DC Justice League Unlimited: Superman, Galatea, The Huntress, and Booster Gold by Mattel

With DC’s Infinite Heroes line a thing of the past, I’ve had to begrudgingly get my fix of smaller DC figures elsewhere. Don’t get me wrong, I love the Justice League cartoon and Justice League Unlimited was pretty good too, but it took me a long time to warm up to the overly stylized nature of the JLU figures, not to mention some of their other recurring issues. Nonetheless, a few days ago I picked up one of the 3-packs as well as a single carded Booster Gold figure, so let’s check them out.

I love the look on the packaging here. The DC Universe style card is great, there’s animated stills of the characters on the back panel, and the figures are displayed well. What I don’t like is that the tray is designed to warp the legs of the female figures. Seriously, the ladies never stood a chance with their lower legs splayed out like that in the package. Luckily they come with stands. I’ve tried my best to warp them back into form, but the plastic is too soft and thin. Great job Mattel. Thanks a lot.

I’ll start with Superman, since I already own this mold, albeit with ugly Eclipso triangles all over it. The figure captures the animated style of the character pretty well and for the most part the paint apps are pretty clean. There are some serious quality control problems, though, with the seaming around his shoulders and the way his head fits on his neck. It just looks like the figure’s torso is ready to burst into two halves and shoot the head up in the air. Other than that, Sueprman is fine.

Galatea, on the other hand is a mess. The head sculpt is awful, particularly around the eyes where she looks like a Futurama character. The body is ok, if you ignore the fact that her legs are malformed from the package. All of the detail from the neck down is achieved with paint apps, which certainly gets the job done. Hey, Galatea, Power Girl called and she wants her shirt back. Moving on…

The Huntress is a great looking figure and from an aesthetics standpoint easily the best of this set. Unlike Galatea, her headsculpt is very well done and between the head, the cape and the paint apps, you’d be hard pressed to tell that this is the same figure as Galatea from the neck down. Unfortunately, that also includes the warped legs. But wait, what the hell is up with her arms. All of these figures use a rather soft plastic, but Huntress’ arms feel like she’s been left in a car in Florida for about four hours in the burning hot sun. They literally feel like they are made of the same plastic as her cape. Not cool.

This set originally retailed for around $15, which is a hell of a lot better than the ridiculous $9.99 that the single carded JLU figures sell for at Target or online. As fun as these figures are, I can barely justify paying the five bucks a pop each in the three-packs. There isn’t a single figure in this pack that doesn’t have serious issues that range from nagging to just downright awful. The pack does include two figure stands, which is a good thing because neither of the ladies will stand on their own. But it still irks me when Mattel tosses only two stands in a three figure pack, as if to suggest that the .000001 of a cent that those stands must cost to make prohibit them from including three.

Ok, moving on to Booster Gold. Sorry, I don’t have an in-package shot, but I just wanted to throw him in as a contrast to the other figures and to show that Mattel is capable of putting out a quality figure in this line. Sure, Booster is simple. He uses a standard body with paint apps to make him who he is. The head and collar are the only unique sculpted parts on this figure. Still, like the Superman mold, this figure does a great job capturing the spirit of the character as depicted in the JLU style. He also comes with a little Skeets, which sadly doesn’t plug in to him anywhere like the Skeets on the DCUC Booster, so there’s really no good way to display it.

As decent as the quality is on this figure, and as much as I love Booster Gold [even if you are trying my patience in the funny books lately. -FF], I couldn’t justify the $10 price point, but I only paid a couple of bucks for him so no worries. These aren’t my first JLU figures, as I do own a number of the six-pack figure sets, but needless to say poor quality control made this a pretty disappointing foray.

DC Justice League Unlimited: Attack From Thanagar Boxed Set by Mattel

Moving on to the second of two Justice League Unlimited Figure sets that I rescued from Ross, is Attack From Thanagar. I’m pretty sure this one is based off the three part story arc from Season 2 called Starcrossed, but I’m a bit fuzzy on it. I think I saw it when it was strung together as a movie. Either way, I think this set is a lot cooler than the Eclipsed set because it’s chock full of Hawk People. And Hawk People are cool.

