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Young Justice
by yo go re

Cartoon Network debuted their new Young Justice cartoon in late 2010. They showed nine episodes (including the introductory two-parter), which were very well received, and then, to keep the momentum alive, put the show on hiatus for six months. Despite that mishandling, the show is currently supporting two toylines: one, featuring 4½" figures sized to integrate with the JLU toys, and a 6" line meant to stand alongside DCU Classics.

Mercilessly pushed by her father, Artemis trained for combat from an early age, mastering longbow, short-bow, crossbow and myriad trick arrows. When Green Arrow and Batman offered her the chance to join the team, Artemis jumped at the opportunity!

Just who that merciless father could be is still a mystery - on the show, at least. A well-known geek site ran a list six months ago that spoiled what the eventual reveal will be. Way to keep it classy, guys, We won't bother linking to that article (or even mentioning the barechested site) so that you can remain blissfully in the dark until the show's writers actually want you to know the answer. [Wikipedia spills the beans, too, so don't read too closely over there, either. --ed] All that's actually known about Artemis is that she's an archer (but according to the creators, not Speedy or Arrowette), she's blonde, and that Green Arrow is her uncle... or at least, that's the story Batman and GL are telling the kids. Oh, and her runaway half-sister is a major villain, as well.

Artemis seems to use the first female body the Four Horsemen designed for DCU Classics, rather than the second. Yes, that means a barely pubescent teenage girl has the same physique as mega-busty Starfire - though that's a fault with Kory, not Artemis. Yes, she ends up a bit stacked for a girl in the real world, but this is comics (or at least comic-based cartoons), and these things are different. The build works better for a slender adult than a teen, but maybe she finished developing early. The cartoon shows her with more realistic proportions for a 15-year-old, but it doesn't have to literally fit her into a pre-existing mold. This is Artemis in six years, maybe. At least the cut of her top lends itself to the sculpt's cleavageless design.

This isn't an entirely reused sculpt, however: from the knees down, she's new. Why the change? Because her boots are too unique to simply paint on (though try telling that to Adam Strange). Since the feet are getting new sculpts, it would look weird if the portion of boot above her ankle was suddenly smooth, so the shins were new, as well. And as long as the shins were new, there was no reason not to go ahead and sculpt her kneepads on, too. She's wearing a sheath of some sort on her left thigh, but that's a separate piece glued in place, as is the utility belt around her decidedly un-teenager-y hips.

The head is a new sculpt, as well. The design definitely favors the animated style over the more "realistic" style given to DCUC figures, but it's not so different that she'll look out of place with them. The edges of her mask are painted, but watch out for the paint apps on her eyes: a lot of samples have her looking off in different directions.

The articulation is the same on Artemis as it is on every other use of this mold: she has hinged ankles, hinged knees, swivel thighs, H-hips, a swivel waist, swivel wrists, hinged elbows, swivel biceps, swivel/hinge shoulders and a head that's technically a balljoint, but only moves like a swivel. Her ponytail gets its own joint, as well: a nice loose swivel, so it doesn't get in the way of her quiver. The first Artemis I bought had a stuck hip, just like we used to see on DCUC figures all the time - since the power was out, I couldn't put her in the freezer, and the leg broke off. The replacement had a stuck hip on the other side, which was rage-inducing, but I managed to get it working. Still, be careful with her, and check those joints before your receipt expires.

The gimmick of the 6" Young Justice Deluxe figures are that they include a large diorama to pose the figure on - and since they retail for $20, it better be a damn large diorama. Artemis gets a 10" long by 3¾" wide piece of floor with a large clear target at one end. The other end has a footpeg and a basket to show the five arrows included with the set: one plain and four with specialty arrowheads. Hey, at least this time they didn't size the arrows like they were supposed to fit in her non-functional quiver, right?

There are two odd clips to one side - they're too low and too off-center to hold arrows, they're too small to to accommodate bodyparts... so what the heck are they? There are two holes in the target sized perfectly for the tips on the specialty arrows, so they can plug in and stay in place. There's no info about what the specific arrowheads are, and there's no boxing glove or handcuff arrow, so you're left to make up your own functions. One looks like a mine, so maybe it's an Explosive Arrow. Maybe there's a Sonic Arrow, and a Flare Arrow... who knows? Invent your own! That's what play is all about!

She also includes her bow, a single piece with molded bowstrings and clips that allow you to swap out the arrows. But yet again, the figure doesn't have enough articulation to hold her weapon properly. Four Horsemen, Mattel, DC Direct, Diamond, Hasbro, Shocker, whoever: please read this before you make another archer toy; it explains how someone using a bow needs to be able to move, and what size the arrows need to be. Please? Do it for us? Do it for the kids! Do it for yourselves, because the toys will be better when you do them right. Poor Artemis can't even aim her bow, because the tilt of the reused hand means it would be pointed permanently at the ground.

But our nigh-obsessive nitpicking aside, Artemis is a decent figure. She's a bit on the expensive side, considering that she's rocking a reused sculpt and only minimal new work, but that base is just so cool! Keep an eye out for the lowest price (no surprise, Walmart and Target seem to be winning that race right now, with TRU asking an extra five bones), but this is a good addition to the DCU Classics ranks.

-- 11/03/11

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