#2665: Dr. Fate

DR. FATE

SUPER POWERS (KENNER)

“Doctor Fate is the master of an ancient type of magic first brought to Earth before the dawn of man. Fate uses this magic to cast spells which allow him to fly, walk through walls, make himself invulnerable, and many other things.”

The heavy Super Friends-inspiration of Kenner’s Super Powers line, coupled with it being released right around the end of the bronze age, meant that the line’s heroic component was largely focused on the Justice League of America.  The League’s predecessors, the Justice Society of America, weren’t quite so fortunate when it came to the line-up.  There were, of course, a few overlapping members between the two, but just one single proper JSA member, Kent Nelson, better known as Dr. Fate!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Dr. Fate was released in 1985, as part of the second series of Super Powers.  He was the first and only JSA member added to the line, and would have remained so, even had the line continued past 1986.  Why exactly he was chosen for the line when there were no other plans for any other JSA-ers is anyone’s guess.  I guess they just thought he had a cool visual?  They weren’t wrong.  The figure stands 4 1/2 inches tall and he has 7 points of articulation.  His sculpt was all-new, and a pretty solid recreation of the classic Fate design.  He’s a touch stockier than Fate was usually depicted, but that was generally in keeping with the line’s style.  This is just Dr. Fate after a really good work-out, perhaps?  And he’s clearly not had time to let out his suit, which is why it’s so tight, clearly.  Whatever the case, the costume design is proper classic Fate through and through, and the helmet in particular is really cleanly rendered, and properly striking.  Like others in the line, the cape is a cloth piece.  It’s kinda hokey, but there’s a certain charm about it.  The paint work on the figure is clean, bright, and bold.  The paint on my particular figure has seen some slightly better days, but it’s not too bad overall, especially for a figure of its age.  Fate included no accessories, but he followed the line’s tradition of giving the figures “super powers,” in his case “Power Action Magic Spell Cast,” which raises the arms upward when his legs are squeezed.  A slightly weaker feature compared to others in the line, but generally not bad.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

In my review of Hawkman last week, I noted that he was one of my earliest Super Powers.  Dr. Fate is right there beside him, because he came to me on that same Christmas morning in ’00.  As Hawkman’s *sort of* a JSA figure, they were a pretty decent pair, all things considered, and no doubt contributed to my early love of the JSA and their adventures (though, it’s worth noting that he wasn’t even my first Dr. Fate figure; that honor went to the DCD figure, released earlier that same year).  The figure’s another winner for the line, apart from his lack of compatriots, but I’d rather have just him than not at all.

#2658: Hawkman

HAWKMAN

SUPER POWERS (KENNER)

“Hawkman’s wings enable him to fly and his belt enables him to defy gravity.  He uses weapons of the past from the museum he curates, matched with futuristic weapons, and criminology from his home planet, Thanagar.”

