REVIEW: Square Enix Play Arts Kai BATMAN: ARKHAM ASYLUM Series 2
New Batman and Harley Enough to Make the Joker Jealous...
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When Square Enix first announced the acquisition of the Arkham Asylum video game license, the speculations of which other characters would follow in future assortments ran wild. Just as fans expected, several new characters have been revealed as upcoming releases including Catwoman, Robin and even a Dark Knight Returns figure based on the bonus skin from the Arkham City video game. Although bat fans will need to wait until early next year for the release of the highly-anticipated Catwoman and Robin figures, the latest assortment of Arkham Asylum figures will keep collectors satisfied in the meantime. The latest assortment of Arkham Asylum figures consists of a unique armored version of Batman and the Joker's main squeeze, Harley Quinn.
The package design for these new figures is consistent with the release of Joker and Batman from the first assortment with the exception of the box color. The new packaging has a burgundy color unlike the previous assortment’s dark blue hue. This is not the first time that Square Enix used different colors to differentiate each assortment in a collection as the color-coding has been used before on the Super Street Fighter figure assortments. The window box style package showcases each figure off very nicely in the front and features dynamic imagery from the video game and several photos in the back showcasing the figure in various different poses.
Both figures in this wave feature an extensive amount of sculpted details. Inspired by the upcoming Arkham City special edition game for the Nintendo Wii U, the armored Batman features a totally new sculpt that incorporates elements of the armored Batman from the game and a unique cybernetic design resulting in a very cool looking figure. Batman has a very unique armored neck piece that travels down the back of the neck and runs along the neck down to where the cowl ends and the cape begins. The gauntlets on the armored suit feature circular dials on both arms and reinforced plating on the hands and knuckles. The armor plating on Batman’s suit has a very organic look to it which resembles muscular anatomical features.
The mask design on Batman gives him a menacing look with its unique symmetrically-angled lines in the brow area. The tooling on the cape is the same as the previous Batman with the exception that this armored version does not include the piece that wraps around the leg. This version of Batman includes a batarang, grappling gun and an extra pair of closed fists for alternate display options.
The Harley Quinn figure is the embodiment of pure sexiness with her thigh-high boots and fishnet stockings. From head to toe, the artists at Square Enix have done an amazing job rendering the sexy villainess in three-dimensional form. Harley features an incredible amount of intricate sculpted details from each individual rivet on her outfit right down to Warden Sharp’s Arkham access badge which is clipped to her left bosom. The ruffled short skirt on Harley is made of a rubber material which does not limit the thigh movement on the figure which is a simple example of how important it is for Square to provide the most articulation possible on their figures. Every visual element on Harley’s sexy wardrobe is sculpted flawlessly from her red leather garter to her super thick platform soles.
The Harley figure also includes a fully articulated Scarface doll which has a permanently sculpted hand at the back which can easily be attached to the wrist of any of the other Arkham figures in the collection. Harley also includes an additional gripping hand for alternate posing options and ornate short staff.
The Play Arts collection has developed quite a reputation with collectors because of their state-of-the-art highly-poseable buck bodies. Both Batman and Harley feature over 28 points of articulation allowing each figure to be placed in endless dynamic poses that other action figures simply cannot achieve. One my pet peeves on the Batman figure is the ratchetings elbow and ankle joints which help keep most poses steady and locked in place. With all the amazing poses one can pull off with these figures, it would be really great if Square Enix would include a clear display stand with their upcoming releases but with the rising costs for materials and labor nowadays, that’s wishful thinking.
The color application on both of these figures is fantastic overall with some very minor flaws here and there which are barely visible at a glance. The majority of Batman’s armored suit is colored in a way that resembles worn gun metal which really makes the figure pop alongside other Play Arts figures. The cowl and cape are painted in a dark midnight blue with dry-brushed highlights which contrasts very nicely against the metallic armored parts. The boots and gloves are also midnight blue but have more of a metallic finish to them. Harley Quinn features a much more complex range of colors that make up her unique outfit. The burgundy and purple colors on each opposite boot, glove and bra cup are applied very well and contrasts very well against one another. The puffy sleeves on Harley’s shirt feature airbrushed details to create the illusion of depth. The fishnet stocking are made up of cross-hatched lines and looks really good but there are some uneven paint applications at the edges of the stockings and bra where its supposed to look like lacing. Other than that, the color apps on the rest of Harley look amazing. The Scarface figure that comes with Harley is painted immaculately well in a plethora of vivid colors that bring the puppet to life through a series of airbrushed and dry-brushed color applications.
Overall, the second assortment of the Play Arts Kai Arkham Asylum figures is a fantastic follow-up to the initial assortment and regardless if you already own the first Batman , the new armored version is unique enough to justify purchasing another one. Of course, let’s not forget the Joker’s sexy main squeeze Harley and the bonus Scarface which are absolute must-haves as well. These new pair of figures retails for around $60 each and are available now through Square Enix’ online shop and many of our fine sponsors . Whether you are a hard-core Bat fan or just love really cool action figures, I highly recommend these figures to collectors. These are high-end action figures and with their amazing and innovative articulation, size and stunning paint applications, you will definitely get your money’s worth.
Review and Photos by Jorge Pelaez
Review Samples Courtesy of Square Enix
Re: REVIEW: Square Enix Play Arts Kai BATMAN: ARKHAM ASYLUM Series 2