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Review – Mafex – The Dark Knight Joker

I’m not a huge fan of the “Nolan Batman” films as a whole, but The Dark Knight is one of my favorite movies in the broad sense.  Batman Begins, The Dark Knight Rises, both are kind of mediocre, The Dark Knight is so good though.  A lot of this is because of the Joker as the villain.  Loving Heath Ledger’s Joker isn’t an uncommon opinion at all for sure.  Unfortunately, in the US, Mattel has the license for DC figures, and produces most of them.  Mattel, honestly, isn’t the greatest toy company, mostly because they tend to have wonky articulation and really spotty assortments.  The Dark Knight Rises 4″ line had cases of like 23 Batmans and 1 Bane or something ridiculous.  There was a version of The Joker released in the US, but I really wanted something nicer.

Enter Medicom and Mafex, and their Dark Knight Joker.  This isn’t Mafex’s first figure, though they don’t put out a ton of product.  Actually, especially previous to this Joker, Mafex has had a really awful reputation for releasing really crappy figures.  Not so much from a design standpoint but from a quality standpoint.

I’d heard that they had gotten better with this release, and I opted to go ahead and pick up the Joker here as my first figure from their releases.  I have to say I was not disappointed.  Though I also need to say, there are still some quality issues, particularly in the joints on these figures.  As of writing this review, I’ve picked up three figures from the Mafex line, and all of them have had joint issues of some kind, most often in the neck.  My Joker sometimes has problems with his arm falling off.

Aside from this issue, I’m really satisfied by this figure.  The sculpt is great, the weapon assortment is great.  The smiling head is a little too happy, which is kind of weird, but the normal glowering head is spot on great, and it’s really the onle that would be used most of the time anyway.

There’s a bit of hindrance to articulation by his coat, though the Joker, especially this iteration of the Joker, is pretty slow and shuffling in his movements anyway.  He’s not exactly an athlete or a ninja on any level.

So the question is, is it recommended?  It’s probably the best Heath Ledger Joker available in this scale.  That said, the join issues could be a turn off.  I’d recommend him, but not for a tremendous mark up, unless you’re a huge fan of this Joker.  I add the last part because now that we’ve moved on to the DC Cinematic Universe and the Suicide Squad Joker, this Joker probably isn’t going to get any sort of future release in a better line (Figuarts).

Review – Mafex BatmanVSuperman Superman

I have to admit, I sometimes feel like a bit of a masochist because I’m still sticking with Medicom’s Mafex line for my DC collection.  My experience so far has been pretty hit and miss, the hits are good, but the misses tend to be pretty awful.  I feel like if I just stick with it, they will figure things out and start producing really solid figures.  Mafex Batman vs Superman Superman here is definitely par for this course.

I want to start with the good things, and why I stick with the line.  I really like the sculpts.  The proportions are good, the stance is good, the heads tend to look really good, which is what matters.  It’s definitely better than most domestic releases.  I also really really like the use of cloth goods for things like capes.  Cloth works sooooo much better than plastic or rubber, especially when done well.

I also, for the most part, like the pricing.  Recent releases are starting to creep up a bit admittedly, but the price of the line tends to be on the lower end for import figures.

The bad bits though really stick out and really get in the way.  The biggest and only real bad bit is the looseness and joint tolerances.  Superman for example, his head tends to fall off at the base of the neck.  It feels like a problem that could have been solved by even a few millimeters more length on the neck ball post so it stuck down into the socket just a bit deeper.  It’s weird too because you can attach the head, then pick the whole figure up by the head, which suggests it’s solid, but then after a bit of wiggling or posing, it just falls right out.

His legs are also a little loose.  Its not horrible and the figure isn’t super heavy so it doesn’t cause major issue but it can cause some frustration with getting him to hold a pose.

On Superman, I also wish his cape had wires along the vertical axis as well as the bottom.  I’ve seen custom fixes for this and may look into adding some wire myself.  It’s not a huge issue, but it would make the cape a lot more dynamic, though it’s already pretty dynamic and flows nicely around the figure.

For accessories, Mafex Superman comes with 3 (total) sets of hands and 2 heads, one normal, one with an angry head and colored eyes, as if he is powering up to use his heat vision.  He also comes with a standard Mafex stand.  It’s not an amazing parts count, but there isn’t a lot that Superman really uses as far as gear like say, Batman.

All in all it’s not an awful figure, I just wish Mafex could figure out it’s lose joint issues.  This isn’t the first figure I’ve had from them with similar issues.