#2973: Battle for Metropolis



“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.


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.


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.


#2777: Lex Luthor



“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!


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.


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.

#2115: Superman & Lex Luthor



Sometimes when I’m down, I like to remind myself that I’m not as much of a failure as I could be by looking at other failures.  Is that perhaps a cruel way of making myself feel better?  Yes. So, I guess I shouldn’t do it.  Well, on a completely unrelated note, let’s talk again about DC Minimates, one of the great tragedies of Minimate collectors.  Try and try as they may to get more, they just aren’t going to happen, leaving us to reflect on the short eight series run that we actually got.  Things certainly started off strong, with a first series filled with heavy hitters…which might actually have been part of the line’s problem, since they ran out of those heavy hitters rather quickly.  Whatever the case, it meant that Superman and his arch rival Lex Luthor were among the line’s first offerings.


Superman and Luthor were one of the four two-packs in Series 1 of DC Minimates.


Superman had had two ‘mates prior to this one, as part of the legal loophole-inspired C3 line.  While his initial C3 release was a pretty decent classic Superman, it was still animation based, allowing this one to supplant it as a proper comics variant.  The figure was built on the basic ‘mate body, and therefore stands 2 1/4 inches tall and sports 14 points of articulation.  He’s constructed with three add-on pieces, for his hair, cape, and belt.  All three were new to this guy (though the hair was shared with fellow Series 1 release Green Lantern), and would go on to see re-use throughout the line.  Compared to the prior Superman, the parts on this one were mostly an improvement, though I always liked the way the C3 connected at the neck a little bit more.  This one isn’t bad looking, but I have trouble getting behind the red bar running across the neck.  I do like the overall shaping of the actual cape part, though.  His paintwork is appropriately bold, and overall not a bad offering, but the red paint on the pelvis in particular didn’t stand up very well to wear and tear.  Superman included no accessories, since stands hadn’t yet become a thing for the brand.


Luthor actually hadn’t gotten a ‘mate before (though a C3 prototype was shown), nor would he get one after.  This was his only shot.  The character has had a lot of different looks over the years, but this one went for his at the time current iteration of his battle suit, which was definitely a solid choice.  Said battle suit was built from six add-on pieces, again all-new to this figure.  The sculpting on these parts was superb, and is one of the earliest examples of such elements making their way into the line, as well as a good example of it being done well.  All of the sculpted parts are things that should be bulked up, but they have a lot of small detail work to set them apart.  Aiding the sculpted parts, there’s also quite a bit going on with the paint.  Again, lots of small detail lines, which makes him an interesting counterpoint to the much bolder Superman. Luthor is packed with a chunk of Kryptonite.  At least, I assume it’s his.  Neither figure in the set can actually hold it, but it makes more sense to go with him.


These guys, like all of my DC Minimates, were purchased new from Cosmic Comix.  While it was the Green Lantern set that really held my focus going into this line-up, this one’s a strong one.  Superman’s the definitive version of the character, and Luthor is just one of the best ‘mates the line ever produced.  By far one of the strongest sets the line offered up.  This pair set a high bar for the rest of the line.

#1487: Lex Luthor



Aw, you guys lucked out today.  Not one, but TWO DC Icons reviews!  And there was even one that *wasn’t* reviewed by me.  What a relief!

Last week, my DC Icons review took a slight turn for the villainous with a look at Captain Marvel foe Black Adam.  Today, I’m continuing that trend, looking at the villainous brains to Superman’s heroic brawn, Lex Luthor!


