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Kenner Batman: The Dark Knight Collection 1990 Guide & Review

Kenner Batman the Dark Knight Collection was released in 1991. In 1990 the Batman license moved from Toy Biz back to Kenner. Kenner, however, decided not to focus on the movie but instead they released a line of all new figures.

The biggest problem with the initial Kenner lines were their over dependence on Batman variants, out of approx. 20 figures released by Kenner in their Batman the Dark Knight Collection line there were only 2 non-Batman figures released, and both of these were of the Joker.

This line was the first Batman line to feature Kenner’s standard 5 points of articulation. It was also the first line to introduce the concept of “Deluxe” figures and variants. 

All the Kenner Batman figures in both The Dark Knight Collection and Batman Returns lines were basically retooled and re-painted variations of the popular Super Powers design released in 1984, but without the knee articulation. 

These figures were sculpted with an open right-hand to hold his weapons or accessories and a clenched left-hand. Most of them also came with a removable cloth cape that attached around his neck with a C-clip, but these were often lost or broken and as a result most loose figures on the secondary market are missing the cape.

Even many of the vehicles in this line were re-tooled from previous Kenner lines such as Police Academy, Silverhawk and Robo Cop. 

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Kenner released two waves of figures in this line as well as a subset of Deluxe Crime Masters figures and vehicles. 

The packaging for these figures was very stylish and featured Michael Keaton as Batman on the front of the card with thew Batman Movie logo and a photo insert of the actual figure. The reverse of the backing card featured all the other figures in the series as well as the vehicles. 

These Kenner Batman figures were about 5 ½ inches in height making them shorter than the previous 6-inch figures but taller than the 3 ¾ inch Star Wars figures.

Unlike today’s figures, back then the onus was on playability, rather than collectability, so the accessories, action features and playsets etc. played an important part in the success of any given line of figures.

Kenner had a great reputation for making good, hard wearing, durable figures, and even after 30 years many of these are still in great condition.

1990  Kenner Batman THE DARK KNIGHT

o Crime Attack Batman 

o Tec-Shield Batman

o Wall Scaler Batman

o Sky Escape Joker 

o Iron Winch Batman

o Shadow Wing Batman

o Bruce Wayne

Crime Attack Batman 

The Crime Attack Batman was probably one of the most popular Batman variants that Kenner produced, probable because of his classic look and close resemblance to the movie Batman.

This Kenner Batman figure had a great face, hands and body sculpt with good detailing. With his solid black suite he had a very classic look and design, although it wasn’t based on the movie Batman it did have an uncanny resemblance to him. He also had a gold painted belt and Batman logo on his chest.

For an accessory he came with a Crime Catcher that fitted onto his armed and fired a Batarang or a claw shaped Crime Catcher device. He also had a removable black cloth cape, that clipped on around Batman’s neck with a C-clip.

His head could be fully turned round, as could his arms, but he only had articulation on the shoulders, and his legs only had limited articulation.

MOC $27:00 - $64:99 Av $40:00

Loose $9:50- $16:99 Av $10

Tec-Shield Batman

The Tech Shield Batman was the only Kenner Batman variant not re-released in the Batman Returns line in 1992. This figure had a gold armored Tech Shield suite with a black belt, gauntlets, and cowl with a Bat logo on his chest. Due to having a gold suite his usually gold belt and logo etc were painted gray.

As with the Crime Attack Batman, and the other Batman variants in this line, they were all based on the 1984 Super Powers sculpt with the only difference being the colors and accessories.

This variant came with a Tech-Shield pack, that was another re-issue from the Kenner Silverhawks line. The tech Shield pack consisted of a small turbine with a lever that could be pulled down to snap out a pair of wings for easy flight. 

Despite this already being a variant of an already released figure Kenner still were not happy and made two variations of the Tech-Shield pack. One with a gray turbine and wings and one with a gold turbine and gold tipped wings. It is thought that these were produced in the same numbers so neither is rarer than the other. 

MOC $9:998 - $40:00 Av $25:00

Loose $2:99 - $14:99 Av $9:99

Wall Scaler Batman

The Wall-Scaler Batman was also re-released in the Batman Returns line, with the only difference being the packaging.

Wall Scaler Batman had a light and dark blues color scheme with light blue armor and a dark blue removable cloth cape the was attached using a C-clip around his neck.  He also had dark blue gauntlets, belt and cowl, giving him a very classic 60s look and feel. The paintwork was well applied with little overlapping.

He came with a “Wall Scaler” backpack that could be clipped onto Batman’s back with a C-clip around his waist. The backpack fired a retractable grappling hook that could be hooked onto a builder or wall. The grappling hook was attached to the pack by a line of cord which when pulled tight Batman would climb up it and when finished with the cord would retracked back into the pack at the touch of a button.

MOC $19:89 - $34:99 Av $29:99

Loose $4:00 - $11:70 Av $12:00

Iron Winch Batman

Iron Winch Batman had a gray Bat suite with a dark blue gloves, boots, trunks, mask, boots and removable cloth cape with a C-clip. He also had a painted gold belt and Batman logo on his chest.