Oh man, I haven’t written a review about Hawkman since #0029.  Not only is that from the site’s first month, but it was also the review where I instituted my old randomized list I used to pull from.  Man, I used to talk about that thing all the time!  What a crazy trip down memory lane.  Well, it’s fitting that I’m doing this whole trip down memory lane, because I’m also doing that in a greater sense with the contents of today’s review.  Yes, I’m taking a look at another Super Powers figure today, specifically the aforementioned Hawkman.  Like last week’s GL, he was a character left out of Mego’s treatment for DC Superheroes, and was therefore making his debut in action figure form courtesy of this line.  And I’m looking at that figure today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Hawkman was released in the first series of Super Powers in 1984.  As I touched on in my GL review, the line-up for that first series was very much inspired by Challenge of the Super Friends, and Hawkman’s inclusion here really goes along with that, given he was probably the most obscure character in the first assortment.  He’s the tallest figure in the original line-up, at 4 3/4 inches tall, and he’s got 8 workable points of articulation (the wings technically have two joints each, but on each of them one of those joints is explicitly tied into the action feature).  In addition to height, Katar also was just generally bigger in size than the rest of the Justice Leaguers from the first set.  It’s pretty fitting, since he tended to be drawn as a little bit bigger, and it helped to sell him as a little more alien.  It also gave a nice variety of height and build to the male members of the Justice League right out of the gate.  Super Powers‘ handling of uniqueness of build has always been one of my favorite aspects of the line, and it’s ultimately why I feel it holds up as the quintessential DC line, even in light of lines with deeper character selections.  The detail work on Hawkman is really pretty great, with the best work being on his mask and wings, both of which get some great texture work.  His wings are also large enough to not look too dinky, while also being small enough that he doesn’t have major issues with stability, which is something later Hawkman figures would struggle with.  The paint work on Hawkman was, like the rest of the line, very clean, very bold, and very bright, all of which are good things.  Mine’s taken a little bit of beating on the front of the nose, and has a little bit of discoloration on the torso, but has for the most part held up well.  Hawkman was packed with his mace, and also featured “Power Action Flight Wings.”  When you squeeze his legs, his wings flap.  Not a bad feature at all.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Hawkman’s one of the earliest when it comes to my Super Powers collecting.  I got him for Christmas, I want to say in 2000, which would have made him I think my third or fourth Super Powers figure.  It was the year prior to GL and Manhunter, I know that for sure.  I had my Total Justice Hawkman at the time, and he wasn’t really doing it for me as a classic Hawkman, so my Dad found a small little lot of figures, which included him, and gave him to me that year.  He’s a good one.  Kind of an odd one for me to have so early on in retrospect, but a good one nevertheless, and certainly high on the list for the character’s figures.

#2651: Green Lantern

GREEN LANTERN

SUPER POWERS (KENNER)

“Green Lantern’s power ring that can create, temporarily, any object he desires with his willpower. The ring also is used as an offensive weapon. The ring protects him form mortal harm as well: he cannot be killed. The ring enables him to fly and survive in space, or even at the bottom of the ocean. The ring is powerless against the color yellow. The ring must be recharged every 24 hours at his power battery.”

Oh man, are you prepped to get psyched?  I sure hope so, because I certainly am.  Why is that?  Remember how Super Powers is my favorite DC toy line?  And how Green Lantern’s my favorite DC character?  Well, put those two things together, and, boom, you get the subject of today’s review.  Pretty slick, right?  No?  Admittedly, it may just be me.  But, hey, it’s my site, so we’re gonna just roll with it.  After being so cruelly overlooked by Mego when they were giving most of the DC heavy hitters their first action figures, Hal Jordan, aka the second Green Lantern, was finally given his toy due in 1984, when Kenner launched their own run on the DC brand, with the figure I’m taking a look at today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Green Lantern was part of the first series of Kenner’s Super Powers line.  The line was certainly drawing from Challenge of the Super Friends, whose prominent use of GL I’m sure did him a lot of favors when it came to being included in this line-up.  The figure stands 4 1/2 inches tall and he has 7 points of articulation.  Hal’s design, like the rest of these early figures, was based on Jose Garcia-Lopez’s illustration of the character in the 1982 DC Style Guide.  This had Hal in his slightly updated GL uniform, which featured the additional green detailing on the shoulders.  It became something of a defining trait for the character’s design, helping to make this figure look rather timeless.  Hal’s sculpt is a very nice one, perhaps one of the nicest to come out of the line.  It’s very clean, and appropriately sleek for GL.  The build on the figure had him slightly more svelte than the likes of Superman or Batman, which definitely seems right for Hal, and I quite like how the various parts of the uniform are actually raised elements, rather than just being painted in place as most later figures would handle things.  I will say, in regards to the head sculpt, Hal’s chin does seem a bit more pronounced here than it usually is, but overall, the head does seem right for the character.  That mask is really spot on.  Hal’s paint work is pretty simple, but appropriately clean and striking.  Mine has a touch of wear on his nose, but is otherwise pretty good.  GL was packed with his lantern power battery, which my figure actually has.  Pretty sweet! He also gets an action feature, the “Power Action Ring Thrust.”  Gotta love that name.  Essentially, you squeeze his legs, and the right arm raises. Pretty appropriate for the character.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

