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Justice League
by yo go re

So, is Mattel's motto "better late than never," or what?

In the 1940s, Pat Dugan (Stripesy) went on adventures with Sylvester Pemberton - the Star-Spangled Kid. Dugan was lost in time and brought back to the present by the Justice League and eventually married a woman named Barbara Whitmore. Dugan had a rocky relationship with his new step-daughter, courtney, but theur lives changed forever when she found the cosmic belt left behind by Pemberton. Dugan was worried when Courtney started adventuring as Stargirl. As a result, he developed a robotic suit so he could be her crime-fighting partner and protector. As members of the Justice League, STRIPE and Stargirl battled Deimos and Metallo in Skartaris. STRIPE also fought a mutated General Eiling during a chaotic parade in Metropolis, leaving his armor in shambles. After extensive repairs to his robotic suit, Dugan returned to the Justice League to defend Earth against Darkseid's invasion. STRIPE may not be super powered, but he is a brave hero and caring father who continues to fight for justice.

Whew! That's a really long bio, isn't it? Most of the JLU figures got one sentence, if that, but Pat Dugan gets a complete Who's Who entry. It may be because he has so much space on his packaging: the card he's on is 12" tall and 7⅜" wide, which seems ridiculously wasteful. Yeah, we said the same thing last year about Lobo, but Mattel apparently didn't learn their lesson. It's cute that the art on the card features the same characters in the same positions as the DCUC packaging, just using DCAU character models rather than comicbook.

STRIPE is not, as we predicted, a repaint of Rocket Red - in fact, he's entirely new. There's not a line on this figure that's shared with any other character. Granted, STRIPE's design looks nothing like the Russian armored suit does, but if they had gone the repaint route (and released the character on a normal card at retail, rather than making him an online exclusive), fans probably could have accepted it. As it turns out, though, we don't have to!

STRIPE is a massive figure, standing just under 5½" tall - that makes him two inches taller than Stargirl, and a full head taller than Rocket Red. He's about 2¾" wide (the forearms are wider than the shoulders), but as usual, he only moves at the big five: shoulders, hips and neck. The lack of elbows and knees certainly can't be attributed to the lack of bulk this time, so it's really down to just laziness. No, the design doesn't have clearly defined hinges there, but articulation still could have been cut in without losing the aesthetic. For some reason, Mattel insists fans don't like joints there on JLU figures, but that's just nuts. And of course, a waist would have been super easy, as well.

The figure is cast entirely in pearly white plastic, with black, red and blue paint apps for the details. The blue S on his chest could stand to be more vibrant, but since the pattern is sculpted, it's okay. Lots of details are sculpted, in fact: they all come straight from the character model, and they look nice when the light catches them, but they'd be better with thin black lines to really bring them out. It may be time to get some Gundam markers and do some outlining.

STRIPE comes with a replacement head. You can pull the helmet off (it connects via a small balljoint, so swapping the heads is super simple) and trade it for Pat Dugan's unmasked head. He was seen unmasked in the show, so they didn't just pull this design out of nowhere, but it should perhaps look a bit older: you know, bags under the eyes, deeper lines by the mouth, etc.

JLU has had a long, long toy run. Far longer than it had any right to, by any means. The show went off the air in 2006, and we're still getting new toys from it five years later? How many properties can claim that kind of longevity? It's coming to an end, now, so STRIPE is one of the final figures to ever be released. He's a good toy, but would have been a lot better if you didn't have to pay $30 to get him. But hey, I bought Supergirl and an extra Rocket Red specifically with an eye toward customizing them into Stargirl and STRIPE, so to get an official version is highly welcome.

-- 08/03/11

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