When it was announced late last year that Mattel would be losing the master license to make DC Comics-related action figures, I wasn’t sure how to react. On the one hand, I had pretty much stopped buying Mattel’s offerings when they ended their DC Universe Classics line around 2012. On the other, I’ve been an avid collector of these figures ever since popular action figure sculptors the Four Horsemen gave us Zipline Batman in 2003. Of course, in the years since, I moved on — preferring more premium toymakers like SH Figuarts for my DC fix. But I couldn’t help coming back to Mattel one last time for an all-Batman wave to close out their 16-year run on the character.
Before I dive in to the figures in their final Multiverse wave before turning the license over to Spin Masters and McFarlane Toys, a brief history:
Mattel took over the Batman toy license from Hasbro/Kenner — which had been consistently producing Batman product since getting the character back from Toy Biz after the Tim Burton Batman movie. Upon receiving access to the most successful action figure brand in the world, Mattel took the unprecedented step of upscaling the figures from 4-inch to 6-inch sensing the industry-wide shift Toy Biz initiated with their Marvel Legends line a year prior. Five years later, Mattel expanded from Batman to the rest of the DC Universe and introduced DC Universe Classics in 2008. DCUC would be the most expansive offering of DC characters ever offered, even surpassing Kenner’s Super Powers figures of the early ’80s. After a popular four-year run, the company shifted from mass market retail to an online subscription-based model for a while, then abandoned the 6-inch scale altogether. After experimenting with different scales, Mattel relaunched their 6-inch figure line under the “DC Multiverse” banner in 2016, which allowed for both comics- and multimedia-based likenesses.
And now, we’ve reached the end of DC Multiverse and Mattel’s involvement with the license.
It makes sense that they’d end on a wave that was exclusively Batman related since that’s how they started all the way back in 2003. (It doesn’t hurt that 2019 marks the 80th anniversary of Batman either). The Collect and Connect figure — that is, the bonus figure you can assemble by purchasing all of the figures in the wave that include various components — that the wave is identified with is none other than Killer Croc, a Batman rogue that hasn’t been available since before DC Universe Classics was a thing.
Standing over 10 inches tall, this is a massive figure. In fact, he might be a little too big. I don’t recall Killer Croc being such a large character. That said, he is a fantastic figure. The sculpting is top notch, and once assembled, he stands as sturdy as any figure on your shelf. My favorite touch is the articulated jaw. That’s a nice detail!
The other rogue included in the wave is another one who has been on a lot of collector’s wish lists. KGBeast is not necessarily a top tier Bat rogue, but he’s one who hasn’t been made plastic very often. He’s one of the cooler figures in the assortment too.
I feel like they used a Masters of the Universe sized buck for the Beast, which is appropriate. he’s also stacked with accessories, including three blades that each fit nicely into boot holsters and into his gun-arm to turn it into a musket arm, I guess.
Interestingly enough, even though this is the Batman 80th anniversary wave, Bruce Wayne is nowhere to be found in the assortment. Instead, we get Dick Grayson under the cowl.
While this isn’t my favorite figure in the wave, it’s a great representation for the (most recent) period of time Dick took over the Bat-mantle in the comics — after the Batman R.I.P. arc. The base buck used for the figure is less bulky than Batman has traditionally been depicted, but it works the former Robin and Nightwing. I also appreciate the slight smirk on the head sculpt. That’s not something you’d get in a regular Batman figure!
Speaking of head sculpts, this one comes with an alternate maskless head and a folded back cowl, which is pretty cool. The only gripes I have with the figure are the oversized feet — seriously, it’s like he’s wearing clown shoes — and the undersized cape. He’s also severely lacking in accessories. No alternate hands or batarangs. All you get is the Collect & Connect piece (Croc’s left leg) and that’s it.
This wave is actually more of a celebration of Batman’s sidekicks than of Batman himself. In addition to Dick, we get another former Robin in the assortment in Jason Todd’s Red Hood. This is the first time Jason Todd’s antihero alias has been available from Mattel, and I’m mixed on the final results.
They don’t skimp on the alternate hands, as Todd comes with three pairs of hands, including two sets of gripping ones, though he has no weapons to grip since his guns are molded into the holsters! At least he comes with two heads (and Croc’s other leg). While it’s great to finally get a Red Hood to add to my plastic Bat Family, it would have been nice to have a more dynamic figure. It’s weird to get so many extra hands with nothing to put in them too.
Alas, Jason is not the only Robin this wave is rocking. Ladies and gentlemen, the best Robin, Tim Drake!
Okay, technically, this is Drake’s New 52/Rebirth identity Red Robin, but he’s got the classic Tim Drake colors and bo staff so I’m happy! I also really like the overall sculpt and proportions. The head sculpt to me is actually reminiscent of Kenner’s infamous Batman Returns Robin figure — which is basically a whitewashed Marlon Wayans. In addition to the staff and extra set of hands, Robin also includes Killer Croc’s left arm.
While she is technically not a Robin, Katana kind of served that purpose in the underrated animated series Beware the Batman. Here’s she sporting her revamped Rebirth costume, and while paint apps are clean, it’s a pretty spare figure. She comes with an additional hand to hold her soultaker sword, as well as Croc’s torso. Interestingly, the last time there was a Multiverse Katana figure, it was for the Suicide Squad movie and also featured a Killer Croc BAF piece.
The final “sidekick” included in the assortment is, arguably, the most important member of the Bat family and another one who has been on everyone’s wish lists. He’s also my favorite in the collection. That’s right, I’m talking about none other than Alfred Pennyworth, Bruce Wayne’s loyal butler!
You might think a butler action figure is boring. But you would be wrong! A comic-accurate Alfred is long overdue! He also comes with a trusty silver platter, a glass of water, and an extra Bat cowl. And to make it even better, Mattel included alternate heads that feature the likenesses of Michael Gough (Alfred from the Burton/Schumacher films) and Alan Napier (the 1960s TV Alfred). They even included a Voldemort head for good measure.
My only gripe with this Alfred figure is that he doesn’t scale too well with older DCUC Batman figures. In fact, that’s an issue with most of the recent Multiverse figures. He does scale really well with NECA’s 7-inch figures however!
I’ve had an up-and-down relationship with Mattel over the years. But I am sad to see them no longer make DC toys — as critical as I’ve been in the past, there’s something nostalgic about associating these two brands together. This final wave is a hell of a way to go out too. While not perfect, I can’t think of a more perfect way to go out than with the character they came in with. Thanks for the memories, Mattel!
Don’t forget that you can get your own DC Multiverse Batman 80th Wave 12 Action Figures at Entertainment Earth!