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Red Hood

Batman Arkham Asylum
by yo go re

"How long before you stopped searching for me? Hmm? How long before you gave up!?"

Since vanquishing the Arkham Knight persona, Jason Todd was able to lay his vengeance against Batman to rest and begin to heal the damage that was inflicted on him in Arkham Asylum. It was during this recovery that Red Hood was born. Now, while he is one again aligned with his former mentor in wanting to rid Gotham City of its criminal contingent, Jason Todd's proclivity for capital punishment will forever keep them at odds.

"Vanquishing" the persona? Okay, Miles Bron, I think you mean "relinquishing"; he didn't defeat it, he gave it up. Don't blame McFarlane Toys for the mistake, though, because that's the character bio taken directly from the game - including the part that suggests Bruce faked his death. After all, it says he's aligned with his former mentor, not with his former mentor's goals, and it's hard for them to be at odds when only one of them is alive. It's possible they were trying to avoid any spoilers, but by the time you can see that text, it's already past.

DC Direct made a Red Hood with their other Arkham Knight figures, but it was a GameStop exclusive, and nothing was done to promote it, so it was sold out by the time I even knew it existed. There are plenty on eBay, but until they adopt our "average sold price" idea, the listings are going to remain ridiculous. And thus I started hunting this figure as soon as I saw it was coming.

We already know from The Joker that McFarlane can make pretty good Arkham toys, even if they're not as screen-accurate as other companies might have achieved; costing 10 times less than the competition buys a lot of forgiveness, though. This honestly is one of the best costumes Red Hood's had. It keeps his usual style of "tactical clothes under a leather jacket, but the black and gray jacket suits the Bat-family better than his usual brown, but having more commonplace clothes rather than a sleek grey bodysuit or highly detailed armor gives us the imprssion he's still working on his own, rather than being fully backed by the Wayne fortune.

As is usual, the figure really needs some more paint to live up to its full potential. Even leaving aside the fact the side panels on the shirt should be a different shade than the front, there's a little bit of hardware on his chest that deserves to be picked out, and the small cut on his stomach that's patched with a bit of tape doesn't stand out at all. Additionally, the neck of his shirt should be darker, since technically the part we see is a padded vest worn over the zip-up beneath. We do like that the symbol on his chest is partway between a bat and a bird - appropriate! Why is the one on his back so squished, though?

The thing that really makes this costume stand out from the rest is that, for once, he actually has a red hood. The character's name isn't Red Helmet or Red Mask, after all. He does still have that - in the game, it was the interior part of his Arkham Knight helmet, the part that remained after Batman bashed the outer mask up pretty good - but he wears that under a red hoodie. Probably the same one he was wearing in the game's opening scene. It's an interesting aesthetic that sets him apart from the crowd nicely, but still fits into the Arkhamverse in a really great way.

Having the hood does mess with the articulation of the head, of course: no way around that. You can still reach up under there and use the balljoint, it'll just mean the head is moving niside the hood rather than with it. But hey, it's not like he has eyes, who's going to know which direction he's looking? His other joints are the usual McToys we get these days: hinged toes, swivel/hinge/swivel ankles, double-hinged knees, swivel thighs, swivel/​hinge hips, balljointed waist, a balljointed chest, swivel/hinge wrists, double-hinged elbows, swivel biceps, swivel/hinge shoulders, and a balljointed head. Everything moves fine, though the black pins sticking through the gray patches on his elbows make them look like big stylized eyes.

Red Hood does not inlude his handguns, which is stupid. They're his main mode of attack! He uses those the way Batman uses punches. It's particularly egregious since the figure does get a pair of hands with the trigger fingers extended. Look, either WB cares or they don't, and if DCeased Red Hood could be produced with a pair of pistols in 2022, so could Arkham Red Hood. All the toy does have is what the website refers to as "a smoke bomb [and] action slash clip on," which is a fancy way of saying "two translucent orange energy effects." Yeah, not great.

I would rather have gotten the DCD Red Hood back in 2015, but that would have required them telling anyone it was on its way. I did get the Mystery Mini version, just because this design is so cool, but the only other action figure of this Red Hood was one of Mattel's very bad 4" toys. Toddy Mac to the rescue! It's bad that they skipped his guns, but at least this character has a toy everyone has a chance to own.

-- 01/04/23

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