#2362: Superman

SUPERMAN

DC HEROES UNITE (SPIN MASTER)

Well, I’ve just gotten word that the contents of yesterday’s post count as infringement on National Publications’ IP, so in accordance with that, I guess I have to replace it with a genuine National Publications product.  What am I getting at here?  I guess this is just my lazy attempt at a humorous way of saying “Hey, check out this Superman figure.”  So, uhh, hey, check out this Superman figure.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Superman is part of the first assortment of the DC Heroes Unite line from Spin Master.  He’s one of the most common figures in the assortment, which is sensible, what with him being a fairly basic Superman and all.  He’s actually a little behind the times, since he’s sporting his second Rebirth-era costume, which has subsequently been replaced by his classic design.  In Spin Master’s defense, however, it still does show up in various licensed art and merch from time to time.  I would also be genuinely shocked if a classic Superman wasn’t already planned for a later release.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 17 points of articulation.  Structurally, this figure is essentially identical to the black suited Superman I already looked at from the line.  The only difference between them is the addition of a cloth cape, which is the same style of piece that Shazam used.  Again, the cape’s not terribly impressive, although I do like the insignia printed on it.  Otherwise, I’m still quite happy with the sculpt of this figure, and probably even a little moreso on this particular figure, since there are a number of details specific to this design that looked a little out of place for the previous release.  In terms of paint, Supes is pretty standard fare.  The application is all pretty cleanly handled, with minor bleedover on my figure.  As with the others in this line, the accessories are blind packaged and there are a few different options.  I got the “Metropolis Mayhem” selection, so my figure has the same selection of extras as my black costumed figure: the armor in blue, the Kryptonite in green, and the eye beams in red.  There is also a collector’s card as well, which is actually the same one included with yesterday’s Shazam figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was really happy with the variant Superman I picked up, and was feeling the need to own one in more classic coloring.  I saw this guy on a routine run through Target, but passed on him at the time, telling myself if he was there the next time I came through I’d grab him.  As luck would have it, he was.  There’s not much new here, since I pretty much looked at him before, but I do still really like him, and I look forward to getting more of this line as I have the opportunity.

#2326: Superman

SUPERMAN

DC MULTIVERSE (MCFARLANE)

“Sent to Earth from the dying planet of Krypton as a baby, Kal-El was found by farmers Martha and Jonathan Kent and raised as their son, Clark.  As Clark grew up, the radiation from Earth’s yellow sun gave him extraordinary powers, which he kept hidden.  Now fully grown, he uses his powers to protect his adopted world as Superman.  The Man of Steel is virtually invulnerable and has the powers of super-strength, super-speed, and flight.  He also has enhanced senses, including heat vision, X-ray vision, super-hearing, and super-breath.”

