DC Collectibles Dark Nights Metal: The Red Death review – Batman-News

Rocking into our world from the pages of DARK NIGHTS: METAL comes the fastest and deadliest man in the Dark Multiverse—the Red Death! A menacing mash-up of Batman and the Flash, this Dark Knight came about when a once-noble Caped Crusader stole the Speed Force from the Flash hoping to prevent tragedies in the past. This transfusion of heroes produces a sinister speedster with bats instead of lightning emanating from its body during velocity bursts. The high-speed horror is cast in polyresin, allowing for rich details—like the cascade of Speed Force-summoned bats—to emerge in the final product.

Based on the art of Greg Capullo

Sculpted by Djordje Djokovic

Limited to 5,000

Measures approximately 8.2″ Tall

$90.00 US • On Sale November 2019 from DC Collectibles

In Dark Nights: Metal, our heroes learn that everything you dread splits off into its own dark universe where the fear you imagined becomes reality. And when Bruce Wayne shunned the terrible thought of torturing The Flash in order to tap into the Speed Force, the world of The Red Death was formed. This evil Batman’s backstory was not terribly interesting, and Capullo’s design for the character, while certainly badass, looks a little too much like the already-established DC character, The Black Racer. However, we’ere not here to judge the character, we’re here to assess the quality of his statue, so let’s get to it!

I’ll be approaching this review from two different directions. To start, you’ll get a “First Impression,” which is a quick overview with some anecdotes from my own experience showing the statue off in my home. Then there’s the “Scrutinized” section which goes into more detail about the paint, sculpt, assembly, packaging, etc. etc. That portion of the review is for anyone who is on the fence about dropping $85 smackers on this collectible, and needs to know all the particulars. Simply put, if you can make it through the nitpicky Scrutinized section with your enthusiasm for the product still intact, you can go out and buy the collectible with confidence.

First Impression

Honestly, most people who see my collection of Evil Batmen are immediately distracted by the awesomeness of The Devastator. But when they finally calm down and start inspecting the other corrupt knights, they comment on the sinister Batmen in the following order: Dawn Breaker, The Drowned, Murder Machine, Merciless, and, lastly, The Red Death. I wish I had a more amusing anecdote for this one, but I don’t. Sometimes, they’ll state the obvious, “This is Evil Flash-Batman, I take it?” or they’ll ask “The bats flying off him are neat, why does he have bats and the rest don’t?”

Red Death certainly has an intimidating look, but he’s missing an element that makes him as over-the-top as the other exaggerated amalgamations that make up this set. So far, he’s failing to engage my guests and spark their interest in hearing about the events of Dark Nights: Metal. Everyone wants to know the backstory behind each of the other Batmen– The Drowned’s origin story is by far the most requested. Unfortunately, I haven’t been asked once for Red Death’s bio. He’s clearly a cool customer, but according to my guests there’s nothing about him that stands out as being particularly outlandish and worthy of further exploration. Folks seem to appreciate the ensemble for its weirdness and Red Death appears to be the straight man. I suppose the equally stoic Merciless gets a pass because he’s so shiny.

Scrutinized

Red Death comes in the same style of box as the rest of the Evil Batmen released by DC Collectibles so far, but his packaging is far more slender than the most recent releases like Devastator. If you’ve already seen the box for The Dawn Breakers, you have an idea of this box’s proportions. Red Death is sealed within a Styrofoam shell that you’ll have to cut into at the four scotch-taped segments. Right away you’ll notice that the statue is comprised of a body and the octagonal base with bat-pentagram etching you’ve come to expect from the Evil Batmen lineup, but the eye-catching bats are missing. The bats are, in fact, formed from two separate pieces of “branching” plastic. The black plastic swarms attach to the back of the figure in drastically different ways, though. The right branch sports a magnet that snaps into place on Red Death’s back in an incredibly satisfying way. The left branch… Well, the left branch features a long but thin metal pin at the end of it and you’re supposed to insert the pin into a small hole that’s been drilled into Red Death’s left forearm. There are no instructions included for any of this assembly.

Now, let’s take a step back and look once again at the images on the outside of the box. Keep those photos in mind, and then look at the official promo video for the statue…

It’s quite exceptional, this figure showcased on the box and in the video. It has bats bursting from several of its body parts, and those winged creatures are all trimmed in crimson to match the accents of Red Death’s outfit. The Red Death looks outright unstable, like the bat-speed-force energy is hemorrhaging from every flexed muscle.

Unfortunately, the Red Death statue that is on the market falls short of those promising shots of the early prototype. Here’s a close-up look at the statue I received:

Red Death’s body looks fine. I love the musculature of the sculpt, and the raised right foot that looks like Red Death is still coming to a complete stop. The paint job is also quite good, at least it would seem to be, given the nature of the villain. The character’s costume/armor is erratic– melted plating here, spikes and ringed blades protruding there… There’s nothing about this racer that should be clean and neat to my eyes. Even if there was some bleeding in the paint here or there, it would look right at home in the charred, smoldering motif of Red Death’s overall design. I’m pretty well satisfied with Red Death’s body, but I do wish that the folks at DC Collectibles had gotten more playful with this statue. It would’ve been awesome if, like Devastator, they had altered his base. Devastator crushed his platform underfoot, but I think it would’ve been sweet if we saw skid marks or debris on the ground around/behind Red Death. It would have created a better sense of motion and made him feel more alive. Since it’s a Dark Knight with Speedster powers, he should really look the most energetic of the group– and those bats we saw bursting from every sinew of the prototype would’ve conveyed precisely that. But the production model is lacking in the following ways:

  1. The bats do NOT feature red accents that make each individual wing stand out from the swarm.
  2. The pin found at the end of the left bat-branch does not fit securely in Red Death’s forearm. It’s loose and hangs way short of where it was intended to be. I had to super glue mine into place, otherwise it would have never looked right.
  3. We are missing bats exploding from: the right shoulder, right calf, right buttock, and mid-back, We’re missing 4 bats.

In most cases, it’s okay for a product to not look exactly like the prototype. We get it, sometimes original elements are not cost effective or they break too easily in the manufacturing process. But this statue is missing way too many details that made the prototype great, and it features a flawed accessory that cannot be posed properly without making your own modifications. I am disappointed in the finished product, and I think that others who buy it expecting the same statue that’s on the box or in the promo video will feel the same way.

Overall

If you’ve been collecting the entire set, you’re pretty much pot-committed at this point to buy this statue. And I wish I could tell you folks that it’s just as good as the rest, but Red Death falls short. I recommend that anyone looking to collect the entire set of Evil Batmen by DC Collectibles wait until the $85 price of Red Death drops by 20% or so. It’s missing around 20% of the details that are shown on the box art, so that seems fair. Of course, I might be blinded by my own expectations after seeing the promotional images for about a year. After all, anyone I know who has seen the statue without prior knowledge of the prototype has not complained about the overall quality of the figure. But personally, I think the missing bats, missing red trim on the bats we did get, and the poorly designed pin/socket feature hurt this piece enough that I cannot recommend it at full-price. It’s a shame, too. The rest of the Dark Nights: Metal line has been absolutely outstanding so far.


DISCLAIMER: Batman News received this collectible from the manufacturer for the purpose of review.

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