#3115: Captain Atom

CAPTAIN ATOM

SUPERMAN/BATMAN: PUBLIC ENEMIES (DC DIRECT)

In the opening arc of Superman/Batman, after Lex Luthor makes the titular duo fugitives, he sends his own team of government-sponsored heroes after them.  Heading this team is Captain Atom, a character that DC really seems to like pulling the Inspector Javert angle with.  Surprising no one, the Captain realizes that, you know, Luthor’s, like, a villain and all, and aids our heroes.  As I’ve mentioned before, the story’s not high art or anything, but it did give Captain Atom some nice focus, and also netted him his very first action figure in 2005.  That’s pretty cool.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Captain Atom was released in the first series of DC Direct’s Superman/Batman line, which, as previously noted, was entirely themed around the “Public Enemies” storyline.  Captain Atom is seen here in his one look from the story, which was also his one main look for his time at DC during his post-Crisis revival.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 13 points of articulation…or at least he did before his shoulder joint crumbled when I pulled him out of storage for this review.  This is why you shouldn’t make joints out of clear plastic, you guys.  It doesn’t end well.  Captain Atom sported the most basic version of the McGuinness-styled body mold that was introduced for this assortment.  It’s a good, basic mold, most of which wound up re-used for various other McGuinness-style characters, including Superman Blue and Red, whom I reviewed here a few years back.  It does better with the arm posing than the other molds…you know, when the shoulder joints don’t shatter.  His head sculpt is the one notable unique piece, of course, and it’s a nice recreation of McGuinness’s version of Atom.  The hair in particular has just the right amount of swoopiness.  I dig it.  The paint work on this figure is rather on the basic side.  It’s admittedly a slight letdown, because the finish is all very flat, where in the comics, McGuinness made it very clear that Atom was supposed to be very shiny.  At least a slightly more showy metallic finish, or possibly some gloss, would have been really nice.  As it stands, it’s okay, but not very flashy.  Captain Atom is packed with a display stand, sporting the Superman/Batman logo.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As I mentioned in last week’s Superman review, back when these were new, my buying habits were rather scaled back, so I could really only afford one of them, and that was this guy, who I picked up from my usual stop Cosmic Comix back in 2005 when they first hit.  I was quite excited about this figure, I recall, because I’d always found the character’s design to be pretty awesome, and there were previously no toy options at all.  Since Mattel was still unable to produce him for their JLU line at the time, this one was my first real option.  Issues with the breakage and the flat finish aside, he was awesome at the time, and he’s still pretty cool now.  And, even all this time later, the competition on the good Captain Atom figure front is still rather sparse.

#3110: Superman

SUPERMAN

SUPERMAN/BATMAN: PUBLIC ENEMIES (DC DIRECT)

In the early 2000s, DC revitalized their World’s Finest book, a series that chronicled Superman and Batman’s joint exploits (well, mostly; it didn’t start that way), under the more minimalistic title of Superman/Batman.  The series launched with “Public Enemies,” a story line that saw Superman and Batman labeled enemies of the state by a soon-to-be-deposed President Lex Luthor.  It’s far from high art or anything, but it’s a fairly fun story.  At the time, DC Direct did a line of figures to tie-in, based on Ed McGuinness’s art from the book.  Today, I’ll be taking a look at the line’s take on Superman.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Superman was released in the first series of DCD’s Superman/Batman line, which was entirely “Public Enemies”-themed.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 11 points of articulation.  These figures were far from super-poseable, with little more than enough movement to tweak the basic standing pose.  You can get maybe a slight take-off pose out of him, but even that’s pushing it.  He can at least get his arms closer to his sides than Batman could, but even so, it’s pretty limited.  Superman had an all-new sculpt, based on McGuinness’s art; it certainly shares a number of elements with the other figures, since they all had rather similar builds.  It’s at the very least a pretty solid recreation of the art in three dimensions.  In particular, they’ve really gotten McGuinness’s Superman’s head down pretty spot-on.  I do really love how that sculpt looks.  The cape seems perhaps a touch short, but I do like the dynamic flow to it; it helps to break up that basic standing pose just a little bit.  Superman’s paint work is actually quite nice.  I’ve always really enjoyed the metallic blue they chose for this first release; it just really pops so nicely, especially next to the matte finish on the flesh tones.  I’m not entirely in favor of the lack of actual eyes, but it’s a stylistic choice, I suppose.  It does sort of have a twinge of nostalgia for me, since it makes me think of the early Kenner STAS figures, so I guess it’s not entirely bad.  I do quite like the blue accenting in the hair, so that works out.  Superman is packed with a Superman/Batman display stand.  It’s just a stand, but it does what it needs to, I suppose.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was in middle school when these were released, so I was on a much smaller budget.  That meant I only had the money for one figure from this set, and it wound up being Captain Atom, since I didn’t already have a bunch of him laying around.  I always wanted to grab this guy at some point, but I just never got around to getting one.  Last year, I was helping a family friend downsize their collection, and they gave me this guy in return for my help, which was honestly very nice.  He’s a very specific type of figure, and you have to want that very specific type of figure.  That said, I really like that very specific type of figure, and you’d be hard pressed to find a better adaptation of Ed McGuinness’s art, so he very definitely works for me.

