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Justice Lords Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman

Justice League
by yo go re

When Lex Luthor finally goes too far, Superman decides to take the law into his own hands. Ruling with an iron fist, the Man of Steel and his fellow heroes set out to eliminate all crime from their world, but at what price?

Superman is the moral center of the DC universe (every DC universe, once you start accounting for the various realities), so to have him be the one that crossed the moral event horizon really shows made it clear that, no matter how good their intentions may once have been, these were definitely villains who needed to be defeated. And also, by having him be able to defeat Doomsday, it instantly shows what a threat he's going to be.

Justice Lord Superman uses the same body as the regular Superman figures - if you've already produced some mediocre, middle-of-the-road figure, why not continue to use it until the sun burns out? That's the Mattel way! At least this time they used the "increased articulation" version of the body, which adds a waist, knees and elbows. Unfortunately, all the sculpted elements Superman usually has are still here - the edge of his shield, the tops of his boots - and those don't line up with the paint at all. The belt does work pretty nicely, though.

Lord Superman's outfit is black and white, which is reminiscent of Superman Beyond's costume. Why would Future Superman, having lived through the fight with the Justice Lords, ever decide to wear a costume that was even superficially similar? The real-world explanation is that the Batman Beyond one was designed way before the Justice Lords one, but what about an in-universe excuse?

You know, for a warrior princess who proved her worth by solo combat, Wonder Woman sure is a joiner. Superman's good, she's good. Superman's evil, she's evil. Superman's Russian, she's Russian. It makes sense that she'd be willing to go HAM against crime - because, again, warrior - but she seems to lack the compassion that the real Wonder Woman has: when fighting our Batman, she knocked him down, then grabbed a huge chunk of rubble in order to crush him to death. Brutal!

Wonder Woman's "Lords" outfit covers more skin than her normal one, but surprisingly is less martial. It's mostly red with black shoulders, and features a yellow belt and chest symbol. She still wears her magic bracelets, but no additional armor. Really? Everybody's getting darker and more violent, but she wouldn't dress like she's going to war? It's a wonderful design for a costume, it's just not as supported by its backstory as it could be.

Mattel had several JLU Wonder Woman bodies, and unfortunately, this figure doesn't use either of them. She uses the same female body Mattel used for everyone else - and that body is smaller than the other Wonder Women, so apparently being ruthless also makes you shrink. At least they gave her a new head - Lord (Lady?) WW cut her long hair short.

When the Justice League episode "A Better World" was originally being pitched, it was going to be about the Crime Syndicate, the evil JLA from Earth-3. The more they worked on it, the more it became apparent that the story they were trying to tell would work better if, instead of evil counterparts, the Justice League was literally fighting themselves. It took away the ability to say "oh, that's not me," forcing the heroes to face the fact that what they do isn't exactly legal. When Batman faced his opposite, he wasn't up against Owlman, he was facing Bruce Wayne.

Superman may have been the one to cross the line between hero and villain, but Batman was the one who kept him there: Batman, mister "no killing any time ever," was the first one to tell him he'd done the right thing; and yet as time progressed, Batman was the was the least sure about the path the Justice Lords had chosen.

Like Superman, Batman uses the body with the extra articulation - the reason Wonder Woman didn't was because Mattel never bothered making a female action figure that could move adequately. His costume is mostly black with a grey cape, and the silver symbol on his chest is similar to the one Terry McGinnis would eventually wear, suggesting it was a design he'd been mulling over for quite a while. Naturally, none of the figures in this set feature any accessories - no batarangs, no magic lasso, no... Superman... things.

These figures were either available in a JLU three-pack, or in a box set with purple Bizarro, red Doomsday, and translucent green Amazo. That's... kind of a weird grouping. It's also really weird that they never released a seven-pack of the whole Justice Lords team, isn't it?

-- 12/10/15

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