In the never ending battle between DC and Marvel, there is one area where DC has won hands down: secret bases. While the Avengers Mansion is cool, it has nothing on the vast, subterranean Batcave! So while Marvel has better characters, DC definitely has better houses.
Batman and Robin are holding Poison Ivy at the Batcave. Look out! Bane has broken into the Batcave in his awesome spinning drill tank and is trying to rescue Poison Ivy. Help Batman and Robin put Bane back behind bars where he belongs!
The largest of the DC Super Heroes LEGO sets, the Batcave is a great set, but first there are the minifigures! Like almost all the sets, Batman shows up in his classic navy and gray costume (anyone else find it weird none of the sets included the black and gray costume this time around?). A repack, he’s still a great version of LEGO Batman. The paint is crisp, the cape and cowl look as right as they can at this scale.
Paired up with the Dark Knight is the Boy Wonder – Robin! Another repack, Robin is identical to the figure in the Dynamic Duo Funhouse Escape. Wearing his modern costume that skips the booty shorts and slippers, Robin looks really good. The elements of Batman’s influence are apparent and he actually looks like a force to be reckoned with.
Robin’s head is still double-sided between just the beginning of a smirk and screaming for help, but the 1950s hair part piece screams iconic. Robin comes with a grappling gun as an accessory.
The first exclusive figure in the set though is Bruce Wayne! Wearing a snazzy three-piece blue-gray suit, Bruce Wayne doesn’t particularly look like his namesake. Then again, Bruce Wayne doesn’t exactly have an iconic look the same way Clark Kent does. The clothes are decent but nothing special, they would look at home in any LEGO City theme that ranged from the 1920s to the present. It’s simple, classic and fits in with Gotham’s neo-Noir look.
Bruce’s face is stern with high cheekbones and a scowl that doesn’t quite match the millionaire playboy who doesn’t care look. In fact, it’s the same head as Loki! For hair, Bruce gets a black widow’s peak which works well enough.
But Batman is nothing without his villains and this set includes two of them – Bane and Poison Ivy! Clearly inspired by the pairing from Batman & Robin, these two are rarely seen together in the comics.
Poison Ivy is showing less skin this time around but has a much more vibrant paint scheme. Sticking with the regular human in a bright green leotard look, Pamela Isley looks pretty good. Her lime green legs feature some leaf painting around the waist, while her torso makes excellent use of green space to make her feel less blocky. It is a touch odd that the leaves on her legs are completely different from the leaves on her torso.
A smirking face is included that shows her dark green lips and fiery red eyebrows. Her other side shows her angry, like she just watched someone weed their garden. Her hair is the same as the Hula Dancer’s, but cast in bright red-orange and decorated with leaves. It works well. For an accessory, Poison Ivy comes with a dark green vine whip.
The final minifigure is one I expect to be very popular once the new movie comes out: Bane. Originally being known as the villain that broke the Bat, Bane is still a character I think of as being “new” even though he debuted almost 20 years ago. Originally born in a prison and knowing only pain, Bane was created to make DC more extreme to compete with Image. And to kill off their most popular hero since that worked so well with Superman for sales.
While I adore LEGO minifigures, there is something inherently discerning with the consistent scale. Lately there have been attempts to remedy it, like the creation of shorter legs for dwarves and children, but larger figures haven’t caught on. So while Bane is supposed to be a super-sized luchador-inspired fighter, he ends up being shorter than Batman. It’s the same issue that Hulk has and, if LEGO gets around to it, The Thing will have.
Bane’s paint is perfect though. His front is simple and shows off his muscular chest and spandex top. His belt is generically modern, but adds some needed color. His wrestling mask looks great with the white outlining his bright red eyes.
On the back side though, Bane really excels in those unnecessary details. Painted to his back is a mechanical device with a tube that pumps Venom (no, not that Venom) into his head allow him to gain super powers through the power of addictive drugs. For an accessory, Bane really should have come with a teddy bear like Sleepyhead for Osito, but instead just comes with a bundle of dynamite.
To boost the play value of the set, LEGO included two vehicles: one for the good guys, one for the bad guys. Another version of the Batcycle comes with the set that fits in chromatically with the other color offerings. Very similar to the bike included in the Funhouse, the Batcycle makes great use of small touches. The oversized rear wheel helps sell this as a power vehicle, while the flick missiles on the side show it can fend for itself with ease.
