CYBER-LINK SUPERMAN & CYBER-LINK BATMAN
SUPERMAN: MAN OF STEEL (KENNER)
“The Man of Steel teams up with the Dark Knight to form the ultimate crime-fighting team!”
After a rash of success with their various Bat-themed lines, in 1995, Kenner tried to expand their DC reach, giving a dedicated line to DC’s other big hero, Superman. Superman: Man of Steel was not a smash success like its counterpart Legends of Batman, but did manage to get two regular assortments, plus some deluxe figures, and even a few multi-packs. In an attempt to get a little bit of synergy from the two lines, Kenner decided to team up the lead characters, as they had been so many times in the comics, releasing the pack as part of Superman’s line to give it a slight boost. Today, I’m looking at that set.
THE FIGURES THEMSELVES
Cyber-Link Superman and Cyber-Link Batman were the only set offered up in the second round of Multi-Packs from Kenner’s MoS line. After the poor performance of the “Superman & foe” layout of the first assortment, this one was a push from Kenner for a better selling product. Despite their propensity for just dropping these sorts of variants without much explanation or thought, these two actually got a backstory. “Cyber-Link” was an Elseworlds concept, an alternate universe where Batman was a Metropolis resident and he and Superman were a crime-fighting duo. Trace elements of Kryptonite within the Earth’s atmosphere necessitated the use of the Cyber-Link suits seen here. All of this was explained in the 11-page Christopher Priest-penned comic included with this set. It’s a surprising amount of backstory for something that seems kind of straightforward, but I guess they were trying to inject a little bit more of Legends of Batman into Man of Steel.
He’s the star of the line and the star of the set, so I guess he gets to go first. The ninth out of nine Superman figures, this one didn’t exactly cover new ground, but was interesting in his lack of a specific purpose like we had seen with the prior variants. It’s definitely a different sort of design for the character, a departure from his classic look. He’s even sporting the mullet still, further removing him from the Superman we all knew. Of course, in light of things like the New 52, I guess the design doesn’t feel quite so out there anymore. The figure stands 5 inches tall and has 6 points of articulation. Yay for waist joints! Despite his non-standard nature, the sculpt for this figure is actually pretty decent. The pre-posing that would plague Total Justice was starting to settle in, but it doesn’t seem quite as bad here. It’s got sort of a dynamic “just about to leap into action” look about it. He also doesn’t have any trouble staying standing, which is nothing short of a miracle with most of these figures. His head, despite the dated hairstyle, is a good take on Superman, and the removable cape is quite nice, and further supports the dynamic stance. Superman’s paintwork doesn’t stray too far from his classic colors, though the blue and yellow are kind of metallic, and there’s quite a bit of black. There are also a number of sculpted lines that just sort of get ignored here, though they would be more emphasized on later uses of the mold. Superman included no accessories, though his hand looks like it was supposed to hold something at some point.
Man, how often is it Batman that plays second fiddle? Obviously, this was his first figure in this line, though he was hardly lacking on figures from his own lines. Batman’s design here isn’t quite as foreign as Superman’s, but that may be partly because he’d just had a more fluid design up to this point. He’s a little more on the armored side, and some of his color elements have been moved around a bit, but otherwise he’s going to pass the squint test. The figure, like his Kryptonian counterpart, stands 5 inches tall and has 6 points of articulation. Batman’s sculpt was unique to him, and is an okay offering, though I don’t think it’s quite as strong as Superman’s. The posing seems a bit more extreme, and the proportions a bit less balanced. He also has a little more trouble staying standing, though he still doesn’t face plant nearly as often as some of these guys. I do kind of like that little sneer to his expression; it’s unique for a Batman figure. His paint/color work is about on par with Superman. It’s just slight variations on the usual colors, and some of the sculpted elements are kind of ignored, but the overall work is solid. Like his packmate, he includes no accessories, but still looks like he’s supposed to be holding something.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
I had none of the Man of Steel two-packs growing up. In fact, I didn’t have anything from the line beyond several Series 1 figures. However, my obsessive toy-nerdiness meant that I gazed upon their photos many a time on the back of the package and on Raving Toy Maniac’s old archive page, so they’ve always been in the back of my mind. A loose set ended up traded into All Time Toys alongside a larger collection of ’90s toys, and since there’s not a huge market for these guys, I felt compelled to save them from hanging around the store for forever. Superman’s my favorite of the two, but I kind of dig both of them, and all their crazy ’90s glory.