By Christopher Troy
by Chris Troy
I’ve developed a love/hate relationship with DC Direct as of late. Sometimes the company releases some awesome products to tie into a book or video game and it’s a win/win for the fans. Granted it’s not the most articulated thing in the world, I’ve come to accept that fact because these toys are aimed for collectors, and the DCUC line has me covered for that. However, sometimes a line is delayed a bunch of time, and the end results are mixed. STILL WAITING ON THOSE MASS EFFECT 2 FIGURES DC DIRECT! With that said, today we’ll be looking at the Batman Arkham Aslyum line.
This wave of DC Direct toys is based on the hit 2009 game. That’s right, it was released nearly 2 years ago, and then re-released again last year as some sort of 3-D edition. I can understand toys dropping 6 months after the games release, or even after a year to tie into the games cheaper “Greatest Hits”/”Platinum Choice” re-release. 18 months after is a little bit boggling, especially as the game’s sequel “Arkham City” has been announced. Meaning we’ll see the 2nd wave of these figures drop as the sequel does, making it an oddly timed tie-in. Timing issues aside, let’s look at these figures and see if they’re worth your hard-earned cashed.
The Batman figure is probably the weakest release in the line. The body sculpt is fine, but I’m none to thrilled with the head. It really looks like you have Prince under the cowl and not Bruce Wayne under there, which is odd, as that dude has had nothing to do with the Franchise since 1989. But props to the rest of the sculpt, as it captures the rest of the designs well. The game has Batman rocking a more armored costume, and the figure manages to capture it, with some help from the paint job, which is solid too. My only beef is that the sculpted pose is pretty generic, based on the games cover art, so with the limited amount of articulation, you basically have a tiny $18 status in a boring pose. I also would have preferred a black cowl over the blue one, but I’m sure DC Direct is not above re-issuing that as a repaint somewhere down the line.
The Scarecrow and Harley Quinn figures are definitely a step up from Batman. I’m comparing both figures to each other, because unlike Batman and Joker, they both received heavily redesigned looks for the game, and managed to do some small things right compared to ol’ Bruce. For starters, the sculpts for these 2 are a lot more dynamic. While neither of them are any better in terms of articulation, as least they make for better statues than Batman did thanks for this. The amount of detail in these sculpts are also pretty impressive for a DC Direct figure. While Harley may look like something out of Zack Snyder’s upcoming film “Sucker Punch”, the amount of details in the corset and clothing sculpts is great, as is the cane/sceptor-thing she’s packing. And to be honest, I’m not even that much of a fan of the game’s design (too whorish in my opinion) but the sculptors and painters did their jobs well, so it works. Scarecrow’s re-design makes a little more sense, especially when considering he’s more or less running around in a improv costume for the grave. The gas-mask makes for a frightening look, and I really like the fear-inducing needles on his glove. Overall, it’s a great figure, and a fresh spin on a decades old character that I can get behind.
The Joker, the Crown Prince of Crime, is also the Crown piece in this line. The best figure in the line, he comes packaged with a well-sculpted Scarface puppet. The design is heavily inspired by the Killing Joke (arguably the best Joker story), yet there are enough small changes made to help to help it fit into the AA world. It’s also slightly more articulated than the rest of the line, which is always nice to see. Again, easily the best figure in the bunch.
Much like in the comics (well those not written by Grant Morrison at least), the villains in the Arkham Asylum steal the show from the Dark Knight. The sweet redesign warrant a purchase, and can be bought for a little under $20 each. Series 2 is also due out this year, featuring characters like Poison Ivy and a MASSIVE Bane figure. So come by today and pick up what is sure to be another hard to find entry in the DC Direct series!