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Young Justice
6″ Aqualad Review

Since Kaldur is built using a basic DCUC buck, articulation is what we’re used to: ball-joints at the neck and shoulders, swivels at the biceps, waist, wrists, and thighs, hinges at the elbows, knees, and ankles, the ab crunch, and the 4H hips. I still miss the insert-molded ankles (and playing with my new Thundercats figures all weekend has me hating swivel wrists with a passion), but everything else is here including some good neck articulation. The only thing that gives me pause is the conflict between the torso and the biceps – it prevents the arms from being able to put down to his sides. I worry that all the Legion figures may suffer similarly.

The paint work was pretty sharp on most of the figure. The costume details are nice throughout except for a little gold bleed on the belt and that aforementioned left eye. The left eye is actually my greatest source of irritation with the figure. The iris/pupil is painted a little larger than the other and the white of the eye doesn’t entirely fill the allotted spot on the sculpt. What results is a face that looks a bit lop-sided. It’s not as noticeable in person or in most poses, but the close-up pictures exaggerate it.

Kaldur’s powered up armbands (tattoos?) are a little rough around the edges, but are mostly sharp. The paint doesn’t extend to the waterpack like in the show because of the ball-jointed shoulder, but that doesn’t bother me. It’s a cool look and I’d rather have them blue than black.

One of the selling points for the $20 $22 price-point is that each figure includes seven accessories. Aqualad’s two waterbearers get things started, but he also includes five water constructs: two swords, a mallet, a mace, and an axe. These are all pretty cool, but Mattel strangely chose to not have them plug into the waterbearers like they should. Each accessory has an unpainted waterbearer molded to it. It’s not a deal-breaker, just odd.

The waterbearers do plug into one thing however! The handy-dandy base, or more specifically, the spout of water erupting from the tank. It’s kinda neat, but it’s also the only way that the figure plugs in the base so itโ€™s also kinda weird. Why no foot pegs?

The base itself is fun enough. My only specific complaint with it is that the wheel isn’t sized appropriately for a figure to be able to hold it. That said, I find myself wishing there was a larger plan here – that the bases could be combined into some sort of training room or… something. As individual pieces, there isn’t too much fun or novel about them. As a collector, they’re too big and bulky, so with no special reason to keep them out, they all find their way to storage. I find it folly for a collector to speak of what may or may not interest a modern child, but I don’t know how fun they are for them either. If the base is going to remain a large selling point for the high price, something should be done to make them more worthwhile to everyone.

Overall, yeah, I’ve got a few specific complaints – the exaggerated left eye, the warped limbs – and some nitpicks that ultimately don’t matter much, but I’m still happy I bought this figure. I love the source material and he’s a great rendition (see, I can appreciate that cartoon head) of it. He’s a sharp addition to my shelf. It’s also great to have half the team in the first three releases! Of course, that is somewhat tempered by the knowledge that only one of the next four will help finish the team and there’s not even one version of Miss Martian in the first eight figures. Didn’t we just get finished with Mattel screwing us over by holding out on Martians?

For more DC reviews, check out our
DC Universe Classics Collector’s Guide.

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42 comments to Young Justice
6″ Aqualad Review

  • you_will_forget

    I’m really looking forward to picking these up, just need money and a willing American.

    Surely I’m due a lottery win?

    Jo

  • orionpax636

    I haven’t picked up any of these, but this guy looks just cool enough to make me bite.

    Concerning the warpage, would you consider using this remaining portion of my comment for your next Matty Q&A? “Dear Matty, why do you INSIST on posing figures in package despite the HORRIBLE WARPING it causes that is DESPISED by opener and MOC collectors alike?”

    • DerrickUltima

      Because they don’t care. They’ve been aware of the problem for a LONG time now.

      • Brainlock

        surely if they can fix Jelly Legs Unlimited, then….oh, wait. NEVERMIND!

        I haven’t been impressed by the show OR the figures I’ve seen so far, but…I’m starting to like this guy. OTOH, Is it wrong that I keep looking at him and thinking how easy it would be to repaint him into GARTH? no?

        • ๐Ÿ˜› We need to just keep shouting at Mattel for a Garth.

