Batman is one of the most popular superheroes of all time, so it’s no surprise that he was the first LEGO DC minifigure ever made. Blocks, the LEGO magazine for fans, is comparing the LEGO Batman heads mover the years to see how they’ve changed and highlight the best of the bunch.
Before DC Super Heroes, there was Batman. LEGO Batman debuted in 2006 and Bat-sets continue to be produced to this day. The LEGO Group have used a diverse variety of heads to represent Batman and are always trying out new updated styles. This look back covers the different primary LEGO Batman heads used across entire waves of sets, as well as looking toward the future of LEGO Batman (special one-off variants, such as Scuba Batman from 76027 Black Manta Deep Sea Strike, have been excluded.)
The first version of Batman that appeared in 2006 is the simplest Batman minifigure head. It introduced the white headband, whose purpose is to fill in the cowl’s eyes with white when it’s placed on the head. This white headband technique is used on Batman minifigures to this day. A face with a simple frown is appropriate, though the mouth seems a bit small. The printing lines up with the older LEGO aesthetic, and is thus not up to current standards. But for the LEGO Group’s first attempt at a Batman head, it worked well. This head can be found in sets like 7785 Arkham Asylum.
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2012 Batman featured an upgraded version of the 2006 head, and it’s better in virtually every way. This one sports better prints with more detail, including a double-sided head. One side offers a more lighthearted Batman, while the other retains his more usual frown. The white headband is now boarded by two crisp black lines rather than one. A very minor problem is that the shape of the newer cowl exposes a part of his head on the back of his neck, but this is only an issue for extreme nitpickers. This head can be found in sets like 6860 The Batcave and 6863 Batwing Battle Over Gotham City.
With the introduction of a new shorter Bat-cowl with less neck coverage, the LEGO Group had to figure out a way to make the gap between his neck and cape less noticeable. The solution was to print Batman’s face onto a solid black head, covering his neck entirely. But the result of printing onto a black head is a much darker Batman in terms of skin tone. Also, there’s no more smiling for Batman. A serious frown is accompanied this time by an angry teeth-gritting face.
2017 introduced a variant of the 2016 LEGO Batman head that features added stubble. More importantly, 2017 was the year sets for The LEGO Batman Movie were released. Similar to the Batman head of 2012, this new LEGO Batman head took the white headband technique to another level. The white stripe was replaced by a black stripe, and white eyes of varied shapes were printed on top. This allowed more expression for Batman’s eyes. Some variants are more on the silly side, but other more serious looks can be used for any Batman, not just the movie iteration.
In 2019 the LEGO Group attempted a second time at printing Batman’s face onto a black minifigure head. This time, the result was a very pale looking LEGO Batman and his white headband was replaced by a pair of white goggles. The googles make the head look cooler, and this head could be perfectly usable even without the cowl on. A frown is included on one side of the head as always, but a closed smile shows Batman doesn’t have to be serious all of the time.
The 2012 Batman head is currently used on all Batman minifigures. In fact, this head has been used sporadically since its inception. Whether for the Dark Knight Trilogy in 76239 Batmobile Tumbler: Scarecrow Showdown, or the upcoming film, The Batman, in 76183 Batcave: The Riddler Face-Off, the 2012 head is being used once again for all versions of Batman as the default head. The next logical step is to eliminate the need for the white headband entirely by creating a new dual moulded cowl that already has the white eyes filled. 76153 Avengers Helicarrier featured a brand new helmet mould for Captain Marvel. As of now, that mould was only used twice. Why not use a similar mold for a more popular character and minifigure that has consistently appeared in LEGO sets for the past 14 years?
Want more LEGO Batman? Check out Blocks issue 86 for an in depth look at the new Tumbler here!