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Square Enix/PAK’s Arkham Asylum Batman & Joker Review

Based on 2009’s blockbuster title by Rocksteady Games, I’ve been wanting to get my hands on Square Enix’s Arkham Asylum figures since we saw them earlier this year at Toy Fair 2012.  Since acquiring their take on Batman and Joker and being able to physically play around with them, I can say that Square Enix has arguably released two of the finest crafted Batman action figures ever produced.  Really, you shouldn’t even be reading this – you should be here ordering them for your collection right now.  But in case you need some details to convince you, let’s take an in-depth look at each figure individually…

(click the thumbnails for larger versions)

Batman: Consistent with Square Enix’s other products, Batman stands roughly nine inches tall and is loaded with 22 points of articulation by my count.  The first thing that’s liable to strike you when you get this figure out of the package is the superb detail.  Accurate to the armored suit he wore in the game, Batman’s costume is textured throughout, with even the most minute detail present upon close inspection.  Even his gauntlets have nicks and scratches sculpted in to give it an extra authentic look and feel.  Topping it off is one of the best paint jobs I’ve ever seen on an action figure.  Every bulge and ripple on Batman’s body is shaded realistically and each crease in his cape and cowl is highlighted with a drybrush effect.

Bats comes packaged with his iconic Batarang accessory, signature grappling gun, and replacement hands (giving you the option to display him with each hand either opened or closed into a fist).  Also included is an interchangeable cape piece.  See, the way the cape & cowl works on this figure is genius — it’s actually set up as three separate pieces.  The lower portion of the cowl drapes partially over the shoulders and upper back and is made of a flexible material that masks not only the shoulder joints but also two ball joints that the remainder of the cape is connected to.  The cape itself is made of a much more rigid material and, thanks to being split in half and articulated, can be easily overlapped giving the cape a sleek, thin look or spread apart for a much more dramatic effect.  The additional cape piece can be snapped on to wrap around Batman’s left leg, providing a slightly different aesthetic feel.

To further drive home how much articulation this figure has, let’s do a quick run-down of just how many ways you can twist and turn this figure.  Each leg has a double-knee joint, realistic ankle movement, and a ball-joint & swivel combo in the hips.  The groin piece, up to the utility belt, is actually free floating as to not impair any movement of the legs, no matter how much you bend them.  The head has a swivel joint and both the neck and torso have subtle ball-joint motion.  The arms are ridiculous – each shoulder has been hinged to swing outward (providing enough movement for each hand to hold the opposite shoulder if you choose) and then has a ball-joint inside of the hinged piece.  Right on top of that is another swivel joint, elbow joint, and wrists that bend and rotate.  What all that amounts to is a toy that you can literally pose in any position imaginable.  I was worried that the cowl would impair shoulder movement but, while it does obstruct the joint, the material was made flexible enough that I had little trouble raising Batman’s arm straight up.  If I had one complaint about the whole package it’s that there isn’t a specific hand that’s made to cradle the Batarang.  You can cram it into the hand that’s made for the grapple gun, but it looks a little out of place with an outstretched trigger finger.  The other open hand can certainly hold it, but not with a firm grip.  It’s a relatively minor issue with an otherwise perfect figure.

Joker: Absolutely incredible.  The detail and paint on this figure will blow you away.  The pin-striping present all over Joker’s suit is textured and painted in – there’s even a stitched texture inside the actual pinstripes if you look really closely.  The colors they chose for the signature purple suit and green bowtie really pop and the shading is phenomenal – the copper buttons catch light well too.  Flowing outwards from the clothing is a gold watch chain and the tails from his jacket.  Even the wilted flower on his lapel is presented in painstaking detail.  It’s definitely one of the figures that gets pulled off the shelf time and time again just to play around with for a bit and pop into a new pose.  Figures like this blur the line between toy and art piece.  Normally, you just don’t see figures this detailed have such a high level of fun and playability.  Sporting almost the identical articulation as Batman (sans the cape and double head/neck joints), Joker can be contorted into just about any pose you can think of.

Also in the package, you’ll find an awesome looking handgun, wind-up teeth (they don’t really wind up but the key does turn and there is a joint to open the mouth), and two additional hands providing a fist replacement in the left hand and a right hand that can be swapped in to hold the gun accessory.  Cool accessories and a brilliant sculpt make this a must for any fan of the game or the Batman franchise in general.  He may be modeled after the version from the game, but one look and there’s no mistake – this is about as canon as you can get.  In the facial build alone, Square Enix totally nailed everything that the character embodies.  It’s a little silly, a little creepy, and absolutely maniacal.

So there you have it – they’re absolutely incredible.  Expect coverage on the upcoming Harley Quinn and Armored Batman figures from Square Enix/Play Arts Kai when they are released later this year…once I stop playing with them long enough to write it that is.

Pick up your set of Square Enix/PAK Arkham Asylum figures before they’re gone– Click Here to order yours from our friends at Mike’s Comics ‘N Stuff!

 

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