So with all the shit coming from so many directions – Flip Fighters, Black Panther, the 3rd (right?) wave of Star Wars cars, the 3rd (right?) wave of starships, Battle Rollers, Batmobiles, carships, and whatever the hell else you might be interested in, so far there’s only been one that was a quick and easy find: the Injustice 2 Character Cars. Ok that’s a lie, the Flip Fighters were easy to scoop up too, I just wanted to sensationalize things a bit. Of all the things rattling around on my “want list” though, I am extremely happy to have found these. This was over a week ago and I just hadn’t gotten to it until now, and although I’ve seen a few since then, they seem to be relegated to Toys R Us.
In the article where I initially reported on their existence, I brought up the fact that they were labeled
1 / 5, 2 / 5, and so on with the
5 / 5 conspicuously absent. This leaves us with a weird case configuration – we’ve got the 4 cars, a duplicate of Batman (5), an oldschool DCU Katana (6), a new slight color variant of Killer Croc (7), and then I don’t exactly know what that 8th slot is. Anyway, just to be clear, the (so far) 4 Injustice 2 cars are:
- 1 / 5 – Batman (Injustice 2)
- 2 / 5 – Superman (Injustice 2)
- 3 / 5 – The Flash (Injustice 2)
- 4 / 5 – Supergirl (Injustice 2)
Now let’s be clear, none of these are 100% original. Batman is the Armored Batman that came out around BvS, Superman is taken from his old old design, The Flash is a take on his very recent Justice League release, and Supergirl is based on her first appearance within the DC Super Hero Girls line. So yeah, glad they’re paying attention to a powerful moment in DC history – the game Injustice 2 – but why 5 characters and why not original designs…> The game opens with a whopping 27 playable characters; Brainiac can be unlocked or straight up purchased and Darkseid was a Day One freebie (also available for purchase) bringing the total to 29. Since then, we’ve received all of the planned 9 downloadable characters: Red Hood, Starfire, Black Manta, Enchantress, and the Atom from the DCU along with out-of-universe characters Sub-Zero and Raiden (from the Mortal Kombat franchise), Hellboy (Dark Horse Comics), and TMNT (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) (Mirage Comics, initially at least). Even more, through a system of costume and equipment changes, you can squeeze a few more semi-distinct characters from the roster officially recognized by the game: Reverse Flash, Jay Garrick (Golden Age Flash), Bizarro, Black Lightning, Vixen, Power Girl, John Stewart (Green Lantern), Nightwing, and then each individual turtle from TMNT (Leo, Donnie, Mikey, and Raph). Fucking crazy right? Cut out every bit of the even slightly gimmicky shit and you’ve still got 38 solid, discrete, distinguishable characters!
I’m not trying to endorse Injustice 2 (though I have been spending lots of time with it lately) I’m just pointing out that there are an assload of characters to choose from. I’m not even necessarily lobbying for (relative) obscurities like Doctor Fate or Atom or Black Adam. We’ve got some big A-listers on there that haven’t appeared in car-form yet: Brainiac, Darkseid, Black Manta, Scarecrow, Starfire…we had a lot of good ones from the first Injustice as well that didn’t carry over to the sequel.
Batman (Injustice 2) ( 1 / 5 )
Remember Armored Batman? That damn thing was everywhere…forever! And it’s an ok car, but certainly a ways off from the most inspired of the lot. The Injustice 2 version improves on the original by giving it a fresh paint job. It’s got a black matte finish with lots of little green and white lines and blips for decorations…sort of like a weird light show. Hot Wheels was clearly going for a “fluorescent look” when it came to these cars (I’ll explain in a second) so I’m at a bit of a loss as to the Batman’s dull finish. The bright greens do give it a tech-y feel though, and the clear green tires definitely push the “fluorescence” angle.
As for the next 3, well, I’d be lying if I said they were anything less than beautiful. A little too familiar in design…eh, maybe, but beautiful nonetheless.
