#1487: Lex Luthor

LEX LUTHOR

DC ICONS (DC COLLECTIBLES)

Aw, you guys lucked out today.  Not one, but TWO DC Icons reviews!  And there was even one that *wasn’t* reviewed by me.  What a relief!

Last week, my DC Icons review took a slight turn for the villainous with a look at Captain Marvel foe Black Adam.  Today, I’m continuing that trend, looking at the villainous brains to Superman’s heroic brawn, Lex Luthor!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Lex Luthor was released in the second series of DCC’s DC Icons.  He’s figure 08, which puts him right after Black Adam.  Like Black Adam, Luthor is also based on his design from “Forever Evil.”  “Forever Evil” is a rather Luthor-centric story, which means it’s a good basis from which to draw the character. It’s still not one of my favorites.  Personally, I’d have preferred his Crisis-era battle suit.  With that said, Luthor’s look has always kind of been in flux over the years, so I’m a bit more open to change.  This look is inoffensive.  The figure’s one of the shorter ones, standing just under 6 inches tall.  Fortunately, it makes sense for Luthor to be a little smaller than the majority of the Justice League, so he ends up scaling okay with the line’s later figures.  He’s got 29 points of articulation, distributed in essentially the same way as the rest of the line.  Luthor’s sculpt is completely unique to him.  It’s decent enough.  Like the design it’s based on, I find the sculpt to be a little bit bland, especially the head.  They’ve gone with a more stern take on Luthor, which is perfectly in-character, but not terribly exciting.  I’d have liked an evil grin or something.  They could have at least made it an alternate head.  The suit is at least well-done from a technical standpoint, with lots of clean line-work and a good mechanical look.  The paintwork on this guy is certainly passable, but sort of continues the overall trend of being a little bland.  They’ve opted for flat colors on the suit, rather than something metallic.  It looks fine, but doesn’t possess the pop that I feel it could.  Luthor is packed with several different sets of hands, posed in fists, open gesture, one energy effect for the right hand, and a left hand holding some sort of wand thing that I’m gonna assume is story specific.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I found Luthor at the same time as Black Adam.  He too was 50% off, which is pretty much entirely why I bought him.  He’s the sort of figure that’s fine in the grander scope of the line, and an important character, but he’s just sort of…blah.  Not bad in the slightest, but not exceedingly interesting either.  Still, he looks nice with the rest of the set.

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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.

#1459: Justice League Rebirth Set

SUPERMAN, BATMAN, WONDER WOMAN, FLASH, GREEN LANTERN, AQUAMAN, & CYBORG

DC ICONS (DCC)

It’s Friday, which means it’s time for another entry in my latest recurring feature…F-DC F-icons Fridays?  Yeah, there’s a name that’s catchy and rolls right off the tongue.  Not content to just review one DC Icons figure a week, I’ve decided to continue my descent into madness and review seven of them in one day.  And you all get to be here for that descent.  Don’t you just feel so special? Without further ado, let’s look at the Justice League!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Green Lantern, Aquaman, and Cyborg were released in March of this year in the “Justice League Rebirth” boxed set, as part of the DC Icons line.  The set’s actually been in progress since mid-2016, when it was initially shown as a New 52-themed set, before being updated to reflect the characters in their most recent looks (for the most part), and tying it into the DC Rebirth relaunch.