#3088: Nightwing

NIGHTWING

DC DELUXE COLLECTOR FIGURES (DC DIRECT)

Back in the early 2000s, everybody was starting to really try out the 1/6 scale game.  Hot Toys hadn’t quite overtaken the market, so there was still this sort of fledging “anyone could take this over” kind of vibe.  So, a lot of companies tried just that.  Among them was DC Direct, who decided that the best way to stand above the competition was to literally have their figures be taller than the competition, so they scaled everyone up by about an inch, with the argument that they were still 1/6 scale, the heroes were just supposed to be that much bigger than the average person.  Despite some odd notions right out of the gate, the line was a modest success, running from 2005 up through 2010.  Not a terrible run, all things considered.  They got a pretty decent swath of characters out there, which included a pretty solid focus on the Bat-Family.  Dick Grayson was present in both his Robin and Nightwing identities, the latter of which I’m going to be taking a look at today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Nightwing was the 14th release in DCD’s Deluxe Collector Figure line, hitting retail in the fall of 2007, during the line’s third year.  All of the figures were designed as standalone releases, but he hit right in the midst of a streak of Bat-related characters.  In a line that had certainly had a more classic focus, he was a decidedly more modern figure, sporting the character’s then-current design.  The figure stands about 13 1/4 inches tall (due to DCD’s insistence on that extra large scaling) and he has 30 points of articulation.

The figure’s head sculpt was the most notable new piece included here, as was pretty standard for the line.  The head sculpts for this line up to this point were, to be blunt, kind of ugly.  I mean, not terrible, but they were none of them particularly attractive people.  Nightwing marked a very earnest effort on DCD’s part to fix that issue.  Ultimately, the sculpt winds up looking a heck of a lot like Brad Pitt, with maybe a touch of Tom Cruise thrown in for good measure.  That certainly errs away from kind of ugly, and results in a not so terrible look for Dick Grayson.  The base sculpt is unmasked, with a mask piece that can clip into place, which sits surprisingly well on the face.  They did the same on Green Lantern, and I’ve always liked how well those turned out.  There are actually two masks included, one black and one blue, to cover the two looks he was shifting between so frequently at the time.  I personally really like the blue, but both work well.  In terms of paint work, it’s not as incredibly lifelike as Hot Toys, or anything, but it was about on par with most Sideshow offerings of the time.  It’s a little thickly applied, but other than that, it doesn’t look too bad.

Nightwing’s outfit is, predictably, mixed-media in its nature.  It’s made up of a bodysuit, glove cuffs, and boots.  Not a lot of pieces to this one, though that’s proper for the design.  The bodysuit is actually really nicely tailored, for as simple as it is, and the blue for his symbol really stands out well.  The boots (which are actual boots that slip over the feet) and glove cuffs are pleather pieces, with a plastic sculpted bit at the end, for the whatever they are things that he sometimes has on his costume.  They seem a tad bulky for his usual look, but ultimately work out alright.

The figure was built on what was the only available male base body at the time of his release.  It’s probably a touch bulky for Dick’s usual proportions, but it’s not truly atrocious, and he was certainly better served by this base body than most of the female figures were by the only female base body the line ever had.  It’s generally rather stiff in its movement, and notably can put its arms all the way down by the sides, but it does look pretty damn heroic, so I’ll give them that.

