Batman is easily one of the most popular characters in action figure history, with several hundred different figures of him having been produced over the years. Unfortunately, he also – with the odd exception – has tended not to change his costume in especially dramatic ways, save for the occasional switch from grey to black, or the addition and subtraction of the famous yellow oval.
Despite this obvious handicap, his popularity in plastic form is such that toy manufacturers have never been shy in coming up with wild, inventive and frequently batshit mental alternative costumes to flog to unsuspecting parents the world over. Here, then, are thirty particular favourites of ours…
1. Aero Strike Batman
Gold costumes have been a popular variant ever since Kenner took over the Batman licence shortly after the 1989 movie – so much so that you could be forgiven for thinking that he actually wore gold in the comics. This figure is actually just a reissue of an earlier one called “Tec-Shield”, but with a different accessory.
2. Arctic Batman
… while this, you’ll note, is literally just a repainting of the above. Incidentally, I don’t think I’ve ever read a story in which Batman goes to the Arctic, yet as sure as eggs is eggs, a new movie line will see the release of a new “polar” outfit.
3. Arsenal Cape Batman
I’m pretty sure Arsenal wear red and white, not orange and purple, but whatever, Bruce.
4. Lightning Strike Batman
“Batman, why have you got lightning bolts all over your costume?” “SHUT UP I JUST THINK THEY’RE NEAT OKAY”
5. Jungle Tracker Batman
Jungle camouflage: a vital tool in Batman’s war against the criminals of… the Gotham army surplus store.
6. Laser Batman
7. Deep Dive Batman
Chosen over several other bright yellow ’90s costumes by virtue of the completely superfluous extra detail that makes it look like Bruce bought this down a surf shop.
8. Fire Guard Batman
Because when you’re rescuing people from a fire, it really helps if you… blend… in… with the fire?
9. Ice Blade Batman
In which Batman is transformed into a being of PURE ENERGY and has to wear a white containment suit. Wait… what?
10. Night Hunter Batman
“THE GOGGLES DO NOTHING!”
11. Disaster Control Batman
Batman is ACTUALLY WEARING HAZARD WARNING STRIPES.
12. Neon Armor Batman
There is a lot of neon in the Joel Schumacher Batman films. None of it, however, is on this so-called “neon” figure.
13. Battle Board Batman
The sad thing about this one, meanwhile, is that it could entirely feasibly have actually come from Batman & Robin.
14. Cyborg Batman
I know cyborgs were a big deal in the ’90s, but you’d think Billionaire Bruce Wayne could have mustered up better than a crappy eye sight and a bit of metal on one of his legs.
15. Desert Knight Batman
Imagine being the kid who asked for a Batman figure for Christmas and then woke up to this thing.
16. Gladiator Batman
Sadly not a bright blue leotard worn for appearances on a Saturday night ITV game show, this is instead part of a range of “historical” possible Batman outfits. Shame, as Bruce would probably get on quite well with Ulrika Jonsson.
17. Dark Warrior Batman
Presumably they couldn’t call it “Shredder from TMNT Batman” for rights reasons.
18. Power Guardian Batman
I don’t know what time period a “power guardian” is supposed to be from, but this one’s pretty nifty, all things considered.
19. Longbow Batman
This would totally work in an Elseworlds story where it was Oliver Queen whose parents were gunned down by Joe Chill. Hell, I’m pitching that one to DC RIGHT NOW.
20. Viking Batman
Viking Batman. Let’s just enjoy those words for a moment. VIKING. BATMAN.
21. Fist Fury Batman
In which Grant Morrison gets the “hairy-chested love god” figure he’s always wanted. And with bright green jogging pants, to boot.
22. Bruce Wayne
You have to love a “quick change” figure (and you also have to love the excellent Michael Keaton likeness on this one’s packaging). What I’m less sure about, however, is Bruce’s dedication to his secret identity if he wears a bat symbol on his turtleneck.
23. Transforming Bruce Wayne
Another “transforming” Bruce figure, this time of Val Kilmer. I actually genuinely love the design of the Bat-part of this one, although that might be because it’s the only figure in this article I actually owned. Also, unlike on the Keaton figure, you “transform” Bruce by pushing his head down into his torso, meaning that this can also double as a “Decapitated Bruce Wayne” figure. Maybe he got a little too enthusiastic with those nasty looking blades.
24. Bat Attack Batman
The names are getting as stupid as the costumes by this point.
25. Fractal Armor Batman
Nope, me neither.
26. Drop Attack Batman
Just in case you thought the CRAZY was limited to 1990s movie tie-ins, here’s a Batman Begins figure to prove that it crosses all divides.
27. Battle Cape Batman
I mean, can he even see out of that thing? Dude’s not Daredevil.
28. Glacier Shield Batman
I think this is the point where, if you were Batman’s friend, you’d be seriously suggesting he get help.
29. Spline Cape Batman
Or possibly this one. “What the hell are you wearing, Bruce?” “IT’S A SPLINE CAPE, DAMMIT!”
30. Azrael Batman
This, though, has to be the most ridiculous of the lot. The helmet! The spiky cape! The bandoliers! The endless pouches! Thank Christ nothing like this ever got near the actual Batman comics, is all I can say…