#2784: Mantis

MANTIS

SUPER POWERS (KENNER)

To fill out Super Powers during its second and third years, Kenner fell back on Jack Kirby’s cast of Fourth World characters as an expansion to the otherwise heavy-hitter focused line.  Rather than adapting, say, the Legion of Doom, and continuing the first year’s Super Friends inspiration, the Justice League and their allies faced down Darkside and his forces from Apokolips, which was actually a fairly unique idea at the time (less so these days, I suppose).  In addition to bringing the characters into the line, DC and Kenner also brought in the King himself, Jack Kirby, to provide some new designs for the characters.  Some of the designs were more minor reworks, but some of them were pretty major.  On the “almost entirely different” side of things, we had Mantis, todays focus.  Let’s have a look!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Mantis was added to Kenner’s Super Powers line in 1985, as part of the line’s second year.  He was one of the six Fourth World characters featured in ’85, and is probably the most minor of them, which is usually Mantis’ lot in life.  The figure stands 4 1/2 inches tall and he has 9 points of articulation.  Mantis was unique in the line, gaining extra articulation at the wrists, which none of the others got.  Why he got these extra joints is anyone’s guess, but they’re cool, and I’m certainly not going to complain.  Mantis’s all-new sculpt depicted an all-new design for the time.  Rather than the spandex-clad design from his comics appearances, he got a robotic armored design, which also played up his bug-like nature a fair bit more.  It’s a more visually interesting appearance, and so drastically different from his usual look that it might as well be an all-new character (something the line would explore a bit further the following year).  Whatever the case, it’s a cool design, and it results in a pretty nifty looking figure, with a lot of really fun little design elements worked in.  He’s got a very clean, futuristic feel about him.  His paint work follows the standard for the line, with bright and bold color work.  The green and yellow’s a really appealing set-up, and it works well with the sculpt.  Mantis’s action feature is a “Power Action Pincer Thrust.”  When his legs are squeezed, his arms move opposite directions, which is kinda nifty.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve never had much of an attachment to Mantis in the comics, and I blame that squarely on this figure.  Why?  Because in my youth, spending time staring at all the Super Powers figures I didn’t yet own on the Super Powers Archive, I really grew to like this guy.  When I really got into reading the Fourth World stuff, I was honestly a little let-down by Mantis’s less unique design.  Mantis represents the last Super Powers figure I actively sought out in my youth, before taking a break from the line.  I got him at Baltimore Comic Con, as part of a haul that also included a Kenner Aliens Bishop, a ReSaurus Pops Racer, and a Mummies Alive Hunter Jakal.  It was a weird haul, but a very me haul.  Despite my general lack of care for Mantis himself as a character, I still really like this particular figure, and I think he’s one of the most inventive figures in the line.

#2777: Lex Luthor

LEX LUTHOR

SUPER POWERS (KENNER)

“Lex Luthor The Sinister Scientist, Possesses Warsuit, a battle outfit designated by an ancient super-scientific alien civilization, and modified with Luthor’s own genius. Luthor is capable of designing incredible weaponry for use against Superman.”

What good are super heroes without some enemies to fight?  Generally, kind of bored, I guess.  Like, it gives them some time to catch up on their chores around the house, and such, I’d imagine.  But most kids aren’t looking to have their Superman figure sweeping up and doing his laundry.  No, they want action!  Let’s give that Superman a rich bald guy to beat up on!  Fortunately, Kenner had our backs, with resident DC rich bald guy, Lex Luthor!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Lex Luthor was released in the first series of Kenner’s Super Powers line, where he was one of the four villainous characters included in the debut line-up.  Luthor had been rocking the green and purple jumpsuit look for several years up to this point, but he’d just swapped out for the powered armor Warsuit seen here a year prior to the figure’s release.  The figure stands 4 1/2 inches tall and he has 7 points of articulation.  His sculpt is another unique piece, and made for a quite nice recreation of the armor as seen in the comics.  The detail work on the technical elements of the suit is pretty well-rendered, and makes him a slightly more visually interesting figure than he might be were he sporting the old jump-suit.  The upper portion of the armor is actually designed to be removed (though on my figure it’s a little too fragile for me to want to chance actually taking it off), which adds an extra level of depth, as well as an extra look for the figure, should you want a less armored version of Lex.  The paint work on Luthor follows his usual green and purple, although the purple does err a bit more on the side of magenta, perhaps to help him be a bit more distinct from the Joker figure included in the same assortment.  The paint work is, like most of the line, very bold and bright, which is always a plus.  I also quite like the little insignia on the front of his armor.  Lex’s included action feature is his “Power Action Nuclear Punch,” which, like a lot of the features for the line, translates to “when you squeeze his legs, his arms move up and down.”  It’s not quite as good for him as other features in the line, but it’s unobtrusive, so it’s not much of a complaint.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

