Hey all, thanks for stopping back at Dan's ToyBox. I know I've reviewed all four of these Medicom Mafex: The Dark Knight Returns figures individually but decided to have a little fun by comparing each of them and ranking them from most to least favorite. These are some of the best Batman figures I've seen to date, and I am glad that I decided to add them to the toybox!
In a dark future, where the heroes have all disappeared or are working clandestinely for the government, Bruce Wayne watches as his beloved Gotham City spirals further and further into despair. The Mutant Gang terrorizes Gotham, and the police are powerless to stop them. Harvey Dent, the reformed criminal Two Face, disappears and crime sprees bearing his unmistakable modus operandi start taking place. Though retired for ten years from his duties as The Batman, Wayne soon finds himself unable to resist the call of the night. Then, one night, during a hellish thunderstorm, unleashed on the city... The Batman is reborn! Will even he be able to stem the atrocities rising or will he, unwittingly, become a greater piece of the problem?
The seminal "The Dark Knight Returns" is one of my all-time favorite Batman tales and really redefined the character. Written and illustrated by Frank Miller (with Klaus Jansen contributing art and Lynn Varley's tremendous colors), the four-issue miniseries, published in 1986, is widely hailed as one of the greatest Batman stories ever written and I highly recommend finding a copy if you've never read it. Mafex has taken some of the greatest imagery in this comic series and translated it into some incredible action figures.
In my reviews, I admitted that it took me much longer to end up buying the first release, the black caped Batman and to this day, I still ask myself why? This is a top tier figure, and I am so impressed with how much articulation is built into such a bulky figure. Obviously all four are based on the same design and even the armored Batman shares similar elements to his costumed counterparts. I have to admit that I liked the armored figure even more than I expected to... so without further ado, here are my TDKR Batmen in order of preference.
#4: The Dark Knight Triumphant Batman (blue version).
Now, don't get me wrong, this is an excellent figure. However, my biggest complaint is that it's the wrong costume for the version they were going for. I as wrote in my review, the damage to this costume matches the damage he received in his first fight with the Mutant Leader. Unfortunately, in that fight, Batman is wearing his costume with the yellow oval around the bat symbol on his chest. This is the fight that Carrie Kelly ends up rescuing him and becomes the new Robin. Aside from that minor complaint, there is a lot to love about this figure. The paint applications are incredible, the injured unmasked face sculpt is very comic accurate and the accessories he comes with are fantastic. I just wish that he'd been in the right costume for the damage he's sporting... and that might have pushed him up a bit higher on my list.
#3: TDKR Armored Batman
For an armored, bulky figure, the articulation on this Batman is superlative! I ended up liking this one far more than I thought I was going to. It's just fun to pose around and the accessories really take this figure up a notch. I think that the unmasked, uninjured head was a stroke of genius to include with this version as you can put it on each of the others. I should take some pix with the battle-damaged face on this body at some point. The multiple shades of gray on this figure are rendered very nicely and my favorite part, the fact that you can see his chin underneath the mask gives this the most realistic look I've seen. He's just a fun figure to have and take pictures with!
#2: The Dark Knight Returns: Batman
Yes, the first one is typically the best and, in this case, set the bar for the entire line. I was absolutely astounded as to how well done this figure was. The accessories included blew me away, but most of all, I never would have imagined how much articulation engineering could be packed in a figure that is so... boxy and clunky looking. Yet here we are. The costume details, the design, the amazing, wired cape... all give this figure just an outstanding appearance and are one of the most comic book accurate figures I have ever seen. As mentioned, it took me a while to pull the trigger on this figure and I'm so glad I did because he is really an incredible addition to my display shelf.
Last, but certainly not least!
#1: The Dark Knight Returns Batman and Robin two pack: Batman (blue version.)
This is the Batman I've been waiting for. The classic yellow oval, bright utility belt, amazing accessories and just great overall appearance. My only real complaint is that it would have been nice to be able to remove the pouches from his thigh, but other than that... this is my absolute favorite Batman from the Dark Knight Returns Mafex Wave. I did question packing Carrie Kelly with him as she really wasn't around him yet, in the books, when he wore this particular iteration of the costume. (In fact, she'd have been better off packed with either the black suit or the Dark Knight Triumphant version, but that's just my two cents.) Regardless though, this figure is absolutely crisp, and I just love posing him around, getting shots of him and swapping out the different head sculpts to convey different emotions. Funny how, essentially the same figure can create different emotions.
Hope you all enjoyed my thoughts on these four amazing Batman Action Figures. Drop me a line, I'd love to hear your opinions as well As always, thanks so much for stopping by Dan's ToyBox and until next time... GEEK OUT!!!