#2903: Steppenwolf

STEPPENWOLF

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.

#2896: Desaad

DESAAD

SUPER POWERS (KENNER)

“The Tiny Tyrant of Terror! Although DeSaad has no special powers, he is a master at creating devices to torment humans. Among his arsenal are the Fear Machine, which can incite entire cities to panic, Nerve-Beams, which induce instant paralysis, and Vertigo Grenades, which make people lose their sense of balance.  For all his torturous abilities, DeSaad is a coward. Thus, he uses Darkseid’s other minions to fight battles for him. But when cornered, DeSaad will beg for mercy.”

When Darkseid joined the Super Powers line, he brought with him a handful of his faithful servants from the comics.  While Darkseid himself was a hulking figure of great strength, one of his closest devotees was DeSaad, a small, cowardly lackey, whose primary focus was on manipulating his opponents into fearing him through less scrupulous means.  After Darkseid himself, DeSaad is one of the more notable residents of Apokolips, within the grand scheme of things.  Fitting, then, that he was right there with Darkseid getting his first figure in tandem.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

DeSaad was added to Kenner’s Super Powers line in its second year in 1986, getting the first of his two figures to date.  The figure stands 4 1/2 inches tall and he has 7 points of articulation…sort of.  Depending on how you look at it, it could be a little more, but also a little less.  The shoulders do have some butterfly motion, but it’s totally tied to his action feature.  Moreover, the hips are restricted by the skirt piece, the neck is restricted by the tubes on the head, and the shoulders are restricted by the device on his chest.  Lotta restricting going on there.  This is definitely one more for just kind of standing there.  DeSaad’s design in the comics is pretty basic; he’s a small scrawny guy in a purple cloak.  This one isn’t too far removed from that at its starting point, but then also adds the weird contraption on his chest, which does give him a little more flair, to be fair.  The device, along with the tubes running to it from his head, are unfortunately quite prone to breaking, which is why one of the tubes on mine is in such a state.  Otherwise, it’s not a terrible piece of work.  He looks suitably creepy, and the detailing on the outfit does get pretty involved, which is cool.  His paint work’s not bad.  Fairly nuanced compared to others in the line, with a sickly green skin tone, and some subtle accenting on the legs and cloak.  Generally, it looks pretty solid.  DeSaad’s gimmick is a “Power Action Shock Squeeze.”  Squeezing his legs moves his arms in closer to his center.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

DeSaad is one of the most recent Super Powers I added to my collection.  He was purchased in the fall of 2019, from Factory Antique Mall, the largest antique mall in America.  They got a lot of stuff there, and that included this guy.  I didn’t have him, and he wasn’t a terrible price, so I bought him.  That’s really the whole story.  He’s cool looking, but definitely a lot less playable than the rest of the line, which is a little bit of a bummer.

#2889: Darkseid

DARKSEID

SUPER POWERS (KENNER)

“Darkseid’s powers are practically unlimited. Along with incredible strength and invulnerability is the bizarre Omega Efect, which he uses either to destroy his oponents or to teleport them to other dimensions.”

