#2399: Green Arrow

GREEN ARROW

TOTAL JUSTICE (KENNER)

“Expertly trained in archery and martial arts, young Connor Hawke now fights as the Green Arrow, taking the place of father, Oliver Queen, who died in battle after a lifetime of crimefighting. Armed with his enhanced action/reaction Fractal Techgear mega longbow, the new Green Arrow slings fear into the hearts of criminals everywhere!”

Over the years, there have been a few attempts to capture the lightning that was Kenner’s Super Powers line in a bottle.  The first was a pretty blatant knock off from Toy Biz, under the heading DC Super Heroes.  The second, Total Justice, came after the return of the license to Kenner themselves. As much as Super Powers was a rather timeless collection of evergreen looks, Total Justice is a hardcore product of its time.  One such product was the character line-up.  While there were lots of consistent names, many of the characters presented were new versions.  That includes today’s figure, the Green Arrow of the ’90s, Connor Hawke, the long-lost son of Oliver Queen, who’s now so lost that he doesn’t even exist.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Green Arrow was release in the third and final series of the Total Justice line, alongside Black Lightning, Parallax, and Huntress.  Truly, it was the line’s most exciting line-up for collectors, but I guess it’s not hard to see why the line didn’t have much traction after this.  The figure stands a little over 4 1/2 inches tall and he has 5 points of articulation.  The Total Justice line was privy to all manner of pre-posing, and Green Arrow was no exception.  In fact, Green Arrow is probably one of the most prominent examples, because, though he might have articulation, there’s pretty much only one single pose this guy’s ever going to be in.  At least in his case, it’s actually a pretty sensible one, since he’s holding his bow, arrow drawn, as if he’s aiming at some baddy.  Heck, he’s one of the few Green Arrow figures out there that can actually do this pose, so more power to Kenner on that.  Generally speaking, his sculpt is just one of the nicer ones to come out of the line.  The proportions aren’t quite as whack, the detailing is pretty crisp, and the expression on his face isn’t nearly as “x-treme” as a lot of the others from the line.  He’s just a solid recreation of the design of the character as seen in the comics at the time.  In terms of paint, the figure definitely takes some slight liberties, giving us a color palette that’s far more primary than what Connor tended to sport in the comics, and ultimately giving him a color scheme that looks more like his dad’s first costume.  It hits okay in a broad strokes sort of sense, but it definitely feels ever so slightly off, and is even missing some paint for certain sculpted details, most notably the straps on his chest.  Fortunately, Connor’s mold would get a re-use in Hasbro’s JLA line, where he wound up with a more comic-accurate color scheme, which had all the proper details painted.  The only slight downside to this later release is that his skin-tone got noticeably lightened, reflecting the tendency of colorists in the comics to forget Connor’s mixed heritage from time to time.  Both releases of the figure had the bow and arrow piece included.  The JLA release also got a display stand, while the TJ release got some of that sweet fractal armor that all the kids were clamoring for.  It’s pretty hellishly goofy, but it wasn’t as wonky as some of the other figures from the line.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I got the JLA release of this figure first, and it actually kick-started my JLA collection.  See, when Hasbro released the JLA figures, they offered them up both as singles and as two larger boxed sets (available only through specialty stores).  The mall that my grandmother used to take me to had a KB Toys and a comic book store called Another Universe right across from each other, and I usually hit up both to find something I wanted when we’d visit.  On this particular visit, I spotted the JLA set that included Green Arrow, but I really just wanted him.  The very helpful guy behind the counter told us he had just seen the single Green Arrow at the KB, so we ran over, but alas, none to be found.  Since he’d been so helpful, my grandmother decided to just buy me the whole boxed set, thereby taking my JLA collection from 0 to 5, and getting me this dude.  He’s been with me since, and I finally got his Total Justice counterpart last fall from a trip to the country’s largest antique mall.  I still like my JLA figure the most, of course, but they’re both cool in their own right.

#1706: Reverse Flash

REVERSE FLASH

TOTAL JUSTICE (KENNER)

It’s not uncommon for superhero stories to introduce a villain that’s some sort of dark reflection of the hero, but there are few instances as straight forward as Professor Zoom, the Reverse Flash.  Reverse is right there in the name.  Toy makers are fond of this particular character, since he’s a pretty easy palette swap of the Flash.  I’m looking at one of those figures today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Reverse Flash was released in 1999 as a ToyFare magazine exclusive continuation of Kenner’s Total Justice toyline.  Despite how easy it is to make the character, this would be his very first figure (though one was planned for Kenner’s Super Powers line before the line ended).  The figure stands 4 3/4 inches tall (and would be closer to an even 5 if he were standing up straight) and he has 5 points of articulation.  The sculpt for this figure is, predictably, reused from the main line’s version of Flash. Now, if you want to get technical, it’s a Wally West Flash, and Professor Zoom should have Barry’s costume, but the differences are minor enough that it’s not really worth complaining about.  As far as the quality of the sculpt, it’s got all the hallmarks of this line, with the proportions and muscularature being super exaggerated and the whole figure being super pre-posed. Of course, the pre-posing is less of an issue here, since they gave him more of a running pose.  Zoom’s paint is reasonable enough.  It’s a bit brighter than the corresponding Flash was, and the yellow looks a touch goofy with how blindingly bright it is.  Also, the contrast really isn’t there between the eyes and the mask, like it was on the Flash.  Perhaps black eyes might have worked better?  It’s not terrible, though. Reverse Flash included no accessories, but since all the main Flash got was tactical armor, I don’t feel like he’s really missing out.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

It’s this figure that’s the whole reason I even know this character exists. Back when I was much smaller, I saw him on a dealer’s table at a Farpoint.  He was too pricey for me to get at the time, but my dad explained the character to me, and I’ve been intrigued ever since.  It’s taken a while, but I finally found this guy, courtesy of House Of Fun, last November.  He’s pretty simple, but still a lot of fun.

