Welcome to the Complaint Department. This is where I talk about aspects of a brand or company that just make me go:
I believe in complaining with a greater purpose. I want things to be better. I don’t want to hate things I watch or buy but when we’re given a poorly made product or piece of media, should we not say what was wrong and hope companies will evolve and challenge themselves to do better? I think so. Is it going to happen?
Another post about building toys? You bet. I promise that after this bunch the next one will absolutely not be about building toys. These will cover a lot of what I think about the Lego Super Heroes theme. What’s lame about collecting it, aspects that do nothing but make the majority mad, and what some fans have resorted to in response to Lego’s inaction or incompetence. I could go on forever which I’m sure some of you will feel I did but instead I separated my thoughts into four parts. Each part ties into the last so I hope you stick around.
This one will focus on character diversity and how some characters are treated when put in a Lego set(s).
Disclaimer: Before I start I want to tell you that parts of these posts are pure conjecture based on what I’ve seen or experienced. I’d like to think I’m on point with a lot of what I say but I cannot say that everything here is fact or based on facts. I don’t know the inner workings of the brands and companies I talk about unless that information’s out there and I’ve seen it.
Most of my Lego is from the Super Heroes line. While I’m not well-versed in all of Lego’s themes I feel that this one has been severely mishandled be it Lego’s fault or DC/Marvel. Someone’s doing something stupid and while I don’t know the over and under of my issues here, I call it as I see it. To be fair, there’s a chance a lot of these dumb decisions may very well be smart and beyond my comprehension. I mean, there has to be some brilliance in using regular Spider-Man in all seven sets that feature him. He’s only got that one outfit, right? What’s a “The Flash”? Put him with Batman and Riddler who now has a car for reasons unknown. Couldn’t just be a Batmobile set with Flash and Professor Zoom who’s essentially a repaint? You’d rather draw up a complicated Two-Face-like Riddler suit?
This brings me to the first issue I would like to bring up which is character diversity. I already mentioned the ridiculous overuse of the standard Spider-Man figure. While nowhere near that bad, there’s also an overabundance of Batman in the DC sets. Since the Super Heroes theme came out in 2012 and until now, Batman has been in every single DC set except for one. I’m excluding the Man of Steel sets of course. Most of the time it’s the all black suit Batman. There are Batman variants while Spider-Man has zero in his sets. However, if you have to put Batman and/or Spider-Man in a set, couldn’t you use a different/unique design? I can forgive Lego reusing a suit once or twice between releases, but not in the same wave… Then again, it takes no effort for Lego to keep using these two so I hope you really like that black suit Batman and standard Spidey, kids!
For every Batman/Spider-Man figure, Bat-vehicle, and even Spider-vehicle they put in sets, you’re wasting slots for heroes, villains, or vehicles people might actually recognize. If Batman was only in one or two DC sets per wave, kids who want him will just get those. He doesn’t need to be in every set, especially not in the same suit. Wouldn’t it be nice if they had other Justice League members or heroes and villains who need some of that spotlight? I think even kids start to wonder why they have so many Batman and Spider-Man figures. Gradually, and by that I mean painfully slowly they’ve been putting out the Justice League members. We almost have the core members at easily obtainable status. There is no excuse for this as they’re essentially main characters. I can understand Lego spreading them out among all the Batman-themed sets, but the Justice League should’ve been a priority. Instead, most of the sets have Batman with a Batman villain as the focus. It’s one thing to be cheap and reuse molds/designs, it’s another to keep doing it constantly. In the old Lego Batman line, this was more or less fine but it’s called Lego Super Heroes now. Aquaman and Flash seemed like afterthoughts thrown into purely Batman-themed set at the last minute. If you had to have Batman, couldn’t you make him the last minute throw-in instead with a set focused on other characters?
