Well, JLU fans, after several false farewells we have finally come to it: the end of the long-running JLU line is finally upon us. Somehow Mattel has been able to continue this line well past the time of the popularity of the cartoon it was originally designed to support, and in that time we have gotten one of the most complete and robust superhero action figure lines of all time. By now, 99% of the show characters have been represented (I still pine for Granny Goodness) and the team has mined the further corners of the DC Universe to bring us characters that never even made into the program. So a nice assortment of these corners are represented in the final three 3-packs, and even though I had to wait until the very last plastic breath, I am finally getting my man — the Blue Beetle. The real one. Ted Kord. Just by the hair of my chinny-chin-chin.
Toyman, Firefly, and Dr. Destiny
The first set includes an all-villains lineup and features a couple figures that seem to have been around in prototype form forever in Dr. Destiny and Firefly, and one of the longest-demanded show characters ever–Toyman. Personally, I think Toyman is one of the nicest figures ever put in this line, and his translation from screen to plastic is pretty flawless. He is all-new (duh) and very well represented. Firefly and Dr. Destiny fill out an impressive in-show rogues gallery and make those that have been waiting for them sigh in relief and those that paid hundreds of dollars for unpainted eBay prototypes cringe with remorse.
Batman, Martian Manhunter, and Guy Gardner
Okay, okay, since Bats and J’onn were key show characters, we have seen these guys several times before, but getting a non-show character in Guy Gardner is such a treat — especially since he turned out so nicely. He has a cocky mug that I am not sure even his mother could love, and it is one of the more character-accurate sculpts we have seen since Kalibak. The JLI was my very first League, so getting these three in such style is so much fun for me, especially since so many of the JLI guys missed the cut on the JLU show.
Fire, Booster Gold, and Blue Beetle
We have gotten a figure of Fire before, but this is the proper flamed-on version that I was really hoping for. She is the same sculpt as before (I think), but the translucent green plastic looks really nice. I hope that we might see a Club Infinite Earths version of Fire in the coming year and that she will take her queues from this figure. Booster is the same corrected version we got a while back, but this one is extra special because he comes with his hetero-lifemate, and my all-time favorite superhero: the Blue Beetle. YES! Ted never made it on the JLU show because there were some issues with his use in electronic media during the timeframe of the show, but I now have him forever in plastic and he is a fantastic figure. I have been pretty lucky with my Mattel Ted Kord figures; he has made it, although just barely in some cases, into all of the major DCU lines Mattel has produced. My Blue Beetle collection welcomes him, and some customs, but certainly not a Black Lantern version. Geoff Johns and Dan DiDio, you will get yours someday for treating such a great character like garbage… /bitter.
Personally, I think this is an absolute fine way to bring to a close one of the longest running superhero toy lines ever. On a personal level, nothing will hamper my bliss for the Blue Beetle, and fans of the show will be very pleased with some of these late offerings, particularly Toyman. Farewell, JLU — you have been a stalwart of the collector world for a long time and you will be missed. Our collections shall remain very impressive for all time, though!