The package is exactly the same as the last set we looked at, which is a good thing. I like it so much I spent a considerable amount of time carefully scraping and peeling the Ross sticker off of it so I could use it to display the figures. The front of the package has a little explosion of text that points out that this set is the first release of Paran Dul, Hro Talak and Lt. Kragger. It doesn’t say anything about Hawkgirl being new, but she’s definitely not the “regular” masked Hawkgirl sculpt. She’s the “I just got to Earth and I’m going to lead the way for a friggin invasion” Hawkgirl. Maybe this figure was released before? I don’t know, I’m new to the whole JSU thang. The Green Lantern is the same sculpt I got in the last set and you also get Batman.

Talak and Kragger share the same body sculpt but with different paint decos and they have different heads. The different heads do an ok job of separating the figures apart, and I really like Talak’s. But there isn’t enough variation in the paint to really fool me into realizing they’re the same figure designed to be wearing two different kinds of pants. It’s ok though. I like the figure and I’ll take all the Hawkmen figures I can get. The belt and harness on each figure is also a separate soft plastic piece.

Similarly, Paran Dul and Hawkgirl also share the same body with different paint decos and differet heads. The difference here is a lot more striking, probably because the paint decos are a lot different, but also because of the vast difference in the head sculpts. Paran is wearing a helmet, which conceals most of her head and face. Hawkgirl on the other hand, is letting it all hang out. I absolutely love her head sculpt. It’s just adorable and features some excellent, clean paintwork on the face. She’s definitely my favorite figure in the box.

I really don’t have much to say about John Stewart. He’s a pretty simple sculpt and basically relies on his paint job to distinguish him. He’s the same figure we looked at yesterday in the Eclipsed set only without the purple shards painted on him and with his pupils back.

As for Batman, I’m guessing that if you are a JLU collector, then this guy is going to be a duplicate. I can’t imagine most fans not already having Batman. Since these are my first JLU figures, I’m perfectly fine with him being in the set, especially since he’s one of the few Leaguers that wasn’t in the last set. He’s a really great looking figure, with a much more sensible (read less stylized) sculpt than Superman from the Eclipsed set.

All the guys in this set have the same five points of articulation: Head, shoulders and hips. The girls have the shoulders and hips, but their heads don’t turn. I can understand Hawkgirl’s limitation because of her sculpted hair, but I don’t see why Paran’s can’t.

There are sadly no accessories, which seems like a big missed opportunity to give some maces or other weapons to the Hawk People. You do get the same paltry two figure stands in the set, because those stands probably cost half a cent to make and Mattel doesn’t want to go broke giving you one for each figure.

So yeah, when you get down to it, this set cheats a lot with two sculpts being repainted into four figures, and two straight repacks. That may severely diminish the value for anyone who already collects the line. As a starter set, it’s much better and there certainly isn’t a bad figure in the box, so long as these highly stylized sculpts are your bag and you don’t have a problem with Hawk People.

DC Universe Week Begins: Justice League Unlimited Eclipsed Boxed Set by Mattel

Welcome to DC Universe week! I’ve got a lot of great stuff I want to get through in the next five to seven days, so I’m just going to dive right in with the first of two Justice League boxed figure sets that I picked up out of Ross’ Toy Graveyard last week. Now, I love me my Justice League cartoon. I’ll pop in the DVDs and have the show running in the background when I’m puttering around the house, mainly because I’ve watched them all so many times, I know what’s going on even if I’m not sitting in front of the TV and looking at it.

I really haven’t gotten into the Justice League Unlimited figures too much, mainly because when I’m looking for some smaller scale DC figures, I tend to prefer the less stylized and more realistic Infinite Heroes line. But, the beautiful thing about clearance and closeouts is that you can try out some stuff that you wouldn’t have otherwise picked up, and sometimes you’re pleasantly surprised.

