Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Toy Review – Batman: Arkham City Solomon Grundy By DC Collectibles

I feel like I’ve been extremely neglectful of this toy line, and it’s one of my favorites.
The only other reviews I’ve done of DCC’s line of figures based on the Arkham games were of Mr.Freeze and Killer Croc. I think part of the reason I skipped reviewing the initial releases was that DC Direct used to be known for making fragile toys with odd articulation. I bought a few here and there – usually characters that I didn’t expect to show up in other lines like Stephanie Brown – but kept it on the down low because I was a little embarrassed that I was still giving the company money.
Like everybody else on the planet I loved Batman: Arkham Asylum. So when DC Direct announced figures I ordered them. I figured I’d take a chance again because the character designs were so cool. And besides, they’d probably only end up doing a couple of series anyway.
Ha.
Five or six or so series later I now have over twenty figures from DC’s toy division – now called DC Collectibles – and they are all pretty awesome. As the line went on the company decided they could get away with making figures that were more ambitious in size and price tag. Killer Croc and Mr. Freeze were the first two, followed by Titan Joker (I passed on him because no matter how much I love the game series I still hate that design).
And now we have this fucking behemoth – Solomon Grundy. Easily the largest twelfth scale action figure I own. And the heaviest.
He was pricy at $90, but I didn’t even hesitate to order the big guy. First, I had my discount. But mostly it was because DCC has earned my trust and my fandom. They have been cranking out high-quality, durable figures for the Arkham franchise and every one I have bought has been a win. I want them all. Well, all of the ones I like, anyway. And Grundy was such a big deal and significant presence in the game that I simply couldn’t not get him.
First Glance: This figure is truly gargantuan, and in a way that you simply can’t understand until you are holding it. I thought Killer Croc was huge. In the review I described him as “massive”. Killer Croc is a baby kitten compared to Solomon Grundy. Plus, Grundy’s sculpt is as tight and detailed as any other figure in the line. He does not suffer from the condition where larger figures are plainer.
Articulation: Grundy is probably about as articulated as a figure this large and heavy could be.

Head – ball joint
Shoulders – ball joint
Biceps – swivel
Elbows – pivot
Wrists – ball joint
Hips – ball joint
Knees –pivot

