REVIEW: DC Collectibles Arkham City Series 3
Five Figures (Plus One Variant) Try to Survive the New Arkham...
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Batman: Arkham City exploded onto the video game scene last year, and quickly became one of the best selling and best reviewed games of the year. With its immersive storytelling, beautiful graphics, excellent character selection, and smooth action, the Arkham City even blew away its predecessor, Arkham Asylum. City takes you (as Batman) into a section of Gotham City transformed into a prison full of super-villains, everyday criminals, and even innocents and political prisoners. Only Bruce Wayne can keep watch over this new Arkham and deal with the chaos barely contained within its walls. Of course, through the course of the game you come into contact with plenty of great characters from the Batman universe, each with appearance and mannerism specific to the game. Thankfully, DC Collectibles is there to bring these characters to life in plastic, with the third series of Arkham City action figures on shelves now! Read on as we take a look at Batman, Ra’s al Ghul, Azrael, Penguin, and two different versions of the Clown Thug.
The Arkham City Series 3 figures all share the exact same packaging; it’s a cool clamshell presentation with the plastic molded in the shape of Batman’s cowl. Each figure is front and center so you can get a good look at him, and below him is an insert with the game’s logo and the individual’s name. Behind the figure is another insert featuring a skyline view of Arkham City.
The back of the insert has a group shot of the Series 3 figures at the top along with a brief description of the game at the bottom. While relatively simple, this package looks very good and will satisfy collectors who like to keep their items mint. For the rest of us, let’s see how these figures do once they’re released from prison...
With two series of standard figures and several deluxe figures already released, DC Collectibles knows what it’s doing with Arkham City. In this wave we return to basics with an awesome new version (not infected and with his cowl on) of Batman, add in a shadowy ally in Azrael, and then beef up the ranks of the bad guys with Ra’s, Penguin, and a couple of Thugs. These figures exemplify what we’ve come to expect and appreciate from DC, with incredible sculpts and paint detailing, good articulation to get a few different poses, and some key accessories. In sheer size Azrael is the tallest at 6 4/5 inches, with Batman and Ra’s close behind at 6 ¾. The identically sculpted Thugs clock in at just over 6 inches, while Penguin is the shortest of the bunch at 5 ¼ inches.
As noted above, and in every review we do of DC Collectibles figures, these Arkham City dudes have pretty rocking sculpts. And that ranges from beefy muscles on the Clown Thugs all the way through clothing and armor and up to the nitty-gritty intricate details. The Thugs are bulky and veiny, but they’ve also got really detailed textures on their pants along with belts, buckles, patches, distressed boots, and of course mummy-like wrappings on their forearms. Batman has a very streamlined look with his mostly form-fitting costume that shows off his powerful physique while adding subtle piping lines and creases. Of course, he also has a tremendous firm rubber cape and cowl, forearm and lower leg armor, and a utility belt with lots of cool and mysterious pouches; he’s got a great intense face sculpt too.
Ra’s al Ghul too has very impressive armor and clothing with a variety of textures and embellishments. The standouts in this series for me were Penguin and Azrael. The creepy crime lord has a spot on head sculpt that really shows off his broken bottle “monocle” in the grossest way possible, and every detail on his outfit and hands work well. Then there’s the “Mysterious Watcher.” A member of the Order of Purity, Azrael wears the infamous Suit of Sorrows, and the figure is absolutely covered in minute sculpted details. There’s just so much to enjoy here from the multiple layers of clothing to the strapped knee-pads and boots, grenade-laden studded belt, tattered and torn tabard, armored shoulders, weapon gauntlets, face mask and cowl, and so much more. Every time I look at him I notice something I didn’t see before.
I’ve said it in other reviews, but a good figure can really be brought down or put over the top by its paint job... and in that department the Arkham City figures all really shine. Take a look at a group shot to see the sheer variety and different color palettes used. The Penguin is old school somber dressed primarily in black and white with a reddish brown vest. He also has a lot of subtle paint apps, and again that face is so creepy with the translucent plastic around his eye and the bloody outline. Put the Clown Thugs next to each other to appreciate all of the paint differences that set them apart; about the only things that are the same are their belts, forearm wrappings, and white clown faces. Those masks really make the characters, with the smiling clown face juxtaposed with the leering eyes inside. There isn’t much out of the ordinary regarding Batman and his costume, but everything is crisp and clean and he looks great (especially his gold and silver utility belt and piercing blue eyes). Azrael matches his cobbled-together outfit with a tremendous variety of colors and variations with plenty of white, red, gray, and silver plus tiny painted details all over his suit. Ra’s al Ghul has a fantastic paint job from the various earth tones of his outfit to the metallic gold and subtle hints of green, plus the perfect applications on his head and the tattoos on his arms.
The Arkham City figures have good articulation that allows you to pose them in different ways while avoiding the trap that so many super-poseable figures fall into: hurting the integrity of their sculpts. Batman, Penguin, and the rest look really good standing in the poses that they were designed to do; too much articulation just gets in the way of that. The different figures also have different joints based on their body types. Penguin lacks any joints below the waist, but above that he’s got ball-jointed neck and shoulders along with wrist articulation, and that works just fine for him. The Clowns have ball-jointed necks and shoulders with standard elbows, wrists, T-cut crotch, waist, and cut joints at the thighs and boots. Batman and Azrael have the same ball-joints plus elbows, T-cut crotch, knees, and cut gloves and boots. Ra’s starts with the same ball-joints and goes over the top with elbows, glove cuts, waist, hips, and ball-jointed knees. Both Ghul and Azrael even have additional joints in their shoulder armor!
Each of the six figures in this series has its own accessory or accessories, which is pretty cool. Batman has just one small accessory, the explosive gel dispenser. It may not be a flashy sword, but it has a very detailed sculpt and looks great in silver and metallic paint. Each Clown Thug has his own signature weapon: the orange-haired Thug wields a “Gothamville Sluggo” bat with wood-grain design while the green-haired Thug brandishes a massive knife. Ra’s al Ghul and Azrael both have swords, the former a massive Oriental-inspired weapon with etched details on the blade and the latter the infamous Sword of Sin complete with scabbard that fits on Azrael’s belt. The Penguin shines yet again with a black top hat, umbrella (with penguin head and bloody tip), and a lit cigar that fits not only in his clenched fingers but also in his mouth!
Whether you’re an expert at the game or just a toy collector interested in high quality Batman-related figures, you’re going to want to check out Arkham City Series 3. From the character selection to the sculpts, paint jobs, and accessories these are top notch toys that look great and are fun to pose and display. As with any action figure if you buy these in stores you can be on the lookout for any paint issues or deformed plastic, but aside from some slightly bent gauntlet spines on Batman and Azrael the figures in this review were perfect. Batman and the gang here are highly recommended, and you can find them in stores or online right now.
Review and Photos by Scott Rubin
Review Samples Courtesy of DC Collectibles