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Young Justice
Aqualad, Kid Flash, Speedy, and Icicle Jr.

Speedy Young Justice action figure by Mattel


It's tough being a sidekick, and it's even tougher being a kid sidekick. You get no respect, you have to clean up the secret lair, and the superhero always treats you like a child. And the odds of success if you break out on your own in print or film? Pretty bleak.

But the new show Young Justice has proven that wrong, with strong writing and voice acting. Unlike several of the more recent DC cartoons, Mattel is also pushing out a ton of product in support of the show, aimed at kids and collectors alike.

There are 4.25" scale figures, and I'm looking at the first wave of four tonight. In this wave is Aqualad, Speedy, Kid Flash and Icicle Jr. These run about $10 each, and seem to be hitting Target first.

Also already out in this scale is the Superboy that was released at Comic-Con, and I plan on taking a look at him very soon. There are also two packs in this scale, with the superhero matched with his protege, like Batman and Robin, or Aquaman and Aqualad.

But that's not all! They are also producing a 6" scale series to fit in with the DC Universe Classics on your shelf. These come with more complex accessories, and I'll be looking at Robin and Artemis very soon. For more visual info on what's to come, scroll down through my Mattel DC coverage from SDCC.
Aqualad Young Justice action figure by Mattel
Aqualad Young Justice action figure by Mattel
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Kid Flash Young Justice action figure by Mattel
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Speedy Young Justice action figure by Mattel
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Icicle Jr Young Justice action figure by Mattel
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Aqualad Young Justice action figure by Mattel
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Kid Flash Young Justice action figure by Mattel
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Young Justice action figure by Mattel
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Young Justice action figure by Mattel
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Young Justice action figure by Mattel

Packaging - ***1/2
While it might appear that there's some wasted space inside that bubble, remember that the Hall of Justice CnC pieces are packed behind the star burst card you see, and fill the entire width. In fact, considering what's in the package, there's very little waste here, and I love the bright colors.

There's also some personalization on the front and back, which is always a plus, and they show the next 8 figures to be released as singles.

Sculpting - Kid Flash **1/2; the rest ***1/2
Most of these figures look terrific, at least in terms of the sculpt. While I'm a bigger fan of the larger DCUC scale, there's enough sculpt detail in the faces and uniforms to make them interesting. Remember, these are cartoon versions, so there's not going to be the same sort of realistic detail as you might see with a non-animated line.

The right hand on every one is sculpted to hold the accessories, although it does look pretty much identical. The left hands are all done in fists.

My big issue with Kid Flash is his inability to stand. While this is partly due to the overall lack of articulation, the other three figures don't have any trouble staying upright and they have the same number of joints. Kid Flash has slightly warped legs, which aren't designed to allow him to stand as easily as the others, and that's one of my personal pet peeves.

While some of the details might look a little soft in the close up photos (like the feather on Speedy's hat), they don't appear that way in person. For the scale, they look much better than I expected.

Paint - Icicle Jr. **1/2; the rest *1/2
Unfortunately, the paint work is some of the worst I've seen in awhile. Even keeping scale in mind, and let's face it, these are tiny figures, the paint work is still far worse than it should be.

Icicle Jr. is the best of the wave, but he also has the fewest paint ops. The work on the face is decent, and I like the translucent forearms. But there's still some slop around the cut edges of the uniform, especially at the feet and waist.

The others don't even fair that well. Tampo style work, like the belt on Speedy's chest or the pattern on Aqualad's torso, is clean and well done. But actual painted areas, like the arms of Aqualad or Speedy's belt around his waist, look awful.

Even at this small scale, you can see these issues with the nekkid eye. Fortunately their eyes are the best aspect of the paint, but everything else is below average quality.

Articulation - **
Another weak area is the articulation. There simply isn't much, and considering the amount of articulation on many figures smaller than these currently on the market, there's no scale excuse.

Each figure has a ball jointed neck, cut shoulders and T hips. That's it. No wrists, no waist, no arm or leg articulation of any kind. Remember the Pocket Heroes? Yes, these are very much like those.

At least the neck allows for some basic posing, but the arms are pretty useless outside of simply hanging at the side. The hips allow the figures to stand (with the exception of Kid Flash, as mentioned above), but that's about it.

Accessories - ***1/2
Each figure comes with a single character specific accessory, plus two other consistent items.

For me, the big selling point is the Collect and Connect diorama - the Hall of Justice! Each of the 12 figures in the first three waves comes with a piece (or pieces) to complete this cool environment. I've included a photo that shows the first five pieces assembled from these four figures. I like the scale, and the quality of the build and design is top notch.

Each figure also comes with a cardboard backdrop, each identical on the front. I'm not sure what you'd do with them, since there's no based to hold them up, but on the back is a diagram showing you how to assemble the Hall and where the specific piece goes that came with that figure.

Each figure also has one character specific goody. Speedy comes with a bow, Kid Flash comes with a bag of 'fast food', Icicle Jr. comes with an icicle spike, and Aqualad comes with an icy blade.

Aqualad's is somewhat unique, since he wears these blades on his back on the show. The figure has one sculpted in place on his back, and one to hold in his hand. While the blade fits nicely in his left hand, it does not fit into the backpack, nor was it ever designed to do so.

While there's no stand included, these do have peg holes in both feet, allowing you to use one of the stock stands on the market.

Fun Factor - ***
While these little guys tend to be on the stiff side, kids will still find plenty of ways to battle them against the evil doers. Most have useful accessories, and the inclusion of the Hall of Justice is not just for collectors - it's the kind of diorama that works great for play as well.

Value - **1/2
Ten bucks a pop for figures in this general scale seems to be the going rate these days, and at least these include the cool Collect and Connect Hall of Justice pieces, making them a better deal than some right now. I'm not jumping with joy over the price, but I'm willing to drop a ten spot since I'm planning on building the Hall. If you don't care about the diorama, then your score here will take a hit.

Things to Watch Out For -
I suspect trying to pick out the best paint work is going to be tough, but it's worth a shot.

Overall - Aqualad, Icicle Jr, Speedy ***; Kid Flash **
The paint work screws up what is otherwise a reasonably good implementation of a cartoon series. The articulation could be better, no doubt, but the sculpting is decent and I love the inclusion of the Collect and Connect pieces for the Hall of Justice.

However, Kid Flash adds in the issues with standing to compound the problems with the paint, hurting his overall. Of course, the individual figures tend to become less and less critical the more of them you get. Get a full line up of these guys together, and the awesomeness of the group can often overcome the weakness of one or two - but Mattel needs to get the paint quality under control.

Score Recap:
Packaging - ***1/2
Sculpting - Kid Flash **1/2; the rest ***1/2
Paint - Icicle Jr. **1/2; the rest *1/2
Articulation - **
Accessories - ***1/2
Fun Factor - ***
Value - **1/2
Overall - Aqualad, Icicle Jr, Speedy ***; Kid Flash **

Where to Buy -
Your best bet right now is Target, where these seem to be hitting first as part of their back to school reset. Other major retailers should have them in stock very soon.

Related Links -
This is the first of my Young Justice reviews, but I'll be covering quite a few more of them over the next few weeks.

Discussion:
Want to chat about this review?  Try out one of these terrific forums where I'll be discussing it!

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Icicle Jr Young Justice action figure by Mattel


This product was purchased for the review by the manufacturer. Photos and text by Michael Crawford.

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