The first lackluster series of Mattel's "Justice League" line featured six members of the League with simple display bases and no accessories. With their second set, Mattel is already up to its old tricks, making the same kind of corner-cutting decisions that have always hampered their lines.
The newest series of "Justice League" figures features four figures in "Attack Armor" - the same molds as Series 1, but new snap-on armor that supposedly sets them apart from what we already have. Superman is wearing an anti-Kryptonite suit, for instance. As you can see, they're again providing us with an over-abundance of the two "main" characters and short-packing the rest.
Years ago, the Guardians of Oa recognized John Stewart's potential for exceptional courage and heroism. Awarding him a power ring, they trained him to be the Green Lantern for Sector 2814, a quadrant of the galaxy that includes our own solar system. For more than ten years, John has patrolled the deepest reaches of space. Now, he has returned home to protect Earth as a member of the Justice League.
As with any comicbook property, the whiney fanboys were out in full force when the League's line-up was announced: Kyle Rayner had made an appearance on the animated "Superman," so why wasn't he the show's Lantern? Hal Jordan had been Green Lantern for years, so why weren't they using him? Guy Gardner had the best personality, so why not him? G'nort was a talking dog - what about him?
Okay, nobody wanted G'nort. But they were still complaining.
Why John Stewart? Well, the most obvious answer is that he's black; the League was otherwise populated by Whitey, and a little diversity couldn't hurt. But beyond that, John Stewart has been such a minor part of the comics that it gave the creators free reign to build him up however they saw fit.
Green Lantern, like all the Justice League figures, moves at the Big Five:
shoulders, neck and hips. He stands 4 1/2" tall and is wearing the green and black uniform from the cartoon - though in the comics the various members of the Green Lantern Corps designed their own uniforms, the cartoon versions all seem to share one tailor. He's got a grim look on his face and, in a nice bit of attention to detail, his eyes have even been painted green - he's been GL so long that the energy has infused his bloodstream.
Rather than the lame display base that was series 1's sole accessory, Attack Armor Green Lantern actually comes with some fun stuff. First of all, he's got his power battery; the green lantern which recharges his magic ring every 24 hours. His left hand is molded to hold the lantern's handle, while his right is balled into a fist with the ring molded in place.
The second accessory, obviously, is the Attack Armor. Rather than something stupid, like Batman's big metal cape, Green Lantern comes with a simple energy aura - the green glow that surrounds him when he's using his powers.
Molded from two translucent green pieces, the armor fits around Stewart perfectly. It only has one pose - arm raised, right foot turned outward - but it looks great in place and genuinely makes sense, which is better than we can usually expect from Mattel. We can see GL clearly inside, and he looks ready to kick anyone's ass.
It's just too bad that Mattel is making everyone but Batman and Superman so hard to find, and that we had to wait until the second series to get some cool accessories.
Will Mattel ever wise up? Tell us on our message board, The Loafing Lounge.