By Hervé St.Louis
August 10, 2003 - 14:06
This Joker and as slim and tall as some comic books I remember him from. The key to this figure's successful rendering is that it will stand for a variety of Joker interpretations. I am not a Silver Age comic book fan or reader. Yet, this Joker is like my generation's. This is a stylish figure that does not have the gruesome excess of the "Huff" Joker, nor the cartoony and soft sculpt of the Mattel version.
The Joker is almost perfect. He shares the same type of neck pipe sculpt seen on Batgirl. Another flaw, is the elbows' sculpts. They look better when they bend. When the arms stand straight, the forearms look odd in a Popeye-like way. The Joker's pose is great. He looks like he's standing there, laughing at Batman after having done something despicable. This pose is also much better than Mattel's "here I am" pose.
Of course, the Joker fits with every Silver Age Batman related action figures and the Birds of Prey set. However, Joker's small head will look odd next to some of his fellow villains like Vandal Savage, the Shade, Captain Cold and the Mirror Master. His head also looks small compared with the Crime Syndicate and some Justice League figures. It's best to keep your Batman figures apart from others.
The joker aced the "get a glass of water test" triumphantly. He doesn't look like he's very stable though. The key to this mystery is the balance offered by the Joker's feet and the proportioned parts. His chest, unlike several DC Direct figures is not top heavy. Because the character haunches, the forward pull of his head cannot propel him forward. Using the rooftop stand with the Joker makes him unstable.
The Joker has eleven points of articulations, like Batgirl at the neck, shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips and knees. His shoulders are not ball-jointed, unfortunately. Characters with high shoulder pads rarely have ball joints. I must compliment the DC Direct team on the way they've covered the hips' articulations of the Joker. It's a V-shaped crotch that acts like T-shaped crotch. It's quite similar to the Silver Age Flash's.
Batgirl and the Joker contain a material similar to the Super Friends and the Birds of Prey. I expect to have problems with them on warmer summer days. At least they do not stink.
The rooftop is the same that came with the Silver Age Batman set. It connects in the back to create a square. Neither the Joker nor Batgirl fit properly on the stand. That's why I'm putting some Birds of Prey there instead. I question the rooftop for a figure like the Joker or the upcoming Penguin figure. They would fit better within a warehouse than a rooftop. Batgirl and Catwoman fit well though.
Batgirl comes with a batarang and a climbing bat-rope with suction cup. The Joker comes with a cane. The batarang and the bat-rope are the same used previously in the Silver Age Batman set. The suction cup does not hold on to things for long. The batarang is too thin to fit long in Batgirl's right hand. I think that new props should have been added to the set, like a tiny batcycle or a bat-flashlight or bat-cuffs.
The packaging for the set is huge. Batgirl gets top billing on the box. This is due to the rooftop stand. The set has a retro style mimicking the 1960s Batman television show. On the back, there are short bios on the characters and a huge picture of the Batman, Robin, Batgirl and the Joker on a rooftop. Of course, this is a Photoshop montage, since the perspective is off. There's also an ad for the Batman set.
The cost of this set, like all other DC Direct set is overpriced. I paid $50 dollars Canadian for this set, and that does not include the taxes. The store I go to has some of the lowest prices in town. I urge DC Direct to price its product on scale with other vendors and to set a specific price for retailers.
This set is widely available. Avoid going to auction sites who will try to mark it up. This thing is available everywhere, so buy it from real retailers instead. I expect this set to have been ordered in lesser quantities than the first Silver Age Batman set. Although many claim the Batman set was a good seller. Many are left lying on store shelfs. Also, this set is available outside the direct market.
With so many different Joker and Batgirl figures offered over the years, one can be lost as to the right version to buy. Most recent Batgirl figures are from the Animated lines by Hasbro and Mattel. There were also some based on the Batman Forever movie. As for other comic book accurate Batgirls, there's the old one from Mego, but try finding it. The most comic book accurate Batgirl action figure is DC Direct's.
Joker fans have more choice. As noted above, the new Mattel Joker is much sought after. DC Direct will offer another Joker in 2004. All are six inches and may fit to some extent with a DC Direct display. Count on more Joker to come your way in the future. He is a popular character. Most fans buying this set are probably attracted to Batgirl. So if you finding a fan willing to trade the Joker should be easy. 1 2
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