#2637: Samurai



“Japanese history professor Toshio Eto was teaching class one day when suddenly a mystical bolt of energy hit him. The bolt of energy had been sent from emissaries of the New Gods who were in need of super heroes. The strange energy enveloped Eto and released the latent energy in his body, transforming him into the Samurai. Using his newfound powers of the hurricane and wielding an energy sword, the Samurai mistakenly caused havoc until the transformation was explained to him and he decided to be a force for good.”

You know, I really haven’t reviewed enough Super Powers figures on this site.  I mean, at this point, I’m essentially only reviewing them once a year, which means it would take me almost 40 years to actually get through them all.  That’s not a great metric for me.  I should probably work on that.  Fortunately, I’m getting some help on that front, with a new one to kick-start things a little bit.  Super Powers started with a focus on DC’s core characters, but as the line continued it shifted its focus, and by its final year, it was largely made up of rather minor characters, and in fact a good number of characters not even from the comics originally.  Though not a total fabrication for the line, Samurai began his life outside of the comics medium, as one of four heroes created for Challenge of the Super Friends in order to diversify the Justice League’s line-up.  Ultimately, he and the rest of these new heroes fell into some pretty heavy stereotyping, but hey, it was the ’70s.  Samurai was the only of these characters to be carried over into Super Powers, but it’s worth noting that both El Dorado and Black Vulcan would have joined him had the line continued (El Dorado even made it to the prototype stage).


Samurai was released in 1987, as part of the third and final assortment of Kenner’s Super Powers.  He was Samurai’s first figure, and would remain his only figure for a good three decades.  The figure stands 4 1/2 inches tall and he has 8 points of articulation.  Samurai had one more joint than most figures in the line, with movement at his waist.  It’s largely just there to facilitate the figure’s action feature, but it’s still possible to use it as a point of articulation as well, so hey, extra movement.  Samurai’s sculpt is actually not bad.  He had the benefit of only really having one source to draw from in terms of design, and he ultimately does an okay job of capturing that design in three dimensions.  It’s not the greatest design, admittedly, but I guess it could have been worse.  It’s also worth noting that they didn’t feel the need to redesign him the way they did a handful of characters from later in the line, so, again, this works out pretty well.  Samurai’s design relies on some cloth goods for his vest piece.  It’s a piece very commonly missing from the figure, and it’s worth noting that the one sported by my figure is, in fact, a reproduction.  It’s not a bad repro, though, all things considered, and regardless of repro or original, the cloth piece works well for this part of the figure.  Makes him very difficult to get complete, but cool nevertheless.  Samurai’s paint work is pretty basic stuff.  Not a ton of crazy work going on, but the face is pretty sharp, and the colors are bright.  I can definitely get behind it.  Samurai was originally packed with a small sword, which, like the vest, is very commonly missing from the figure.  As you can see, my figure does not have it.  Some day.  In addition to the sword, he also had an action feature, “Gale Force Spin.”  When you squeezed his right arm, his lower torso would spin.  And mine still works, even.


Of the four added characters from Super Friends, Samurai has always kind of been my least favorite, which makes the fact that he was the only one to get a figure here a little sad.  That, coupled with his rarity, has meant I’ve never really rushed out to get this guy.  However, my dad, who has been getting me Super Powers figures as Christmas gifts since I was 7, got me this guy as a Christmas gift this year, albeit an ever so slightly late one, thanks to the mess that is the current state of the United States Postal Service.  Hey, at least I managed to get him before the new year.  That was a miracle in and of itself.  Samurai isn’t the most impressive character, but the figure is kind of fun, and is a major step forward with my Super Powers collection.  Just 7 more to go!

#1737: Batman – Superfriends



In addition to overall DC theme, I’m introducing a sub-theme today.  I know, that’s a lot to handle, but bear with me.  Anyway, the theme I’m going with is Batman on alternating days.  Why?  Because I have a lot of Batmen, that’s why.  Today’s Batman follows the trend set by yesterday’s Green Lantern, being at the very least inspired by the Super Friends cartoon.


