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DC’s New Harley Quinn Figure Series is Super Weird and Wonderful (Figures and Speech)

DC’s New Harley Quinn Figure Series is Super Weird and Wonderful (Figures and Speech)

Welcome to Figures & Speech, Nerdist’s regular column by, for, and about grown-ups who still play with their toys but might want to know more before they buy. From product reviews to informed editorials, these are most definitely the articles that’ll make you want to strike a pose. Click on all images to enlarge for detail.

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I have to be honest—I used to hate Harley Quinn.

As an original viewer of Batman: The Animated Series, I simply found her an irritating addition. Why did the Joker need a girlfriend? Why did she have to have such a whiny, gangster moll caricature accent (that could conveniently disappear the moment she went undercover)? What kind of stupid real-life name was “Harleen Quinzel”? On the surface, nothing about it worked for me.

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In the years since, however, I’ve done a complete 180. Free from the confines of a PG-rated cartoon, the sheer dysfunction of Harley and Joker’s relationship was a lot more interesting and disturbing; like the psychotic clown, her damage made her interesting. And when I took my wife to Suicide Squad, she related so much to Harley, as an anti-heroine who was able to take the manipulation and abuse and turn it around into a super power, that she asked to subscribe to comics for the first time. It helps—for me, anyway—that Margot Robbie’s voice is a bit less grating than Arleen Sorkin’s.

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And Harley’s comics are great fun, full of wacky humor that doesn’t necessarily dwell on the darker aspects but goes to enjoyably crazy places; the implausibility of her real-life name is simply moot once a talking space-pizza has been introduced. To capture that in toy form, DC Collectibles have focused on Amanda Conner‘s Harley as part of their latest Designer Series—and gone out of their way to include entertaining action features that makes them more than just the standard impeccably painted toys you’d expect.

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The packaging style is the norm—basic white box with a  splash of color and artwork on the side panel.

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They’re held in with a few twist ties, so it’s not quite as collector-friendly a package as it can be on other figures.

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Traditional Harley most resembles the old animated series incarnation, with the harlequin outfit appropriate to her name. She comes with an animated-style pistol, and her pet taxidermied beaver named Bernie, and if you’re trying to think of a joke right now, don’t bother, because the comic has already been to that well many times, more creatively than you or I could.

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But Bernie has an action feature, and it’s one of the most goofily gross things I’ve ever seen in a toy: squeeze him, and a ball of his guts pops out. Release, and his tummy sucks them back in. It’s an addictive, stress-ball style feature, and the gut ball even feels a bit sticky.

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Superhero Harley just gets downright weird, with a massive, stylized alternate head that’s either cute or terrifying, depending how you look at it.

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The head is solid, but the hair buns on it are squishy, with a purpose: submerge it in water, squeeze her hair, and she’ll absorb it. Then, out of the water, squeeze her hair again for crying action! It’s not a super-spray but a genuine tear-like effect. (You may have to push a pin into the “tear duct” holes to ensure they’re open all the way first.) I know there are baby dolls that do this, but while I’ve seen action figures that sweat (WWE, of course), a crying feature for a superhero is a new one on me.

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Holiday Harley is just the cutest Santa you’ve ever seen, complete with Christmas mallet and gift-wrapped bomb.

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While the instructions imply that the mallet has a sound effect, it’s more of a rattle: there’s a ball-bearing inside that makes noise if you shake or hit it. It’s a Harley-ish take on Jingle Bells.

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Spacesuit Harley doesn’t really have an action figure, aside from her helmet and pigtails being removable. Since the helmet has holes for her pigtails, it’s hardly functional—she’s basically cosplaying, as also signified by the fact that her weapon is a pop gun. The cork is attached to the weapon by an intricate, coiled phone cord, and if anybody dares Tweet “What’s a phone cord?” at me, you can expect a hearty “Get off my lawn, whippersnapper!” in response. Because I still own a landline.

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She also comes with the aforementioned talking pizza.

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One thing to watch for: those removable pigtails will remove themselves most of the time; I nearly lost them three times. I suggest deciding on a look—helmeted or unhelmeted—pretty quickly, and gluing her hair in place.

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The Harleys all have basically the same articulation. Restricted ball-jointed neck, ball shoulders and hips, hinged elbows, cut-and-hinged wrists, double-jointed knees, and hinged ankles. The ankles are tight enough that none of them have issues staying upright on the included figure stand. They’re less articulated than the Bombshells, but with less details that allow for joint hiding, this makes sense. Go too far and she’ll lose that animated look.

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Each Harley should run you around $24, which isn’t bad considering you get some actually cool play features above and beyond just having a poseable Harley.

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(If it weren’t a rival company, you KNOW Harley would be a Disney nerd IRL.)

Images: Luke Y. Thompson for Nerdist

Luke Y. Thompson is Nerdist’s weekend editor, and a movie and toy reviewer. Hit him up @LYTrules

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