#2188: Superboy Vs. King Shark

SUPERBOY VS KING SHARK

DC SUPER HEROES (HASBRO)

“It’s the battle of the beach as Hawaiian-based hero Superboy takes on King Shark!  Superboy may not have the massive might of his idol, Superman, but he does have his own special powers and abilities.  He describes them as ‘tactile-telekinesis’ which means that the Teen of Steel can affect anything he touches with his super-strength; in addition, he is also invulnerable and can fly.

Of course, all his strength may not be enough to take a bite out of King Shark!  It’s uncertain whether King Shark is some kind of mutation or, as some Hawaiians believe, the offspring of a shark-god and a mortal woman.  Whatever the case, King Shark is every bit as ruthless a predator as any real shark, with razor sharp teeth, extraordinary strength, and deadly claws on his hands and feet.”

In the mid-90s, Kenner had given Batman a couple of lines, so figured why not give DC’s other big guy a go at it.  Ta-da! Superman: Man of Steel.  It ran two basic series, two deluxe series, and two multi-packs series, and then ended with a bunch of un-released items.  A handful of those pieces would make their way out a few years later.  Among them?  A canceled multi-pack including today’s figures, Superboy and King Shark!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Superboy and King Shark were originally planned for the third assortment of Man of Steel multi-packs, due for release in ’96 (as can be noted from the date stamps on the figures), but were ultimately shelved and then repurposed as one of the four HasbroCollectors.com exclusive DC Super Heroes two-packs that surfaced in 1999.

SUPERBOY

Superboy was quite negatively affected by Man of Steel‘s early end, with two separate figures canceled.  This one got saved, and is, admittedly, the more conventional of the two that were cancelled.  As far as I know, the costume seen here was made for this figure, as were most of the variant costumes for MoS.  The figure stands 5 inches tall and has 6 points of articulation.  Hooray for that waist swivel.   It’s essentially an all-new sculpt, with a bit of a pre-pose going on.  This one serves the surfing nature of the figure well.  He’s a little larger than the original MoS Superboy, a fact I can tell by the use of a slightly retooled basic Superboy head to top things off.  It’s nice from a consistency standpoint, and nice from a “it’s a good headsculpt” capacity.  The paintwork on Superboy is pretty basic; it matches the standard colors of the character, and the application is pretty solid, if perhaps a bit roughed up on my figure.  Superboy is packed with a hi-tech surfboard, which he can peg into.

KING SHARK

King Shark!  He’s a shark!  He’s King!  And this was his first action figure!  How about that?  King Shark’s figure is another 5-incher (though it’s because he’s squatting; he’d be much taller standing) and he’s got 5 points of articulation.  His head is separate at the neck, as if to add a joint, but there’s no actual movement to be had there.  King Shark’s sculpt is a fair bit more cartoony than a lot of the others in the line, but it’s admittedly not totally out of place for a character like King Shark.  It’s certainly unique when compared to the others.  The paint work on him is rather monochromatic, but, again, fairly accurate, so I can’t really complain.  King Shark had no accessories, but given his larger stature, it kind of made sense.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was a big fan of Raving Toy Maniac’s action figure archives back in the day, and they had a pretty solid one dedicated to the Man of Steel line, where there was a whole page of cancelled items.  These guys were included there and always piqued my interest, so I was beyond thrilled when they actually made it into production a few years later.  I still really dig this set, in all of its gimmicky goodness.

Guest Review #0048: Super Sons

SUPERBOY & ROBIN

DC ICONS (DC COLLECTIBLES)

The following is a guest review by my dad, writer Steven H. Wilson!  Check out more from him over at his blog, located at stevenhwilson.com

So I bought this set a while back, on new comics Wednesday, and Ethan suggested I review the figures here, and then do a piece over on my blog about the characters and their history. You’ll note that Ethan’s blog is very focused, a new action figure review every day. Mine is not so much. It’s pretty much just whatever the hell I want to talk about, when I want to talk about it. And it hasn’t always been every day, though it has been for a while now. Anyway, here we have The Super-Sons!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

The Super-Sons are a two-pack in the DC Icons line, what I’m told may be the last such two-pack in the series.

