Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Toy Review Batman: Arkham City Hugo Strange (SDCC Graphitti Designs Exclusive) from DC Collectibles

Hoo, boy was I pissed off about this figure.
Hugo Strange is a character that is oddly special to me for a few reasons. His ghost was in the first Batman comic I ever read, he’s one of those characters that is more of a mental challenge for Batman (and a particularly insidious one, at that), and he’s the only character in all of created fiction ever that I can cosplay (is that proper word usage? Even after my exhaustive Dragon Con coverage I’m not sure).
I was thrilled when he was one of the main antagonists in Batman: Arkham City. Not just because he was in it, but because his story was great and true to the comics. Once DC got around to producing figures of Joker’s goons I figured a Strange figure couldn’t be far behind. I was right, but in the worst possible way one could be right about such a thing – he was going to be a San Diego Comic Con Exclusive.
FUCK.
It’s bad enough when a SDCC Exclusive is a variant or repaint that you think is cool and really want. But this is the only figure release Strange has gotten and he is a central character to the game and an essential part of the collection. This figure isn’t one that you can pass on and still consider your Arkham shelf complete. I was furious at DCC’s decision.
However, in recent years some of the toy companies have realized how shitty it is to make things Exclusive and have made them easier to get online. I had hopes that DC Collectibles – being a big comic book company that would likely want their product in as many hands as possible and certainly wouldn’t want to alienate their small group of devoted collectors – would make Strange readily available. Whether through standard e-tailers like Big Bad and Entertainment Earth or through their own, newly launched web store.
Well, it eventually showed up on BigBad’s site, but for the secondary market price of $44.99 and not the MSRP of $24.99. And yeah – it could have been even more.
But I ordered one because I couldn’t very well go without this guy. He’s now selling for around sixty bucks, so I don’t feel too bad about shelling out for him.
First Glance: His damn glasses are crooked. Other than that he looks great and fits the aesthetic established by the rest of the line. But… fuck.
Articulation: Strange has all the joints you might want in an evil psychoanalyst with a Batman fetish.
Head – ball joint
Shoulders – ball joint
Elbows – swivel/pivot
Wrists – swivel
Waist - swivel
Hips – swivel
Knees - pivot
Strange’s head moves around alright. It isn’t the best ball joint ever, but it does enough.
His arms work well, but I’d like it if his elbows bent a bit more. He can’t quite clasp his hands behind his back and it’s driving me a little nuts because that’s kind of his signature pose and I paid SO DAMN MUCH FOR THIS FIGURE.
His hips and knees move about as much as they need to, but the figure really could have used ankle joints. It isn’t balanced all that well and has to be in a very specific pose to stand up. He can’t actually stand in a neutral position – the right leg has to be in front of the left. HOWEVER – if the only solution would have been ugly holes in the sides of his pants legs like Mattel does on its figures with trousers; then no thank you I will deal with an awkward stance.
All of Hugo’s joints move well and none were stuck or anything.
Sculpt: Hugo is a 100% new sculpt.
Okay, when I say that I can cosplay as this guy, I mean I look enough like him in my natural state that it works. I do not, however, have his giant and grotesque fish lips.
Those fish lips happen to be in the middle of a tremendous head sculpt that is full of personality and perfectly captures Strange’s appearance from Arkham City. The beard is shaped right and has just the right amount of detail. The facial expression is very judgmental.
I feel like an odd decision was made regarding this figure’s shoulders. The lab coat has very wide openings for the arms. We’ve definitely seen better from this line. But the weird thing is the seams on the tops of the arms themselves. These appear to be shoulder seams, but it seems to me like a better decision would have been to just leave the seams off and let the separations between the coat and the arms serve as the seams.
That being said, the arms do look good and the gloved hands are great. They have seams and folds and look creepy. The right hand is in a fairly neutral, relaxed pose. The left looks like it could be ready to hold a scalpel or a syringe, but I just cannot make the syringe work. I want so bad for those two extended fingers to sit on the plunger and it just isn’t happening. Still, he can hold both accessories and it looks okay.
Strange’s trousers and shoes are pretty plain. Not much to see here, but there’s no reason they should be exciting.
Coloring: The paint on the head is great. The lips are dark and overly emphasized, which gives the Professor a creepy look. There are dark washes in the lines of his face to bring them out. His beard and eyebrows match and have washes as well. The eyes are centered and well done, not that you can tell in any of these pictures. Just take my word for it.
The lab coat and arms match perfectly. This is a major feat considering they are pure white and molded from different materials. Even Hasbro can’t manage that trick, so good job, DCC.
His trousers are flat and dull. His shoes and gloves are glossy black.
Flair: THOSE DAMN GLASSES!
They look great, but mine got glued on crooked. I’m scared to try and fix them because if I screw up my figure will have no glasses. The translucent lenses look awesome and the glossy black frames are perfect.
The Professor’s lab coat is a soft plastic or rubber. The clasps look great and are painted well, though I think I might prefer it if they were all fastened. But who knows? Maybe this is pre-perv-out Hugo. Maybe he just laid 150 ccs of some weird hallucinogen on a patient and is preparing to get freaky. I dunno.
The high point of the lab coat is the deco. There’s the Arkham logo printed on the right side and his ID badge on the left. The badge has tiny printed detail and looks very good..
Accessories: Strange comes with a scalpel and a syringe. The scalpel is pretty basic – just a long-handled blade with a coat of silver paint. The figure can hold it and that’s what counts. The syringe is made from a translucent material and has silver paint on the metallic parts. It looks great and I appreciate the effort DCC put into it.
Packaging: It’s the crappy old clamshell from the last waves that you need scissors to open. Blech. 
Also, there’s no bio or anything, just a synopsis of the plot of Arkham City.
Value: MSRP is $24.99. Given the Exclusivity I feel like Strange is probably worth that. And given the fact that I absolutely had to have him I guess he’s worth the forty-five bucks plus shipping that I paid. But not really. It’s one of those things where I had to weigh the hole in my collection against the hole in my wallet.
Overall: I probably would have given this guy a 5 if I had paid regular price for him and his glasses weren’t jacked up. While there were a few minor things I would have done differently, this figure is pretty much the best Hugo Strange it could be.
4 out of 5
The only place I’ve seen this lately is eBay and he’s going for around sixty bucks. Yeesh.
-Phantom


2 comments:

  1. So jealous! I missed out on this guy and can't bring myself to drop 60+ dollars on him.

    I still have my Secret File Hugo Strange, so I'm not completely Strangeless, but this guy definitely looks much better.

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    Replies
    1. I love that Secret Files Strange. It's a fantastic figure, but you're right - I needed a Hugo in his regular getup.

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