The second vehicle is one that would make the Shredder proud – a Module! Actually called “Bane’s Drill Tank” this massive vehicle adds some much needed color into the set with a bundle of red bricks. Thanks to massive three-wheeled tank treads on each side and some simple Technic work on the inside, the drill actually spins when rolled along! It’s a simple touch that really helps sell this set, since you wouldn’t immediately realize it by just looking at it.
Featuring a simple seat and steering wheel, the tank is surprisingly basic but gets some extra details from stickers. Attached to the sides is a pair of flick missiles, but this time in red. Because Bane’s evil or something. Frankly, I think this vehicle needs some kind of roof or Bane will seriously hurt himself! Or maybe someone at LEGO just wanted to show off how cool their upcoming City Mining theme was going to be.
The rest of the pieces are spent building up the Batcave which comes in three parts. The largest part is the command center and garage door. Sticking to a dark and drab color scheme of dark gray and navy, it is broken up with bright yellows and translucent blues to give the illusion of cave lighting. The ground level features a small ramp and two massive sliding doors that can be hidden by the stones. And yes, the doors are wide enough for the Batmobile to fit through!
The set does a great job of blending construction with natural rock formations thanks to larger girders supporting the second story. A pair of ladders connects the two floors, while an oversized missile sentry is perched with a massive “ALERT!” sign. The second floor shows off the command center. Twin spotlights shine down, while the focal point is the Batcomputer.
Made up of three translucent “wings” placed upright, the Batcomputer screens are mostly all stickers. One shows off Bane’s intruder alert, while the other is a map of part of Gotham and the third shows off system status on multiple vehicles. A rotating command chair allows easy access to the control panels, and a lone red mug rests there for those long nights. Or to fight Mr. Freeze with. In front of the command center shows off Batman’s ego with a massive bat logo.
A small bridge attached to rotating plates connects the towers in a creative way that helps you place the Batcave in a handful of different ways. Hanging from the bridge is a bat which seems fitting. The armory floor is at the top and is clearly marked as such since one sign says “BAT-GEAR” which makes me wonder how much Batman forgets. The very top floor is a trap door that shows off a single red telephone with a rotating dial that evokes the original Batman 60s show almost too much for my liking.
The action feature is done in such a way that Bruce Wayne can be dropped into the Bat-vault and out of the bottom will come Batman on the ground floor. It’s a nice way of having a quick-change that reminds me of the Swamp Thing Transducer of my youth. The mechanism is pretty simple and easy to reset which is always a plus. Next to it is the Bat-Gear which is a great way of displaying Batman’s OCD thanks to the inclusion of two Batarangs, a pair of Bat-cuffs and a pair of Bat-noculars (I’m just seeing how many times I can Bat-ify words now).
The ground floor is pretty basic but features some nice touches like the lit stairs, but mostly it is just navy girders supporting the structure. But that is mostly because the final piece connects to this tower.
The smallest part of the Batcave is the holding cell which is essentially 8×8. Thanks to translucent pieces, the cell looks rather futuristic like it could be using a force field to keep the captive in place. The cell clearly has been holding Poison Ivy for a while thanks to the plant stickers and bio scan. For action features, two main points are included in this section. The main door breaks away with ease for escaping and mounting to the top is a sentry missile launcher that is identical to the one on the other side of the cave. The cell connects into the gear tower with ease thanks to two pins.
As an added bonus, a new orange brick separator is included with the Batcave as well. This is a great addition for people who don’t get many big sets, especially since the new one can remove plates and axles with ease. But when you’re like me an horribly addicted, I’m still trying to think of what I can build with a dozen of them.
As the largest set in the line, I can’t help but love the Batcave. Maybe it’s because I am the perfect age to have almost always grown up where you could buy some version of the Batcave in stores but never got one. I remember crafting my own out of duct tape, ripped cardboard (for the rocky exterior) and paper tower tubes. So here I am after over two-and-a-half decades, I have finally gotten my own Batcave. Is this set perfect? Not exactly, since you really need to have a few more sets to make it really work (though adding the Batmobile alone makes this feel more awesome) but I think the biggest issue for me is the simple fact that Alfred isn’t included. I can’t really argue about the lack of a trophy room either, no matter how cool that would be. But how else am I going to reenact the time Alfred had to fly the Batwing because Bruce got hobo amnesia and was forced to work in a mine? It’s still much better than the Quinjet.
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