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Justice Lords Martian Manhunter, Green Lantern, and Flash

Justice League
by yo go re

The first Justice Lords three-pack had the heavy hitters - now it's time for the B team!

This is ostensibly a Justice Lords Flash, but there are a few problems with that. Or, one problem, mainly: there is no Justice Lords Flash. As Wally figured out, the death of the alternate-universe Flash is what made the Justice Lords turn dark. And before they did, they all wore the usual costumes you're familiar with, so whatever Earth the Justice Lords are from, their Flash would be wearing red with yellow highlights.

This version, which looks like nothing so much as the Reverse Flash thanks to its bright yellow costume, comes from the episode "Divided We Fall," in which the new Brainiac/Luthor team creates android replicas of the League. The rest of them were all based on the Justice Lords, but without a template for Flash, they had to go with Professor Zoom. We can tell it's not Zoom though, because his chest symbol points the same direction as the real Flash's, and instead of lightning bolts on his arms and legs, he has the Justice Lords' twin bands. It's kind of a shame, because there are some really nice fan-created costumes that are more thematically related than this is.

Unsurprisingly, this figure uses the same mold as the normal Flash, just with the colors turned around. While there was an "increased articulation" version of this body made, with the addition of elbows, waist and hips, Mattel opted not to use it for some reason. An identical version of this figure is available in a different three-pack, alongside Rocket Red and Hawkman.

One of the ways the Justice Lords were set apart from their heroic counterparts was that they were more violent and unrestrained. Well, okay, that's the main way they were set apart from their heroic counterparts, but the animators used their fighting styles to demonstrate it, rather than just telling us. For instance, when the two Green Lanterns were fighting, Justice Lord GL immediately went for the kill, rather than trying to disarm or incapacitate his enemy. Dick.

Lord Green Lantern reversed the colors of his old costume: instead of black with green shoulders, it's green with black shoulders. He changed his GL logo, too, making it larger and more stylized. Considering how many different costumes he's worn in the comics, this could easily pass as one of them.

Flash may have missed out on getting the improved body, but John Stewart doesn't. Yay him! Wisely, they chose not to use the one that had sculpted costume lines, so you don't have to worry about his new design not fitting. He does have the right hand with the sculpted ring, which is nice. He's completely bald, and has no facial hair, setting him apart from both "normal" Johns.

While they began life as a take on the Crime Syndicate, the Justice Lords were also inspired by The Authority, who were really popular at the time. It's easy to see the parallels - a group of superheroes who turned fascist (real facism, not the thing that the scholars who try to argue politics on Facebook think is fascism) - just taken to its logical extreme, rather than its idealistic one. Yes, it's real nice to pretend that if someone you like took over the world they would always do what was best for everyone, but in reality, without the freedom of opposition, things go to hell.

Martian Manhunter always gets overlooked in these "evil alternate reality" stories - this despite there already being an entire race of evil White Martians who could easily be recruited! [You're forgetting J'edd J'arkus --ed.] The figure gets a little better treatment, since unlike Superman and Batman, he actually gets a new cape rather than just trying to fake the old one.

Otherwise, Lord J'onn uses the same body previous J'onns had - when you get in there and look, you can see his sculpted chest-straps and the upper edge of his boots. They're just hidden because everything is painted black. He also gets the added articulation, so who wants to explain why Flash got shafted? The head is a reused mold, because there's no reason it shouldn't be.

"A Better World" was a pivotal episode in the DCAU - most of the overarching storyline of Justice League Unlimited was based on events in this episode. Plus, the costume designs were sharp, so it's nice that Mattel chose to make figures of them. The execution could have been better, but it's right on par with what we've all come to expect from the JLU line.

-- 12/16/15

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