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Batman: Arkham Asylum Series 1
Batman, Harley, Joker, Scarface, and Scarecrow

Batman Arkham Asylum Series 1 action figure by DC Direct


I was once a serious game addict. From the first time I played Pong on an Atari 2600 in the mid-70's, I was hooked. There was a time when I knew what it meant to lose 8 hours on a great adventure game, and blow through a ton of quarters at the arcade.

Those days are behind me now, not because I still don't love games, but because I simply don't have the time anymore. I still get to play games, but it's more along the lines of Stupid Zombies and Cut the Rope these days. I have a fantasy of retiring some day, and I'll be the only 70 year old whatever-passes-for-Halo-at-the-time addict.

If I had the time right now, I'd be all over the Xbox 360 game Arkham Asylum. The reviews have been stellar, and as a life long fan of all things Bat, it's high on my list of games to try out.

With all that praise, it's no surprise that collectibles have followed. DC Direct is producing several series of action figures, and the first has now hit stores. This wave includes Batman of course, as well as the Joker and Scarface packed together, Harley Quinn, and Scarecrow. The game has some exceptionally cool designs for all these characters, and the transition to three dimensions has been much anticipated.

Like most action figures these days, these aren't cheap. You'll pay at least $16 a pop, and in some cases closer to $20. Series 2 has already been announced as well, and is available for pre-order at most online retailers.
Joker Arkham Asylum Series 1 action figure by DC Direct
Joker Arkham Asylum Series 1 action figure by DC Direct
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Scarface Arkham Asylum Series 1 action figure by DC Direct
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Batman Arkham Asylum Series 1 action figure by DC Direct
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Harley Quinn Arkham Asylum Series 1 action figure by DC Direct
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Scarecrow Arkham Asylum Series 1 action figure by DC Direct
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Batman Arkham Asylum Series 1 action figure by DC Direct
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Scarface Arkham Asylum Series 1 action figure by DC Direct
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Harley Quinn Arkham Asylum Series 1 action figure by DC Direct
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Scarecrow Arkham Asylum Series 1 action figure by DC Direct
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Joker Arkham Asylum Series 1 action figure by DC Direct
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Joker and Scarface Arkham Asylum Series 1 action figure by DC Direct
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Arkham Asylum Series 1 action figure by DC Direct

Packaging - ***1/2
It seems rare for us to see anything unique when it comes to single figure packaging. So when we do, it's well worth making special note.

This is clamshell packaging, reminiscent of the style made famous by McFarlane and then NECA. But rather than just a rectangle design, the bubble itself is shaped like a Bat cowl, pointy ears and all. It's a great looking design, and adds a ton to the appearance of the packaged figures.

The interior artwork is good too, and the paper insert is actually folded, with text and photos on all four surfaces. While there isn't a ton of character personalization outside of the name on the front, it's still some very, very attractive work.

My only complaint, and the only thing holding it back from a full four stars, is the use of multiple twisty ties. Yea, I hate them, and with a clamshell like this there's no reason. Batman is so tightly held in place with the cape through the interior tray that he's not going anywhere, and yet they still have five twisties holding him down.

Sculpting - ****
All four of these figures are terrific sculpts, capturing the cool style of the game in plastic.

Of the set, Batman is my least favorite. The sculpt is still outstanding, and there's plenty of sweet detail and clean, sharp lines. It's just that we've gotten our fair share of great Batmen over the years, and while this sculpt is excellent, it's pretty much a statue.

On the opposite end is the Joker, perhaps now my favorite Joker sculpt in the collection. It's a truly evil look, and the skin texture and sharp details look simply amazing in person. He's tall and lanky, and the hand sculpts are done up in generic devilish gestures. Outstanding!

The big surprise for me is how much I love Scarecrow. I always thought that thisS design was a bit too Road Warrior, but the sculpt is so well done that I can overlook any previous concept issues I had.

The detailing on his mask is particularly good, and the stitching of the costume is excellent. The Freddy-like syringe glove is properly scaled, and the sculpt and articulation work well together to allow you to pose the deadly looking glove in plenty of realistic ways.

Finally, there's hubba, hubba Harley. She's wearing a funky nurse's costume in the way only Harley can, and the finely stranded hair and beautiful face is going to make her a top contender for best female figure of the year in this scale.

It's also worth nothing that the thigh high stockings are actual material, and they've done a much better job here with the seam in back. It helps that the large boots cover most of it up.

All the figures stand up great on their own, and fit in well with the general 7" scale of most DC Direct lines.

Paint - Joker, Harley, Scarecrow ***1/2; Batman **
While the sculpting is outstanding across the board, the paint is a bit wonky on Batman. I don't know why, but he has a bunch of small spots on his torso. Not sure what happened here, but it ruins an otherwise great looking figure.

The others are all nicely done, with tons of small details. The face paint on the Joker is extremely realistic (if a bit Ledger-ish) and the details on Harley are eye-popping good. I love her tiny name badge, and the edges of her mask show no bleed or overspray. The use of the split colors works well too, and the white is clean and consistent.

The wash on the Scarecrow works great, and brings out the tiniest of details. His color scheme is a bit more basic, but the syringes add a little pop to the browns.