When Mattel lost the DC license (or chose not to pursue a renewal, depending on who you ask), it was split between two main licensees.  For the more all-ages oriented toys, Spin Master has the license, and I’ve already taken a look at a couple of their offerings.  Now I’m jumping over to the other company, McFarlane Toys, who will be handling the more collectors-oriented side of things.  I’m kicking things off with their take on the Man of Steel.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Superman is part of the rather large assortment 1 product launch for McFarlane’s DC Multiverse line.  While all 12 of the initial figures are technically part of the same assortment, they’ve been broken down into a few different subsets.  Three variants each of Superman and Batman make up the first grouping of figures.  This particular Superman is the most standard fare, being based specifically on his appearance in Action Comics #1000…at least according to the box.  I’ll touch on that in a bit.  The figure stands 7 1/4 inches tall and he has 33 points of articulation.  In terms of scaling, these guys are pretty big.  You won’t be mixing them with your Legends to be sure, as they’re more in line with McFarlane’s other offerings or the stuff coming from NECA.  You could also probably mix some of them in with the DC Essentials figures, thought they’re a bit large even for those. While there’s certainly a lot of articulation, the effectiveness of a good number of the joints is a little on the iffy side.  The neck joint and mid-torso both have some decent range, as well a smooth motion to them.  The legs have decent mobility, but the joints are really clicky and a little tricky to work with.  The arms are the worst of the bunch, with really heavily ratcheted joints, poor range on the shoulders and the elbows, and some truly hideous design on the wrists.  Ultimately, you can get some fairly decent poses out of him, but for someone who’s used to Legends, he’s a bit of a pain to pose.  Articulation aside, how’s the actual sculpt.  Well, in my eyes, Superman is the best of the initial offerings, so I don’t think it’s that bad.  For the most part, the proportions are fairly balanced and realistic, while still being rather heroic.  Although he’s supposedly based on Jim Lee’s depiction of Clark from Action 1000, I don’t get much Lee out of this sculpt myself.  The head’s a little wonky; I’m not sure exactly what kind of likeness or expression they’re going for here, but he seems a little…off from my usual mind’s eye version of Clark.  It’s not terrible, though, and far from the worst head sculpt in the bunch.  It’s probably not helping that the head was one of the few things I unquestionably liked about the Essentials figure when I reviewed it.  The body sculpt is decent, but does run into a little bit of Todd being Todd and adding details that don’t necessarily need to be there.  He’s got some various piping running along various parts of his costume, and the insignia is now large and raised.  I do like the cape a lot; while I’m not always a huge fan of the overly large cape for Superman, it works well here, and it has a nice, dynamic flow to it.  Superman’s paintwork is pretty basic, which is a good thing, because I was a little worried that was another area where things might get all Todded up.  Application is mostly pretty clean, apart from a few small issues here and there.  The most glaring thing on my figure was a little spot of flesh tone on the hair.  Superman is packed with two sets of hands, a flight stand, and a collectors card.  The hands are probably my biggest complaint, because they don’t feel very suited to the poses I want out of a Superman.  The relaxed hands aren’t as handy as a pair of flat flying hands might have been, and I can’t begin to fathom why we got a gripping hand for the right instead of a fist to match the left.  He doesn’t even come with anything to hold!

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

So, I was hesitant on the McFarlane stuff, due to them not having the best track record.  When they showed this figure off, I wasn’t much of a fan of the proto, but after getting to see him in person, I decided to at least give him a chance.  Ultimately, he’s not bad, and certainly an admirable effort from McFarlane.  He’s still got his flaws, though, and I’m hoping they can offer some improvements.  Still, he’s a solid piece on his own.

I got my figure from my friends at All Time Toys.  If you’re looking for other cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay Store.

#2314: Superman

SUPERMAN

DC HEROES UNITE (SPIN MASTER)

