It’s fairly rare and always noteworthy when LEGO introduces a completely new set of elements that work together as a sort of sub-system to the overall LEGO “System of Play.” With 70922 The Joker Manor, LEGO has introduced a new rollercoaster system. We’ll be taking a much closer look at the rollercoaster system and the parts in this new set with a second, parts-focused review, but first we’re taking a look at the new set on its own merits.
Joker Manor includes 3,444 pieces with 10 minifigs, making it the fifth largest LEGO set released in 2017 (after 75192 Millennium Falcon, 10256 Taj Mahal, 70620 Ninjago City, and 10255 Assembly Square). The set will retail for $269.99 and launches on Black Friday, November 24.
The box and instructions
The box is comparable in size to Ninjago City, and includes two sub-boxes, plus a number of loose bags. And like the Millennium Falcon, there’s no real logic (other than mysterious factory production logic that is opaque to us) to which bags are loose and which are in each box.
As a result, you’ll find yourself first dumping out the main box and both sub-boxes and sorting the 22 numbered bags, plus a couple of unnumbered bags with larger pieces.
The back of the box shows the usual alternate views and play features, though the photos certainly don’t do justice to the rollercoaster, for which we’ll have a video later in this review.
The instruction booklet comes in its own bag. The single, thick booklet is 460 pages long, covering 613 steps, plus a view of several previously unannounced LEGO Batman and DC Super Heroes sets in the back along with the parts list. The instruction booklet bag also includes the two sticker sheets.
As we just noted, the instruction booklet is a massive 460 pages, with 22 numbered and 2 unnumbered bags of parts. Despite the high number of sequential bags, the fact that there are 22 numbered bags compared to the Falcon’s 17 sets of bags makes the build process flow much faster than the Falcon.
The first bag includes lots of plates, Technic beams, and pins for the Manor’s sturdy base, along with the set’s eponymous villain in his purple suit outfit. The first seven bags focus on the interior of Wayne Manor, with four small areas representing various living spaces.
The ground floor on the left side of Wayne Manor (the right side while you’re building the interior) includes a contemplative music area, with a cozy fireplace, a baby grand piano, and a bust of (presumably) Mozart.
For some reason, the piano itself doesn’t show up until bag 14, even though you build the room and the decorative bust with the parts in bag 3.
A repeated architectural design element is the lintel that appears above each window. The lintel sub-assembly is built on an upside-down 2×6 plate, decorated with cheese slopes and attached to the wall via 1×1 bricks with clips and 1×1 round tiles with a pin (aka “nipple” pieces).
The second-floor area (Gotham is in America so we’ll use American numbering for our floors in this review) has a tiny, one-seat theater for Batman to watch his romantic comedies.
The other side of Wayne Manor begins in bag 5, which includes Robin in a rather haphazard Nightwing outfit. This side of the building includes the kitchen area, complete with a microwave large enough to nuke Batman’s lobster thermidor.
The center of the building (bag 6) includes fun-house mirrors surrounding what I can only assume is a dance floor, given the overall disco theme of Joker’s take on Wayne Manor.
The next floor up (bag 7) includes a DJ setup where Batman can mix his sweet tunes. Bag 8 finishes the second floor and the fun-house mirror section in the middle, including lots of Technic to reinforce the large central tower above the disco fun-house.
The floor above the disco incorporates a mechanism to extend a pair of boxing gloves on either side of the explosively colorful portal that covers Wayne Manor’s front door.
Bags 9 and 10 include Alfred and complete the portal. Against a bright green backdrop from an earlier bag, sections of lime green, dark green, and dark pink build up in layers. The sub-assembly with yellow rays is particularly interesting, built with wedge plates connected by hinge plates and attached to the portal with clips.
Bag 11 adds a roof to part of the central section and bag 12 includes the parts for a water feature above Batman’s DJ setup. Is it a bathtub? Jacuzzi? Incredibly tiny pool?
