#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.

#1662: Batman



“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!


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.


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



“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.


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.


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



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!


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.


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



“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!


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.


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.

#1226: Wonder Woman




No matter how great they may be, pretty much every DC Comics toyline from now until the end of time will always be measured to the standard set by one of the earliest DC lines out there, Kenner’s DC Super Powers.  There’s something about the line that just made for the perfect mix of fun, character, and faithfulness to the comics.  Sure, not every figure in the line was top-grade, but it gave us some of the greatest plastic versions of all of the mainstay members of the Justice League of America.  Perhaps the one major drawback of the line was its notable lack of female characters.  In a line of 34, only one of them was female (though, designs discovered in 2004 show that there were another two planned, had the line continued).  That figure was Wonder Woman, and it’s the figure I’m looking at today!


wonderwomansp2Wonder Woman was released in Series 1 of DC Super Powers.  She was based on Wonder Woman’s then-current Bronze Age era look, as seen in the 1982 DC Style Guide.  The figure stands about 4 1/2 inches tall and has 7 points of articulation (although her hair restricts most of the movement on the neck joint).  Super Powers is notable in that every figure in the line had their own unique sculpt (which wouldn’t have been the case had the line continued).  Wonder Woman’s sculpt is pretty good, especially for the time.  She’s not as rail-thin as she tended to be portrayed in the comics and Super Friends, but that’s actually not totally out of place for the line, which gave more realistic proportions to most of the figures.  She’s definitely a good depiction of what someone with Diana’s powers should look like, all things considered.   Her costume captures all of the important elements from the comics and while she’s still sporting heels, they look to be a slightly more sensible design than those seen on a lot of female action figures (and she can actually stand!  Hooray!).  There are some slight issues that crop up due to assembly, with the lines on her thighs being one of the more standout issues.  That being said, they actually don’t look quite as bad in person as they do in the photos; you won’t really notice them.  Diana’s paint work is nice, clean, and bright, all the things it should be.  There’s a bit of slop here and there, particularly around the edges of the white parts of the boots.  That being said, the stars on her shorts are impeccably detailed, and done with an amazing consistency, which you likely wouldn’t see these days.  Wonder Woman was originally packed with her lasso of truth, which was really just a bit of golden thread, and easy to lose, so mine didn’t have it when I got her.  Like every Super Powers figure, Wonder Woman has a special “power” of her own.  Her’s is actually one of the more cleaver ones: when you squeeze her legs, both arms raise and cross in front of her face, replicating her oft used maneuver of deflecting bullets with her bracelets.


Wonder Woman comes from right around the mid-point of my Super Powers collecting.  At that point,  it was pretty much an assumed thing that I’d get a pair of Super Powers figures every year for Christmas from my parents.  I’d gotten Green Lantern the year before, so I knew I wanted a Green Arrow to go with him.  As it turns out, the most economical way of getting me GA was to buy me a big lot of figures, which ended up giving my collection quite the jumpstart.  Wonder Woman was amongst those figures, and I have to say, she’s one of those figures that you have to see in person to truly appreciate.  She’s the figure that set the standard for female action figures, and rightfully so.  As someone who started collecting in the ‘90s, a female figure like this was a serious breath of fresh air as a kid, and she remains my favorite Wonder Woman figure to date.

#0338: Plastic Man




I am a fan of superheroes with stretchy powers. I just think they allow for so many really cool possibilities, and they’re always a lot of fun. One of my all-time favorite super heroes is the Elongated Man, one of DC’s resident stretchy heroes. EM tends to be slightly overshadowed by DC’s other stretchy guy, Plastic Man. Plas was not originally even a DC character, but he was owned by one of the many companies DC bought out between the golden and silver ages of comics. DC kind of forgot they owned the character until somewhere around the late 70s/early 80s (part of the reason Elongated Man exists), but when they finally figured it out, they went to work trying to make the character work for a larger audience. He made an appearance on Super Friends, got his own Saturday morning cartoon, and even made an appearance in Kenner’s DC Super Powers line, marking his first venture into the world of action figures. Today, I’ll be looking at that figure.


