#2241: Legion of Super Heroes

BRAINIAC 5, COSMIC BOY, LIGHTNING LAD, & SATURN GIRL

JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED (MATTEL)

There is a surprising lack of toy coverage for the Legion of Super Heroes.  Like, there are toys.  There are a fair number of them.  But it’s just a little surprising that there aren’t more.  Between DC Direct and Mattel, we did manage to get a decent team line-up in the 6-inch scale, and Mattel also added a few select members of the team to their very expansive Justice League Unlimited line, based on their two appearances in the DCAU.  Those are the figures I’ll be taking a look at today.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Brainiac 5, Cosmic Boy, Lightning Lad, and Saturn Girl were released as one of the Matty Collector-exclusive “four packs” of Justice League Unlimited figures.  Why the quotes?  Well, as I touched on when reviewed the Justice Guild, the sets were actually just four single-carded figures packed together.  So, despite the number of figures being completely arbitrary, almost every one of these packs felt like the warranted one or two more figures.  The Legion didn’t fair quite as badly in this respect, though, so I won’t totally rag on Mattel here.

BRAINIAC 5

“After key members of the Legion of Super Heroes were defeated by the Fatal Five, Brainiac 5 used a time sphere and his level 12 intellect to recruit heroes from the past to save his future and in doing so changed Supergirl fate forever.”

“Changed Supergirl fate forever” indeed.  You gotta love when those typos make it to press.  Typos aside, Brainiac 5’s bio is referencing “Far From Home,” the Legion-focused episode of JLU‘s final season.  Brainiac 5 serves as the main Legionnaire for the episode, making his inclusion the most natural of all the members. The figure stands 4 1/2 inches tall and he has 5 points of articulation.  Like all of the male members of the set, he’s built on the skinniest of the standard male bodies, which was the one reworked from the original Flash body.  It’s a pretty close match to Brainy’s depiction on the show, made even more so by the pretty spot-on head sculpt that adorns it.  They managed to get his show design down pretty much spot-on.  His paintwork is pretty decent; some of the lines on the costume are a little fuzzy, but they did a good job of cleanly applying the Brainiac symbol on his forehead.  Brainy included no accessories, unless of course you count his 12th level intellect.  Which I suppose would bump him up a bit.

COSMIC BOY

“A native of the planet Braal, Rokk Krinn uses his natural magnetic powers and leadership skills to aid the Legion of Super Heroes in battle in the 31st Century.”

The remainder of this set is filled in with the Legion’s founding trio.  Their bios are actually about them, which is a bit of shift, isn’t it?  Though not featured in “Far From Home” in anything beyond a cameo, Cosmic Boy did get a fair bit of focus in “New Kids in Town,” the Superman: The Animated Series episode that introduced the team to the DCAU.  His design was pretty much the same between both appearances, so it works for either one.  He uses the same body as Brainy with a unique head.  His head is a little larger than the others in this set, owing to him being closer to that S:TAS design, where the characters had slightly more exaggerated proportions.  It means he sticks out a little bit when with the other three figures in the set.  His paintwork is also pretty decent, but there’s still the slightly fuzzy lines of the costume.  Cosmic Boy also included no accessories.  Not even his much lower level intellect.

LIGHTNING LAD

“In the 31st Century, Garth Ranzz is one of the founding members of the legendary Legion of Super Heroes, a vast intergalactic team of teenage heroes dedicated to advancing justice throughout the universe.”

Poor Garth got the short end of the stick for the team’s DCAU appearances, being nothing more than a cameo in either one of them.  Still, he’s a founding member, so that at least got him a figure (even if it was at the cost of getting a Chameleon Boy to round out the “New Kids in Town” team).  Since he wasn’t ever a focus character, Garth didn’t get a new animated design; he’s just a straight adaptation of Dave Cockrum’s design for him from the ’70s.  It’s honestly Garth’s best look, so no complaints there.  He gets his own head sculpt, and it’s honestly my favorite in the set.  It’s just a very sharp sculpt.  Unfortunately, Garth’s paint is the weakest of the bunch; the edges of the white are by far the sloppiest work seen here, and they opted for gold paint over yellow on the lightning bolts, which just isn’t as striking as it is on the page.  Again, there were no accessories for Lightning Lad…I mean, I guess unless you count him having his arm.  He doesn’t always have it, you know.

SATURN GIRL

“A native of Saturn’s moon Titan, Imra Ardeen hoped to use her telepathic powers as a member of the Science Police.  Instead, she became a founding member of the 31st Century’s greatest team of champions, the Legion of Super Heroes!”

