Earlier this month, DC Collectibles released the third series of DC Comics Designer Series Greg Capullo action figures. Consisting of Zero Year Batman, Batgirl, Commissioner Gordon and Two-Face, each figure in the wave was sculpted by Jonathan Matthews based on Capullo's artwork from his run on "Batman" with writer Scott Snyder.
DC Collectibles offered CBR a hands-on look at three of the figures -- Batman, Batgirl and Gordon -- for review purposes. As a result boxes were opened, toys were played with and pictures were taken!
Speaking of the boxes, DCC made sure the packaging for these figures works as a showcase. As you can see above, the wide-open front packaging clearly shows you what you're getting as a consumer, but the design also works well for personal display purposes. Meanwhile, one side of the box comes with Capullo artwork of the character while the other features the name, both of which work for those who prefer to file their toys away.
However, if you'd rather open your toys and actually play with or display them, the rest of this review is for you. It's time to open these figures up and dig right in! Though a more standard version of the Dark Knight and his Thrasher armor appeared in the previous two waves, the Zero Year model makes his presence felt this time around. From the medium-sized cowl ears down through the permanent scowl, purple gloves, utility belt and the laced-up boots, this design is all Capullo.
The bulkiest figure of the trio, Zero Year Bats also boasts the most points of articulation. DCC actually published a handy guide last summer showing each of these joints. As you can see in the diagram as well as the photos, this Batman can bend at the stomach, swivel at the hips and also has a more complex knee joint than Batgirl or Gordon. The cape's split design also allows for more posing options.
The figure comes with a swap-out right hand, as seen below, that can hold his gun or the enclosed batarang. When not in use, the gun fits snugly in the right hip holster. The gun went in and out of the hand with ease, but the batarang had a looser fit. I also admit to having some trouble swapping out the right hands. If you experience a similar problem, don't force the issue; just apply some light heat to the problem area by pointing a hair dryer at the toy or dipping it in some warm water. That should do the trick!
From Batman I moved over to Batgirl. As you can see, this is the initial New 52 design for the character as opposed to the redesign being worn in current issues of "Batgirl," but Matthews did a great job replicating the suit's paneled look in miniature form. You can see some of that detail on the upper arms and abs, but it is also continued onto the back under the one-piece cape. Some of the panel lines even act to mask the joins in the legs, which is a clever design.
On the articulation side of things, Batgirl could use a few more joints. I had some trouble finding interesting stances for her to take that wouldn't require taping or tacking her feet down. However, you could easily slide a thread through her right hand -- which is meant to hold Batarangs -- and get a pretty rad swinging pose going.
Speaking of the 'rangs, Barbara Gordon's alter ego comes with three of them. Like her male counterpart, I found getting them to stay in place in her hand somewhat challenging -- but using all three batarangs at once helps. This is all made easier by the sculpting of the right hand, which seems to be specifically made for the purpose of holding these weapons. While I appreciate that bit of sculpting on the right side, I do wish the left arm was designed differently. It flares out to the side thanks to a bent wrist in a non-threatening manor, a major difference from Zero Year Batman's balled-up fists. This is Batgirl we're talking about, she should be ready to throw down right alongside Batman!
Finally, Commissioner James Gordon enters the action figure fray. Right off the bat, I loved how the figure's head is cocked ever so slightly to the right in the same inquisitive way that Capullo draws him in "Batman." In the pictures above, you can see details like the non-removable glasses and trench coat down to the scuffed cop shoes. The coat is actually attached to the stomach area of the figure near the tie so it does not open any further than you see in the photos. Even so, the design doesn't inhibit the figure's articulation.
Unlike his superhero wave-mates, the sculpting and design of Gordon isn't meant to show off a super-suit or even the character's physicality, which is hidden behind the coat, tie and trousers. However, thanks to the included handgun and radio, Gordon can still get into his fair share of scrapes. I had zero trouble fitting the gun in his right hand or the radio in his left. In fact, of the three, I had the easiest time with Gordon's accessories.
Though the figures had a few flaws here and there -- and what figures don't -- all three do exactly what DC Collectibles intended: present a spot-on, 3D representation of Capullo's 2D art for fans to display, whether in the box or posed on a shelf.
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