Thoughts and observations on Green Arrow, classical liberalism, freedom, comic books and matters of social justice.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Hot Toys Joker...or not to Joker

First up is Hot Toys’ Bank Robber Joker. This is the second Joker offering in their Dark Knight line of figures. The first one was met with initial excitement that soon abated once the head sculpt was scrutinized. For whatever reason, lack of access to good production images we were told, this head did not look like Heath Ledger. It bore a passing resemblance to one particular promotional still from the movie but a Ledger likeness it was not. The clothing and accessories, however, were great and many happily committed the $150-$200 for this figure.

That was until the Bank Robber Joker came on the scene. BRJ will come with two heads; the first is a slicked back version that allows the included mask from the bank heist scene (a phenomenal accessory) to be worn. The second head sculpt is the real selling point and a kind of apology to the collectors for the first version’s (or V1’s) head sculpt. This is a dead on likeness of Health Ledger and should have been the V1 head sculpt to begin with.

Some collectors have complained about the eyes being pre-posed, looking off to the left; but many (including myself) feel it adds character and life to the piece. Plus, one of my all time favorite figures (and my top Sideshow Horror piece) is the Mr. Hyde with pre-posed eyes. The problem here is that while the clothing is a fantastic recreation of the bank robbery scene, it is an outfit worn for about 5-10 minutes in the film. If you want an “ultimate” Joker figure that includes the best sculpt and costume from the other 90% of The Dark Knight you need both figures (or pay for each piece of clothing individually on eBay!).

The main problem here is cost, about $175 give or take; and you don’t get the purple suit. As for the rest of my criteria, this piece is a near classic; I say near because it takes time to be called a classic (even though I’d almost guarantee this Joker will never be attempted again let alone topped). On the aging scale he hovers between a one and a two, “what’s an old man doing with a deranged clown doll?” The piece will definitely add flavor to my others, but it would be the only Dark Knight figure and considering my other DC characters are in that annoying 13”scale it wouldn’t fit with those either.

I’ve always considered myself a joker, the guy who laughs and tries to make others laugh. I see myself in this character to that extant. I also don’t have a lot of money; TDK Joker likes things cheap too. My family and I were involved in the viral marketing campaign from Christmas 2007 to the time of the film’s release, which was on my birthday, so it has that tie to 2008.

However, I don’t murder. I don’t run against the grain, I am a massive creature of habit and routine, and I’m not into anarchy as a general rule. And all I have to do is think about all those Hot Topic shoppers who have replaced Jack Skellington with TDK’s Joker as their new, personal mascot and it makes me want to run for the hills; I have made my last Hot Topic purchase!

On my scale Hot Toy’s Bank Robber Joker scores a 14-15.

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