Justice League Martian Manhunter
(Attack Armor)

Mattel has the second series of animated Justice League figures out, and it's more of the same, only different. And I have a confession to make - I was too easy on the first series.

The new set - called Attack Armor - includes the obligatory Batman and Superman, plus Green Lantern and Martian Manhunter. The Batman, Superman and GL are all the same figures from the previous series, now with an 'armor' accessory. The Martian Manhunter, which I'm reviewing tonight, is the only new figure in the set, and show's him in his 'real' and disguise personas.

I found the entire set at a local Target, although it looked like there was only one GL and MM in the case. Retail is running around $7, and they should hit other stores like Wal-mart, Media Play and Toys R Us as well in the coming weeks.

Packaging - **1/2
No real change here, except to add the new series name. I still like the bubble/embossing, and I like the small cards. I wish there
was less waste in general in action figure packaging, and this is a good start. The set I found was also multi-lingual, which I do not favor over the all English versions.  The additional text is a waste of course to anyone in the U.S., and detracts from the look.

Sculpting - ***
The sculpt on Martian Manhunter depicts the 'true self' version we first see in the Secret Origins episode. The sculpt itself is fairly good, and captures the thinner, more elongated appearance well. While the animated style is always more basic, it's still important to properly depict the look, and they've managed that here - at least with the sculpt. While he comes with no accessories that he could hold, it would have been nice had they sculpted his hands in an open position. Kids can be pretty creative when it comes to sharing accessories, and it's too bad that they crippled MM in this way.

Paint - *1/2
This figure is a perfect example of a good sculpt ruined by terrible paint application. I have no idea what this yellow Trading Spaces paint wash is supposed to represent, but it works terribly. The figure in the show didn't have it, and the prototype from last year's Toy Fair only had a very light wash, used to highlight the body. This darker yellow ruins the look of the figure, and is
completely out of place with the animated style.

To make things worse, the paint ops that are right are done poorly. The yellow buttons and belt buckle on the body disguise are very sloppy, and their is even a nice blop of yellow right on the stomach of the figure itself. Most of the lines between colors are sloppy and lack definition, and overall the paint application is as bad as what we'd become accostumed to with Hasbro.

Articulation - **1/2
Mattel has continued the tradition of Hasbro in another area - articulation, or the lack thereof. Martian Manhunter has neck, shoulders and hips. Considering the price point, you'd like to see at least some additional cut joints. Beyond the standard maquette pose, there really isn't anything you can do with these. That's not a terrible thing for kids, but considering the quality of other kid oriented lines on the market today, it's still below the average.

Accessories - **1/2
For the other three figures in this set, it's nothing more than a re-issue with new accessories. At least MM has a new sculpt, and his accessory is decent, if not excellent.

MM comes with rubber armor that covers his upper body, making him look like his 'Earth disguise' self. The pointy head pops off, and the rubber upper body slips in, with the cape attached. The body goes on and off easily enough - as does the pointy head - but suffers from the previously mentioned weak paint ops, and a rather goofy expression on the face. The arms don't fit snugly either, which leaves him looking a bit baggy and saggy. Still, it's a decent accessory for kids, and works pretty well.

Value - **
Considering that you're getting one figure - a 5" figure at that - and one accessory, $7 is easily $2 more than you should be paying.
Mattel is sticking the collectors and the kids on this line, and that's too bad. At a slightly lower price point, these would be moving
much better. Is an expensive license driving the higher cost? Then they should have been willing to take lower margins early on until the
costs of the licensing were covered.

Overall - **1/2
As I said earlier, I was too easy on the first series. I had my hopes that perhaps Mattel would give us something better than Hasbro, and I had also hoped that the first series' shortcomings were due to Mattel rushing the product out. While I still think some of the offerings look good, particularly the vehicles and some of the two packs, overall this second series of figures is disappointing. MM is the one figure in the initial set of four that I would not pass up though, since he is at least a new sculpt.

Where to Buy - 
Target is getting them in now, but stores like Media Play, Wal-mart and TRU should have them soon.

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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