Tag: Arkham City Page 1 of 3
The Arkham series of videogames is my favorite take on Batman since The Animated Series. Yes, I even like it more than the Nolan films, which are great but are bit too grounded in the real world to really feel entirely like Batman to me. Batman: Arkham Asylum and Batman: Arkham City straddle the line between the grim and gritty realism of The Dark Knight Returns and the Dark Knight Trilogy while still giving us all the “unrealistic” villains like Mr. Freeze, Clayface and even Solomon Grundy.
Both Mattel and DC Collectibles has tried their hand at Arkham-based action figures. Mattel inexplicably allowed someone other than the Four Horsemen to sculpt Batman and several of the other figures, made them all out of scale with DCUC and half of them out of scale with each other, and gave them middling-to-bad articulation. DC Collectibles’ offerings have great sculpting but minimal articulation (although the upcoming Series 4 does appear to finally have ball-and-hinge hips).
So – where can one turn to for fully-articulated action figures based on the Arkham games? For now, the answer is Japan-based company Square Enix and their Play Arts KAI line.
This is possibly my favorite contest ever on PGPoA…you’ll soon see why. One thing to point out: I realized too late that I should have specified an action verb that involves an action upon something (words like “crawl” end up reading awkwardly). That said, I think the funniest parts are the “job” and the “adverb.”
This coming Wednesday, April 25, Figure of the Day will have Arkham City Series 2 for sale! This set will feature figures of Catwoman, the Riddler, the Mad Hatter, Hush, and Detective Mode Batman.
(Please note: due a schedule change by DC Collectibles, the figures will not ship until May 2.)
To help spread the word, FOTD has donated a complete set of Series 2 for a contest right here on PGPoA!
Here’s how to enter: I’ve written a small paragraph about Batman and Robin engaging in their usual heroic derring-do. (To avoid any accusations of having tailored the paragraph to a particular entry, I’m sending it to the Power Pals ahead of time.)
This paragraph has a few blanks – blanks YOU must fill. In the comments below, provide the following:
- a place noun (“the river” “Gotham National Bank” “R’lyeh” etc.)
- an occupation (“farmer” “lawyer” “freelance bio-exorcist” etc.)
- a verb (“push” “smack” “kidney-punch”)
- and an adverb (“slowly” “jubilantly” “groin-grabbingly” etc.)
Once I’ve got all the submissions, I’ll put them into the paragraph and then the good folks at FOTD will choose their favorite as the winner. And afterward, of course I’ll post the winner and whichever I think are the best entries.
The contest will end at midnight Eastern Time on Monday, April 23. The winner will be announced the following day.
- Winner must have a U.S. shipping address for the prize to be mailed to.
- PGPoA Power Pals and Poe’s friends and family not eligible.
- Mattel revealed two new Dark Knight Rises Movie Masters figures: Alfred and Officer Blake. I remember being very excited for the MM line in 2008, but I’m not quite as enthused this time around – maybe because I’m just not as into Batman at the moment, maybe because an action figure of Joseph Gordon-Levitt wearing a cop outfit just isn’t that exciting. It’s great that we’re getting Alfred, though, and the new packaging looks a lot more dynamic than the DKMM stuff.
- It seems the Flash and Larfleeze have been removed from DC All Stars Wave 1 and the new lineup is JLA Superman, JLA Batman, Red Robin, and Superboy Prime. No word on why this has happened; perhaps they’re just shuffling around the lineups.
- On a related note, you may or may not have noticed that Hot Toys is doing Arkham City figures. Given that I can’t think of a single Hot Toys figure that wasn’t based on a movie character, I’ll be interested to see how these turn out. I won’t be getting them, though, because I don’t make enough money. Or collect 12″ figures.
- I didn’t put up a post about the passing of Ralph McQuarrie, mostly because better tributes have been posted elsewhere and this isn’t really a Star Wars site. But it definitely deserves to be noted, given the legacy Mr. McQuarrie’s designs have had for all of us, especially toy collectors.
- This somehow flew under my radar until now, but C.S. Moore is apparently getting back into the action figure business. First up is a line of articulated 6″ figures based on the Zenescope comic Jurassic Strike Force. You can see in-design pics here and preorder them from BBTS here. They’re also making articulated Monster Hunter figures from the Monster Hunter Survival Guide. I am all aboard for a 6″ articulated Sasquatch. ALL aboard.