#1624: Batman

BATMAN

TOTAL JUSTICE (KENNER)

“Batman – and alter ego millioinaire industrialist Bruce Wayne – relies on his superb athletic skills, excellent detective work and amazing crime-fighting devices to combat the forces of evil. Using his Fractal Techgear armor equipped with side rocket thrusters and rigid glider cape, the Dark Knight is able to soar through the night skies to take on evildoers.”

In the ‘90s, any DC product that wasn’t Batman was a serious rarity.  Less than a decade after the expansive Super Powers line, Kenner’s only full DC line was Total Justice, a line that didn’t even manage to get us a whole Justice League line-up.  Still, it was all we had, and we liked it, darn it.  So, what figure am I looking at from this decidedly non-Batman-centric line?  Batman, of course.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Batman was released in Series 1 of the Total Justice line, the first of two variants of the character available over the course of its run.  This one was the more standard of the two.  The figure stands 5 inches tall and he has 5 points of articulation, plus sliding glider wings.  I know what you’re thinking:  sliding glider wings?  Why on earth does Batman have sliding glider wings?  Your guess is as good as mine.  I guess Kenner just wanted to do something different.  Beyond the wings, we have a sculpt that is perhaps the most Total Justice-y Total Justice sculpt ever released.  Pre-posed doesn’t *begin* to describe this guy.  He’s contorted in all sorts of crazy ways.  Why?  Because he’s Batman, I guess.  On top of that, his muscles are insanely detailed and just about to tear through his costume.  His muscles have muscles.  He’s likely beaten up crime and stolen all of its muscles, just to augment his personal supply of muscles.  And then he used his fortune to buy a few more muscles on top of that.  Lot of muscles is what I’m getting at here.  The crazy thing about it all?  I actually kind of like it.  It’s crazy extreme, but the tiny details in areas like his boots and gloves are rather impressive.  As insane as this sculpt is, someone was clearly having fun with it.  The paint on Batman is decent enough, though it’s fairly basic stuff overall.  A lot of the color work is just molded plastic, but what paint’s there is cleanly applied.  Batman, like his line-mates, was packed with a bunch of goofy tactical armor.  Because what Batman really needs is a set of tech-y armor with a rocket mounted on each knee.  That’s so like him.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I did not have this particular Batman growing up.  I *did* have the JLA repaint, but he didn’t have the fancy Tactical Armor, and what’s this Batman without the armor?  I picked this guy up from Lost In Time Toys, back during the holiday season, when they were running a 50% off sidewalk sale.  This figure is kind of ridiculous, but in the best possible way.

#0260: Black Lightning

BLACK LIGHTNING

TOTAL JUSTICE

BlackLightning1

In the 90s, any DC toyline whose title didn’t include “Batman” was a rarity. In fact they were almost non-existent. Even today’s focus line Total Justice was originally called Batman: Total Justice. And this was a line that didn’t even really focus on Batman! I guess Kenner must have come to their sense by the time the line actually saw release, because the packaging dropped Batman’s name from the title.

Anyway, Total Justice was essentially a line based on the Justice League. Years later, the line would even be continued under the name JLA. The line offered many collectors the first chance since Super Powers to actually have a decent line up of DC characters, but it was plagued by silly “Tactical Armor,” a lack of decent articulation, and, most famously, X-Treme! poses. However, it was the only chance at getting those characters for quite some time, so collectors had to grin and bear it. Let’s have a look at one of the line’s more obscure additions, Black Lightning!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

BlackLightning2Black Lightning was released in the third and final series of Total Justice. This series was easily the most daring series of the line, as it lacked any heavy hitters. Black Lightning stands about 5 inches tall and features 5 points of articulation. The figure depicts Lightning in his costume from the time, which deviated a fair bit from his other costumes. It’s not a terrible design, but it’s easily my least favorite look of his, which hurts the figure a bit. Black Lightning featured an all new sculpt, though the arms and legs would be slightly retooled to be used for JLA’s Impulse and Superboy, respectively. The sculpt is actually rather reserved by Total Justice standards. The legs are in a slightly wonky pose, but the arms are actually in a pretty natural stance, and the face is surprisingly calm for this series. The paint work is rather simple, but it’s mostly evenly applied, with no real issues present. Black Lightning included torso and leg armor, as well as a big missile launcher thing. While this series was the first of Total Justice to give figures more sensible accessories, Lightning was not as lucky as his peers, and got stuck with the same usual wacky stuff.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Black Lightning was the Total Justice figure I was always missing. There are other figures from the line I still don’t have, but this one was the only one from the final series, and he was also one of two heroes not to see a re-release in the JLA line (the other was Hawkman. I think it mostly had to do with the dated designs the figures sported.) So, when I finally found him at my local comicbook store a few weeks ago, I was happy to get one. Not thrilled or anything, but content. Sometimes, being content is enough.