SUPERMAN

This figure’s my primary reason for grabbing this set, since Rebirth actually got me reading Superman and Action again.  This figure actually just saw a single release a few weeks ago, which looks to be identical, apart from the packaging.  The design of this figure comes from the initial Rebirth books, after the older Post-Crisis Clark took over the identity again.  It’s already been replaced by a tweaked design, but it’s not too far off.  I actually quite like this design; it’s not the classic look, but it’s way ahead of the other post-New 52 looks.  It’s still weird to see a Superman without the red shorts, but I think making his boots blue helps to alleviate some of the color imbalances caused by that.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and has 29 points of articulation.  Superman follows the “new” scale for Icons, meaning he’ll fit in best with figures from later in the line’s run.  He’ll also fit with some Marvel Legends depending on how much of a stickler you are for inter-character scaling.  He’s a little smaller than a Legends figure built on the Reaper body (as seen in the comparison pic with Cap).  Since he’s so sized up, he can’t really use any pieces from the first Icons Superman, making this figure an all-new sculpt.  It’s not bad work at all.  The build of the figure seems about right for Supes, and the proportions are all pretty balanced.  Detailing is all pretty clean and bold as well.  The head is pretty solid too; it’s got a nice friendly expression that seems right for Clark.  It feels maybe a touch wide, and perhaps a bit young for the more experienced Clark Kent this figure is meant to represent, but by and large I find myself really liking it.  The cape is made from a soft plastic, and it’s very nicely done.  After years of Mattel capes that have to be attached with a huge brick that utterly ruins the flow, this is a very refreshing piece.  In terms of paint, Superman is decent, if perhaps not fantastic.  The basic colors are all good matches for the source (the blue is a touch dark for my taste, but that’s accurate) and he looks pretty slick overall.  My only real issue is with the face, which just seems a little bit lopsided.  It’s the sort of thing that looks totally fine from most angles, but really goofy if you catch it the wrong way. Still, good work overall.  Superman includes no accessories.  Of course, that’s true of the entire set.  At least Supes doesn’t feel too light without the extras.

BATMAN

This guy also saw a single release, at the same time as the Superman figure.  It’s hardly a shock, what with it being Batman and all.  Batman is also sporting his look from Rebirth, but he’s been fortunate enough not to have it already change on him.  It’s another decent design.  It doesn’t speak to me quite as much as the Superman design, but that’s less about any particular element pulling me out, and more about it not being too terribly different from all the other Batman designs in recent years.  I can point out what’s different between this and the New 52 design if put on the spot, but they’re fundamentally the same.  Well, this one has less tactical-tech lines, which is certainly a plus.  The figure is 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  Batman’s maybe a smidge taller than Superman, depending on posing.  I generally like for Bruce to be a little shorter, but it’s easy enough to have Clark standing straight and Bruce slightly hunching.  The important thing is that this Batman is taller than the Icons Nightwing, which can’t be said of the first Icons Batman (which is absolutely dwarfed by this release).  The very first prototypes of this set showed Batman using quite a few pieces from the older figure, but this guy ended up as a totally new sculpt.  It has its pluses and minuses, to be sure.  As a whole, I think it’s a strong sculpt, and it does a good job of conveying a modern era Batman.  He’s got a good, solid build, and the details on the costume appear to be more or less accurate to his new design.  The mouth seems ridiculously pouty, but Batman is the king of brood, so I guess that just goes with the territory.  His head is set a little higher on the barbel than other Icons figures, which can look a little off in straight standing poses, but actually affords him a good deal more range on his neck joint, which is pretty nice for a guy who does a lot of hunching.  The figure’s topped off with another nicely rendered cape, which has a flow to it that is just as well-crafted as, but completely unique from, Superman’s.  Paint on Batman is very solid work.  Nothing seems out of place like on Superman, and everything’s very bold and clean.  Perhaps the purple could be a little more noticeably different from the black on the cape, but that’s a very minor complaint.  Batman feels a little more hurt by the lack of extras; at the very least a batarang or something would have been nice.