SUPERBOY

The fifth (I think?) Superboy in DC Comics history, Jonathan White Kent is the son of Superman and Lois Lane. The original Superboy was Superman, but it’s unclear these days if that was Jon’s dad. The original grew up to be the Superman of Earth One, which was destroyed (more correctly, merged with a few other earths) in Crisis on Infinite Earths. Jon’s father is the Superman of that merged Earth, who when introduced, was established never to have been Superboy [well, at least until they decided he was…–E]. I don’t know if that still holds because DC history is confusing. The other Superboys were Kon-El, a clone of Superman with different powers, Jon-El, sort of the same deal, and, of course, the dreaded Superboy Prime, the young hero of Crisis on Infinite Earths who later went bad.

Little Jon Kent, ten years old, is growing into his inherited powers. He sort of flies, has some strength, and uses his heat vision an awful lot. True to his father’s influence, he’s a boy scout who’s afraid to swear. True to his mothers, he’s utterly fearless.

Previous Superboy figures have included one that came in a two-pack with his cousin Supergirl from DC Direct, and two Superboy Primes released in the DC Direct Infinite Crisis line and the Mattel DC Universe Classics line.

Superboy stands about 3 ½ inches tall and has 29 points of articulation. He comes with the Icons “flying” stand, a clear plastic cylinder section with a slanted top and a pin the attach his foot. Face and body are original sculpts, about an inch shorter than the male adult figures in the line. The facial sculpt is good, capturing Jon’s confident half-smile and eternal optimism.

His “uniform” (or are they play clothes) is well reproduced—a Superman hoodie he found at a second-hand store, jeans with a rip in the knee, a red T-shirt and short red cape. I think perhaps the hoodie is a bit too form-fitting. It’s shown looser in the comics, contributing more to Jon’s “still-growing” look, and his air of casual disregard for his appearance.

He’s very poseable, although I had a hard time getting him into the “Up, up and away” pose shown on the box.

Like all Icons figures, he comes with extra pairs of hands, specifically three this time around.

ROBIN

The son of Bruce Wayne (Batman) and Talia Al Ghul, daughter of Batman’s immortal enemy Ras Al Ghul, Damian Wayne is the sixth individual to carry the code name Robin, the others being Dick Grayson, Jason Todd, Tim Drak, Carrie Kelly, and Stephanie Brown (very briefly). Damien Wayne is 13, short for his age, and pretends he only hangs out with Jonathan Kent because the kid has powers, not because he actually likes him, and not because their fathers have pretty much bullied them into being “friends.”

This is the sixth Damian Wayne Robin figure, the last coming out from Mattel’s DC Comics Multiverse line just recently, as well as one from Mattel’s online subscription service, two from DC Collectibles’ Son of Batman and Lil’ Gotham lines, and one from DC Direct’s Batman Incorporated before that.

The figure stands about 3 inches tall, with 29 points of articulation. The facial sculpt shows Damian pouting and angry, because, if Damian ever smiled, his head would explode in order to expel his face away from it with as much force as possible. Or maybe he’s just pissed that the figures so accurately represent how much smaller he is than his junior partner.

I wish he had come with an interchangeable head, so that he could be displayed with his hood up. He does come with a five sets of hands (in fists, flat, two different grips, and with bloody talons), and a staff to make up for not having a flying stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I looked forward to the Super-Sons title, because I was a kid when the original Super-Sons were having their imaginary adventures. (More about them on my own blog.) It’s such a completely hokey idea, and it was always great fun. I think Peter Tomasi has integrated the hokey idea into a fun book that works for a new generation of more-sophisticated (read: really jaded) readers. I was glad to see them rendered in action-figure form, since I doubt the original “Superman, Jr.” and “Batman, Jr.” (Yep, those were their names!) ever will be.

#0873: Superboy “VTOL” Cycle

SUPERBOY “VTOL” CYCLE

SUPERMAN: MAN OF STEEL (KENNER)

SuperVTOL1

While they’ve all but disappeared from the market nowadays, there was a time when goofy made up vehicles were the norm for action figure lines. Kenner in particular was pretty big on them, especially ones that they made up. Yesterday, I looked at one of the figures from their Superman: Man of Steel line, and you might think that someone like Superman wouldn’t have any need for vehicles, but you’d be wrong. The Man of Steel line had three different vehicles, including today’s focus, the Superboy “VTOL” Cycle.