The 13th through 16th bags build up the Neo-Gothic towers on either side of Wayne Manor. They use some rather interesting techniques for the details under the eaves, with 1×2 slopes attached to 2×2 tiles with a single stud in the middle attached sideways. These integrate beautifully with the crenellations above.
Things get rather sculptural in bags 18 and 19, with a trapdoor and slide integrated into a large Joker head on the back of the purple tower above the red disco floor. The highly detailed face is one of the first large-scale character sculptures I’ve built in a LEGO set, though I could be unaware of an earlier character integrated into a set.
The Joker was considerate enough to carefully pack away Bruce Wayne’s own photos when defacing Wayne Manor, so there are alternative pictures for the second floor wall stored in a packing crate.
The 19th bag includes the parts for the large “The Joker” sign in front of the purple tower. Brick-built lettering has certainly been central to many modular building LEGO sets over the years, starting with “HOTEL” in Cafe Corner, “1932” in Fire Brigade, and so on. But it’s nice to see larger lettering, and in a non-modular set. The “O” in “Joker” is the Joker’s face, which is a trio of stickers on 1×4 white rounded bow slopes.
As we near the end of the build with the 20th bag, a super-creepy giant eye tops the center of what is now very much Joker Manor, as more and more of the underlying Wayne Manor disappears beneath villainous bling.
The old-timey bombs with hissing fuses are lovely globular details on either side of the entry portal, nicely spherical at a fairly small scale.
More brick-built lettering turns up in bag 20 to add a maniacal “Ha! Ha!” to the festivities. Throughout the entire build, there have also been mysterious outrigger features that are now obviously designed to support the rollercoaster track.
The rollercoaster track and carts are in the very final pair of bags, which we’ll discuss in detail next.
The finished model and play features
The design aesthetic of Gotham draws heavily upon Gothic Revival architecture from the 19th century — think Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament in London. So it’s natural that Wayne Manor includes a heavy dose of the Neo-Gothic. Having not paid a whole lot of attention to the original reveal of this set beyond the new rollercoaster system (to which I’ll add that I’m also not a huge Batman fan), I began the build expecting something on the order of a crazy Cloud Cuckoo Land from The LEGO Movie — just a lot of randomness. Some of this design aesthetic is evident in earlier LEGO Batman sets like 70912 Arkham Asylum, but the reality is that the underlying Wayne Manor structure beneath the “Joker Manor” veneer is a solid architectural build in its own right.
I didn’t personally expect this set to integrate with other LEGO Batman playsets, but I suspect some readers may wonder if Joker/Wayne Manor can be attached to the Batcave from 70909 Batcave Break-In. Unfortunately, the answer is no. Again, no surprise with a build that’s surrounded on all sides by rollercoaster track.
While the front of the building has great architecture under Joker craziness, the rear of the building has some really fun little vignettes and mini-builds — the baby grand piano in particular is fantastic.
Play features include a trapdoor and slide, punching boxing gloves, and roving “Eye of Sauron” on the top of the purple and yellow tower. But we’re all here for the new rollercoaster, right? Let’s hop aboard and check it out.
The track includes a starting point with controls, and the cars naturally return to that point if you don’t push it along again.
However, there are a couple of taller sections that make more sense for you to start your coaster run. With figs aboard to add a little more weight, the cars will make their way almost all the way around the circuit from the highest point beneath the Joker marquee.
The ride is incredibly smooth, with nary a clickety-clack as the cars move along the track. The other play features certainly add interest during the build and for the set overall as a play set, but the star of the set is absolutely the excellent rollercoaster. We’ll touch briefly on the new elements in the rollercoaster system after we look at the minifigures, but check back with The Brothers Brick soon for an in-depth followup as well.
70922 The Joker Manor includes ten minifigs — the Joker, Harley Quinn, Batman, Robin/Nightwing, Alfred, and Commissioner Barbara Gordon in “regular” garb, plus disco versions of Batman, Robin, the Joker, and Batgirl.