WONDER WOMAN

This set’s Wonder Woman was actually the first in the line, though her single release wasn’t far behind. Unlike the last two, Wonder Woman’s single release was quite a bit different, leaving this one still exclusive to the larger set.  Wonder Woman was another big motivator for me buying this set since, like Superman, Rebirth got me reading her title again.  She’s sporting her first Rebirth look, which was sort of an update on her classic look, with a dash of the movie design thrown in.  She’s switched to something even more movie inspired since, but as with Superman, I sort of prefer this one.  The figure stands almost 6 3/4 inches tall and she has 29 points of articulation.  Yes, you read that height correctly; Wonder Woman really is almost a half an inch taller than Superman and Batman.  I’m not inherently opposed to her being taller than the other two (my favorite take on Diana is most certainly Darwyn Cooke’s, and he drew her as an inch or so taller than Clark), but this feels like a little much.  I think my issues ultimately stem from how the height is distributed; her proportions are a little out of whack, so her legs, specifically her thighs, end up taking most of the height and looking a bit longer than they should.  There’s a similar issue with the arms, where the forearms and biceps look really long relative to the shoulders and torso.  If you look at the comparison between her and the other two, you can see that despite her pelvis being a good half-inch higher than the other two, the hands all end in the same spot.  It’s not awful, but it does look a little off, at least in comparison to the other figures in the set.  On the plus side, it does make her the one figure in this set that fits in with Legends without any fudging.  Regarding the quality of the sculpt on its own, this figure’s a bit tricky.  Based on photos online and my initial reaction right out of the box, I was all ready to hate on the sculpt.  But then I took her out, and was messing with her for the photos and such and I realized it’s actually not a bad sculpt at all; it’s just an exceptionally hard to photograph one.  This figure looks very different based on the angle you catch her from, and she really doesn’t look great viewed from above.  But, head-on, she actually looks rather nice.  Yes, the proportions are still a little off, there’s no denying that, but I like more about this sculpt than I dislike.  Given the right pose, she actually looks pretty great, and given just how bad a lot of prior Wonder Woman figures have been, that’s very much a compliment. Wonder Woman’s paint work is definitely on the better end of things.  From what I’ve seen, there’s a bit of variance on the face, but mine seems to have turned out alright, and I really dig how bright all the colors are.  I didn’t know colors were allowed to go that bright on a DC figure.  Wonder Woman gets hit pretty hard by this set’s lack of accessories, because it means she loses her defining weapon: a big ol’ sword!  I jest, of course.  Who would ever think her defining weapon was a sword?  That’s just silly.  She’s actually missing her lasso, which is a real staple of the character, and a rather glaring omission.  It would have been nice to at the very least have it coiled up hanging from her belt.

THE FLASH

Flash is one of the two figures in this set who I’ve looked at an Icons figure of before.  I was overall impressed by the Series 2 figure, so I wasn’t really in the market for another, especially not one based on his super line-y New 52/Rebirth design.  And yet, here we are.  Flash’s design was essentially unchanged for Rebirth; the only noticeable difference here is the lack of chin strap, but a quick Google search shows that totally varies from artist to artist.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and has 31 points of articulation.  Flash’s sculpt is all-new to this figure, but looks to have used the prior figure as a starting point at the very least; the musculature and sizing are all about the same, but the specifics of the costume have changed.  All of the yellow lines are etched into place, and there’s added details on the boots.  The head is a completely original piece, totally different from the Series 2 figure.  Since the head was the only part of that figure I had an issue with, I was intrigued by this one.  I’m happy to say, I find this one to be a serious improvement over the original.  The yellow lines aren’t etched into the head, so there’s a part of me that’s tempted to try and remove them so I can put this head on the old body, because I like it that much.  The paint work on Flash is mostly good, aside from one glaring issue:  he’s got a big spot of missing paint on the right side of his chin.  It’s a pretty noticeable flaw, and I’m definitely going to have to break out my paints to fix it.  Not the sort of thing I like having to do right out of the box, but I feel confident this is a one-off.  The lack of accessories for Flash is a bit less of an issue, but I do wish his default hands were flat running hands instead of fists.

GREEN LANTERN

GL is the other character for whom I’ve already reviewed an Icons release, and this figure’s even less different than Flash.  At first glance, this is a straight re-release of the deluxe Hal Jordan figure from Series 2.  However, that’s not quite the case.  You see, that figure was 6 inches tall, but this one is 6 1/4.  He’s also got tweaked hips to add the drop-hips that the rest of the set feature, so my first thought was that they’d simply sculpted new thighs with added height. Upon closer examination, I found that the entire figure has actually been ever so slightly enlarged, in order to bring him into scale with the rest of the set.  What’s more, the details of this figure’s sculpt are a lot crisper than those of the earlier figure, and the green has been changed to a more metallic sheen.  I loved this figure the first time I got it, and I still love it here.  Of course, I’m also frustrated by it, because it’s just different enough that it’s not a straight duplicate, so now I have to keep it.

