As I mentioned in my Black Friday post, you have to be pretty hardcore as a fan of toys to go out on Black Friday to make your “usual rounds”. The thing is, if you don’t go out on Black Friday, you won’t be able to go out for a few days because of the impact of Black Friday. If there are any good toys on the shelves come Black Friday, they won’t be there by Saturday.

I didn’t pick up much this year, but one of my local Targets had restocked the JLU 3 Packs. Mattel is running a sale right now dropping the price down to $11.99 which is good since $15.99 is very steep to pay for Justice League. Unfortunately for me I already bought all the other packs at the higher price point, but I was able to snag the Wonder Woman, Blackhawk and Superman pack for the $11.99 price.

Chances are if you see any of the new 3 packs on the shelves, it’ll be this one. See this is a “fan collection pack” so it’s featuring highly requested figures. These are new figures or rare re-releases, such as Superman and Wonder Woman who have only been released in this deco 3,000 times. So technically this is a release of ONE new figure. Like I said, if any of the new packs become a shelf warmer, this one is it. So how does this pack stack up?

The JLU packaging hasn’t changed in a long time. DC has one unique set of packages across all of the Mattel lines in hopes of creating some brand awareness and unity. It’s not a terrible idea but it does look a little drab. I still preferred the blue card JLU packs with all of the characters featured on it, but this isn’t a terrible package.

The figures are clearly on display inside and Blackhawk who is the star of this package is prominently placed in the center. That’s all well and good but we’ve seen this package enough to be pretty bored with it by now.

The back features some cartoon artwork of all the characters from a episode of JLU. This is important, especially now that JLU is once again airing in repeats on Cartoon Network. It’d be nice if Mattel could tell kids to watch it on Cartoon Network, as if it was a new cartoon, but I won’t slight them for not being able to get that on the package. Also featured on the back of the package is the rest of the figures in the series. Oddly enough it shows off two very old packs as opposed to the other new packs that are shipping. Either Mattel is repacking those old packs into cases (God I hope not) or they thought advertising them might boost the sales of those packs that have been collecting dust.

Inside I noticed something new. A little paper insert advertising! Not a bad idea and something I suggested a long time ago. It’s a good way to boost sales for the MattyCollector lines. This is especially good for JLU since those figures always seem to be available on Matty.

Justice League Unlimited follows the model set fourth by Kenner in the 1990’s for Batman the Animated Series. Each figure has 5 points of articulation with few exceptions. Everyone in this pack has a cut neck, cut shoulders and cut legs.

Most fans prefer this limited articulation because of the design aesthetic involved. Given Mattel’s track record, this is probably a safe bet. DC Infinite Heroes has horrible articulation and I think it’s pretty clear that Mattel doesn’t quite know what they’re doing with articulation on the DC lines. Although DCUC has pretty good artic.

Let’s be honest with ourselves here for a moment. If you’re reading this review you probably already own Superman and Wonder Woman from JLU. If by some odd chance you don’t own them, they’re pretty good figures. However, if you’re a JLU collector you probably have dozens of these guys already so I’m not going to waste any time talking about them. Aside from Superman slowly turning a Chinese caricature with more squinted eyes than ever, it’s all the same as it’s always been.

Blackhawk is the only reason you’d buy this pack. A relatively obscure character from the long forgotten days of World War II lore. Bart Hawk is the leader of the Blackhawk Squadron and is the most famous of the characters. Interestingly Blackhawk is a Will Eisner character, which adds to his prestige a bit. He was fairly well portrayed in the JLU cartoon and battled Vandal Savage, which was mentioned in detail on the back of the package. For the record, we still don’t have a JLU Vandal Savage figure. He’s what I’d call a highly requested fan figure and someone who would have went perfect in this package and made it sell like gangbusters… But I digress.

The sculpt here is very solid and if the pack wasn’t $12 a pop I’d love to pick up a few more of these Blackhawk figures to make custom other members of the Squadron. As is I’ll have to settle for this one. He’s made from various other parts but appears to have a new head, new arms and a new chest with molded skirt. I think this body could be reused for a nice Gordon figure. This sculpt could also be reused almost entirely for a Bibbo Bibbowski figure. That’s two great suggestions from me Mattel, on the house.

There really isn’t much else to say. The paint work is sharp, there is only minor slop on the gloves. The chest logo looks great the sculpt is otherwise flawless. Because he uses the improved Mirror Master legs, he stands perfectly. The only thing to watch out for is the eventual whitening of his rubbery parts.

