Saturday, August 3, 2013

Richer Than Most Comic Book Characters, The 2013 Batman “Descending Upon Gotham City” Ornament Is Awesome!

The Good: Good sculpt, Decent balance, Most of the detailing, Proportionally inexpensive, Very cool.
The Bad: Oddly inconsistent coloring
The Basics: The Descending Upon Gotham City Batman ornament is an odd mix of sophisticated and simplistic coloring, making for an erratic, but awesome, comic book character ornament.

When it comes to Hallmark ornaments, there is usually a pretty clear line of demarcation between the ornaments that look animated and those that are clearly based on live-action subjects. Some of the best Hallmark ornaments are those based upon live-action sources that then look as close to photorealistic as possible in an ornament. Every now and then, there is a rare ornament that comes from an animated source and includes more sophisticated detailing than an animated work would have. The 2013 Descending Upon Gotham City ornament is one such ornament.

Hallmark and DC created an ornament that features Batman swooping down onto Gotham City and while it looks mostly like a comic book version of Batman, the cape has pretty incredible coloring detailing. It is not just dark blue or black; instead, it looks like weathered and realistic cape that has been worn in the real world, blending those two colors perfectly. But that level of coloring sophistication is well beyond what is done in the comic books and it does not match the very simple monotones of the rest of the costume and skin tones.


Descending Upon Gotham City ornament faithfully presents Batman in his gray and navy blue costume from the Batman comic books. This version of Batman has Batman with his blue cowl and briefs breaking up what appears to be gray tights, with the standard yellow utility belt Batman is known for. The ornament, released in 2013, is exceptional for an ornament based upon the comic book version of Batman. Measuring five inches tall, three and three-quarters inches wide and deep, the Descending Upon Gotham City ornament is one of three DC super hero-based ornaments released by Hallmark in stores (there was a San Diego Comic Con exclusive one as well) in 2013, though how it stacks up against the Joker ornament will not be known until October. Descending Upon Gotham City came with an original retail price of $14.95 and it is a very fair price for the larger-than-average ornament.

The Hallmark Descending Upon Gotham City ornament is made of durable plastic. Batman’s costume is colored in flat gray and bold blue and muted yellow. He is ripped, with clearly-defined muscles in the abdomen, pectoral muscles, and the arms. This version of Batman looks like his arms are straining as he swoops down. Even the legs feature descent molded detailing for the muscles of the thighs and the knee bones. The Descending Upon Gotham City version of Batman has the traditional Batman bat symbol on his chest. He is wearing his cowl, cape and spiked gloves and the gloves especially are molded well with impressive detailing on the side spikes.

Descending Upon Gotham City features a Batman who looks like a comic book character. His face is sculpted with sharp angles for the face, looking more stylized than realistic. The coloring is very simple, outside the cape. The skin tones are one simple color as is the gray costume.


As a Hallmark Keepsake ornament, Descending Upon Gotham City could have a sound chip or a light-up function. He has neither, but frankly, this is a cool-enough ornament on its own to be well worth the money without any function or gimmick!


As with all ornaments, the intent of the Hallmark Keepsake Descending Upon Gotham City ornament is to be hung on a Christmas Tree. And for those creating the ultimate superhero Christmas Tree, the Descending Upon Gotham City ornament is a great piece with good balance. The ornament has the standard brass hook loop embedded into the top, back of Batman’s cape on the back of the neck/shoulders at a surprisingly unobtrusive position. From there, the ornament, when affixed to a tree with a hook, hangs perfectly, without any pitch issues.


Hallmark Keepsake began delving into the collectibles market in 1991 with Star Trek when it introduced the exceptionally limited edition U.S.S. Enterprise ornament (reviewed here!). Since then, they have made ornament replicas of almost all major franchises like DC comics, The Wizard Of Oz and Harry Potter. The Descending Upon Gotham City ornament just began selling during the Ornament Preview Weekend and it is selling fairly conservatively at this point, at least locally.


Fans of Batman, especially the comic book version, and DC comics characters in general are likely to find the Descending Upon Gotham City ornament to be one of the better Batman ornaments in years and one of this year’s best ornaments, especially for those not as discriminating as me!

For other DC Universe superhero Hallmark ornaments, please check out my reviews of:
2012 The Bat The Dark Knight Rises Limited Edition Ornament
2012 Catwoman ornament
2012 "Beware My Power" Green Lantern ornament
2012 The Dark Knight Rises
2011 Batman Takes Flight
2011 Green Lantern
2010 Limited Edition Harley Quinn
2009 Wonder Woman ornament


For other ornament reviews, please visit my Ornament Review Index Page for a complete listing!

© 2013 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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