AQUAMAN

You know the old saying: “if an Aquaman figure is released without a trident, does he make a sound?”  …Maybe that’s not quite it.  Regardless, here’s this Aquaman figure.  He’s based on the Rebirth design, which isn’t that much different from his classic look, apart from the gold around the collar and the lack of black shorts.  This figure stands about the same height as all of the other figures in the set, and has 29 points of articulation.  He’s really just a reworking of the single-release Aquaman, though, like with GL, he seems to have been scaled up ever so slightly.  The real difference between the two Aquamen is the head.  I can’t say I’m much of a fan of this one.  It looks fine on the prototype and all, but something was definitely lost in translation, leaving him looking rather goony.  It’s possible it’s just the paint making it look that way, though.  The rest of the sculpt is pretty top-notch.  The build is appropriate for him, and I really like the detailing on the scales of his shirt.  His paint is fairly decent; the colors are bright, and, apart from the odd placement of his eyes and a little bit of bleed over from his belt, it’s fairly well applied.  Aquaman’s lack of accessories here means that he doesn’t include his trident.  And I’m okay with that, because despite what pretty much every Aquaman figure ever would have you believe, he doesn’t really use a trident all that often.

CYBORG

This figure’s presence in this set frustrates me, because it sort of continues a persistent problem I’ve had with DC for several years now.  They keep shoving Cyborg into the Justice League, and it just upsets me.  I like Cyborg.  I like the Justice League.  I don’t really like Cyborg in the Justice League.  Especially when it’s at the cost of Martian Manhunter as a member, which it almost always is.  And that’s what the case is here.  In a seven figure Justice League set, I kind of expect a Martian Manhunter.  But noooooo.  No, in this set, we got Cyborg.  Cyborg who also got a single release with accessories.  Instead of Martian Manhunter, who was completely left out of the line, leaving my Icons Justice League sadly incomplete.  And of course, now I have a Cyborg, but not Titans to go with him, meaning that’s another incomplete team.  Bleh.  I’m sorry, all that ranting is largely to do with the fact that I *actually like* this figure.  Quite a bit, in fact.  His sculpt, even though it’s based on a more modern Cyborg than I tend to go for, is top-notch.  It’s sleek, well put together, and just plain cool looking.  He’s got 31 points of articulation, and it all works really, really well.  The joints are smooth, and the mobility is pretty sound.  He’s probably one of the best in the set, posability-wise.  Perhaps the only drawback to the figure proper is his lack of extras, since his forearms have clearly been designed to swap out for other arm attachments.  Just one of those would have been really cool.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

After picking up Nightwing and Supergirl, and finding out that just about everything I wanted from Icons was cancelled, I was admittedly a little bummed.  That being said, I recalled that this set had been released, and I had checked it out a few times, before ultimately deciding it was a little bit on the pricey side for me.  I still really wanted that Superman, though, so I was excited to hear he was getting a single release.  I was less excited to hear that he was going to run me almost $30 and feature no additional accessories.  It was around this time that I discovered that Barnes & Noble’s website had marked this set down to half of it’s original value, and were also offering free shipping and $5 off orders over $25.  The final cost was $45, which is $6.43 a figure.  And that’s an amazing deal.  Superman’s awesome, as is Batman.  Wonder Woman’s better than I expected, if not perfect.  Flash isn’t my ideal costume choice, and has that one annoying paint flaw, but is a very good figure.  Green Lantern’s not the total repeat I expected, and fixes a few minor issues with the original.  Aquaman’s head sucks, but the single release has a spare head I can toss on the otherwise solid figure.  And I ranted a bit about Cyborg’s spot in the set, but he’s still a very, very well crafted figure.  If you want to give Icons a chance, I heartily recommend this set, and feel obligated to inform all of my readers that it’s still available at the discounted price on barnesandnoble.com.