- Weekly Roundup: This week in PGPoA, Doc Thomas reviewed the Star Sisters, Poe reviewed Hurricane Hordak, Shadow Weaver and the Mutant Gorilla from Papo, and discussed the bios of Megator and Leech. Toy Aisle Trolls here and here, Odds ‘n Ends here, and Figure It Out here.
- Mattel has posted pics and bios of Kobra Khan and Draego-Man on their Facebook page. Who’s the Great Black Wizard…? Scott also added this commentary: Draego-Man really filled out the package. The wings are detached as is the tail to fit inside the blister, but they all easily snap in. He comes with the flame on sword. We are working on finding a home for the unreleased sword and whip accessories, perhapes with a future figure. The massive wing span and all the deco hits he needed forced us to reduce a few accessories to keep him as a $20.00 figure. We would rather remove the shield than have to remove the wings or tail! The all new bio [is] based on the Horsemen’s backstory! The shield art was also supplied by the Horsemen from their concept sketch sent to our design team! Draego ships in April as part of the 30th sub (not the main Club Eternia Cub) with some limited day-of stock for non sub holders.
- Bandai Japan’s S.H.MonsterArts line is my new obsession, so I was happy to hear the latest news that Moguera will be released in late May, and the SpaceGodzilla special effects pack featuring crystals and an articulated Baby Godzilla will ship in June. The Moguera will cost $87, which is more expensive than any SHM figure to date (lots of theories as to why, but it’s probably just due to all the accessories). Given this line’s obsession with accuracy and devotion to depicting these kaiju as fully as possible, I strongly suspect it will be able to split, especially since, to the best of my knowledge, no previous Moguera toy has been able to do that. The crystal/Baby Godzilla set will cost $44, which is actually cheaper than any accessory kit thus far. The better news is that there may be a U.S. distribution for one or both items, which should bring the prices down.
- DC Direct is doing 6″ Dark Knight Rises figures, meaning that they will once again be competing directly with Mattel; first the Arkham games, now DKR. DCD pretty decisively won the Arkham battle, but if the Four Horsemen are behind the DKR Movie Masters and Mattel actually puts a little money into the production side of things (a big if there), they could win this battle…especially since the DCD figures appear to be pre-posed a la DC’s World of Warcraft and God of War figures. (Via Toynewsi)
- In the same article, DC also announced series 3 of Arkham City, due in September 2012 and consisting of a regular Batman, Ra’s Al Ghul, Clown Thug, Azrael, and the Penguin.
Toy Aisle Trolls is a feature highlighting acts of vandalism to in-store toy items. If you find a ruined package, a stolen figure, a swapped-out figure, or any other such acts, take a photo (cell phone photos are fine if they’re not blurry) and email them to poe AT poeghostal.com.
Poester HA sends along not one, not two, but three TATs found at two different TRUs in our friendly northern neighbor, Canada. Well, friendly except that they apparently also have douchebags who steal toys.
He sat in the ragged chair. Its yellowed stuffing burst from a dozen seams. A small TV flickered before him. It was one of his favorite programs–CCTV footage spliced from the TYGER cameras that loomed over every street corner of the so-called Arkham City.
The footage, barely visible, showed a small, dark figure skulking about a rooftop. Abruptly he stopped and ducked behind an HVAC unit. And then–enter stage left!–a group of well-armored security officers–TYGER thugs, he knew–creeped into view. They kept their automatic rifles in front of them, evidently aware of the intruder’s presence.
Then there was a blur of motion. Perhaps twenty seconds past, and when it was over, five TYGER officers were on the ground, moaning, and the figure was leaping off the roof into the darkness.
A short laugh–more a dry cough, really–crackled from his bloody throat. He idly fingered the tip of the item in his hand. It was a tire iron…a very special tire iron, one he had kept safe for years now. Too many good memories. And who knew? Maybe it had a few more in store.
The Arkham videogames have quickly become big business for DC Comics. While DC attempts to draw in new readers with the New 52 initiative, today’s young generation is becoming familiar with their characters much more from movies like The Dark Knight and videogames like Batman: Arkham City. I wonder how the two million copies of Arkham City sold in October compares to the total money the comics division of DC Entertainment will make in 2011.
It doesn’t hurt that the Arkham games are excellent, with top-notch gameplay and compelling stories written by master Batman scribe Paul Dini. To me, the Arkham games have felt like a more adult version of the 1990s animated series, which makes sense given the staff involved (Dini writing, Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill voicing Batman and the Joker, respectively).
