculpts are terrific and the paint apps on the hair give it depth and a lifelike appearance. I was really pleased to see that the eyes behind her glasses appear to be sculpted and not just painted on. The attention to detail required to do that is really something special! Her glasses are also really nice on both head sculpts. The black framework and clear green tinted lenses are very realistic looking and are very comic accurate. The fleshtones applied to her face, arms, and legs all match up well and look realistic enough.The costume itself has some variation in the red tones, but the yellow trim, black belt, and R emblem are applied nicely. Unlike the bat emblem, the R on my Robin is painted very well without any misapplications. I also like the greens of her sleeves, gloves, pixie boots and trunks. They match very well, though the gloves and boots do seem a bit lighter shade than the rest. Robin’s cape is a bright yellow and is also wired. Sadly one of my wires has slipped out from under the cape collar, which makes getting good cape poses a bit more difficult. Overall, in spite of the few issues I have, both figures look very, very good and the gripes aren’t anything that I can’t live with. I will give both of these figures an A for appearance.
Two for three is always a great way to start, can they sweep it? Let’s look at the articulation on these two. Given that we’ve seen Batman twice before, both reviewed previously in Dan’s Toybox, there isn’t anything surprising about his articulation. The head is on a ball peg as is the neck which allows for great upward and downward looking movement. Side to side movement is unhindered and easy to use and all three heads have some tilt/wobble to them. The tightness of the cowl accessory around the unmasked sculpt neck does impede movement a little, but not terribly. The shoulders are on beautiful butterfly joints which allow for a wide range of movement, forward, backward, T poses, and full rotation. However, my left shoulder butterfly was very loose, which required some tinkering to minimize. The biceps swivel and the double jointed elbows bend in nicely, but are limited due to the bulk of the bicep muscle. The wrist pegs hinge and pivot, allowing for easy movement with all the hands. Batman has an upper and lower diaphragm joint which allows for some decent crunching forward when both are used. The upper joint allows for some swivel, and side to side tilt. The waist also pivots and the floating belt moves enough to not hinder movement. Both legs are on drop down hips, but mine were really tight (thanks in part to a small piece of the plastic wrap they use to protect the figure that was stuck inside.) Once I removed it, the legs began to move easier. They can kick forward and have a nice hidden upper thigh pivot. He can do a semi decent split, but I didn’t want to push it too far. His knees have nice double joints which bend in relatively well and his ankles hinge and pivot beautifully. He also has the typical Mafex toe articulation which functions well.
Due to her size, I was very concerned that Robin would be as delicate as Miles and I was wrong. She is sturdy and I haven’t had any of the joint problems that plagued the other figure. Robin’s heads also sit on a ball peg and turn nicely. She can look down, but due to the collar sculpt and the back of her hair, upward looking is limited. Her shoulder butterfly joints don’t work quite as well as Batman’s and her arm rotation also feels tighter and more limited. Her bicep swivel works well and her double jointed elbows bend in very well. The wrist pegs will also swivel and hinge well and the interchangeable hands are very easy to work with. Robin’s crunch and diaphragm joint aren’t the greatest as she’ll only bend forward a minimal amount. She can turn and tile nicely and the waist swivel/joint works very well for tilting and crunching. Sadly, her leg movement is hindered by the costume sculpt. She can kick forward to a degree, really can’t do much in the way of splits and has limited upper thigh pivot. The double jointed knees do bend very well and her pixie boots hinge and pivot with excellent toe articulation. All things considered, I wish the articulation was a bit better on both figures, but that isn’t enough to stop them from getting their A for articulation.
Once again, we have received an excellent offering from Medicom Mafex in the form of their Dark Knight Returns Batman (Blue Ver.) and Robin two-pack. The accessories, appearance, and articulation are all that we’ve come to expect from Mafex and do not disappoint. The biggest concern, for most buyers, will be price. These are import figures and as with all Mafex, do not come cheap. This set came in at just under $150 and is still available for purchase. Initially I felt this price to be very prohibitive, but the typical Mafex figure can be anywhere from $85 to $100, so getting two figures with all the accessories and great aesthetics for the equivalent of $75 each isn’t a bad deal after all. They earn a solid 4 out of 5 Toyboxes! You can find these and other Mafex figures at www.bigbadtoystore.com. Thanks for checking out the toybox and, until next time… Geek Out!