DC Collectibles Designer Series: Amanda Conner’s Harley Quinn review

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The latest release from DC Collectibles Designer Series is inspired by the work of critically acclaimed artist, Amanda Conner. These four figures (sold separately) bring to life the pages of such books as the Harley Quinn Holiday Special, the much-celebrated Harley Quinn & Power Girl mini-series, and the ongoing Harley Quinn solo series (now shipping twice monthly) that Amanda Conner and her husband, Jimmy Palmiotti have been writing since 2013.

Traditional Harley Quinn

Amanda Conner stays true to the Animated Series roots here and given her clean, highly expressive style that would be a perfect fit for animation itself, this figure should make any Harley fan happy. The figure is about what you’d expect right own to the corked pop-pistol, but the scale is quite a bit larger compared to the DC Collectible’s Animated Series line and I don’t recommend displaying her side-by-side with the Harleys of the BTAS and TNBA range.

Traditional Harley may not be as whimsical as the other three figures in this set, but she makes a nice centerpiece for the full quartet so guests can admire all the inventive styles that Conner spun out of the OG look. In addition to the classic Harley handgun, the toy also comes with a peg stand (all these figures come with one) painted in Harley’s diamond pattern and there’s a rotting beaver as well. And if you don’t read the comics, that last bit probably threw you for a loop.

I found it funny that Bernie, Harley’s taxidermied sidekick from the New 52 series (and current Rebirth series) was included with the classic design instead of slipping in another traditional item like a giant mallet or Joker fish, but it works as a nice way to make newcomers curious about Palmiotti and Conner’s expansion of Harley’s story. However, it does make me wonder why a New 52 Roller Derby Harley from the New 52 relaunch was absent from this Designer Series. Never the less, Bernie is a fun  addition and the most impressive accessory of the entire line. Not only is he highly detailed, but he’s squishy– really squishy. By squeezing his tummy you can make his jelly-like intestines spew forth, but don’t worry! Release the beaver and his insides go right back where they belong. It’s gross, but pretty damn cool.

All of the Harleys feature the same amount of articulation, which isn’t spectacular, but it’s not too restrictive either. None of them have a waist bend/crunch/swivel, the legs can’t quite close all the way so you can show off her hourglass figure, and the head can only swivel. The head is the worst offender. Each Harley has eyes painted in a highly expressive way (which you’d want in a tribute to Conner’s art), but it’s a look that only works if you view it from the intended angle and that’s not easily achieved when you can’t get Harley to raise or lower her chin. Speaking of the paint job, my figure looks a little sloppy around the collar where you can see faint blotches of black and red. Not terribly noticeable, but it could’ve been better. You’ll also find that there are no extra hands with various grips included with any of the Harleys. Traditional Quinn sports an open grip (for the gun) and a closed fist. They’ll swivel and bend, but you’re stuck with those two hands and those two hands only.

Spacesuit Harley Quinn

If I go to hell when I die, the first 1,000 years will likely be spent trying and failing to put the pigtails into the sculpted head of the Spacesuit Harley Quinn. I swear, it’s like these things were specifically engineered to ruin an afternoon–but I’m getting ahead of myself! Spacesuit Harley looks great and has some incredibly wacky accessories that are sure to attract attention to any display shelf. She has a nice, glossy paint job, I love the detail put into everything from the striped boots to the inclusion of a removable clear helmet, and she even has a futuristic cork-rifle with lengthy spring cable. Lots of effort was put into this one, and speaking of lots of effort– those pigtails.

So in order to get that adorable look, you have to clip together the two-piece clear plastic helmet and then plug the included pigtails through holes in the helmet and into notches in the back of Quinn’s head. It sounds easy, it looks easy, and that makes it all the more infuriating when they just won’t fit. Or when you get one in and then totally knock out both of hem and separate the helmet when you try to secure the second. Or when you get both of them fastened but the head is turned backwards now and correcting the head causes both pigtails to pop out.

I hated. Putting in. The pigtails.

But everything else is terrific. After you leap the pigtail hurdle you’re left with a fantastic Harley-in-space figure that matches Amanda’s design from Harley Quinn #12 near-perfectly.

I say “near-perfectly” because we are missing the oxygen hoses at the base of the helmet. But I bet you didn’t even notice they were absent! Oh, who cares! We get a giant space pizza, so who can complain?

Spacesuit Harley is probably my second favorite from the series, but is the best all-around toy from the line. It’s a fun design, it has wonderful accessories (really dig that pizza), and the forward-facing eyes make it a lot easier to find the right pose given the limited head movement. However, I would recommend forgoing the included peg stand and suggest getting creative with a length of fishing line. See, I’ve started using fishing line for my own BTAS/TNBA display with such characters as Firefly and Man-Bat so it actually looks like they’re flying and I gotta say it looks fantastic. Getting lots of compliments, drowning in women, boss gave me a raise and asked if I wanted to be HIS boss. In short, it’s making a big difference. And when you have an astronaut-themed figure, it only makes sense to show her in a way that makes her look like she’s floating. So get some fishing line and string her up.

Superhero Harley Quinn

This one is my personal favorite. Not because it has better accessories or articulation than the rest, but because I just adore Conner’s illustrations of Super Harley. It’s just a really great reinterpretation of the classic Harlequin outfit from BTAS into a superhero outfit like that of frequent team-up partner, Power Girl.  And this toy translates that design from page to 3D model perfectly. A fun sculpt complete with rubbery cape and I found it easy to achieve any pose I wanted. The exaggerated head accessory with crying eyes that really cry (yes, it has a bladder and ports at the eyes) is something a grown-up looking to add color and personality to their desk or bookshelf might not bother with, but my niece sure loves it.

The only problem I had with my figure was that there’s a faint drop of blue paint on Harley’s nose, but it’s only noticeable if you take an up-close inspection. Oh, and also the pegs at the knee joint are all too visible. This is apparent on all of the Quinn figures and makes it difficult to articulate the legs without drawing unwanted attention to these ugly pegs.

Holiday Harley Quinn

This one’s ideal for Christmas time, but with all of the other Amanda Conner figures together I think it’ll fit right in with a year-round shelf or tabletop display. I like the high-gloss finish to the suit and the careful carving on the portions of faux fur so it has a convincingly fluffy look when viewed from a distance. The sculptors even took the time to add individual jingle bells to Harley’s choker and the bows of her hair! And not only did DC Collectibles craft a page-accurate figure, but they bundled it with accessories that are a perfect match to the cover of Harley’s Holiday Special!

The bomb is just a bomb, but the mallet actually makes a fun clacking sound when you shake it. Unfortunately, given the way her hips/legs are made, the toy can’t really keep its legs tight enough together to recreate the pose from this cover… Or maybe I just ran out of patience after spending so much time with Spacesuit Harley’s pigtails…still brooding about that.

 

Overall

These figures capture the charm of Amanda Conner’s artwork brilliantly and they’d look great either showcased separately or put on display as a group. And at around $28 each, they’re a great value, especially when you consider that they’re so much larger than Batman: The Animated Series figures that cost just as much. On the downside, the lack of head and waist articulation limits the way you can position each figure, the pegs in the knees are a little distracting, and the included base isn’t quite heavy enough to keep even slightly off-balance poses stable.

Be sure to check out the ongoing Harley Quinn series and pick up the Harley Quinn and Power Girl mini-series now available in trade paperback form. You can read reviews by our very own Elena Carrillo to find out where the best jumping-on point is and what arcs have been the most entertaining.

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