DC Comics Multiverse (Doomsday Wave): Superman Doomed by Mattel

It’s been pretty slow for me on the DC collecting front, so I’ve decided to continue running through a complete wave of Mattel’s Multiverse line while I’m waiting for some new statues to roll in. This is also helpful, since I just wrapped up another extra long work week and all I want to do is curl up in bed with a bottle of Jameson for at least 12 hours. Last time on DC Friday, I looked at DCTV’s Supergirl and was less than impressed. This time I’m checking out Superman from the 2014 story arc, Superman: Doomed. Will this figure be any good? Or will it be doomed to… ah f’ck it. Never mind the easy puns. let’s just check him out…

The packaging is the same we saw last time for Supergirl. It’s collector friendly, it gives you a good look at the figure inside, and my favorite thing about it is the character art and little bio blurb on the side panel. If I were saving these packages, I could line them all up on the shelf and no exactly who is who. As the package indicates, this is Superman infected by the virus he inhaled from Doomsday’s defeated body. I found it to be a pretty average story, although it was elevated by the fact that most of New 52’s Superman book before it was not my cup of tea. Look, I actually enjoyed several books from the New 52, but I thought Supes’ book was pretty lame. Doomed, on the other hand, well at least it presented something interesting.

So, at first glance, I like what I see. It’s a slightly beefier Superman in his New 52 outfit with some decent red and blue coloring. Some of the costume, like the boots and the belt are sculpted on, while the S-Shield is merely a tampo. This is one of the first times I can remember a New 52 Superman figure violating the New 52 art direction guide that the emblem should always be 3D and never just painted on. Seriously, that shit is printed in at least one of the comics! I’m pretty sure it was Justice League. At this point, however, I guess nobody cares anymore. Hey, at least the S-Shield is very printed very sharply, and the colors are bright and snappy. The figure does have a little bit of a cheap feel to it. It’s not junky per-say, but it feels more like those Total Heroes figures than it does a DC Universe Classics or Unlimited or All-Stars or whatever Mattel was last calling their DC collectors’ line. So far so good, pretty solid.

Of course from the waist upward, the figure takes on a more unique visage and exhibits some of those Doomsday characteristics from the virus. You get bumpy spikes in the arms and torso and those gray grasping monster hands. And that brings us to the head, which is pretty well done. I’m sure I’ve gone on record as saying that I’m not a huge fan of Doomsday’s design, but it looks pretty cool here when presented as a Kryptonian-Doomsday hybrid. Supes is sporting a wide grin with a mouthful of nasty teeth, more or those horn-bumps on his chin and jaw, and some wicked red demon eyes. Not too shabby. He’s still got his regular hair, more or less, but he also has little tufted ears. I like what they did here a lot.

Unfortunately, this figure’s articulation lets it down, and like Supergirl, it isn’t necessarily because the points aren’t there, rather there isn’t just a great range of motion to any of them. The arms feature rotating hinges in the shoulders and elbows, and swivels in the wrists and biceps. Those hinges in the elbows can’t do much and the lack of hinges in the wrists is disappointing. The legs have rotating hinges in the hips and swivels up there too, but again, there just isn’t a lot you can do with them. There are hinges in the knees and ankles and that’s all well and good, but again there’s very little range of motion in the knee hinges, and there are no ankle rockers. At least his torso fares well with a waist swivel and a decent ab crunch. Lastly, the neck is ball jointed. On paper, most of this sounds passable, but in hand, the figure just isn’t a lot of fun to pose.

I do like how he scales with Mattel’s earlier lines. Here he is alongside Mattel’s DC Universe “All Stars” New 52 Superman from 2012. He’s a little bit bigger, but then he is supposed to be, so I’d say it’s a pretty good match. You can also see that the Doomed version is missing the panel lines of the costume. That’s something I didn’t even notice until I put them side by side, and now I’m bummed out by it.

Overall, I like this figure better than the DCTV Supergirl, but I really need to qualify that. Supergirl had some great sculpting and paint in the costume, but fell short on everything else. Doomed Superman is a lot less ambitious. It aims lower and as a result doesn’t fail quite so badly. It’s also a comic based figure, which requires less in the way of realism, particularly in the portrait, and that was the Achilles Heel of that Supergirl figure. So, no… don’t take this as a ringing endorsement. This Superman is not a great figure, but I don’t think he’s terrible either.  If I ever get my DC Universe Classics collection set up on display again, I’ll have no qualms about putting him in there. Of course, keep in mind, that I picked up the figures in this wave for around $8 a pop, so I’m going to be a lot more forgiving when it comes to value. Plus, I’m one limb closer to building my Doomsday figure!

