Welcome back to My Hero, where I show my work in identifying the characters in our vast collection of customized action figures! This week’s subject is a foursome of figures (our customizer loved army building) comprising the full membership of the Batman Revenge Squad from World’s Finest #175.
From Nobodies to…Costumed Nobodies
A gang of four crooks, all newly returned to the streets after a stint in jail, meet to discuss their mutual desire for revenge on the man who got them locked up – Batman! Their hatred is such that they rig the door to their secret hideout to a projection of Batman that one needs to stab in the heart to unlock it, which is a tad more extreme than a picture on a dart board. After commiserating about why they hate Batman (TL;DR: he caught them committing crimes), their leader hands out their purple-and-black riffs on Batman’s costume and leads them in their club motto: Die, Batman, Die!
These not-at-all obsessed individuals are unknowingly observed from afar by members of the similarly named Superman Revenge Squad, a gang of criminals from a hundred alien worlds that have been seeking to kill Superman since his boyhood. Which honestly doesn’t seem like something to brag about, but they do nevertheless. Their current plans could easily be fouled if the rank amateurs of the BSR stumbled into it, so they invade the Earth crooks’ hideout and propose an alliance.
The two teams join forces to insert lethal challenges into the annual (and never before seen) friendly competition between the Batman/Robin and Superman/Jimmy Olsen teams. Spoiler alert: their schemes are thwarted and all crooks, regardless of planetary origin, get rounded by up the issue’s end.
While I am endlessly amused by the premise of the Batman Revenge Squad and wish they’d made more than one appearance, the real point of interest here is the customizing work. The squad here is made up of three Batman from Toy Biz’s Batman (1989) line and one from Kenner’s 1992 Batman Returns line. Due to what I can only assume was a production quirk, as Toy Biz certainly didn’t shy away from reusing molds in the Marvel era, this means that all four BSR members have slightly different heads without any apparent swapping.
From there, it’s just a matter of repainting the figures to create the team. Our customizer’s choice of purple has more red in it than the comic version (or at least the modern recolor on DC Universe, I can’t speak to the original), though I personally prefer the contrast. The free-handed symbol on the chest is a touch goofy looking…but look at those scans above: it looked goofy in the comic too. Overall, this fairly simple repaint job comes together very beautifully.
A funny note about the costumes: in World’s Finest #175, the Batman Revenge Squad is initially distrustful and disbelieving of Anti-Superman counterparts…because they are wearing Superman costumes with green S-Shields (turns out they’re Kryptonite). Repeat: the guys in knock-off Batman costumes are suspicious that the guys in knock-off Superman costumes weren’t crooks because of their costumes. That kind of Silver Age wackiness is why these one-appearance wonders are worthy of inclusion in the Custom Action Figure collection, and why they’re My Hero this week.