Nightwing got an alright selection of accessories, with two sets of hands (fists and bendy for posing to grip or gesture), his eskrima sticks, three batarangs, and a display stand.  The bendy hands are better than most of this type, but still not ideal for actually holding his weapons; actual gripping hands would have been better.  The display stand is notably really big and bulky and, due to how it’s designed, also kind of a risk for damaging the costume if you aren’t careful, which is kind of a shame.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I had a handful of figures from this line when they were new, and while they were never figures I felt were amazingly high-end, I’ve always had a soft spot for them.  Nightwing was one I always wanted, but it wasn’t until after his release, as he changed quite a bit between prototype and release, and by then I had missed a lot of opportunities to get him.  Thankfully, I got another shot at him when a whole batch of the Bat-themed characters got traded into All Time a few weeks ago.  He’s a figure from a line that’s been abandoned, and with good reason.  DCD made a lot of weird choices with these figures, and they suffered for it.  However, taken in a vacuum, I do really, really like this figure.  He’s honestly a lot of fun, and just feels really true to the character.

Thanks to my sponsors over at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure to review.  If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website.

#3085: Elongated Man

ELONGATED MAN

JLA (DC DIRECT)

Using an extract of the plant Gingold, Ralph Dibney transformed his body into a malleable elastic state!”

In preparation for this review, I realized that I’ve only fleetingly discussed Ralph Dibney, aka the Elongated Man, here on the site, twice in reference to Plastic Man not being him, and once in reference to him being one of three characters for whom I own all of the action figures.  That’s it.  Well, as you may have guessed from the whole “I have all of his action figures” thing, I’m a rather big Elongated Man.  I’d go so far as to say he’s my favorite DC character.  The fact that he’s been so mistreated in modern times isn’t so great, but on the flip side, he’s done alright for himself in the realm of action figures in the last two decades.  Let’s start off what should be a lovely journey through Elongated Man figures with the very first one, released way back in 2004.  That’s right, this figure’s almost old enough to vote.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Elongated Man was released in the second series of DC Direct’s JLA line.  After a debut assortment based on the team’s current (at the time) incarnation, the second series was inspired by the Satellite Era of the team.  As noted above, this marked Elongated Man’s first action figure (also true of his assortment-mate Adam Strange), though, like last week’s Kilowog figure, he would be quite shortly followed by a JLU release courtesy of Mattel.  The figure stands 7 1/2 inches tall with his neck extension in place (6 1/2 inches without it) and he has 12 points of articulation (11 if the extension is removed).  While not super articulated or anything, his movement scheme marks what became the standard for DCD figures around the time, which wasn’t really a bad one.  The only real downside to this particular figure, in relation to the others in the set, is that, due to how the neck extension works, he lacks the ball-jointed neck that the other three in the series got.  Instead, he’s just got a cut joint.  It’s not the end of the world, but does limit him a little bit.  Elongated Man’s sculpt was all-new, and it remained unique to this release.  It’s a pretty strong one, doing a respectable job of capturing that classic Ralph look.  I particularly like the head sculpt, goofy, cheesy grin, and all.  It just feels really appropriate for the character.  Elongated Man’s paint work is pretty decent.  It’s bright and colorful, which is the main effort for the design, so it works.  The application is clean, and I really like the glossy finish on the gloves and boots.  Elongated Man was packed with a JLA-labeled display stand, which was pretty standard for the time.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This set of figures, as well as a number of other DCD figures, hit around Christmas time in 2004, so I got a handful of them as gifts that year.  I was far more fixated on the Atom figure at the time, so he wound up being the one from this series I got on Christmas morning.  Elongated Man I actually made a point of buying for myself the week after Christmas, using a gift card I’d gotten for Cosmic Comix during the holiday.  I remember being quite excited to get him at the time, and he was a favorite of mine for a while.  I like him enough that I even snagged a spare over the years, just because.  To date, he’s still my favorite, and is probably the best version of the character overall.

#3080: Kilowog

KILOWOG

GREEN LANTERN: REBIRTH (DC DIRECT)

“The alien Kilowog was recruited into the Green Lantern Corps as a protector of the planet Bolovax Vik, and was killed by his former friend and ally Hal Jordan. Recently ressurected, Kilowog will play a key role in the re-formation of the Green Lantern Corps. The Kilowog action figure features multiple points of articulation and includes a display base.”