The Joker and Harley Quinn are essentially identical to the versions of the minifigs in 70906 The Joker Notorious Lowrider, though they both have different faces.
The minifigs’ heads are reversible, with laughing and determined expressions.
Batman is your standard Batman minifig, with the new softer cape. Robin wears a Nightwing outfit, with a cowl that’s askew and tights similarly lopsided.
Again, both characters have new expressions on reversible heads.
The Nightwing armor appears to be new, and includes attachments on the rear for the bat wings Nightwing wears.
Barbara Gordon wears her Police Commissioner outfit, with a holstered gun. This fig doesn’t have a new expression, and is identical to the one in Arkham Asylum. Alfred Pennyworth wears a Classic Batman suit, with dual faces that are identical to the minifig in Batcave Break-In.
The disco dance crew is … interesting. I don’t anticipate using Disco Batman for anything other than Disco Batman, but both the Joker and Robin include elements that could help you build that Studio 54 model you’ve been dying to create.
Of course, if you’re more of a Batman completist than I am, you may enjoy having these alternate outfits beyond their utility in non-Batman models.
Dance for me, Batman, dance!
The parts & new rollercoaster system
The big news with Joker Manor is of course the new rollercoaster system. The system includes five new rail sections — a short straight section, slight elevation, concave elevation, convex elevation, and quarter curve.
The cars include wheels that clip into them, with a knob and clip on either end to attach to other cars.
What’s particularly noteworthy about this system is that the cars clip gently but securely to the tracks themselves, and there’s a small tang on the underside that we’ve tested successfully with a Technic chain. We’ll demonstrate that in our follow-up post focused in more detail on the parts in this set.
The red, curved funhouse mirror wall is also new. The wall has a 1×4 footprint and the curve is contained within that footprint.
In addition to the elements that get stickers, the set also includes a few new printed elements. The lemon slice for Batman’s favorite lobster dish is new, and of course the set includes an extra piece.
Batman’s little movie theater includes a copy of “Forever Sorting 2,” which is printed on a 2×3 tile.
Again, we’ll cover the parts and roller-coaster system in more depth in a follow-up post.
Conclusions & recommendation
I wasn’t as impressed with The LEGO Batman Movie as I was with The LEGO Moview, and despite some sideways glances from hardcore builders, I do buy sets as much for the subject matter and the minifigs as I do for the parts. Therefore, I had fairly low expectations about the set itself, despite the strong interest in the new rollercoaster system.
But as the build progressed through bag after bag, 70922 Joker Manor completely won me over. The set demonstrates several key attributes of strong fan builds, from the realistic architectural details to the brick-built lettering and large-scale character design on the back. It’s also incredibly colorful, which was a welcome change from my last massive LEGO set I built for review, the UCS Falcon (as much as I loved that Star Wars set).
The rollercoaster system is also amazingly fun — I couldn’t stop flicking it around the track, and might have let out a “Wheeeee!” or two that confused my wife and our dogs.
At $270 for over 3,400 parts, including a complete rollercoaster circuit and three cars, it’s also a pretty good deal for the price (I won’t belabor my previous point about expensive LEGO sets ad infinitum).
We at The Brothers Brick think that there’s a strong likelihood that LEGO will release a Creator rollercoaster set in the near future, but if you want to get your hands on the new system early and enjoy a surprisingly fun build as well, we definitely recommend 70922 Joker Manor not just to LEGO Batman or DC Super Heroes fans, but to LEGO builders more broadly.
70922 The Joker Manor will go on sale on November 24, 2017 for $269.99 in the United States, £249.99 in the United Kingdom, and $349.99 in Canada (with prices varying by region elsewhere).
The LEGO Group sent The Brothers Brick an early copy of this set for review. Providing TBB with products for review guarantees neither coverage nor positive reviews.