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Young Justice: Invasion
by yo go re

When he was president, Harry S Truman has a sign on his desk reading "the buck stops here" - a saying that means you have to own up to your responsibilities and accept the blame that's yours. It's a good policy to have, and the reason we waste no time in admitting when we're wrong. But what's the equivalent from the other direction? As an observer, how do you decide who deserves to be blamed when things go wrong?

After his parents were murdered, Bruce Wayne dedicated his life to a new "mission": fighting crime as the Batman. In order to better protect Gotham City and the world, he became a founding member of the Justice League.

Mattel ended the Young Justice line with several figures left unproduced. They tried to release a two-pack, but couldn't get enough preorders - a situation we attributed to the fact that they never got Series 4 to stores. Hell, they barely got Series 2 and 3 to stores! Why did they never get Series 2 and 3 to stores? Because Series 1 sold pretty slowly. And why did Series 1 sell slowly? Because Cartoon Network treated the show like crap, moving it around the schedule and repeatedly putting it in reruns for months at a time. So the show built no audience, the toys got no advertising, and yet if you're not paying attention, Mattel looks like the assholes.

The character designs on Young Justice were done by Phil Bourassa, who also worked on Justice League: Doom and Crisis on Two Earths, so really this Batman could be from any of them. The face looks animated, but still distinct from the Bruce Timm style. There's a pretty major molding error on my Batman, wherein one of his ears is truncated and there are big gouges on his head. Normally I'd be pissed that a toy I had to spend $50 on had a problem like this, but I'm just going to consider it battle damage, like it got torn up in a fight.

Most of the figure's mold is taken from the usual Mattel DC cache - the legs, hips, upper arms and shoulders. The torso is new, with a sculpt bat symbol on the chest, as well as a few "armor" details that are unique to YJ. We can tell the forearms are new, because no other Batman has glove spikes this short, and the hands have extra lumps on the knuckles for better punching! His utility belt is all squarish pouches, which is always better than capsules. Surprisingly, he gets new feet; they have show-accurate armor detailing around the soles. Why does Bruce get this when Wally didn't? That seems like poor planning. The whole thing is topped off with a new cape that hangs over the front of his shoulders, like the upcoming Watchmen Nite Owl.

Like all the 6" Young Justice figures, Batman gets a big impressive display base. In fact, it's the main reason to get him: if you're an average toy collector, you probably have too many Batmen aready, so why would you add another? Well, because of the base. It's a piece of rooftop, 8" wide, 8¼" tall and 3¼" deep, counting the big batty grotesque on the upper corner (remember, it's not a gargoyle if it's not a drain spout). It's not the same type of roof used with Robin and Red Arrow - those were bricky, while this is big stone or concrete blocks. There are two footpegs: one on the roof proper, and another at the top of the chimney.

Additionally, Batman comes with two Batarangs and a clever new accessory: a smoke bomb. There's a black ball at the base, and translucent green tendrils of gas billowing out from the top. It's a truly impressive sculpt, and the bomb itself can fit on a footpeg. In fact, it has to fit on a footpeg: it can't stand up on its own, and it can't fit in Batman's hand. You can find these functionally unreleased YJ toys from online sellers, but they're loose and have no accessories - and since the appeal of Batman is his accessories, it's not a very good deal.

The worst part about this being the final Young Justice release is the art on the sides of the box hinting at figures we'll never get: Tim Drake Robin, Evil Aqualad, Miss Martian, Blue Beetle, Lagoon Boy and Superboy. Gah! This line could have been so awesome if Cartoon Network hadn't cocked things up so badly. This is one of the best Batmen Mattel has released, but you'll either have to pay through the nose to get him, or settle for a version with no cool accessories.

-- 03/07/13

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