It’s a time of change.  After 17 years with the DC license, Mattel lost it at the end of 2019.  In their stead, two companies are taking over as the primary holders: Spin Master and McFarlane Toys.  The first product from both companies started hitting in the middle of last month, giving collectors a chance to try out both styles.  Spin Master is handling the more kid-focused, all-ages side of the license, and I managed to pick up some of their stuff first.  Today, I’ll be taking a look at one of their versions of the Man of Steel, Superman!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Superman is part of Spin Master’s DC Heroes Unite line, and is one of two versions of Superman available at launch.  This one is marked “rare” on the included booklet, so I would assume that means he’s a one-per-case figure.  That said, Spin Master’s set-up for the line tends to suggest that none of the figures will be that hard to find in the long run.  This Superman is based on the Superman’s appearance from the 2016 Lois & Clark series, which saw the Lois and Clark of Earth-Prime return to the Nu-Earth, and gave Clark this new darker costume.  It’s clearly meant to call back to the “rebirth” costume that he wore in the ’90s after coming back to life, but it’s still effectively a modern appearance.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 17 points of articulation…or at least he should.  My figure’s right knee was fused out of the box, and ended up snapping when there was an attempt to bend it.  Probably just a one-off issue, but certainly something to keep in mind.  The sculpt of this figure is shared with the standard Superman, which actually isn’t the worst thing, given the similarities between the costumes.  The only downside is that the upper portion of the cape that’s not there is still…there.  With it being all-black, it’s not terribly distracting, but it’s too bad he couldn’t at least get a unique torso.  Aside from that, the sculpt is actually pretty nice, especially given the quality of the last Spin Master figures I picked up in this scale.  He’d certainly benefit from a waist joint and maybe some wrists, but he’s a far better offering at this scale than anything we ever got from Mattel, both in terms of sculpt and and articulation.  It’s a fairly basic layout of details, but it works very well for the style that they’re after.  Superman’s paintwork is pretty decent across the board.  The details are all pretty sharp, and the bleed over is minimal.  The painted beard works better than I’d expected, and I like how sharp the eyes are.  The primary gimmick of Spin Master’s 3 3/4 lines right now is tied in with the accessories, which are blind-boxed, and have a few different possibilities for each figure.  For my Superman, I got the armor in blue, the Kryptonite in green, and the eye beams in red, indicating this is the “Metropolis Mayhem” accessory selection.  Not a bad little assortment, and honestly not the worst gimmick for the line.  There’s also a little collector’s card, which can be removed from the front of the package, if you’re into that sort of thing.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This is Max’s fault.  I saw the Spin Master stuff and was honestly interested in checking them out in person, but Max beat me to the punch, and picked up this very figure for himself.  Then it went and broke on him, and he was going to throw it in the trash.  I can’t bear to see a figure thrown in the trash, and I honestly wasn’t quite as perturbed by the broken knee, so I salvaged him (with Max’s permission, of course), and fixed him up.  And, boom, new line tried.  Breaking knee issue aside, I’m very happy with this figure, and I think that all of Spin Master’s launch product looks really great.  I look forward to seeing more from them.

#2160: Kingdome Come Superman

KINGDOM COME SUPERMAN

DC COMICS MULTIVERSE (MATTEL)

Having spent ten years in solitude, Superman returns to fight for justice in a new disinterested and indecent planet.”

In the mid-90s, after several years of totally un-ironic “X-Treme” comics, the industry was starting to get at least a little bit introspective.  Not a lot, mind you, because they’re only rated for so much self awareness, but there was definitely a move by some of the older fans who found themselves within the industry to try and reign things in, and throw back to the good old days, with maybe a jab or two at modern comics’ expense thrown in for good measure.  Rather than making statements about these “not being your daddy’s comics,” there was a push to actually start treating things a little bit more seriously and add just a touch of prestige to things.  Marvel hired the up-and-coming writer and artist team or Kurt Busiek and Alex Ross to create Marvels, a four-part mini-series that told picturesque real-world stories from throughout Marvel history.  It was enough of a success that DC decided to bring on Ross for a series of their own, pairing him off with writer Mark Waid for Kingdom Come, an alternate DC future rife with references to the days gone by, and deeply critical not just of modern comics, but also of people who didn’t like change or compromise in their comics.  The star of the series was an aged and despair-ridden Superman, who was desperate to regain some of his old-fashioned hope.  It’s gone on to become a rather defining take on the character, with its fair share of toy goodness.  Most recently, he’s received a figure from Mattel, which I’ll be taking a look at today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Kingdom Come Superman is part of the Lobo Series of DC Comics Multiverse figures.  He’s our second Superman following the reworking of the bodies, and our third 6-inch KC figure under Mattel’s tenure (though a good argument can be made that Red Robin and Magog are really just main universe figures…of course, technically the same can be said of Superman, so the whole thing’s a wash.)  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and has 25 points of articulation.  KC Superman is built largely from the same bank of pieces as the Clayface Series’ Rebirth Superman (which in turn means a lot of those pieces are also shared with Bizarro), for better or for worse.  It means he’s more articulated than a DCUC figure, but also means the balance between pieces is still a little bit whack.  Not terrible, but not quite Ross’s ultra-realistic anatomy.  The figure gets a brand-new head and forearms.  The forearms are fairly basic; all they really do is remove the pointed ends on the outside of each wrist, which is accurate, but also minor enough that I imagine most people are going to miss it.  The head’s really the star piece here.  While certainly a more generic take on the character than other, more Ross faithful releases, the head is nevertheless a quite nicely detailed piece.  The details are sharply defined, capturing the very slight aging seen on Ross’s version of the character; it’s definitely one of Mattel’s best goes at a Superman portrait. The paint on Superman is mostly pretty basic, at least on the body, which is actually fairly accurate to the source, since Superman’s costume is very classically inspired in the book.  The head gets a bit more work, with some pretty solid accenting.  I particularly like that they did more for his greying temples than just solid white streaks, as is usually the case with this design.  KC Superman includes two sets of hands in fist and flat poses, as well as piece to the Lobo CnC.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Part of the agreement that got me yesterday’s Kyle figure was me agreeing to take the figures from the line-up that Max didn’t really want.  Superman was one such figure.  I wasn’t inherently opposed to getting the figure, but I can’t say that he was super high on my list.  Going in with essentially no expectations, I’m pretty pleased with this figure.  He’s not as strong as some of the other recent offerings, but he’s certainly one of Mattel’s best Supermen they’ve ever made.

