Rustin's Spoils of the Week #40

This week MattyCollector is having a major sale on JLU toys, so between that and needing to pack for a move it seems like this would just be a fantastic opportunity to Binge Open and tear through all of the JLU stuff I've been hoarding up.

Mattel - Justice League Unlimited: Angle Man, Firestorm, Killer Frost
This is one of the "first available at convention" sets from 2011, which of course ended up becoming "only available at conventions." This is JLU almost at its best wherein a three pack offers two new figures and one reissue of a very hard-to-get single carded figure. The latter is classic Firestorm, which appears to have unique arms in addition to a new head and a rubber torso overlay to create the costume. Impressively (for this line) the torso piece has lines sculpted into for all the lines and circles of the design. The head is a great translucent orange piece which thus allows for the enflamed look of the characters head. However the material leaves the head, and therefore neck joint, pretty rubbery and flexible. After him we have Killer Frost, a character I know very little of save but for she is not Livewire, despite appearances. She's a new head on the standard female body and comes with the sole accessory of the set, a clear base to allow her to stand. Angle Man is the standard slim male body with a new head and right arm which is sculpted to include a triangle. I'm impressed and happy they went that route. As always any time they spend money on anything other than a head it's cool and the hands are notoriously bad for accessories so having the angle permanently in is right cool!

Mattel - Justice League Unlimited: Cheetah, The Shade, Lex Luthor
I've clearly been sitting on this one for awhile. Like the above, it too is two new and one hard-to-get. Both of these two sets work out to three new figures as, indeed, I was never able to find the single carded figure and thus my enjoyment of each set is greatly increased. The Shade is the formerly carded figure and comes sans cane. It would really be nice to have it, but it not really a deal-breaker. The head is quite good but the character's look is specifically slim so it's really a bummer that the rubber torso overlay bulks him up so much. Cheetah is very impressive because she is entirely a new sculpt! Her feet have little cat paws, the arms had tufts of fur and the torso allows for a tail. It's a pretty cool figure and is probably the only "naked" Cheetah Mattel will ever be allowed to release. But the real reason I was nuts for this one is Prison Lex. Specifically because of the episodes of JLU in which Lex trounces about in his oranges I've grown quite a passion for villains in prison garb and I'd love to see more of this in the future. Sadly the effect is captured just by paint as Lex has no new sculptural pieces, but it still is a cool new variant to a familiar character.

Mattel - Justice League Unlimited: Darkseid & Kalibak
This set is just plain cool. I'm a huge Darkseid fan so I've been waiting for this variant for a long time and had basically given up hope on ever getting it when MattyCollector swooped in and made my dreams come true! Unsurprisingly the figure is built off of the existing Darkseid figure from one of the last Justive League series but he features a new, rubber shoulder-collar armor and oddly enough new hands - the rest of the costume is accomplished simply via paint. The overall effect is quite good and captures the costume well enough considering the aesthetic of the line. While I definitely so appreciate the new sculpts for the gloves/hands it is a bit odd to have those white bars be raised while the ones on the boots are not. I've never liked the head sculpt for this figure and would have much preferred that new tooling be spent on a new head for the ol' guy, but what are you going to do? Darkseid is paired with what is one of my favorite sculpts in a very long time: Kalibak. I love hard angles in sculpture and this figures absolutely nails the excellent balance between soft curves and hard edges that the art is famous for. Add in great, even paint and this is by far one of the best figures in the entire line. He's 100% new sculpt with swivels at the thighs and shoulders, which is pretty limited but all things considered he doesn't need much more. This set is a must-have for JLU fans!