#1397: Eradicator

ERADICATOR

MAN OF STEEL (KENNER)

After producing one of the most expansive DC toylines ever in the ‘80s with Super Powers, Kenner ran into some issues keeping up with the whole “expansive” aspect as they moved into the ‘90s.  If it wasn’t Batman, it really wasn’t selling.  They tried out a Superman line, Man of Steel, in the mid-90s, which was at best moderately successful.  After two series at retail (the second of which was virtually nonexistent) the line’s third series was scrapped.  Fortunately, two of the proposed figures were salvaged and offered later down the line as exclusives.  I’ll be looking at one of those two, prospective Superman-replacement Eradicator, today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Eradicator was offered by ToyFare magazine as a mail-away offer, extending Kenner’s Man of Steel line by one figure.  He’s based on Eradicator’s design from the “Reign of the Supermen” arc, which was, at the time of this figure’s release, the character’s only design.  The figure stands about 5 inches tall and he has 5 points of articulation.   His sculpt was unique to him, and is a pretty decent recreation of Eradicator’s page bound counterpart.  He’s a little more pre-posed than the earlier Man of Steel figures, showcasing Kenner’s steady move into the Total Justice style of pre-posed figures.  Eradicator is at least not ridiculously pre-posed; the slight upturn of the arms at the elbows makes sense for his energy-based powers, and the slight step in his legs helps to keep him balanced with the slightly heavy cape piece.  The head sculpt has a rather intense expression, which was fairly in character for Eradicator, and offered a nice change from the standard Superman sculpts.  The hands on the figure do seem a little on the large side, but perhaps it’t just the pose throwing things off.  His cape is a removable piece, which plugs into place.  It’s a little on the bulky side, but not terribly so.  Underneath is a fully detailed sculpt, which actually has a pretty nifty light-piped feature where the usual logo would be.  Eradicator’s paintwork is pretty decent; the application is mostly clean and sharp.  The contrast could maybe bee a little higher on the blue sections of the costume, but the metallic sheen is still pretty cool.  Also pretty cool?  The translucent feature on his arms.  That’s a lot of fun.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Eradicator predates me really getting a lot of the ToyFare exclusives, so I didn’t get him new.  I’ve been on the look out for one recently, and I ended up fishing this guy out of 2nd Chance Toyz’s $1 bin.  He was still in his little baggie and everything!  This guy’s okay overall.  Not the most exciting figure of all time, but he’s a solid rendition of the character.

#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.

#1192: Superman Red

SUPERMAN RED

JLA (KENNER)

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A ways back, almost 600 reviews ago now, I tackled the wonderfully ‘90s concept of the electrically powered Superman Blue, DC’s second bid at re-inventing Superman in that particular decade.  Not long after that, I also tackled Superman Red, who was the end result of Superman Blue getting split into two different entities.  The whole thing was ultimately pretty short-lived, but it was timed just perfectly enough that both versions were still the official status quo take on Superman when Kenner launched their JLA line in the ‘90s, thus placing them in the line instead of the more conventional take on the character, and giving us the first of a handful of figures based on the designs.  Today, I’ll be looking at the hot-headed Superman Red!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