In the dark days of the ’90s, Hal Jordan had been replaced by Kyle Rayner, and was therefore not really getting much toy coverage.  This was at cross purposes with my desire to own a Hal Jordan figure, thanks to becoming familiar with the character through Super Friends re-runs on Cartoon Network.  After my dad introduced me to the wonderful Super Power Archives, Hal became the first Super Powers figure I actively wanted to own.  He wasn’t the first one I *got*, but was fairly early on.  I specifically requested him for Christmas one year, and came down Christmas morning to find both him and Martian Manhunter propped up on the Christmas Village waiting for me.  He didn’t have the Power Battery originally, but I was able to get him one of those too, eventually.  He’s definitely my favorite figure in this line, and probably my favorite Green Lantern figure period.

#2644: Martian Manhunter

MARTIAN MANHUNTER

SUPER POWERS (KENNER)

“The Martian Manhunter has a truly awesome array of powers. Beside being practically invulnerable, he has the power of super-breath, flight, invisibility, super-vision, and super-strength. He also has the ability to walk through walls, as well as the power to transform himself into any creature and acquire that creature’s powers and abilities.  The Martian Manhunter cannot survive in a vacuum, and cannot use any of his other powers when he is invisible. Most important, however is his vulnerability to fire, which can weaken and eventually destroy him.  On Mars, the Martian Manhunter’s real name is J’Onn J’Onzz. On Earth, he sometimes adopts the civilian identity of Detective John Jones.”

I’m quite a big fan of the Kenner’s Super Powers, and it’s no secret around these parts that it gets my vote for quintessential DC toy line.  Speaking of quintessential, if there’s a member of the Justice League who gets my vote for quintessential, it would be J’Onn J’Onzz, better known as the Martian Manhunter, who received his very first action figure as part of the Super Powers.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Martian Manhunter was released in 1985, the second year of Super Powers.  He was one of four members of the Justice League to be added to the line that year.  He’s based on Jose Garcia-Lopez’s illustration of the character from the DC Style Guide, just like the rest of the line, which means he depicts J’Onn just after they’d started adding in a few more of his more Martian aspects.  It means it wasn’t *quite* as classic a design as some of the others in the line-up, but it also made him slightly more distinctive, and ultimately became the more common design for the character.  The figure stands 4 1/2 inches tall and he has 6 points of articulation.  His sculpt was an entirely new affair, well-matched to the style of the rest of the line.  It gives Manhunter the proper presence for the character, with a build that’s not quite as bulked up as the line’s version of Superman, but which still casts an imposing silhouette.  His arms aren’t as preposed as the first year figures were, which looks a little better in the basic standing pose.  Manhunter’s head sculpt is the part that is the most modernized portion of the figure, with Manhunter’s much more prominent brow.   His expression has a nice, friendly, if still alien feel about it, which really feels perfect for the character.  Like other figures in the line, Manhunter’s cape is a separate cloth piece.  It’s got the extra bit of collar, which helps to hide the plastic clip a bit better than other figures, making it a slightly more convincing piece.  Martian Manhunter’s paint work is pretty simple, but it’s bright, colorful, and pretty clean, at least apart from the bit of wear and tear that my figure’s taken.  As with all Super Powers figures, Martian Manhunter got his own action feature, dubbed “Power Action Martian Punch”.  When you squeeze his legs, his arms swing back and forth.  Or at least they should, but they actually don’t on mine.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Martian Manhunter is on the earlier side of my Super Powers collecting, when I went through a string of getting them as Christmas presents from my parents.  I want to say he was the fourth or fifth figure I got from the line?  It would have been when I was around 7 or 8.  He was the same year as Green Lantern, so he did sort of pale in comparison just a touch at the time.  He didn’t have his cape originally, but I got one for him later down the line.  He’s a really cool figure, and definitely a fantastic starting point for the character.

#2637: Samurai

SAMURAI

SUPER POWERS (KENNER)

“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).

THE FIGURE ITSELF

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.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

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!

#2276: Orion

ORION

SUPER POWERS (KENNER)

“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.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

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.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

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.