After being pretty invested in the line for a few years, I fell out of collecting Super Powers for several years, right around my late teens, going into my college years.  I was brought back to them when I went through a couple rough months early in my college career, and, after a particularly bad night, my dad dug my figures out of the box they’d been in out in the garage, and brought them to me, bringing up that collecting them was something that had made me rather happy.  So, I jumped back into picking them up, and Luthor wound up as my first purchase after my return to collecting them, largely due to him being more on the affordable side.  Ultimately, the figure itself isn’t one of my favorites or anything, but he does hold some significance at least.

#2770: Robin

ROBIN

SUPER POWERS (KENNER)

What good’s Batman without his trusty sidekick?  Well, classically, a very lonely, lonely hero indeed.  So, in an effort to not let him be too lonely, toy companies do tend to produce at least one Robin to go along with most Batmen.  Such was the case with Kenner’s Super Powers, which took advantage of Robin’s placement amongst the pseudo Justice League line-up of the Super Friends in order to include him early on in the line’s run, with a figure I’m taking a look at today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Robin was part of the first series of Super Powers in 1984.  Dick Grayson had given up the mantle in the comics at this point, and with his successor Jason Todd taking up the title the prior year.  Dick even took on his Nightwing name the same year as this figure’s release.  However, all of this was still a recent enough development that Dick was still more clearly associated with the identity, hence the figure’s bio still identifying him as Dick, and him very clearly being based on a slightly later career Grayson.  The figure stands just under 4 1/2 inches tall and he has 7 points of articulation.  He’s got that same articulation set-up as the other figures; if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.  Like last week’s Flash figure, Robin marks another really noticeable change in build, being demonstrably smaller and less built up than the other heroes featured in the first series.  It actually makes him look a bit more like a teenager (albeit a very athletic one), which is definitely a plus.  The overall design for the character looks pretty decent; the face definitely follows the Super Friends look for him, which certainly works well for the character.  His outfit is nicely detailed as well, with some rather nice work on the scaled shorts in particular.  Robin’s cape is, like the rest of the line, cloth, though he’s also got the collar to his cape sculpted onto his torso.  It makes him look  a little bit goofy, I suppose, with the plastic clip in the cape sitting above it, but it’s not terrible.  Robin’s paint work is pretty straight forward for Robin.  All of the basics are covered, and he’s bright and eye-catching.  The hair and the tips of the feet are definitely the most prone to wear on this guy, but not quite as bad as, say, Flash’s nose.  Robin’s action feature is his “Power Action Karate Chop.”  Squeezing his legs brings his right arm down.  It works well with the sculpted pose on the hand, and feels pretty well-matched to the character.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Robin, like Flash and Superman before him, was a character who went through an upgrade in my Super Powers collection, since my first one was actually the Toy Biz release, which is probably one of the closest matches, honestly.  That one, which I got from a Balticon dealer’s table during a trip with my dad, was ultimately replaced by the proper Kenner release I reviewed here, when I fished him out of a loose figure bin at Baltimore Comic Con a few years later.  Whichever figure you’re looking at, this is really the best Dick Grayson Robin figure out there, and fits with Super Powers’ overall quintessential feel once again.

#2763: The Flash

THE FLASH

SUPER POWERS (KENNER)

“Flash is the fastest man alive. Can run at super-speed. Can vibrate his body so quickly as to be immaterial, so that bullets pass through him, or can go through walls. Can also move so fast he becomes invisible. Can run on water.”

