JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED- THE NEXT WAVES
Upcoming Release from MATTEL
By Julius Marx
Our good friends at Mattel have given AFI a sneak peek at the new packaging and some of the finished product of the next batch of DC Super Heroes: Justice League Unlimited. The new card style debuted at Comic Con back in July, but now we see the full printed card and figures in place. Both the single card and the new 3-packs have the same footprint as their current counterparts so no retailers should have to adjust their plan-o-gram space.
Let’s talk about the pleasant surprises-
We can start with the new Injustice Gang 3-pack. Originally this set was going to include the female version of Dr. Light, since her male counterpart was the villain du jour at the time this set was planned, however Mattel soon noticed that the female Dr. Light, though rarely seen on the JLU show, was in fact a hero, so Copperhead was substituted.
The figures sit diagonally in the bubble of the 3-packs and the card sports the new "DC" logo. Mattel will be putting all of their DC products under the overall header of "DC Super Heroes." The chip insert identifies the line as "Justice League Unlimited." On the back of the card the other upcoming 3-packs are shown. Look for more details shots of those later in the feature. One much requested change is the remolded feet (specifically Copperhead), giving the figures what looks to be a bit more support in the front of the soles to counter the "falling over" feature of previous figures. They also seem to be made of a stronger durometer plastic, lending to less deformation in the package. Way to go, Mattel!
Since he’s at the top of the pack/bubble let’s take a look at Lex Luthor. The first thing you will notice is an all new, more on-model head. This is NOT the same head as the previous Lex in the suit/armor from the 2-pack. This new version is also a good deal shorter than the 2-pack armored version. The new head is a great improvement. This time around Lex is in his purple and green mercenary outfit, complete with pouch belt and gun harness. The harness and the gun are not removable.
At first glance I thought that Lex used Green Arrow’s legs. Unlike the legs his prototype shown at Comic Con sported and even on the back of the card he has the thicker boots and ankles much like the Green Arrow figure, but in a side by side comparison you can see that while similar in style, the legs are shorter and a different shape… that’s right… NEW parts!
Hmmm… The first thing I noticed about Mirror Master is that groove running down the center of his chest. I looked at all of the other JLU figures and only one other figure with the chest groove- Booster Gold. So, this is the 2nd appearance of this new torso (they also share the same arms). He has the same new legs as Lex with the boots and the thicker ankles. He has a belt with holsters added on top of the torso. The belt on mine is slightly off center, so that maybe something you’ll want to look at in the store before grabbing the first one off the shelf, if that sort of thing is important to you.
Copperhead is a little different than the prototypes or the figure on the back of the cards. The finished product is a deeper orange color. As you will remember the Copperhead prototype shown at Comic Con was a repainted Flash figure with a new head, but still had the etchings of the lightning bolts on the waist and gloves. The etch lines are gone and Copperhead shares the same body as Atom, Flash, Dove, and Elongated Man, but with a cool tail added that helps with ballance.
All the Mattel DC Villains (except Catwoman)
SINGLE CARDED FIGURES
I received two of the single carded figures on the new card: Steel and Superman
Steel gets a new head from the one shown at Comic Con. He also has new legs and a new over the torso piece to help change the look of the standard bodies and really separate him on the shelf. It’s amazing how well the added over the body pieces such as on Steel, Mirror Master’s belt and Lex’s harness help change the uniformity of the line. Since Steel is a single carded figure that means he gets an accessory- his hammer. He is able to hold it in his right hand (on the back of the card it’s kind of tucked under his arm).
SUPERMAN- from the episode "For the Man Who has Everything"
This is an interesting new trend for Mattel- Episode Specific figures. You can make the argument that several of the upcoming figures are episode specific, such as the Justice Lords or Killowog. This has more to do with interesting ways to reinvent and rerelease the "big 7" with episode specific costumes or accessories.I’lll be curious to see what else Mattel does with this idea.
Superman’s accessory is the Black Mercy plant "given" to him by Mongol. The Black Mercy/"worst birthday present ever" is easily wrapped around the figure or removable. The Superman figure is the standard, extra articulated version we have gotten several times before.
Cardback detail- 3-packs
Single cardback detail–