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DX-01 Joker - The Dark Knight
By Hot Toys

Joker Police Officer DX-01 sixth scale action figure (Dark Knight) by Hot Toys


I received a shipment notice last week for my Hot Toys Cop Joker. For the rest of the week, I waited by the door. I rushed out to great the mail carrier each time she arrived, scaring the Hell out of her. And yet, there was nothing. Days past - life stood still. I wondered if my boss noticed my absence. And then, finally, he arrived at my door. Oh, joy!

I'm not sure why I've been anticipating this figure so much. Perhaps it's because that on every re-watching of The Dark Knight (something I've been doing a lot in the last month after completing my new home theater) the movie gets better. Perhaps it's because on every new release from Hot Toys, they seem to get better. And perhaps it's because that rat bastard Jeff Parker got his weeks ago, and the knowledge has tormented my soul.

Technically, this isn't 'cop joker', but rather the DX-01 Joker, the first of their new 'deluxe' figures. In this case, the deluxe designation means you get enough heads, clothes and accessories to create TWO full figures - all you need is an extra nekkid body. Yes, I know, you've been trying to get your hands on one of those for years, but I'm talking about the sixth scale kind. I'd suggest the Narrow True Type, and that's what I  used in the photos of the Police Officer version.

The deluxe also means that he sports the new PERS eyeballs, movable life-like orbs that allow you to pose him in your favorite crazy eyes expression.

Like most Hot Toys figures, he ain't cheap, but the best things never are. The original SRP was close to $200, but shop around a bit and you can easily find him in the $150 - $175 range.

My original plan was to review both figures together, since technically that's how they come. But after shooting the regular Joker, I decided I had to split this into two reviews to make it fair for both. There's so much cool about each one that I wanted to be sure to give each adequate coverage. Let's take a look at the Joker figure first, then on Thursday I'll cover the Cop version.
Joker Police Officer DX-01 sixth scale action figure (Dark Knight) by Hot Toys
Joker Police Officer DX-01 sixth scale action figure (Dark Knight) by Hot Toys
Joker Police Officer DX-01 sixth scale action figure (Dark Knight) by Hot Toys
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Joker Police Officer DX-01 sixth scale action figure (Dark Knight) by Hot Toys
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Joker Police Officer DX-01 sixth scale action figure (Dark Knight) by Hot Toys
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Joker Police Officer DX-01 sixth scale action figure (Dark Knight) by Hot Toys
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Joker Police Officer DX-01 sixth scale action figure (Dark Knight) by Hot Toys
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Joker Police Officer DX-01 sixth scale action figure (Dark Knight) by Hot Toys
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Joker Police Officer DX-01 sixth scale action figure (Dark Knight) by Hot Toys
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Joker Police Officer DX-01 sixth scale action figure (Dark Knight) by Hot Toys
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Joker Police Officer DX-01 sixth scale action figure (Dark Knight) by Hot Toys
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Joker Police Officer DX-01 sixth scale action figure (Dark Knight) by Hot Toys
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Joker Police Officer DX-01 sixth scale action figure (Dark Knight) by Hot Toys
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Joker Police Officer DX-01 sixth scale action figure (Dark Knight) by Hot Toys
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Joker Police Officer DX-01 sixth scale action figure (Dark Knight) by Hot Toys
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Joker Police Officer DX-01 sixth scale action figure (Dark Knight) by Hot Toys
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Joker Police Officer DX-01 sixth scale action figure (Dark Knight) by Hot Toys
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Joker Police Officer DX-01 sixth scale action figure (Dark Knight) by Hot Toys
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Joker Police Officer DX-01 sixth scale action figure (Dark Knight) by Hot Toys

Packaging - ****
Normally, I only give you one photo of the package, but this time it's so outstanding that I had to show it off with four shots.

The exterior box wraps around, much like a Sideshow package, only larger. It also uses magnets to keep the lid closed. The exterior shows off some cool joker card style graphics, as well as the DX-01 designation.

Open it up, and the first of three layers is revealed. This outer layer has five full sized playing cards inserted in the center, with traditional and Dark Knight related graphics.

In the second layer of foam is the two figures. The grenade Joker is the complete figure of course, but the cop version has a mannequin type body holding things together.

Remove this second layer and you get to the plethora of accessories for both characters.

Using three layers like this can be a bit annoying if you're taking things out and putting them back repeatedly, but under normal circumstances it works great. Of course, everything is packed away in a collector friendly manner, and the foam is extremely soft and safe for the figures. Outstanding stuff!

There's also a small instruction booklet this time around to help understand the PERS system as well as attach the grenades to the coat and get the display base working. It could still be a little more detailed (getting the 'pinners' on was not a pleasant experience), but it's a big improvement over past releases.

I also find it deeply amusing that even the dessicant packages (of which there are several) have the Hot Toys logo printed on them. Does the figure need to include them all to remain 'mint'?