Superman (Injustice 2) ( 2 / 5 )
The history of the Superman car can be a little confusing. A long time ago, with the very first rollout of DCU Character Cars, there was a “Superman” car in the shape of the one you see above. Later on, with the release of Man of Steel, we got the “flat car,” though it was officially dubbed “Man of Steel.” This was all fine and well for a while, and then a few months before the marketing machine behind Justice League got going Hot Wheels re-issued a whole slew of DCU cars in new packaging, among them the original Superman design as well as the newer Man of Steel version. Nothing too fishy at this point. However, when the Justice League machine got going, there was another slew of cars, and this time the “original” design (like the above pic) was left behind and the newer design was re-named “Superman.” Not sure why they did all this but they did.
I think I prefer the older one anyway though. It has a more classic, sporty design and the cape absolutely embodies Superman in basic albeit recognizable terms. Of course what makes this car such a beaut is the deep, glossy blue and red, highlighted by that bright cream color which almost gives the car a glow of its own vis-à-vis Hot Wheels’ continual references to the cars’ “fluorescent” attributes. And don’t forget those clear yellow wheels (tires?)!
The Flash (Injustice 2) ( 3 / 5 )
I was excited when we got Flash in the Justice League subset because his old version was a bit…strange, to say the least. The sleek, armored look of the newer iteration hasn’t changed much; it’s a little darker and a little glossier. The same sort of creamy lines from Superman zig-zag across the car’s body and give it a respectable “Flash-like” look.
Supergirl (Injustice 2) ( 4 / 5 )
I’m diggin’ this car. Shape-wise it’s basically a more feminized version of Superman. The cape is more steeply tapered to account for Kara’s slimmer shoulders and the vehicle’s body has more of an hourglass dip to reflect her girlish figure. She looks almost aqua on the packaging, though she’s very clearly a mixture of darker and lighter blues plus white, giving her the most fluorescent vibe of the all. And just to make sure we have more actual light bouncing around, let’s not skip over the clear red tires, her shiny silver interior half exposed by the crisp yellow windshield, and the hidden ahem…underside of bright gold.
Supergirl is easily my favorite of this lot, probably due to her full-on transformation from innocent cartoon girl to a sleek, elegant, and more mature machine. To be fair the entire style is very cool and I would love to see more characters / more cars get this “fluorescent” treatment. (I don’t mean to continually harp on about “fluorescence,” but it’s as good a term as any to describe the unique quality of these cars and hey, Hot Wheels themselves put it out there for us!) The ultra-gloss, metal-flake (at least in Flash), high saturation, and liberal use of contrast was a brilliant decision, and yes, it breathes new life into familiar vehicles, but damn, this would look awesome on some brand new bodies. (And yeah, Batman is kinda the odd man out (‘cept for those killer transparent green wheels) and no, I can’t explain why…why not give him high-gloss black and accent him with the super-bright neon green…?)
So where’s the 5th car? Who’s 5 / 5?
Ah yes, the million dollar question! Well check it: Hot Wheels saw it fit to bestow upon us a new pamphlet! We’ll get to that more in a minute but real quick let’s answer that supa dupa question:
Yep yep, yes sir, it’s him. Are you surprised? Cuz I am. Have you played Injustice 2, specifically the Story Mode? Minor Spoilers Ahead: In the events of the game, we rejoin the “alternate Earth,” this time with minimal interaction with “real Earth.” In the first game you had all kinds of folks flying around; most were from “alternate Earth,” but several “regular Earthlings” came over…and then there were scenes of regular Earthlings who couldn’t come over but wanted to, and then some people were deceased in one reality or another…my point is that it got a little confusing keeping track of who hailed from where. Injustice 2 did us a favor and really kept this dimension-hopping to a minimum. In fact, I think the only 2 characters to crossover are Reg. Green Arrow and Reg. Black Canary. This is not only based on implicit dialog, but also on the fact that Alt. Green Arrow is well-established as dead during the events of the previous game and since he and Black Canary are apparently a couple with a child, well, it only makes sense that she’s from Reg. Earth as well.