Despite the namesake being one of DC’s earliest heroes, and this particular iteration being the character that ushered in the Silver Age at DC, The Flash was nevertheless, rather conspicuously missing from DC’s earliest forays into the world of action figures.  He wouldn’t get his toy due until Kenner’s Super Powers, where he at least was not only finally included into toy form, but was also in the line’s inaugural year.  Way to go Kenner!  Let’s look at that figure today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Flash was included in Kenner’s first assortment of Super Powers in 1984, debuting alongside most of the rest of the core Justice League line-up.  Since Barry was still the current Flash at the time, the figure was very definitely based on him, in his look that more or less remained unchanged from his very first appearance in Showcase.  The figure was one of the shortest in the line, at a little under 4 1/2 inches tall, and he sported the standard 7 points of articulation.  Barry was typically depicted as a little bit on the shorter side compared to some of the other members of the team, so this slightly smaller stature fit the character, and also helped to keep the slightly more diverse physical characteristics of the line’s take on the heroes.  His sculpt also depicts as being much more lithe than his teammates, with notably narrower shoulders than the other male heroes.  It definitely helped to place emphasis on his legs and his build as a runner, which is very appropriate for the character.  His face has a nice, friendly smile on it; most of the heroes had a generally friendly expression, but Flash’s is very definitely a smile.  And it’s not one of Wally’s more sly grin’s, either; this is very definitely Barry’s goofy scientist type of smile.  I really like it.  Flash’s costume elements are largely sculpted, which is certainly impressive.  Perhaps the coolest little touch is the inclusion of the treads on the bottoms of his feet.  That’s an area that usually gets left smooth, but not on this guy.  It’s a very nice attention to detail.  The figure’s paint was pretty basic.  There’s not exactly a ton of details to be had, but he was, like the rest of the line, bold and colorful.  I like that.  Unfortunately, Flash is also a figure very prone to paint wear over time, specifically on his nose and chin, as can be seen on my figure.  I’ve actually had three of this guy over the years, and every one of them had the exact same wear.  Flash had no accessories, but he did include his own action feature, dubbed “Power Action Lightning Legs”.  When you squeeze his arms, his legs kick back and forth, in a sort of a reversal of the other figures.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

A proper Kenner Flash was actually one of the later additions to my early Super Powers figures, which is amusing, because it’s actually Flash’s fault I was introduced to Super Powers in the first place.  When I was first getting into collecting in the ’90s, Flash figures were hard to come by (the Total Justice one had just dried up at retail, and the JLA rerelease wasn’t quite out yet), so my dad bought me one online.  It was the Toy Biz DC Super Heroes one, but had be incorrectly identified as the Super Powers one.  That ultimately led to me stumbling upon the Super Powers Archive and low-key falling in love with the line, but for the first few years, my “Super Powers” Flash was actually the Toy Biz one.  It wasn’t until my dad got me a batch of various figures for Christmas one year that I actually got to upgrade to the one seen in this review.  Despite not being my first Flash, he’s still a very cool Flash, and definitely one of my favorite Flashes, and he really shows that Kenner was very committed to not phoning these figures in.

#2756: Firestorm

FIRESTORM

SUPER POWERS (KENNER)

“Firestorm has the ability to alter the atomic structure of all things. He uses this power to fly, cause nuclear blasts, and transform objects into other things.  Firestorm is not invulnerable. He loses all his powers when he switches to his civilian identities. Firestorm is actually TWO people – teenager Robbie Raymond, and Professor Martin Stein. Firestorm was created when their two bodies were atomically fused during an explosion in a nuclear power plant.”

