SUPER POWERS (KENNER)
“As one of Darkseid’s most trusted agents, Steppenwolf commands the every action of the huge, vicious, canine army known as the Hounds of Hades. In addition, Steppenwolf carries the Electro-Axe, a universally dreaded device that fires deadly Radion Bolts.”
Even within the Fourth World itself, Steppenwolf has always kind of been the red-headed
steppenchild stepchild. He’s just sort of there, and occasionally they’d send him off to go look imposing at someone and invariably get the snot kicked out of him to prove that the heroes are greater than expected. Even Jack Kirby didn’t know what to do with him, and he created him. He’s low tier in an already low tier bracket. The choice to use him as Justice League‘s main antagonist was odd to say the least, no matter which version you took in. But, I guess more people know him now? Yay? Well, let’s go back to the beginning, and look at his very first action figure.
THE FIGURE ITSELF
Steppenwolf was added to Super Powers in its second year. Initially, he was the line’s very first mail-away figure, but he was later added to the line proper with his own carded release. The figure stands 4 1/2 inches tall and he has 7 points of articulation. Steppenwolf’s design was one of the most changed of the Fourth World Characters. Up to this point, he’d generally worn a lot of green with more of nobleman hunter sort of a feel, but his Super Powers design really amped up the sci-fi side of things, as well as just generally making him a whole lot spikier. I mean, not Justice League levels of spikes, or anything, but, still, like, a lot of spikes. While I’ve generally been okay with the Super Powers redesigns, Steppenwolf is one that I’ve never really jived with. There was a formality to the original, which just is lacking here. So, rather than being imposing he’s just…goofy. I don’t think that’s what they were aiming for. From a technical standpoint, it’s not a bad sculpt. As with all of the Super Powers sculpts, it’s got a nice set of balanced proportions, and just enough detailing to keep him interesting, without making him too overcomplicated. His backpack and axe are all connected to the figure permanently, and the axe is *supposed* to clip onto the backpack for storage. On my figure, however, that clip has broken, so he’s forced to forever just hold his axe. Poor guy. While the character had classically been done up in shades of green and yellow, for this figure he was inexplicably in red and brown, perhaps to further differentiate him from Mantis? I don’t know, but I’m not sure I like it. The application’s not bad, though, and he’s even got some vac metalizing on his axe, which is pretty cool. Steppenwolf’s action was his “Power Action Electro-Axe Chop,” which swung his right arm downward when his legs were squeezed.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
I’ve never been a huge Steppenwolf fan, and I’m even less of a fan of his redesign here. So, when it came time to confront buying this figure, I wound up bundling him in with another figure I actually was very excited to get, Brainiac. Even when he was new to me, he wasn’t my focus. And that’s probably for the best, because he still doesn’t really wow me, honestly. He’s hardly a bad figure, but probably on the low end of my list for Super Powers. That’s the price of being such a strong line in general, I suppose.