As promised, here’s the review for DC Collectible’s Joker sculpted by Irene Matar and inspired by the Batman: The Animated Series episode “The Last Laughed,” which aired way back in September of 1992. Is the figure a worthy tribute to Bruce Timm’s popular design and does it live up to the quality of the other toys from the first and second wave? Let’s see…
If you missed the reviews for the other Batman: The Animates Series and The New Batman Adventures toys by DC Collectibles, you can find links to those articles here:
- Batman (No full review, but it was covered in the 2014 Gift Guide)
- Joker (You’re lookin’ at it, champ)
Thanks goes to DC Collectibles for sending this figure to Batman News for review!
The packaging looks great. The classic font, the deep red hue of the backboard decorated in an over-sized logo from the animated series, and through the clear plastic you can tell that the makers of the toy absolutely nailed the look of The Clown Prince of Crime. However, you’re not one to keep things in their original packaging, you want to play with this thing! So you pull carefully at the seal and listen to the familiar music of tearing cardboard and bending plastic as you aid Mr. J in escaping from yet another prison.
No visible hip joints like the first wave. The paint job looks immaculate, even the teeth! They also added that subtle green swoosh to his otherwise black hair. There’s no splatter from the flower on his lapel, either, and the jacket itself appears to be made from a somewhat rubbery material. This looks great. But what’s not great is the pain in your fingertips as you try and undo those heavy-duty twist-ties securing him in place. But that doesn’t take too long and soon enough your toy is free. The plastic tray buckles and crackles as you pry The Joker away and then… HIS FOOT FELL OFF! What? What just happened? That never happened before. Is it a peg foot that you swap out or something? No. Inspect the other foot. The cartoonish wingtip is so perfectly realized in beautifully sculpted plastic… It’s obviously not going to have much articulation, but it’ll at least swivel and– IT FELL OFF, TOO! What is happening?! All you did was touch it lightly and it fell to the floor! Was it damaged in shipping or have you somehow developed Reverse-King Midas powers and this is your super-villain origin story?
You’re going to need a new figure or some glue. But for the sake of this review, let’s just get a whole new figure.
Brilliant. Feet that stay on and that can be used for standing, those are the best kind. Now, where were we? Talking about that rubbery coat texture, I think. You flip the figure around and–
“Wets! 12/27 MASS” What does that even mean? And is it permanent? Yes. Damn. Obviously, we have a bit of a quality control problem here, which is unfortunate. Especially for you and by you I mean me, because this was all my experience. Having two figures with such glaring flaws is made an even greater tragedy when looking at just how fantastic the quality is everywhere else. Not only is the paint and sculpt a phenomenal homage to the original cartoon design, but the construction of the joints is much improved over the first wave. Joker has 18 points of articulation to make him more limber and maneuverable than most figures in the line– he can kick higher and do the splits better than the Robin or Catwoman figure. There’s no bicep swivel, but he bends fine at the elbow. There’s a waist swivel, but no abdominal crunch like on many of the Capullo figures. And, as we already know, the feet feature no hinge or pivot and are only capable of swiveling. However, while there’s a lot of great leg movement, the broad shoulders make it impossible for him to raise a hand up to his head, which makes the comb accessory pretty useless.
Most of the accessories are pretty boring, honestly, and it makes me wonder why they chose the episode “The Last Laugh” anyway? This Joker comes with a pearl necklace (Joker robs a jewelry store briefly in the episode, “Who says crime doesn’t pay?”), a knife (he used it to punch holes in the garbage can Batman is sealed in), the oxygen mask (a bowl that does indeed fit his head) that protects him from the gas he blanketed Gotham with on April Fool’s Day, a comb (that he can’t bring to his hair), and a periscope (that he can’t raise to his eye). And, as always, the figure comes with four interchangeable hands of varying grip, a plastic stand adorned with original character designs illustrated on the base, and a small instruction sheet that comes with a checklist for all upcoming figures.
None of the items included with Joker are terribly iconic, are they? Wouldn’t better accessories have been a Joker card? A wide brim hat? What about a Joker Fish?
Anyway, here’s the fun part: a quick look at the new 2015 Joker figure side-by-side with the 90’s action figure. Sorry about the blemishes and distressing on my old Joker toy. As a child, I used to use red markers and pens to apply blood to The Joker after every beating he took from The Dark Knight and, well, it took a toll.
If I had a figure that wasn’t damaged or showcasing the graffiti of someone at the workshop it was made in, I’d be thrilled with the design of the BTAS Joker and disappointed with his dull accessories. Shop with caution. Hopefully the quality control issue isn’t a widespread problem and I’m just one unfortunate consumer, because it’s otherwise a great looking toy that’d look fantastic on display. And let’s face it, if there are a lot of these tarnished and broken Jokers on the market right now, The Island of Misfit Toys is going to get a hell of a lot scarier real quick.