          On the subject of the figures and limb warpage, what does bother me is the use of the more rubbery plastic on the limbs in the first place. Why can’t the whole figure be made of the same sturdy plastic that’s used from shoulders to thighs? I’ve never understood that.

  • Lay Ze-Man

    Agreed that should’ve gone for a better blend on the style of the heads, it’s the main thing that throws these figures off IMO.

    Accessories here look like tons of fun though! I remember when DCUC would get occasional cool accessories like that!

    • Yeah, looking back – I didn’t talk those up enough, opting to point out the oddness of how they were made. I really love his accessories; they’re a ton of fun!

  • They HAVE to pose the figures in extreme ways in the package! Otherwise how will you know they can pose and aren’t just stiff statues? ๐Ÿ™‚

    (This particular nonsense seems to be driven by the Toybiz super articulated Spider-Man figure from long ago. Guess that thing had massive sales. Of course there may have been a hit movie and a rush of toy geeks wanting that comic posing Todd McFarlane look that may have helped that push too…)

    And that packaging….man. designed for the ‘collector’ that doesn’t open their toys and to take up shelf space.

    I have to say, I’m kinda attracted to the 2-packs of smaller figures, the ‘mentor and sidekick’ stuff. There’s a sharp looking Batman in that line.

  • Outofstep81

    RE: Appealing to kids….it doesn’t matter what they put in it to justify the price, kids aren’t buying these. Maybe the smaller figures but not the 6in ones. Parents aren’t paying that much when there’s 100 other things to choose, but the bigger issue is the show itself, specifically that it’s rarely on tv. My 5 year old loves it and would love the figures but it’s never on and gets forgotten. This is also a kid who’s favorite figures are Deadman, Shark, and Arkillo so it’s not like the YJ figures are too obscure for him to dig. That and as usual, distribution is pretty bad. Add it all up and you’re left with almost only adult collectors buying these.

    Great review regardless.

    • I have to agree that the price point isn’t kid-friendly. These seem to exist in an overthough no man’s land. My Target sold through the first case, but the second hasn’t moved, TRU hasn’t sold any (at a ridiculous $25), and I’ll have to check back in on this Wal-mart on Thursday or so to see how they’re doing there.

      Cartoon Network is run by monkeys though, no doubt. If DC/WB is serious about getting their product out on multiple platforms, they need to clean house at CN. Those morons strangle cartoons to death for a living.

  • Battle Catman

    That picture with Mera, Aquaman, and Aqualad reminds me how odd Mattel’s character choices were. Hasbro’s been ambitious to make a figure out of damn near every background character and alien in their Star Wars lines…but only AFTER the main cast was done.

    It’s like making Cantina Alien #42 and two new Imperial Officers before C-3PO.

    • You’re not implying that Mattel is foolish for not getting Ram-Man out in the first year of MOTUC when interest and subscriptions were still rising, are you? Because clearly you’re not aware of the development and logistics and synergy and quantum flow embedded into the manufacturing paradigm and the holistic corporate environment!

      heheheheh ain’t I a stinker? ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Battle Catman

        I can understand spreading out the A-list characters to keep interest up and so you don’t choke the tail end of the line with losers no one wants and sales plummet, but when Mattel does it, it feels more mean-spirited for some reason.

        • dayraven

          the problem is man, it’s like delaying orgasm… it heightens the experience up to a point, but at some point, you just wanna come and go get a twinkie. mattel delays that orgasm until even sting has lost interest and then they look at us and ask “hey, where ya goin?”

        • Yeah, I know, it’s just…

          See, if they go to that ‘key figures + a couple of odd ones’ packout then we REALLY will get a peg clogger problem. The B, C list figures (and maybe, shall we call them the A- figures?) will be scooped up instantly and we’ll get pegs filled with No-Shorts Superman, Not-Quite Movie Batman and “look! I got toes!” Green Lantern.

          Then there won’t be any new orders and “Woops, guess nobody wants super heros unless they’re a movie line” becomes the action line.

          • My first reaction is that if DC moved the same units as Star Wars, my life as collector would be so much simpler. Hell, if they could just move as many units as Marvel figures, I’d take that in a heartbeat.

