Sunday, July 31, 2011

Young Justice: Robin

I have mixed feelings about the new Young Justice show. It's definitely good, but there's something off about the tone for my taste. I like superheroes to feel like superheroes, and this has more of a "secret agent" vibe going for it.

That said, I'm certainly watching and enjoying it for what it is. It's just a long way from my favorite superhero show of all time (or even currently in production).

In terms of toys, Mattel has a few options out there for fans. There are four inch figures which are more or less replacing the JLU line, and the larger 6 inch figures - like this one - moving in to try and fill the niche left by the DC Universe Classics line. DCUC isn't technically dead yet, but let's face it: the writing's on the wall. I suspect Mattel will announce a new comic-based line to adapt the new DC Universe (everything getting a reboot come September, in case you haven't been following the news), but, in the meantime, Young Justice seems to be stepping in.

Both 4 and 6 inch lines have something going for them: the six inch figures come with huge dioramas, while the 4 inch figures come with the parts to build a massive Hall of Justice backdrop. As cool as the Hall looks, I'm really not looking to drop that kind of money right now.

Some of the six inch toys hold a little more interest, but not much. These guys are expensive, though the dioramas go a long way towards making the price tag more palatable.

In fact, I only bought this for the diorama: I already have a Robin in this scale, and I like him a fair bit better than this one. But the large base is extremely cool and has plenty of potential outside of this figure. You could use this for just about any Batman toys you've got lying around, and I certainly plan to be displaying various DCUC figures on this long after Robin's tucked away in a bin somewhere.

Here's a comparison between this Robin and the DC Universe Classics version:

While the bodies and outfits are comparable, the head sculpt on the DCUC version is significantly better. The Young Justice figure was given a huge smile, which doesn't work here. While it's certainly a look he has in the show, the expression doesn't handle the shift from two to three dimensions.

That said, if you've got a spare Robin head lying around, there's some definite custom potential here. But there's no way I'm yanking the head off my DCUC Robin in the off chance it looks better on the new one.

The base/diorama/stand or whatever is cool, though. I wish they did a little more work on the gargoyle statue, which looks a touch garish, but it's not too bad. I do appreciate that there are three pegs, giving you some options on where to display figures. In case they're not clear in the photos, there's one on the incline, one in back of the statue, and one on the back right corner of the diorama floor. If anything, I could have used one or two more on other parts of the base, but the wall holds the figures up pretty well, anyway. Plus, whether or not it was intentional, the gap between the gargoyle's wings is just about perfect for a six inch figure's foot, giving you another option.

Beside the base, Robin has a decent selection of accessories. The box claims he has seven weapons, which only illustrates that Mattel's marketing department doesn't know what these are. The batarangs and staff are weapons, and I think the yellow things are explosives (though they look more like biscuits to me), but the grapple gun and holographic computer display certainly don't fit the description.

Regardless, it's a great assortment. I love the batarangs and the hologram, and I'm always glad to have another staff. As for the rest... into the bin it goes.

Getting your head around the price these are going for - about $25 and up around here, though I haven't seen them in big retailers yet - takes some effort. It's a bit easier to think of them as play sets, and there's certainly an argument to be made. Mattel's certainly trying to drive this idea home with their packaging: the box Robin came in was on par with two-packs in this scale.

On the other hand, these seem to be more expensive than Marvel Select figures, which are significantly larger, better sculpted and painted, and often come with bases that are even cooler. Fortunately for Mattel, I'm usually willing to pay a premium for DC figures.

That said, unless the price comes down, I'm not planning on getting any more. Honestly, I wouldn't have picked this up if it weren't for a Google Offer that saved me ten dollars at Forbidden Planet (one of the cooler comic stores in NYC, and that's saying something). With a $20 certificate that ran me $10, I wound up getting this for sixteen bucks, which is about as good as I could have hoped for.


  1. They're $20 at Target, so a little bit better. And they have announced a replacement to DCUC (which is going to be online only) but haven't figured out what its name will be. But they have said it will feature designs from both the new DC Universe and the Classic DC Universe.

  2. I like the show and Robin is my favorite character on it so i might be temped to get him and a Batman from this line but other than that and if they produce a Sportsmaster figure for the line i don't plan on buying anything from it.