#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.

Advertisements

#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)

supermanredjla1

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

supermanvsdarkseid1

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

Hyperion1

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)

DKRSuperman1

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.

DKRSuperman3

#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

#0855: Capture Net Superman

CAPTURE NET SUPERMAN

SUPERMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES (KENNER)

SupermanCN1

In the 1990s, the vast majority of Kenner’s DC Comics output was TV and movie based. They struck veritable gold with the Batman franchise, which included the incredibly popular Batman: The Animated Series. When Superman got his own cartoon, Kenner tried to recapture the success of Batman’s toyline, but never quite hit that same spot, for a number of reasons. There were plenty of wacky Super-variants to be had. Today, we’ll be looking at Capture Net Superman, who, like Combat Belt Batman before him, was a standard version of the main character masquerading as a wacky variant.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

SupermanCN2Capture Net Superman was part of the first series of Kenner’s Superman: The Animated Series line. Of the seven Superman variants released in the first series, he was one of two that could be classified as a “normal” Superman, and since the other one was saddled with a quick-change feature, this was the one most people considered the “default.” The figure stands 5 inches tall and has 6 points of articulation. The S:TAS figures were all about that waist movement! Of all the figures offered in this line, this Superman has the virtue of being the most on-model. Of course, that only makes him the closest of the off-model figures, which isn’t saying a whole lot. The figure’s upper half isn’t too far off. The head is a little more elongated than it should be, and is certainly not as nice as a few of the later offerings, but it’s not terrible. The torso and arms are a bit more muscular than the show design, but once again, not terrible. The cape is a fairly decent match for the show, so that’s good. The design kind of goes off the rails on the legs; one of the staples of the Bruce Timm aesthetic is the streamlined nature of the legs. That’s definitely not shown here. They’re a perfectly fine sculpt, but they’re just not accurate. As a whole, the sculpt is nice and clean, and is certainly pleasing to look at, but it falls short of the show design. Superman’s paint work is generally pretty good, apart from one small issue. See, my figure is one of the initial wave of figures, which were rushed into production to be in stores by the time of the cartoon’s premier. Instead of proper eye detailing, corners were cut, and he instead has a solid black blob in place of his eye. Later waves would correct this issue, but no such luck on my figure. It’s a little odd, but honestly not that bad once you move past it. The rest of the paint is nice and bright, and makes him stand out quite nicely. The blue’s probably a little too bright to be show accurate, but why start being accurate now? The figure’s name comes from his one accessory, which is a big missile launcher thing, which fires two missiles with a net attached. As goofy as it is, it’s actually kinda cool, especially since the net is shaped and painted like his logo.

 THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Despite being a fan of the cartoon and having several of the figures growing up, I only got this figure last summer (Quick Change was always my default Superman). I found him in the dealer’s room at Shore Leave and kind of impulse bought him. He doesn’t exactly offer anything new or groundbreaking, but he’s a fun figure.

#0795: Superman

SUPERMAN

SUPERMAN: THE MOVIE (NECA)

ReeveSuperman1

I love 1979’s Superman: The Movie. No joke. To date, it remains one of my top movies, and it’s just about my favorite superhero movie ever. Sure, it’s a little dated, but it’s got great cinematography, some pretty decent effects, and a truly amazing score by John Williams. On top of that, it had Christopher Reeve in the title role, which may well be one of the most spot-on casting choices of all time. That guy was Superman. Literally the only downside to the movie is that, up until recently, there were no toys specifically based on the movie versions of the characters. Things changed when Hot Toys released their truly magnificent 1/6 scale version of Reeve’s Superman. However, if you wanted a more traditional, small scale version of the character, the only real option was the 3 ¾ inch Mattel figure, which was alright, but not the be-all-end-all. NECA also got in on the game with their 18-inch scale figure, but he was kind of on the large side. So, what was a fan to do? Do just a little more waiting. See, NECA worked just a little more of their licensing magic, and partnered with Warner Brothers in order to release their awesome 18-inch Superman sculpt in their more standard 7-inch scale.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

ReeveSuperman2Superman was one of the three figures, along with Adam West Batman and Heath Ledger Joker, released as part of a partnership between NECA and Warner Brothers for a DVD-based promotion.  The figure is a little over 7 inches tall and has 26 points of articulation. Superman is a pretty straight scale down of NECA’s larger Superman figure. I liked that one a lot, but I felt there were just a few small issues with the overall presentation. Well, it seems that the shrinking in scale has done the sculpt quite a few favors. Chief among them is the softening of the expression on Clark’s face. The 18-inch figure seemed just a bit too angry for Reeve’s Superman. This one’s still got an intense look, but it’s a fair bit less menacing, and therefore bears a much closer resemblance to Reeve in the role. That’s definitely his face, and even the hair’s pretty spot-on. The body also exhibits some truly awesome work; the musculature looks just right for Reeve, and the level of texturing on the uniform is just superb. Superman’s torso is handled via two separate pieces: there’s an underlying base torso, with an overlay piece for his shirt piece. This adds a nice touch of realism, but it also helps to facilitate the proper attachment of the cape. Like Batman, the cape ReeveSuperman4is cloth, but I actually think this one works a lot better. The fabric is a heftier material and hangs a lot better, and just all around looks better. There’s even a Superman symbol on the back, which looks great. The assembly of the torso is a little iffy on my figure, with it sticking up a little more on the right side than on the left. However, with the cape properly placed, it isn’t noticeable. The paintwork on Superman is decent overall, but mostly you just don’t want to look at it too closely. The face has some of the best work, with everything being pretty clean. On the costume, the colors are well chosen, but there are a few spots of slop, especially around the edges of the logo. There’s also a pretty noticeable spot of blue paint on his neck, which is slightly frustrating. Superman is a bit light on the accessories, only including a spare set of hands for flying. Be careful swapping them out, though, as the pegs are a little brittle.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Superman was quite a chore to get. See, you either had to find him in a Toys R Us or by him in a bundle with a DVD from WB’s eBay store. I missed the window on getting him online, so that meant I had to keep checking all the nearby TRUs in my area. To make matters worse, Superman ended up shipping later than the other two figures, so there was no telling when he’d hit. I searched for three weeks with no luck and I was this close to just giving up entirely. It’s not NECA’s fault, of course, since WB handled all the distribution, but it was still frustrating. Then, I was out and about with my family, a little out of the way, and we came across another TRU, and I actually managed to find this guy (plus an extra for my mom, who loves Christopher Reeve. Because I’m an awesome son). I’m really happy I found him, because he is, no contest, my favorite Superman in my collection.

ReeveSuperman3