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REVIEW:
JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED BLUE DEVIL FIGURE
By Thomas Wheeler


I decided to add Blue Devil to my Justice League Unlimited collection, especially since he made the top of the list of ToyFare's "Top Ten Hottest Action Figures" two months in a row.

Despite his frightening visage and moniker, Blue Devil actually started out
technologically. He first appeared in Fury of Firestorm #24, from 1984, although this directly led into the first issue of his own title, which debuted the same month.

Dan Cassidy was a special effects wizard and stuntman hired to create and play the title character in a movie entitled "Blue Devil". To that end Cassidy created a full-body costume with a hidden powered exoskeleton and built-in special-effects devices. When two of his co-stars accidentally freed an actual demon named Nebiros, Cassidy used his costume to drive the demon back, but not before being blasted with mystical energy. After the fight, Cassidy found that the blast had permanently grafted the Blue Devil costume to his body.

Obviously, being trapped in a rather alarming-looking bodysuit did no favors to his acting career. Roles for oversized blue-skinned horned leading men are few and far between.

Cassidy quickly found himself embroiled in repeated adventures and conflicts with supervillains. Apparently, the blast that fused him with his costume had also turned him into a sort of "weirdness magnet". Although he continued to seek a way to regain a normal life, Cassidy became more comfortable as a superhero over time and eventually joined the Justice League of America. No offense to Blue Devil, but this was during the time when the Justice League was accepting just about anybody.

Cassidy, like everyone else in the DC Universe, had a role in the Crisis on Infinite Earths, at first called in to see if he could repair the damaged android known as the Red Tornado, and later he found himself tossed through a vortex in space, ultimately encountering the space-based heroes known as the Omega Men.

Cassidy's adventures continued to get weirder and more and more embroiled in the supernatural. I won't go into a lot of details here since they don't really pertain to the animated character. Suffice to say that most recently, Blue Devil, now having the actual form of a "blue devil" rather than it being an exo-suit in which he was trapped, and most recently having worked as a bouncer at a peculiar place called the Oblivion Bar, has joined a group called "Shadowpact", trying to deal with some of the more bizarre and unpredictable effects in the wake of the Infinite Crisis.

For all his adventures and bizarre appearance, there does seem to be one valuable lesson in Cassidy's life which could be generally applicable -- it's not a very good idea to mess with or make fun of evil supernatural forces. It's just not worth the grief.

Still, one has to give Cassidy credit for rising above his predicaments and circumstances to become a genuine hero. He's not as well known as Batman or Superman, certainly, but it's still cool to see an action figure of him.

In the comics, Blue Devil has undergone several appearance changes over the years. However, his animated counterpart most closely resembled his original look, which is arguably the best. It's certainly more "superheroic" in its own way than the "big blue horned guy in the black T-shirt and blue jeans" that he looks like in the Shadowpact title.

Unlike a few of the additions to the JLU line of action figures, Blue Devil has actually appeared. This is not a complaint against the figures who haven't. Mattel can produce as much of the DC Universe as JLU figures as they like. I won't complain as long as they're well made and look cool. Blue Devil has appeared in a few episodes of the animated series, including "Dark Heart" and "Destroyer", in which he had a brief speaking role. Additionally, in the comic book version of Justice League Unlimited, Blue Devil is the featured character of issue number 25.

So -- what can Blue Devil do? Even before he became Blue Devil, Dan Cassidy was a highly trained martial artist and acrobat. His costume included Kevlar body armor, visual and auditory amplifiers, radio gear, mini-gills allowing underwater breathing and servo-motors which increased his strength at least twentyfold. After being grafted to Cassidy's body the costume became organic and gained the ability to self-repair at an extremely fast rate, effectively a healing factor. He also wielded a trident of his own design which included, among other things, rocket engines capable of carrying two people at high speeds.

So how's the figure? Very nicely done, I must say. Although Blue Devil tended to be pictures as a fair bit taller than most people, the figure is of roughly the same height as any of the other male JLU figures. This is necessitated by the use of the common body mold. Don't complain, folks. It works well, and it's how Mattel keeps costs down and can keep producing a wide variety of figures at some of the most reasonable prices to be found in the toy aisles today.

Blue Devil easily loves up to his name. The figure has light blue skin, visible at the head, chest, arms, and legs. He is wearing a dark blue vest and trunks with substantial metallic gold trim. The vest is a separate piece that was part of the assembly of the figure. It is not removable. It's very nicely made and appropriately detailed to the character. Blue Devil's boots and gloves are black with thick bands of gold trim. Blue Devil also has a long tail, which required a bit of adaptation in the basic body mold so the tail could be attached.

Blue Devil's headsculpt is a nicely done animated-style version of the character. Granted it's a rather frightening visage. The head is bald, and there are thick eyebrows over rather shadowed, red eyes. There are two tufts of hair on either side of a rather prominent jaw, pointed ears, and the impossible to miss two large white horns emerging from the forehead. These actually give Blue Devil a little extra overall height.

Blue Devil comes with his trident. It's a fairly futuristic-looking piece of work, with visible activation buttons on either side of the base of the "fork". Given that these had to be painted on, it's to Mattel's credit that they went this little extra degree to make sure the details were correctly done. It's not easy to get the trident to fit into Blue Devil's hand. Unfortunately, the one problem with including accessories with a JLU figure that uses the common body mold is that the hands were not necessarily designed to hold a subsequently designed accessory.

Fortunately, it IS possible to get Blue Devil to hold his trident. It stretches out the left hand a bit, and I would be personally reluctant to have him constantly holding it, being somewhat concerned that the hand might one day warp or break, but he can hold the trident, which is a little more than I can say about the only other JLU acquisition I've made recently, The Shade, who cannot hold his small staff.

JLU figures are generally not known for a lot of articulation. They're meant to look cool, and be a good representation of the animated version of popular DC Comics characters -- many of whom probably wouldn't otherwise ever get an action figure. Blue Devil has one extra point of articulation that most of them don't, since his tail moves. He is also poseable at the head, arms, and legs. It should be noted that he stands very well. Sometimes this has been a problem with certain figures. Not with Blue Devil.

On the whole, this is really an excellent figure. The character is somewhat obscure, and has had a rather storied history in the comic book universe. One sort of gets the impression that some writers didn't quite know what to do with him, and granted, he probably isn't the easiest character to write for. His adventures, what I know of them, seem to have ranged from the somewhat lighthearted to episodes right out of the worst supernaturally-focused horror movies. But he has been a member of the Justice League of America, and he has appeared in the Justice League Unlimited animated series.

As such, one cannot deny that BLUE DEVIL deserves his own JLU action figure, and I am pleased to add him to my (hopefully soon to continue growing) collection, and for any fan of the Justice League Unlimited line of action figures, BLUE DEVIL definitely has my enthusiastic recommendation!