Sculpting - ****
I was blown away by the first Hot Toys Dark Knight Joker sculpt. Then they released the Bank Robber Joker, and I thought it couldn't get any better. And while I'm not sure that I'd say this sculpt is better than the last, I'd say it's different enough and has some of it's own unique strengths to make it well worth the purchase.

Obviously one of those features is the PERS (Parallel Eyeball Rolling System) eyes. But these are so unique, that I'll be covering them in their own category.

Another unique feature of the sculpt is the lips. They took a swing at his pouty look, with the lips slightly pursed and pushed out. It's a bit of a thoughtful expression, and when the Joker is looking at you and thinking, it's never a good sign. They managed to nail this tough expression, keeping all the best features of the Bank Robber Joker in the process - the eyes, nose, chin and shape of the head are all dead on Ledger.

This expression looks better from certain angles than others, and for an example I'd say that it's excellent in the first photo, not quite as interesting in the one directly to the left of this text.

The hair is gorgeous as well, with extremely fine detail. It's also distinct enough to help further set this version apart on the shelf, if you end up with all three on display.

All the hands have been sculpted to work with the accessories or in various poses. With a grand total of seven different versions, you should have no trouble finding a pair that work with the scene you're trying to recreate. Since the grenades are the key accessory here, the open right hand, posed in the same manner as in the scene in the film, is probably the most critical, but the others look great as well.

He stands fantastic on his own of course, and it's well worth noting that the shoe sculpt has improved as well. These appear a little larger and more detailed than the original version, and show that Hot Toys is always looking to improve wherever they can, even when it's not completely necessary. That might just be my imagination until I can get a chance to do a side by side comparison, but they look better to me.

I do wish I had the previous two handy to shoot as a group, but alas, I'm still about three months away from being able to start my Crawford Institute remodel, and so all my stuff is still boxed up. For comparisons, please check my previous reviews, linked in the text above or in the Related Links section at the end.

Paint - ****
Once again, Hot Toys takes the industry to school on production paint operations. I have no idea how they are getting this kind of quality out of a production facility, and no one else is doing it this well (Enterbay is close, but not quite there with this kind of consistency from figure to figure). The make up on the face and lips looks completely life-like, with a very similar pattern and smudging to the on screen version. Of course, this changes during the film, but this version is probably the best overall representation.

There's no doll dots (catch lights) painted on the eyes, and the acrylic type hard plastic coating on the eye balls gives them a very realistic appearance. Combine this with the fact that they are separate pieces, set back in the face like the real deal, and you get one of the most life-like representations of the character by any company, including Hot Toys.

Articulation - ****
He's on a TrueType body of course, and none of the clothing or accessories do anything to hurt the overall posability. The ball jointed neck isn't quite as flexible as some past figures, but you can still easily get the hunched look, and it does some reasonable tilting.

The hands swap pretty easily too (good thing, since there are five extras), but just in case they've included a couple extra wrist pegs. Coming from a man who's snapped his fair share in the past, they get my hearty thanks!

You can also swap this head for the Cop version if you'd like (they recommend using a blow dryer), but I don't think that's smart. Just spring for that extra body - don't you want two full figures anyway?

Accessories - ****
Although this figure comes packed with enough pieces to make another figure (second head sculpt, second uniform, shoes, socks, hands, hat, gun, etc.) I'm not counting those here. Instead, I'll be considering those when reviewing the Cop Joker figure Thursday night.

Surprisingly enough, there's still plenty of extras just for the regular Joker.  There's a deck of cards, in proper scale. There's the switchblade knife which retracts and fits nicely in a couple of the extra hands. Speaking of extra hands, there's five here, all designed to work with the various accessories and poses. There's a couple extra wrist pegs too, just in case you break one.

Along with the knife, there's also a hand gun with removable clip. It's the usual excellent Hot Toys sculpting and paint of course, and looks great in his hand. We got this gun with the Bank Robber version, but what's a Joker without a gun?

Most important of course is the hand grenades attached to the string trigger assembly. This thing tends to get tangled very easily, so do what you can to keep it straight until you get it in place.

There are also 7 small safety pins, or 'pinners' as they call them. You only need to add six, so one is an extra. It's very, very tough to get these in place, and it took more effort than I usually have to put out for a Hot Toys figure. Once I finally figured out which side of the head the pin pops out on (the right for mine) it went faster, and I didn't need to use tweezers as in the instructions. My fingers worked just fine, and after I got the hang of it things went pretty quickly.

The pins go on the straps inside the jacket, then the grenades slip in. Once in place, it looks exceptional.

Finally, there's the display stand. It comes with a base as well as a black arm that can hold the figure upright. I skipped the arm, since the figure stands fantastic on his own. But the base lights up as well with two small blue LED's on either front corner, and these can even be adjusted to point in various directions. It's pretty damn cool as these bases go, right down to the Joker DX-01 name plate. The final photo in the review was taken with no light other than that coming up off the small LED's.

