#2276: Orion



“The Scourge of Apokolips. Orion is Darkseid’s son and a half-brother to Kalibak. He turned against his father’s evil ways to fight on the side of justice. Orion wields the astro-force, an energy beam of tremendous power, and bears a computer-like device whose rays disguise his true face, the visage of one born on Apokolips. Although Orion is greater than mortal, he can be defeated in battle by a stronger warrior, or injured by conventional weaponry. When traveling on Earth, Orion has used the alias ‘O-Ryan.'”

This year’s Post-Christmas reviews sure do involve a lot of me coming full circle on some stuff and “going back to the beginning” so to speak.  Today’s focus is perhaps not back to the beginning for the site so much, but it is certainly a return to form for my collecting as a whole.  But that’s for the last section of this thing.  Let’s get through the lead-in first.  I’ve reviewed Kenner’s Super Powers six times before on this site; I’ve probably discussed it a few more times than that.  It’s kind of the quintessential DC toy line, and quite frankly, it’s kind of the quintessential comic book toyline.  Mego may have really gotten super heroes out there, but Super Powers is the genesis of most things we think of in terms of super hero toys.  The line ran three years, each year stranger than the last.  As it progressed, they got some help on it courtesy of Jack Kirby, whose Fourth World characters would become a fixture of the line.  Orion, central hero of the Fourth World would join the line not long before its end.


Orion was released in 1986, as part of the third and final series of Super Powers figures.  He and series-mate Mister Miracle rounded out the line’s New Gods theme.  The figure stands 4 1/2 inches tall and he has 6 points of articulation….7 if you count the neck, but that’s not *really* a point of articulation.  Orion, like every Super Powers figure, was a totally unique sculpt.  While the line’s first assortment stuck to the DC style guide, but the second year there were sizable changes for some of the more secondary characters, especially the Fourth World stuff.  Orion followed suit, with one of the more intensely different designs.  Honestly, if it weren’t for his name being on the box, you could be forgiven for not realizing this guy was supposed to be Orion.  The base color scheme is the same, and you can see some remaining elements of his helmet and astro harness, but only slight elements.  The helmet in particular, typically the one constant piece of Orion’s design (and honestly the best piece of Orion’s design) received a major overhaul.  It’s…well, it’s goofy to say the least.  The sleekness of his original design is gone, and while there’s still a lot of Kirby in this look (fitting, since it was an authentic Kirby design and all), it’s just not as strongly heroic as the original design.  Some of it is a symptom of the line’s knack for action features.  Most of them weren’t an impediment to the design of the figure, but Orion was notable exception, because you can definitely tell that a lot of that helmet design had to do with being able to fit in flipping Orion’s face from “good” to “bad.”  It’s certainly a memorable trait of his from the comics, but I’m not really sure it was worth upending his classic design.  All that said, it doesn’t make for a terrible looking toy, and Kenner still put their best foot forward on translating the design into plastic form.  The paintwork is all pretty solid, with a bright palette that is nothing if not eye-catching.


Super Powers may have ended six years before I was born and nine years before I began collecting action figures, but that didn’t stop it from being a huge impact on my collecting as a child and as an adult.  The line first become notable to me as a kid due to my love Hal Jordan, and his notable lack of then-current action figure coverage.  This one being just a few scant years removed made it relatively attainable to me, and so I, with some definite help from my parents, set out on collecting my first “vintage” line.  The Super Powers archive was my home page, I knew the line-ups to each assortment by heart, and I knew the rumors for the failed fourth line-up (before we actually knew the official fourth line-up).  I would scour ebay, looking at auctions for all of the figures.  And, for Christmas every year, I would put two more figures from the line on my Christmas list, and my dad would dutifully track them down.  Interests change, and I fell out of Super Powers for a bit, and when I got back into it, I was doing most of my own buying.  At one point, I was even planning to round out the line-up by buying one figure for myself out of every paycheck.  That didn’t pan out, as you can see by my not owning the whole line yet.  This year for Christmas, I decided I to ask a Super Powers figure again, so I made up a list of the ones I didn’t have, and then this guy was the very last thing I opened on Christmas morning.  It was a nice throwback.  And with that, I have 26 Super Powers figures; just eight left.