            You guys are all correct – Mattel needs to hold on to certain characters to keep attrition down, but they also need to not hold out too long in some areas. For MOTU, I think the fans are just too fickle – we got Clawful & Man-E-Faces this year, but Ram Man has taken on this iconic status. It’s suddenly a lot more important to get him than it really should be – in that case, Mattel should make up him right away and let a new character – Mekaneck? Stinkor? Take that over-emphasized role.

            I didn’t mind Martian Manhunter waiting until Wave 15 too much… but I think the YJ Brand Manager would be better served to know that Scott already used a martian to draw out his line and to not follow that path. YJ should’ve given us M’gann right away much in the way the MU brand managers knew to focus on characters that never got MLs to hook us.

            • Lee in MI

              I think the angst for certain characters have more to do with Mattel’s track record than it does with the impatience of fans. Just take a second to remember their not to distant pass:

              MOTU 200x: epic fail (how many characters from that line never got made?)
              DCIH: fail…tons of stuff abandoned there
              BMBB: still waiting to find out if that line is dead and what might never see the light of day
              JLU: dead…several fan favorite figures shown that apparently won’t be produced
              Retro Action Heroes: dead with reported fruit on the vine
              DCUCs: Almost Dead! With getting only 1 fig per month for 9 months and Mattel’s license ending in 2012, who knows what figs we will never see if Mattel doesn’t manage to secure the DC license again.

              So I can understand that collectors would rather see Matty blow his wad early on with the main guys rather than wait and possibly miss out altogether.

            • Well, you know my thing with Ram-Man. He was one of the core characters of the cartoon for a good number of episodes, and completing that ‘team’ has value to some, I believe. Hence my question/thought if there are ‘A-‘ characters- that is, unquestionably needed but maybe not really a major player in the eyes of many.

              Given that he’s going to have to be mostly new tooling with little re-use potential (unless Mattel decides to create an original character using some of the parts), Ram-Man is a large investment and hence ‘at risk’ if/when MOTUC falls into the danger zone. Making him as the line was growing in customer interest would have been less risky and might have been a more honest gauge for the long term health of the line but now, now the risk money is going to go towards what Mattel thinks of as ‘investment buyer’ figures, those items that will make the secondary market crazy, such as unproduced Powers of Grayskull toys, things released only in Italy and the ilk.

              We’ll probably get Skeletor’s robots before Ram-Man.

              • dayraven

                and don’t forget, rammie’s the last of the original 8 back characters left to produce… his significance isn’t just that he’s the sam to he-man’s frodo, he’s also an OG from the hood.

                as for the strategy of how to keep interest going, i think the key for he-man was staged roster completion. so like, you release he-man and skeletor to start things off, and concentrate just on them… as you wrap up team he-man and team skeletor, start in on NA he-man and the horde… finish them up, start in on 200x he-man vs the snake men.

                then the last couple years, the lowest priority she-ra figs are the focus, and you round out w/ version exclusive restyles or repaints, and again, sprinkle in some new characters. if interest persists, extend the line… if not, call it a day.

                of course, you can sprinkle in some new characters in here, like KG or the goddess, and some she-ra figs to keep things going, there’s no need to hardline through the complete rosters, but keep focus and complete one “tier” of characters before giving us the next. because each generation of figs has it’s no-so-hots and it’s heavy hitters, but by pacing things out like that, each year and a half or so, you feel like you’re accomplished something in completing a roster, plus you have a few new figs to make the shelf look nice, and you get the anticipation of the next roster to complete.

          • Battle Catman

            But it’s those B- and C-listers where you gotta bring your A-game.

            Again, look at Star Wars, specifically Clone Wars. How many times has a background or single-episode character gotten an incredible figure that’s too good to pass up?

            The He-Men, Snake Eyes, and Optimus Primes of the toy aisles will sell, guaranteed; it’s the Vikors, Low Lights, and Wheeljacks that need to make you sit up and go, “Oh, crap. THIS is a cool toy.”

            • I don’t disagree and from my POV we’re on the same page. ๐Ÿ™‚

              But maybe it’s not fair to compare Star Wars to anything, ya know? There’s really different rules in play, one being that Lucas is part owner of Hasbro. Ya have to admit that’s a game changer. ๐Ÿ™‚

              (IIRC Lucas took a 30% stake in Hasbro as part of the master SW licensing deal back before Eps. 1 came out)

              • Battle Catman

                I don’t think it’s fair to compare other toy companies to Hasbro, period. Sure, they got their chinks in their armor–repaints, too many variations of the popular characters–but when they knock one out of the park, it’s GONE.