Super Powers‘ fixation on both Super Friends and the Satellite Era of the Justice League line-up made it a good time to be Firestorm, a member of both teams in at least some capacity.  A relatively new character, being introduced only six years prior to the line’s launch, he nevertheless found himself a home in the line, netting him his first, and for a very long time only, action figure, which I’m going to be taking a look at today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Firestorm was included in the 1985 line-up for Kenner’s Super Powers line, during it’s second year at retail.  He was one of the four Justice Leaguers added in the second year, and was definitely the most eclectic choice of that bunch (though, in a year that included Desaad, Mantis, & Steppenwolf, he was certainly far from the most obscure character included).  The figure stands almost 5 inches tall (thanks to that really tall bit of fire hair) and he has 7 points of articulation.  His movement scheme is pretty much the same one that the entire line sported; it’s not bad for the era, and is certainly a step up from where Kenner tended to be.  Firestorm had a totally unique sculpt (which would have seen some re-use had the planned Power Plus subline launched in 1987 as planned), patterned on Jose Garcia-Lopez’s style guide illustration for the character.  He’s based on his original Raymond/Stein fusion design, which was at this point still the only one he had, so I guess it made sense.  It’s a distinctive look, and one that certainly translates nicely into figure form.  The only slightly awkward part, I guess, is the hair, but honestly even that doesn’t look so bad here.  There’s also a really nice flow on the puffy sleeves, which could look way sillier than they ultimately do.  Firestorm’s paint work continued the line’s trend of being bright, clean, and colorful.  He actually had a little more going on than some of the other figures, and in particular they’ve made the hair look pretty good again, even if the design necessitates it being totally opaque.  Firestorm included no accessories, but he did get the requisite super power action feature.  His is a “Power Action Atomic Punch”; squeeze his legs and he moves his arms back and forth.  Wooooooo.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Firestorm is another very early addition to my Super Powers collection.  I got him for my eighth birthday, as a gift from my parents.  I remember being rather excited, especially since it was literally the only Firestorm available at the time, and would stay that way for a few years.  I was still catching the occasional Super Friends reruns, and that included a few of his later series appearances, so I definitely liked the character.  This would actually remain the only Firestorm in my collection until the DCUC version was released.  He’s a pretty solid figure.  I mean, so’s the rest of the line, for the most part, but I do like this one quite a lot.

#2665: Dr. Fate

DR. FATE

SUPER POWERS (KENNER)

“Doctor Fate is the master of an ancient type of magic first brought to Earth before the dawn of man. Fate uses this magic to cast spells which allow him to fly, walk through walls, make himself invulnerable, and many other things.”

The heavy Super Friends-inspiration of Kenner’s Super Powers line, coupled with it being released right around the end of the bronze age, meant that the line’s heroic component was largely focused on the Justice League of America.  The League’s predecessors, the Justice Society of America, weren’t quite so fortunate when it came to the line-up.  There were, of course, a few overlapping members between the two, but just one single proper JSA member, Kent Nelson, better known as Dr. Fate!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Dr. Fate was released in 1985, as part of the second series of Super Powers.  He was the first and only JSA member added to the line, and would have remained so, even had the line continued past 1986.  Why exactly he was chosen for the line when there were no other plans for any other JSA-ers is anyone’s guess.  I guess they just thought he had a cool visual?  They weren’t wrong.  The figure stands 4 1/2 inches tall and he has 7 points of articulation.  His sculpt was all-new, and a pretty solid recreation of the classic Fate design.  He’s a touch stockier than Fate was usually depicted, but that was generally in keeping with the line’s style.  This is just Dr. Fate after a really good work-out, perhaps?  And he’s clearly not had time to let out his suit, which is why it’s so tight, clearly.  Whatever the case, the costume design is proper classic Fate through and through, and the helmet in particular is really cleanly rendered, and properly striking.  Like others in the line, the cape is a cloth piece.  It’s kinda hokey, but there’s a certain charm about it.  The paint work on the figure is clean, bright, and bold.  The paint on my particular figure has seen some slightly better days, but it’s not too bad overall, especially for a figure of its age.  Fate included no accessories, but he followed the line’s tradition of giving the figures “super powers,” in his case “Power Action Magic Spell Cast,” which raises the arms upward when his legs are squeezed.  A slightly weaker feature compared to others in the line, but generally not bad.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

In my review of Hawkman last week, I noted that he was one of my earliest Super Powers.  Dr. Fate is right there beside him, because he came to me on that same Christmas morning in ’00.  As Hawkman’s *sort of* a JSA figure, they were a pretty decent pair, all things considered, and no doubt contributed to my early love of the JSA and their adventures (though, it’s worth noting that he wasn’t even my first Dr. Fate figure; that honor went to the DCD figure, released earlier that same year).  The figure’s another winner for the line, apart from his lack of compatriots, but I’d rather have just him than not at all.

#2658: Hawkman

HAWKMAN

SUPER POWERS (KENNER)

“Hawkman’s wings enable him to fly and his belt enables him to defy gravity.  He uses weapons of the past from the museum he curates, matched with futuristic weapons, and criminology from his home planet, Thanagar.”

