In which we have too much free time on our hands
In the last few years, several companies have entered the arena with their rendition of DC’s pantheon of characters. Today, I’ll break down two of the contenders, and specifically, how the Batman figures stack up.
I’ve been a huge fan of Lego for years, but the company’s modern day sets have generally fallen into two categories; Police or Construction. Sure, there are many other sets, but they are either set in a different time period, outer space, or Harry Potter. Not much in the way of figures that you can use to relive your favorite comic moments, and for a long time no superhero related themes.
When the Spider-Man sets came along, I had hopes Lego would next take on DC. This year it did with the introduction of several Batman themed collections. These sets are pretty complex ranging from the simple Bat-dragster chasing Catwoman, all the way up to a complete Arkham Asylum. No matter what set you end up buying, there is certain to be a Batman figure in there. Interestingly, not all of the Batman figures are alike. Depending on the set, you will either get a black and gray costume, or the Tim Burton-esque black with gold oval emblem.
MiniMates have, quite simply, been a huge success, especially for Marvel fans. Much larger than the Lego figures, MiniMates allowed for easy interchangeability to create any number of new characters.
Art Asylum took an initial step into the DC universe with its C3 line. Instead of two pack figure sets, Art Asylum introduced complete play sets that included bricks for building the Batmobile, plane and more. Like Lego, there are slight variations to the costumes, which are mostly cosmetic. The most pronounced are the different type of belt and cape design. However, with the Mini flyer collection (which also included a slew of other DC Characters), a blue and gray suited Batman can be obtained.
|Size||2 inches with cowl, 1 3/4 inches without||2 1/2 inches with cowl, 2 1/4 inches without||Art Asylum|
|Points of Articulation|
|Cape||Some type of cloth material||Plastic||Art Asylum|
|Cowl||Painted forehead||Cowl covers eyes||Art Asylum|
|Price||$9.99 – $89.99||$9.99 – $49.99||Art Asylum|
|Compatibility with other sets from same company|
|Only with other 2″ figures (Marvel)||Lego|
If you like playing with small figures, then Lego should be the hands down winner. The normal Minifig size ensures compatibility with any other Lego set ever created. However, I like my figures a little bigger, and the Art Asylum Batman is a perfect size for all ages. Because of its size, it isn’t compatible with every Art Asylum figure (sorry, no Star Trek/Batman crossovers), but it does work with the Art Asylum Marvel MiniMates line.
For playability, Lego has always ranked lower on my scale for their limited points of articulation. Shoulder, neck, wrists, and legs are all that move, making dynamic posing nearly impossible. Art Asylum allows additional elbow and knee movement, which mean Batman can strike a menacing pose.
I’m not sure what Lego was thinking when they created the cowl for its figures. Instead of having eye holes completely covered and built into the headpiece, the company opted for actual holes for the eye sockets. Because of the thickness of the plastic, the figures eyes, and the cowl’s don’t line up, causing the company to have to paint a white stripe across the forehead of the figure. How lame. Art Asylum went the logical route and painted the white cowl eyes directly on the headpiece.
The cape is another sticking point for me. Art Asylum created a cape from two pieces of plastic that can be collapsed for general sulking around, or flared way out for swooping down on the enemy. Lego Batman, on the other hand, has the same lame paper type cape found in other play sets. Unfortunately, the Art Asylum cape doesn’t bend when placing the figure in a vehicle, but it beats paper any day.
The play sets and supporting cast both went to Lego. Even though Art Asylum has more offerings (by one), the shear number of bricks that come with the Lego sets outweigh anything the C3 line can come up with. Also, Lego offers more villains and henchmen in its sets than Art Asylum which has two variations of the Joker, the Riddler, and Catwoman. I’m not counting Darkseid, as technically, he is a Superman supporting cast.
Lego has always been overpriced to the point where it seems only the affluent can purchase the really big sets. The Art Asylum sets aren’t inexpensive, but it doesn’t cost nearly $100 for the C3 Batcave set.
When the dust settles, Art Asylum comes out on top by only a few points. If the company would release bricks and additional play sets, comic fans would swarm even more than they are now. If you are the type that likes compatibility with generic bricks and sets, then Lego should be the way you go.
I give the Art Asylum Batman MiniMates 4 Stars…
…while Lego Batman receives 3 Stars.