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DC Icons: (#10) Superman (With Kelex) by DC Collectibles

It’s DC Friday again and what better way to spend it than looking at another of DC Collectibles’ newest DC Icons figures? Today I’m checking out Superman! The fact that he’s appearing for the first time in Wave 3 is a great indicator of how diverse this line is. Think about it. We got Earth 2 Mister Miracle before Superman! It’s a risky move and I commend DCC for making it, as opposed to just flooding the pegs with A-Listers like Batmans, Supermans and Harley Quinns. Um, Harley Quinn was in this wave of DC Icons, so… SHUT UP!!! Anyway, hopefully it’s paying off for them.

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We’ve seen the packaging before and it’s as attractive and collector friendly as ever. The blue and white coloring looks sharp and I dig the placement of the S-Shield in the “O” of ICONS. The box indicates that Superman is the tenth release in the series and calls out that this is Superman as pulled from the pages of John Byrne’s landmark “Man of Steel” miniseries way back in 1986. The big window not only gives a good look at Supes, but also the other figure he comes with, Krytonian helper-robot, Kelex!

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And this is indeed honest-to-goodness Classic Man of Steel! Before they took away his red undies, textured his suit, and turned him into a brooding shit. As has been the case with this line, everything about the suit is part of the sculpt. And while that doesn’t really amount to much here, it’s nice to see it in the raised S-Shield, the sculpted belt buckle and loops, and the top edges of the boots. Even the S-Shield on his cape is sculpted on. The costume features some gorgeous red and blue coloring with some welcome variations, like the use of matte red on the undies and cape, and gloss red on the boots. There’s just something about this costume that does it for me every time, and everything here looks so bright and vibrant and the applications are sharp and clean.

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The cape flows out from the front of his shoulders and hangs close to the body. It’s just the right size and heft so as not to throw off his balance or get in the way of articulation.

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The portraits in this line have been good, but not always exceptional. In this case, I’m very happy with what we got. The detail in the structure of the face is very impressive and I dig the stoic expression. There’s a little bit of red in his eyes, and while I doubt it was the intention, I’m just going to assume he’s charging up that heat vision! Probably the best thing is how they did his protruding cowlick, it’s epic! Note to self. Rename my band, Epic Cowlick!

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Superman holds no surprises in his articulation. We’ve been getting pretty much the same thing across the board in the Icons series. Here you get rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists, double hinges in the elbows and knees, ball joints in the hips and neck, swivels in the biceps, and both hinges and lateral rockers in the ankles. There’s an ab crunch hinge in the abdomen and a ball joint just under the chest. Normally, I complain about the lack of thigh swivels, but here I’ll point out that an added hinge in the neck would have been very welcome so Supes could look up when flying.

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Superman himself only comes with an extra pair of hands, so you get fists and relaxed open hands. That can, however, be forgiven because you also get this…

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Kelex is more of a bonus figure than an accessory. He’s big and he does have some limited articulation, with a ball jointed neck and rotating shoulders. He also comes with a clear display stand to allow him to “hover.” I can’t say he was high on my want list, but I’ve always liked this design a lot, so I’m happy to get him.

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I don’t know if it’s the attractive coloring of his costume or how much the character meant to me as a kid, but I get excited every time I pick up a new Superman figure. I can still remember getting the DC Universe Classics version and smiling ear to ear. Needless to say this getting this figure has been no different. I’ve had him within reach for the last few days to fiddle around with while I work and he and Lex have been slugging it out for supremacy of my desk. Superman is a refreshingly simple and classic release and he’ll find a place of honor on my expanding DC Icons shelf!

Man of Steel: Movie Masters Superman by Mattel

I’ve scrapped the intro to this feature twice because both times it deteriorated into a rant on the new Man of Steel movie. Kicking movies that I don’t like is not something I enjoy doing, so I’m happy to abstain from it. The film is obviously a unique take on the character and one that doesn’t jive with what the character means to me. Fair enough. In the multiverse of Infinite Earth’s I’m perfectly fine setting aside one for the Zack Snyder Superman to reside on, so long as I don’t have to visit it ever again. Anyway, if there’s one thing I did like it’s the design of Supes himself, and so I still wanted a figure for my collection, and that’s what we’re here to talk about, so enough said about the movie… let’s talk toys.

