Batman: Arkham Asylum Series 2

I’m an idiot.

I had a little extra cash this month and since it had been awhile since I went toy shopping, I caved and bought the first thing I saw at the comic book store: a set of the Batman: Arkham Asylum Series 2 figures from DC Direct.

Why am I an idiot? Because DC Direct isn’t one of my regular lines. Because I spent the last of my reserve fund for these four figures and I was going to miss out on the September 24 distribution of Wave 4 and 5 of the Marvel Universe line. Because I didn’t have the will needed to pass up a good deal.

Anyway, I’ve got the Nightwing and Flamebird from DC Direct’s Armory Series, but that’s about it. I’ve never liked the fact that these “action figures” didn’t have any actual action in them. They are the other side of the sculpt vs. play value debate, where looking good is the only measure of quality and I don't subscribe to that belief. A toy should do more than just look pretty.

That said, these are very pretty figures.

The figures are packaged in the standard for the mid-range action figure market: the clam shell. I’m glad the mass market toys dropped this method of protecting their figures a while back. They’re strong, I’ll give them that, but they’re a bitch to open and there’s no way to do it without destroying the thing completely. The two halves of the shell are melted together, so you’ll have to take a knife or a sharp pair of scissors to it to get it open. Once you do, you aren’t going to be able to replace them in the clam shell for storage or display, either.

Plus, there’s no way to get the insert out without damaging it because of that asinine J-hook at the top.


Of the four, I think Armored Batman wins out (as if there was any ever doubt – he’s Batman). He’s a great size for desktop display, has more joints than any of the others, and comes with an accessory.

Articulation wise… Well, forget it. Though he’s got more joints that the other three in the assortment, he still can’t do squat. The ball-jointed head, swivel-hinge shoulders, hinge elbows, swivel gloves, hinge hips, hinge knees, and swivel boots are all pretty useless. The figure is missing quite a few essential points and what he has can’t get him into any interesting poses. You’re basically stuck with standing Batman and get a choice about where he points his grappling gun.

However, remember this is a DC Direct figure so you have to give it a few points for the gorgeousness of the sculpt. The details of the figure are unbelievably near the computer model of the Walmart exclusive Armored Batsuit. Right down to the utility belt. The proportions seem a bit on the slim side, but it looks like that’s a nod to the aesthetics of the game.

I opened Poison Ivy next, because let’s face it, I’m a nerd and super-villainesses sculpted in their underwear are to me like underage children are to Pedobear.

She’s got less articulation than the Bats, with no lower leg joints at all. Her stems look nice though, and she’s very shapely. Her outfit is close to the source material, but the proportions are slightly off. She looks shorter and her head's a little big. It could be because of the Bride of Frankenstein hair, though.

Like most female figurines, the form vs. function argument flips around. I prefer a better sculpt for female figures, even to the detriment of joint count. While I wouldn't mind a waist or knees, it's not really necessary, especially in a distance fighter like Poison Ivy who can stay in the background.

Bane is the figure I like least in the set, which is ironic since it's the one that's supposedly in the highest demand. He's a good bargain, too, since he is about three times as massive as any of the other figures and comes in a clam shell that is two times as wide.

Though his sculpt is good, and once again, true to the material, this is a pre-posed figure, and it feels as if the pose was chosen more for the fact that it could fit into the clam shell then anything else. It's not particularly menacing and makes Bane looks as if he's a hunchback, or a cowering dog. I feel like he should be posed walking inexorably toward his enemy. Like the Juggernaut.

Instead, he's squatting. As if over a toilet.

I am tempted to buy that 1/12 scale water closet I keep passing on just for the potential pictures.

The last figure in the series, and the last to be opened in my set, is Victor Zsasz. I wasn't even sure I was going to open it at all, since Zsasz is such a boring character next to villains like The Joker or The Penguin. Whoopee. A serial killer who is smart and strong and uses knives. This isn't Criminal Minds. I want my villains in day glow tights.

But after giving the figure a chance and opening it, I've got to admit that it's very nicely done. Although he's just as pre-posed as the other two villains, he's still got a few posing options available to him. The detail on the figure is also top rate, with the numerous scars that he's carved into his body visible, and chains and locks hanging off him on all sides.

Despite my first thought to sell him, I decided to keep the figure around, just in case I come across Series 1. I'd hate to complete all of them and just be missing one of Batman's rogue gallery.

So even if I am going to miss out on those new Marvel Universe figures this weekend, I don't totally regret buying these. Especially since they retail for about Php 1,500.00 (or about $33.33) and I found them for only Php 875.00 each at Comic Quest.

If you like the game, like statues, or like Batman, these figures are the shit.

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