Sunday, June 08, 2008

The Killing Joke Boxset: A Killer Indeed

I'm sure it's just a weird coincidence that the DCD stuff I don't pre-order is somehow always strategically positioned near the counter of my LCS when I come in to pick up my standing order. Am I that predictable that my resolve not to buy something can be melted so quickly? Well, duh. To be fair to myself, I am developing a more steely resolve - it's not just about what I like, but what I can afford / have room for. I'm learning, if slowly.

I really hadn't planned to buy The Killing Joke Boxset. A couple of things influenced my decision to pick it up: firstly I didn't own a copy of the Killing Joke TPB, secondly the prices of figures here are really dropping at the moment thanks to the strong Aussie dollar. and finally I think this Batman would be displacing the recent JLA version as my favourite Bats to date, if not for one little thing I'll get to in a moment.

I like the 2 pack with TPB idea, and it's extra nice to see DCD offering a 2 pack with original figures again, even if these are going to be recycled in slightly different forms in another wave later in the year. I would love to see this concept branch out past the Superbat world but the market doesn't seem to want to support that. They know not what they miss!
I wasn't sure I really needed the Joker in Hawaiian garb, but these are solid figures to be sure. Paint apps were excellent on all of the sets that I saw. My Batman has the tiniest bleed of flesh paint from his chin to his mask, so small I didn't notice it when I looked him over in the shop. Bats also has a very visible seam down the front of his left leg which seems as though it could have been ironed out in QC.

I love the Joker's camera accessory, but was surprised that his hat wasn't removable. Works for me since these little bits tend to get lost in my world quickly (I have a cat that looooves to play with fallen accessories) but I have a feeling this might irk keener collectors. I like the camera accessory very much and his gun and glass of drink sit snugly in his hands. His facial expression captures the artwork very well, and he may well be my favourite Joker representation to date - if his hat came off he surely would be.

Batman is an excellent figure - I love the peaks on the shoulders of his cape - it really enhances the Bat-look. I like that they seem to have worked out how to give him an ominous cape that doesn't prevent him from standing properly (finally had to put my Batman & Son Bats, or as my youngest called him, "Batman with little prongs", away for that reason). I also want to throw a ticker tape parade for DCD for producing two Batmen in a row (this and JLA Bats) with straight Bat-prongs, after a nasty run of the bends on previous figures. Huzzah!

The "but" for me in this Bats is the acid burn on his arm. Why oh why??? It's quite an effectively done acid burn, with bubbly flesh and all, but was it that essential to the storyline as to be immortalised in plastic? Interestingly, the burn doesn't feature in any of the packaging photography - in one photo it is obscured by his cape and on the back the Joker's arm is posed to hide it. It also isn't pictured on the DCD website. Why include that and then not make it a feature? Because it's dumb, that's why. Accurate, but not significant enough to warrant a figure = silly. Here's hoping the Secret Files Series 3 Hugo Strange with alternate Bats figure is as good a shot at this figure minus the acid burn - could be an excellent Bats.

The biggest snag for me in this set was quite unexpected: reading "The Killing Joke" after all these years reminded me about a time when comics were actually written instead of just a set of semi-scripted action sequences. It made me nostalgic for really good comics and caused me to reevaluate my pull list!

Again, I'm a fan of the 2 pack / TPB idea, especially with first-run figures. This was a good effort and a fairly obvious storyline to exploit for the genre. As with most things, It would be great to see DCD edge outside the Superbat world for this format, or even work a but more creatively like going back some old Brave & the Bold or Superboy & the Legion fun to bring us something really different alongside something they know will sell.

Not a home run, but not a bad effort - besides that acid burn!! Let's stick to the truly essential wounds from now on, okay, DCD?

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