#2115: Superman & Lex Luthor

SUPERMAN & LEX LUTHOR

DC MINIMATES

Sometimes when I’m down, I like to remind myself that I’m not as much of a failure as I could be by looking at other failures.  Is that perhaps a cruel way of making myself feel better?  Yes. So, I guess I shouldn’t do it.  Well, on a completely unrelated note, let’s talk again about DC Minimates, one of the great tragedies of Minimate collectors.  Try and try as they may to get more, they just aren’t going to happen, leaving us to reflect on the short eight series run that we actually got.  Things certainly started off strong, with a first series filled with heavy hitters…which might actually have been part of the line’s problem, since they ran out of those heavy hitters rather quickly.  Whatever the case, it meant that Superman and his arch rival Lex Luthor were among the line’s first offerings.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Superman and Luthor were one of the four two-packs in Series 1 of DC Minimates.

SUPERMAN

Superman had had two ‘mates prior to this one, as part of the legal loophole-inspired C3 line.  While his initial C3 release was a pretty decent classic Superman, it was still animation based, allowing this one to supplant it as a proper comics variant.  The figure was built on the basic ‘mate body, and therefore stands 2 1/4 inches tall and sports 14 points of articulation.  He’s constructed with three add-on pieces, for his hair, cape, and belt.  All three were new to this guy (though the hair was shared with fellow Series 1 release Green Lantern), and would go on to see re-use throughout the line.  Compared to the prior Superman, the parts on this one were mostly an improvement, though I always liked the way the C3 connected at the neck a little bit more.  This one isn’t bad looking, but I have trouble getting behind the red bar running across the neck.  I do like the overall shaping of the actual cape part, though.  His paintwork is appropriately bold, and overall not a bad offering, but the red paint on the pelvis in particular didn’t stand up very well to wear and tear.  Superman included no accessories, since stands hadn’t yet become a thing for the brand.

LEX LUTHOR

Luthor actually hadn’t gotten a ‘mate before (though a C3 prototype was shown), nor would he get one after.  This was his only shot.  The character has had a lot of different looks over the years, but this one went for his at the time current iteration of his battle suit, which was definitely a solid choice.  Said battle suit was built from six add-on pieces, again all-new to this figure.  The sculpting on these parts was superb, and is one of the earliest examples of such elements making their way into the line, as well as a good example of it being done well.  All of the sculpted parts are things that should be bulked up, but they have a lot of small detail work to set them apart.  Aiding the sculpted parts, there’s also quite a bit going on with the paint.  Again, lots of small detail lines, which makes him an interesting counterpoint to the much bolder Superman. Luthor is packed with a chunk of Kryptonite.  At least, I assume it’s his.  Neither figure in the set can actually hold it, but it makes more sense to go with him.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

These guys, like all of my DC Minimates, were purchased new from Cosmic Comix.  While it was the Green Lantern set that really held my focus going into this line-up, this one’s a strong one.  Superman’s the definitive version of the character, and Luthor is just one of the best ‘mates the line ever produced.  By far one of the strongest sets the line offered up.  This pair set a high bar for the rest of the line.