supermanredjla2Both Superman Blue and Red were released in the first series of single-carded JLA figures.  However, while Blue was also available in the first boxed set of figures, Red was exclusive to the singles (and is the only figure from Series 1 to be so).  The figure stands about 5 inches tall and has the standard 5 points of articulation for the time.  JLA was largely a way for Kenner to reuse their old Total Justice molds another time (though later assortments would steadily add more and more unique pieces to get a few more characters not released in Total Justice), so it’s not really a surprise that Superman Red was a total re-use.  That being said, he was certainly a more uneventful re-use than some of the other figures.  Most of the first series were just simple repaints of their TJ counterparts, but since Superman’s design had changed more than a little, they had to Frankenstein him a bit to get as close as possible.  He (along with Superman Blue and the evil Hardlight Superman from the second boxed set) uses the torso, arms, and legs of the Total Justice Superman, with the head from Man of Steel’s Hunter Prey Superman (the one packed with Doomsday).  The result is close enough…if you squint.  The body still has the belt, shorts, and boots of the original figure, just painted over as if they aren’t there, which is certainly odd, but not too horribly distracting.  What is distracting is the head’s painting over the clearly defined edges of the head gear, giving him these obvious lines running down his cheeks and across his forehead. Sure, the paint application’s clean for what it is, but what it is is a flagrant disregarding of the actual sculpted material.  On the plus side, he’s a nice, bright red, which means he really pops on the shelf.  So, that sorta makes up for it, right?  JLA figures were usually pretty light on the accessories, but Superman, like the rest of them, includes a display stand.  It’s even in red.   There’s also a cover on the back of his box which can be cut out and placed on the back of his stand.  It’s JLA #7, which is kind of an odd choice, since not only is Superman Red not on the cover, he’s not in the issue.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was never much of a fan of Superman Red or Blue growing up.  It was sort of a weird period of time, and all the Superman merchandise was one of these two, and it felt wrong to me.  So, I didn’t have this figure or his blue counterpart (I did have the Hardlight one, though), and instead waited for the proper classic Superman later on in the line.  As time as gone by, I’ve gotten lots of classic Supermen, and now I have this weird nostalgic twinge for these designs.  I found this guy in the bargain bin at this nearby comics and games store called Player’s Choice, and he called to me.  He’s sort of a goofy figure, but it was a goofy concept to begin with.

#1124: Throne Room Battle (w/ Superman & Darkseid)

THRONE ROOM BATTLE (W/ SUPERMAN & DARKSEID)

DC C3 CONSTRUCTION

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DC Minimates are kind of a tale of woe and misfortune.  Despite the best efforts of a good number of people, the concept has never really taken off the way other Minimates properties have.  There have been some strong attempts, but there always seems to be something a little off with the execution.  Back in 2004, thanks to some tricky legal mumbo-jumbo, DC Minimates couldn’t be released in a straight forward fashion.  The only way to get them made was to make them the included figures in a line of Lego-style construction sets, dubbed “C3” (for “Create, Construct, Customize”).  I’ve looked at a couple of the ‘mates from those sets, but haven’t looked at a whole set as of yet.  That changes today, with this here review of the Throne Room Battle and included ‘mates Superman & Darkseid.

THE SET ITSELF

The Throne Room Battle set was one of the first seven sets in the DC C3 Construction line.  It’s noteworthy for being the only of those seven sets not to be Batman-themed, and also for being one of the two sets in the first assortment to be based on the then running Justice League cartoon, albeit somewhat loosely.

THRONE ROOM

The main bulk of the box is taken up by the Throne Room for which this set is named.  While the Batman sets were themed around a number of his distinctive vehicles and the always popular Batcave, the Throne Room seems a little bit out of left field, since it’s hardly something that most people would consider a signature Superman locale.  I guess it’s a good way to give us Superman and Darkseid, and it’s certainly a better use of the building set theme than some of the later entries in this line, but this is probably the furthest stretch in the first series.  The Throne room is constructed from 41 pieces (the box lists 67, but that’s counting the parts used for Superman and Darkseid), and the final product is based on Darkseid’s throne room as seen in the Justice League episode “Twilight”.  It’s not an overly complicated set to build, nor is it anything particularly astonishing supermanvsdarkseid2once completed.  The bulk of the work goes into the actual throne, which is decent enough.  It’s designed to be removed from the base (on purpose, not just in the “well, they’re all Legos” sort of fashion), which makes for an interesting feature, I suppose.  The base is made from four smaller flats, and doesn’t really offer much in the way of sturdiness.  This isn’t something you can really pick up and carry around.  One of the cooler parts of the set is the tower behind the throne.  While the tower itself is just a simple two piece construction, on the other side of it there’s a little cell, with Kryptonite chains on the wall for holding Superman.  It’s a cool little touch, and it adds a lot to the set.  There’s also a flight stand for Superman included, which is certainly a welcome addition, even if it can be a little difficult to find a good spot for it on the base platform.