Oh man, I haven’t written a review about Hawkman since #0029.  Not only is that from the site’s first month, but it was also the review where I instituted my old randomized list I used to pull from.  Man, I used to talk about that thing all the time!  What a crazy trip down memory lane.  Well, it’s fitting that I’m doing this whole trip down memory lane, because I’m also doing that in a greater sense with the contents of today’s review.  Yes, I’m taking a look at another Super Powers figure today, specifically the aforementioned Hawkman.  Like last week’s GL, he was a character left out of Mego’s treatment for DC Superheroes, and was therefore making his debut in action figure form courtesy of this line.  And I’m looking at that figure today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Hawkman was released in the first series of Super Powers in 1984.  As I touched on in my GL review, the line-up for that first series was very much inspired by Challenge of the Super Friends, and Hawkman’s inclusion here really goes along with that, given he was probably the most obscure character in the first assortment.  He’s the tallest figure in the original line-up, at 4 3/4 inches tall, and he’s got 8 workable points of articulation (the wings technically have two joints each, but on each of them one of those joints is explicitly tied into the action feature).  In addition to height, Katar also was just generally bigger in size than the rest of the Justice Leaguers from the first set.  It’s pretty fitting, since he tended to be drawn as a little bit bigger, and it helped to sell him as a little more alien.  It also gave a nice variety of height and build to the male members of the Justice League right out of the gate.  Super Powers‘ handling of uniqueness of build has always been one of my favorite aspects of the line, and it’s ultimately why I feel it holds up as the quintessential DC line, even in light of lines with deeper character selections.  The detail work on Hawkman is really pretty great, with the best work being on his mask and wings, both of which get some great texture work.  His wings are also large enough to not look too dinky, while also being small enough that he doesn’t have major issues with stability, which is something later Hawkman figures would struggle with.  The paint work on Hawkman was, like the rest of the line, very clean, very bold, and very bright, all of which are good things.  Mine’s taken a little bit of beating on the front of the nose, and has a little bit of discoloration on the torso, but has for the most part held up well.  Hawkman was packed with his mace, and also featured “Power Action Flight Wings.”  When you squeeze his legs, his wings flap.  Not a bad feature at all.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Hawkman’s one of the earliest when it comes to my Super Powers collecting.  I got him for Christmas, I want to say in 2000, which would have made him I think my third or fourth Super Powers figure.  It was the year prior to GL and Manhunter, I know that for sure.  I had my Total Justice Hawkman at the time, and he wasn’t really doing it for me as a classic Hawkman, so my Dad found a small little lot of figures, which included him, and gave him to me that year.  He’s a good one.  Kind of an odd one for me to have so early on in retrospect, but a good one nevertheless, and certainly high on the list for the character’s figures.

#2651: Green Lantern

GREEN LANTERN

SUPER POWERS (KENNER)

“Green Lantern’s power ring that can create, temporarily, any object he desires with his willpower. The ring also is used as an offensive weapon. The ring protects him form mortal harm as well: he cannot be killed. The ring enables him to fly and survive in space, or even at the bottom of the ocean. The ring is powerless against the color yellow. The ring must be recharged every 24 hours at his power battery.”

Oh man, are you prepped to get psyched?  I sure hope so, because I certainly am.  Why is that?  Remember how Super Powers is my favorite DC toy line?  And how Green Lantern’s my favorite DC character?  Well, put those two things together, and, boom, you get the subject of today’s review.  Pretty slick, right?  No?  Admittedly, it may just be me.  But, hey, it’s my site, so we’re gonna just roll with it.  After being so cruelly overlooked by Mego when they were giving most of the DC heavy hitters their first action figures, Hal Jordan, aka the second Green Lantern, was finally given his toy due in 1984, when Kenner launched their own run on the DC brand, with the figure I’m taking a look at today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Green Lantern was part of the first series of Kenner’s Super Powers line.  The line was certainly drawing from Challenge of the Super Friends, whose prominent use of GL I’m sure did him a lot of favors when it came to being included in this line-up.  The figure stands 4 1/2 inches tall and he has 7 points of articulation.  Hal’s design, like the rest of these early figures, was based on Jose Garcia-Lopez’s illustration of the character in the 1982 DC Style Guide.  This had Hal in his slightly updated GL uniform, which featured the additional green detailing on the shoulders.  It became something of a defining trait for the character’s design, helping to make this figure look rather timeless.  Hal’s sculpt is a very nice one, perhaps one of the nicest to come out of the line.  It’s very clean, and appropriately sleek for GL.  The build on the figure had him slightly more svelte than the likes of Superman or Batman, which definitely seems right for Hal, and I quite like how the various parts of the uniform are actually raised elements, rather than just being painted in place as most later figures would handle things.  I will say, in regards to the head sculpt, Hal’s chin does seem a bit more pronounced here than it usually is, but overall, the head does seem right for the character.  That mask is really spot on.  Hal’s paint work is pretty simple, but appropriately clean and striking.  Mine has a touch of wear on his nose, but is otherwise pretty good.  GL was packed with his lantern power battery, which my figure actually has.  Pretty sweet! He also gets an action feature, the “Power Action Ring Thrust.”  Gotta love that name.  Essentially, you squeeze his legs, and the right arm raises. Pretty appropriate for the character.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

