This particular installment of Figure Friday has been a long time coming. About 18 months in the works by my estimate…It’s time for an Import Report with the MAFEX Azrael Batman!
Batman: Knightfall MAFEX No.144 Azrael Batman
This is only my second MAFEX figure so I’m still very much figuring out what the line is like and evaluating each figure on a case-by-case basis. I’m pleased to say that the line is still receiving an overall passing grade, which bodes well for the two other Spider-Man figures and one Nightwing figure I have on preorder with them.
I’ll get back to Az-Bats in a moment, but for a brief recap, last November I got the Ben Reilly Spider-Man figure (13 months after I ordered him…) and found it to be an incredibly solid figure and an excellent Spider-Man all-around. I had ordered the Batman figure at the same time in October of 2020 and was now looking forward to seeing their take on one of the more questionable Batman eras.
I’m not being entirely dismissive of the Knightfall story arc at all. I was more invested in Batman at the time (weren’t we all?) and the massive hype train that was building up following DC’s Death of Superman the previous year was too much for me to resist. At the time, I wasn’t really familiar with Bane as a villain, but I was familiar with Azrael as a character. An aunt of mine had given me three of the four Sword of Azrael issues by Denny O’Neil and Joe Quesada at Christmastime and I was instantly a huge fan of the avenging angel of St. Dumas.
When it was announced that Azrael was to become the NEW Batman I instantly bought in. It didn’t matter that Dick Grayson was the glaringly obvious choice to take up the cowl, this could be so much cooler. It was the ’90s and he came equipped with an awesome new costume that was some how almost entirely blades, armor, and pouches. Gotta have pouches in the ’90s.
So, it’s easy to see why I jumped at the chance to preorder this figure; it’s likely the BEST figure we’re going to get of Azrael as Batman. Hands down. I like this figure enough to hope that they’ll do a second version featuring the updated armor from later in the story arc. Mild spoilers for a 30 year old comic, but Azrael some how finds a way to add even MORE BLADES to the armor.
The figure itself is pretty good, but it’s not quite as good as the Spider-Man MAFEX I have. The articulation and sculpting are as topnotch as I had hoped for, but obviously the shoulders can’t quite have a full range of motion due to how the armor is designed. The fully wired and articulated cape more than makes up for that, however. It’s likely one of the better wired capes I’ve encountered; it doesn’t feel like it’s going to snap int two when posted and it also looks pretty darn cool on top of my bookshelf.
The joints on this figure were quite a bit looser than the Spider-Man, but not to the point of it being a problem. The figure is still in the exact same pose I left him in a week ago. The included articulated stand was a bit more difficult, since it only seems to want to support the figure at certain angles before folding under the weight of the figure. But, once I found the RIGHT way to position it I haven’t had an issues…that sounds filthy.
Finally, the accessories are kind of “ehh” I guess. For my money, the most impressive one is the interchangeable unmasked head which looks just like Jim Aparo’s Batman art. The alternate hands and batarang accessories didn’t do much for me.
Not to be outdone, McFarlane toys just announced and started shipping their own Azrael Batman, which I’m a little torn on. With the MAFEX figure I have effectively wiped out my need for any other versions of that specific character. HOWEVER, it is more a of display piece and having the McFarlane on my desk to noodle around with during the day does have its’ merits.
I think I just perfectly illustrated the thought process of a toy collector so that’s probably a good place to end it.