Grundy’s head is mounted on a ball joint, but it’s mostly good for swiveling. He has a slight range of up and down movement, but not a ton. It’s okay because not many of the poses you can accomplish require much range in that way.
Between the shoulders, biceps, elbows, and wrists Grundy’s arms move about as much as you might want. Each of these joints has a good range despite the bulk of the figure.
The hip joints move just a little. At this point the figure’s size and balance are really coming into play, so these really needed to be tight, restricted joints. I don’t want this guy falling down and taking all of Arkham City with him. The knees bend a good bit, but there’s not much to do with them.
All of the joints are worked into the sculpt quite well. Grundy maintains a nice profile however you have him posed.
Sculpt: Like every other figure in this line Grundy is near-impeccable. Every single bit of detail from the game model is captured here. It’s almost eerie how much these figures look like their counterpart Character Trophies.
Before I get any further, I have to compare this Grundy to the Grundy from the Alex Ross Justice line. That Grundy was thought to be quite a large figure that also happened to look an awful lot like The Juggernaut from Thir13en Ghosts.
This Grundy also looks a bit like The Juggernaut in the face area (I think it’s mostly the teeth), but makes the old Grundy look like tiny and shameful:
So now you know what we’re dealing with, here.
The figure’s hair has a shocked look, with pieces standing up in different ways and just generally looking very distinctive. The face is terrifying. It’s sort of mummy-like, but also full of strength. The eyes are wide-set and angry while the mouth is full of huge, blunt teeth. The fine detail on all of this just blows my mind. All of the wrinkles and lines give this undead monster so much character.
The arms are massive and covered in veins and stitches. I still don’t know that I like the Frankensteinishness of Arkham’s Grundy, but I think the story did say that Ra’s al Ghul had been experimenting on him, so maybe he did that. Honestly it doesn’t matter because it does look cool. There are also splits where his skin has stretched too far. Gross. His hands are massive and each is posed differently. Both are open, though, so they can grab other figures as needed.
Grundy’s torso is a thick and solid piece with a removable chest. We’ll get to that. The whole figure is a solid piece rather than being hollow or rotocast. I appreciate that. Granted, it’s what accounts for the high price, but it makes him fit into the line so much better than if he were constructed of different materials. Most of the torso is covered by coat and pants, but then there’s the grotesque cavity that is revealed when you remove the chest piece. Grundy’s ribs and guts are rendered in loving detail, complete with a spot for the included removable heart. The aforementioned pants are frayed like crazy at the top like he was a Suicide Girl on Instagram (those are funny folks – “Here’s a picture of my ass, here’s a picture of my tits, here’s a picture of my kid!”) with a rope belt.
I am not often impressed with pants sculpts. But this Solomon Grundy has some amazing pants. The texture on them is tremendous, but the rips are what really sell them. They are so finely detailed and so spate from the sculpt that they… well, they look like rips. Particularly the ones at the bottoms of the legs. They are actually hanging away from the figure’s legs like actual torn pants would. It looks amazing and is even better when you can put your hands on the figure and feel just how well done these are.
Grundy has huge, unarticulated feet. They look great and have the same stitching and veins as the rest of the figure, as well as big ol’ crusty toenails.
Coloring: Grundy’s flesh is a lifeless grey color. It lends itself well to shading and contrasts the red glistening underneath the splits and wounds nicely. The blue veins, as well, for that matter.
The interior of the chest cavity is painted with a glistening red that effectively emulates a big ol’ pile of gore. The stark, pale ribs make it even more disturbing.
His eyes are a ghastly pale yellow, but when you look closely you can see that his corneas are a shining gold. It’s quite creepy. The figure’s teeth and gums are individually detailed and tightly done. Toenails and fingernails are both a gross brown color.
The pants have a dry brush on them to give them a weathered look and the frayed edge at the top really has the look of a worn edge. The rope belt is painted so well that I really thought it was an actual rope when the figure was still in the package.
Grundy’s feet have some dirt painted on, but it is subtle. He doesn’t look like he’s been stomping around in a mud puddle, but he does look like somebody who lives outdoors.
Flair: Grundy has a coat and chains looped around both wrists.
The coat is made of rubber and is textured and colored to match the pants. The color is very – very­ – slightly off, but not bad. The coat fits the figure perfectly and is cleverly used to keep the chest piece in place. I think it’s funny that this is sort of a tail coat, complete with buttons and a little strap on the back.
The chains are almost a little disappointing after getting actual, die-cast chains on Croc, but I realize how impractical it would have been to put metal chains this size on the figure. They do look good and are separate pieces to allow Grundy’s wrists to move freely. There are spaces between the links so that they don’t look like they’re just big hunks of plastic.
Accessories: Grundy comes with his chest piece and the removable heart.
The chest piece is held in place by the shape of the sculpt and how it lines up with the cavity, as well as the jacket. I like it and find it to be a much better method than using pegs or clasps. The figure has a much more organic feel thanks to this. The interior of the chest piece is detailed with ribs and glistening gore.
The heart is rubber and just sort of sits in the hole. It doesn’t attach in any way, so you have to hold the figure flat to put the cavity in place. 
It really doesn’t matter, but it made it difficult to take a picture of the figure with the heart in and the chest off.
Packaging: Solomon Grundy comes in a massive window box that helps to make you feel like you really got something special. I really like the package design of these large scale figures. 
The window is stylized and several glosses of paint are used to make it seem more collector-y.
Value: I didn’t pay ninety bucks for Grundy. He is well worth what I did pay, and maybe worth the ninety. This is a truly special figure that is going to stand out in your collection.
Overall: I can’t honestly say that everybody should own this figure, considering the price, but if you’re the type of collector that likes special pieces then Grundy is for you. DC Collectibles really did something special here. I can’t think of anything I would have done differently and I am stoked to have this big guy on my shelf. Except that I need to find a shelf to put him on. My Arkham shelf is full. Time to rearrange.

5 out of 5

Your local comic shop might have Solomon Grundy in stock if they do big toy business. If not, you can get him from BigBad or Entertainment Earth. I’d act fast, because I doubt he’s going to be on the primary secondary market for long.

-Phantom

2 comments:

  1. Good review, man. I'd love to own this figure but I've had so many DC Collectibles figures break on me recently- Croc was broken out of the box, as was Talia and Azrael. Deadshot broke within 2 days. Does he have that weird clear plastic for his joints or something more substantial?

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    1. I'm sorry to hear that about your Arkham figures. I've found the line to be surprisingly sturdy. Several of mine have even survived falls from the shelf to the floor. Grundy seems very sturdy, but I feel like all of the figures have been. Of course, I only do about a day of posing/photographing and then stick them on the shelf. Your habits may differ.

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