In the dark days of the ’90s, Hal Jordan had been replaced by Kyle Rayner, and was therefore not really getting much toy coverage.  This was at cross purposes with my desire to own a Hal Jordan figure, thanks to becoming familiar with the character through Super Friends re-runs on Cartoon Network.  After my dad introduced me to the wonderful Super Power Archives, Hal became the first Super Powers figure I actively wanted to own.  He wasn’t the first one I *got*, but was fairly early on.  I specifically requested him for Christmas one year, and came down Christmas morning to find both him and Martian Manhunter propped up on the Christmas Village waiting for me.  He didn’t have the Power Battery originally, but I was able to get him one of those too, eventually.  He’s definitely my favorite figure in this line, and probably my favorite Green Lantern figure period.

#2644: Martian Manhunter

MARTIAN MANHUNTER

SUPER POWERS (KENNER)

“The Martian Manhunter has a truly awesome array of powers. Beside being practically invulnerable, he has the power of super-breath, flight, invisibility, super-vision, and super-strength. He also has the ability to walk through walls, as well as the power to transform himself into any creature and acquire that creature’s powers and abilities.  The Martian Manhunter cannot survive in a vacuum, and cannot use any of his other powers when he is invisible. Most important, however is his vulnerability to fire, which can weaken and eventually destroy him.  On Mars, the Martian Manhunter’s real name is J’Onn J’Onzz. On Earth, he sometimes adopts the civilian identity of Detective John Jones.”

I’m quite a big fan of the Kenner’s Super Powers, and it’s no secret around these parts that it gets my vote for quintessential DC toy line.  Speaking of quintessential, if there’s a member of the Justice League who gets my vote for quintessential, it would be J’Onn J’Onzz, better known as the Martian Manhunter, who received his very first action figure as part of the Super Powers.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Martian Manhunter was released in 1985, the second year of Super Powers.  He was one of four members of the Justice League to be added to the line that year.  He’s based on Jose Garcia-Lopez’s illustration of the character from the DC Style Guide, just like the rest of the line, which means he depicts J’Onn just after they’d started adding in a few more of his more Martian aspects.  It means it wasn’t *quite* as classic a design as some of the others in the line-up, but it also made him slightly more distinctive, and ultimately became the more common design for the character.  The figure stands 4 1/2 inches tall and he has 6 points of articulation.  His sculpt was an entirely new affair, well-matched to the style of the rest of the line.  It gives Manhunter the proper presence for the character, with a build that’s not quite as bulked up as the line’s version of Superman, but which still casts an imposing silhouette.  His arms aren’t as preposed as the first year figures were, which looks a little better in the basic standing pose.  Manhunter’s head sculpt is the part that is the most modernized portion of the figure, with Manhunter’s much more prominent brow.   His expression has a nice, friendly, if still alien feel about it, which really feels perfect for the character.  Like other figures in the line, Manhunter’s cape is a separate cloth piece.  It’s got the extra bit of collar, which helps to hide the plastic clip a bit better than other figures, making it a slightly more convincing piece.  Martian Manhunter’s paint work is pretty simple, but it’s bright, colorful, and pretty clean, at least apart from the bit of wear and tear that my figure’s taken.  As with all Super Powers figures, Martian Manhunter got his own action feature, dubbed “Power Action Martian Punch”.  When you squeeze his legs, his arms swing back and forth.  Or at least they should, but they actually don’t on mine.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Martian Manhunter is on the earlier side of my Super Powers collecting, when I went through a string of getting them as Christmas presents from my parents.  I want to say he was the fourth or fifth figure I got from the line?  It would have been when I was around 7 or 8.  He was the same year as Green Lantern, so he did sort of pale in comparison just a touch at the time.  He didn’t have his cape originally, but I got one for him later down the line.  He’s a really cool figure, and definitely a fantastic starting point for the character.