SUPERMAN

supermanvsdarkseid3Okay, let’s be honest, no one was really buying this set for the building blocks.  The main draw was this guy right here.  This was Superman’s first ‘mate, but he would later get a few more courtesy of DC Direct’s DC Minimates line.  This one’s more clearly based on his animated design, with an all-around sleeker style to the detail work and such, which was admittedly a good fit for the slightly less detailed Minimates of the time.  He’s built on the basic Minimate body (of note, he’s one of the first ‘mates to sport the C3 feet, but also one of the last to have a hair piece without a peg), so he’s about 2 1/4 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation.  He has add-ons for his hair and cape.  Both pieces would later be used in the Marvel line.  They aren’t super detailed, but the work well enough, and are about standard for the time.  The cape is actually one of my favorite Minimate capes, just for its simplicity and the way it sits.  Superman’s paintwork may not be super detailed, but it is pretty solid work nonetheless.  The lines are all nice and sharp, and he looks very well put together as a whole.  I wouldn’t have minded the colors being a touch brighter, but late Supermen fixed that, so I can’t complain much.

DARKSEID

supermanvsdarkseid4In contrast to his pack mate Superman, this is the only Darkseid Minimate we ever got.  Like Superman, he’s patterned on his animated design, which is admittedly less noticeable on him, since Bruce Timm and Jack Kirby’s styles are pretty similar.  The figure is also built on the basic ‘mate body, so he has the same basic height.  He does get one extra point of articulation courtesy of his sculpted chestpiece, which has an articulated skirt so that he can sit a bit better.  He also gets sculpted add-ons for his headpiece and gloves.  In general, the pieces show their age a lot more than those seen on Superman, which is something of a shame.  Also, the use of the smaller body, without any real attempt to bulk him up (apart from the chest piece) robs him of a lot of the character’s presence, and ends up making him look rather goofy.  The paintwork on Darkseid is decent enough.  The line work is all pretty sharp, and makes use of the space well, and I quite like the slight metallic finish of the purple bits.  It doesn’t really line up with his animated design, of course, but whatever.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Back in the day, this was the second C3 set I grabbed.  I’ve always liked Superman, so I certainly wasn’t going to miss out on a Minimate version of him.  Over the years, I managed to lose most of the pieces to this set (including the two ‘mates included with it).  This past summer, I found a replacement at Gidget’s Gadgets in Rehoboth Beach.  It’s a fun set, if a little out there.  It’s certainly not going to beat something like a true Lego set or anything, but it was a decent enough attempt, and I do really like the Superman included here.

#0909: Hyperion

HYPERION

AVENGERS INFINITE

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In 1969, the writers of Justice League of America and The Avengers decided to do an unofficial cross-over. The JLA fought a team of villains resembling the Avengers, and the Avengers fought the Squadron Sinister, a parody of the JLA. The Squadron was successful enough to get their own heroic counterparts, the Squadron Supreme, who came from an alternate universe. The leader of both versions of the Squadron was Superman expy Hyperion. While the villainous Hyperion has been dead for a while, the heroic version has made fairly consistent reappearances throughout the years. He’s gotten a pair of figures, both in the last few years. Today, I’ll be looking at his smaller-scale figure from 2014.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Hyperion2Hyperion was released in the first series of Avengers Infinite, the line that would eventually be given the more generic Marvel Infinite title, and then just recently re-named Marvel Legends. The figure stands 4 ½ inches tall and has 27 points of articulation. He’s based on the basic Hyperion design, after he ditched the domino mask he sported in his earlier appearances. Structurally, he’s nominally based on the body used by the Marvel Universe Cable figure, but he gets a lot of his own pieces. The figure looks pretty decent overall, but some of the pieces don’t fit together as well as they should. The real offender is the pelvis, which is too skinny for the rest of the body, causing the legs to jut out at the hips, and the upper torso to have an odd gap in the middle. Other than that, the sculpt is actually pretty nice. The head is probably one of Hasbro’s best in this line, and is perfect for the character. Hyperion’s paint is pretty decent overall, but does have a few trouble areas. The neckline is rather sloppy, and doesn’t match the molded color of the rest of the neck. Also, the shorts are gold, despite the boots and cape being yellow, and those three elements being traditionally depicted as the same color. It’s not super far off, but it does look a little weird. On the plus side, the face paint is nice and clean, and his logo is really sharp.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

While I like Hyperion well enough, I didn’t pick this figure up new, due to wanting his series-mates Wasp and Grim Reaper more. I saw him at the store a few times, but was never really prompted to pick him up. So, why do I have him? I found him, new and in-box, at a Goodwill of all places, for $1.99. At a fraction of retail price, I felt he was worth it. He’s not the most exciting figure of all time, but he’s a solid addition to my 3 ¾ inch Marvel collection.