But perhaps my favorite thing about the games is their aesthetic. The art style and character designs walk a fine line between the realism of The Dark Knight and the look of the comics. It’s a difficult balance that could easily come out looking terrible, but the art team at Rocksteady Studios nailed it. In some ways it’s the superhero equivalent of Hasbro’s G.I. Joe: The Pursuit of Cobra toys–more realistic takes on iconic character designs.
Because the aesthetic is so distinctive and the games so popular, it’s not surprising toymakers ranging from DC Direct to Mattel to Square Enix have all jumped on the bandwagon. The figures from each company differ significantly; Mattel’s are more articulated but the sculpts are soft; DC Direct’s are better-sculpted but less articulated; and while the Square Enix figures look like they’ll have both great sculpting and great articulation, they’re based more on the game’s concept art and SE’s own artistic interpretation than the in-game models.
I reviewed Mattel’s Arkham City Batman & Two-Face set a few months back, and found it disappointing. I didn’t mind the sculpt so much as the poorly-engineered articulation. Let’s see how the second two-pack, Robin and the Joker, fares.
- I swear this paucity of updates is not going to go on forever, or even my choice. Bachelor parties to Vegas, new pets, sick pets, and other non-toy-related responsibilities have been cropping up consistently, but I think things will be able to settle down now. I’ve got lots of ideas for posts, I just need to find the time and energy to get them written down.
- Mattel unveiled the first four figures in their new DC Universe All-Stars line, the retail replacement for DC Universe Classics. The figures are the previously-revealed Larfleeze, Superboy Prime, Flashpoint Plastic Man, and a reissue of Batman Beyond. I think I can safely join most fans in a collective “…huh.” My understanding was the new direction of the line was to be synergistic with the current depiction of the DCU and would feature the better-known characters. Flashpoint Plastic Man is a relatively minor character from a very brief storyline wearing an outfit he’ll never wear again. Larfleeze is fine, if not exactly better-known, but Superboy Prime seems a both obscure and dated…does he even exist in the Brand New DC? Doesn’t he represent everything they’re trying to get away from? Still, at least he’s a new sculpt. As for Batman Beyond…it’s nice they’re reissuing him for those who missed him, but couldn’t we get some wings this time? Or at least a properly-colored batarang? To be honest, this is probably a better line-up than anyone was expecting for the new line, which makes me wonder if these particular figures had been slated for DCUC, not DCAS–much as the all-unique Demon and Penguin from wave one of DCUC seemed better suited to DC Super Heroes than the reuse-heavy DCUC.
- New toys I’ve picked up recently: the Arkham City Robin/Joker 2-pack, the 6″ Walmart Captain America (movie version). Reviews forthcoming.
- Check out this awesome guide to creating custom action figure backgrounds and dioramas by Matthew K at the Fwoosh. I tried to get Matt to write this up for PGPoA, actually, but the Fwoosh one was already in progress. Thanks to Battlegrip for the tip.
- You may have noticed some new ads on the sidebar…or maybe you didn’t, if you use Adblock. Anyway, after several years of running this site entirely at my own expense (aside from some associate accounts and Google Ads, neither of which are particularly lucrative), I’ve decided that if I want to be able to support my hobby and keep up this blog, I’m going to need some sponsors. The one thing I can promise you is that I’ll only have advertisers whom I use myself and support. So please welcome BigBadToyStore and Thwipster, and welcome back EnchantedToyChest (who have a great-looking new site). If you would be kind enough to turn off Adblock on PGPoA I’d really appreciate it (I do that for the sites I visit regularly, believe it or not), but I’ll totally understand if you don’t want to.
- Weirdo Toys has a great article on Brad Rader’s Battle Babies. Battle Babies are a line of custom toys featuring babies writing cyborg animals, Dino Riders-style. You can see more at Brad’s Flickr account, and even buy them at his Etsy page. Incidentally, Brad’s wife, the Geeky Vixen, is the editor-in-chief of Pendragon’s Post.
- You may recall my cousin Ed and his reviews of Bif Bang Pow!’s Lost figures. What you may not know is he’s also a videogame reviewer for the Adrenaline Vault. He’s got a new review of Elder Scrolls: Skyrim out today–check it out! I’ll be getting my copy tomorrow. I hated Morrowind, but I got really into Oblivion, and it sounds like Skyrim only gets better.