Despite the fact that the Green Lantern Corps is made up of a very, very, very large percentage of non-human members, it’s tricky for any of the non-human members to really hold the focus for too long.  I guess it’s inherently easier for humans to relate to humans.  Over the years, a few of the alien Lanterns have caught on a bit more than others, and, perhaps the most successful of the bunch is Kilowog, a character prominent not only in the comics, but also in most other media involving the Lanterns.  That also means his fair share of toy coverage, starting way back during the Rebirth tie-in days, back in 2005.  I’ll be taking a look at that particular figure today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Kilowog was released in the first series of DC Direct’s Green Lantern: Rebirth line.  This figure was Kilowog’s very first foray into the world of action figures, shortly followed by his JLU figure later that same year.  As with all of the figures in the set, he was designed to specifically tie-in with the “Rebirth” comic event, and as such he was sporting his updated design from the comics.  This brought him closer in-line with his animated appearances in the Justice League cartoon, which had served to revitalize the character for a larger audience.  So, it was certainly a sensible direction to take the character.  The figure stands 7 3/4 inches tall and he has 15 points of articulation.  His range of motion isn’t particularly amazing, but for a DC Direct offering, especially of the era, he’s not bad.  They were experimenting with a little extra articulation on this line in particular, so he’s got wrist and ankle joints, which were hardly standard at the time.  Kilowog sported an all-new sculpt, and it was one that would remain unique to this figure.  It’s a pretty darn good one, truth be told.  It’s a nice, hefty figure, befitting his larger stature nicely.  The face has a really solid level of detail, especially on the texturing.  It really adds a lot to the overall appearance, and helps the sculpt hold up even 17 years after the fact.  Kilowog’s paint work is pretty solid.  The metallic green and pearlescent white for the outfit really lend it that proper alien feel, and the skin tone, with its slight accenting, works very nicely.  Kilowog is packed with his power battery, which is a really sizable, as well as a Lantern symbol display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Kilowog is a figure I wanted from this series, even before it was released.  He was at the top of the list.  And then the series hit, and, much like last week’s Barda, he wound up being very hard to get ahold of.  I always hoped I might find one, but a reasonably priced one never presented itself to me.  When DC Universe Classics came along, I shifted my focus over to that one, but this one was always the one that got away.  Remember how I got that Barda figure?  Well, as it turns out, that collection had two of my personal DCD grails, because this guy was there, too.  I was actually pretty enthused, and, as with Barda, I was able to get him for a really good deal.  He’s a solid figure, and one that holds up really nicely, even all these years later.

Thanks to my sponsors over at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure to review.  If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website.

#3075: Big Barda

BIG BARDA

NEW GODS (DC DIRECT)

“Warrior goddess and Female Fury, Big Barda gives her heart and soul for the New Gods. After defecting from Darkseid’s elite army, Barda escapes to Earth with Mr. Miracle. Possessing superhuman strength, she’s virtually indestructible. An armoured warrior wielding a Mega-Rod, she can manipulate space and energy – and heal others.”