PlasticManSPWilsonPlastic Man was part of the third, and final, series of DC Super Powers figures. The figure is about 5 inches tall (5 ½ with his neck extended) and he features 8 points of articulation. That’s actually one more point of articulation than the usual SP figure, because Plas got a waist joint. Don’t know why he was the only figure to get one, but it is nice to have it. He’s based on the look most associated with the character (though not his original. The sleeves were added later). The sculpt of the figure is really great, easily my favorite Plastic Man sculpt. It’s a fairly simplistic sculpt, but it really works for Plas. He’s taller and leaner than most of the figures in the line, which really give him a great stretched out look. The head is a spot on recreation of the character, and he’s got the perfect goofy smile that Plas is so often seen sporting. Possibly my only complaint about the figure is that they chose to simply paint the ties on the front of his costume rather than sculpting them, but that’s a really minor thing. The paintwork is pretty straight forward. There’s nothing super noteworthy, but everything is pretty cleanly applied, and they got all the colors right. Plas included no accessories, but he did have the requisite SP action feature. When you squeeze Plastic Man’s arms, his neck extends about an inch, replicating his stretching powers.


Plas is a recent ebay purchase. For the last several years, I’ve been slowly piecing together a full set of DC Super Powers figures. Plas marks my 23rd figure from the 33 figure set, putting me in my final 10. Since I got him so late, you might assume that I don’t particularly care for Plas, which is far from the truth. Plas is one of the figures I most wanted from the line. However, being from the final series from the line, and being one of the few characters in that series to be an actual DC Character using an actual DC design, he can be a little difficult to get. He’s not one of the most difficult, but he’s up there. Fortunately, I came across an ebay auction recently that was at a price I was willing to pay. Plas is one of the cooler figures in this line, and I’m very glad to have him. Now I just have 10 more to go!

#0140: The Penguin



Alright, I’m going back to my list of figures I already own for reviews.  This time it presented me with a figure from my modestly-sized DC: Super Powers collection.  For those of you unfamiliar with Super Powers, it was the first really intensive DC Comics toyline, and still is considered to be the best by a fair number of people.  I missed it in its initial run, but got into it because it was the only source of a Hal Jordan Green Lantern, Barry Allen Flash, or even a Wonder Woman when I was growing up.  I’m not reviewing any of those today, though.  Nope, I’m reviewing the Penguin.

In the entirety of my 2500 piece action figure collection, I own THREE Penguin figures, on yet somehow I’ve looked at two of the three before looking at a single version of characters of which I own dozens of figures.  I don’t even like the Penguin!


Penguin was released in the first wave of Super Powers figures.  He’s based on the classic Penguin look, before he was tweaked to more resemble the Danny Devito version of the character.  The figure stands a bit over 4 inches tall and has 7 points of articulation.  The sculpt is pretty good, with all of Penguin’s features carefully laid out.  He’s a simplistic figure, but the figure still has some decent folds and such, just everything is very smooth in texture.  The paint on the figure isn’t anything astounding, but it looks pretty good for the time, and everything is clean and within the lines. There’s pretty much no bleed-over or anything.  Each figure in the Super Powers line features some sort of action feature, usually activated by squeezing the arms or legs.  In Penguin’s case, when the legs are squeezed, his right arm lunges upward, which is dubbed his “Power Action Umbrella Arm.”  Penguin included a two piece umbrella, of which I only own the top piece.


This is a pretty cool figure, I guess, even if I’m not the biggest fan of the character.  He’s certainly not the greatest that the line had to offer, and I doubt any one would bring him up as one of the reasons the line is well remembered, but it’s a decent entry in the line.  Not the best, not the worst.

I actually ended up with two of this figure, believe it or not.  I swear I don’t like the Penguin!  Anyway, I got the first one for like $3 at my local Comicon, I think, but he was missing the coat tails and umbrella, and just had an “okay” paint job.  A few years later, I found a pretty decent Super Powers Batmobile for $40 and it included Batman, Robin, Joker, and Penguin.  I bought the lot solely for the Batmobile, but the Penguin included part of the umbrella and had the coat tails piece, plus he had a better paint job to boot.  Unfortunately, the figures stank to high heavens of cigarette smoke, so Penguin had to be quarantined in a bag of cat litter for 24 hours.  In case you were wondering, cat litter absorbs the smell of smoke, I don’t just willy-nilly place action figures into bags of it!