As the title suggests, this set is based on the Season 2 episode, Eclipsed, in which Eclipso possesses a good chunk of the Justice League, leaving Flash to save the day. I love Eclipso and his back story, but I wasn’t crazy about his portrayal in this episode. Overall, I enjoyed the episode, but I would have gone a different route with him. Plus, his character design just looked more goofy than sinister. Nonetheless, this set includes Eclipso himself, in what the package exlaims is his first JLU figure form, as well as possessed versions of Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern and Hawk Girl, and a regular Flash.

I love the package! It’s nothing fancy, and yet I still feel like I’m getting something really cool. The figures are laid out with three on top and three on bottom, each nestled in a clear plastic tray, with their names just under their feet. It’s a nice big, impressive presentation and it kind of reminds me of the old action figure carry cases they used to sell for the Superpowers figures. It’s also totally collector friendly. While most of my figures reside in totes or on the shelves, I chose to keep these six figures displayed in the package. Also visible in the package are two clear figure stands. Wait… two? TWO? Ok, so either Mattel can’t count or they wanted to be a bastard and short us four stands. Seriously, how much could those stands cost to make that they couldn’t afford to provide one for each figure? The back panel of the box shows images from the episode along with blurbs on each character.

Let’s start with the possessed Leaguers. Obviously, these are all repaints of the core hero characters, and when I say repaints, I’m overstating things a bit. The figures just have some purple triangles shards p ainted on them and no pupils in their eyes. It’s almost subtle enough that you could just use these figures as your regular Justice League team. The effect is more noticeable on the ladies, just because the trianglesshards are on their skin. Superman shows them off pretty clearly, but Green Lantern’s are almost lost in his darker colored costume. You have to look pretty hard to see them.

The sculpts are all pretty solid and very similar to the character designs on the show, although Hawk Girl is my favorite of the bunch. Mattel really did a nice job on her, and her big soft plastic wings are cool. Superman is my least favorite. He looks great from the waist up, but I think his lower half is way too scrawny, even for the stylized look. His posture is also a bit wonky as he tends to look like he’s leaning forward even when he’s not.

As mentioned, The Flash is the only one of the heroes that doesn’t have the shard-possessed deco, although he still doesn’t have any pupils, but then he never did. The paint deco on him is nice and crisp and overall he’s a pretty good figure.

Eclipso is the set exclusive and while he still uses a pretty basic body sculpt, his excellent paint deco really looks great. The eclipse insignia on his chest is nice and crisp and the purple eclipse circle painted on the side of his face is well done too. His face sculpt looks a little too cheesey for my tastes. I like the more demented look of the DC Universe Classics figure, but that’s kind of an apples and oranges comparison. For some reason, Eclipso only has a peghole in one foot, so you can’t really get him centered on a stand. Grrrr.

All of the figures have the same basic five points of articulation: Head, shoulders, hips. It’s a lot more useful on the male characters, since the hip joints on the females are closer to being just swivels. Actually, that’s only in theory. The two ladies can’t move their heads at all because of their big sculpted hair. Either way, don’t expect to get any of these figures into any dynamic action poses.

There are no real accessories to speak of, which is a shame. Hawk Girl should have at least come with her mace. You do get the paltry two figure stands, which are best saved for the ladies, because they’re a bit top heavy and have tiny feet.

All in all, this is an ok set. I’m not sure how much it originally retailed for. The label said $20, but I find it hard to believe that Mattel was releasing a six figure set for an Andy Jackson. I picked it up for $13.99, which is even better. I’ll give the set higher marks because these are my first JLU figures and so even these subtle repaints are new to me. If you already have the core League figures, I don’t know that these very episode specific variants are a must-have unless you’re a completist or you really, really want Eclipso and you happen to need The Flash. I still prefer the sculpts of the Infinite Heroes over these cartoony sculpts, although these guys do have a certain vinyl toy style charm to them that seems to be all the rage these days.