Now the general gist of Injustice 2 is that Brainiac has showed up and started some serious shit. Superman and his former regime have mostly been locked away and sufficiently contained, largely due to Batman’s efforts and coordination of various surviving Alt. Earth heroes. Batman, as Bruce Wayne (the secret’s out here on Alt. Earth after Sup’s defeat), has become a major public figure, speaking out on the evils of Superman’s dictatorial stint and generally working hard to comfort the public against a similar event. With Brainiac royally ripping this Alt. Earth a new one, Batman & Co. quickly realize the futility of their situation and begin to ponder whether or not releasing Superman to help defeat Brainiac is worth the risk. With the ginormous cast of Injustice 2 obviously some characters play larger roles than others. Although most (excluding DLC) appear in some capacity or another, our core is divided between Batman’s and Superman’s team. Batman’s “freedom fighters” consist of Green Arrow and Black Canary from Reg. Earth, Harley, Beetle, Firestorm, Catwoman, the Flash, Green Lantern, and a tentative Aquaman, while Superman’s regime includes Wonder Woman as his right hand “man,” Robin (Damian Wayne) as his protege, Cyborg and Black Adam as his “top dogs,” and then varying degrees of closeness with Gorilla Grodd’s “The Society,” made up of Grodd himself, Deadshot, Scarecrow, Poison Ivy, Cheetah, Bane, and Captain Cold.
Supergirl occupies some interesting territory during the course of events and arguably has the most personable storyline. She was sent way from Krypton at the same time as Superman to protect the boy; at the time Superman was an infant and Supergirl (Kara) was a teenager. The dying planet threw her ship off course, and as a result, she landed on Earth much later, and unaged due to hypersleep. She arrives on Alt. Earth sometime after Superman’s imprisonment and remains confused and angry, having been taken under the wing of Wonder Woman and Black Adam, who remain quietly hidden in Kahndaq. She hones her powers, does her best to believe in Supes, but ultimately witnesses the brutality of her charge’s regime first hand.
Moving back to the cars, obviously it would make sense to include Batman & Superman. Supergirl certainly earns her place as well since she’s one of the only (if not the only) character that the game really gives us any emotional interest in. Then there’s The Flash, which I also sortta get. See, this Alt. Flash was originally part of the regime, though upon witnessing the death of SHAZAM! in the first game, quickly decides this is not the life for her. We later learn that he turned himself in and was eventually pardoned by Batman under the conditions that he help Batman monitor…whatever he fuck he monitors, and that he not use his powers. Barry seems more than amicable to the terms and overall expresses deep regret for his role in the regime. So who should the 5th slot belong to…?
Honestly I thought it would be Wonder Woman due to both fan familiarity and the amount of screen time / dialog she was given in the story. I mean I was like 99.9% sure. Now secretly I’d hoped we’d get a Character Car of the game’s big bad – Brainiac himself! That was my remaining 0.1%. That’d be the cool thing to do, right? Keep it under wraps and then bang out someone so unexpected yet completely relevant.
But no. It’s Cyborg. Why!!!?? Spice it up Hot Wheels!
Alls I gots to say is that Cyborg’s “fluorescence” better be mindblowing.
But Cubes, I Thought You Mentioned Something About Other New DC Cars?
Yes! Yes I did! I guess I’ll go ahead and show the pamphlet, let the big reveal hit you, and then go over what we see. I scanned these myself!
Click on each to see a full, life-sized version of each side in a new window.
Alright, first things first, brand new Batman & Robin!!! To be technically correct, we have the Supercharged Batman and Robin 2.0T…does anyone know what the “T” means? Anyway, I love love love the new designs. I guess they don’t look much like characters, but they do look like awesome cars. They really capture that high-end European GT style mid-engine hypercars. Granted these visuals are just illustrations, I still have high hopes for the vehicles themselves.
