Friday, May 29, 2009

1997 Dollar General Total Justice Jumbo Coloring & Activity Book

Cover Art by Dick Giordano and Digital Chameleon

In 1996, Kenner spun a general DC super-hero action figure line out of their popular Batman series. This was the first major DCU offering since the awful short-lived Toy Biz line of the early '90s, which was itself mostly just badly recycled '80s Super Powers Collection molds anyway. While the Total Justice sculpts were all new, the story premise of the line was also essentially recycled from Super Powers: Darkseid using the forces of Apokolips and the villains of Earth in a bid for conquest. The major difference was our heroes would now require "Fractal Techgear" to combat these forces, a.k.a. translucent armor and other accessories.

Total Justice offered three waves of figures in stores, including JLAers Superman, Batman, Flash, Green Lantern Kyle Rayner and the hook-handed Aquaman. The Martian Manhunter villain Despero appeared in the second wave, but J'Onn J'Onzz himself didn't make the set. The line was then canceled, although figures intended for the fourth wave were reworked into two-packs titled simply DC Superheroes. Despero was also repackaged individually as part of DC Superheroes, and sold exclusively through the Warner Brothers Store. You can see the gorgeous Brian Stelfreeze packaging here by clicking on any of the links under Warner Brothers Store Exclusives: DC Superheroes - 2001, though I couldn't find a picture of Despero himself carded.

There are two strong indications Martian Manhunter was intended for a fourth or fifth Total Justice line. The first is that in 1998 Hasbro New Ventures took the Total Justice molds, repainted them, discarded the tech armor, and offered them under the name JLA through KB Toys. The second is this coloring book, offered through various outlets, including Dollar General stores. Both prominently featured the Martian Manhunter, and at over 150 pages, there's plenty of Martian scans in the coloring book to offer ya'll in the coming months!

"Total Justice in Total Teamwork"
First Group Shot
Fire Extinguisher
Mission Team
Fear To Tread
Martian Maze
Dark Backside
Blasted by Darkseid


Tom said...

That Batman YTB site doesn't let you link directly to an image. The link sent me to a "403 forbidden" page. Instead, you have to go here and select the image you want. (But the page didn't have the Despero figure.)

Diabolu Frank said...

Thanks for the heads-up Tom! I guess my browser was allowing me in because I went through another page first. I corrected the link and added additional directions, since the page you found didn't have the Stelfreeze art, as far as I could tell.