                • Hm. As an old school GI Joe man (Fuzz head and kung-fu grip forever proud! Adventure Team REPRESENT! ๐Ÿ™‚ ) I have many, many beefs with Hasbro. So, I’m not unbiased. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • AmericanHyena

    I picked up the Robin purely for the weapons and the rooftop base (which now holds my DCSH/DCUC Batman family). Apparently I’m not the only one–just the only one with scruples, as I’ve seen a rather large number of Robin’s with the rooftop base ripped out of the package in my area. (L.A.)

    The rest of the bases don’t much do it for me and after having realized that ALL of my Public Enemies figures wound up in the storage bin, I decided to pass on the Young Justice stuff. Although, since he’s wearing a mask I maaaaaaaaay break down on Sports Master.

    • I have a little interest in Sportsmasters and Guardian (I love his base actually, but it’s more of a full backdrop), so I can see getting them maybe. I’m not sure.

      You’re right though – how we treated the PE figures is a good indicator. Banshee and Major Force stayed out here, but the rest went to storage bins…

  • its a damn shame there is no miss martian figures in 6 or 4 inch!

    • I know! The Brand Manager for that line really dropped the ball. After Toy Guru used Martian Manhunter to stretch out interest in DC Classics, she was the *last* person that should be used to do the same for Young Justice!

  • da man

    i am still not sure why they continue to pose them. They warp the figures!!!!! Most people are opening the toys, so there has to be a better way to show off all the accessories without the crazy posing.

    • I really don’t get it either. It doesn’t make me more included to buy, but maybe it works on someone else. Personally, I’d rather them just use sturdier plastic on the limbs and the warping issue would cease to exist.

  • Andy

    I agree that the price is bad on this line, but I feel like I’d cave if this show was on schedule. Do you realize the 1st episode aired last November? The only managed to air 9 episodes from then till March, ep. 10 leaked online over the summer and now they are finally getting to the remaining Episodes in September. That basically boils down to 1 episode a month for a year. Does anyone wanna watch their toons this way? Comparatively, the new Thundercats (which IMHO kicks YJ butt in every way) Will be airing it’s 8th episode in as many weeks. by the time these toys hit this summer, I’d become sick of the same 9 episode titles showing up on my VCR. I hope they schedule the GL animated series better than this

    • It’s nuts. I still haven’t given into Thundercats yet, but I’ve missed plenty. LOL

      • submit!

        New Thundercats is really amazing. They’re doing stuff with the show I didn’t think you could DO in an American cartoon anymore. Death! Betrayal! Making you question just who the good guys and the bad guys really are!

        I wish someone other than Bandai America had the toy license. OTOH Mattel or Hasbro would probably abandon the line after one wave because the show isn’t in strip syndication (M-F, 65 episodes, running in afternoon kidvid prime time).

        It’s funny, New Thundercats is doing what we anime fans have always called for. Serious, quality animation storytelling in a weekly timeslot just like any other ‘mainstream’ program. It’s as legit as Clone Wars but you know, Clone Wars is Major Name and Tcats is just a silly toy cartoon from the ’80s… humph.

        • the new Thundatcats SHOW is awesome its just too bad the figures are such dog garbage

          • Agreed.

            I suspect there’s people at Bandai America that want success but I suspect the Japanese home office doesn’t really care. The QC makes Mattel look like perfection. ๐Ÿ™‚

            I still may end up buying a Thundertank. Then I have to buy the two clip-on Tronish motorbikes. *sigh*

            Show is just amazing. Haven’t been this excited about an American cartoon since Batman the Animated Series.

  • da man

    I cannot figure out why things are such a mess at CN. They way they handle most series makes many shows unwatchable cause you can never find anything on a consistent basis. What a mess over there.

  • da man

    Yeah man i remember trying to find the original Thundercats when they aired them but could never find it in the same place twice???

  • I have yet to even see a aqualad in stores all we have isn robin and artemis…not hat I would buy a 6 inch aqualad for 20-25$ anyway but it would benice to see him. Guess I shouldnt complains eeing as my TRU managed to get all of series 2 of the 4in figures before the bogo ended.