JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED (MATTEL)
“When a teenage Buddy Baker went hunting in the Adirondacks, he found more than big game – he found an alien spacecraft! After being exposed to its strange radiation, Buddy found he could take on the powers and characteristics of any nearby animal – down to regenerating severed limbs, like an earthworm. He has faced many surreal menaces, traveled through space, and seen his entire reality torn apart more than once, but he always remains plain old Buddy Baker, family man and occasional hero – an oasis of sanity in the stranger corners of the DC Universe.”
Though Justice League Unlimited covered most corners of the DC Universe, there were a few characters left notably absent. In many cases, it was where duplication of powers or gimmicks came into play, and a more minor character was chosen because of production team preferences. One such instance was Animal Man, whose role as an animal expert was passed off to the more minor B’wanna Beast. But at least Buddy found himself in the toyline.
THE FIGURE ITSELF
Animal Man came from towards the end of the Justice League Unlimited line, after it had left retail and moved to Matty Collector. Buddy was part of a three-pack which also included Adam Strange and a blue variant of the Prince Gavyn Starman. It’s almost a sensible pack-out, were the last sylable in that last name “fire” instead of “man,” but oh well. Buddy had no official JLU design, since he never appeared on the show, so this figure just animates his usual design. The figure stands 4 3/4 inches tall and he has 5 points of articulation. He’s built on the medium-sized male body, and re-uses the sleeved jacket arms from Mr. Terrific. He also gets a brand-new head sculpt and a new jacket add-on piece, replicating his denim jacket from the comics. The head is definitely a nice piece, and it’s well-fitted to the body. There’s a nice friendly sort of smile that seems appropriate for the character. The jacket piece is cool, because it could have easily been left out, and instead been replaced with another repaint of the Mr. Terrific piece. The unique piece adds a character specific flair to the figure, that makes him that much more impressive. Animal Man’s paintwork is clean, crisp, and very bold. The shiny black on the gloves and boots looks particularly sharp. Animal Man included no accessories, but that’s about normal for the line.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
By the time this set was released, I had mostly abandoned the JLU line, so I didn’t get Animal Man new. Instead, I got him last year from the largest antique mall in the country, on one the many long coastal drives I made over the course of last summer. He’s a very nice figure, and I’m glad I tracked him down.