Price: £34.99 / $39.99 / €39.99 Pieces: 406 Available: Now
For those of us old enough to remember, 6862 Superman vs. Power Armor Lex feels like it was on shelves only yesterday, yet, it is six years since what is essentially the precursor to 76097 Lex Luthor Mech Takedown was released. 6862 Superman vs. Power Armor Lex was an efficiently designed LEGO set offering three minifigures and a surprisingly poseable mech for Lex Luthor to pilot. Gladly, 76097 Lex Luthor Mech Takedown builds upon 6862’s strengths and truly makes the most of the almost doubled piece count, albeit in a colour scheme that won’t be to everyone’s taste.
Yes, the immediate – and possibly only – downside to 76097’s appeal is that mid-green and purple palette, offset with gold and black detailing. Look beyond what is still an authentic Lex Luthor-themed spectrum (which reflects the minifigure’s power suit design too), though, and this continues the LEGO Group’s recent tradition of every next mech they release being one of the best ever designed. In both the arms and legs there are two moveable joints, which combined with the bulk that is offered throughout each limb, and most importantly the feet, has created an imposing and still extremely well-balanced mech.
The number of options for how to stand this thing in combat with the trio of heroes provided in the set is numerous, and should Lex be overrun, the removable cockpit turns into an escape pod that offers even further play potential. Design throughout the mech is detailed and satisfyingly angular, indeed to its own detriment, as the back’s inverted studs appear rather bare and flat in comparison to the rest of the build. That is for a reason, though, as the Kryptonite prison from 76096 Superman & Krypto Team-Up is designed to connect there.
It does seem that the LEGO Group has thought of everything in this set. The 6-stud rapid shooter isn’t unsightly, the rocket boosters on the shoulders and backs of the knees are a bonus touch, and even the giant axe is put together in an interesting way. How effective it is against Batman remains to be seen…
Speaking of the Dark Knight, even in a period where we’ve had a number of new Batman suit designs, this Rebirth Batsuit (from the DC comic line) makes for a highly welcome addition to the line-up, for its design being at once both minimalist and sufficiently different to any other Batsuit in the DC Comics Super Heroes theme. It is also the first light grey Batsuit since the winter 2012 wave of sets, and a far better design than that Batsuit. Whilst, for once, Batman isn’t the main star of the set, the sidebuild that is his Bat-Glider is not an afterthought, coming together in a handful of pieces to at once both effectively hide the stud shooters and create that necessary bat-outline.
It is powered by two jet engines that make use of some of the new translucent orange Power Burst elements that the LEGO Group introduces in this 2018 winter wave. There’s a good variety of pieces included and these should not only add value to those who like to display their LEGO, but also provide some good inspiration and opportunities to those who build. In this set, they are predominantly for Firestorm, a character who turns 40 years old this year, but who you will most likely have to look up (Wikipedia’s write-up of his powers and abilities alone should keep you occupied for a while).
His minifigure here uses the same duel moulded flame headpiece used for Ghost Rider in 76058 Spider-Man: Ghost Rider Team-Up. As with Firestorm, Cheetah debuts in minifigure form here with a neat design, and to provide a foe for the also-included Wonder Woman. Whilst we have had a number of Wonder Woman minifigures of late, this is surprisingly the first appearance of a full size (and updated) classic design Wonder Woman in a set since 6862 Superman vs. Power Armor Lex.
Which brings us full circle to a great 2012 set that 76097 Lex Luthor Mech Takedown not only takes inspiration from, but gratifyingly improves upon in almost every way possible. It may be feel like the 89th LEGO mech you’ll be adding to your collection, but, it’s one not to miss out, and, most interestingly, it is actually only the third ever mech the LEGO Group has released in the DC Comics Super Heroes line. The other one between 6862 and 76097? The Bat-mech from 2015’s 76026 Gorilla Grodd Goes Bananas. Time to go bananas for 76097 Lex Luthor Mech Takedown…