#0507: Orion




What’s this? A New 52 review? On The Figure in Question? Is that right? Can we think of any more questions? We can? Should we stop? Yes. Yes we should.

Shocking as it may be, I have bought, and am now reviewing, a DC New 52 action figure. Of my own volition. Nobody’s pointing a gun at me or holding my family hostage or anything. Of course, it’s still me. Did I buy a Batman or a Superman or something? Of course not, that would be dumb. I bought Orion. If you don’t know who the heck Orion is, then that’s probably about right. But I know who he is, and that’s what really counts here. (If you really want to know: Orion is one of the New Gods, a group of characters created in the 70s by comics great Jack Kirby, after he left Marvel to work at DC. Orion is the son of the generally more known Darkseid.) So, let’s see how this guy turned out!


Orion52bOrion is part of DC Collectibles’ expansive (and apparently soon to end) DC Comics – The New 52 line. He was released in August of 2014. According to the back of the box, his fellow figures are Super Girl and Batgirl, but I think Orion was sort of meant to be a solo release. The figure is just shy of 7 inches tall and he has 20 points of articulation (plus a flip up visor!). Articulation hasn’t been one of DCC’s strong suits in the past, but it’s actually pretty good here. The only key joints I’d say are missing would be some sort of hinge joint at the hips (a la DCUC) and some ankle joints, but the figure is serviceable without them. Orion is, as one would expect, based upon his appearance in DC’s New 52 line of comics. More specifically, he’s based on Cliff Chiang’s work with the character in Wonder Woman, which is where the majority of his New 52 appearances have occurred. His design has been changed a fair bit from his classic look. Admittedly, aside from the helmet, Orion’s classic look was a teeny bit on the bland side, so a re-design isn’t a terrible thing. The more conventional spandex and underwear on the outside look has been replaced with a look that has bit of a pulpy space biker look to it. It’s, and I can’t believe I’m saying this about a New 52 design, a pretty solid look. It isn’t needlessly detailed; there aren’t any odd bits and bobs sticking off of him; he doesn’t have lots of random etchings everywhere; it just looks good. The figure’s sculpt does a very nice job of translating this design into three dimensions. The proportions are all pretty good, and the whole sculpt is incredibly detailed. The rough texturing of the jacket and boots up against the smoother texture on the pants adds a great bit of dimension and realism to the figure, and they’ve managed to actually make the helmet look pretty good, which has always been a n issue with Orion figures in the past. The flip up visor is a little on the bulky side, but not too bad. I definitely like him more with the visor down, but the underlying face is a well done interpretation of Orion’s angry visage. Orion’s paint work is pretty good, but not great. It’s certainly not bad, but a few of the lines on his coat are out of place, and there’s a strip of up-painted plastic along the top of the left side of his collar. Also, the figure’s skin is really pale, especially when compared to the prototype pictures. On the plus side, the differing sheens on the various parts of the costume are a really cool touch, and do show that DCC is putting some thought into the figures. Orion includes his trusty Astro-Harness. It’s a bit awkwardly designed, and he kind of has to ride it like a Segway, which is a bit goofy looking. In addition, it can be a bit difficult to get the handles in and out of the hands. I actually broke one if the handles off the harness trying to remove it, so be careful. It’s a key piece for the character, so I’m glad it’s included.


So, why did I get this New 52 figure months after it was released? It’s my comicbook store’s fault. I had a coupon for 40% off of one item in the store, and I used it on this guy. I’ve actually been contemplating getting this figure since before it was released. I’ve always liked Orion, and even though I haven’t read his recent appearances, I thought this was a pretty cool design. 40% off was enough to get me to cave. I’m glad I got him. He’s a very nice figure. And now he’s making me reconsider some of the other New 52 figures. Crap…