Superfriends Batman was distributed through the same means as Green Lantern, being a Walmart-exclusive entry in the DC Comics Multiverse line.  He, too, would actually stay a Walmart exclusive, unlike the second half of the Super Friends sub-set (who, despite their non-exclusivity, I don’t actually have).  Unlike GL, Batman’s a pretty natural choice for this assortment, since Batman was with Super Friends for its entire run, and was a pivotal player in most episodes.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 23 points of articulation.  For the most part, his sculpt is a straight re-use of the DC Universe Classics Series 1 Batman, with one small exception.  The sculpted cape has been replaced with a cloth one, which has been done in the style of the old Super Powers capes.  Not *quite* the right source material, but it’s goofy and fits the general aesthetic.  I find myself liking the look of it quite a bit, actually, though it’s definitely not going to be for everyone.  AS with Hal, Bats’ mold is definitely showing its age and the wear from all those repeated uses.  On my figure in particular, one of the shoulders doesn’t even quite peg together the right way.  Batman’s paintwork actually ends up more faithful to the source material than GL, which is a plus.  It’s also pretty clean, and likewise very bold.  It looks good on this sculpt.  I appreciate the return of the black shading on the cowl (it’s true to the show, but I wouldn’t have put it past Mattel to leave it off).  Bats even makes out pretty well on the accessories front.  To start with, he’s got the same base and backer card as GL (with the same issue with the peg on the stand).  The back of both cards has part of the Super Friends logo, so that if you get all four, you have the whole thing.  In perhaps the most Mattel move of all, GL and Batman (who, it should be noted, shipped together) don’t have sequential cards, unless of course you really want to celebrate the “Per Inds”.  Fortunately, Batman gets more accessories than GL; he also gets a grappling hook and a batarang (and it does *not* have “CHINA” stamped on it, which was a nice change).


I grabbed Batman at the same time as GL, from an Ollie’s for $3.  I couldn’t just leave him there, now could I?  That would have been cruel.  Minor issues aside, this figure is actually not terrible.  He’s hardly going to be anyone’s default Batman, but unlike GL, he seems to more fully embrace the concept Mattel was going for.

#1736: Green Lantern – Superfriends



DC doesn’t get quite as much play around here as other, Disney-owned properties.  It’s not a conspiracy, I swear!  And to prove that there is absolutely no anti-DC conspiracy around these parts, I’m gonna pick up the trend I started yesterday and do a whole week of DC reviews!  …Well, a business week…let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

While Adventures of Superman, the ’60s Batman, and Wonder Woman got the main trio of DC heroes some solid public recognition, it was Hannah Barbera’s Superfriends and its subsequent spin-offs that introduced the DC Universe as a whole to a mainstream audience.  Because of its mainstream impact, it’s also a version of the characters that toy companies like to go back to.  Mattel was no exception.  I’ll be looking at one of their handful of Superfriends offerings today, namely my main man Green Lantern.


Green Lantern is part of the four figure Superfriends sub-set of Mattel’s DC Comics Multiverse.  The set was originally meant to be a Walmart-exclusive, but that was ultimately only half true.  For Mattel-ish sorts of reasons, the four figure assortment needed to be split in two, with GL and Batman hitting Walmarts back in September of last year.  By the time the second two figures were ready to go, Walmart backed out.  The long and short of it is that Green Lantern and Batman were exclusive to Walmart (at first, anyway), but Superman and Aquaman weren’t.  Of the four figures in the set, GL is admittedly the odd man out in terms of character selection.  He wasn’t in the original Superfriends roster, only appearing in the later Challenge of the Superfriends incarnation.  Even then, he was never super prominent in the series.  The choice of him instead of another founding member, like Wonder Woman or Robin, is somewhat baffling.  That said, the Green Lantern fan in me is insisting that I not complain too much.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 23 points of articulation.  In terms of construction, there’s not a single thing new about this figure.  He’s a head-to-toe re-use of the DCUC GL from 2008.  That was a good sculpt at the time, and the original figure remains one of my absolute favorite GL figures.  With that being said, it’s a sculpt that’s a decade old, and it’s definitely showing its age, not just stylistically, but also in terms of the actual life of the mold.  While some parts, like the head, still look quite good, the limbs in particular are showing quite a bit of mold degradation.  It’s still in better shape than a lot of Mattel’s more recent output, but it’s time to let it die.  The main thing that’s new here is the paint.  I’m of two minds.  On the one hand, I really do like the bright, bold colorscheme.  It’s quite aestheitcally pleasing, at it looks nice on the mold.  That said, it’s not actually accurate to his Superfriends colors, which means there’s not anything about this figure that’s truly Superfriends-inspired.  They didn’t even get the slightly different Lantern insignia from the show.  His accessories, like the figure, are nothing new.  He gets one of the Batman ’66 stands, with a new iridescent cardstock backer featuring….the Jose Garcia-Lopez illustration of Hal from the style guide.  I love Garcia-Lopez’s work and all, but it’s an odd choice here, you know, instead of, say, something from, I don’t know, Superfriends?  Also, the stand has been designed with slightly smaller figures in mind, so the peg is actually too small for GL’s foot, so it’s not actually any help…standing him.  Yeesh.  I guess I can forgive the lack of power battery, since it never figured that prominently into the show, but he still feels a little light, especially since there are no new pieces in the box and he originally retailed for $8 more than the first release of this mold, which, it should be noted, included the battery *and* a Build-A-Figure Collect-N-Connect piece.


