As one of the most celebrated Batman stories of all time, The Dark Knight Returns has influenced a generation of fans with its grim and gritty portrayal of a hero pushed to every last limit. There have been collectibles and figures throughout the years that pay tribute to Frank Miller, Klaus Janson and Lynn Varley's seminal piece, but none have done it in quite the same way as Mezco's new One:12 Collective version.

Mezco's no stranger to the action figure game, but with the One:12 Collective, the company isn't just hoping to take things to a whole new level, it's also hoping to give fans versions of iconic characters we haven't seen done in this format before. The six-inch figure market is heavily saturated, but what sets the One:12 Collective apart is all in the details. That, and impeccable tailoring.

Batman is big. This is especially true of the hulking beast of a man the elder Bruce Wayne has become in The Dark Knight Returns' future. Upon taking Mezco's Batman out of the box, the heft of the hero is immediately noticeable. Typically, figures of this size, or even of the one-sixth scale variety, don't carry so much weight. Mezco's Bat is a solid specimen. That size gives him presence and makes him rather easy to pose.




The body sculpt is entirely new, and carries the oversized hero quite well. Even through the fabric uniform, you can see the definition and structure that years of hard service on the streets of Gotham have borne. Still, even after being dragged out of retirement, the old boy's still got some spring in his step and has a nice range of motion. You can put the Dark Knight into just about any pose you desire, whether you're looking to recreate scenes from the comic itself or just want to see if Bruce still has what it takes to boogie down on the dance floor.

Where many high end figures run into trouble with articulation isn't so much in the body or sculpt itself, but in the costuming. Mezco's Batman doesn't run into any issues like that whatsoever thanks to the flexible fabric used to construct the outfit. The stitching is strong and tight, and though the seams are indeed noticeable, that's a small price to pay for having such fantastic mobility. The only thing that would have made the costume even better would have been to include a removable cape. As it stands, it's attached to the cowl, and can't be taken off at all. That's not a dealbreaker in any sense, but it would have been nice.

Additionally, Batman comes with two different heads (one stoic, one grimacing) and three pairs of hands for even more customizability. Both head sculpts suit the character perfectly, and are incredibly easy to swap out. The various hands are welcome too, though one pair has batarangs completely fixed between all the fingers. It makes for easy posing, but it renders them fairly useless beyond the aesthetic appeal.




The Mezco exclusive version we got also included a pistol, an extra boot with pistol holster, a thigh belt, grappling hook and the sniper rifle used in that one scene early into Batman's return to active duty. Various versions of the figure all have different aspects that set them apart. The Previews exclusive has the yellow symbol and light blue suit, and there was a special Toy Fair edition offered entirely in black and white. The accessories are all nice, and let you make the Batman you got completely yours. Though the guns did play a part in The Dark Knight Returns, they aren't the most familiar accoutrements for Batman, and we have a feeling that like us, most people will not use them when displaying him.

You'll also get a nice display base in the shape of the Batsignal, which can be used to stand Batman normally or in an acrobatic Air Jordan pose with the included figure stand. Fully extended, you can put some good distance between Batman and the ground, but the figure's weight does cause some issues with keeping him up in the air. Mezco also included a special attachment for dynamic cape posing, so it wouldn't just be draped lazily if you hoisted Batman up on the figure stand. It definitely offers some dynamism to posing, which is something figures with capes usually don't have, but it's also a little cumbersome to use.

Mezco set out to do something incredibly different with the One:12 Collective, and with its first entry, the line appears to be on a great path. The Dark Knight Returns Batman is tremendous piece of work, and gives us a lot of faith in the upcoming figures like Judge Dredd and TDKR's Mutant Leader. Even in a world filled with a seemingly endless supply of Batman toys, Mezco's stands out, and would be a welcome addition to any fan's collection. Provided you can still find one.



This figure was purchased for review. Both the Mezco and Toy Fair editions are completely sold out. The One:12 Collective Dark Knight Returns Batman (Previews version) can be found at BigBadToyStore for $75.99.


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