Silver Age Joker and Batgirl

There were two big releases from DC Direct last week for the action figure fan.  First, there was the Kingdom Come series 1, and we know how that turned out.  There was also the second in a series of Silver Age based Batman universe figures - the Batgirl and Joker two pack.  The first set included Batman and Robin of course, and you can expect to see an upcoming set of the Penguin and Catwoman as well.

The set runs around $40 for the pair, similar to other DC Direct two packs.  You'll find it at most comic shops, or I have a few on-line suggestions at the end of the review.  There's even one place to pre-order the next two pack for only $25!

Packaging - ***
The packaging has that great silver age feel to it, reminding you of the comic art of the period.  It's easy to store if you so desire, it shows the figures themselves in 'action', and you can see both figures clearly through the window.  There's a couple twisty ties to deal with, but with a little work you could always put things back together again if you really wanted to.

The only real negative is that the cardboard is fairly think and it's likely to end up crushed pretty easily.

Sculpting - Joker ***1/2, Batgirl ***
Are you a big fan of silver age art and designs?  Then you'll love the overall look of these figures.  There's just the perfect amount of detail on both figures, not too much, not too little.  I'm particularly happy with the Joker, who has a great facial expression, and lots of details in the clothing.

Batgirl didn't rank quite as high, mostly due to her zombie facial expression.  While I despise any sort of constipated grimace, Batgirl needed something to give her face a little more life, and maker her look a little less like a mannequin.  Some folks will also be annoyed that the purse on her belt is not removable, but I'm pretty sure that this silver age version had her bat-belt come right out of her purse, so being connected like that would make sense.

Paint - ***1/2
I complained about the awful quality on the paint ops with the Kingdom Come figures.  No such problems here!  Sure, there's a little unevenness on a few of the borders between colors, but there's no overspray or glopping, and there's a great variety of colors and detail.

The predominate colors are also very consistent, and the lines between the black and yellow on Batgirl's costume are extremely well done.  Joker's face has perhaps the most errors, but neither figure has any sort of serious paint application problem.

Articulation - ***1/2
Both figures have just the right amount of articulation, although some of the posing is a bit limited unless you use the base.

They have neck, shoulders, elbows, wrists (very important!), hips and knees.  The knees on both are a bit funky, with a slightly odd bend to them, but it's not a major problem.

Using the included base and pegs, there's tons of variety that you can add to your display.

Accessories - *** 
The accessories include the rooftop base, a Joker topped cane, a batarang, and the climbing rope/ suction cup doohickey that we saw earlier with Batman.

The accessories are all nicely sculpted (although the recent Mattel Joker cane is better looking than this version), but it's still a tad light at this price point.

Easily the best part of the accessories is the base.  As advertised, it hooks to the other half of the base that came with Batman and Robin, forming a rectangular roof top.  There's plenty of peg holes, and plenty of pegs, to give you a pretty good variety of ways to pose all four figures together.

I ended up with a great pose, having Batgirl in the center, with Batman and Robin to either side and the Joker in the back.  His extreme height made that work a little better than the goofy set up I have in the photos.

Value - **
DC Direct has one big problem - price.  Yes, these are low runs, sold only through comic shops.  But it's still extremely difficult to justify a $40 price tag for two seven inch figures and a handful of accessories.  $25 is a price point that works far better, and perhaps might drive demand even higher, allowing for more units to sell.  Setting a high price point assuming low demand is a self fulfilling prophecy.

Overall - ***
Don't get me wrong - I really like this set, and the quality is world's above the Kingdom Come figures that came out at the same time.  The paint ops are far superior, the accessories are superior, and the articulation is superior.  Only problem is that price point.

Forty bucks?  Two figures?  I wouldn't pay anything near $20 each for these figures individually, and forty is far too much.  Hopefully you'll find a better deal at your local comic shop, and I have a better suggestion or two down below.

Where to Buy - 
I picked my set up at my local comic shop for $40.  On-line:

- Time and Space Toys carried the Batman and Robin for $38, but they don't have this set up on their page yet.  You might want to give them a call.

- Boise River Collectibles has the set in for $35.  Just jump to their DC page and scroll to the bottom.

- Alter Ego Comics is a new on-line retailer, just getting started.  They'll be a new sponsor of MROTW in September, and I noticed that they have pre-orders up for the Catwoman/Penguin set for only $25!  That's the price you want to be paying for these sets.

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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