Welcome back to the first Figure Friday column of 2022! I hope that you enjoyed the podcast version of Figure Friday over the last couple weeks as E.A. Henson and I recapped what was an excellent year in figure collecting. My wish for all of us is that 2022 continues to deliver the goods and that regardless of what you collect, you’re able to find joy and happiness in your collection. That being said, let’s kick off the new year with an item that I mentioned preordering on last week’s episode.
The Batman Who Laughs with Robins of Earth 22 by McFarlane Toys
Dark Knights: Metal is a series that acted as a culmination of sorts for Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s run on Batman. It focuses on seven evil incarnations of Batman from a Dark Multiverse (not to be confused with the regular Multiverse). Calling themselves The Dark Knights, these evil Bat-men and women are all mash ups of other DC heroes and villains. What if Batman was an evil Speedster? He’d be called Red Death. What if Batman was an evil Green Lantern? You’d get The Dawnbreaker. Leading The Dark Knights into battle was The Batman Who Laughs, a mashup of Batman and The Joker.
The character design of The Batman Who Laughs is something I was immediately drawn to. A Joker Toxined grin, jutting out from beneath the cowl. The eyes hidden by a metal crown of spikes. A little Batman, a little Pinhead from Hellraiser, The Batman Who Laughs was something that was screaming to be brought to life in figure form. McFarlane has released this figure a couple times already and I had passed on those previous offerings. The figure always looked cool, but I knew what to expect from McFarlane toys. Beautiful sculpts, great paints, but limited poseability. Marvel Legends, they are not. To call them action figures is a stretch. They’re more like statues that happen to have limited articulation. Knowing all that, when I saw this multipack go up for preorder at $39.99, I decided to roll the dice on a line that I don’t normally collect.
When I got these figures in hand and started posing them around, I quickly realized that I was not a fan. McFarlane makes interesting design choices in terms of articulation. The Batman Who Laughs features a ball joint for a wrist. An untrained eye, may not spot it immediately but once you see it, it’s difficult to unsee. He also has leg articulation reminiscent of Diamond Select, which is not something I’m fond of. He has something similar to butterfly joints in his shoulders, but the rubbery plastic shoulder pads significantly restrict the range of motion. The paintwork is nice with varying shades of black and clean silver buckles and accents. The hands feel out of place with the whitest white I’ve ever seen. It’s a bit jarring in contrast to the nice detail they put into making the teeth look disgusting.
The Robins have also been previously released and are all identical save for the head sculpts. Those head sculpts are one of the high points of the set. All three unique with varied toothy grins and hairstyles. They’re creepy in all the right ways. The Robins all look amazing. The costumes are beautifully detailed and the pale white skin features varying degrees of decay throughout the sculpt. The torso and shorts are made of rubbery plastic, which restricts articulation. Again, limiting the number of poses that you’ll be able to get them into. The legs are locked into a bent position. There is no way to get them to stand up straight. A design choice that throws off their center of gravity making them nearly impossible to pose without the included stands.
These figures are not for everybody. McFarlane makes a beautiful figure. To me, they work best when they’re mint in box. Locked in a static pose, forever encapsulated in a plastic prison. The potential of greatness ever present. The only way you’ll ever be let down by these figures is if you open them up and try to play or pose them. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, it’s just a question of whether or not that’s your thing. For me, I’m still undecided. I feel a lot better getting them for $10 a figure as opposed to having bought them individually at twice the price. In retrospect, I’d feel even better if I would have gotten this at $29.99 or less.