#2637: Samurai

SAMURAI

SUPER POWERS (KENNER)

“Japanese history professor Toshio Eto was teaching class one day when suddenly a mystical bolt of energy hit him. The bolt of energy had been sent from emissaries of the New Gods who were in need of super heroes. The strange energy enveloped Eto and released the latent energy in his body, transforming him into the Samurai. Using his newfound powers of the hurricane and wielding an energy sword, the Samurai mistakenly caused havoc until the transformation was explained to him and he decided to be a force for good.”

You know, I really haven’t reviewed enough Super Powers figures on this site.  I mean, at this point, I’m essentially only reviewing them once a year, which means it would take me almost 40 years to actually get through them all.  That’s not a great metric for me.  I should probably work on that.  Fortunately, I’m getting some help on that front, with a new one to kick-start things a little bit.  Super Powers started with a focus on DC’s core characters, but as the line continued it shifted its focus, and by its final year, it was largely made up of rather minor characters, and in fact a good number of characters not even from the comics originally.  Though not a total fabrication for the line, Samurai began his life outside of the comics medium, as one of four heroes created for Challenge of the Super Friends in order to diversify the Justice League’s line-up.  Ultimately, he and the rest of these new heroes fell into some pretty heavy stereotyping, but hey, it was the ’70s.  Samurai was the only of these characters to be carried over into Super Powers, but it’s worth noting that both El Dorado and Black Vulcan would have joined him had the line continued (El Dorado even made it to the prototype stage).

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Samurai was released in 1987, as part of the third and final assortment of Kenner’s Super Powers.  He was Samurai’s first figure, and would remain his only figure for a good three decades.  The figure stands 4 1/2 inches tall and he has 8 points of articulation.  Samurai had one more joint than most figures in the line, with movement at his waist.  It’s largely just there to facilitate the figure’s action feature, but it’s still possible to use it as a point of articulation as well, so hey, extra movement.  Samurai’s sculpt is actually not bad.  He had the benefit of only really having one source to draw from in terms of design, and he ultimately does an okay job of capturing that design in three dimensions.  It’s not the greatest design, admittedly, but I guess it could have been worse.  It’s also worth noting that they didn’t feel the need to redesign him the way they did a handful of characters from later in the line, so, again, this works out pretty well.  Samurai’s design relies on some cloth goods for his vest piece.  It’s a piece very commonly missing from the figure, and it’s worth noting that the one sported by my figure is, in fact, a reproduction.  It’s not a bad repro, though, all things considered, and regardless of repro or original, the cloth piece works well for this part of the figure.  Makes him very difficult to get complete, but cool nevertheless.  Samurai’s paint work is pretty basic stuff.  Not a ton of crazy work going on, but the face is pretty sharp, and the colors are bright.  I can definitely get behind it.  Samurai was originally packed with a small sword, which, like the vest, is very commonly missing from the figure.  As you can see, my figure does not have it.  Some day.  In addition to the sword, he also had an action feature, “Gale Force Spin.”  When you squeezed his right arm, his lower torso would spin.  And mine still works, even.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Of the four added characters from Super Friends, Samurai has always kind of been my least favorite, which makes the fact that he was the only one to get a figure here a little sad.  That, coupled with his rarity, has meant I’ve never really rushed out to get this guy.  However, my dad, who has been getting me Super Powers figures as Christmas gifts since I was 7, got me this guy as a Christmas gift this year, albeit an ever so slightly late one, thanks to the mess that is the current state of the United States Postal Service.  Hey, at least I managed to get him before the new year.  That was a miracle in and of itself.  Samurai isn’t the most impressive character, but the figure is kind of fun, and is a major step forward with my Super Powers collection.  Just 7 more to go!