DC 9" Joker

Hasbro has produced a series of 9", clothed super heroes over the past couple years, predominately as Target exclusives.  These figures, similar in some ways to Famous Covers, yet different in some of the most important, have been received with mixed results.

Hasbro is losing the license to produce DC Superheroes after this year.  It only makes sense that now we finally get some villains in the 9" series.  And if they're going to do a DC villain, it's going to be the Joker.

This version is fairly modern, although it's also sort of a mish mash of previous styles.  It, as it's last few predecessors, is a Target exclusive, and retails for $20.  Target is doing their fall reset of the toy aisles right now, so head on over and you'll probably find him. 

Packaging - ***1/2
The packaging is perhaps the nicest of the series so far.  It has some terrific graphics, and the Joker is actually positioned in a reasonable manner for the MIB collectors who still want to be able to display him.  On top of that, it's as close to collector friendly as Hasbro gets, which means that while there's plenty of twisties and some tape, you won't have to destroy anything to remove the figure and accessories.  That's nice if you wish to save the packaging.

Sculpting - ***1/2
I have heard plenty of folks rave about the sculpt (and other things) on this figure.  Alas, while I think the style of the sculpt is fairly good, there's one major flaw for me.

The detail is good, and I like the general design quite a bit.  That means he looks good in the box.  However, once I freed him from his plastic prison, I found that his head is hollow and made from a much softer plastic than the previous figures.  It really reminds me of the cheap Asian knock-off dolls, and it hurts what would otherwise be a nice looking figure.

Paint - ***1/2
The paint ops are solid, but there's not a lot of detail.  The face paint is fairly clean, although the hair line is a tad sloppy.  The paint work n the cane and gun are even better, at least on the one I picked up.

I'm giving them extra credit in this category because they cast the entire body in white plastic.  That's a nice touch that they could have easily short cut.

Articulation - ***
The articulation is the same as the standard DC 9" body.  Very similar to Famous Covers in theory, with neck, ball jointed shoulders, elbows, wrists, chest, waist, ball jointed hips, knees and ankles.  They also have jointed figures.

The articulation loses slightly though on two fronts.  The design of the actual joints has never been quite as good as Toybiz's design, and the range of motion of the joints suffers.

Also, the softer plastic being used makes the hand joints weak.  I had an extremely hard time getting him to hold the gun and cane, something that hasn't been an issue with earlier DC 9" Superheroes.

Accessories - ***1/2
This figure is the first in the entire series to give us a bevy of accessories.  With previous figures, we were lucky to get one - now we get four!

There's the very cool cane, with matching Joker head on top.  There's also his trademark 'BANG' gun.  Both of these are well sculpted, and nicely done.

The third and fourth accessories are a small Joker figure that fits inside a large package.  Press a button on the package and it pops open.  I believe the Joker figure is suppose to pop up as well, but he just flops over.  While it looks good on display, the action feature is fairly weak.

Outfit - ***1/2
This is one of the nicest outfits produced for this line so far.  The colors are bright, we get snaps instead of velcro.

The costume fits tightly. although the vest itself is a little baggy in front.  The shirt/vest combo is sleeveless, which isn't perfect, but I'll cut them some slack on that one.

The shoes are sculpted, and they did a very nice job.  Unlike past sculpted shoes, which were usually far too small, these are nice and big, with a great design.

Value - ***
Twenty bucks is a good deal, although not a great one.  The exclusivity drives it up a bit though, so it's a reasonable price point.

Overall - ***1/2
My favorite of the 9" series is still the Golden Age Batman, but the Joker comes in a close second.  I believe that if we'd gotten figures like this (and a good Catwoman and Penguin) earlier in the series, it would have been far more popular.

Where to Buy - 
Target is the only place, baby, at least for now.  Some of the previous figures ended up showing up through Diamond at a later date, but that may have simply been excess inventory from Target.  Whether these will end up facing the same fate is unknown.

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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