Kotobukiya Killing Joke – 2nd edition ARTFX Statue review

Stop me if you’ve heard this one: a prominent producer of DC Comics statuary makes a 1/6 scale statue inspired by the cover of Alan Moore and Brian Bolland’s seminal work, The Killing Joke. Okay, you’ve probably heard this one, but indulge me for a little bit. There have already been several statues quite similar to Koto’s latest Killing Joke ARTFX (including the first edition of this one), but if you’re trying to make your pick for the definitive sixth-scale Joker, wouldn’t you rather it be multiple choice?

There’s always room for one more clown

If you’re in the market for something like this, you currently have two choices (three if you want to fork over an extra hundred dollars or so for the original edition of this one): DC Collectibles’ Designer Series or this one. Out in the wild, the price difference isn’t that big, so it ultimately comes down to how you feel about the particulars. Both statues look great, and I could probably be happy with either, but there are differences in sculpt and finish that will sway you one way or the other.

The box

I love Koto’s stuff, but if there’s one area where I think they could substantially improve, it’s their boxes. Don’t get me wrong—the design is usually great, and they make excellent use of images from the comics along with product photography. But Koto’s boxes packaging often has a flaw that could be easily corrected.

There’s a great big window on the front of the box, and a smaller one on top, which sounds like a good idea—something that looks as nice as this statue will sell itself if we can look at it, right? But the plastic frame and bagging that keeps the Clown Prince safely still in his box also greatly obscure our view of him from out here. The Batman & Robin two-pack had the same problem with its packaging, as well. The Animated Batman statue had solid, windowless packaging all the way around, and I think that’s a much better way to go. The box is ultimately not a big deal, but it would look much nicer on a store shelf, or when you first take it out of a shipping box, without a poorly-functioning plastic window.

The contents

There are only two pieces in the box: Joker, permanently fused to his base, and his camera. I’m not sure why the camera is a separate piece, since he would look silly without it, and the arm-bending necessary to get it into his hands made me a little nervous. That said, I had the camera installed in a few minutes, I didn’t have too much trouble getting it in the position I wanted, and Joker was none the worse for wear once I was done.

The sculpt

Simply put, the sculpt looks fabulous. I love the position Joker’s in, and the Red Hood garb is a nice touch. For me, it’s a fine tribute to the so-called origin story in the book, rather than just an extension of the famous cover, and I like it—clean, simple, and a nice pop of color. The body isn’t quite as lanky and lithe as in the DC statue, but I have no complaint. He is by no means chunky, and still looks like the Joker—even before you get to that beautifully-crafted head.

Perhaps my favorite part of the sculpt is the way Koto handles Joker’s layers of clothing. While it’s all made of molded plastic, it manages to look very natural, even up close. It never looks cheap, and when layers meet, they converge very convincingly—there’s no abrupt end to his inner coat’s tails as they rise toward his back, and the fairly busy abdominal section   perfectly transitions from shirt to vest, vest to suit coat, and suit coat to trench coat. The stitching, buttons, and belt of the trench are likewise done with excellence, and unless you’re touching it, it’s easy to forget that this thing is made from plastic.

The finish

Here’s where preferences will really come into play. The purple on the coat is a markedly darker shade than that used on the DC Collectibles piece. What we have here is still purple, but it manages to look a bit more real-world. There are variations in tone to give the appearance of shadow and light, and these variations even look great with my lighting equipment pointed at them.

Joker’s facial finishing looks excellent, from the dark color lines in the creases of his smile, to the crud where his yellowing teeth meet some convincing-looking gums.

The shoes stood out to me when I first removed the statue from the box, and they still do. The shine on them looks very convincing. I also love the look of the Red Hood accessories. But now that we’re at the base, I have to talk about the most underwhelming part of the statue: the base itself. The paint job is far less impressive than what we see on Joker himself, almost as though no one was sure exactly what it was they were detailing. I’m thinking a pure black base beneath the helmet and cape would have looked much better, and we wouldn’t have this stark contrast between the beautifully-finished statue and the low-fi platform beneath it all. Thankfully, it’s easy to ignore, either because of perspective, or the attention commanded by the Joker himself, or both.

Bring home a grin

For me, the quality of the facial sculpt and finish, and the greasier, more real-world purple pushes this Joker ahead of the competition. At about twelve inches tall, this thing is a substantial presence on your desk or shelf, and with Koto’s attention to detail, that scale looks gorgeous. I can’t help but smile whenever I glance at mine, and the Joker simply indulges me, smiling back with that eternal, menacing grin.

The Killing Joke Joker ARTFX statue is available for purchase on the Kotobukiya US site at https://www.kotous.com/ and retails for $99.99 (direct product link: https://www.kotous.com/retailstore/us-licenses/dc-comics/dc-universe-the-joker-killing-joke-2nd-e-dition-artfx-statue.html).

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