Though he’s a household name these days, Darkseid hasn’t always been quite as top tier, initially staying in Kirby’s little corner of the DC universe with the rest of the Fourth World characters, and not generally interacting with the rest of the DC universe.  It wasn’t until the ’80s that he really began to become a more encompassing foe, and it was via Jack Kirby’s own involvement with the Super Powers line as it moved forward that Darkseid and the rest of the New Gods found their place amongst the mainstream heroes and villains.  Darkseid would subsequently find himself worked into Super Friends in its later seasons, beginning the path that would cement him as one of DC’s heaviest hitter villains.  At the beginning of all that is the figure I’m looking at today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Darkseid was added to Kenner’s Super Powers during the line’s second year, as one of the six Fourth World foes added that year.  The figure stands 5 1/2 inches tall and he has 7 points of articulation.  Darkseid was by far the tallest figure in the line, which was appropriate to his menacing stature in the comics.  His mold was totally unique to him, based partially on the house style of Jose Garcia-Lopez, and also on Jack Kirby’s own work for the line.  While the Fourth World characters were mostly changed up for the line, Darkseid is one of the few characters to remain effectively the same as his classic counterpart.  He’s got shorts instead of a loin cloth and he adds a cape, but neither of those things really changes up the look that much.  The sculpt is a pretty impressive piece of work, successfully giving Darkseid the presence that the character should have.  There’s some rather nice texturing on the exposed portions of his rocky skin as well, and the facial sculpt in particular seems to really capture Kirby’s take on the character.  Darkseid’s cape is cloth, as was the standard for the line, but it’s notable in its use of a far more elaborate clasp to hold in in place, which features a sculpted pendant piece.  It’s not a classic Darkseid piece, but it does add a nice little extra bit of flair to the design.  Darkseid’s paint is less intensive than most, relying heavily on molded colors, but what’s there is clean and bold, and matches usual depictions of the character.  Like many figures in the line, Darkseid had no accessories, but he still got an action feature, his “Power Action Raging Motion,” which swings his arms up when his legs are squeezed.  Additionally, he’s got light-piping in his head, which allows for his eyes to light up, simulating his “Power Action Omega Beams,” or, as they’re often called in the comics, “Omega Beams.”

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Darkseid was a figure I wanted from a rather early point in my collecting of the line, because of how fascinated I was with the Kirby characters, and how unique he was compared to the rest of the line.  He was very near the end of my Super Powers collecting as a kid, purchased at the Baltimore Comic-Con the year before I got Mantis.  He was without his cape at the time, but I was able to get ahold of a replacement for him in just the last month, courtesy of All Time Toys.  He’s truly one of the line’s definitive pieces, and just an all around solid figure.

#2882: Brainiac

BRAINIAC

SUPER POWERS (KENNER)

“Brainiac The Living Computer is a brilliant computer mind and evil genius whose schemes are capable of destroying whole civilizations with an insane fear and hatred of Superman and of the being he calls the ‘Master Programmer.'”

The first year of Kenner’s Super Powers was full of the DC Universe’s heaviest hitters, facing off against a handful of villains, of course.  The villains roster was a 50/50 split between Batman and Superman’s rogues galleries.  I’ve already looked at the first of the Superman rogues included, Lex Luthor, and today I’m following up with the second of those, Brainiac.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Brainiac is part of the first year of Super Powers, as one of the four villains included in the debut line-up.  In a move right on par with the Luthor figure, rather than being based on Brainiac’s classic jumpsuited green-skinned humanoid design, this figure was based on his updated appearance from Action Comics #544, which had debuted the year before this figure’s release.  It was still very new and current, and, admittedly, it’s probably a better toy design, so that’s a plus.  The figure stands 4 3/4 inches tall and he has 5 points of articulation.  Brainiac was a little bit less articulated than most of the figures in the line, since he dropped the knee joints.  This was, presumably, due to the way the vac metalizing process works, and a desire to have less joints to potentially lead to damaging the finish.  Brainiac’s sculpt is a rather impressive piece of work.  There’s a lot of room for smaller detail work in the more robotic design, and Kenner took advantage of it.  Even with the slightly softer detailing caused by the finish, he’s still got quite an intricate appearance.  It makes for a very visually interesting sculpt, which is a lot of fun.  Brainiac’s color work largely relies on the chrome finish, which has a slightly bluish hue to it.  It’s a lot of fun.  He’s also got detailing on his eyes, and some additional accenting on the shoulders, which mixes things up nicely.  It’s all topped off with that clear dome on the head.  Brainiac didn’t get any accessories, but he did get an action feature.  Squeezing his arms activates his “Power Action Computer Kick,” which swings his right leg upward.  It can make him a little unstable at times, but with the right placement on the hip, he’s still okay.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

After I got back into collecting Super Powers as an adult, I had a small fund of money that I put aside in order to work my way through the rest of the collection.  Luthor was my first purchase after getting back in, and a few months later, I followed up with Brainiac.  He’s a pretty solid figure.  Not classic Brainiac, of course, but still very fun.  A very good, fun robot figure.  And who doesn’t love that?

#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.