#1662: Batman

BATMAN

SUPER POWERS (KENNER)

“Batman, The Caped Crusader.  Powers: Accomplished acrobat, a keen detective’s mind, ace criminologist, martial arts expert. Has utility belt with scientific crime-fighting equipment.  Weaknesses: Mortal.  Enemies: Joker, Penguin, Riddler, Catwoman, The Scarecrow, Two-Face.  Secret Identity: Bruce Wayne.”

Kenner’s Super Powers is undoubtedly the greatest DC toyline ever.  Yet somehow, I’ve only managed to review five figures from the line.  Those are rookie numbers!  I gotta pump those numbers up!  To do that, I’m going to look at by far the most toyetic character in the whole line (though, amusingly, not the character in the line with two figures; that’s Superman), Batman!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Batman was released in the first series of Super Powers figures. With himself, his sidekick, and two of his villains, Batman’s corner of the DCU was the most fleshed out in the first series.  He, like the rest of the standard DC characters in the line, was based on his Jose Garcia-Lopez-illustrated entry in the 1982 DC Style Guide.  It’s Batman’s yellow-circled, capsule-belted, short-eared, light blue-shaded Silver Age design, which had been in use for 20 years at the time of this figure’s release.  That’s a pretty good run, and a pretty good choice.  The figure stands 4 3/4 inches tall and he has 7 points of articulation.  Batman’s sculpt matches the rest of the line, in that it’s totally unique to him, and while it’s certainly a product of its time, it doesn’t look half bad under modern day scrutiny.  As with both Superman and Wonder Woman, he’s a little wider than his Garcia-Lopez-drawn self.  It seems most evident on Batman, since at the time he was usually depicted as rather svelte, especially when compared to the likes of Superman.  That being said, I do like that he’s distinctively smaller in build than Superman; a lot of lines these days don’t observe that.  The head’s probably the weakest part of the sculpt, being kind of squat, and having a chin that makes him look a bit too much like the Tick.  It’s worth noting that when Kenner repurposed this sculpt for their Batman and Batman Returns lines, the head was the one part they replaced outright (though part of that was undoubtedly to add a more Keaton-inspired head to the figure).  Like all the caped figures in this line, Batman had a cloth cape, attached by a rather bulky clip at the neck.  Mine’s a little worse for wear; when he was new, the color of the cape matched the rest of the figure a bit better.  I don’t think his cape worked quite as well as some of the line’s other figures, but it’s serviceable.  Batman’s paint continues the Super Powers trend of being clean, and very bright.  He definitely stands out on a shelf.  Batman of course got an action feature, dubbed the “Power Action Bat Punch.”  It’s the exact same feature used on Superman, down to having essentially the same name (though Batman adds and Adam West-style “Bat” descriptor to the name).  Not particularly inventive or anything, but it works.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Batman came late in the game of my Super Powers collecting.  I had plenty of other versions of the character, so he didn’t have the same appeal as some of the others.  Like so many of the line, he was a Christmas present from my parents.  I had specifically asked for him and Green Arrow that year.  They both arrived, as part of a larger lot that also got me Superman and Wonder Woman, as well as a number of accessories I’d been missing up to that point.  Batman was never really the star attraction there, but he’s always been a solid support figure, and he’s definitely one of the best versions of the character out there!

#1468: Golden Pharaoh

GOLDEN PHARAOH

DC UNIVERSE CLASSICS (MATTEL)

“British archaeologist Ashley Halberstam was at a dig in Giza, Egypt when he was engulfed by a bolt emanating from a laboratory on New Genesis. The bolt transformed Halberstam and conferred upon him the ”Power of the Pyramids,” as channeled through his magical pyramid staff. Virtuous and heroic by nature, Halberstam fought alongside Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman against the evil machinations of Darkseid and the legions of Apokolips, eternal enemies of New Genesis.”

