#2115: Superman & Lex Luthor

SUPERMAN & LEX LUTHOR

DC MINIMATES

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.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

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

SUPERMAN

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.

LEX LUTHOR

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.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

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

LEX LUTHOR

DC ICONS (DC COLLECTIBLES)

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!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

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.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

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

LEX LUTHOR

SUPERMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES (KENNER)

LuthorSTAS1

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.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

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.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

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