THE VEHICLE ITSELF

SuperVTOL3The VTOL Cycle was released as the first (and smallest) vehicle in the Superman: Man of Steel line. The cycle is about 3 ½ inches in height and 9 inches in length. It’s not based on any design from the comics, since Superboy’s never been one to need flying transportation, so it’s a totally original creation from Kenner. Despite re-use of vehicle molds being somewhat common from Kenner in th 90s, the VTOL Cycle has its own mold. Generally speaking, it’s really just a fairly generic pseudo-Sci-fi motorcycle. There aren’t any super in depth details, and the sculpt is slightly on the soft side, but it certainly doesn’t look out of place with the rest of the line. The vehicle has been designed with the Superboy figure in mind, so it fits him pretty well (if not perfectly). There’s a seatbelt piece with a cool Superman logo at the front, which keeps him properly seated. The cycle boasts that it “converts to pursuit jump jet” on the SuperVTOL2front of the box; essentially, the back wheel splits in two and each half can be folded out to create a turbine on either side. It’s nothing extraordinary, but it’s vaguely cool. There’s also a “kickstand” piece, which is useful for keeping the vehicle standing. The Cycle is done up in colors that vaguely match up with Superboy, but are not so specific so as to prevent the cycle from being used with another figure. The paint has a few spots of bleed over here and there, but generally looks fairly decent. There was also an included Superman logo decal, meant to be placed on the front of the Cycle, but I actually forgot to put it in place.  The VTOL Cycle includes a “claw snare” launcher, which can be mounted on either side of the back wheel, as well as an oxygen mask piece, which is meant to be used with the Superboy figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As I noted in yesterday’s Superboy review, I got the VTOL Cycle in a lot with the Superboy figure from a vender at this past Farpoint. I never had this vehicle growing up, but I saw it on the back of various different packages over the years, so I was always curious. Truth be told, it’s not the most thrilling vehicle Kenner ever put out, but it’s nifty enough that the purchase feels warranted. Plus, it makes a pretty neat accent piece for the Superboy figure (of which I now have two)!

#0872: Superboy

SUPERBOY

SUPERMAN: MAN OF STEEL (KENNER)

SuperboyMOS1

In the 90s, Toy Biz had a ton of success with their litany of Marvel Comics-based action figures. Kenner, the then holders of the DC license wanted in on some of that success, and branched outside of their “safe zone” of movie and TV-based figures, to try something with a more direct comics tie. There was, of course, a rather extensive Batman line, but they also produced a short-lived line of Superman figures, under the title Superman: Man of Steel. The figures were mostly based on characters from the Death of Superman and Reign of the Supermen storylines, including the uber 90s incarnation of Superboy, who I’ll be looking at today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

SuperboyMOS2Superboy was released as part of the first series of the Superman: Man of Steel line, as one of the three non-Superman figures in the set. The figure stands about 4 ¾ inches tall and has the standard 5 points of articulation for a Kenner figure. Superboy is based on his 90s, leather jacket sporting look. As dated and silly looking as it is, it’s really his signature look, and the only one he had at the time. He got a totally unique sculpt, which is actually pretty cool looking. The proportions are mostly pretty sound (if a bit exaggerated; hey, it was the 90s), and the detail work, especially on the jacket is incredibly well handled. I also love the head sculpt, especially the attitude present in the facial expression. There are a few odd bits, though. For one, the hand poses are pretty stilted, and he’s also got a weird blockish thing sticking out of the back of his right forearm, which is sort of odd. Superboy’s paint is pretty straight forward, but it has some pretty cool things going on. The colors are all pretty vibrant (though the yellow on the chest could stand to be a bit brighter) and there’s some pretty neat details, like the cool stitched logo on the back of the jacket. Superboy was packed with a two spring-loaded Mammoth Capture Claw and Taser missiles. They slip over his hands, and are the reason for the block thing on his forearm. They’re definitely a weird thing to included, but hey, it was the 90s. Might as well include a projectile of some sort.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I actually own two of this particular figure. The first was bought for me by my grandmother, from a K-Mart I believe. I remember really wanting a Superboy figure (I was a huge fan of the Filmation Superboy show as a kid) and deliberately setting out to get him. I don’t think I had quite picked up on him being separate from the Clark Kent version of the character at the time. He remained one of my favorite figures growing up, and took quite a beating. At this past Farpoint, I found another Superboy, in a lot with the Superboy VTOL Cycle, at the table of the same vendor who sold me the Power Loader, and figured having a spare wouldn’t be the worst thing ever.  I’m actually really happy about how well the figure has aged.

SuperboyMOS3