We’re two week into 2022 and starting off a column by proclaiming “Happy New Year” should be frowned upon. By now we all should have surrendered to the fact that time is like waves ceaselessly crashing upon the shore and that there is nothing happy about it. It’s part of the human experience and something we all must endure.
In this column about action figures I will illustrate that the start of a new calendar year is an illusion, that nothing has changed, and that both myself, and a certain toy manufacturer, have learned nothing from the past year. Batman is here too.
DC Multiverse: DC Rebirth Batman, Infinite Frontier Robin
McFarlane Toys is back at it AGAIN.
Part of the fun (?) of toy collecting is having a favorite perennial punching bag when it comes to toy companies. I submit to you, reader, that every toy collector out there has deeply held beliefs that they could do better when it comes to their favourite franchise.
It’s getting to be a bit repetitious at this point since Josh (the other half of Figure Friday) and I are apparently engaged in a never-ending tag team match, executing elbow drops from the top rope onto the prone form of the heel McFarlane Toys. A toy company who most certainly will neither notice nor care of our criticisms.
It’s maddening for a hyper-fixated collector such as myself that they’re producing toys that are almost perfect. The DC Multiverse line has style to spare and its that same style that can get in the way of some of these figures being truly great.
Both the Rebirth Batman and Infinite Frontier Robin went up for preorder this past Thursday and honestly this looks to be a pretty solid Batman figure since we’re finally starting to get away from the Dark Nights Death Metal alternate earth Batmen that have dominated the line recently. The Infinite Frontier Robin (the second Damien Wayne figure of the line so far) is impressive since its based on the character’s most recent look…which is barely a year old as of this writing.
If anything, it’s impressive that McFarlane as a toy company is able to get these characters from design to production so quickly. This is a line that is barely two years old and has already produced nearly a hundred figures. That is insanity.
Both figures, along with a gigantic Clayface, can be preordered now.
Not too long ago I wrote about my tale of woe regarding my Spider-Man 2099 figure that came incorrectly assembled (see: back-abs) and wondered if I would ever be able to track down another one. I was hesitant to order another figure blindly since I wasn’t entirely sure that I’d get another defective one.
As luck would have it, my local comic shop got a case of them in and I was able to acquire one that met with my high standards. All in all, it’s a pretty tight figure and a good representation of the character. If you’re a speculator (first off, why?) it may be worth your while to pick one up before they’re gone. The character is set to appear in the Into the Spider-Verse sequel which will most likely increase demand for any and all Spider-Man 2099 figures.
Me? I’m just happy with the one I got. It’ll do nicely until MAFEX decides to produce one which renders all previous versions obsolete.
Switching gears to the Distinguished Competition, almost TWO YEARS ago I preorder the SH Figuarts 1989 Batman through my local comic shop. I was super stoked that Keaton’s Batman was getting a decent high-end action figure (well, one that was in my price range for a change) 30 years after the summer of Bat-mania.
So I waited for it to come in. And waited.
Since I have a pal that runs a comic shop I am painfully aware of the day to day goings-on and what it takes to keep the doors open and the lights on. Sometimes, well most times, distributors do the shops dirty and orders get canceled or delayed with little to no warning. It’s a funny joke they like to play on small businesses.
Periodically, I would inquire about the status of my preorder only to be told that the shop never received notice of cancelation. Other times the answer would simply be, “Diamond, man…” and we would nod knowingly at each other. Over the summer I spotted the figure in a shop out west but I had vowed to be true to my store and was hopeful the figure would be waiting for me when I retuned from my trip. It was not.
A couple of weeks ago I was able to get a good deal online on the figure with “substandard” packaging. That means the box was not “mint” which was not a big deal for me. I’m not a mint-in-box collector, so I pulled the trigger on it.
I’m pleased to report that the figure was worth the wait. The figure is hilariously accurate, by which I mean it has NO neck articulation. The Batman of the 1989 film could not move his head side-to-side OR up and down and neither can this figure. Doubling down on this, the alternate head the figure comes with has the eyes looking to the side…which is all Batman could really do.
There’s a plethora of alternate hands and accessories and the rest of the figure is as hyper articulated as one would come to expect from the Figuarts line. I sincerely hope they decide to do a Batman Returns version at some point in the near future.