On the other hand, do we really need another fucking Batman!? We’ve had so so many already:
- The original Batman Character Car (that looks a lot like some variant of a Batmobile)
- Batman Hot Rod – Black with Gold Base (Justice League 5-pack Exclusive)
- Batman Hot Rod – Blue
- Batman Hot Rod – Black with Silver Base (Batcave Playset Exclusive)
- Batman Hot Rod – Dark Blue (re-issue with a noticeably darker blue)
- Armored Batman
- Batman (Justice League)
- Batman (Justice League)(Flying Fox Playset Exclusive)
- Tactical Suit Batman
- Batman (Injustice 2)
As for Robin, well, I’m a little torn. On a superficial level I’m really glad they gave him a redesign…he was one of the stranger looking cars of the lot. Judging from the original artwork, I assumed this was meant to be either a Grayson or Drake iteration of the sidekick. What I found interesting was Robin’s re-issue with the new “Character Cars” packaging – the artwork appeared to very clearly depict Damian Wayne. Sadly, there was no actual difference between the cars themselves. What I’d like to see isn’t so much “Robin 2.0T” (wtf is that “T” for!!??) but something like “Robin (Dick Grayson)” and “Robin (Damian Wayne)” and so on. I’d also like to see former Robins on the roster as their new aliases, a la Nightwing (Grayson), Red Hood (Todd), Red Robin (Drake), etc. I guess you could throw in Stephanie Brown / Spoiler / The Fourth Robin but she’s much lower on the radar than the others.
Christ, this has been a doozy of an article hasn’t it? Truth be told I probably would’ve had this done 24 to 48 hours ago if not for a mishap where I spilt Tea Tree Oil all over everything. Long story. Anyway, the last thing I want to touch on is the “new” Killer Croc Character Car. This is actually the first time we’ve seen KC in any sort of new-ish packaging. He was sold as a single way way back and was most recently available as part of a Batman Rogues Gallery 5-pack. When I spotted “new” KC on the shelf, it immediately looked different to me…maybe lighter or “more green” or something. Well I just had to grab it and see for myself.
When it comes to color changes across re-issues of Character Cars I’m always reluctant on how to handle it. Do I count it as something “new”? A freak aberration? I don’t know! I mean on the one hand it is a different color but on the other hand I really have to wonder if such a small change was intentional. We see this shit all the time: the early Catwoman is much more purple compared to the later release which is much more pink – the reissued Blue Wolverine is a much darker blue than the original – there’s been a whole slew of Captain Americas will all sorts of shades of blue – Iron Man has had multiple small changes – the original Superman contains metalflake in its paint job whereas the newer reissues are just blue – and of course there’s the Batman Hot Rod I mentioned earlier which, when reissued, was a noticeably darker shade of blue – Man of Steel has been released with different shades of blue and red and wheel color – it’s crazy, no?
Ok ok gettin’ back to Killer Croc as if this shit needs to be any longer…real quick, here’s a picture of the newest release of Killer Croc:
Look any different to you? Yeah yeah, I realized just throwing this pic up wouldn’t mean much, so here’s a comparison, new on the left, older 5-pack release on the right:
Um k…I must concede…the difference is not as profound as I thought. I could’ve sworn those greens were different but nope, they look pretty much the same to me. The only difference I can spot is the color of the spoiler thing (?) near the back. The older version is blue with a little bit of metallic sheen to it. The newer Croc sports a blusih-gray piece, clearly absent the metallic, semi-sparkly finish.
Well, at least there was a difference.
Well well holy hell. I feel like I’ve been working on this piece for ages…maybe I should’ve split it up into a couple of pieces but it seemed like it all went together at the time. Whew, well, I won’t take up any more of your time. Hope you got some good info outta this article! More stuff is coming just as soon as I can type it up, so c’mon back before too long! Or better yet, hit that FOLLOW button over on the right for email notifications whenever I update!
Until next time!