Hey, I haven’t reviewed anything from DC Direct since July of last year.  I guess I could maybe do something about that.  DCD initially found their footing doing a wider spread of DC characters, specifically the non-Batman and Superman characters that larger toy companies weren’t going to touch.  When Mattel expanded their license to a proper master DC license and launched DC Universe Classics, a much wider spreading line of DC characters, DCD’s focus shifted, in order to avoid any marketplace confusion.  They had been doing more artist-specific stuff for a little while by that point, but really leaned into it.  One of the lines to come out of that was a whole line based on Jack Kirby’s Fourth World characters.  It was a rather short-lived line, with only two assortments, but it was a pretty fun one, covering some of the bigger names from that little sub-set of the DC universe.  Today, I’m looking at one of the bigger (heh) contributions to the mainstream DC lexicon, Big Barda!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Big Barda was released in the second series of DCD’s New Gods line, alongside Metron, Kalibak, and Superman.  Yes, they lumped Superman into the New Gods line.  They needed a heavier hitter, I guess.  The figure stands 7 inches tall and has 20 points of articulation.  At this point in DCD’s run, they weren’t super posable or anything, but they were at least experimenting with a little more movement on some of their figures.  In general, the Kirby figures had a pretty decent set-up.  Barda’s sculpt was an all-new one, which remained unique to this figure.  She’s based on her fully armored appearance, which is honestly her best, and the one most worth making into toy form.  The sculpts for this whole line were directly based on Kirby’s illustrations of the characters, and to that end, Barda’s sculpt does a really good job of hitting the intended target.  Barda looks pretty much spot-on to Kirby’s drawings of her, and she’s got the right heft and stature for the character.  Additionally, the level of detailing on the armor is pretty sharp, and even the cape’s rather dynamic flow feels right for a Kirby drawing.  Even the articulation is pretty well worked in, all things considered, especially given that this is a DC Direct offering.  Barda’s paint work is actually quite nice.  The application is very clean, and she’s very bright, bold, and eye-catching.  All of the New Gods figures experimented a little more with line-work, and in Barda’s case that means for a little more contouring on the face, which works quite well.  Barda was packed with her Mega-Rod, which she has a little trouble holding, but which is otherwise a nicely sculpted piece, as well as a display stand, complete with Kirby Krackle dots and everything.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I remember being very excited for this line when it was announced, and I snagged the whole first series as soon as I could.  Between the two series, my interest kind of waned a little bit, and I was generally kind of meh on the second assortment line-up.  The only one I really wanted was Barda…who wound up being the only one I wasn’t able to find when they hit, so I just sort of passed on the whole set.  I’ve moved on over the years, but every so often a swath of DCD figures will come into All Time, and that was the case with Barda here, who came in with a mixed collection, and kind of slipped through the radar, allowing me to snag her for a far more reasonable price than usually.  She’s really the best Barda out there, and I’m really glad I finally got the chance to own one, even if it took a little while to get to me.

Thanks to my sponsors over at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure to review.  If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website.

#2847: Chameleon Boy

CHAMELEON BOY

LEGION OF SUPER HEROES (DC DIRECT)

While some of the Legion of Super Heroes’ members are gifted individuals from otherwise non-powered races, there’s a decent chunk of the team that’s actually just comprised of literally the first member of a race to join, making use of their native abilities.  I guess that’s why they needed to really enforce that “no duplication of powers” rule; otherwise Cosmic Boy and Saturn Girl aren’t going to look so special, are they?  Amongst the members that are just regular people from their respective races is Reep Daggle, aka Chameleon Boy.  Chameleon Boy is a Durlan, and like all Durlans he possesses shape-shifting abilities.  You know, like a chameleon.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Chameleon Boy is the final figure in the Series 3 line-up for DC Direct’s Legion of Super Heroes line.  He’s the most unique looking of the bunch, which was honestly true of Chameleon Boy in the earlier Legion run, too.  The figure stands just shy of 6 inches tall and he has 11 points of articulation.  Chameleon Boy uses a mix of prior base body parts, using the core of the Series 2 body, with the upper arms that he shared with this assortment’s Sun Boy figure, and the looser fitting lower arms of Brainiac 5 and Mon-El.  Also, in keeping with the mix of hand poses, his are both open, which is a first on this body.  He’s got a new head, which does alright with capturing the more alien features of Reep’s design, but feels somewhat off for the character when you get to the face.  He just seems to have too dull an expression, if I’m honest.  My figure is unfortunately saddled with a QC issue, as well; his left thigh is actually a right thigh, just backwards, most notable from the weird shaping near the hip, where it’s supposed to contact with the backside of his torso.  The more simple nature of the sculpt means it’s not the worst thing ever, but it’s very definitely wrong.  Chameleon Boy is another all painted figure.  It works out okay, but again there’s the issue with the scuffing going on.  Otherwise, the paint’s pretty decent, I guess.  Chameleon Boy has no accessories, but unlike the other figures in the line that also had no accessories, this one feels like more of a loss, because it feels like the perfect opportunity to give us his sidekick/pet Proty.  Alas, we’d have to wait on Mattel for that one.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I picked up Chameleon Boy at the same time as Sun Boy and Star Boy, while on a road trip with my dad in 2007.  I was mostly driven by all three of them being there, I guess.  None of them are amazingly impressive, and Chameleon Boy certainly suffers from the extra QC issue for me.  He’s alright, but that’s really about it.

