There are two times of year it's most exciting to be a fan of the DC Super Heroes line of LEGO sets. One is June, when a new wave of LEGO sets is released; the other is January. When a new wave of LEGO sets is released. This coming January I'm more excited than usual, because LEGO is finally breaking away from its Batmania that started in 2006. At this point we've seen over a dozen different Batman villains (each of whom I love in their own special way), and at least that many different Batman minifigures (who I also love, but think there should be more Robins, Nightwings, Batgirls, Commissioner Gordon...you get the idea). LEGO has had a broader DC Comics license for a few years now, and this winter they're finally expanding their ranks with a proper Justice League line of LEGO sets. This is a preview of four of the five sets we'll be getting at the beginning of January. The price has been made public for the Green Lantern set--all of the others are my estimates based on the number of LEGO pieces and minifigures included.
Green Lantern vs Sinestro 174 pieces, $19.99
Minfigures: Green Lantern (Hal Jordan), Sinestro, Space Batman
I'll probably say this about every set, but this is one I've been looking forward to for a long time. LEGO released their only Green Lantern minifigure as an exclusive at San Diego Comic Con a few years back, and it's bugged me ever since. They made him a character in last spring's "The LEGO Movie," but still no minifig. So he's long overdue, and as a key member of the Justice League, it's about frigging time. The set is a "Green Lantern spaceship" built using mostly green and transparent green pieces to look like one of his ring constructs. There's also a Green Lantern power battery inside a protective forcefield of some kind. The minifigures are a Hal Jordan Green Lantern and a Sinestro Corps-uniformed Sinestro. There's also Batman in a spacesuit, which is a new variant of Batman we haven't had before. A great set at a fair enough price point that Certain Obsessed Fans will probably buy multiples of to grow their Green Lantern Corps and Sinestro Corps. Really, I wish they had added one alien Green Lantern, like Tomar Re or Kilowog instead of Batman, but hey. Batman sells.
Gorilla Grodd Goes Bananas 347 pieces, approx $39.99
Minifigures: Flash, Batman, Wonder Woman, Gorilla Grodd, Captain Cold, Truck Driver
This set has more minifigures than any of the others in this series, including the sets with twice the number of LEGO pieces and twice the price. So if you're in it for the little dudes, this might be one to look at. The Flash-themed set has Flash, Wonder Woman and Batman teaming up to fight two of the Flash supervillains, Gorilla Grodd and Captain Cold. There's also a hapless truck driver who was driving a banana truck before Grodd lost his shit. See, he's an ape, and...never mind. Grodd himself is what LEGO nerds have started calling "bigfigs" -- characters like the Hulk who are still supposed to be humanoid-shaped, but are too large to be adequately realized as a traditional minifigure. I like them, even though sometimes they end up looking grossly out of scale to the other characters. Grodd looks like a generic huge gorilla, without his sometimes-traditional mind control cap or purple cape. I like him that way. Flash and Batman are both pretty much what you'd expect, as is Captain Cold. Batman does come with a big-ass Bat-mech, which I believe is the first time we've seen one of those. Kinda digging it. Wonder Woman comes with her invisible jet, which is something I've been looking forward to forever...and then I saw it, and was underwhelmed. And a little pissed off. I mean, this is finally the invisible jet we're going to have, and the only one we'll ever get...and it's this?? I mean...that's not even shaped like a jet! It took my ten year old son pointing out to me that they made it a "W" shape like the Wonder Woman logo for me to get behind it. I've almost accepted it. Almost. It's also the "New 52" version of Wonder Woman, with a slightly different costume than the classic WW; if you're looking for that, you can pick her up right now at Amazon in a $15 set that also includes Superman and Lex Luthor in an awesome armored mech. You should do that. Before it goes away forever.
Black Manta Deep Sea Strike 387 pieces, approx $49.99
Minifigures: Aquaman, Black Manta, Batman, Scuba Robin
This is a set I never thought I'd see. Aquaman's a personal favorite superhero of mine (I've dressed up like him at least three times)(recently)(like last week), and anything that gets an Aquaman minifigure out there is great. But I never thought I'd see Black Manta. Manta is Aquaman's nemesis, and I dig his freaky helmet, his submarine, his robotic voice, his murdering of Aquababy...love that guy. Anyway. This gets us the Manta submarine, classic versions of Aquaman and Black Manta, and a new Batsub, Batman, and Scuba Robin. There's a small "Penguin vs Batman" set that has Batman in scuba gear, so if you want your dynamic duo to match, pick that up now. Plus it has a kickass Rubber Duckie vehicle for the Penguin. You can't go wrong.
Darkseid Invasion 545 pieces, approx $69.99
Minifigures: Superman, Green Arrow, Cyborg, Hawkman, Darkseid
The largest set revealed so far features a Justice League Javelin -- a spaceship introduced in the "Justice League" cartoons that's had some staying power. It gives us another bigfig in Darkseid, with Justice Leaguers Superman, Green Arrow, Cyborg and Hawkman teaming up to stop him. Darkseid's on a hover sled of some kind, but going it solo; in my opinion he should have a pair of parademons helping him out. And Kalibak. And Desaad. And Steppenwolf. And Granny Goodness. And the Furies. And...you get the idea. But hey, it's one of Superman's archenemies, and since we've been fighting the inmates of Arkham Asylum for a decade, it's about frigging time that Kryptonian got his. Cyborg and Hawkman came out of left field for me, because they both require newly sculpted headpieces, which is something LEGO doesn't do lightly. They're here, and I'm happy. Would I have liked to add Hawkgirl to that mix? Heck yes. Will I cry into my pillow about it at night? Maybe.
Brainiac Attack (number of pieces, price unknown)
Minifigures: Superman, Supergirl, Martian Manhunter, Brainiac
The final set we don't know much about. It will be a LEGO Store exclusive, which can be bought at the brick and mortar LEGO Stores, or online at LEGO.com. We know it has at least the characters listed above, but possibly others as well. My hope is that it has a version of Brainac's Skull Ship. Because if not, it's a wasted opportunity to introduce an iconic vehicle from the DC Universe. Bring it.
In summary, if you bought every one of these sets, your teams would look like this:
- Batman (x3)
- Wonder Woman
- Green Lantern
- Green Arrow
- Martian Manhunter
Legion of Doom
- Black Manta
- Captain Cold
- Gorilla Grodd
...not too shabby. I could list characters for hours that should or could be included; I'd really like Wonder Woman's archenemy Cheetah to be included, I'd like more female superheroes like Hawkgirl, Black Canary and Zatanna, they need more of this or that--but this is a damn good start. They've gone from having an all-Batman lineup to a more comprehensive roster...with three new Batman variants thrown in. Because the reality is, Batman is Batman, and kids will bug Mom and Dad to buy him before they will the fishy guy in orange and green tights. But those kids will play with the fishy guy, and the bird guy, and the guy who runs fast, and the lady in the transparent, but not quite invisible, plane. And they'll love them.