Retcon Rehash: 76044 – Clash of the Heroes

I’ve been waiting for the LEGO Batman Movie to pass before stepping back 12 months to revisit a set I purchased last year: 76044 Clash of the Heroes.  Born out of the disappointing cinematic experience that was Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice, this set was exciting because for less than $AUD20, you could get both Batman™ and Superman™ minifigures.  And Batman™ had an armoured suit just like in the finale of Frank Miller’s grim epic, the Dark Knight Returns. (*Note: individual definitions of ‘just like the one in…’ may vary!) One of the highlights of the movie, in a movie containing so few, this armoured suit helped Batman™ give Superman™ a run for his money. Softening him up for the fight against Doomsday.  Many know how that ended.  Some don’t.  I won’t state the final outcome here…If you cared enough, however, you would have seen the film at some stage in the last nine months.  Fun Fact: BvS:DoJ opened in Australian the day before the US opening.  I don’t think we deserved this any more than the delayed release of The LEGO® Batman ™ Movie!

While this set is still in shops however, something has changed.

One of this pictures is a little bit different…

Just as any comic story that becomes too complicated, things may get rewritten, to create a retroactive continuity: to change the way things have always been.

This appears to have happened with the contents and art for this set.  When I first picked this set up, Batman looked like this on the box.  He has a cape in his Battle with Superman, and is wearing a cape in the picture of the figures from the side of the box.  And the box had punch out tabs to open it…

A more recent package, held together with security tape has no evidence of the grey cape for Batman in this set – not on the front, not on the side, not in the instructions and more importantly NOT IN THE BOX!!!  There appears to have been a subtle redesign of the set.

Referring to Brickset.com’s entry for this set, the reference for the instructions lists two versions: one released in January 2016, another in June 2016.  But the cape appears to have vanished.

cover-comparison
Where did the cape go??

figure-comparisoninventory-comparison

 

Is this reimagining a problem?  It is if you were looking for a grey cape! Is it canon? Is history being changed.  “You remember a disappointing film where Batman had armour and a grey cape.  This Batman has no cape, he cannot disappoint you!”

My sacrifice, so that you could sleep at night.

So I rewatched Batman vs Superman.  It was no better on the second viewing than it was the first time, except if I had to get up and go to the bathroom, I was not worried about disturbing those around me, or missing anything really important.  And I was already paying for my Netflix subscription.  All it cost me was a tiny part of my soul.

In the final battle sequence, where this Clash of the Heroes takes place, Armour Plated Batman does indeed have a cape.

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An Armour suited Batman takes on the Man of Steel in The Dark Knight Returns.  An he is wearing a cape.  (c) 1986, DC Comics

If you wish to go back to earlier inspirational material, such as the armoured Batman in The Dark Knight Returns, who also takes it upon himself to do battle with the Man of Steel™, also has a cape, although it is more a dark blue than grey.

So: No Cape is a Problem in my mind.  However, if you wish to feel happier about the franchise, why not get the Dark Blue cape present in the Batman/Killer Moth Mighty Micros Set (Don’t worry – from what I have seen, this year, every one of these sets offers a complete spare set of capes)

 

What of the changing identity?

Retcon2
A marginally more ‘comic accurate’ Dark Knight.

Sets have been reissued in the past with identical contents, but different set numbers This was especially the case back in the 70’s, especially with sets going to different markets: US and Europe. But it also with an early Star Wars X-wing Fighter7140 was re-released two years later as 4142 – where the labelling was changed from LEGO® System to plain old regular LEGO®) (as well as the entire Legends Series of 2002)  But this is the first time that I am aware of a set’s contents changing, along with the box art, without changing the set number.

There is the possibility that there were issues with the quality of the cape. Early reviews did mention that the cape tended to fray, and didn’t fit well under the armoured chest piece. I have had no problems with mine, however, I can’t help it if I’m lucky. The cape with this set had a slightly different ‘single hole’ design when compared with other contemporary capes:

retcon 3
Note the brutal creasing present on the grey cape.  Worn only once.  The blue one has been used multiple times (Thanks Brett Waller for the observation here)

I remain confused, because today (24th April 2017), the shop.lego.com website images have pictures of Batman with a cape, but the downloadable instruction manuals do not.

76044_alt8

I reached out to LEGO® Customer service – by email: it gives plenty of time for a query to be investigated –  who confirmed that a decision was made to remove the cape after the first production run, and that the online store has not been updated at this time. Unfortunately not further details were able to be released – Is this a case of ‘det bedste er ikke for godt’ or ‘Only the Best is Good Enough’?

Or did Edna Mode, from the Incredibles, get her way?  ‘No Capes!’

I need to get the bitter taste of Batman vs Superman out of my mouth: off to rewatch The LEGO® Batman™ Movie

Special thanks to RK for asking the question here…

Play well!

 

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