JLU figures rarely come with anything. In this instance there is one stand included, presumably for Wonder Woman. All the figures now have holes in their feet, so they could all use this stand if need be.

Ugh, $11.99 on sale is hardly a value for this pack. This regularly retails for $15.99 which is why I didn’t buy it until it was on sale and I suspect it’ll turn into another eternal peg warmer as a result. Seriously, think about this for a minute. You’re getting ONE new figure in this pack for $12-$16! That’s way more than GI Joe, DCUC, Marvel Universe… Heck that’s more expensive than almost any other figure on the market. Sure Blackhawk is a nice figure, but he’s not even a $7 figure much less twice that. At regular retail price for this pack I could have gotten 3 brand new GI Joes, which feature more articulation, tons of accessories and better sculpting.

JLU is a fun collection to build on though.

You might be thinking to yourself, but “hey, you’re also getting Superman and Wonder Woman, that’s a value right?” No. Superman and Wonder Woman are not army builders. Do you know how many Superman JLU figures I have? I don’t, but I can tell you it’s in the double digits. These figures are useless. Maybe that helps move the packs to little kids, but please Mattel at least redeco these figures. Otherwise these guys are as useful to me as more packaging.

Score Recap:
Packaging – 6
Sculpting – 9
Articulation – 7
Accessories – Stand
Value – 1
Overall – 5.75 out of 10

JLU is a fun line to collect because it’s the largest DC line ever made. There have been more characters made for JLU (and the other animated DC lines from Hasbro) than any other toyline representing the DC Universe ever. That’s why fans love this line. The Bruce Timm look for the characters is excellent and the toys despite tons of flaws are really great collectibles.

Only a handful of my massive animated DC Universe.

The problem with the JLU line is the price versus value. Having to buy another Superman and another Wonder Woman to get one new figure is a real pain in the neck. It sucked having to do that back when JLU cost only $9.99 but it’s pretty much unacceptable at the $15.99 pricetag. Had this not went on sale for $11.99 I probably would have never added Blackhawk to my collection and even at that price I’m feeling a lot of buyers remorse.

5 Responses to JLU Blackhawk 3 Pack Review

  • Bill White says:

    I would LOVE to get this Blackhawk figure, but I can’t bring myself to waste more dough on yet another Superman or WW figure. I must have about 5 each of these!

    I can understand that a BH sold by himself would not appeal to the general public, but whhhyyyyyy can’t Mattel mix it up a bit on figure assortments?

    I don’t need another Batman either.

  • Beats me Bill. Not that I want just a redeco, but at least give me some motivation to get these guys. Alternate costumes of Batman or Superman would at least show us that they’re trying.

    I mean, they have no problem pumping out a ton of Batman variants in the Dark Knight line, so why not some repaints in the JLU?

    And if we have to have a repack figure, why not ONE instead of two?

    Mattel just doesn’t care.

  • Anonymous says:

    I totally agree with you Bill on these figures, How i hate scoping out various Walmarts and Targets to find DCUC or JLU really cramps my style, and with a price increase what’s the whole point on collecting figures anymore. and to buy too many SUPERMAN’S, BATMAN’S, FLASH’S & WONDER WOMAN’S to get that special ONE figure, this really sucks.

    But hey just for the Record i just got the Apachi Chief, Samurai & Black Vulcan 3 pack on my end. happy hunting

  • Nice review!

    And I agree that the repacking shouldn’t be 2 figs instead of 1. I mean, these JLU figures tend to break at the joints (well, I guess ALL of Mattel’s stuff does so across the lines–just depends on your luck…) I had a Supes break at the waist, so I wouldn’t mind getting a repack with 2 new figs. I’m sure everyone can see how that would make sense. But 2 repacks…ugh…

    I really hope Mattel cares more than they seem to…

  • Anonymous says:

    It’s a pretty nice Blackhawk. But there is the problem of what to do with WW and Superman. The only adaptations I’ve been able to do with either are my own characters: WW became a pretty nice Amethyst, Superman became an EXCELLENT Dark Opal. As for the Batman figures…I made a pretty nice Dr. Midnite from one. But by and large all three are hard to modify, and they come with EVERYTHING. As for the ABS package, nice to see a package with three new figures, but they’re a pretty cheesy bunch. Who are these characters? Anyway…I keep seeking out JLUs since they did Blue Devil. Now I’m a completest, and I keep modifying to create characters they haven’t gotten to. It’s a curse. –Gary Cohn

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