Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Toy Review –Batman: Arkham Knight Harley Quinn from DC Collectibles

Welcome to Arkham Week on Needless Things!

Every day this week I’ll be reviewing one of the new Arkham Knight figures from DC Collectibles, and on Friday we’ll be posting a special episode of the Needless Things Podcast where we take a look at the Arkham video game franchise.

Side Note: The Arkham Knight figure has been delayed, so I’ve only got four reviews. Word I’m getting is that it was pushed back due to the figure itself containing spoilers for the game. I think it’s somewhat prosaic that the antagonist from the oft-delayed game is, itself delayed.

Today’s figure is the newest iteration of Harley Quinn, which appears to be an amalgamation of her appearances in the prior games – Arkham Asylum and Arkham City.


I think Harley’s Asylum get-up was the first radical departure from her traditional spandex harlequin costume. As far as I can recall there was very little outcry over the fact that she was suddenly wearing a sexy nurse outfit with fishnet thigh-highs and a corset. That was six years ago and it’s astonishing how much the climate has changed since then. Nowadays such a change would be met with boycotts and online petitions. David Ayers should be thankful that Rocksteady introduced such a drastically different Harley back then, because going from this:



To this:



Would likely have broken the internet. Ms. Robbie’s appearance almost did, anyway.

The Asylum outfit made sense, though, because in the context of the game Harley was playing nurse. It was funny and a little sick and it worked. It also created an iconic new look for Harley that set this video game version apart as a slightly more deranged kind of crazy.
In Arkham City Harley sort of a real-world variation on her classic costume. It still had the fetish-y elements of the Asylum costume, but was overall a more practical outfit. This looked like a Harley that was ready for action and, quite frankly, could be taken a little more seriously. She looked like a villain in her own right rather than an accessory to the Joker.

I’m honestly not sure how I feel about this Arkham Knight costume. In the world of video games everything must evolve, so a new look for Harley was inevitable. Even Batman’s iconic suit has been drastically different with each game (and has changed within the games, for that matter), so there was no doubt Harley would receive a makeover. To be clear – I don’t dislike this look, but I don’t love it, either.

The tutu is what’s throwing me off. I appreciate that it’s silly and makes sense within the context of the character, but aesthetically it is kind of an eyesore. That might just be on the figure, though. In the game it might not be quite so poofy and distracting. I’ve watched a couple of the trailers, but I haven’t really delved too far into the new game. I like surprises.
Otherwise this is a good look and a reasonable evolution of Harley’s video game appearances. One thing I would like to see this time around are some different looks within the game, especially since she’s going to be a playable character.

FIRST GLANCE

That tutu. Ugh. Otherwise the figure looks great. This is the most articulated Harley yet, which is exciting. Her features and the detailing also seem more realistic and less exaggerated. I think that’s part of why the tutu is bothering me – the rest of the figure seems very real world and that thing is just sticking out looking all crazy.

PACKAGING

This new DCC package is great. The five-sided window box design looks very cool, and each franchise has its own graphical designs. Here we have some industrial, Gotham-looking stuff and a cool wireframe of Harley on the back surrounded by the rest of the first series figures.

We also have sculpting credits for Gentle Giant. I apologize for the blurriness. I was tired or possibly inebriated.

LOOKS

You guys probably can’t tell from the pictures thanks to the white washing out so much, but to me this face sculpt looks exactly like Emily Bett Rickards. To the point where I really wondered if DCC just used the head sculpt from the forthcoming Felicity Smoak figure. I think the chances that they did that are incredibly small, but to me this really looks like her.

As far as the quality of the sculpt, it’s fantastic. Part of the quality comes from the fact that the higher definition graphics allow for a more realistic looking character, so these character models don’t have the same exaggerated features of previous versions (I cannot wait to replace that weird-looking Arkham City Catwoman). Harley’s features are very realistic and human. Her hair has a ton of detail and looks very natural. The colored ends of her ponytails are a little more faded than I’d like, but I’m sure that reflects her look in the game. Otherwise the paint on Harley’s head is top notch. The placement is perfect and the fine detail and vibrancy of the colors is striking. Those eyes and lips are some of the best I’ve ever seen on an action figure. The different glosses used add such a subtle bit of realism.