#2062: Superman – The Dark Side

SUPERMAN – DARK

ELSEWORLDS (DC DIRECT)

After landing on the planet Apokolips instead of Earth, Kal-El is raised to be a merciless soldier, becoming Darkseid’s ultimate weapon in the war with New Genesis”

I’ve spoken once before of DC’s “Elseworlds” line, which they launched in 1989 as a throwback to their “Imaginary Stories” of the Silver Age.  It was actually a pretty big success throughout the ’90s, before being put on a hiatus in 2003.  While it was on hold, there was still some recognition of its importance in DC’s history, in the form of a line of dedicated figures, courtesy of DC Direct.  Numerous stories were given coverage, including 1998’s Superman: The Dark Side, a tale which, as the bio so notes, re-imagines Kal-El as landing on Apokolips and becoming a villainous New God.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Superman was released in 2007 as part of the fourth (and final) series of DC Direct’s Elseworlds line.  He was available in both “Good” and “Dark” variations.  This would be the “Dark” one.  Of the two, it’s certainly the less classically Superman-styled, and hits a lot of the same beats as the brainwashed Superman’s design from Superman: The Animated Series‘ “Legacy.”  The figure stands 6 3/4 inches tall and he has 13 points of articulation.  DCD was still kind of figuring out the whole articulation thing at this point, so Superman’s not an overly poseable figure.  I suppose he should consider himself lucky that he didn’t get stuck in an uncomfortable pre-pose, like that poor New Frontier Batman.  Instead, he’s just got a fairly basic standing pose, which isn’t that bad looking.  His sculpt was definitely a strong one, even for this line.  It’s sharply defined, and quite clean-looking.  It appears to be fairly faithful to Kieron Dwyer’s illustrations from the book (I haven’t read it myself, so I’m going off what I can find online), and nicely maintains the imposing nature of this armor’s design, as well as capturing that pseudo-Kirby styling. It’s not super detailed, erring more on the side of cleaner, bolder lines, which is again true to the source.  His paintwork is fairly standard from DCD for the time, which is to say it’s pretty solid.  The base work is clean, and sporting a real cool gunmetal grey over most of the figure.  The reds really pop from that, and there’s some really nice accenting, which brings out the details well.  The visor on the helmet is done up in a translucent red, which doesn’t quite catch the light as well as I’d hope, but is otherwise a decent break from the other reds throughout the armor.  Superman was originally packed with an alternate un-helmeted head, a sword, and a display stand.  My figure only has the sword, which, if I’m being honest, is the coolest bit anyway.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Having not read the story, I didn’t pick this figure up when he was new.  Instead, I decided to wait until he was super expensive on the aftermarket, because I’m way smart like that.  Okay, not quite.  This guy was traded-in to All Time Toys in a large lot back in December, and while I’ve never read the story, I quite liked his look, and was able to get him for a very good deal.  He’s a cool-looking based on a cool-looking design,  He’s not super-poseable or anything, but he’s certainly a cool display piece.

#2006: Bizarro

BIZARRO

DC COMICS MULTIVERSE (MATTEL)

You know, it would be really clever to write this whole review in Bizarro speak, wouldn’t it?  Well, clever as it may be, that seems like way more energy than I have to put into a Monday review.  I know, making things easy for myself seems to run counter to my whole brand, but consider this: I did the backwards speak gimmick for my first Bizarro review, meaning that doing it again would be a retread, so, in a way, this is the less traversed and therefore more difficult path.  Yeah, that’s what I’m going with…

