There are few action figures on the market that have as unique an aesthetic as Square Enix Play Arts. While the company does make some fairly faithful recreations of video game, movie and comic book characters, the Variants portion really pushes the boundaries of these characters. Some have maybe diverted too far from the beaten path, but Square's willingness to experiment and give us versions of Spider-Man and Batman that we'd likely never have seen otherwise is what makes them such an interesting company.

There weren't very many new Variants on hand at San Diego Comic-Con this year, as it was a fairly light showing overall for Square Enix, but the new Deadpool and Wolverine joining the existing Avengers and Spider-Man look nice in prototype form. Where Square really made a statement though was in the new Variant Batman Rogues. These mash-ups mix Batman and a foe together to deliver a whole new character, only filtered through that trademark Square Enix lens.

The first two figures in the series are Two-Face and the Joker, and though the Joker looks cool, he doesn't quite bring it in the same way the Two-Face figure does. The stoic side of Batman contrasted with the deformed half paints a gruesome, but awesome, picture of the villainous Harvey Dent if he was the Dark Knight. There's a lot of fine detail in there, from the musculature through the rest of the suit, and the paint app does some heavy lifting to differentiate all the elements clearly. It's impressive.

The Deadpool variant doesn't have much going on, but it is a well sculpted figure. Deadpool's look doesn't really afford a lot of interpretation, but Square's designers made the most of such a simple costume. Wolverine on the other hand looks rad. He's gruff, he's tough, and Square's take on Logan brings enough new ideas that help him stand out from the rest of his seven million toys. I can only hope these two are just the start of a wider X-Men wave to join the other Marvel characters.


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