Outfit - ****
Like I said earlier, even when you think it can't get better, Hot Toys finds a way. The Outfit category is another such area.

This is theoretically the same outfit we saw with the original version. There's the shoes, pants, shirt, vest, tie, jacket and outer coat. There's plenty of re-use. And yet, this version is superior in several key areas.

Some of the improvements may be a figment of my imagination, like the improved shoes. I'll have to get them side by side to be sure, an indication that even if there are changes, they are relatively minor.

Other changes are clear though. One of my complaints with the original outfit was the use of thin Velcro to hold the vest closed. In fact, this thin Velcro has been an issue on a number of their more recent figures, since it doesn't hold well. They've switched back to snaps on the vest this time, and it's much appreciated.

The tailoring is excellent, and it requires using extremely thin material to get all these layers to look right in this scale.

The outer coat includes the new loops and thread pattern on the inside for the grenades, and it also includes a very thing wire along the bottom edge to aid in posing. And even my color blind eyes can tell that the purple is an improvement, matching the film version more closely.

The clothing hangs naturally off the TrueType body, creating a very realistic overall effect. I wish my clothes looked this good on me.

PERS Feature - ****
One of the key features of this Joker (and other future DX figures) is the PERS eye system. This system allows you to position the eyes in just about any manner you wish, matching any pose you like.

The back of the head is removable, held in place with a strong magnet. In the photo to the left you can see where the seam is in the hair, but that's only  because of the extreme magnification. Under normal light with normal eyes, it's almost impossible to see.

Once this piece is removed - and it's very easy to pop it on and off - you'll have access to a small 'joystick'. This stick can be moved 360 degrees to position the eyes. The eyes do not move independently (that's what the 'parallel' means in the name), which is a good thing since it means you won't have to worry about keeping them even with each other. Just pose them in the direction you want, and the PERS system takes care of the rest.

I included several photos specifically showing different eye positions, and I re-posed them for each overall body pose as well.

The stick is sturdy, and the eyes move smoothly, but you'll still want to take care. It's plastic after all - push too hard and it will snap.

Fun Factor - ***
Okay, this isn't a traditional action figure. If you give this to an eight year old, I'll have to kill you. But that doesn't mean it isn't a damn fine action figure, a collectible that remembers its roots.

Value - ***1/2
I paid $150 (pre-order prices were a little better than in stock prices), and for that, I got two almost complete Hot Toys Dark Knight Joker figures. Through in a $25 narrow TrueType body, and you have to figures for around $85 a pop. THAT is a damn fine deal.

Things to Watch Out For -
As I mentioned, you'll want to handle your joystick carefully. Try to be careful with the PERS stick too.

Overall - ****
Hot Toys is an appellation that has become synonymous with quality. They aren't the first company to set a standard in a field or market and become the leader by being innovative and creative. But unlike some of their predecessors, they haven't been content to rest on their haunches once they reached the zenith. They know other companies like Sideshow, Medicom, Triad and Enterbay are going to go after the over $100 sixth scale market. Rather than waiting for other companies to reach the bar they've set, they continue to move that bar higher.

When the first Joker was released about 16 months ago, he cost $140 - $150 depending on the retailer. Now, for about the same cost (if you were smart and pre-ordered) you can get almost two entire versions, plus the PERS eye system, plus the many improvements to the outfit, accessories and sculpt. There's some re-use of course (yes, we've seen that gun, knife and deck of cards before), but even taking that into consideration you have to recognize what an exceptional deal this is. We'll have to see if the future DX figures can maintain this level of awesome, because it won't be easy.

For those that waited on buying a Hot Toys Joker, hoping that a definitive version would finally exist, wait no longer. This is the guy to get.

Score Recap:
Packaging - ****
Sculpting - ****
Paint - ****
Articulation - ****
Accessories - ****
Outfit - ****
PERS Feature - ****
Fun Factor - ***
Value - ***1/2
Overall - ****

Where to Buy -
Online options include these site sponsors:

- Showpiece Collectibles has him on pre-order for just $160.

- Urban Collector has him in stock for $165.

- Big Bad Toy Store has him in stock for $165 as well.

- Andrew's Toyz , home of all things Star Wars, has him in stock for $170.

- Alter Ego Comics has him for $175.

- Entertainment Earth has him listed at $195.

- or you can search ebay for a deal.

Related Links -
Other Hot Toys Batman figures include:

- there's the exceptionally cool Tumbler and Bat-pod, two of the nicest sixth scale vehicles ever produced.

- other figures include Two Face/Harvey Dent, the Bank Robber Joker, original Joker, original Batman and new suit Batman.

- I also checked out their busts of both Batman and Joker.

- and they might not be what you think of when you think "Batman" and "Hot Toys", but don't neglect to check out the Cosbabies!

Discussion:
Want to chat about this review?  Try out one of these terrific forums where I'll be discussing it!

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Joker Police Officer DX-01 sixth scale action figure (Dark Knight) by Hot Toys


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

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