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Bizarro is a Walgreens-exclusive release for the DC Comics Multiverse line.  He started cropping up in the last couple of months, though he was originally shown alongside the figures that made up the “Lex Luthor Series.”  The majority of those figures are modeled on the characters’ “Rebirth” appearances, but Bizarro here is actually a much more classically inspired figure, which was a kind of nice change.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 23 points of articulation.  Bizarro, understandably, re-uses the body introduced with the Rebirth Superman figure from the Clayface Series.  It shares a more common ancestry with the old DCUC body than the body used for Ray, meaning it’s just not quite as refined.  It’s still a definite improvement on the old body, though it feels a little more piecemeal and uneven.  I think the pelvis and hips are the part that really throw the whole thing off.  Bizarro gets a new head sculpt, which is a pretty respectable piece.  It’s appropriately squared off and blocky, and the detailing on the hair in particular is quite nice.  Bizarro trades out Superman’s sculpted cape for a cloth piece that connects around the neck.  On a standard figure, it would be a little goofy, but for Bizarro it actually works to the design’s favor.  His paintwork is overall pretty clean.  The colors are nice and bright, and his skin has a nice textured look about it which works really well.  Bizarro is pretty decently accessorized.  He’s got two sets of hands, in fists and flat flying poses, as well as his signature “Bizarro No. 1” placard.  And, if you want an alternate look, well hey, he has one of those too!  You can give him his Kent Clark guise from the comics by adding a pair of glasses, a tie, and a rather raddy-looking jacket.  As a bonus to this look, the use of a cloth cape means that it can fit under the jacket and stick out like it does in the comics.  It’s a fun extra look and adds a real unique touch to this release.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was moderately interested in this figure when he was shown off, but wasn’t 100% sold on it.  After picking up and being quite impressed by Ray, I found this guy while out on a day trip with my parents and my brother, and was actually pretty happy to do so.  While he’s not quite as strong as Ray, he’s still a lot better than Mattel’s output has been for a good long while.  I am again frustrated that they managed to improve things just before losing the license.  But hey, at least I got this cool Bizarro figure.

#2005: Cyber-Link Batman & Cyber-Link Superman

CYBER-LINK SUPERMAN & CYBER-LINK BATMAN

SUPERMAN: MAN OF STEEL (KENNER)

“The Man of Steel teams up with the Dark Knight to form the ultimate crime-fighting team!”

After a rash of success with their various Bat-themed lines, in 1995, Kenner tried to expand their DC reach, giving a dedicated line to DC’s other big hero, Superman.  Superman: Man of Steel was not a smash success like its counterpart Legends of Batman, but did manage to get two regular assortments, plus some deluxe figures, and even a few multi-packs.  In an attempt to get a little bit of synergy from the two lines, Kenner decided to team up the lead characters, as they had been so many times in the comics, releasing the pack as part of Superman’s line to give it a slight boost.  Today, I’m looking at that set.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Cyber-Link Superman and Cyber-Link Batman were the only set offered up in the second round of Multi-Packs from Kenner’s MoS line.  After the poor performance of the “Superman & foe” layout of the first assortment, this one was a push from Kenner for a better selling product.  Despite their propensity for just dropping these sorts of variants without much explanation or thought, these two actually got a backstory.  “Cyber-Link” was an Elseworlds concept, an alternate universe where Batman was a Metropolis resident and he and Superman were a crime-fighting duo.  Trace elements of Kryptonite within the Earth’s atmosphere necessitated the use of the Cyber-Link suits seen here.  All of this was explained in the 11-page Christopher Priest-penned comic included with this set.  It’s a surprising amount of backstory for something that seems kind of straightforward, but I guess they were trying to inject a little bit more of Legends of Batman into Man of Steel.

SUPERMAN

He’s the star of the line and the star of the set, so I guess he gets to go first.  The ninth out of nine Superman figures, this one didn’t exactly cover new ground, but was interesting in his lack of a specific purpose like we had seen with the prior variants.  It’s definitely a different sort of design for the character, a departure from his classic look.  He’s even sporting the mullet still, further removing him from the Superman we all knew.  Of course, in light of things like the New 52, I guess the design doesn’t feel quite so out there anymore.  The figure stands 5 inches tall and has 6 points of articulation.  Yay for waist joints!  Despite his non-standard nature, the sculpt for this figure is actually pretty decent.  The pre-posing that would plague Total Justice was starting to settle in, but it doesn’t seem quite as bad here.  It’s got sort of a dynamic “just about to leap into action” look about it.  He also doesn’t have any trouble staying standing, which is nothing short of a miracle with most of these figures.  His head, despite the dated hairstyle, is a good take on Superman, and the removable cape is quite nice, and further supports the dynamic stance.  Superman’s paintwork doesn’t stray too far from his classic colors, though the blue and yellow are kind of metallic, and there’s quite a bit of black.  There are also a number of sculpted lines that just sort of get ignored here, though they would be more emphasized on later uses of the mold.  Superman included no accessories, though his hand looks like it was supposed to hold something at some point.