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Mattel went with a very cool presentation for this line. The “Man of Steel” title is seriously underplayed. It’s type is even smaller than the “Adult Collector” label on the top of the card. The rest of the card features a large “S” Shield, making up the back of the bubble and a flowing red cape motif. The bubble is large and shaped like Superman’s shield crest. The insert follows along with the cape motif and has “Superman” printed across it in large lettering. The package certainly works for Supes, but I think the diminished title of the movie may be a little odd for the Jor-El and Zod figures. Whatever the case, this is an attractive package and it certainly draws one’s eye to the pegs.

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As I already mentioned, I really like the movie version of Supe’s costume. It draws a bit on the “New 52” design in that he isn’t wearing his red undies. On the other hand, instead of the panel lined light blue suit, we get a darker blue suit with a basketball like texture. There’s also some dark grey piping that runs along the sides and the back. I like it, as it gives the suit a little bit of an alien motif, although most of it is concealed by his cape. The “S” Shield on his chest is actually sculpted into the figure. It’s textured like the rest of the costume and features some nice metallic gold paint. The cape is especially well done. It attaches over the front of his shoulders and flows wide behind him. I do miss the “S” Shield on the back of the cape, but I can live without it.

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The portrait is surprisingly good for a figure based on a real-world likeness. I may have a number of issues with the movie, but one thing that I can’t deny is that Cavill looks good in the suit and Mattel’s sculptors did a fine job reproducing his likeness in the head sculpt. It’s not the spitting image of the actor, but it’s closer than I would have expected. I’d dare say it’s one of their best.

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The articulation here is very close to the DCUC style, with just one real notable omission. There are ball joints in the neck and shoulders. The arms feature swivels in the biceps and wrists, and have hinged elbows. The legs have the usual DCUC style hip joints, swivels in the thighs, and hinges in the knees and ankles. Superman can also swivel at the waist. The missing POA is the chest ab-crunch. It was probably sacrificed in favor of the added sculpting detail of the suit, and I’m fine with that.

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Superman comes with an “S” Shield figure stand. I’m always happy to get a figure stand, but I’m not sure that I’ll use it, as he stands just fine on his own. There are no other accessories. If you want a motorcycle for him to rip apart, you’ll need to look to the 3.75” line.

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If you want a Man of Steel figure for your shelf, you can’t go wrong with Supes here. He is an exceptionally nice figure with a great sculpt, excellent paint apps, and no QC issues to speak of. Can this really be a movie toy? From Mattel? Well, in fairness Mattel’s Movie Masters figures are usually solid efforts and Superman raises the bar a little higher. That having been said, this is probably the only figure I’ll buy from this line, because I’m not at all keen on the other character designs. Ok, maybe I’ll pick up Zod, just so I can have Superman punch him through a city block and thoughtlessly murder hundreds of human bystanders.

On a side note, while buying Superman, I also thought I might as well get a movie version of Batman to go with him, so I picked up the Movie Master version of Batman from The Dark Knight Rises… we’ll check him out tomorrow.

DC Universe All Stars: “New 52” Superman

Time to check out the second New 52 treatment in Mattel’s DC Universe Classics line… oops, I mean All Stars. Make no mistake, this isn’t DCUC, that line was cancelled. This is something brand new. You can tell just by looking at the package…

Yep, there’s nothing at all familiar here. We just saw this packaging a few days ago with New 52 Batman, so I’m not going to spend a lot of time on it. It still looks great to me. The back panel of the card has a blurb about Superman, just in case you don’t know who the hell he is, right? The bottom of the card shows the other three figures that make up this wave. Let’s rip it open and get Supes out…

Once again, your mileage with this figure will depend a lot on how you feel about the New 52 costumes. Batman’s wasn’t all that much different than what we’re used to, but Superman here breaks from tradition a bit more. It’s still a blue outfit, red cape, and giant “S” shield on his chest, but as they say, the devil is in the details, and a number of the iconic details have changed up a bit. The most obvious is the omission of the red “underwear” which seems to bother fans the most. The belt has gone from yellow to red, there are panel lines in the costume, giving it a slight armored look, and he’s now sporting a high collar. But in the end the design is what it is, and we’re here to see how well the figure pulls it off…

Pretty damn well, I think. First off, the size difference doesn’t seem as apparent on this figure as it did with Batman. Yes, New 52 Supes seems a little slighter when standing next to my DCUC Supes, but they’re roughly the same height and they can certainly hang on my shelf together. The second thing that grabs my eye the most is the new head sculpt. It really does a great job matching the new, more youthful guise of the New 52’s comic book counterpart. I like it a lot. Next up is the glorious sculpted chest shield. Yes, just as with Batman, DC pointed out in one of the early issues of Justice League that the emblem on Superman’s chest should be raised in any 3D recreations and Mattel answered the call. The difference between a sculpted emblem and one that is just painted on makes a huge difference to me. As with Batman, the panel lines on Supes’ costume are downplayed a bit. I think I would have liked to see them more pronounced.

