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Kid Flash

Young Justice: Invasion
by yo go re

In honor of the news that Cartoon Network has cancelled Young Justice, today seems like a good day to review Kid Flash.

Wally West idolized The Flash - then discovered his uncle Barry Allen's secret journals and used them to recreate the experiment that turned Barry into The Flash. The literally explosive result gave Wally the super-speed to become Kid Flash!

That's a difference between the comics and the cartoon, for the record: in the books, it was Barry who set up the chemicals, because he was demonstrating to Wally how the accident had happened; thus, when lightning struck again, he felt responsible and took the kid under his wing. In the animated continuity, the burden of creation falls directly on Wally, and Barry only feels guilty for leaving his journals out. That kind of changes the dynamic, doesn't it? Instead of Kid Flash becoming a sidekick because Flash wanted to make it up to him, it was because, what, Flash wanted to keep an eye on a kid he thought was a thief? Yeah, that always works out so well.

The Young Justice toys use Mattel's usual stock of pre-existing bodies, so this Kid Flash has the same body as this Kid Flash - the DCUC7 version. It's not a direct copy, though, because this version doesn't have the flared gloves or the specialized boots; this one just has his costume elements painted on. That's an economical choice, but it does leave a little to be desired. For instance, all the kids' costumes had a few places where they seemed to be armored, and that's lacking here. Even if it had just been painted on, like with Superboy, it would have worked better. We really miss it on the feet, where he should have some thick pads or plates to protect him while he runs. Also, while I'm not sure about the shins, I do know that my Kid Flash has two right knees: the left thigh doesn't line up below the joint.

One of the worst things about DCUC7 Kid Flash was the fact that his head looked like a grown man's, but it was attached to the body of a 12-year-old. This figure 100% corrects that flaw, by giving a new, cartoon-inspired head. This one actually looks like it belongs to a kid, and that makes a huge difference. He has a more modern haircut, too.

When the first images of this figure (well, of stolen factory samples) leaked online, fans were understandably concerned: the wings over his ears were pointing the wrong direction, with the tip toward the front instead of the back. That's a pretty major mistake, and not one you'd expect Mattel to make. Well, the truth is they didn't: in the cartoon, Kid Flash sometimes wears a pair of goggles while he's running, and Mattel included those; but rather than try to use friction to have them stay on his face, they made the ear-wings removable so the goggles can plug into the sides of his head! Now that's unexpected!

That's not the only accessory Kid Flash gets, either. He has a mini-tornado piece that fits over his left hand - and no, it's not the same one Red Tornado had. You can tell by the lightning bolts sculpted on the outside. It's soft PVC, so it doesn't really grip the hand and falls off easily. He also gets a burst of speed force that fits around his right ankle. That one fits a lot better.

Kid Flash comes with a large display base, just like the rest of the Young Justice figures. His is a small strip of highway that's clearly been the scene of some kind of battle: the ground is cracked, there's rubble sticking up in places, and a speed limit sign has been bent halfway to the ground. This isn't the flashiest base to look at (no pun intended), because it's just various shades of gray, but that means Kid Flash stands out better against it. The piece is 8" wide, 3¼" deep, and 5¼" tall.

All the other YJ figures come with a slew of accessories, so Kid Flash might seem like he got cheated, with just his whirlwind and overboot. Well, he also comes with a weird thing no one has tried before. You know how artists draw streaks of colored lightning behind speedsters to show that they're moving? Well, Kid Flash gets that as an accessory! Not since DC Direct sculpted empty air has anyone tried anything like this! Included in the package is an 11" long strip of clear plastic with red and yellow stipes running its length, and a few places where lightning bolts rise up off it. It plugs into the figure's back, and also into the base, so it stand up and makes it look like Wally is streaking through the streets. Clever!

Kid Flash was allegedly released last year, but he never actually came out: we know the toys were officially produced, because Mattel sent review samples to some sites (but not us, clearly), but they never made it to stores. If you want to get these final figures, you'll be overpaying online. And that's a real shame, because this Kid Flash is miles better than the last one.

But even worse is that Mattel isn't going to finish the team: Miss Martian and the normal Superboy are sculpted, but are not going to be produced. Mattel offered a two-pack on their website, but not enough people preordered. Well no crap, Matty! We were all still waiting for damn Series 4 to show up! Maybe if you'd actually given us the chance to buy those first, people would have been more inclined to buy your aborted Series 5 leftovers.

-- 01/30/13

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