I think I may have missed it; what was the name of the team again?  I don’t know if that was repeated enough times.  Like Cosmic Boy, founding member Saturn Girl was prominently featured in “New Kids in Town” and then demoted to cameo for “Far From Home.”  She’s the most unique of the figures in the set; being a girl means that she’s on the girl body.  Of course, she’s only unique within the confines of this set, because being a girl means that she’s also on the only female body Mattel had.  It’s not one of their better base body, with those weirdly spaced legs being the primary issue.  She got a new head, which again is not a particularly strong piece.  The hair and head a two separate parts, and like a lot of the figures Mattel tied this on for this line, the two pieces just don’t quite line up correctly.  It makes her head look a little bit weirdly shaped.  Her paint work is okay, but nothing amazing.  Her eyebrows definitely seem to be set a little bit high, though.  Saturn Girl is a notable exception to this assortment’s lack of real accessories.  She gets a stand, which is good, because she can’t really stand without it.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Unlike most of the Matty Collector-exclusive JLU stuff, this set didn’t hit after I’d given up on the line.  I did miss its original drop date on the site, but they went back up during that year’s Cyber Monday sale, and I picked up this, the Doom Patrol, and the Shazam set all at the same time.  Though none of them are going to redefine action figures or anything, I’ve always quite liked this set, and it’s probably one of Mattel’s best Matty-exclusive offerings.

 

#0401: Composite Superman

COMPOSITE SUPERMAN

FIRST APPEARENCE

In the 50s and 60s, DC Comics was really king of the absurd idea. Their stories pretty much run on absurdity. When it comes to absurd characters, Composite Superman is definitely up there. Right off the bat, he’s a dude who’s half Superman ad half Batman. But, what’s even wackier is that his origin has nothing to do with Superman or Batman. He’s actually a janitor from the future, granted the powers of all of the members of the Legion of Super Heroes when lightning struck a display of figurines possessing their abilities. So, umm… yeah. On the plus side, the fact that he’s half and half of two of DC’s top characters means he’s gotten not one, but two action figures!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Composite Superman was released in Series 3 of DC Direct’s First Appearance line. The first two series were purely golden age characters, but the diversified a bit starting with Series 3. This is the first of the two Composite Superman figures. The figure is about 6 ½ inches tall and he has 11 points of articulation. In case the name of the line didn’t clue you in, he’s based on the character’s first appearance, drawn by the legendary Curt Swan. Simply put, the sculpt is outstanding. It’s head to toe a perfect recreation of Swan’s art. The two halves are distinct to each character, but still totally in synch with each other. The only downside to this figure is that DC Direct never separated the sculpt out into proper Swan versions of Superman and Batman (though they did release a completely unique Superman sculpt of a similar style in their Showcase line). The paint is fairly straightforward, but that’s not a bad thing. The colors are all nice, bold and distinct, emphasizing the differences between the halves. The boots and glove have also been done in a very nice glossy sheen, which adds a nice amount of depth to the look. Composite Superman included a mini-replica of his first appearance and a gold display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The Composite Superman, like so many of my DC Direct figures, was gotten from a friend who works for Diamond Distributors. I’ve always loved the look of the character, and I was thrilled to find out he was getting an action figure. To top that, it’s not just any action figure, it’s a phenomenal action figure. This really was one of DC Direct’s best efforts.

#0039: Ferro Lad

FERRO LAD

LEGION OF SUPERHEROES (DC DIRECT)

Today, we’re taking a look at another DC Direct figure.  This time around, it’s Ferro Lad, member of the Legion of Superheroes!  For those not in the know, the Legion of Superheroes is a group of teenaged superheroes  from the 30th Century, inspired into heroism by the stories of Superboy (this was back when Superboy was just a younger Clark Kent).  Ferro Lad, who joined the team not too long after they initially appeared, possessed the ability to turn his body into iron, kinda like Colossus of the X-Men (though Ferro Lad appeared about 10 years earlier).  Ferro Lad is mostly noteworthy for his place as the first Legionnaire to die (and stay dead) in the line of duty, sacrificing himself to defeat the Sun-Eater.  According to his creator Jim Shooter, Ferro Lad was meant to be the first black member of the team, an idea that the editors at DC at the time decided to veto.  So, instead, the first black legionnaire was Tyroc.  Thanks guys…

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Ferro Lad was released as part of the fourth series of DC Direct’s Legion of Superheroes line.  He stands roughly 6 inches tall and features 11 points of articulation.  Ferro Lad was built on the basic legion body that DC Direct introduced in the second series of the line.  It’s a well done base body, and features a decent set of proportions.  I wish it had a bit more articulation, but at least he fits in with the rest of the line.  He features a newly sculpted head, belt and wrist braces.  The belt and wrist braces are add-on pieces.  This works fine for the wrist braces, but the belt doesn’t sit quite right on the body, so it looks a bit odd.    Not terrible, but it could be better.  The head is the most important part, and it’s done very well, in all its simplistic glory.  The rest of the details on the figure are carried out with paint.  With the exception of the flesh tones, all of the paint is done with a nice metallic sheen that fits the character well.  I do wish the rivets were sculpted instead of painted, but the paint does a serviceable job of handling them.  All in all, a solid figure, not the greatest, but far from the worst DC Direct had to offer.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Ferro Lad has long been my favorite member of the Legion.  Needless to say, I was extremely excited by DC Direct’s announcement that he’d be in the fourth wave of Legion figures.  It marks one of the earliest instances of me pre-ordering a figure, starting me down a very dangerous path.  When the figure finally arrived, I was thrilled beyond belief to have him.  I recognized the flaws, but I didn’t care, ‘cause I had a FERRO LAD ACTION FIGURE!