BATMAN BEYOND & BRUCE WAYNE
JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED (MATTEL)
“In the not too distant future, an older Bruce Wayne trains high school student Terry McGinnis to become the new Batman, ensuring the protection of Gotham City for years to come.”
Would you believe there was a time where we were thankful for Mattel making up for the mistakes of Hasbro? I know, that must have been a strange bizarro world. When Batman Beyond hit the airwaves, Hasbro had fully absorbed Kenner and were back to making toys under their own name again, and they…weren’t the best at it. For their Beyond line, they decided that rather than doing anything that followed the actual show, they’d do a bunch of wacky non-standard variants of the title character instead. It was a reasonable toy line, but not much of a companion for the show. A show-accurate version of the main character, as well as a handful of the supporting cast, would eventually get their due courtesy of Mattel and their Justice League Unlimited toy line.
THE FIGURES THEMSELVES
Bruce and Terry were released in a three-pack alongside fellow Beyond character Warhawk in one of the final retail assortments of the Justice League Unlimited line. Terry would also see release as a single-carded figure, but this was the only way to get Bruce.
The main character of the show, Terry was not short on action figures, but he was short on accurate ones. This figure changes that…more or less. He’s wearing his standard gear from the show, which is a pretty darn timeless design. The figure stands 4 3/4 inches tall and he has 5 points of articulation. Batman Beyond is built on one of the line’s mid-sized bodies, in fact the one retrofitted from the original Justice League Batman body. It’s honestly a little bit on the large side for Terry, and he’d probably have looked more at home on the skinny body that they built out of Flash. Ultimately, it’s not the worst look, and is okay for maybe a slightly later career Terry as seen in “Epilogue.” Given it’s the JLU line and that was his main JLU appearance, I suppose it’s not totally unreasonable. He gets a new head and a slightly tweaked set of arms. The head is a fairly reasonable recreation of the animation design, certainly closer than any of Hasbro’s attempts. It’s a little on the large side, but that ends up making the body look slightly more proportionate, I suppose. The arms are pretty much just the standard ones for this body, but with the scallops on the back of the forearms. The paint work on BB is fairly basic, just the standard details for him. One notable omission is the mouth, which really should be white like the eyes. Instead, it’s left unpainted, which makes it easily lost in the sculpt.
Despite many figures of his younger self, this was the very first figure we got of the elder Bruce Wayne as seen for most of Beyond‘s run. I mean, I guess it’s a little harder fault Hasbro on not releasing this one; he’s an old guy in a suit. Not a ton of play potential there. Coupled with a fully suited up Terry and Warhawk, though, he’s admittedly an easier sell. The figure stands 4 3/4 inches tall and has 5 points of articulation, just like his companion. Bruce was built on Mattel’s revamped suit body of the time, but given the slightly bulkier arms of Hal Jordan/Mr. Terrific, as well as a unique head and an add-on piece for the torso. The head is a respectable match for Bruce’s design from the show, but is rather on the small side, especially when compared to Terry’s oversized head. It also has a straighter neck than Bruce tended to have in the show. The add-on piece, conversely, adds in some of Bruce’s slight hunch from the show, but when coupled with the very straight neck, plus the arms that really weren’t designed for this body, he ends up looking like his shoulders are about half and inch too low. It’s not ideal. Like Terry, Bruce’s paint is fairly basic, though he doesn’t have any obviously missing apps, which I suppose is a good thing. What he *is* missing is his cane, which he was pretty much never seen without on the show. Seems like a pretty glaring omission if you ask me.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
I fell out of JLU towards the end, so by the time that this set was at retail, I was pretty much gone. I remember seeing pictures, but the distribution was such that I never saw it anywhere in person. I can’t say I felt like I was really missing it, but this pair got traded into All Time several weeks back and I had some trade credit, so I decided I kind of wanted them. Are they great? No. Are they good? Eh. Are they fairly passable, fairly accurate recreations of the source material? More or less.