#0892: Superman

SUPERMAN

DC COMICS MULTIVERSE (MATTEL)

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Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice was released last week to reviews that were…well, I’ll be generous and say “middling.” Though they tend to be presented as a more friendly pair, Superman vs Batman is not a new idea for the film. They’ve done battle a few times over the years. One of the better handled face-offs is in Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns. In the story, Batman’s gotten pretty far removed from his usual self, and becomes rather unhinged, prompting the US government to send Superman in to take him down if need be. Though Batman is technically the story’s hero, Superman isn’t portrayed as being in the wrong, just a guy looking for a glimpse of hope in the bleak, nihilistic future of DKR. Anyway, the story is celebrating its 30th Anniversary this year, and Mattel has done a small sub-set of figures based on it, including Superman.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

DKRSuperman2Superman is one of the three figures that make up the Walmart-exclusive Batman: The Dark Knight Returns series of the main DC Comics Multiverse line. The figure stands just shy of 7 inches tall and he has 25 points of articulation. Structurally, he has a very similar build to the figures in Mattel’s Masters of the Universe Classics line. He re-uses a lot of pieces from the prior DKR Batman released in the Batman Unlimited line. Mattel insists that the only pieces these two share with the MotUC figures are the shoulders. I can’t say that they have much incentive to lie about something like this, so I guess I’ll believe them, even if the parts do look really similar. Anyway, Superman uses the majority of the aforementioned Batman figure, with a unique head, forearms, shins, pelvis cover, and cape. The piece make him sufficiently different, while also keeping the similar build of the two characters, which makes sense, since Batman and Superman were portrayed as about the same size in the story. While he’s definitely put on some muscle mass in the story, Superman has aged far more gracefully than Batman. The figure does a pretty good job of replicating that in the head sculpt; he’s obviously a little older when you look at him closely, but he can pretty easily pass for a normal Superman, should you want him to. The rest of the new pieces are all pretty basic, but they capture the look of the character nicely, and they’re all pretty sharp sculpts. The paintwork on Superman is kind of a mix of good and bad. The overall look is definitely very good. The colors are nice and bold, and I absolutely love the larger “S” logo on his chest. He’s noticeably missing the symbol on the back of his cape, though, which is a bit of a shame. Also, the actual application of the paint is quite sloppy. In the store, I had to choose between sloppy belt and decent neckline or decent belt and atrocious neckline. That’s not a fun choice (I went with the former). Superman includes one of Green Arrow’s…uh, arrows, which has a kryptonite tip. It’s a nice piece, even if he does have a little trouble holding it. It sure would be nice if we got an Ollie to go with that arrow, though.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’m at best a moderate fan of The Dark Knight Returns. I own exactly one issue of the series. Care to guess which one? Yeah, it’s the one where he fights Superman. I picked up the first DKR Batman when Mattel released him a few years back in hopes that it would eventually lead to this particular figure, and in a roundabout way, it did. Of course, actually finding him was no easy feat. I stopped at several Walmarts and was never able to find anything more than the Batman re-paint that accompanies this guy. However, at the last Walmart, after I admitted defeat, my good friend Jill noted a few items had been placed on the top shelf at the far end of the aisle. Sure enough, I spotted two Multiverse packages, and when I pulled them down, they were both Superman. Someone was hiding figures! I’m really happy to have this guy, and I think he turned out incredibly well. Were it not for the NECA Christopher Reeve Superman, this one would probably be my favorite Superman in my collection.

Well, here was the real review, but this was my April Fools day post for 2016.  Read the altered version here.

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