BATMAN

Man, how often is it Batman that plays second fiddle?  Obviously, this was his first figure in this line, though he was hardly lacking on figures from his own lines.  Batman’s design here isn’t quite as foreign as Superman’s, but that may be partly because he’d just had a more fluid design up to this point.  He’s a little more on the armored side, and some of his color elements have been moved around a bit, but otherwise he’s going to pass the squint test.  The figure, like his Kryptonian counterpart, stands 5 inches tall and has 6 points of articulation.  Batman’s sculpt was unique to him, and is an okay offering, though I don’t think it’s quite as strong as Superman’s.  The posing seems a bit more extreme, and the proportions a bit less balanced.  He also has a little more trouble staying standing, though he still doesn’t face plant nearly as often as some of these guys.  I do kind of like that little sneer to his expression; it’s unique for a Batman figure.  His paint/color work is about on par with Superman.  It’s just slight variations on the usual colors, and some of the sculpted elements are kind of ignored, but the overall work is solid.  Like his packmate, he includes no accessories, but still looks like he’s supposed to be holding something.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I had none of the Man of Steel two-packs growing up.  In fact, I didn’t have anything from the line beyond several Series 1 figures.  However, my obsessive toy-nerdiness meant that I gazed upon their photos many a time on the back of the package and on Raving Toy Maniac’s old archive page, so they’ve always been in the back of my mind.  A loose set ended up traded into All Time Toys alongside a larger collection of ’90s toys, and since there’s not a huge market for these guys, I felt compelled to save them from hanging around the store for forever.  Superman’s my favorite of the two, but I kind of dig both of them, and all their crazy ’90s glory.

As noted above, I got these from All Time Toys.  If you’re looking for other cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#1861: Superman

SUPERMAN

DC ESSENTIALS (DC COLLECTIBLES)

After throwing the entirety of their last line, DC Icons, out the window, DC Collectibles is attempting to settle in comfortably with their newest all-inclusive line of DC figures, this time dubbed DC Essentials.  In my first Essentials review, I made it no secret that I wasn’t 100% on board with the change over, and even after reviewing my first figure, I was still rather skeptical.  Well, I’m going to be giving the line a second shot, taking a look at one of the figures DCC keeps trying to get right over and over again, Classic Superman!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Superman is figure 5 in the DC Essentials line-up, making him numerically the first figure of Series 2 of the line.  DCC’s really invested in having these figures pair off, so this guy pairs off with Series 2’s Brainiac figure. Though he’s a “classic” Superman, this figure is actually based on Supes’ most current appearance, introduced in Action Comics #1000.  It’s really the same as his classic garb, but with the teeniest, tiniest little tweek to the edges of his sleeves.  Because *something* had to be different.  The figure stands 7 inches tall and he has 34 points of articulation.  Those numbers aren’t surprising, given they’re the same stats we saw with Reverse Flash.  And why is that?  Because, except for a small handful of pieces, these are the same figure.  There are some issues with that.  While using the exact same body worked out fine for the Series 1 line-up of Batman, Flash, Reverse Flash, and Deathstroke, who are all conceivably the same basic build, it doesn’t quite work out for Superman, who I really feel should be a little larger, at least in the upper torso region.  It’s still a decent, balanced sculpt, but he sure does look a little bit scrawny (and he still has those overly long arms, which I’m guessing won’t be going away).  The shaping of the cape doesn’t really help with that, either, kind of accentuating the small sizing of the upper torso and the comparatively large sizing of the legs.  On the plus side, I do rather like the new head sculpt; it feels appropriately Superman-y.  Superman’s paint work is okay, but not quite as good as Reverse Flash’s was.  Generally, the application is clean, and the colors are nice and bright.  However, there’s some rather noticeable slop and unevenness on the edges of the shorts, an issue that plagues all of the Supermen I’ve seen in person.  Also, for some reason, the belt is just straight yellow, with no red for the sculpted belt loops, which looks rather strange, and is a very obvious missing paint application.  Like Reverse Flash, Superman includes no accessories, which, given the level of re-use and the price-point of these figures is quite frankly insane.  At the very least, he should have some extra hands, or a flight stand, or something.  Anything at all to make him actually feel worth what you’re paying for him.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

