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Review of the Dark Knight Joker

NECA
Date Published:
Written By:
Overall Average Rating: 4 out of 4

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Dark Knight Joker action figure by NECA

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Introduction

Last year, NECA surprised collectors with a video game version figure of the 1989 Batman. Fans clamored for a non-game version, since the base body was the same but the colors were, let's just say, funky. And NECA responded, creating a terrific version of the Keaton Bats.

Fast forward a year, and NECA surprised collectors again with the sudden release of three more DC movie/TV characters in the 7" scale - Chris Reeve as Superman, Adam West as Batman, and Heath Ledger as the Joker.

I've already covered the Superman and Batman, and I'm finally getting around to completing the trifecta with the Dark Knight Joker.

This guy is available through the Warner Brothers ebay store, or you can hit your local Toys R Us and hope for the best. They have been carrying him, but which stores get how many has been unpredictable. For example, my local store got plenty of the 66 Batman, but none of the other two. Expect to pay around $25.

No official word yet on what this series might have in store for collectors in the future, but since the releases so far have been very pleasant surprises, I'm happy to wait for the announcement when it comes.

Click on the image below for a Life Size version
Dark Knight Joker action figure by NECA

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Packaging - ***1/2
The boxes they are using for this series are very much like what we've seen with other collector lines in similar scales.  However, I'm really digging the graphic designs here, especially on this particular release.

It's all quite collector friendly too...except for that one damn (and unnecessary) twist tie around his chest. Lose that, and it's a four star box.

Dark Knight Joker action figure by NECA

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Sculpting - ***1/2
In this scale, this is a remarkably good Ledger Joker. I'm not completely sold on the nose, but the overall look matches the character quite well. What's particularly strong is the smirking expression, and the scarring that is his trademark. The detailing in the wrinkles of the face allow for the paint to fill some and not others, giving him that mussed makeup look.

The work on the body is quite good as well, with some nice detailing in the folds and layers of clothing. There's just the right amount of texture, and the inclusion of a real metal chain goes a long way.

I docked them a half star because of the way the hair parts around the left ear. In hand it looks odd and off, and was my only negative on an otherwise excellent job.

As you'd expect, he fits in scale-wise with the rest of the series, standing about 7" tall.

Dark Knight Joker action figure by NECA

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Paint - ****
While the sculpt is great, it's the paint that really makes it shine. With excellent highlighting of the details in the hair and face, as well as some wonderful work on the more complex areas of the costume, the paint takes this figure from good to great.

They've used the paint to simulate wear on the clothing, especially the jacket and shoes, and it works quite well. The paint on the face looks exactly like what it is supposed to be - makeup - and not simply consistent paint. The variation in coverage works perfectly here, where on another figure it might look out of place.

There was one area that bugged me, but more in photos than in hand, so I didn't deduct for it.  The softer rubber of the 'codpiece' section of his pants does not have the same finish as the harder plastic legs, thanks to the two different materials.  In subtle light, the difference is negligible, but as the light gets brighter, the shine of the pants becomes more obvious.

Dark Knight Joker action figure by NECA

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Articulation - ***1/2
NECA has always done their best to combine articulation with sculpting to get the most movement in a relatively seamless look. That compromise means neither is perfect, but the combination adds up to a greater overall effect.

The ball jointed neck works great, with plenty of tilt and lean movement for this character. The soft hair is not restrictive in any way. The shoulders are what us old timers call 'NECA' shoulders, since they were the first to popularize this type of rotating hinge that is fairly well hidden. The rotating hinge elbows work fairly well, although the forward bend movement is inhibited by the sculpt.  Likewise, while the wrists turn (and there might be hinge joints hidden in there) the glove cuff makes the wrists unable to bend.

The torso is in a permanently bent pose but the waist still turns pretty well. You can try to bend the torso back and forth a bit, but the layered coat/jacket/vest force it back to the set position.

The ball hips work great, as do the rotating hinge knees and ankles. There's an excellent rocker movement in the ankle as well, which allows the feet to remain flat on the ground in most poses.

While the suit is somewhat restrictive, the articulation is designed to allow a pretty broad range of poses, and they are more natural and flowing than we usually see in this scale.

Dark Knight Joker action figure by NECA

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Accessories - ***1/2
The Joker comes with three nicely done extras, all of them weapons.

There's a small knife, which fits perfectly in the gripping left hand. There's also the handgun and machine gun which he used on screen, and either can be held in the gripping right hand. For this scale and this price point, the quality is about where you'd expect, and the quantity was a surprise.  This set of three weapons was the best of the accessories in their DC line up so far.

Dark Knight Joker action figure by NECA

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Fun Factor - ****
With useful articulation and nice accessories, this guy has plenty of posing potential. You can swap up the display with different looks, and add in other characters from a broad range of 7" scale licenses. Now we just need a DK Batman from NECA to complete the scene!

Dark Knight Joker action figure by NECA

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Value - ***
While this guy is slightly more expensive than some of the current collector themed lines (Star Wars Black for example), he's also a slightly larger scale, has a nice assortment of accessories, and has better than average articulation. I'm also betting the production numbers are fairly low, comparatively speaking, making him a slightly better than average value in my book.

Dark Knight Joker action figure by NECA

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Things to Watch Out For -
Not much.  I did have some breakage issues with the Chris Reeve Superman, but while the joints on the 66 Batman were tight right out of the box, I had no issues that time around. Here, the joints were much easier to work with, and I had no fears when posing him. You'll still want to be careful though until you can be sure that the joints are worked free and smooth in their movement. I don't think you'll end up with a broken leg or arm, but better to err on the safe side this time around.

Overall - ****
This is one of those situations were the overall score is greater than the sum of the individuals, and with good reason.  This is a perfect example where the sum is greater than the parts, and the combination of each area creates a greater final product.

Of course, it also helps that I'm a massive fan of the film and character, and have wanted one in this scale with this sort of quality for a long time. He blows away the previous attempts by Mattel, including their work in the Movie Masters line, and makes me salivate thinking about the potential with other characters down the road.

Score Recap (out of ****):
Packaging - ***1/2
Sculpting - ***1/2
Paint - ****
Articulation - ***1/2
Accessories - ***1/2
Fun Factor - ****
Value - ***
Overall - ****

Dark Knight Joker action figure by NECA

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Where to Buy 
Toys R Us is getting these in, and I picked mine up through the Warrner Brothers ebay store. Other options:

- has the quarter scale for $95.

- also has the large 18" version for $100.

- or you can search ebay for a deal on this smaller guy.

Related Links -
I recently covered both the Chris Reeve Superman and the 1966 Batman in this 7" scale from NECA. This all started with the video game version of the 1989 Batman.

And if you're a fan of the Dark Knight Joker, you should check out my personal favorite, the Hot Toys DX11 version. I've done a ton of other DK Joker collectibles reviews in the past, so you should also hit the Search Reviews page to find them and in case any other applicable reviews were done after this one was published.

Discussion:
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Dark Knight Joker action figure by NECA

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This product was purchased for the review by the reviewer. Photos and text by Michael Crawford.

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