Lex Luthor was released in the second series of DCC’s DC Icons.  He’s figure 08, which puts him right after Black Adam.  Like Black Adam, Luthor is also based on his design from “Forever Evil.”  “Forever Evil” is a rather Luthor-centric story, which means it’s a good basis from which to draw the character. It’s still not one of my favorites.  Personally, I’d have preferred his Crisis-era battle suit.  With that said, Luthor’s look has always kind of been in flux over the years, so I’m a bit more open to change.  This look is inoffensive.  The figure’s one of the shorter ones, standing just under 6 inches tall.  Fortunately, it makes sense for Luthor to be a little smaller than the majority of the Justice League, so he ends up scaling okay with the line’s later figures.  He’s got 29 points of articulation, distributed in essentially the same way as the rest of the line.  Luthor’s sculpt is completely unique to him.  It’s decent enough.  Like the design it’s based on, I find the sculpt to be a little bit bland, especially the head.  They’ve gone with a more stern take on Luthor, which is perfectly in-character, but not terribly exciting.  I’d have liked an evil grin or something.  They could have at least made it an alternate head.  The suit is at least well-done from a technical standpoint, with lots of clean line-work and a good mechanical look.  The paintwork on this guy is certainly passable, but sort of continues the overall trend of being a little bland.  They’ve opted for flat colors on the suit, rather than something metallic.  It looks fine, but doesn’t possess the pop that I feel it could.  Luthor is packed with several different sets of hands, posed in fists, open gesture, one energy effect for the right hand, and a left hand holding some sort of wand thing that I’m gonna assume is story specific.


I found Luthor at the same time as Black Adam.  He too was 50% off, which is pretty much entirely why I bought him.  He’s the sort of figure that’s fine in the grander scope of the line, and an important character, but he’s just sort of…blah.  Not bad in the slightest, but not exceedingly interesting either.  Still, he looks nice with the rest of the set.

#0603: Lex Luthor




Batman: The Animated Series is pretty much universally viewed as one of the best interpretations of Batman and his supporting cast ever. It was revolutionary at the time it was released, and, thanks to top notch writing, animating, and acting, it still holds up pretty great after over 20 years. For me, though, the best entry in the DC Animated Universe is the series that followed B:TAS, Superman: The Animated Series. While B:TAS got a pretty decent run of figures at the time of its release, S:TAS wasn’t quite so fortunate. Kenner produced a line of toys to tie-in, but the character selection was somewhat limited, and many of the characters were rather off-model. One of the characters hit the hardest by off-model-ness was Big Blue’s arch enemy Lex Luthor, who is the focus of today’s entry.


LuthorSTAS2Lex Luthor was released as part of the first series of Kenner’s Superman: The Animated Series tie-in line. He was one of the two non-Superman characters in this particular series. The figure is a little over 5 inches tall and has 6 points of articulation. Dig that waist articulation guys! It’s more than most DC figures had at this point! Now, this figure is sort of based on Luthor’s animated appearance, but, as I noted in the intro, the figure is more than a little bit off-model. To Kenner’s credit, they managed to produce a near-perfect rendition of the animated Luthor’s noggin. It’s really a very good piece. The trouble lies with literally every other piece of the figure. Rather than release him in his signature suit, Luthor is depicted here in a Kryptonite armor suit, which is completely made up for this figure. The “Kryptonite” parts are all snap-on armor pieces, which can be removed to reveal….some sort of exoskeleton thing. It’s a perfectly fine sculpt on a purely technical level, but it looks pretty wonky and the body doesn’t even have proper Bruce Timm-style proportions. I get that a guy in a suit doesn’t make for the most exciting figure. That said, if they were going to do the clip on armor thing, why not put a more conventional suit under the armor? Just seems like a weird choice. Also, the figure seems to have borrowed Total Justice’s guide to posing; his arms and legs are all bent and turned. It’s most annoying on the legs because it makes getting him to stand next to impossible. As far as paint goes, Luthor is pretty reasonably handled. Nothing super thrilling, but everything is applied pretty cleanly. It’s a nice touch that he veers away from the primary colors, helping set him apart from Superman. In addition to the clip on armor, Luthor includes a big freaking missile launcher thing. Hasbro would be so proud.


I never had this figure growing up. I saw him many times over the years, but I just never got one. It’s most certainly due to the weird design of the figure. Why now? Simple, my comicbook store had a table of action figures for $2.99. If you bought five, they were only $2 apiece. So, I bought ten. Luthor was one of them. This actually isn’t a bad figure, just kind of weird.LuthorSTAS3