After buying, and being left uncertain by, Reverse Flash, I really wasn’t sure about this figure.  I had initially been very interested, because I’m always on the lookout for a really good classic Superman.  When this guy showed up at Cosmic Comix, I initially passed on him, and ended up waiting to take advantage of their “Biggest Sale of the Year!” a couple of weeks ago.  At a lowered price, this figure feels justified, but still somewhat far from the mark.  He’s an okay standard Superman, but with the larger scale and all, I still find myself preferring NECA’s Christopher Reeve Superman as my go-to.  Were he in-scale with Legends, it might be a different story, but this is the path DCC’s chosen to go down, and this is the hill they want to die on.  And dying on the hill sadly seems to be what’s destined for DC Essentials, because they just don’t seem to be gaining the foothold they were hoping for.  Apart from the upcoming Green Lantern (who I’m going to be getting purely because I have trouble saying no to even a semi-decent GL figure), I just really can’t see myself supporting this line.

#1824: Superman – Quick Change

SUPERMAN — QUICK CHANGE

SUPERMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES (KENNER)

“Danger arises in an instant – just the amount of time Clark Kent needs to transform himself into Superman, the Man of Steel.”

Following up on the success of Batman: The Animated Series, the creative team moved onto DC’s next big offering, Superman.  Superman: The Animated Series wasn’t quite the smash success its predecessor was, but it’s remained my personal favorite of the bunch.  Sadly, it wasn’t quite as well treated by merchandising.  It got its own line of figures from Kenner, mostly made up of variants of the main character.  I’m looking at one of those today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Quick Change Superman was one of the handful of Superman variants from the first series of Superman: The Animated Series from Kenner.  He’s the second of two Superman variants in this first series that could pass for a standard Superman…in one configuration, at least.  The figure stands 5 inches tall and has 5 points of articulation.  The mechanism that allows his “quick change” feature means he has no neck articulation, but he still has the waist movement, which puts him ahead of most figures of the same stylings.  The basic figure is actually rather similar to the Capture Net Superman.  The posing of his hands is swapped, and the cape is cloth, rather than plastic, but otherwise he’s the same basic set-up, with the same strengths and weaknesses as that figure.  As a whole, a pretty decent offering.  The paint also matches pretty closely with the Capture Net offering, but my QC Superman is from later in the run than my CN, so he’s actually got eyes this time, which certainly looks far better.  Of course, mine’s also taken a bit more of a beating, so I guess it’s kind of a wash.  To facilitate his quick change feature, he’s got four clip-on pieces: a head/torso combo, one for each of his legs, and a backpack piece that clips onto the torso.  The overall end appearance is of Clark Kent, with a polo shirt, khakis, and a back-pack.  Definitely a different look than we usually see for Clark.  Maybe he’s gone hiking or something?  It’s certainly better than most attempts at Bruce Wayne.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Quick Change Superman was the first figure I got from this line, not long after getting the show’s premiere episodes on VHS, so I was pretty pumped to find him.  It was on a late-night trip to Toys R Us with my dad, while my Mom was out of town for a bit.  I remember that I got this figure and the 1960s Batman: The Movie on VHS, and my Dad and I sat up and watched the movie while I opened the figure.  He remained my standard Superman for a very long while, and even now he’s definitely a favorite of mine.