#2840: Sun Boy

SUN BOY

LEGION OF SUPER HEROES (DC DIRECT)

Though introduced relatively early on to the Legion (he technically debuted alongside the far more prominent Brainiac 5), Dirk Mogna, aka Sun Boy, has remained relatively minor in terms of actual story telling.  He filled Lightning Lad’s spot as slightly persnickety red-head while LL was dead for a bit, but has otherwise just sort of been around for most of his time with the team.  He was even dropped from the team during the first major reboot in the ’90s, and hasn’t really figured prominently into any of the team’s non-comics appearances.  Despite that, he did still get a figure from DCD’s line, which is good for him, really.  Congrats, Dirk.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Sun Boy was released in Series 3 of DCD’s Legion of Super Heroes line.  Though hardly obscure, he’s probably the least relevant character the line would produce.  He’s sporting his classic ’60s costume, which is really the best known costume he’s got, since he kind of stuck with it, unlike others.  The figure stands just shy of 6 inches tall and he has 11 points of articulation.  Sun Boy is built on the post-Series 2 body, but specifically with a pair of upper arms that sport some pretty mean shoulder pads.  These arms were shared with his Series-mate Chameleon Boy.  He also got a new head sculpt, complete with a collar, and a belt buckle piece.  It’s not a bad selection of parts, truth be told, and he even swaps out the hands so as to have one open and one closed.  The head in particular is fairly distinctly different from the others in the line, with the hair having its own distinctive shape, following the early ’60s depictions of the character.  The only down side is that he does have a rather obvious plug on his back from where the cape would have been if he’d had one.  Other non-caped characters also had it, but it feels like it stands out more here for some reason.  Sun Boy’s paint work is pretty much on par with the rest of the line.  He is again entirely painted, but that works to his benefit more than others, since it means no need for the red or yellow to either one go over the other, keeping it a lot cleaner looking.  One thing that’s not quite so clean looking, however, is the tops of his boots, which are scalloped on his design, in contrast to the flat tops that are on the sculpt.  They just straight up painted across the line, which isn’t ideal.  It’s not terrible, but it does seem odd.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I had a bit of a fixation on Sun Boy when I was much younger, for reasons I’ve not really been certain of in later years.  Of course, it kind of just went away once I knew of Ferro Lad, and he suddenly became my main focus.  By the time these figures came along, I had moved on, and I didn’t wind up getting him when he was new.  However, I found him at the same time as Star Boy, while on a road trip with my dad in 2007.  Not much more to say about him really, but hey, I do have him, so there’s that.

#2833: Starboy

STARBOY

LEGION OF SUPER HEROES (DC DIRECT)

The early days of the Legion of Superheroes had the characters sticking to a pretty set formula of “word to describe powers” and Boy/Lad or Girl/Lass.  Very basic, and generally very descriptive, right?  Well, not always.  Starboy may seem to follow the schtick closely, but “star” as a descriptor for “makes things heavier and lighter” does seem like a bit of a stretch, doesn’t it?  It’s not exactly “Matter Eater Lad.”  Nevertheless, Thom is a pretty prominent member, due to his placement with the JSA after he moved to Starman, as well as being the first member to be kicked off the team for breaking the rules, namely killing someone in self defense, which is a big no-no.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Starboy was released in Series 3 of DC Direct’s Legion of Superheroes line, alongside last week’s Ultra Boy figure.  He’s the first figure to be really negatively impacted by the line’s fixed point in the ’60s for the designs, since it means he’s in his original Superboy knock-off design, rather than his later, much cooler starfield costume that Dave Cockrum designed for him.  Alas, it just was what it was.  The figure stands just shy of 6 inches tall and he has 11 points of articulation.  He’s built on the body that had become the standard base at this point, and was the same exact one used for Ultra Boy (well, in theory, anyway; mine erroneously has the loose sleeve upper arm sculpt on his left side).  It’s fairly basic, so it still works.  He’s also got the same cape used for Series 2’s Mon-El (again, a sensible re-use), as well as a new head and belt pieces.  The new parts are different from those on prior figures, but only just enough to notice that their different.  It’s not exactly like they’re amazing new parts or anything, but they get the job done.  Starboy is totally painted, like the rest of the figures of the era.  He looks pretty decent, but he’s also a little more prone to wear and scratching.  Still, not a bad appearance.  He’s got no accessories, but they’d fully given up on them for this line at this point, and, honestly, what would you give him?

