#0762: Arkham Knight




When I was first starting to duck my head into the whole video game thing, I tended to stick to games based on properties with which I was already familiar. That meant I stuck with comic books and super heroes a lot of the time. Comic book-based video games have a reputation in the past of not always being the best they could. That being said, in the last few years, a few have been a bit better received, such as the Batman: Arkham games. The third (main) installment in that series, Arkham Knight was released earlier this year, and received a number of toy tie-ins. Today, I’ll be looking at one of the figures of the titular antagonist, the Arkham Knight.


ArkKnight4Arkham Knight is the third figure in Play Arts Kai’s Batman: Arkham Knight line. He was released in September of 2015. The figure stands about 10 inches tall and has 49 points of articulation. The posablity on the figure is generally pretty great, though it’s worth noting that the joints are ratcheted, which can make moving them a little bit tough at first. He gets an all-new sculpt, based on the character’s appearance in the game. Well, more or less, anyway. Play Arts Kai has added their usual dash of stylization, in order to keep him consistent with their other figures, but the design is pretty much unchanged. It’s a pretty solid design, overall, and it’s got a cool “anti-Batman” vibe to it. The sculpt does a good job of translating the design into a real, physical object. There’s plenty of detailing, especially on the armored parts, and everything’s nice and sharp. He’s got softer rubber pieces for his upper torso, shoulder pads, and belt, all of which are very well sculpted and add a nice level of depth to the figure. The folds in the fabric portions of his costume (mostly the pants) are sculpted very dynamically, which definitely gives the figure ArkKnight3a sharp look, if not a super realistic one. The sculpt does a good job overall of integrating the articulation, though some areas, such as the wrists, are a little more obviously joints, and other joints will leave odd parts of the underlying sculpt exposed. Arkham Knight’s paint work is very nicely executed. Everything is pretty cleanly applied, and there are a lot of nice subtleties that add a lot to the figure. The faceplate of the helmet is definitely my favorite part; it’s cast in a semi-translucent dark blue plastic. The eyes on the helmet are set just a slight bit lower than they would be on a normal person (since they’re actually just HUD representations of eyes, not the real thing), which gives AK this weirdly unnerving quality. The figure is packed with a pair of handguns, a larger gun (which, I believe is meant to be a combined version of the two smaller ones, in-game), an extra folded up front grip for the larger gun, an extra head without the clear faceplate and HUD eyes, four pairs of hands (fists, trigger finger, relaxed, and open), and an articulated display stand.


I haven’t actually played any of the Arkham games, but I’ve picked up a few of the figures here and there. I though Arkham Knight had a pretty cool design, so I was looking to pick up one of his figures. I had originally intended to get the DC Collectibles version, but I ended up deciding to pick up this guy when I found him at Baltimore Comic-Con (in no small part due to some pushing by Tim). He’s my first Play Arts Kai figure, and he’s a lot of fun. I’m definitely glad I decided to get him.


#0381: Robin



Just when I thought I was out, they pulled me back in! Frequent readers of the blog will probably be aware of my less than stellar opinion of Mattel. For those of you who have only recently joined us, let me ‘splain….no it is too much, let me sum up: Mattel has a tendency to make bad decisions and when said bad decisions fail like they should, they like to place the fault on their fans. It’s not a particularly endearing quality. I am also not a huge fan of the current output of DC Comics. So, it would seem that Mattel holding the DC License would be a perfect partnership for me to ignore. However, I am stubborn, and in spite of my issues with Mattel and DC, I still like the DC characters and Mattel occasionally stumbles their way into a decent action figure. Such is the case with today’s figure, Mattel’s latest version of Batman’s faithful sidekick Robin.


Robin was released in the fourth assortment of Mattel’s DC Comics Multiverse line, which is their current “collector oriented” line of 3 ¾ scale figures. Robin is based on the character’s appearance in the upcoming Batman: Arkham Knight game, which seems to take fair bit of influence from the Damian Wayne Robin design. The figure clocks in at just about 3 ¾ inches tall and he features 18 points of articulation. Robin’s articulation scheme is the same as that seen on the Christopher Reeve Superman. It’s not bad, and it’s certainly better than what we saw on Zod, but he really would benefit from some ankle articulation, some sort of swivel in his upper arms, and maybe a mid-torso joint. As it is, the figure’s posing options are rather limited, which leaves him rather stiff looking. He’s good for a standing pose, but not much else. Robin appears to have a completely unique sculpt. Overall, it’s an okay sculpt, but it has some rather glaring faults. His head is a bit too small and his torso is too large, resulting in some serious pin-headedness. His torso is also rather flat, and his waist seems to sit too low, making the torso too long. All that being said, the sculpt does have some nice detail work, especially in the armor’s various engravings. The cape is not sculpted, but rather made of cloth. The material used for capes in this line seems to be inconsistent. They go back and forth between cloth and plastic with very little rhyme or reason. I personally prefer the sculpted capes, so the cloth isn’t a huge plus for me. This one’s not too bad, so there’s that. Robin’s paint is decently handled. It’s relatively straight-forward; there aren’t any washes or different finishes or anything. For the most part, it’s rather cleanly applied, but there are one or two areas, like the shoulders, where there is a bit of slop. Robin includes no accessories. His right hand looks as if it should hold a staff or something, so it would have been nice to get something, anything. As is, the figure feels light for the price.


I swore I was done with the DC Comics Multiverse line once I got Superman and Zod. So, why then did I end up with this guy? Call it nostalgia. I was visiting some family in mountains in North Carolina. We were picking up a few things at the nearby Walmart, and as I am prone to do, I wandered over to the toy section. I saw this figure and remembered something: on my very first trip to NC, back in 1998, my Dad bought me a Nightwing figure from the Animated Series line of the time. With this in mind, I was drawn to this Robin figure (for those of you confused as to what the two have to do with each other: Nightwing is an older Robin). So, here I sit in my family’s NC house with no internet connection or cellphone service writing this review and feeling nostalgic. This is certainly not a perfect offering, but I feel like it’s better than most of what Mattel and DC are putting out these days.