Mattel - Justice League Unlimited: The Flash, Green Lantern, Hawkman
This one of the fabled "Final 3-Packs" and it is a winner by all counts. Not only is it wholly comprised of exclusive figures, they're all of a uniform theme and each is very cool! Golden Age Hawkman looks great in this style and features a new head with the cowl look. One of the things I really look about the figure, which I hadn't noticed before, is that his wings are brown instead of a gray - a great way to further separate him from previous releases. Jay "Flash" Garrick just nails this style and looks so great in the aesthetic. He has a new head and shares the legs previously released on the Justice Guild's Streak figure. Alan "G.L." Scott is another winner with all new arms (to the best of my eyes/knowledge), head, collar and cape - too cool. Like the other two figures they totally nailed this character and costume. This line was really built for bright colors and thus is perfectly suited to Golden Age costumes. This is by far one of the very best sets of the entire line!

Mattel - Justice League Unlimited: Goldface, Evil Star, Kyle Rayner
This is a cool visually diverse set, but is JLU at its mediocritiest. Kyle is a straight re-release figure while the other two are super-obscure characters. Its really a bummer that they didn't change up Kyle's costume at all. Preferably it could have been any of the millions that he's worn in the comics but also could have just had the classic GL logo rather than his Ion-esque one (and thus would could excellently pass for a GL Hal Jordan). The other two figures are pretty neat with both getting new heads but Goldface featuring a cool new rubber torso overlay piece and possibly new legs too boot. A cool set to pad out the villains and probably the only toys/collectibles those characters will see which make another Kyle an acceptable casualty.

Mattel - Justice League Unlimited: Green Lantern, Despero, Katma Tui
If you get this set it's because of Despero, the only new figure, and he's pretty decent. A new head and rubber torso overlay make his pretty distinct and unique even if the design is kind of bland. The real bummer here, though, is the simple repaints of John and Katma. John gets neat metallic greens which look good but doesn't go with any other GL corpsmen in the line while Katma gets a new skintone. I already have too many John Stewarts but my first Katma's head broke off so at least she's not a waist. This is pretty much JLU at its worst, but at least Despero is neat enough for what he is.

Mattel - Justice League Unlimited: Heatwave, The Flash, Mirror Master
Another one of the 2011 Convention Tour sets this was a real debate for me. I already have a Mirror Master and a ton of Flashes but Heatwave looks so cool! Heatwave gets a new head, all new arms, and a new rubber torso piece with jetpack (or jetpack looking device). Like Angleman he's got his weapon sculpted into his hand which a good solution to the accessories. I really like the look of this guy though I know nothing about him at all. Mirror Master is a straight re-release or maybe a minor repaint while the Flash's claim to fame is having painted eyes. The ocular cavities are usually just white. To be fair I think this Barry Allen which means his lightning stripes are different than the regular Wally West Flashes we have, but honestly the changes are small enough that they don't really stand out to me. Still though any sort of repaint is always preferable to a re-release.

Mattel - Justice League Unlimited: The Joker, Batman, The Gray Ghost
Like every other fanboy out there I've been yearning for a Gray Ghost figure for over 15 years and am thrilled to finally get one! I really like this set as it does a solid job of merging the B:TAS and JLU styles. Batman is a repaint that works surprisingly well, as does the Joker. The latter comes from that bizarre line of B:TAS figures that Mattel released immediately after picking up the Batman rights but which were Hasbro sculpts. Weird times. Gray Ghost is just stellar. Using the "men's suit" arms and legs he gets a new torso, head and cape. I mean, what more can I say - it's the freaking Gray Ghost! Here's hoping we get a DCUC one at some point! This set is truly very cool and it's really a shame it came out at the end, I'd love to have seen more from B:TAS and S:TAS!

Mattel - Justice League Unlimited: The Justice Guild
One of Matty Collector's 4-packs brings us The Justice Guild, a faux J.S.A. presumably since J.S.A. members were part of the contemporary JLU team and could not be old timey figures. A fun conceit and a cool set. The Streak comes with a new head and new legs (later to be used on Jay Garrick). Tom Turbine gets a cool belt with a new head, legs and arms! He's my favorite of the set as he equally looks "Golden Age" and doesn't so directly ape an existing costume (yes, I know he's Mr. Terrific). Green Guardsmen gets a new (tiny) head and a new cape while Black Siren gets only a new head. It's definitely a cool set for fans of JLU but definitely lacks any crossover appeal for your standard DC fan. I really, really would have preferred a four pack of the new "Super Friends" characters because those designs were pretty damn cool, but this is still a nice addition to the collection.