Let’s talk about Green Lantern who’s finally in a retail set next year. Since being given out at San Diego Comic-Con in 2011, there has been no Green Lantern for fans to complete their Justice League. In all fairness, that figure is based on the live-action film so it wouldn’t fit in with the comic-inspired characters we’ve been getting. Still, it’s ridiculous that it took close to four years for Green Lantern to get a retail release. If a Green Lantern was made earlier we could’ve gotten different Lanterns by now. Lego loves to lazily reuse parts and that’s what could’ve been done here with the torso and legs. Let’s not forget that while the Super Heroes line was going, there was a Green Lantern cartoon so some kids knew who or what a Green Lantern was. Let’s also not forget that The Lego Movie included Green Lantern who got more lines than most cameos and they even got well-known actor Jonah Hill to play him. All the kids who saw that movie could not buy Green Lantern despite being semi-prominent. Forget not also that he was in the Lego Batman 2 game and the direct-to-video movie it was based on. It just doesn’t make any sense. They keep shoving him in our faces and nobody could buy him. By the time The Lego Movie came out, it wasn’t funny anymore. They’re building hype across the years for no reason. They must’ve known we wanted him. What was the hold-up? Did he not fit with Lego’s Batman-based business model? Perhaps they didn’t want to make too much money?I played Lego Batman 2 and Lego Marvel. The spread of characters in these games was overwhelming. They had main characters, obscure characters, characters no kid would know about, along with tons of variant suits and not just for Batman and Spider-Man. I question if Lego themselves had anything to do with these games besides calling them Lego Batman 2 and 3 instead of Lego DC. So, where are the figures? I’m looking at these guys and we have what, one tenth of one percent of these designs? The games basically tell me that Lego could make these guys but either don’t feel like it or don’t want to. I’ve been told that Lego does not have the license/rights for these game designs so they can’t use them. Not sure if that’s true but if it is I guess Lego should just give up then? I thought there were people at Lego who get paid to design face and torso prints. What, it’s too much work to alter the design to where it wouldn’t be deemed a copy and release it like that? Or how about trying to create their own take on a design source? Why is it the games can do all these characters/designs but Lego can’t? It’s frustrating because we could be getting more than Batman and Spider-Man every time. Even kids want to see their collection grow. With news of the new downloadable content for Lego Batman 3 which includes 40 characters and extra vehicles from The Dark Knight trilogy, Man of Steel, and the original comics Batman for his 75th anniversary, the though “Great, more cool figures we’ll never get.” came before “Oh, those look fun to play”.
It’s pitiful who we have from X-Men right now: two Wolverines, two Magnetos, Storm, Cyclops, and… a brick-built Sentinel. I don’t want to count Deadpool and Phoenix barely counts because of how she was released. For all my complaints about getting the Justice League so slowly, I don’t know when we’ll get a solid team for X-Men. They only have two sets right now and precious slots were wasted on a second Magneto and Wolverine. I’ll ease up on Wolverine because this one gives him his mask. No excuse for Magneto even if it’s a variant. Could’ve been another X-Men member because the Blackbird set already had a Sentinel for a bad guy.
We got Dr. Doom in a Spider-Man set, but where’s the Fantastic Four? Considering how often Lego loves forcing random vehicles into these sets, they couldn’t do the Fantasticar? Or are they plotting how they can separate the Fantastic Four so you’re forced to buy multiple sets for them? Someone submit the Fantasticar to Lego Ideas so it can get released like the Ghostbusters Ecto-1 set. It’s the same concept except The Thing should be a bigfig. Let’s also make sure The Thing fits in there perfectly. I found out recently that a Fantastic Four movie is coming out next year. I can’t believe there hasn’t been a trailer for this yet but it’d be nice if we got some sets. Let’s just hope their look in the film isn’t too far off from what we’re used to because this could be the Four’s only chance to be in Lego form. Let’s not waste it, Lego. I’m sure many would appreciate their classic look to go with the Dr. Doom we already have.
Here’s some extra thoughts as bullet points instead of paragraphs.
– In the Lego Batman games, Batman and Robin have to use various suits (magnet, vacuum, glide, demolition) to progress in each level. Why not use those designs in your sets? The designs are RIGHT THERE!!! They made an electro suit Batman figure so if that was possible, others probably were as well.
– Since all the Spidey sets are based on the Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon, where’s White Tiger? She’s the only main character in that show that hasn’t been made. Nothing new for female heroes I suppose…
– Before Lego Super Heroes we had Lego Batman in 2006. Why did it take until 2014 to get a Batgirl? Why are girl heroes so taboo? Who knows when we’ll get another Batgirl? I would’ve really liked a classic one, especially since that design is once again RIGHT THERE in the games. I’m sure many feel it’s better to have New 52 Batgirl than nothing, but why not both?
– No boot printing for Flash? The 2015 Flash better not be the 2014 one but with boot printing. Why so greedy on leg printing for Super Heroes?
– The Iron Man 3 sets were overall really poor but I’m really disappointed in the lack of Marvel movie tie-ins. Captain America 2 was amazing and I enjoyed Thor 2. Who doesn’t want a Winter Soldier figure? Proper Loki hair? The Spider-Trike set kind of counts for Amazing Spider-Man 2 even if it’s garbage but the Green Goblin we have is… no. Nobody wanted that over the Green Goblin everyone knows who also has a design RIGHT THERE in the game. Yes, big Goblin is in the show but I don’t know if kids were clamoring for it. I feel really lucky we got Guardians of the Galaxy sets. Just a shame that excluding Star-Lord we won’t get them in their standard outfits.
– And finally, where’s this guy?
That’ll do it for part one. I hope you’ll be back for part two where I’ll talk about that which shouldn’t exist: Comic-Con exclusive figures.