Anyone who’s kicked around FFZ for a while knows that I have a long standing love of Kotobukiya and their Bishoujo statues. Well, late last year I started to branch out thanks to some irresistible pics of the Justice League ArtFX+ statues posted by this konsummate kollector of all things kool. I’ve already pre-ordered the first offerings in their Avengers line, which is due to start hitting later this year and now I’m busy piecing together the Justice League and some of the other DC statues. I’m kicking off my look at this line today with the Man of Steel himself, Supes!
The packaging is artsy and gorgeous. While the Bishoujo statues come in proper boxes with windows, these pieces come in a box made of windows. Yes, the entire package is made of clear plastic with printed graphics, all surrounding a set of plastic trays with the statue nesting inside.
This packaging definitely has its ups and downs. On the upside, it’s a beautiful presentation, complete with art that links up with the other boxes to make for a great looking backdrop behind your statue display. Also, if you take the plastic wrap off the statue, you can return it to the package and still get a pretty good look at it while it’s inside. It practically makes its own display case.
On the downside, the thin plastic packaging is fragile and very susceptible to scratches and whatnot. Statue boxes are among the few packages I hang on to, and I worry about how durable these will be to store over time. It also means that if you’re buying these sight unseen from an online retailer, you better make certain that they’re known for their careful packing. In the end, I think the good outweighs the bad here. I’m prepared to go the extra mile to be careful with the boxes in exchange for what is a truly fantastic presentation.
So, obviously we’re dealing with “New 52” Superman and that’s perfectly fine with me. While I do have some issues with a few of the character re-designs of the current DC Universe, I have no problem with any of the core Justice League. In fact, I’ve really grown to love Supes’ new costume, particularly when it’s presented as well as it is here. Superman stands at about 1:10th Scale, which makes him smaller than Koto’s Bishoujo pieces but a little bigger than your average DCUC or DC Collectibles action figure. I’ll be honest, I would have probably liked to see these in the 1:8th Scale, but it’s a trade off because the smaller scale doesn’t gobble up as much space and yet they’re still big enough to host plenty of detail. Clearly Koto knows what they’re doing, so who am I to argue?
The sculpt is truly excellent. One thing DC did brillaintly was design the new costumes with 3D modeling in mind. If you look at the early “New 52” comics there are explicit notes about how everything should be raised and three-dimensional. As a result, every detail of the figure is sculpted in rather than just painted. You not only get all the musculature, but a great 3D effect in the boots and cuffs as well as the belt and the S-logo. When you add that to the sculpted panel lines of the outfit you get a detail that really stands out no matter what angle your looking at. The cape is sculpted in stiff plastic and hangs down off his shoulders perfectly. It can be seen from the front, but it isn’t obtrusive, nor does it flare out to the sides to take up extra space on the shelf. It’s a nice compromise. As for the pose itself, the statue assumes what is mostly a traditional “museum-style” pose, but his fists are clenched and his arms slightly bent as if he’s poised for action. The stance allows him to stand among his fellow Justice Leaguers with a degree of uniformity, while at the same time offering a feeling of excitement and kineticism.
The portrait maintains a great deal of the character’s comic feel but there are also some heavy anime overtones in the portrait. I’m really happy with the pose that Koto went with here. I know a few collectors who have taken issue with the Asian overtones of the portrait, but I’m not one of them. I don’t think it’s at odds with the some of the Jim Lee line art and quite frankly I think it works quite well in conveying the more youthful look of the “New 52” Superman. Either way, the expression is great. Superman looks determined and resolute and there’s a lot more detail in the facial sculpt than my poor camera can adequately capture, particularly in the brown and the cheek bones.
As nice as the sculpt here is, I have to say it’s the paintwork that really makes this statue pop on the shelf. The high gloss metallic paint gives Supes’ costume that luscious new-car shine that begs to be admired under the light. The tones of red and blue, with a hint of gold, complement each other splendidly. Naturally the glossy outfit contrasts beautifully with the matte flesh tones used for the head and hands, as well as the matte red plastic used for the cape. I still take this statue off the shelf at least once a day just to turn it over in the light and admire the beauty of the paintwork.
Superman includes a square black base with the “Justice League” logo on the front. It’s a metal base with some heft and the statue uses magnets in the feet to help connect him to the base. It’s not a very strong connection, not enough to pick up the stand with, but it does keep him from toppling over. It also allows for you to move him about the base or even pose two statues on one stand. It’s a clever system that Koto has used for many of their ArtFX+ statues and it allows for multiple options when displaying the team.
I’ve frequently remarked that Koto offers some of the best values in statues and that’s certainly the case here as well. While Superman’s MSRP clocks in at around $40-45, I was able to pick him up for just under $30, which is a pretty comfortable price for such a striking display piece. If you aren’t quite prepared to make the jump from collecting action figures to pricier high end statues, this would be a great way to go, as I really think this is one of the finest portrayals of this version of the character in statue or action figure form. He’s a great stand-alone piece, but I wasn’t been a big fan of Superman’s stand alone book last year, but I have enjoyed the character in the Justice League book, so the real draw for me is going to be displaying him with his comrades. I’ll try to be checking out one of these beauties each week until I’ve run through them all!