Mattel - Justice League Unlimited: Lobo
I've got to be honest with you all - I just don't get the obsession people have with Lobo. The design doesn't really do anything for me and I haven't really seen any depiction that excited me about the personality or the character. Maybe I was just too young in the '80s to really bond with him or maybe I just am over the "I want him more because DC won't let you make a toy of him" fervor. He has a nice, 100% all new sculpt but the proportions and curviness just don't appeal to me a whole lot. I don't know what else to say really, if you like Lobo and/or like JLU he's totally worth it, but unlike Kalibak he doesn't really stand out too well or exciting.

Mattel - Justice League Unlimited: Manhunter Robot, Green Lantern, Manhunter Robot
One all new figure, doubled up, and one straight release figure - hoo boy. Visually it's a great set and makes total since in terms of pairing, but ultimately it's not the most exciting thing ever. The Manhunters are steller new sculpts that not only nail the animation's look quite well, they feature metallic blue paint! Yaaaaay! Being all-new sculpts their uniform lines and details are all sculpted in and it's really a surprise how much better the figure look sculpted in as such. While I really like those figures and am a major army-builder it's hard to recommend this set for some reason. I guess mainly it's just that it's yet another John and then doubled up new figure. It could have been cool to do an army builder set with a Manunter, a Thanagarian Soldier (from the "so hard to find I barely believe it exists" Thanagar 6-pack) and a Cadmus soldier/agent, but alas. I will say this is one set I'm tempted to get a second of to keep carded - just really strong color layouts.

Mattel - Justice League Unlimited: Parademons
These little buggwrs, also a MattyCollector exclusive, are based on Etrigan's torso but feature new heads, arms, legs, and torso overlay armor. They are very cool dudes and are very welcome to my addition. Sadly they didn't sell too well and certainly part of that was the high price. However, like the Manhunters, it's hard to get excited about an army builder when they are sold as two identical figures. It would have been better to had two different heads and at least one different arm, maybe holding a gun. With that kind of variation I definitely would have got two or more sets, but as is I just wasn't inspired to go beyond just the one.

Mattel - Justice League Unlimited: S.T.R.I.P.E.
Originally a 2011 Convention Tour figure this ended up an online exclusive and it's a fine one at that. Like Lobo he too is an oversized 100% all new sculpt. Between this and the recent C'n'C figure S.T.R.I.P.E. has been getting a surprising amount of attention this year which is fine enough, though I have little interest in the character. It is fun to build out my beloved JSA, especially since we already have a Star Spangled Girl figure! This guy gets T-Crotch, swivel head and swivel shoulders, the latter being a bit of a bummer since the seem through the design's ball is very noticeable. The fun "feature" of this guy is the interchangeable helmet and unhelmeted heads, which is cool indeed. It would have been neat to be able to have the figure hold the helmet when the human head is mounted but what are you going to do? For some reason I was surprised to see orange on this figure, I guess it always just read as red to me previously.

Mattel - Justice League Unlimited: Warlord, Supergirl, Deimos
A cool set in that it all comes from a specific episode in which each character played a notable role. On top of that I do believe these are three all new figures (though this version of Supergirl may have already come out, I can't remember for sure). Warlord gets a new loincloth, right arm with skull-shoulder pad and new head. I've never been too crazy about the character nor costume but it's cool enough, though the chain over the torso really should have been sculpted as part of the loincloth. The real issue is getting him to stand. You really tell in the photo but he's doing a massive pelvic thrust in order to stay vertical. Deimos is a great reuse of the Deadman body and features a new head, new arms and new loincloth robe-extension. Pretty cool. For so much new stuff here there's just something keeping from getting too excited about it. I guess it's the lesser known characters. If you're a Warlord fan, though, this is definitely worth your time.

