DC Collectibles’ Lee Bermejo Signature Series Batman and Superman Are Noel Joke [Review]
The DC Collectibles Designer Series has been home figures based on the art of some of the publishing arm's biggest stars like Darwyn Cooke, Amanda Conner and Greg Capullo. There have been a number of statues that have featured the stylings of those artists, and many more, but only a select few have been given the privilege of having their own individual action figure lines. Lee Bermejo is the latest to join such rarefied air with a Batman and Superman delivered in his gritty style. It's almost a shame the rest of the line was already canceled.
To this point, many of the Designer Series figures across the line have been quite good. DC Collectibles' designers have managed to really hone in on the specifics of these artists' personalities and stylistic quirks to deliver some remarkable figures in the past year. That holds true here for Bermejo's designs, which are based on the versions from his graphic novel Batman: Noel.
Lee Bermejo doesn't have a style you'd immediately think would work for poseable figures. Statues? Model kits? Oh yeah, for sure. He's got a very detail-oriented vision, with a lot of ink wash that comes across really well on a page. Translating that to a static pose isn't something too challenging as far as DC Collectibles has shown in the past, but breaking up that dynamism with articulation can often lead to poor results. It happened with a few figures the Capullo and Cooke Designer Series figures, through no fault of the artist or sculptor. Sometimes the printed version just isn't meant for three dimensions. That's a tiny bit true with the Bermejo figures, though both Batman and Superman are fairly successful throughout.
I do believe the Batman is a better figure than the Superman, largely because the Dark Knight trends towards realism a little bit better than the Man of Tomorrow. There's more room to show off some of Bermejo's costume detailing, which is there in spades. Sculpted by Erick Sosa, a legend in the collectibles scene, every nuance of Bermejo's art is brought to life with supreme accuracy. Thanks to DC Collectibles including a smidgen of concept art on the rear of the box, you can see just how ornate Bermejo's concepts were, and how closely Sosa was able to match the comic artist's intensity.
From head to toe, there's not much to dislike at all, from the sculpted tailoring of Batman's body armor to the grim visage beneath the cowl. The only place where it feels like the design got the better of the execution is in the cape, though it's an even bigger issue with Superman. Batman's cape is sculpted in motion, which would be fantastic for a statue, but in the soft-but-not-very-pliable plastic it's cast in for the figure, Batman just looks stuck. It looks like he fell into a pool with the cover on and decided that would be how his cape would look forever. It's not my favorite sculpted cape, but at least on Batman it doesn't impact his ability to stand. With Superman however, the cape is a tremendous nuisance.
Superman's costume doesn't have quite as many details in the manufacturing, but that doesn't mean Bermejo or Sosa skimped on the details. Every wrinkle and fold is rendered, giving Superman a lifelike appearance. It did always bother me that his action figures often featured him dressed impeccably, with nary a flaw in his blue suit. This Superman is slightly more believable, if a little muted in his colorway than I would have liked, and it does wonders to give the otherwise plain figure some personality. Except for that cape. Having it appear to be flowing in the breeze is cool and all, but style shouldn't come over functionality when it comes to an action figure. The cape throws off Superman's balance too much, and makes it nearly impossible to have him stand without some assistance.
Cape complaints aside, these figures do an amazing job representing Lee Bermejo. We've got countless other Superman and Batman figures available if you're looking for something more traditional. That's not really what the Designer Series is about. It's about giving collectors and fans a physical representation of their favorite characters from their favorite artists. In that way, these figures a success. It's a shame the rest of the planned figures for this set may never see the light of day though, as the Lex Luthor and Green Lantern prototypes were just as impressive, if not more.
The DC Collectibles Designer Series: Lee Bermejo Batman and Superman figures are available now for ~$25-30 each. These figures were provided by DC Collectibles for review.