JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED (MATTEL)
As much as I talk down on Mattel, it should be noted that I still hold some of the stuff they’ve done in pretty high esteem. In particular, their run on the Justice League Unlimited line, while far from perfect, did get us a whole lot of minor DC characters who would have never seen toys any other way. Such is the case with Aztek, a character from the ‘90s who never really took off, but has always had a pretty steady fanbase. He made a few brief appearances in JLU, and it was enough to net him a figure, which I’ll be looking at today!
THE FIGURE ITSELF
Aztek was initially released in the second series of three-packs from Mattel’s Justice League Unlimited line, where he was packed with Superman and Sinestro. Why those two? Your guess is as good as mine. It’s worth noting that the packaging for this set incorrectly listed his name as “Aztec,” which is the name of the civilization, not the character. Good research there Matty. Aztek was later released single-carded, and his name was correct there, so I guess they learned. The figure stands about 4 3/4 inches tall and has the usual 5 points of articulation. He was built on the medium-sized male body (a retooled Green Lantern mold), with a unique head and arms, as well as the legs of Red Tornado and an add-on for his chest piece. The new pieces were all pretty solid work. The head’s sort of stuck looking a bit up all the time, but I suppose there are worse things. The add-on for the torso lines up surprisingly well with the sculpted shoulder pads of the arms, so that’s actually pretty cool, as are the details on the gauntlets. The paintwork on Aztek is decent. It was a bit better when he was still brand new, as he’s plagued by the same issue that so many gold-painted figures from this era tend to be plagued by. At one point, his shoulders matched with the torso, but no longer. I’m still iffy on the whole concept of metallic colors on the animated figures at all, but I guess it is what it is. Aztek included no accessories (unless you count the other two figures in the set), as was the norm with figures in the three-packs.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
I picked up Aztek (and his pack-mates) back when he was new. I believe I found him at a Walmart outside of Dewey Beach, while on a brief weekend trip with my family. I was a pretty big collector of the line at the time, so I was pretty pumped to have found the set in stores, especially after the rarity of most of the first series three-packs. Ultimately, I don’t know much about Aztek or have a ton of attachment to him, but this figure’s decent enough, and is on par with JLU when it was at its best.