DC Comics Super Heroes: Build Your Own Adventure [Review]

A couple of weeks ago, we looked at the new NEXO Knights Build Your Own Adventure Book from Dorling Kindersley.  The DC Comics Superheroes version has been available for a few weeks through international retailers, and will be released in Australia on the 28th of August with a RRP of $AUD39.99. I have had a look into it, considering the build, the figure and the inspirations.

Like the other books in this series, we have a minifigure and vehicle to build. IMG_7135 In this case, it is an exclusive John Stewart Green Lantern minifigure, with a small convertible spaceship. We shall discuss these more, shortly.

The book is 80 pages long, and comes in a slipcase also containing a box containing over 80 LEGO Elements.  The box has a list of elements on one side, and a broken road surface on the other.  I expect this is to be used as an action scene for your builds. The books follows the same format as others previously discussed: an introduction to the character enclosed, and his vehicle; instructions for the vehicle, a guide to nomenclature, as well as some tips for seeking inspiration for model building, before taking you of on a quest featuring multiple locales and interesting characters.

Written by Daniel Lipkowitz, the story sees Green Lantern travel to Earth, to gather the Justice League against a threat to the Watchtower space station. He has to gather them together personally as their communicators are not working!  He travels to Themyscira to find Wonder Woman.  From there we visit Central City, the Arctic Circle, Atlantis, Smallville and Metropolis, fighting villains and gathering the members of the Justice League in the process.

The inspirational models in this book are built by Rod Gillies, and cover a wide variety of thematic material. As Green Lantern sets out to unite the Justice League, we travel through a variety of different environments: the Forests and Temples of Themyscira; the Streets and buildings of Central City; the icy waters of the Arctic: both above and below the water; Smallville;  as well as the Newspaper offices and industrial refineries in Metropolis.

IMG_7295
Inspired by ideas in the book, but unable to match Brick for Brick, Barry Allen’s Lab is just one of the locales visited in DC SuperHeroes: Build your Own Adventure.

There are plenty of building ideas that transfer well outside of the superhero storyline also, including building interiors, vehicles, landscaping, farmland and industrial zones!  Where lots of detail may be hidden in a build, it is often revealed through the use of a callout.

IMG_7288
Wonder Woman and Green Lantern point out to The Flash the dangers of keeping such a combination of chemicals together in the one place. Especially if there was an accident involving a bolt of lightning.  Who knows what might happen?
In the meantime, Gorilla Grodd waits for the team to come out and play.

If your child likes DC Superhero LEGO, they will probably love this book and the enclosed build.  While many of the minifigure designs are a couple of years old, any heroes you might have missed initially can be readily by topped up from the recent Justice League Movie sets or (for additional comedic value) be found in some of the Mighty Micros Sets. The villains may be more of a challenge, although I would expect a bit of creativity and a few random figures could fit into the role nicely.

Of course, if you, as an adult are into LEGO DC Superheroes, you will also want this book, if only for the exclusive minifigure.

John Stewart: Green Lantern

John Stewart was introduced to the Green Lantern mythos in 1971, and was one of, if not the first African American to appear in DC’s roster of heroes. He was initially introduced as a backup Green Lantern, after Guy Gardner suffered significant injuries following being hit by a bus.  Stewart went on to serve as Earth’s Green Lantern after Hal Jordan stepped down from the roll, in the mid 1980’s.  He was also the default Green Lantern in the animated series ‘Justice League’ and ‘Justice League Unlimited.’

This is the third Green lantern Minifigure released by LEGO, but as one was a Comic-Con exclusive ( available only at San Diego and New York in 2011) , only 2 have been readily accessible to mere mortals on a budget.

In the comics, John Stewart’s costume is different to Hal Jordan’s, and this is accurately portrayed in the new minifigure. The Hal Jordan figure shown here on the left was otherwise only included in 76025: Green Lantern vs Sinestro.  Both heads are double sided. Jordan’s features a grin and a frown, while Stewart features a smile on one side, and a determined expression on the other.  As in other media, John Stewart does not wear a domino mask, but his eyes appear to glow green.  The eyes on the figure do not glow in the dark. Like the other Green Lanterns, his abilities are the result of wearing a green power ring. If only the figure had one of those…

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Hal Jordan (left) and John Stewart (right) – together in minifigure form.