The Iron Winch could be attached to Batman’s arm with a C-clip and worked in a similar way to the Wall-Scaler Batman but on a smaller scale.

The “Iron-Winch” accessory came with a Batarang that was attached by a piece of cord, which due to fears of it being a choking hazard was noticeably short, thereby giving it extremely limited usability. After use, the cord could be retracted back into the device by pressing a button on the side.

Unlike many of the figures in other lines this Kenner Batman figure was well balanced and very stable so even with the “Iron-Winch” attached he could still stand unaided. 

MOC $18:00 - $34.99 Av $29:99

Loose $5:56 - $14:99 Av $9:99

Shadow Wing Batman

The Shadow Wing Batman had a solid black suite similar to that of the Crime Attack Batman with a gold belt and Batman logo. The paintwork on this figure was pretty basic and easy to apply so there is very little in the way of “errors” or bad paintwork and was therefore near perfect.

The sculpting for a late 80’s early 90s Kenner Batman figure was pretty good, especially the head sculpt, which was handmade and bearing in mind there was no such thing as real-life scan technology available then.

Unlike most of the other Batman variants this figure had a new sculpt due to his special feature. As a result, he had a new arm and chest sculpt as well as a differently designed cape.

His special feature was that when his knees were squeezed together, he raised his arms the fan out his cape like a bat spreading its week, reminiscent to a scene in the movie.

This was one of the few Batman variants in both TDK Collection and Batman Returns lines that was not a retooled and re-sculpt of the 1984Super Powers Batman figure. As a result, this was quite a popular figure. But he was also re-released in the Batman Returns line.

MOC $24:99 - $54:99 Av $29.99

Loose $9:99 - $$18:00 Av $15:00

Bruce Wayne 

The Bruce Wayne figure, also known as Quick Change Batman, used the same sculpting as the other Kenner Batman variants but with a Bruce Wayne head sculpt and a black turtleneck jumper, this is so that when he’s wearing his Batman outfit no flesh shows. The Bruce Wayne head sculpt was excellent with a lot of fine details.

The figure came with Batman’s outfit so that Bruce Wayne could easily transform into Batman. His outfitted included his boots, gauntlets (the right-hand gauntlet had a batarang sculpted into it), a chest plate (with a gold belt and bat logo) and a walkie-talkie with a spinning dial on the side.

The cowl and cape were in one piece and could easily be slipped over his head to fit it in place. In fact, so superbly detailed was this figure, that Bruce Wayne’s eyes actually matched up with the eye slits in his mask.  

His Batman outfit was easily snapped on and off making the transformation fast and easy, although his gauntlets were a bit tight and difficult to remove once on. Also, unlike the Toy Biz interchangeable armor Iron Man figures these fitted on very well and generally stay in place without interfering with his articulation.

The paintwork and detail on this Kenner Batman figure was excellent, in fact there is very little I can fault on this figure., even the boots and gauntlets were movie accurate right down to the left and right boots being “foot specific”.

This figure was one of my favourites and went well with the Batcave Command Center. There was also a variant Bruce Wayne figure in a purple turtleneck jumper that came with the Custom Coupe.

MOC $19:33 - $49:95 Av $35:00

Loose $1:99 - $18:00 Av $15

 Sky Escape Joker 

The Sky Escape Joker was the only non-Kenner Batman figure in this series, but like the Batman variants he was a re-tooled and repainted sculpt from the Kenner 1984 Super Powers line but, as with the Batman figures, without the knee articulation.

The Sky Escape Joker had pink trousers with a burgundy jacket and blue waistcoat and gloves, which was totally different to the out fit he had in the movie.

Aside from that the detail, sculpting and paintwork were all good. Even the head sculpt was very detailed and looked great except for his rather luminescent and bright green hair, all the same it was a big improvement on the Toy Biz ’89 Joker!

For accessories he came with a long, extended black plastic gun and a “Sky Escape” copter backpack for a quick escape. This clipped onto the Joker’s back by a C-clip around his waist that came with a pair of separate rotor-blades which when attached to this created a “flying” machine. The blades could also be made to spin by pushing a button on the pack.

Another feature that this figure had was that when his head was dipped into water, the Joker’s make-up would disappear to reveal the Joker’s true face underneath. However, due to the age of these figures, this feature often does not work.

Due to the fact that this was the only non-Batman figure in the series, and other than the Knockout Joker in series 2 the only villain he was hard to come by and was a very popular figure and therefore sells for premium prices on the secondary market.

Please Note: This figure had long removable coat tails that are often missing on the loose figure. This is because in order for him to sit on his motorcycle, jet or car they needed to be taken off and were therefore easily lost, he also looked a lot better without them.

MOC $30:00 - $119:00 Av $50:00.

Loose $3:95 -$14:99 (without his accessories) and $$29:99 (with his accessories)

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