As I noted above, these figures hit in September.  And I saw them in-store when they hit.  But you know what also hit in September?  All of the Last Jedi product.  Given the choice between that and a total rehash of a figure, I went with the Star Wars stuff.  However, I found this guy at the same Ollie’s where I got yesterday’s Batman, and he too was $3, which was the right price for me.  The thing about this figure is that, as just a Green Lantern figure, removed from the source material, he’s actually not a terrible figure.  Dated and light on extras, but decent nonetheless.  However, he’s just *not* a Superfriends Green Lantern, and he’s a really poorly-executed, rather disinterested attempt at replicating the design, which makes him feel a little bit like a bit of a cash-grab.

#1273: Green Lantern



Okay, I just had eight solid days of Marvel, how about something else?  It seems only fair to give DC a shot at a review, right?  DC doesn’t really show up here as often as Marvel.  It’s not that I don’t like DC; in fact, I used to be more of a DC guy than a Marvel guy, largely due to DC’s far superior animation presence.  Back in the day, my very favorite super hero was Green Lantern—Hal Jordan, specifically.  And, if I wanted to see him in animation, my only real option was Challenge of the Superfriends.  Not exactly high art, but it still influenced everything that came after (and I’ll take it over the DCEU any day).  While Super Friends got no direct tie-in toys when the show was still on the air, the old Mego figures were a pretty good substitute.  More recently, someone had the absolutely brilliant idea of tying those two styles together officially, offering some of the show’s characters that never got official Mego figures.  A few months ago, I looked at show-original characters the Wonder Twins, and today I’ll be looking at my main man Hal today!


Green Lantern was released in Series 4 of Figures Toy Company’s Super Friends line, alongside the Super Friends versions of Cheetah, Bizarro, and Toyman.  As with the previously reviewed Wonder Twins, Hal is a merging of his Super Friends design and the ‘70s Mego aesthetic.  The figure stands about 8 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation.  He’s built on the Type 2 male body, with modified arms to allow for the attachment of gloved hands.  The quality of this body is more or less the same as Zan’s, but with less issues on the shoulder movement, which is a plus.  Hal makes use of a unique head and hands.  The head isn’t quite as accurate as the ones on Zan and Jayna, but it’s still pretty good.  The face is actually pretty accurate; it’s mostly the hair that throws it off.  It seems a little too close to the head; Super Friends Hal’s hair was pretty bouncy.  That being said, it fits in quite nicely with the old Mego stuff, which is really the point.  The hands are very similar to the ones seen on Zan, albeit with the gestures swapped.  They’re not technically the right style of gloves, but they’re close enough to work.  And, they’re very nicely sculpted, and that’s the important thing.  They also stay on better than Zan’s did, a definite plus.  Hal’s costume is made up of a cloth jumpsuit and a pair of rubber boots.  The tailoring on the costume is quite nice, and the velcro is a lot better than it usually is at this scale.  The boots are a little clunky, but not horribly so; it’s mostly just at the tops.   The figure’s got some paintwork on the head, which is pretty decent overall.  There’s a bit of slight bleed over, especially on the edges of the mask, however it’s mostly pretty minor.  Also, it’s not exclusively paint, but the color scheme on this figure is a really good match for Hal’s colors on the show; one of the problems with DC Direct’s (otherwise pretty cool) Super Friends figures was that they largely just painted the figures like their normal comics counterparts.  FTC has given Hal the proper slightly greyed-out green he always had on the show.


