When something is exclusive to Dollar Tree stores, it’s usually good to approach it with trepidation. Dollar Tree is the place where sad crates of Pineapple-Ham soda go to die, where half-ply toilet paper reigns, and without a doubt, you’ll probably see a fistfight outside. You will never find a Dollar Tree in a town where you’d want to raise kids. But when Batman toys are involved, you can get a little foolish. This chain of poor choices is launched by DC Flixstars by Mattel.
Now that Toys ‘R’ Us has gone to the great giraffe graveyard, it’s not easy to hunt for new toys. Target is a wasteland, and Walmart is enough to convince you that Thanos was right. Dollar Tree isn’t usually a destination when it comes to getting a plastic fix, but DC Flixstars looked just weird enough to be worth the search. So, what are they? There’s been no visible promotion of Flixstars by Mattel, making them a pretty big collecting mystery.
Made of hard but flexible plastic, Flixstars present the facade of a DC superhero… just with one really messed up lookin’ leg. This flattened leg is used as a flexible launch point for the figure; press down on a tab on the back, release, and presumably, the figure will leap into the air, kinda like a tiddlywink. It’s the transfer of downward force into potential energy into kinetic energy, and this is where that AP physics class from 20 years ago really pays off because you can look smart on the internet.
There’s no game associated with making DC’s most well-known superheroes leap into the air; Mattel doesn’t make the mistake of trying to attach a narrative to why these heroes have deformed appendages, or a game with a terrible scoring system to justify what these weirdos can do. They’re just tiny, hollowed-out superheroes that look awesomely ridiculous, posed in hilariously balletic forms, that you can make jump. And you finally satisfy that urge you have to know what Batman and Plastic Man’s lovechild would look like. Hint: he’s beautiful.
There are nine figures in this set; three differently-posed Batmen (in dark blue, black, and grey), an orange Flash, a red Wonder Woman, a green Aquaman, and two identical Supermen in light blue and yellow.Their simplicity is probably the best thing about them, since we usually have plenty of high-end and complex Batman figures, but few that are just designed for play, or in an army man style. Marvel made an attempt and one-color M.U.S.C.L.E.-type figures with their overpriced Handful of Heroes line, but there really aren’t enough quick, easy, fun 2″ superhero toys floating around out there. It’s easy to forget that toys should be fun and accessible; Batman keshi were expensive, and DC Meeples weren’t cheap either.
Spending $3 for nine colorful, miniature superhero toys is kind of incredible. Just don’t launch a Aquaman into your eye. Or do; it’s the only way you’ll learn.
C. David is a writer and artist living in the Hudson Valley, NY. He loves pinball, Wazmo Nariz, Rem Lezar, MODOK, pogs, Ultra Monsters, 80s horror, and is secretly very enthusiastic about everything else not listed here.