Seems like it wasn’t that long ago that Funko snagged the license to create a toy line I had wanted since I was a little kid – 3.75″ scale figures based on the 1966 Adam West Batman series. You’d have to understand my kid brain simply not processing that Batman – one of my favorite things to watch on TV, right up there with Battle Of The Planets and Star Trek – was not a “new” show. I didn’t understand the lack of action figures for it when I was a kid. After all, Star Wars was turning every character who got half a frame of screen time into a figure. Why should Batman be any different? And Mego’s Pocket Heroes line, while it at least gave me a strangely bemuscled Batman and Robin (and Superman!), light years away from Adam West’s dad-bod vision of the man in the cowl, wasn’t that great.
It wasn’t until I was doing my own dad-bod thing that Funko came along and rolled out a line of Batman ’66 figures – along with a Batmobile, which was the only way to get Robin – in that scale. And they were great! There were some grumblings from the fanbase that the assortment of villains – King Tut, the Bookworm, Mr. Freeze (in both Otto Preminger and George Sanders varieties!), and Catwoman – wasn’t exactly the royalty of Bat-baddies. Funko said that the big bads – you know, the Joker, the Penguin, the Riddler – and Robin would be in the second wave. And then they seemed to forget to promote the first wave, because they’re kind of notorious for pushing vinyl Pop figures at the expense of just about any other product category. It was a sad single-wave collection – great figures, terrific likenesses, and a cool vehicle to go with them – that never quite lived up to its potential.
All images courtesy Mezco Toyz
Now another action figure maker seems to have picked up on that wasted potential, picking up the 3.75″ action figure license for Batman ’66 for itself: Mezco Toyz has revealed an all-in-one package that corrects nearly all of the deficiencies present in Funko’s line, complementing it and correcting for it in just about every way that matters. Packaged in a box that includes a giant Wayne Manor/Batcave double-sided diorama, it’s a set of seven 3.75″ action figures with copious accessories and a new take on the classic 1966 Batmobile. It’s not a cheap package, sure, but just about everything that anyone wanted from that vaporware second wave of figures can be found here. So let’s go over what’s in the box:
Characters we already had: Batman, Robin, and Catwoman were available in Funko’s line, and with nine points of articulation too, so don’t chuck those out the window just to pre-order this. Mezco Toyz has gone above and beyond to ensure that there are features and accessories that Funko didn’t think of – swappable heads so that Batman and Robin can also be Bruce and Dick without their masks (maybe save those for 2022 or so, though, right?), “POW!” and “BAM!” word balloons that can be attached to their hands for absolute authenticity to the TV series, batarangs, a Bat-Shield, Bat-communicators, and even a handy can of shark repellent because, well, you never know. Catwoman also has a maskless swappable head, a golden cat statue, and a tranquilizer gun.
All images courtesy Mezco Toyz
Characters we still wanted: It would be so easy to focus on the rogues’ gallery of characters promised, but never delivered – Joker, Riddler, the Penguin, each of them with swappable heads (except for the Joker), Penguin has two umbrella props, the Riddler can clutch a freshly-purloined bag of cash, and a picture frame to slam over the heads of the Caped Crusaders in a fight because, honestly, when did that not happen? But the real gem among the new figures is none other than Mr. Alfred Pennyworth. Swappable head? Sure. But have you considered the possibility of putting Alfred’s head on Batman’s body? Because that’s something that actually happened in the show.
Batmobile with more Bat-gadgets: The Batmobile lives again, but now with a retractable buzzsaw accessory (activated with a button on the windshield) and a “flame” that can be attached to the rear of the vehicle.
The Batcave: Don’t write this off just because it’s mostly card stock instead of plastic, because it’s kind of beautiful – the Bat-reactor in the background, three-dimension Bat-Computer consoles, and – yes – the Bat Poles. And yes, Batman and Robin can slide down them. A turntable is built into the floor for the Batmobile, as per the set of the show itself. The only thing missing is the Giant Lucite Map of Gotham City – surely someone with a 3D printer and a working knowledge of building tiny LEDs into something is about to make a fortune on Etsy.
The Bottom Line: Is it a good value? If the figures were individually packaged, they’d probably run $12-$14 each, putting you just under the $100 mark. Funko’s Batmobile box set ran in the neighborhood of $40 when newly released. This is before the accessories, extra heads, or the whole freaking Batcave. Oh, and the stands for each figure – did I mention those are included too? My bad. It’s not a bad deal.
Hopefully the constant mentions of what Funko did or didn’t do with the Batman ’66 license doesn’t steal the thunder of Mezco Toyz’ frankly stunning announcement of their new set, but it’s kind of the elephant in the room: business was left unfinished. This new set, plus a collection of what was already available, adds up to about as much of a 3.75″ Batman ’66 toy line as I ever would have expected. Anything additional from here on out – Egg Head, anyone? – is just pure gravy. Bat-Gravy.
Not cheap either, but hey, the Riddler’s got a bag of loot waiting for you the moment you open the box…and Commissioner Gordon is still nowhere to be found.