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Batman Beyond, Bruce Wayne and Warhawk

Justice League
by yo go re

In the not too distant future, an older Bruce Wayne trains high school student Terry McGinnis to become the new Batman, ensuring the protection of Gotham City for years to come. This new Batman eventually joins the future JLU, teaming up with heroes such as Warhawk, the tough-as-nails son of John Stewart and Shayera Hol.

In 1999, Batman Beyond introduced viewers to the future of DC Animated Universe. Considering how popular Batman the Animated Series was, replacing it with a new iteration of the character - one who was not based on the comics at all - stirred up a lot of fanboy ire. But when we finally gave it a try, we found a show that honored what had come before, but still expanded the universe in new and exciting ways.

Like most of the JLU figures, Terry uses a generic, poorly articulated body. The arms are shared with many a Batman (to get the spikes on his gloves), while the body is the smallest one the line had to offer. His silvery utility belt is just painted on, as is the iconic red symbol on his chest. The head is a new piece, sculpted to perfectly match the Batman Beyond model sheets. It's got a large very narrow jaw, to show Terry's youth, and the lower lip sticks out further than the rest of the mouth. Sadly, while the eyes are painted white, the mouth is left black. Even the DC Direct and DCUC versions got that right.

Batman Beyond was set 40 years in the future, so there was no way Bruce Wayne was still spry enough to be running around the rooftops of Gotham City, but that didn't mean he had to give up the war on crime - he just had more of a support role now, basically acting as Terry's Alfred (though he wasn't afraid to brush off the cobwebs when he had to).

For the most part, this figure uses the same mold as General Eiling, but with new arms that are more "Bruce Wayne"-y: a little more rumpled, and a little more muscular. His right hand is a fist, while his left hand is open to hold something. Sadly, the set doesn't include the cane that he had to use to get around by then; we assume that's what his hand is open to hold, but it's nowhere to be found in this set. That's kind of a rip. There's a rubber chest cap turning Eiling's suit into Bruce's future jacket, and I think we're all looking forward to the day when neckties have been replaced by smooth-collared shirts worn beneath jackets with a wedge-shaped cutout in the front. In any case, the cap bulks him up nicely.

Old Bruce's head is new. His hairline is receeding, and he still has a very square jaw. His cheeks are sunken, to show his age, and there are deep lines on his face - including the distinct scar beneath his right eye (that's right, Batman Beyond's Bruce Wayne was a rare cartoon character who was not perfectly symmetrical).

"The Call," the same episode of Batman Beyond that introduced Aquagirl and Leoz "Micron" Jilliumz (as well as Superman Beyond, obviously) also brought us Warhawk. He was just the team badass, and while there was lots of speculation about his parentage, nothing was confirmed until he appeared on Justice League Unlimited's "Time, Warped" (and his name was given as Rex Stewart).

Warhawk uses a larger body, but not all his costume details are simply painted on. Sure, the armor on his legs, his belt, his boots, and his gloves are just paint apps, but in order to accommodate his metal wings, the entire piece of armor that covers his chest and shoulders is a separate piece that fits over the figure's torso. There are two slots in the back where the wings are glued in. The armor does get in the way of the shoulder joints a bit, but it's not like you buy these toys for the way they move. Or if you do, you're very slow to learn your lessons.

When the animators were designing Rex, they used the early pre-production model sheets for Justice League and gave him John Stewart's face. Of course, since he never removed his helmet, all we saw was the chin, but A for effort. The toy's skin is very pink - not the light brown it should be. The flap on the back of the helmet limits his neck a little.

It should come as no surprise that this set was incredibly difficult to find - almost as hard as the Gray Ghost pack. Not only was it one of the rare releases that actually gave us three new characters, but those characters were "cool warrior Hawkman," Batman Beyond, and Bruce frickin' Wayne! This set came out just when Target's otherwise-impressive support for the line was starting to wane, so most stores never even carried it. I got super lucky and found it at a discount closeout retailer, but looking at eBay, aftermarket prices aren't too bad right now. Get this set and finish building your future Justice League.

-- 04/23/14

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