Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Toy Review – DC Comics Super-Villains Harley Quinn from DC Collectibles

Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti’s Harley Quinn is one of the best comic books I’m reading right now. It’s clever, fast-paced, hilarious, and it presents a version of Harley that I like a lot.

Furthermore, despite the existence of the term “Batgirling”, you will never convince me that the success of this comic book – which debuted in January of 2014, almost an entire year before the Batgirl reboot – is not what drove DC to try out some lighter fare. This probably even includes the aforementioned Batgirl reboot by Cameron Stewart, Brendan Fletcher, and Babs Tarr. Harley Quinn was the first New 52 title to bring lightness and humor and it came in at #2 in sales, only topped by the unstoppable juggernaut that is Batman.

I think that maybe that raised some eyebrows at DC.

You can’t talk about post-Flashpoint Harley without discussing her vastly different appearance. Personally, I’m all for it. She’s had a number of different costumes since the New 52 relaunch, and it just makes sense that her character would want some variety. It works especially well in the current book because she’s doing so many different things – rescuing animals, competing at roller derbies, palling around with Power Girl. Given the tone of the stories, it would actually be weird if she was wearing her harlequin unitard all the time. It’s hard to explain, but trust me.

And seriously – if you’re not reading the comic, you should be. Unless you hate fun. Then you should probably go and read some math textbooks or something.

I’ve loved the design of this roller derby Harley since it was first depicted on the solicit for Harley Quinn #0. It’s the traditional black and red, which I prefer over the red and purple, all of the pads make sense for the derby but also give her a superhero look (she’s more of an antihero than a villain in the current comic), and because of course Harley would be a roller derby girl.

FIRST GLANCE

I ordered the figure because it directly adapts Amanda Conner’s art and because, like I said, I just really like this look for Harley. In person it looks even better than I expected and has one of the best profiles (which is the term I use for the combination of sculpt and articulation) of any of DCC’s comic book figures.

And that face is just amazing – pure Conner.

PACKAGING

Harley comes in a basic window box with a hang-tab panel. It’s the style DCC has used for the past few years and it’s fine. Size-wise it can handle a wide variety of figures and the window design is neat and displays the figure well.

DCC credits the sculptor, which I find important. I had to clumsily cover up the eye-straining flash glare on this one rather than crop it because I wanted to point out that the finished product is actually better than what is on the box, as Harley’s hammer is red with a silver handle rather than all-silver, as pictured here. That’s pretty neat.

LOOKS

This is easily my favorite head sculpt that I’ve seen on a Harley figure. The first thing I noticed is that the shape seems a little odd, but it’s because of the size of her collar. It makes her head look a little squat. The collar is a separate piece that moves freely, so I was tempted to pop her head off and remove it. But I’m not sure if the head was designed to “pop off” or if I might cause some permanent damage by trying to do so. Lord knows I don’t need any more broken action figures lying around here.

Side Note: I finally had the time to open my Firefly Legacy figures, so I opened Mal. His right forearm tore off with the gentlest of joint testing. I might be done with Funko Legacy figures. I don’t need this hassle.

The face is full of character. I can’t quite explain it, but one of the things that’s so great is how this doesn’t just look like a figure painted to be Harley Quinn, it looks like Harley. It has such a specific shape and expression that it sells the character. The sculpted hair looks great and the painted detail is incredible. The eyes, in particular, are very impressive.

The white plastic that DCC used for Harley’s skin isn’t quite white. This is good because I don’t want a yellowed Harley on my shelf in five years. It has an interesting hue that makes it look more like white skin than skin painted white. It’s somewhat similar to the look Mattel gets with the skin tones on its WWE figures. This white plastic also photographs much better than other white figures. If you follow Needless Things, you know I often have trouble with white or even just pale skin. It might also be the contrast that Harley’s reds and blacks provide.

The collar I mentioned above is a soft plastic. The sculpted bells are pretty amazing, as the slotted portions are actually sculpted. The paint detail is tight, with the glossy red and the silver in the right spots with no blotching or bleeding.

Harley’s costume features the standard bifurcated red and black design. The use of glosses contributes a ton to how good this figure looks. Her socks and the flexible portions of her elbow pads are flat while pretty much everything else is glossy. This adds so much definition and texture to the figure and combines with her skin – a different texture and gloss, as well – to create a much more interesting and fully realized character.

What, exactly, is holding those shoulder pads on? Who cares. They look great.

Harley’s belt and holster are nicely petite. DCC made a good call when they made the holster and strap out of flexible rubber. This means that her pistol can slide right into the holster and you can slide the strap over the top. There’s no button or potentially faulty mechanism to break.

Harley’s mismatched boots are glossy with flat laces and pom-poms. Those little pom-poms are just hilarious and say so much about who Harley is. The paint is applied nicely and the freaking grommets are even painted silver. I’ve got figures that don’t even have painted laces, let alone the eyelets.

ACCESSORIES

Harley comes with a pair of detachable roller skates, a pistol, and a comically oversized hammer.

Compared to the other looney stuff Harley has, the pistol is pretty dull. But it has tons of sculpted detail and is a nice gunmetal color. It fits perfectly into Harley’s hand or into the holster. I would be careful when putting the gun into the holster. It’s sturdy, but it is a separate rubber piece that could conceivably tear or be pulled off.

The roller skates are excellent. The wheels roll quite nicely. The two pegs fit snugly into holes on the bottom of Harley’s boots. When you’ve got them on all the way, you’d actually be hard-pressed to tell that they’re separate pieces. They look great.

The comically oversized hammer is solid plastic. On older DC Direct releases I would have been very concerned about the shaft breaking, but it’s pretty solid. It and the top portion have metallic finishes. Harley can hold it with both hands or either hand depending on how good you are at getting action figures to hold things. But the important part is that she can hold it.

FUN

DC Collectibles has, as I’ve mentioned, upped their articulation game. And what I like the most is that they’re not forcing themselves to maintain a standard number or style of joints just to do it. They design joints on a figure-by-figure basis, which ends up giving us the best-looking figures possible.

Harley lacks any double joints and her ankles don’t move, but with all of the ball joints and swivels that were incorporated she can achieve a good number of poses that you might need a psychotic antihero roller derby vigilante to strike. Her hips and shoulders have the best range. When you’re posing them, be careful. They’re sturdy and I didn’t have any problems, but take your time. The hips have a much better range than they initially seem to – loosening them up carefully is a good idea. The shoulders move nicely, but be careful with the pads. Again – they’re sturdy, but they’re hinged so as to allow the shoulders more of a range.

Which brings me to what I think is a pretty amazing feature that I didn’t even notice until after I took these pictures (and was still playing around with the figure because it’s so good) – all of Harley’s pads are hinged. Her knee and elbow pads move freely so that they can be positioned to cover the hinges and also just look right. It’s an innovative way of handling the elbows and kneepads and I think maybe a major company with the license to produce action figures of the wrestlers from the biggest promotion in the world could learn something from this.

This is a fun figure. There are plenty of posing options, it can roll around, and all of the accessories interact well and can all be stored on the figure at the same time.

OVERALL

This is easily the best Harley Quinn figure I own. The sculpt and paint are beautiful and the design is so good that it actually makes me excited for other DC Collectibles releases. That is the mark of a truly great action figure – one that isn’t just good on its own, but also gets you excited for other releases from the line or company. If you’re a fan of Harley Quinn or just a fan of great, fun action figures, you’ve got to buy one of these.

5 out of 5


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