Batman: The Animated Series had a really kick-butt toyline back in the 90s. There’s a ridiculously huge amount of choices even though the series only had a dozen or so regular cast members, mainly because 90% of the figures were simple – yet totally awesome – variations on Batman himself.
If it were up to the 10-year old me, I would have bought them all (except for Riddler, because eff that guy.) However, much like the protagonist of most indie films being presented at Cannes, 10 year old me was born into a poor family and raised by parents who believe that a kid should save up for the luxuries that he wants. I was only able to buy action figures by diverting my lunch money towards toy purchases.
It wasn’t much, but after a couple of years of skipping lunch, I was able to acquire a dozen Batman: The Animated Series action figures and peptic ulcer. Here are the 6 I liked the most:
#6 Crime Solver Nightwing
This is from a different/newer iteration of B:tAS (The New Batman Adventures), but I have always liked Dick Grayson as Nightwing over his tenure as Robin, so I’m including this one. It’s also worth noting that it has a functional yet completely useless accessory: a magnifying glass. Look out crime, Nightwing’s gon’ make you look fat!
#5 Ground Assault Batman
This Batman sort of reminds you of the Green Goblin due to the shape of his “Motorized Turbo-Powered Ground Jet!” As the name implies, it’s more of a Bat-segway than a hoverboard. But two things make this kick all sorts of action figure butt – first is that it launches a battleaxe (or should I say Bat-Axe!) from the front, which Batman can also carry as a melee weapon. Second, all you need to do is use your fingers to cover the letters “ault” in the packaging and it instantly becomes a great conversation piece for preteen boys.
#4 Sky Dive Batman
You can laugh at the orange suit as much as you want, but this is one of the few examples of a toy that literally does what it’s supposed to do. Turbo Jet Batman doesn’t really fly, Mr. Freeze’s Firing “Ice” Blaster is just a water squirter, and EFF that Riddler figure. Sky Dive Batman, on the other hand, comes with an honest-to-goodness working parachute. You can throw it from any height and it will gently fall to the ground before being snatched by the family dog and buried god knows where.
#3 Combat Belt Batman
This is so simple, it hurts. It’s got a bunch of accessories that are decorative at best, but sometimes what you really need is simple. The figure itself is modeled after the one you see in the show, making it ideal if you’re trying to reproduce scenes from the show – you don’t want to do it with an orange or golden Batman. You want the standard gray suit.
If you’re buying Batman action figures for playing, you can’t spend everything on Batman. Because it’s going to be a very boring play session if you’ve got an army of Batmen and no one to fight. You need a villain figure. I chose Clayface because it’s the best one to have if you want your Batmen figures to fight something.
The Clayface figure shoots a spiked ball out of its hand, but the true value of the toy is in the fact that it is modeled after Clayface. This means you can get Batman to fight just about anything in your house – from LEGO Blocks, to G.I. Joes and even Barbie Dolls – and you’ll still have a logical explanation: it was Clayface all along! If you have a spare can of Playdough around, then you have the means to make the Clayface figure even more awesome.
#1 Bruce Wayne
The Bruce Wayne figure, as the name indicates, is just Bruce Wayne. His main feature is that he comes with a bunch of “snap-on” armor and a helmet+cape combo that allows him to turn into The Batman. The thing that makes this figure deserving of the top spot is that it has the one thing the other figures don’t have: the ability to take breaks.
I mean, as much as Bruce wants it, he can’t be Batman all the time. The man behind the mask has to tend to his businesses and those supermodels aren’t going to date themselves. Combat Belt Batman can’t show up on a posh restaurant as himself, and there’s no way Sky Dive Batman is going to show up in Wall Street wearing his lame orange spandex suit. You need Bruce Wayne if you want to tackle Batman’s life outside of crime fighting.
There’s also a Dick Grayson figure that does the same thing, but I chose Bruce Wayne for the top spot because the show isn’t called Robin: The Animated Series.
Image Source: Amazon