Good ol’ Justice League Unlimited, just when I think the line is dead and I won’t have to hassle with them anymore, 2009 ends with a bang and I got 21 JLU figures for Christmas, plus the three I’m about to review today with even more on the horizon. 2009 was a really slow year for JLU with the line nearly disappearing from all Targets for a few months before being restocked and price hiked with figures that simply wouldn’t sell… And yet, the year closed out with a huge flood of product.

While out trying to find the Eclipso 6-Pack on clearance, which is a rant in itself, I stumbled across this pack. Given the choice between paying $15 on clearance for ONE new figure in Eclipso, or $16 for two highly requested figures and one re-release, I chose this one. See the Eclispso pack includes FIVE terrible repaints of figures I already own dozens of. The choice was easy.

But enough about the worst 6 pack ever released, let’s focus on this new 3 pack instead. The JLU “trinity” packs have been the source of great new characters and sometimes massive anger with fans of Mattel’s Justice League Unlimited. This latest pack, offers up a great mix of the Flash versus two of his arch rivals who even appeared in the JLU toon, Captain Cold and Captain Boomerang.

Personally I’ve never been a huge Flash fan and I think like most of the average public, I find that the Flash can only be mildly interesting given that his power is essentially that he’s really fast. But thanks in part to Michael Rosenbaum’s great treatment of the character in JLU and perhaps also in part thanks to Smallville which has used Superman’s super speed ability to great use, I’ve come to grow quite fond of Flash in recent years.

What makes Flash even more enduring is his rather pathetic Rogues gallery. Captain Cold is probably the most famous Flash villain and a large portion of the public just sees him as a Mr. Freeze ripoff. That couldn’t be further from the truth as he actually predates Freeze by a couple of years. Captain Cold had a prominent role in the Superfriends cartoon and achieved a good portion of his “fame” there.

Captain Boomerang is an even less interesting Flash villain, who like his namesake, is mostly known for throwing Boomerangs. Part of the charm of Flash’s villains is that they are so hokey. These guys would get murdered in Gotham City and would be stopped in about 5 seconds by Superman, but given that the Flash is generally pretty weak, so too are his villains. In recent years Flash’s villains have been given some updating with Boomerang being more of threat and Captain Cold killing a few people, but I actually prefer the hokey aspect of the characters and the JLU treatment of them was perfect in my view.

This is the same old tired JLU package we’ve seen for years now. I’m so tired of this packaging. It’s abysmal, it’s depressing… I think I hate it. Mattel is to blame for that, I’ve seen so many failed three packs in this package that I think that’s why I’ve grown to despise it so much.

It is nice to see Flash’s villains displayed inside. They contrast greatly with the Flash and the drab orange background, so that their blueness pops upon sight.

The back has some great stills from their appearances in JLU and tells a little story about them fighting the Flash. What makes this pack great is that it appeals to kids because they have a hero and two villains, but it also appeals to all JLU fans. Some JLU fans have been upset that characters who never appeared in the show have gotten figures, while fan favorites haven’t. Here are two fan favorite obscure characters that appeared in the show.

If you’re a big fan of articulation, the JLU line is not for you. These figures all have 5 points of articulation. Simple cut joints at the head, shoulders and legs. That limits their posing abilities and play capability but it is what it is. Captain Cold’s arm articulation is impeded some because of his rubber hood and so is Boomerang’s legs thanks to his “skirt”.

A few years ago Mattel tinkered with the idea of giving the figures more articulation, but given Mattel’s track record for being so bad at articulation, these figures suffered because of it and fans complained enough that they went back to the 5 POA. The good news is that with such little articulation, they retain their animated look very well. However, if I was a kid, I would indeed PLAY with these figures.

JLU has always been about cost cutting, reusing body bucks and repainting figures as much as possible. Although the JLU line has slowly added a ton of new buck parts, they still manage to reuse as much as possible and often paint on details instead of sculpting them. So how do these new characters work out?

In a word? Beautiful. These are some of the nicest sculpts and painting efforts from the JLU team at Mattel in recent memory. Both Captain Cold and Captain Boomerang do receive a smattering of new parts, and Mattel hit some real homeruns with their detailed faces and add-ons.

The JLU Captain Cold design is probably one of my favorite designs of villains anywhere and the end result on this figure is just perfect. This Captain Cold is already one of my favorite JLU figures and considering how many JLU there are, that’s a big compliment. Captain Boomerang isn’t a slouch either, but Cold to me is the real star here.

Of course the Flash figure is useless to a JLU collector, but I do quite like the figure. It’s just that I have 47 of them. Flash and Cold share essentially the same body although there are some minor differences. None of these guys stand very well, but they don’t fall over quite as often as some JLU figures do. As always, I wished they stood better, but at least they all have peg holes now so you can stand them with a stand if need be.

JLU three packs never give you accessories. None of these guys could hold anything anyway. You get a sum total of nothing.

Still it’s nice to compile more Flash villains. Flash actually has a true Rogue’s gallery. Several of his villains team together to call themselves the Rogues. JLU has provided Flash with more villains than he’s ever had in plastic before. An impressive feat that shouldn’t be overlooked.

Additional Notes:
This is a great introductory pack for fans who haven’t been on the JLU bandwagon. Perhaps even if you don’t collect the JLU line you could pick this set up if you’re a Flash fan. JLU has been very good to Flash and I’m thankful for it. I wish my cousin was still alive today as he was a big Flash fan and I think he would have gotten a kick out of having so many of Flash’s villains.

At $15.99 for three figures, it seems like a solid deal. Unfortunately one of those figures is a total repack and I have a ton of him already. I hated that Mattel hiked the price up to $16 for these two figures, but I’m willing to let it slide in this instance because this is a good pack and even the inclusion of Flash could help bring in some Flash fans or kids just starting the line.

Score Recap:
Packaging – 5
Sculpting – 9
Articulation – 5
Accessories – Nothing
Value – 6
Overall – 7.5 out of 10

I almost went a full 8 on this, but sanity kicked me back down to 7.5, which is still a great score for JLU. This is a pack where the total is greater than the sum of it’s parts. The reality is, all three of these figures are perfect renditions of their awesome animated counterparts. Despite all the flaws with the JLU line itself, the figures retain a level of excellence. The price is a bit high, the articulation is almost non-existent and a strong fart will knock them over… But they’re still GREAT little versions of these cool niche characters. This is a must have for JLU fans and a great pickup for Flash fans or even kids who you think might be interested in the crimson blur.

2 Responses to JLU 3 Pack Review: Flash, Captain Cold, Captain Boomerang

  • Bill says:

    I love these figures (based on the photos)!

    I am going to Target on Saturday!

  • gunzlingr says:

    Huge mistake making these exclusive to Target. My son and I bought them up as fast as we could find them, and now not only is the nearest Target over a hundred miles away, they never have anything on the frakking pegs! Mattel is run by baboons!

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