Harley is wearing a fairly complex corset with all kinds of highly detailed straps and studs and O-rings. It looks great and also HOLY CRAP, CLEAVAGE. This is more of Harley than we’re used to seeing. I’m never comfortable discussing action figure boobs, but sometimes you just have to. They’re sculpted well and manage to not look ridiculous despite being in something of a ridiculous situation. I’m a little confused by Harley’s shirt configuration, as she has a collar (nicely reminiscent of her more traditional harlequin costume), sleeves, and a back. I can only assume she cut the front out to distract potential enemies.

Side Note: Or allies, as the case may be. If you’re a fan of the Arkham games and plan on playing Arkham Knight, you should definitely check out Peter J. Tomasi’s prequel comic. In it, Harley cajoles Penguin into an alliance, making obvious use of her assets to throw him off balance. The narrative bridges the gap between Arkham City and Arkham Knight and has been very good so far.

Harley’s sleeves have a lot of detail and straps with O-rings at the bottom to compliment her gear. The bracers look good, as well. I do wish she had some fingernail polish, though. I know that sounds weird, but with the amount of paint on this figure her hands actually seem oddly plain.

The tutu is what it is. It’s wide and bulky and, to me, messes up the figure’s profile. Fortunately it’s molded from a very soft plastic and doesn’t interfere with articulation. It is sculpted well and looks as good as such a thing could.

Harley’s tights look great. The trademark harlequin diamond pattern is painted on, but there are also sculpted studs. Her combat boots are nicely detailed, but I have to make one more nitpicky observation and say it would have been nice if the boots were glossy with the laces painted flat. A little more distinction between the two would have looked great.

There’s only one flaw on my figure and it’s that there’s a scrape in the paint on its left thigh. It’s a lot more noticeable in the pictures than it is in person.

ACCESSORIES

Harley comes with a baseball bat, a pistol, an extra set of hands, a jack-in-the-box, and what looks like a detonator.

The jack-in-the-box is fantastic. The sculpt and painted detail are outstanding. The spring is springy, but also quite sturdy – I don’t think it’s going to sag or bend over time. The handle has a little give to it, so it won’t snap right off if you drop this thing.

The bat has a wonderful wood grain paint job with glossy red striping on top. It is solid and fits perfectly into Harley’s grasping hands.

The hands look great, switch out easily, and stay put. The tiny pegs are sturdier than they appear, but I’d still be careful with them.

The pistol and detonator(?) are both packed with details. Harley can hold them just fine. They’re both molded from sturdy plastic rather than rubber. As you all know, I hate rubber accessories. I mean, unless they’re supposed to be rubbery. But a rubber sword or blaster is not acceptable.

FUN

DC Collectibles has hit a new standard in the sturdiness of their figures. I say this because my Harley has already survived a seven foot drop. One of my Banes tipped over and took all of my Harleys and a few other figures out and they fortunately all survived the plunge.
This figure is loaded with articulation, which seems to be the new standard for DCC products. I’m blown away at the difference in this Harley and the original. Just for fun, I’ll run down the joints:

Head – ball joint
Shoulders – ball joints
Elbows – swivel/hinge
Wrists – swivel/hinge
Waist – swivel
Hips – ball joint
Knees – double hinge
Ankles – hinge/swivel

I’m going to try to remember to check before I post this because I can’t recall if she has swivels at the tops of her boots.

The only thing I’d change would be a ball joint at the waist like NECA’s Predators have. But even that isn’t really necessary.

All of the joints work well and have satisfying ranges. This Harley can do pretty much anything you might want and interacts with all of her accessories nicely. I had a lot of fun playing with this one and she and all of the other first series Arkham Knight figures hung out on my desk for a while.

OVERALL

This is a great Harley Quinn figure.

Yes, even with the tutu. Because everything else about it is so well done and such an improvement over every other Arkham Harley. This is what action figure design should be – constant improvement and innovation. If it weren’t for a certain other Harley Quinn that came out just a couple of weeks after this one, the Arkham Knight version would be my favorite figure of the character.

I’ll be reviewing that one soon.

Obviously the paint scrape on the thigh is a problem, but from a “how it was designed” standpoint, this figure gets a perfect

5 out of 5


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2 comments:

  1. I love this Harley! I've been playing through Arkham Knight and just encountered Harley for the first time last night (other than in the DLC mission). Wow! That's all I'm saying!

    DCC has stepped their game up so, so much for this series and i hope that they keep bringing out more characters in the line.

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    Replies
    1. I think I like Arkham City Harley the most, but this is a better figure than any of the City Harleys they've made.

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