SUPERMAN, LOIS LANE, BRAINIAC, & LEX LUTHOR
SUPERMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES (HASBRO)
“It’s a never-ending battle of power and wits for Superman and his arch enemies in Metropolis, but this time, star reporter Lois Lane has the scoop!”
After the bulk of the product for the animated incarnations of Batman and Superman had run its course at retail, and shortly after officially shuttering Kenner and moving the DC license under their own name, Hasbro filled in their DC offerings with a lot of re-decos and repacks of stuff Kenner had done in the ‘90s. It helped to get a lot of figures back out there, but also helped to establish right from the start just how much Hasbro intended to phone things in with the license. While Batman was clearly getting the main focus, there were never the less a few Superman sets, one of which I’m taking a look at today.
THE FIGURES THEMSELVES
Superman, Lois Lane, Brainiac, and Lex Luther were released in 2001 as part of the Superman: The Animated Series line, in a set titled “Battle For Metropolis.” Like many of the sets, it was three repacks and one new offering.
“Kal-El, infant son of Jor-El and Lara of the doomed planet Krypton, was rocketed to Earth when Krypton was obliterated in a cataclysmic explosion. The baby was found by Jonathan and Martha Kent, who named him Clark and raised him as their own. As he grew, Clark discovered he possessed powers and abilities far beyond those of ordinary people…powers he decided to use for the benefit of humanity as Superman.”
It’s hard to do a Superman set without Superman, so here was the requisite Superman. Have I said Superman enough? Yeah? So, this Superman was a straight reissue of Strong Arm Superman, from Series 4 of the main line. At this point, Series 4 was still awaiting its proper US release, so despite his rather standard Superman appearance, he was actually sort of new. That’s good, I guess. The figure stands 5 inches tall and has 6 points of articulation. The arms are a bit restricted by how the action feature works, but he is otherwise pretty good on the mobility front, at least for a DC figure of this era. The figure largely re-used parts from Capture Net Superman, the line’s “standard” Superman. While not entirely show accurate, it was a halfway decent figure, and keeping things consistent is far from the worst thing. This release got a new set of arms, bent more at the elbows and with the hands flat, for the purposes of lifting stuff overhead. It’s not the most versatile pose, but it’s good for what it’s meant to do. His paint work is generally pretty decent. It’s bright, colorful, and pretty cleanly applied. And he’s even got actual eyes this time! Superman is packed with a chunk of wall and a car bumper, both of which are meant for use with his throwing action feature. It’s a little hard to get him stabilized holding them, but they’re still pretty nifty.
“As a top-notch reporter for the Metropolis Daily Planet, Lois Lane has a knack for catching the biggest stories and getting in the deepest trouble. Possessing excellent detective skills and a keen eye for news, she takes risks in pursuit of the scoop. Lois can handle just about any situation that comes her way and talks rings around most men…but one man leaves her at a loss for words — Superman!”
Lois Lane, despite being one of the oldest and most visible female characters in comics, had up to this point never had an action figure, which seems kind of silly. She got her first two within a year of each other, so they were learning from their mistakes. Lois was undoubtedly the selling point of this set, what with not having a figure before and all. The figure stands about 4 1/2 inches tall and has 4 points of articulation. Her articulation scheme is rather restricted, with the head being largely immobilized by the hair, and the legs are also without any movement below the waist. Additionally, she has a lot of trouble remaining standing, not helped by the lack of any movement in the legs, or peg holes in the feet so that you could use a stand. It’s not a ton of fun. Lois’s sculpt was all-new and would remain unique to this figure. It’s alright. It’s not 100% accurate to the animation model, but it’s about as close as the rest of the line. The biggest issues are definitely with the eyes, which are just a bit too small to be accurate. Lois’s paint work is kind of weak. STAS was notable on that it actually gave its civilians a couple of different outfit options. Lois had two distinct color schemes, but this one is actually neither of them. It seems to be going for her B outfit, which was red and black, but it’s not quite there. Additionally, the application is quite dialed down, with only a few apps, which are kind of fuzzy. It doesn’t do the sculpt any favors, which is a shame. Lois is packed with her cellphone and a clipboard, which is better than the kind of stuff most of these figures got.
“Created by the scientists of the planet Krypton, the humanoid super-computer dubbed Brainiac was more concerned with saving itself as the repository for all Kryptonian knowledge than attempting to save the doomed planet. Brainiac travelled the universe, draining the worlds he encountered of all knowledge and leaving them ruined husks before he came to Earth where he at last found a foe able to withstand his enhanced strength and mental power — Superman!”
I’ve actually reviewed this exact figure before, back when I looked at him on his own. He’s honestly not a bad figure, and hadn’t been exceedingly easy to find, so a re-release was honestly okay. This time, I do have his goofy space sled thing, though, which is pretty cool, right? How about that?
“Although born and raised in Metropolis’ downtrodden Suicide Slum, Lex Luthor was destined to become a financial monarch and business magnate. The aggressive young inventor uses his great cunning and intellect for his own personal advancement, creating the multi-billion dollar megacorporation LexCorp. Only Superman rivals Luthor for power and respect of the people of Metropolis…for that, Luthor’s hatred of the Man of Steel knows no bounds.”
While Brainiac made some degree of sense, Luthor made almost none. By this point, his first release was still rotting on the pegs of a lot of major retailers. While he’s a story important character, this translation of him just didn’t really work, at least not as a Luthor. I reviewed the Series 1 edition of the figure several years back, and the only difference between the two is some minor paint deco change up. The gunmetal grey parts of the armor are now a pale metallic green, and the accents on the underlying figure are a truer green than before. That’s it. I can’t really say that either is really better than the other. They both just sort of exist. Difference for the sake of difference, really, which isn’t terribly compelling.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
I remember when this set came out, and I remember looking at it a lot, but I never actually got one. I think it was just too soft a sell for me. Sure, it’s got Lois, but she’s honestly kind of mediocre. The other figures are the very definition of space fillers, which is likewise a disappointment. It’s not bad, but I’m honestly kind of glad I waited until a loose one got traded into All Time to pick it up.