There's a little bit of slop here or there, but it's all very minor outside of the obvious problem with Batman.

Articulation - Scarecrow ***1/2; Joker, Harley ***; Batman **1/2
Like most DC Direct product, these aren't super articulated.

However, three of the four have an excellent ball jointed neck, with a ton of tilt and lean posability. You can really add a lot of personality and panache to any pose because of this excellent joint.

Unfortunately, Harley didn't get that one. She has a basic cut joint neck. She did get pin/disc shoulders, cut biceps and wrists, pin elbows and knees, and T hips. You can get an appropriately saucy pose out of these, but most of the uniqueness in your display will come from the arms.

Batman has the least number of joints, and they are the most restricted. There's that cool ball jointed neck which works great, but the shoulders, elbows and cut forearms are somewhat restricted by the costume - the cape for the shoulders, and the gauntlets for the lower arms.

He also has the T hips, pin knees and cut calves, and these will allow you to find the right sweet spot to keep his center of gravity properly aligned.

The Scarecrow also has the pin/disc shoulders, cut biceps and wrists, pin elbows and T hips, but he adds in the rare cut waist, cut thighs and calves, and even ball jointed ankles. And don't forget the cut joint on the forearm as well! While his sculpted pose restricts the usefulness of some of these joints, I found that he was much more posable than I had originally assumed.

The Joker has the ball jointed neck, but it's not quite as mobile as Bats or Scarecrow's. his pin/disc shoulders are also restricted by the sculpt so that they can't raise to a full stretched position. There's pin elbows and knees, as well as cut wrists and ball ankles. The T hips finish things out. You can get two or three very menacing poses out of the body, but that's about it.

Accessories - Joker, Harley ***1/2; Batman, Scarecrow ***
All the figures come with extras, some better than others.

All come with a plain black round stand, with no logo or other descriptive marks. There's a single post for one of the figure's feet, but the good news is you won't need these unless you live in an earthquake zone.

The Batman has one additional accessory - his batarang. Sculpted to match the look right from the cover of the game, it fits tightly in his left hand and looks terrific. It folds in half as well.

The Scarecrow also only has one extra accessory - the burlap bag. He can also carry this in his left hand, and once again the sculpting on both the hand and accessory work perfectly together.

Harley actually has two additional accessories. There's the funky candy cane gun, which is supposed to fit in her right hand, but doesn't work quite as well as the previous two mentioned items. It will stay if you're careful, but I'm betting most folks will break out one of their extra clear rubber bands to keep it in place long term.

The second accessory is the cane, which can slide into her left hand. The left hand sculpt could also be used to sit on top of the cane if the tip could rest on the floor, but alas, the cane isn't long enough.

The Joker only has one extra accessory, but it's so good that he gets bonus points for it. You could argue that it's not even an accessory, since it's a whole 'nother character - Scarface. The puppet has an excellent sculpt, and is properly scaled. There's even a sculpted spot to fit the Joker's hand on his back! He is also articulated at the neck, shoulders and hips, and the right hand is sculpted so he could hold one of the other accessories, like the cane. The paint and sculpt details on this tiny figure are excellent as well.

I love the inclusion of the additional character as an accessory, and it goes a long way to boosting Joker's Overall score at the end.

Fun Factor - ***
While these will be predominately purchased by fans of the game in that 15 - 30 demographic, they're actually pretty sweet toys in their own right. Excellent sculpts with reasonable articulation means that the average 8 year old would appreciate them as well, even without ever playing the game.

Value - **
As nice as these are, they aren't worth the price tag. I'm giving them two stars at $16 a pop, and if you end up paying closer to $20 you can take off another half star.

Things to Watch Out For -
Not a thing - everything is sturdy and well made. If you are picking them off the peg at your local comic shop, you'll want to watch for the best paint possible.

Overall - Joker ****; Harley, Scarecrow ***1/2; Batman **1/2
I'm really happy with this entire wave, even with the paint issues on Batman, and the slightly high price. I'm going to see if I can pick up another Batman without the paint issues to complete the set for the shelf. And with these turning out so well, I am really looking forward to adding series 2.

And maybe it's time for me to pick up the game. Who needs to spend time with their family?

Score Recap:
Packaging - ***1/2
Sculpting - ****
Paint - Joker, Harley, Scarecrow ***1/2; Batman **
Articulation - Scarecrow ***1/2; Joker, Harley ***; Batman **1/2
Accessories - Joker, Harley ***1/2; Batman, Scarecrow ***
Fun Factor - ***
Value - **
Overall - Joker ****; Harley, Scarecrow ***1/2; Batman **1/2

Where to Buy -
Online options include these site sponsors:

- Alter Ego Comics has this set for $65. 

- Big Bad Toy Store also has the set at $65, and the singles around $15 each.

- Urban Collector is out of series 1, but has series 2 up for pre-order at $55.

- Things From Another World has the single figures for $20 each.

- or you can search ebay for a deal.

- Entertainment Earth has series 1 for $70.

Related Links -
This isn't the first collectible based on Arkham Asylum - there was also the Batman Black and White statue.

Discussion:
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Joker Arkham Asylum Series 1 action figure by DC Direct


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

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