As a kid, I used to play with my Dad’s old Mego figures when I would spend the day at my grandparents’ house.  It gave me an appreciation of the style that most collectors my age wouldn’t have.  However, the one big hole in the collection for me (and every other DC fan) was Green Lantern.  Back before the whole return of Mego craze, I actually assembled my own custom GL Mego using report parts.  I also picked up Mattel’s Retro Action figure when he was released.  I like both of them, but they’re sort of their own thing, removed from the actual Megos.  My parents picked this guy up for me from Midtown Comics while they were there for a trip a couple of months ago.  He feels a lot more like an authentic Mego than the prior figures, which I really dig.  He’s definitely aimed at a very particular demographic, but if that’s you, this is a pretty nifty figure!

#1168: Wonder Twins




Wonder Twin powers activate!  Form of: an action figure review!

Hey guys, so here we are on day two of the post-Christmas reviews.  As I noted in the intro, this review is based around the Wonder Twins, that wacky duo (and their pet space monkey) who were sort of haphazardly shoved into the Justice League membership during the second season of Super Friends.  Of all the Super Friends-original characters, the Wonder Twins are probably the most enduring, likely due to being the only ones who didn’t feel like a pretty direct rip-off of something else (okay, yes, they were just Wendy & Marvin with powers, but lets not talk about that too much).  The duo were originally slated to get action figures during Kenner’s DC Super Powers line in the ‘80s, but the line ended before they could get past the drawing board.  They did eventually make it into plastic form as an exclusive two-pack in Mattel’s DC Universe Classics line, but, well, that was Mattel, so you can probably guess the whole thing didn’t go particularly smoothly.  Most recently, they’ve gotten another shot at action figure glory courtesy of Figures Toy Company.  I’ll be taking a look at those figures today!


Zan, Jayna, and their pet monkey Gleek were released as a special three-pack in Figures Toy Company’s Super Friends line.  The line as a whole is patterned after Mego’s figures from the ‘70s, but with some of the more specific design elements coming straight from the Super Friends model sheets.


wondertwins2Form of: Zan!  The male Wonder Twin is built on the standard Mego Type 2 style body.  Unlike the Dr. Mego bodies used by DST and Biff Bang Pow or the Big Jim-styled bodies from Mattel, Figures Toy Company’s version of the body doesn’t have any changes or improvements; the body is pretty much the same quality as the old ‘70s bodies.  This is okay from a consistency standpoint (since they’ll fit right in with the vintage figures), but means that the quality is that of a $4 action figure from the mid-70s, rather than a $20-30 figure from the last year, which can be slightly frustrating.  Moving past that, Zan stands about 8 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation.  As far as the body sculpt, he’s got a unique head and hands.  The head is a pretty decent summation of his animated design (certainly closer than Mattel’s attempt), and also fits pretty well with existing Mego figures.  The hands are a bit of a departure from the usual Mego style; they’re certainly nicely enough in terms of sculpt, but they’re made of a rather rubbery material, which makes they pop off the wrists at the slightest touch, and are rather difficult to get back in place.  In terms of costume, Zan has a jumpsuit with a pleather collar, a belt, and a pair of boots. The pieces mostly fit well enough; the collar could probably be a little better shaping wise, but it fits the style, and you can mess with it to make it look a little more presentable.  The one weird thing about the costume is the belt.  Clearly, they wanted Zan, Jayna, and Gleek to all be able to wear the same belt, so it’s sort of this one-size-fits-all thing, resulting in all three belts having an extra length running from the back, almost like an oddly placed tail.  One last thing: I feel I should note that the colors of the boots, gloves, and belt do all match in person, despite what it may look like on the photos.


wondertwins3Shape of: Jayna!  Jayne here is built on the standard female body, which seems rather oddly shaped if I’m honest.  It’s not awful, but not quite as solid as the male version.  It seems Jayna’s body is just a bit to tightly strung in the middle as well, which permanently leaves her with this sort of hunch.  It’s a bit odd.  Jayne is assembled pretty much exactly the same as her brother; sculpted head and hands, cloth costume with pleather collar, and rubber belt and boots.  The head is another pretty good piece, and looks well enough like Jayna.  The hands seem to be a slight improvement over Zan’s, as I had no issues with them falling off on her.  The issue with the belt, however, is even more noticeable with Jayna, thanks to her even smaller waist.  Her costume also seems to bunch up a bit more than Zan’s, but that’s an issue prevalent with Mego figures in general.  Not a whole lot more to say here, since she’s so similar to her brother.


