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The Essential Batman! Reviewing McFarlane Toys: Knightfall Batman Action Figure!

Get ready to be blown away by the McFarlane Toys Knightfall Batman action figure! This remarkable collectible pays homage to the iconic Knightfall storyline and delivers an exceptional experience across all categories. From its stunning appearance and improved articulation, this figure truly raises the bar for action figure enthusiasts. For those of you who are regular readers, you know I'm not a big collector of McFarlane figures, but this Batman was a must have, as is the upcoming Tim Drake Robin.

In a year-long run from 1993-1994, DC gave their readers a new, more violent Batman. This was a response to all of the new more violent "anti-heroes" that were being developed by other companies. The idea was to show that the traditional Batman was still a much better hero than what other companies were coming up with. This is, personally, one of my all-time favorite Batman story arcs. Beginning with the lead in stores: Vengeance of Bane and Sword of Azrael, we are introduced both to the man who would break the Batman and the "hero" who would replace him. In Knightfall, Bane... a genius criminal with a body enhanced by a super derivative of the Venom Steroid sets out to methodically destroy The Batman. Bruce Wayne, already dealing with mental burnout and physical exhaustion is put to the test when Bane unleashes the Arkham inmates on Gotham. Even in his debilitated state, Batman sets out to recapture the escaped villains, with each encounter further weakening the Dark Knight, both physically and then mentally. Bane watches as Batman is run ragged through this gauntlet of evil, waiting for the right moment to strike. After Batman saves Gotham's mayor from the Joker and Scarecrow, he ends up facing each of Bane's three henchmen. First up is the brute, Trogg, who Batman manages to overcome using the tools in his utility belt. Next up, the deadly assassin, Zombie. Batman also beats him, through some subterfuge and the clever use of his cape and cowl. Finally, Batman faces Bird. This fight is purely physical, with Batman at the end of his rope and losing control, he beats Bird and screams at the thug, demanding to know who Bane is. Batman makes his way to the Batmobile and somehow manages to get home to the Batcave. He wearily makes his way up the stairs to Wayne Manor only to be confronted by Bane himself. The villain had deduced Batman's secret earlier and now, lay in wait in Wayne's home. Pulling his cowl back into place, Batman launches himself at Bane, but this fight isn't in his favor. Bane, already in great physical shape mercilessly pummels the hero, taking the fight down into the Batcave. He mocks and taunts the Dark Knight to fight back, demanding Batman scream his name and beg for mercy... instead, Batman tells Bane to "go back to hell." At this point, Bane seeing himself triumphant lifts Batman above his head and slams the hero down across his knee, breaking Batman's back and his will. The entirety of the Knightfall/Knightquest/Knight'sEnd story ran over a year through the titles but lasted roughly six months in comic continuity. If you've never had the chance to read this amazing story, you can find it collected in omnibus form and in multiple graphic novels, encompassing all of the individual books.

Without further ado, let's dive into each category and see just how impressive this figure really is.

Accessories: 7/10

The included accessories are a testament to McFarlane Toys' dedication to detail. With a pair of fierce fists ready for combat, a pair of item-holding hands for versatility, and an intricately designed batarang, the figure comes prepared for any action-packed scenario you can imagine. Additionally, the figure comes with the black disc stand familiar to McFarlane enthusiasts and a collectible card, featuring artwork from Kelley Jones. These accessories not only enhance playability but also allow for creative display options that capture the essence of Knightfall Batman perfectly.

Appearance: 9.5/10

The visual impact of this figure is simply jaw-dropping. McFarlane Toys has gone above and beyond to capture every nuance of Knightfall Batman's appearance. The sculpting work is outstanding, with attention paid to every muscle, crease, and contour of the suit. The cape is a soft rubber and has just enough flow to it, that it evokes some appearance of movement. I would have loved to have seen this figure with a cloth, wired cape though. That being said, the cape is flexible enough to help with poses. This is, by far, the best-looking Batman figure that McFarlane has turned out. The look is evocative of Graham Nolan, Jim Aparo, and Neil Adam's work on the books. Even more impressive are the new wrist and ankle joints. The design of both disguises the old ugly ball joints by giving them sculpted wrinkles and making the design smooth and more physically accurate. The paint applications are incredibly clean, giving the figure an exceptional look. Perhaps, the only improvement I can think of would have been to make the gray a tad darker, but even so, this is the definitive Batman figure and I tip my hat to the design team at McFarlane toys for crafting such an incredible looking figure.

Articulation: 7.5/10

Even though there is a great deal of improvement with it, articulation is still the weakest point for McFarlane. The head turns easily, side to side and can look upward, to a tiny degree. The shoulders have limited range butterfly joints, but will raise out to a great T pose and can fully rotate 360 degrees. The bicep swivel works fine and the double-jointed elbows can bend fully in. The new wrist joints are based on the old design, but thanks to the new sculpt blend much better to the body and still retain full functionality. The torso joint is disappointing though, as with all McFarlane crunches, there is little forward movement available. It can lean back quite a bit though, making those "back breaking" poses easier and the ab sculpting is retained throughout the entirety of the lower torso. This upper joint also allows for twisting and side to side crunches. The "diaper" is smaller too, which allows for greater leg movement. He can do reasonably good splits, but the legs can't quite reach 90 degrees when kicking forward. There is a bit of hidden thigh swivel, though it's somewhat limited. The knees are double-jointed and can bend in fairly deep, though not enough to bring his heel to his back. There is no shin swivel. The ankle joints are also sculpted to improve the sight lines and smooth transition from shin to foot and they work beautifully with an impressive up/down hinge as well as solid ankle pivot. The toe joints are articulated and sturdy enough to pose the figure with.

Affordability: 8.5/10

In terms of value for money, the McFarlane Toys Knightfall Batman figure delivers. If you can find one at retail price, you'll pay $19.99 as I did on the Game Stop website. I'm still blown away by the fact that McFarlane Toys can continue offering figures at a significantly lower price than Hasbro, but with more attention to detail and care in craftsmanship. If McFarlane ever steps up the engineering in articulation, or adds more accessories, I feel they'll take an even larger market share of the collector's wallet.

Overall, the McFarlane Toys Knightfall Batman action figure is a tour de force that encapsulates the essence of the Dark Knight from one of his most iconic story arcs. With a plethora of accessories, an awe-inspiring appearance, excellent articulation, and a reasonable affordability factor, this figure earns a well-deserved rating of:

9 out of 10 ToyBoxes

McFarlane Toys has delivered a standout collectible that will undoubtedly become the centerpiece of any Batman fan's collection. Prepare to be thoroughly impressed by the attention to detail and craftsmanship that this figure embodies. Until next time... GEEK OUT!!!

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