SUPERMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES (KENNER)
Batman: The Animated Series is pretty much universally viewed as one of the best interpretations of Batman and his supporting cast ever. It was revolutionary at the time it was released, and, thanks to top notch writing, animating, and acting, it still holds up pretty great after over 20 years. For me, though, the best entry in the DC Animated Universe is the series that followed B:TAS, Superman: The Animated Series. While B:TAS got a pretty decent run of figures at the time of its release, S:TAS wasn’t quite so fortunate. Kenner produced a line of toys to tie-in, but the character selection was somewhat limited, and many of the characters were rather off-model. One of the characters hit the hardest by off-model-ness was Big Blue’s arch enemy Lex Luthor, who is the focus of today’s entry.
THE FIGURE ITSELF
Lex Luthor was released as part of the first series of Kenner’s Superman: The Animated Series tie-in line. He was one of the two non-Superman characters in this particular series. The figure is a little over 5 inches tall and has 6 points of articulation. Dig that waist articulation guys! It’s more than most DC figures had at this point! Now, this figure is sort of based on Luthor’s animated appearance, but, as I noted in the intro, the figure is more than a little bit off-model. To Kenner’s credit, they managed to produce a near-perfect rendition of the animated Luthor’s noggin. It’s really a very good piece. The trouble lies with literally every other piece of the figure. Rather than release him in his signature suit, Luthor is depicted here in a Kryptonite armor suit, which is completely made up for this figure. The “Kryptonite” parts are all snap-on armor pieces, which can be removed to reveal….some sort of exoskeleton thing. It’s a perfectly fine sculpt on a purely technical level, but it looks pretty wonky and the body doesn’t even have proper Bruce Timm-style proportions. I get that a guy in a suit doesn’t make for the most exciting figure. That said, if they were going to do the clip on armor thing, why not put a more conventional suit under the armor? Just seems like a weird choice. Also, the figure seems to have borrowed Total Justice’s guide to posing; his arms and legs are all bent and turned. It’s most annoying on the legs because it makes getting him to stand next to impossible. As far as paint goes, Luthor is pretty reasonably handled. Nothing super thrilling, but everything is applied pretty cleanly. It’s a nice touch that he veers away from the primary colors, helping set him apart from Superman. In addition to the clip on armor, Luthor includes a big freaking missile launcher thing. Hasbro would be so proud.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
I never had this figure growing up. I saw him many times over the years, but I just never got one. It’s most certainly due to the weird design of the figure. Why now? Simple, my comicbook store had a table of action figures for $2.99. If you bought five, they were only $2 apiece. So, I bought ten. Luthor was one of them. This actually isn’t a bad figure, just kind of weird.