Well I had a chance to fiddle with the Pete Wentz bass. It was built in 2008 in Indonesia, which means it's coming from the same era and factory as the highly regarded Squier Vintage Modified series, and from the feel of the neck and body it shows. I didn't get a chance to plug it in as the area was kinda busy and since I don't know how to play I didn't want to add further to the noise (also the fact that using someone else's equipment is not really an accurate indicator of how it will sound once you take it home). Most reports say the pickup is pretty hot/overwound.
The guitar itself is sort of a stripped down P Bass Special; it's got a P Bass body with a Jazz Bass neck (not as wide, in fact it's thinner at the first fret than standard sized guitars), but no second J style pickup at the bridge. Lots of people seem to complain about agathis as a body wood for some reason which this has; IMHO your playing style/skills will always be the primary factor in your tone.
I would've liked a chance to open it up to see if the guts can match the Vintage Modified basses as it's kind of a 50/50 shot, either it does because it'd be a pain in the ass at the factory level to suddenly run a single model with different parts, or it doesn't because there could very well be a marketing style price markup for the Artist series. For the average person though this probably doesn't matter; it's just a personal curiosity on my part.
The way it looks...well, let's just say that I felt like I was holding a lingerie advertisement ad with that color scheme and logo. Seems like a really love it or hate it design. Fender says it's a red shell pickguard, but it looks like red pearloid to me.
At its normal price of 300 bucks, there'd be no reason to get this unless you really liked the look, because the Vintage Modified series is at worst the same quality with far more options. At its current price of 150, it's definitely worthy of your consideration as a first bass (unless your mindset is to absolutely get it right the first time, in which case...good luck) as long as you don't mind the looks and lack of anything other than a volume knob. On that note I saw the Peavey Milestone bass at the same store that rbarba4 mentioned was on sale a few weeks ago on MF, and I have to say the Wentz Signature absolutely trashes that Peavey in terms of build quality for only another 30 bucks (and the Peaveys were restocks/refurbished). I never really understood what people meant by sharp frets until I had the "pleasure" of sitting down with that one...