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9 Responses to Rustin's Spoils of the Week #40

  1. Braystreet says:

    "At least she's not a waist."

    I thought her head broke off?

    I kid, but this was a pretty interesting look at the line, thank you. I always wanted to start collecting JLU, but I can never collect anything that I know I might never be able to add to again. That's what keeps me from buying Minimates, or any stylized figures. I can always find new six inch figures for my Marvel Legends, I can always get new four inch figures for my collections of G.I Joe and Marvel Universe, but once Diamond Select stops seeing the money in minimates, that's essentially hundreds of dollars that will never be relevant again.

    I have the same trepidation when it comes to Playmobil and lego though, but everyone knows that they're so secure, they'll keep producing stuff long after the zombie-robot-horses have risen up and turned us to bone meal.

    • Rustin Parr says:

      As far as Minimates go, they're on what series 40-something? That line is totally safe. While I tend to be of exactly the same mind as you (i.e. I'm most concerned with getting as many characters as possible) I will almost always buy in if for no other reason than to help support a line and add to the chances of it living on. Essentially true voting with my dollar. And besides, Minimates are just totally awesome!

    • yo go re says:

      "I can always find new six inch figures for my Marvel Legends, I can always get new four inch figures for my collections of G.I Joe and Marvel Universe"

      Until you can't. Imagine this were 1998, and you were talking about how you could always get more 5" figures to go with your Marvel collection. Or it was 2002, and you were certain 3 3/4" GI Joe figures would never be retired in favor of Sigma 6. There's never ANY certainty about any toyline. You've got to enjoy them while they last, not bank on the future...

  2. Brad says:

    The Justice Guild was created for "Justice League," because their portrayals were decidedly non-PC, with their sexist behavior and bigoted attitudes, as seen in the two-part episode in which they were featured. DC didn't want the real JSA to be portrayed in this light.

  3. Stephen says:

    "a faux J.S.A. presumably since J.S.A. members were part of the contemporary JLU team and could not be old timey figures. "

    The Guild pre-dates the JLU series - they were supposed to be the original JSA, but DC decided relatively late in the process that they weren't comfortable with characters like that saying some of the more questionable lines that get assigned to the Guild in "Legends" (most specifically, the one about GL being "a credit to his race.")

    For the full backstory, and a clip of the episode's original commercial featuring the JSA:

  4. Soundwinder says:

    I'd considered buying several JLU packs in stores (specifically that Gray Ghost pack), but my god, the prices combined with the simplistic designs (I don't want to say McDonald's-esque but...) meant I could never pull the trigger. It would've been a mostly nostalgia buy for me, since the figures remind me of the Kenner B:TAS figures. I was excited when you mentioned a Matty Collector sale but... then I saw that it just brought them down to vaguely reasonable prices. If I buy 30.

    • Rustin Parr says:

      Yeah, the sale is a pretty conspicuous way of saying JLU is worse than dead. All of the 3, 2, and 1 packs I already got at full price out of desire for the product and to support the line, but this significant discounts, especially on september's 3-packs just kind of hurts, in terms of how much money I could have saved. The buy 10, 20 or 30 of the 4-packs is ridiculous because anyone who wants them already got them, and those who didn't certainly don't need anywhere near 10 let alone 30. I understand the big discounts but they should have knocked down the single sale price too.

      And indeed, I got very little of the final waves, especially the singles, because the prices were truly insane. At least some of the 3-packs eventually got discounted.

      • Stephen says:

        To be fair, the show's been off the air for YEARS now. It's remarkable that they kept the line viable for as long as they did, finishing up with a scope that I doubt we're ever going to see again in a toyline. I mean, for crying out loud, they got Evil Star into figure form! EVIL STAR!

  5. yo go re says:

    I broke down and ordered the Gray Ghost set from Amazon - it was $30, which was twice retail, but it's been so long that I don't think any of these will show up at discount stores or anything. Lame!

    It's not so much that I'm mad I had to pay that much, but instead that I don't want to encourage asshat scalpers...

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