Just two days ago, I was looking at a DC Icons figure, and lamenting the sad tale of that failed DC line.  How about another?  Yes, I’m feeling nostalgic, so let’s turn our sights to DC Universe Classics.  Admittedly, it’s funny to view this as a “failed” line, seeing as it ran 20 Series at retail and had two years of a subscription service after that.  It’s possibly the longest-running line of DC figures, especially if you factor in its precursor DC Superheroes or any of its numerous spin-offs.  It is, for all intents and purposes, the definitive DC toyline.  So, why is it a “failure?”  Mostly for retrospective reasons.  Despite it’s deep reach in terms of character selection, many teams were left sadly incomplete.  Choices of costumes and incarnations were frequently questionable.  And, if we’re being totally honest, with a few exceptions, the last quarter of the line was filled with mediocre, uninspired figures, leaving it as little more than a hollow shell of its former self.  Despite its flaws, the line is well-noted for its devotion to obscure characters, and even moreso for its recreation of Kenner’s Super Powers line, right down to the kooky original characters.  This includes today’s focus, Golden Pharaoh, who received his second figure ever courtesy of this line.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Golden Pharaoh was released in Series 15 of DC Universe Classics.  From Series 8 forward, each assortment included one Super Powers-recreation figure.  Pharaoh would be the last one in the line (well, not including Samurai in the Super Friends series, but he was a slightly different story), as he wrapped up the “originals” set.  Pharaoh was easily the least developed of all the Kenner-original creations, so the fact that he was the last one to join the line isn’t a huge surprise.  The figure stands about 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 23 points of articulation.  He was built on the medium-sized base body, with a unique head, torso, arms, and calves, as well as an add-on piece for his loincloth.  As noted in prior DCUC reviews, it’s a body that’s started to show its age, and it wasn’t exactly top-of-the-line when it was new, but for a character like Golden Pharaoh it’s really not bad.  The unique pieces manage to capture the essence of the original figure, while still managing to be modern and updated.  It’s definitely got a bit of an Ed McGuinness vibe to it, but that’s not a bad thing in the slightest.  The paintwork on Pharaoh is pretty solid work, especially for this point in the line.  There’s not a lot of accent work, but he makes up for it with the gold paint and the translucent purple plastic.  It certainly makes for a unique looking figure.  Golden Pharaoh was packed with his fabulous Golden Pharaoh staff, as well as a Super Powers display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I didn’t buy Golden Pharoh when he was new.  I can’t really tell you why.  Possibly because we got most of this assortment to finish the Validus Collect-N-Connect, and this guy didn’t come with a piece.  I ended up getting him just a few months ago from Cosmic Comix, who just got in a large collection of DCUC figures and was selling this guy for $7, which was about the right price for me to finally get him.

#1388: Clark Kent

CLARK KENT

SUPER POWERS (KENNER)

Ah, the Mail Away figure.  There’s a largely abandoned concept.  It hasn’t been dead for as long as you might think (Hasbro had a few in their various Star Wars lines a few years back), but it’s kind of fallen out of fashion, especially with the introduction of Build-A-Figures.  The concept was an intriguing way of getting an extra figure out there, but was actually born out of the a need to help move figures at retail.  Need to sell extra stock?  There’s no better way to do that than to offer a reward to customers who buy it in a certain quantity.  Today, I’ll be taking a look at one of the earlier mail-away offerings, courtesy of one of my very favorite toy lines ever, Super Powers!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Clark Kent was offered as a mail away item in 1986, coinciding with the third series of Kenner’s Super Powers line.  He was the second mail away figure to be offered in the line, but unlike his predecessor Steppenwolf, he remained exclusive to the mail away offer and never saw a carded release.  The figure stands about 4 1/2 inches tall and he has 7 points of articulation.  Like the rest of the line, his sculpt was unique to him.  The head shares a number of traits in common with the Superman from the line, which is a very nice touch, and is kind of the linchpin in selling this guy as a Clark Kent.  The plastered-on combover looks suitably dorky, and the glasses actually don’t look terrible.  The body is a decent generic suited body; I’m not sure it has quite the same stature as the standard Superman.  Perhaps Kenner was hoping to re-use it for other characters down the line?  I don’t know.  It’s certainly not a bad sculpt at all.  The paintwork on Clark is fairly straightforward.  The color scheme has the same basics as Superman, swapping out white for the yellow.  It’s all nice and bright and it stands out pretty nicely and fits in well with the rest of the line.  All of the application is nice and clean for the most part, apart from some slight wear here and there.  Clark included no accessories, but he *did* have the requisite Super Powers action feature; when you squeeze his legs, his arms swing in opposite directions.  Not really sure what it’s supposed to be, but it does make for a kind of goofy fast-walking, late for work sort of motion.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve been steadily working on a full set of Super Powers figures, and Clark’s not one of the easier ones to track down.  I’ve seen him once or twice, but he’s usually a little pricey.  I saw one at Yesterday’s Fun this summer, and was sort of thinking about getting him, but wasn’t sure.  Remember how I said my family were too good to me?  Well, the day after seeing this guy at Yesterday’s Fun, my Dad presented me with a bag of figures I’d put back, this guy included, with the words “your Granddad would have wanted you to have this.”  I guess I can’t really argue with that.  Is he the most exciting figure of all time?  No.  Is he fun?  Yes.  Do I love this figure?  Most certainly.