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was in no particular rush to own this figure, due to this particular design not ever being a favorite of mine.  Starboy really just doesn’t get interesting until after he gets the new costume, so fixating on the old one does very little for me.  But, I wound up finding him loose, while on a road trip with my dad in the early summer of 2007.  It was him and a few other DCD figures that I found at the time, and he was more of a “well, I’m already getting the others” sort of a purchase.  He’s okay.  Nothing to really write home about, but he’s far from a bad figure.

#2826: Ultra Boy

ULTRA BOY

LEGION OF SUPER HEROES (DC DIRECT)

In the early days of the Legion of Superheroes, one of their by-laws for new recruits was that there could be no duplication of powers.  Today’s focus, Jo Nah of the planet Rimbor (who also got his powers after being swallowed by a space whale, in a reference to the biblical Jonah), aka Ultra Boy, got by on the technicality that, while his powers technically duplicated powers already covered by other members of the team (super strength, speed, flight, flash vision, and pentra-vision), he could only use one of them at a time, which is at least a different gimmick, I guess?  Of course, let’s not get into how they still managed to keep Superboy, Supergirl, and Mon-El on the team at the same time or anything….honestly, there was probably more than a little bit of prejudice and personal bias going into exactly when those by-laws came into effect; early Legionnaires were all kind of bastard people.  They got better.  Sort of.  Anyway, I was talking about Ultra Boy, so I should probably continue that, and not keep discussing how genuinely awful the Legionnaires are as people.  Even though they really are.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Ultra Boy was released in Series 3 of DC Direct’s Legion of Superheroes line, which marked when the line starting spreading a little more into the depths of the team.  Not terribly, so, of course, since it’s not like Ultra Boy is that crazy obscure, but he’s the sort of character that doesn’t tend to get picked for the more paired down team line-ups for, like, guest spots and other media appearances.  The figure stands just shy of 6 inches tall and he has 11 points of articulation.  Ultra Boy has quite a few parts in common with the Brainiac 5 figure, as by this point DC Direct had decided to institute more of a base body for this line.  The torso and legs are the same, as is the right hand.  The head and belt pieces were all-new, and the arms were a set designed to be a tighter fit than those used on Brainy and Mon-El, and were shared between this guy and Star Boy in this particular series.  All in all, I still think the base body works pretty well, and it certainly looks good here.  The new head is also one of my favorites, as it really seems to capture the ’60s Ultra Boy appearance, and just feels a little more unique than some of the others in the set.  Ultra Boy’s paint work is nicely applied, very clean, and very bold.  As with Brainy, he’s entirely painted, with no molded colors showing through.  It does aid in him looking clean, but there was always more potential for scuffing on this line of figures.  Fortunately, my Ultra Boy’s not so bad.  Ultra Boy was not packed with any accessories.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Fair warning: I’m going to be getting into some more post-Jess discussion here.

Ultra Boy is a figure that I always wanted when he was new, but who is actually one of my more recent acquisitions, because he just doesn’t show up nearly as often as the rest of the figures in this set, for whatever reason.  I actually quite vividly remember the exact day I got him, though perhaps not for the most happiest of reasons.  This figure came into All Time Toys, along with a whole ton of other DC Direct figures, on June 19th of last year.  It was the Friday before Father’s day, almost exactly a year from when I’m writing this review.  I know this because while I was at work that day, I got a call from Jess, who had just recently had a small surgical procedure done, and had just been told she would need to be moved into observation at the hospital.  She spent the next three days in the hospital, and I spent them right next to her, missing out on my family’s small plans for Father’s Day.  We didn’t know it was cancer yet, and wouldn’t find out for another two weeks, but it was the first indication that things were more serious than we realized.  So, I suppose, looking back, a year removed now, with Jess having been gone for 13 days by my time, this figure carries a rather odd weight, as the very last figure I purchased before my world changed.  It’s quite a bit of weight to place on one item, but my life in the last two weeks has seen me placing a lot of weight on seemingly small things.  And, I imagine, that’s where I’ll be for a little while longer.  And maybe that’s not the worst thing in the world.  As it stands, Ultra Boy’s at least a nice figure, so maybe not a bad choice for one that remains a token of how things were.