I’ve always been a fan of Superman’s colors scheme and this figure’s coloring really pleases the eye. The blue plastic used for the body suit is vibrant and spot on and meshes beautifully with the red plastic used for the cape. The paintwork on the chest shield is immaculate and the use of glossy red paint for the boots is certainly welcome. There’s no slop or bleeding to speak of and everything looks snazzy and fresh.

The only things here that I’m not all too keen on are the belt, the wrist cuffs, and the emblem on the cape. The cape emblem is just tampoed on in drab black ink and doesn’t really match the colorful snap of the rest of the figure. The belt is oddly un-centered. I’m not sure if this is a stylistic point that I missed from the comic artwork or not. Either way, it’s not a huge deal. As for the cuffs, well that’s just a sticking point I have with the design, not the figure.

How about articulation? Well, I realize this All Stars line is brand new *cough* so you might not know what to expect. Surprisingly, the articulation is identical to the old DCUC line. Imagine that! You get a ball jointed head; the arms feature ball jointed shoulders, hinged elbows, and swivels in the biceps and wrists. The legs have that same universal movement from the old DCUC line, hinged knees and ankles, and swivels in the thighs. The torso swivels at the waist and features the ubiquitous ab crunch hinge. Nope, no surprises here!

In the end, I really like this figure a lot. It’s definitely fresh and new and it hits all the points of the redesign quite well. The sculpting is all around solid and the coloring is gorgeous. I’m not prepared to toss my original DCUC Superman figure into a tote and give this one his space on the shelf, but I respect the changes, probably more than most vocal fans, and the figure really does it all… dare I say it? Justice!

DC Universe Classics Wave 11: Cyborg Superman by Mattel

Huzzah! Cyborg Superman is the last figure I need to look at in Wave 11 and he’s pretty badass. Back when I ordered this case I was under the false assumption that this was going to be a new version of regular flavor Cyborg Superman, but as everyone else probably already knew, he is the Sinestro Corps version. which was a really cool surprise and pretty relevant now since the DCUC line is now pretty congested with Green Lantern stuff right now.

Behold for the last time, the Wave 11 style packaging. Cyborg Supes fills out the huge bubble pretty well, even with the C&C pieces hidden under the bottom insert. He’s a little pre-posed, but no worries, its nothing that warps the joints. I really like the little Green Lantern emblems embossed into the bubble. Outside of the DCUC figures, how often do we see mass release toys with individualized bubbles on the packaging? Cool.

I don’t own the regular flavor Cyborg Superman, which was originally released as part of the DC Superheroes line, but from what I can tell this appears to be nearly a straight repaint of that sculpt. I’m guessing the only difference is the Power Rings sculpted onto his fingers, which is an awesome little detail. Even still, this is a pretty dramatic repaint, which really makes him look like a whole new figure. His iconic chest emblem is replaced by the Sinestro Corps emblem, which looks cool when fitted into Superman’s triangular shield. The head sculpt is particularly noteworthy, with plenty of grisly detail blended between Supes’ human features and the Cyborg features. The maroon and black color scheme of his outfit don’t really scream Sinestro to me, but the coloring is faithful to the source material.

That’s not to say this figure doesn’t have a few issues that bug me a bit. First off, the head seems too small. I don’t know if it’s an optical illusion because of the sculpt, but it just seems disproportionately small for his body. Second, the cut around the neckline of his cape is rough, like it was done as a custom job with a razor blade. Lastly, the Sinestro emblem on his cape doesn’t look that great in black. Although in fairness that’s more of a personal preference.

This figure features standard DCUC articulation. The arms have universal movement in the shoulders, swivels in the biceps and wrists, and hinged elbows. The legs have universal movement in the hips, with swivels in the thighs, and hinged knees and ankles. Cyborg Supes swivels in the waist, has the ab crunch joint in the torso and a ball joint in the neck.

Cyborg Superman does not have any accessories, but he does come with the head and torso for the C&C Kilowog figure.

Don’t let the issues I have with him fool you, I really love the way this figure turned out and he makes a great addition to my Green Lantern/Sinestro Corps shelf. Of course, I’ll still need to go back and pick up the regular Cyborg Superman at some point, either the original release, or the subsequent repack with Mongul. And so that finally puts DCUC Wave 11 to bed. I’ve got a clean slate now to move on to DCUC Wave 16 when it arrives on my stoop next week.