So, in much lighter news these days…….. I want to give you guys my opinions of the newest and possibly best LEGO set in quite some time; The Arkham Asylum breakout set!
I don’t collect Lego to the same extent I do other brands or types of collectibles but when I do I make sure It counts and Is worth every penny. After a successful amount of rounds doing the whole “freelance editor” thing, The Lego set of mythical proportions called to me In a persuasive way and with good money in my pocket how could I possibly say no?. Being a Lego store exclusive, the Arkham Asylum set has the potential to increase tremendously in value over the next few years just as it’s predecessor has. In 2006 Lego released their first DC sets one of which was the Arkham Asylum set. Today the set fetches an enormous amount of loose change on the secondary market ($400+) and is still in good demand. Having never collected Lego before the new 2012 sets, I was taken aback at the huge price tag the old sets had been fetching and while I was more prone to liking the designs of the older sets to the newer ones, I was not about to spend my entire bank account on LEGOs. There are instances however when the new outweighs the old in positives. This is one of those times:
Designed by Lego’s Marcus Bessa, this Lego set stands at over a foot high and contains 1619 pieces which can mean only one thing: Build time is going to be a while. So many a day did I spend my childhood just prying bricks off of each other to correct a mistake in a Lego build. Lego was unlike any other toy I ever played with growing up; hours of endless building fueled only by imagination and perspective. The build and the enjoyment behind it matters in a Lego set and here it does not disappoint. Where many sets fail is repetition, Lego often offers sets that are dependent on builds that may come off as repetitious and therefore boring. This set is different on so many levels, unique pieces here and there and the finished piece is so very different from any Superheroes set we’ve gotten in the past. The finished Asylum has the typical gothic feel that defines Gotham as a city and to see that here defined so sleekly is great. The gate is quite the gem, the two hooded guardians holding the “keys” of Arkham give off a creepy vibe tot he completed set and is a true nod to the gritty world that our beloved caped crusader navigates across all mediums. The gargoyles mounted on the roof of the Asylum also project this and the cherry on the top is the stain glass window on the tower cell. Over on the back you get a ton of references to different incarnations of the Batman. The tower cell for Mr Freeze is a clever nod to Batman & Robin, the desk for Harleen Quinzel and the Joker’s therapy session bed are great nods to the great Batman The Animated Series. Poison Ivy’s cell is also something to not forget as we get not one but two special cells for vilains of special powers. This set is a fun build, little to no repetition is present here aside from the windows which end before becoming stressfully dull. On the bottom half we get a set of prison cells with retractable doors, Harley’s hidden chambers along with extra prison name plates, a great front door and desk set, oh yes we also get a really cool Arkham truck for transporting patients.
The most famous of many if not all LEGO aspects when it comes to the licensed sets are the ever elusive minifigures. With five basic points of articulation and standing at just an inch tall these small figures are extremely stylized to interact with the LEGO brick world. Many LEGO collector’s seek out these figures as sets becomes more rare. In fact, as a child I distinctly remember finding sets in toy store’s whose boxes were broken into just to obtain the figures themselves. LEGO recognized this and now the figure is divided into parts in different bags of the set, making it far more difficult to steal these little plastic gems. This set includes 8 different minifigures: Batman, a Hooded Robin (Damian?), The Joker, The Penguin, Poison Ivy, Dr. Harleen Quinzel, Scarecrow and a guard, all with assorted weapons. This is the first set in years to feature The Scarecrow and The Penguin. Exclusive to this set however are three brand spankin new figures: Hooded Robin, who may or may not be Damian (right hood, wrong costume), Harley Quinn in Psychiatrist attire, and Joker in Arkham inmate get-up. See it’s the exclusivity of this set that I believe will drive this to become a most wanted set years after it’s circulation is done.
Price + Availability:
Ok, here is where you may get swayed one way or another. This set is exclusive to LEGO retail stores and therefore is not available to everyone, unless of course you’re ok with ordering it online. The price tag is a whopping $160 before tax is added. It goes without saying that this isn’t a cheap acquisition nor should it be. I recommend you consider spending the money if you can afford it for a few reasons:
1. LEGO is not Hasbro and so once this set has run its course there will be no re-releases and so you will be unable to find this set at anything at retail price or below. These sets tend to go for a premium given the popularity of the license and the unique pieces of the set itself.
2. It’s Arkham Asylum! out of any heroes be it Marvel or DC there are few heroes other than Batman who warrant a variety of LEGO sets due to their many iconic vehicles and settings. The old set was amazing but this set goes above and beyond the previous one.
3. Between the Batcave, Batman’s many vehicle sets and now Arkham we are close to having all of Gotham’s iconic settings in LEGO form, why miss out?.
The price tag may be a turn off to people but the finished piece really is a sight to behold, my set is proudly displayed for all to see and my purchase has not been regretted. I have slowly accumulated more and more LEGO’s over the years and even some custom minifigures so the chance to do a cool diorama piece is not lost on me with this set. In fact with a base and this set I have a mini diorama displayed now and at the center stands Batman, Robin (Damian), and Nightwing fending off some foes. To me that alone was worth the price of admission. I don’t often buy hefty collectibles so it’s great to treat myself to one of these every now and again and I’ve no regrets here.