SUPERMAN: MAN OF STEEL (KENNER)
In the 90s, Toy Biz had a ton of success with their litany of Marvel Comics-based action figures. Kenner, the then holders of the DC license wanted in on some of that success, and branched outside of their “safe zone” of movie and TV-based figures, to try something with a more direct comics tie. There was, of course, a rather extensive Batman line, but they also produced a short-lived line of Superman figures, under the title Superman: Man of Steel. The figures were mostly based on characters from the Death of Superman and Reign of the Supermen storylines, including the uber 90s incarnation of Superboy, who I’ll be looking at today.
THE FIGURE ITSELF
Superboy was released as part of the first series of the Superman: Man of Steel line, as one of the three non-Superman figures in the set. The figure stands about 4 ¾ inches tall and has the standard 5 points of articulation for a Kenner figure. Superboy is based on his 90s, leather jacket sporting look. As dated and silly looking as it is, it’s really his signature look, and the only one he had at the time. He got a totally unique sculpt, which is actually pretty cool looking. The proportions are mostly pretty sound (if a bit exaggerated; hey, it was the 90s), and the detail work, especially on the jacket is incredibly well handled. I also love the head sculpt, especially the attitude present in the facial expression. There are a few odd bits, though. For one, the hand poses are pretty stilted, and he’s also got a weird blockish thing sticking out of the back of his right forearm, which is sort of odd. Superboy’s paint is pretty straight forward, but it has some pretty cool things going on. The colors are all pretty vibrant (though the yellow on the chest could stand to be a bit brighter) and there’s some pretty neat details, like the cool stitched logo on the back of the jacket. Superboy was packed with a two spring-loaded Mammoth Capture Claw and Taser missiles. They slip over his hands, and are the reason for the block thing on his forearm. They’re definitely a weird thing to included, but hey, it was the 90s. Might as well include a projectile of some sort.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
I actually own two of this particular figure. The first was bought for me by my grandmother, from a K-Mart I believe. I remember really wanting a Superboy figure (I was a huge fan of the Filmation Superboy show as a kid) and deliberately setting out to get him. I don’t think I had quite picked up on him being separate from the Clark Kent version of the character at the time. He remained one of my favorite figures growing up, and took quite a beating. At this past Farpoint, I found another Superboy, in a lot with the Superboy VTOL Cycle, at the table of the same vendor who sold me the Power Loader, and figured having a spare wouldn’t be the worst thing ever. I’m actually really happy about how well the figure has aged.