CCI, Day 1: Mattel Brings Some Superhero "Action"

width="143" height="190" alt="" align="" border="0">Mattel's "Justice League Unlimited" Banner

The Mattel Action Figure panel began with a packed house in Room 2, today at the Comic-Con International in San Diego. While the first few slides were about anime properties "Naruto" and "Avatar," most fans in line seemed to be there for news about "Justice League Unlimited" and other DC action figure properties. The panel began with an abundance of technical difficulties, soon overcome through creative methods, eliciting many "buy a Mac" comments.

The Solomon Grundy convention exclusive figure was discussed. Mattel admits it was highly desired by fans. The packaging was particularly difficult at first but is now fully interactive with the figure. The packaging is an homage to a specific "Justice League Unlimited" episode, where Grundy fought Hawkgirl to the bitter end. Pulling the string on the back of the box causes the figure to rumble, as in the episode in question, when Grundy was filled with Chaos magic. There is also a variant of the figure, covered in sludge and featuring a soft clothing material. There will also be a Doomsday figure available in an exclusive 6-pack at Target stores across the nation. New packaging for the JLU figures will be appearing in stores, emphasizing the conflict with Darkseid, perhaps as an homage to the classic "Super Friends" series. When showing new waves of figures in stores, the "Justice Lords" version of Flash (in his Reverse-Flash costume) was labeled "diseased" instead of deceased, prompting the comment that "Flash has yellow fever." There was much laugher from all. The new JLU figures will include Volcana, Nemesis, Shade, Parasite, Stargirl, Huntress and new versions of old figures. We'll also see new 10-inch figures of Hourman, Aquaman and Wonder Woman, with cloth capes for all.

The DC Super-Heroes line will get new packaging, including fold-out dioramas for figures to help with displaying figures. The Four Horsemen will continue to sculpt figures, with new versions of Darkseid, Brainiac (Silver Age Style), Lex Luthor in power armor, and dark versions of Superman & Super-Girl. Target will get some nice two-packs, including a Superman/Bizarro two pack, one of three thematic theme packs. The other two include a Clark Kent/Superman pack and a Batman/Silver Age Batgirl two pack, which caused the crowd to erupt with cheers. We'll see large rotocast figures of Batman and Superman, with incredible amounts of details and poseability, with a likely retail cost of $30, and exclusive to Toys 'R Us.

"The Batman" will get new versions of old figures, and fans are also going to see Robin finally debut on toy shelves and in the cartoon. There's lots of new villain toys, such as Killer Moth and Killer Croc, the latter of whom has various features when utilizing real water.

There's also the "Man Of Steel" Superman line, which features Brandon Routh from "Superman Returns" in the logo. The line will feature a lot of toys for kids, to help them get into the Superman mythos. Spring 2007 will feature toys revolving around "Superman Returns," with figures such as Mongul and Metallo, who appear in the film's video game. The packaging has been redesigned, with a metallic theme on all the packaging to attract fans.

A "Legion of Superheroes" toy line was announced, tying in with the new cartoon series from Warner Bros. Not much could be revealed, but Mattel called the show "breathtaking" and think fans will love it.

width="230" height="173" alt="" align="" border="0">New "JLU" Villain Figures

The Q&A session revealed that the plans for bases to "JLU" figures were scrapped because of packaging issues, though there's still some discussion about bases in the future. As to why the DC Super-Heroes Doomsday figure isn't larger, the size is a result of fitting in other features and keeping the cost down. When compared to the Marvel Legends line by a fan, Mattel joked that with the Marvel Legends line moving to Hasbro, there won't be nearly as many accessories. Also, the "Justice Lord" version of Hawkgirl will be a Target exclusive in the future, likely as part of a three-pack.

The 10-inch JLU line of figures may feature figures who grow large, such as Giganta and Atom Smasher, but it's a matter of timing, said Mattel. There will be more female characters in all levels of the JLU toy line. There will not be a Hal Jordan Green Lantern figure for sale in the mass market.

There's no definitive lineup for the first wave of "Legion" toys, except that Superman was in it for sure.

The number one request for all of Mattel's lines? More female figures.

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