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As you can see, back printing is standard on the torso, but not the legs.  It could be argued that in this day and age, you could expect dual colour molding for the legs, but it would certainly increase the cost of production.

While Stewart’s torso is predominantly black, the green printing onto this surface does not feel as vibrant as the black onto green of Jordan’s costume.  However, printing black onto green for the new figure would have had large amounts of green visible on the sides. I feel that the best option has been taken with regard to this.

The Bricks

No elements are unique to this set, with the exception of the minifigure.  There are however a number of pieces that are relatively uncommon at this stage, having only debuted in these shades of green in the last year or two. In regular green, we see the half circle  1×1 tile (6174154),  the front bow 4x3x2/3 (6179681) and the screen 1x6x1 with edge (6170764). Each of these elements has only been seen in one set previously. In bright green, the 2×2 sport vehicle front (6117748) has only appeared in two other sets previously (10247:Ferris Wheel and 10724:Batman and Superman vs Lex Luthor). In bright transparent green, the brick 1×6 with bow(6096715) and the rudder 2x4x6 (6096717) have both only appeared twice before,  while both the 2×2 brick with female 4.85mm joint (6145308) has only been seen on one other occasion.

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This collection of elements (complete with five variations of green, transparent or otherwise) make a space ship for John Stewart which, with a little pivoting magic,  can change the angle of the fins to become a submersible.

All in all, it’s a pretty neat little vehicle, especially one that is intended to be a ‘hard light construct’ produced by a power ring.  It has great swooshability, and is serves its role admirably.  Two ‘stud shooters at the nose add some armaments

Something doesn’t quite look right about the use of the transparent clear cockpit piece (6097553), and you wonder if either the transparent bright green or transparent flourescent green versions of this element may have been a better choice.  However, the Trans Br. green canopy was only been seen in 2010-2011, mainly in Atlantis sets,  wereas the Trans Fl. Green cockpit was used for the previous Green Lantern’s spacecraft, as well as an Agents set. However it but only appeared in 2014.

How would these colours stack up here?  I found some floating around the LEGO room and tried them out…

GL 3 cockpits.png

In my opinion, the transparent bright green cockpit looks a little more aesthetically pleasing than the transparent clear version, while the transparent fluorescent green version adds yet another shade of green to the model. Looking at the Bricks and Pieces site , where you can purchase additional parts from LEGO.com, only the trans clear, trans light blue, trans brown and dark orange versions of this piece are currently available. While I prefer the trans bright green version, the trans clear is an acceptable compromise here. The trans brown may have also been a reasonable option.

How does it compare with the previous Green Lantern spaceship featured in 70625?  It is certainly smaller, and less heavily armed, lacking the ring firing missiles of the older set.but I feel there is better adherence to the ‘green only’ colour scheme compared to the previous version.  This is in keeping with the nature of the power ring construct, although you could argue a protective suit may be as effective (but without the play value)!

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Green Lanterns, new and old

In summary:

What did I like:

  • Unique John Stewart Green Lantern Minifigure
  • Lots of uncommon green and trans bright green parts
  • Nifty, Swooshable Vehicle Design
  • Great ideas for building, that even work independent of the superhero storyline
  • More diverse minifigure colours.

What was I less enthusiastic about?

  • The challenge of collecting a full Justice League roster to build along with the story.
  • John Stewart has no power ring…
  • The choice of cockpit colour
  • The grey plates visible under the front arch of the vehicle.

I would like to think Penguin Random House Australia for forwarding me a review copy. As with all material submitted for review, opinions expressed are my own.

I enjoyed the included builds immensely, and the book provides good inspiration for construction projects. The John Stewart minifigure is a welcome addition to the LEGO DC Superheores Pantheon. For a collection of relatively uncommon elements, as well as a book and exclusive minifigure, this book represents reasonable value; even great value if you can find it at a discount.  I have a personal bias towards the  Super Hero subject matter. I award the package 3.5 Arbitrary Praise units, but this could go up to 4 when the price is right…

Until next time,

Play well.

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The Justice League patiently wait for The Flash to grow up…
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