I remember the day well. It was hot and although not officially summer, I could feel the back of my shirt clinging to my skin. Oh joy, another hot summer in Jersey. At least the figure I have been waiting for for the past few months is on its way. My email box pings on my phone as it often is ahead of my actual computer for some reason. It was from one of my preferred online retailers and it was a full email—it was bad news. Even without reading the entire email, I can always tell when a message is filled with bad news. The fourth figure in the wave of ARKHAM KNIGHT figures the new character names ARKHAM KNIGHT has been indefinitely delayed. If this was a movie they would have done one of those over the headshots of me screaming as the camera moved off and up into the distance So pissed, I called the retailer to try to bargain with them as if they had a warehouse full of the ARKHAM KNIGHT and were simply holding them ransom from the AFJ. But it was all for naught. I would have to wait the long, hot summer before the ARKHAM KNIGHT would be in my clutches. Its the curse of the pre-order, you never know whats going to happen with those dates.
**SPOILERS INCLUDED**SPOILERS INCLUDED**
Since I am not a gamer, I figured I would at least do some solid research on just who exactly this mysterious character was in the new hit video game from ROCKSTEADY. The character actually made his debut earlier in 2015 in BATMAN: ARKHAM KNIGHT #1 before getting his own 6-issue miniseries. Still, the details were sketchy. We knew that the ARKHAM KNIGHT had a major grudge against the Batman and has designs to off the Dark Knight completely. To achieve this, he has teamed with the maniacal Scarecrow. The delay of the figure release actually gave us some extra time to get to know the character in the comic books and we learn that by the end of the game BATMAN: ARKHAM KNIGHT that the true identity of the character is none other than……JASON TODD! Having read all of the old comic books from when Jason Todd was killed by The Joker, I have no idea how they resurrected him yet again because I know for a fact he has been back for a good long time. I forget which character he turned out to be, whether it was one iteration of the RED HOOD or another gangland personality, I am still trying to figure out how he was actually brought back to life in the first place.
Newsarama did an interview that was posted on Wikipedia with ROCKSTEADY Studios asking whether or not this ARKHAM KNIGHT is an entirely new character or just new to the video game canon. Developer Dax Ginn responded, “AK is completely original. Batman has not encountered him before, so this is a completely original design and role that the Arkham Knight brings.” Ginn goes on to add that the gang at ROCKSTEADY “wanted to introduce someone who would really challenge Batman to go head to head with him in lots of different ways.”
As it turns out, the “murder” of Jason Todd was just a ruse videotaped by the Joker and sent to Batman. However, after Dick Grayson goes on to become Nightwing full time, Jason Todd was alive and not well being brutally tortured by the Clown Prince of Crime in an abandoned wing of Arkham Asylum. The ARKHAM KNIGHT is described as patient and calculating as well with the obvious deep knowledge of Bruce Wayne. His uniform is designed to mock Batman and attack Bruce on a deep psychological level. According to the report, “The Arkham Knight is the pinnacle of escalation; he is a physical, mental, and emotional threat to Batman, and claims to be able to predict Batman’s actions, due to training with him and being his sidekick.” AK is a merciless military style commander that is very confident in his abilities to take down Batman. So much so that he is willing to even kill Scarecrow who helped him get to this point and has already taken out Electrocutioner. Character artist Albert Feliu said in an interview, “AK think he’s better, badder, and definitely cooler than the Batman himself.” He actually tells his men to avoid shooting Batman at the ominous Bat symbol on his chest but to go for more exposed areas like his waist and shoulders.
Obviously having been Robin for an extended period of time, the ARKHAM KNIGHT has incredible hand to hand combat skills and can knock out the Dark Knight with one of his “cobra punches” that is the pinnacle of his strength. Now we go right into the amazing figure that they have put out for us to own. The summer went quick and the figure arrived and it was most definitely one of the figures I have ever most been looking forward to owning in my history of collecting. The suit that AK wear is basically a militaristic version of Bruce Wayne’s Batsuit but it is designed to mock and make fun of Bruce’s “old style” costume. Obviously, we cannot see it on the helmet but the awesome looking headgear has all sorts of electronic goodies that give him an active display of all goings on in Gotham City. I love the way it looks in plastic form and how ominous it looks. Although you cannot remove it, underneath the first helmet is another helmet that is featureless and red.
Jason Todd has purposely emblazoned his chest with the Arkham symbol on his chest plate to try and put Batman at a psychological disadvantage. Because of the intimate knowledge that Jason has of the events at Arkham that have scarred The Dark Knight, the “A” shape mocks Bruce as if the Asylum is some sort of working corporation. Feliu made it a point to say that the A-shape on the ARKHAM KNIGHT’s chest was designed not only for the ARKHAM logo but “also a means of deflecting the BATCLAW. Visually one of the most important things we want to communicate through the design of the ARKHAM KNIGHT is the high-tech, military threat he poses to Gotham City.” The sleek design of the rest of the awesome looking suit was designed to remind fans of the design of a fighter aircraft. He wanted it to look “highly resistant, unreflective and totally intimidating.” I particularly love the way that the gauntlets translated in plastic form as well as the fully loaded utility belt which is worn low on his hips as opposed to Batman’s. There is a distinct camouflage pattern that you really will lose outside with the figure should you happen to go outside and put this amazing piece into the Fall foliage. Trust me, it works!
While I was hoping for one of the super cool grapple guns that we see him use in the game, we are denied that piece of equipment. In its place, though we are given a crazy sniper rifle that looks amazing on its own before you even pose it with the figure. Overall, I cannot say enough about this figure despite not being a gamer. It is amazing to look at and looks good in any pose. Well, not any pose but you catch my drift. It is like a new 21st Century Batman that is a total bad ass from head to toe. It stands at about 7 to 7 1/4 inches and you grab it right now for only $22.99 which is an absolute STEAL. This is a great gift or addition to any die-hard Bat-fan’s collection and is definitely on my TOP 10 of 2015 figures. Based on cost, appearance, paint job; just everything about this figure screams awesome. With the added bonus of it being Jason Todd, I cannot wait to see some of the crazy customs that Junkies will come up with.
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