Friday, September 30, 2011

Toy Review – DC Universe – Young Justice: Artemis By Mattel

Judging by the new Batman Legacy and Young Justice toy lines Mattel is uniting all of its DC Comics properties under the “DC Universe” banner. I can’t really say if this is a good move or not, but I think it gives them more freedom to mess around with whatever the core line ends up being. Plus, they can move almost seamlessly from Batman Legacy to Superman Legacy to whatever the next big thing is without the headache of launching a whole new line every time. So I’m leaning towards good for right now.
Aside from the intolerable voice of Jesse McCartney coming out of Robin I really like the new Young Justice cartoon. It hasn’t captured me like Earth’s Mightiest Heroes or even Thundercats, but it’s solid. Robin’s horrible voice might be affecting me more than it should, but it really bothers me. Even my three-year-old son knows it isn’t right. Teen Robin shouldn’t sound like a six-year-old girl.

But we’re here to talk about Artemis. Back when this line debuted at Toy Fair I knew I wouldn’t be sure about it until I saw the figures at retail. They had the basic DCUC style (and even the merits of that are debatable) but looked very cartoony. When I came across Artemis and Robin in the store the other day I still thought they were a bit cartoony, but felt it would be worthwhile to pick one up to review and put on the shelf. While I like the look of YJ Robin a lot, his face seemed more cartoonish and… seriously, guys – I hate that voice. Artemis seemed closer to the DCUC comic style and also is a character I don’t already have several other figures of. So I bought her.
First Glance: The pack-in accessory looks cooler than I thought it would. Also, I can tell immediately that Mattel’s idiotic packaging decisions have once again warped a figure. I’d like to meet whoever makes these calls and give them lots of paper cuts.
Sculpt: Almost every single piece of this figure is made of a soft plastic. Artemis sports the standard DCUC articulation with no double joints and no concessions to allow for a character that is supposed to be able to aim and draw a bow. Her elbows actually bend less than any other DC figure I have. I will say her shoulders seem to have a little more range of motion, though. Her left leg is bent all to Hell due to the stupid pose in the packaging, so we’re going to need some hot water time to fix that. Which will immediately be followed by some freezer time to (hopefully) fix her stuck hip joints. I’m really sick of this shit.
Tangent: Yet another reason why I’m not buying the DC Infinite Worlds sub from Matty. I’ve gone back and forth, but I’m firmly against now (for the moment). Mattel has – over the course of eighteen waves of figures – yet to prove that they can produce action figures of a consistent high quality. I have trouble paying fifteen dollars for characters I love knowing that they may break right out of the box or require major maintenance simply to stand on the shelf. I’m damn sure not going to pay a premium and commit myself to a bunch of mystery characters when I’m not even all that satisfied with the regular line. Mattel needs to prove their commitment to me, not vice-versa. So far they have listed exactly three of thirteen figures that I actively want and one of those may not even be the look I would prefer. That is not a high enough ratio for me to agree to shell out over two hundred bucks for.
Note: You may disregard the previous rant. I have since purchased the sub because I am - as I have stated many times before - a sucker. I still feel the way I did when I wrote that, but I got all caught up in the excitement when they said the shipping would be combined. I have also gorwn to really enjoy the Young Justice cartoon. But I still hate Robin's voice.
Okay, sorry. Artemis’ head and hair look great – exactly like the cartoon. As far as fitting in with DCUC stuff, they don’t really. But as far as looking like they’re supposed to look; they do. The face looks exactly like the cartoon and the hair has a nice cartoony shape and texture. The pony tail is on a swiveling joint so that you can remove the figure’s quiver and, I suppose, make “action-hair” poses.
The rest of the body looks very good but is a bit large compared to DCUC. This seems to be an entirely new buck, so I’m not sure why Mattel made it off-scale (I think). I’m not 100% about this – I just feel like she should be smaller. The detailing is good and the legs look great. The pouches and shoes are very cool and give the character a modern, individual look.
Design: The paint is simple and solid. There are no errors on my figure. The face has about as much detail as you could want and all the greens of the costume work very well together and are accurate. Again, I like the shoes.
Accessories: Here’s where the figure totally wins and loses at the same time.
Artemis is a twenty-dollar figure. Mattel decided that their 6” line of YJ figures needed to come with a bunch of stuff and be high-priced for some reason, so this figure comes with a ton of accessories. I would have preferred the normal overpricing of a fifteen dollar DCUC figure, but I have to say that if you can accept that figures at this scale should cost $15 that you’ll be pleased with Artemis’ pack-ins. I think the value exceeds five dollars.
The archery range inside is a neat…
Batgirl – “Typical. I suppose Mattel thinks a girl wouldn’t be able to hit a target that was more than five feet away.”
Me – “Well, I think they might have been restrained by the packaging.”
Batgirl – “Whatever. I’m sure if this were Green Arrow or his little junkie friend with the dead cat that shooting range would be, like, ten times as long.”
Artemis – “Look! I can go stand way back here! It’s as far away as you want it to be!”
Batgirl – “Oh, sure. Now some pig has you walking all that way just so he can ogle your posterior.”
Me – “You know, I really thought you were just showing up for the Comic Con stuff…”
Batgirl – “Nope. Now that I’ve seen all the misogyny and male-engineered injustices of the toy world I’m going to stick around and make sure everybody’s uncomfortable.”
Me – “Super.”
The clear target look very cool and has a couple of divots to stick the included arrows into. The clear mounted quiver is also very cool-looking. I’m honestly not sure what the two brackets at the front are. The bow doesn’t fit in them and it seems redundant to have another place to store arrows.
Artemis also comes with a quiver, a bow and six different arrows. The quiver fits nicely on the figure and looks good, with nice painted detail. The arrows are also pretty neat. Each has a different head and most feature a peg to fit them into the target. I don’t care for the bow, though. The strings are way too thick. I appreciate that you can affix an arrow to the strings and front to make it look like one is nocked and ready to fire, but this is kind of a pointless feature when the figure cannot hold the bow this way. I would have preferred a bow like the Green Arrow figure’s.
Packaging: A large window box, similar to the DCUC two-packs. I don’t feel good or bad about it. I’m still just trying to figure out why Mattel went this route with the 6” figures.
Overall: I probably won’t buy any more of these. Artemis looks okay, but only sort of fits in with my DCUC stuff. And for twenty bucks I just can’t justify them – I’d rather not have all the extra crap. To think I paid ten more and got a whole airplane.
3 out of 5
The figure looks good, but the shoddy materials and neat but unnecessary accessories drag it down. I’m not sure Mattel gets that customers are savvy enough to perceive the difference between “adding value” and “jacking up the price”.
Side note: I was shocked to see that the 4” YJ figures are ten bucks apiece. I suppose the “added value” build-a-Hall of Justice is part of the reason for that, but holy cow.

Be sure and come back next week for 31 Days of Halloween! Yes. I know SyFy uses that. I used it before they even existed.
Until next time, stay creepy

1 comment:

  1. "I’m damn sure not going to pay a premium and commit myself to a bunch of mystery characters when I’m not even all that satisfied with the regular line. Mattel needs to prove their commitment to me, not vice-versa" Haw Haw! And you did it anyway!! :D Well, I'll have to look at your posts on these and wish I did it too- it's just too much. I still haven't opened my Atremis, but wha a cool set, huh? Good review, and I'm with ya: I don't really care if they put real string in the bow if it doesn't fir & cant't fire anyway ?? Nice Batgirl, goddamn!