#1340: Superman

SUPERMAN

SUPER POWERS (KENNER)

“The Man of Steel – Powers: Super-strength, super-vision (x-ray vision, telescopic vision, heat vision, microscopic vision), invulnerability, flight, super-speed, super-breath, super-senses, super-voice, super-intellect – Weaknesses: Green Kryptonite can kill Superman, Red “K” affects him in bizarre ways, Gold “K” takes away hi powers. Superman’s invulnerability does not protect him against magic. Superman loses his powers in a solar system with a red sun.”

I gotta be honest, I’m a little bit shocked by how few Super Powers figures I’ve looked at on the site.  I mean, I only have so many of them, so they can’t get reviewed all the time.  Anyway, as I’ve mentioned a few times before (I think, anyway), it’s one of my very favorite lines of action figures, and it gets my vote for THE definitive DC-based toyline.  In particular, it provides perhaps the best figures available of a number of DC top-tier characters, including the Man of Steel himself, Superman!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Superman was released in Series 1 of Kenner’s Super Powers line.  Like the rest of the line, he’s based on Superman’s entry in the 1982 DC Style Guide (drawn by the consistently fantastic Jose Garcia-Lopez), which is really just the same look Supes had been sporting for almost 50 years at that point, and would go on to sport for another 30.  Stylistically, of course, he’s very much a Bronze Age Superman, but that’s something only the most dedicated of fans is really going to care about.  The figure stands about 4 3/4 inches tall and he has 7 points of articulation.  Superman’s sculpt is definitely top notch; while he’s a little wider than the Garcia-Lopez Superman seen on the packaging, he’s no less well rendered.  Like the rest of the line, he is, of course, a completely unique sculpt (and also like so many in this line, this sculpt would be slightly tweaked and re-used for Toy Biz’s DC Super Heroes line).  The head has a nice, friendly but strong look about it, which is really just perfect for Superman, and his musculature is actually pretty well balanced.  The arms are a little weird, with the preposing and the somewhat unnaturally upright fists, but they don’t look awful.  The cape is a separate, cloth piece.  It’s done the same way as all of the other capes in this line were done: flat fabric with a little plastic clip impeded in the collar.  It’s a kind of a dated look, since it’s not how such things are rendered anymore, but it’s not bad, and I particularly dig the S-emblem on the back of it.  In terms of paint, Superman is bright and colorful, and pretty clean.  My personal figure has a little wear on a few spots, but he’s generally held up pretty well.  As with all Super Powers figures, Superman has an action feature, dubbed the “Power Action Punch.”  When you squeeze his legs together, his arms rotate in opposing directions.  It’s not as clever as some others, but it’s still pretty fun.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

My first Super Powers Superman was actually not a Super Powers Superman at all, but rather the Toy Biz copy, which I fished out of a loose toy bin at Universal Comics when I was about 5 or 6.  At the time, I didn’t quite know the difference between the two yet.  A few years later, this guy was part of a large lot of Super Powers figures that I got for Christmas, and I at that point recognized the difference between the two, so this guy was added to my collection.  He didn’t have his cape, so he actually has the Toy Biz one (which was pretty much the same).  I quite like this guy, and as I noted in the intro, he’s one of my favorite Supermen.