wondertwins4Gleek doesn’t have a part of the catchphrase, so no witty intro there.  He does break from the trend in this set by not using one of the Mego bodies; instead, he gets an all-new body, designed to fit his more simian appearance.  The figure stands about 3 inches tall and he has 5 points of articulation and a bendable tail.  Glenn’s sculpt is pretty solid, and actually does a very good job of capturing his design from he show.  The head in particular is quite spot on.  His little booties are sculpted onto the body, but the rest of the costume is tailored, so as to match with the twins.  He’s got a jumpsuit, a cape, and the same belt as the other two (albeit slightly differently colored).  The costume is on the baggy side, but it doesn’t look terrible. On the plus side, the cape is good for hiding the excess length of belt, thus eliminating the main problem with the other two figures’ costumes.  None of the figures in this set include any extras, but I feel Gleek is hit the hardest by this, since the bucket he always had on hand to carry Zan in his water form seems like a pretty obvious missing piece.  Guess I’ll have to find my own.


Like yesterday’s set, these guys were a Christmas gift from my Grandmother.  It’s actually quite fitting, since the whole reason I’m familiar with Megos at all is because I played with my dad’s old figures when I would stay at her house, frequently watching taped episodes of cartoons such as Super Friends.  Interestingly enough, while a lot of people hated the Wonder Twins, I actually always liked them and was quite frustrated by how the Mattel versions were handled.  I was quite happy to actually get the duo and Gleek in figure form.  I won’t lie, these figures aren’t without their sets of issues.  If you aren’t firmly a Mego fan, these won’t be for you.  That being said, this is a very prominent example of the whole being better than the sum of its parts.  These figures didn’t disappoint me.

#0095: Green Lantern & Sinestro



Today, I’ll be looking at another piece of my extensive Green Lantern collection, though unlike the last time, this is a set I acquired because I actually wanted it, not just because it said “Green Lantern” on the box.  This time around, it’s a 2-pack from DC Direct’s Super Friends line released a while back.  In particular, it’s Green Lantern and his nemesis Sinestro based on their appearance from the 70s TV show Challenge of the Superfriends.


This pair was released as part of the 3rd wave of 2-packs from DC Direct’s Super Friends line.


Up first, it’s the hero of the set, Green Lantern.  Unsurprisingly, he’s based on the character’s appearance from the show.  He stands a bit over 6 inches tall and has 9 points of articulation.  The articulation can be a bit tricky, as the ball joints on the arm have a tendency to pop out, leaving poor Hal armless.  The sculpt on the figure is very smooth, and all the lines are very clean, which is appropriate for the design they were trying to capture.  In particular, the head sculpt really got the character design from the show down.  The paint is also clean and basic, but that’s no surprise, given the look they wanted.  The pupils seen through the mask can be a bit unnerving, but that’s in line with his design.  The figure included a lifesize version of his ring from the show, a display stand with the Super Friends logo, and a miniature version of the hall of justice.


Next, Green Lantern’s arch-nemesis, Sinestro!  Sinestro is, of course, based on his appearance in the show.  He stands just shy of 7 inches tall and has the same 9 points of articulation as his pack mate.  Unlike GL, Sinestro doesn’t seem to be plagued by the arm issue, which makes him a bit easier to pose and such.  Sinestro’s sculpt is a bit more detailed than GL’s, since his character design was a bit more intricate.  A lot of the musculature of the sculpt is very similar, just stretched out to convey Sinestro’s tall, lean build.  Like with GL, the head sculpt is really the shinig point of this figure, giving Sinestro the perfect sinister grin.  Sinestro also includes a lifesize model of his ring from the show and a display stand with the show’s logo.


Green Lantern and Sinestro were a birthday gift from some family friends who were aware of my intense Green Lantern fandom.  I greatly appreciated it, and it was actually my only figure of Sinestro for a good long while.  I still really like this set, as it’s a great representation of a popular take on the characters.  I can’t look at them without the Challenge of the Super Friends theme starting up in my head.