Gotham City Five: Superman

Over the past few years, there have been a number of 6” Superman figures. The first (and arguably, worst) was featured in a two-pack alongside Batman back in 2003. Let’s just say it wasn’t very good and leave it at that. The next came in 2006 via Mattel’s DC Superheroes line, and was much, much better. With a much better sculpt from the Four Horsemen (rather than Mattel’s in-house team, who had done the 2003 figure), the figure also featured much better articulation. It had its faults, mostly a wide stance, over-chiseled features, and a paint job that seemed inspired by the shades of blue and red from Superman Returns. Three years later, though, Mattel gave us the best Superman yet.

Rocketed to Earth from the doomed planet Krypton, the infant Kal-El was adopted by the kindly Kent family of Smallville, Kansas. Young Clark Kent grew strong and powerful under the rays of Earth’s yellow sun, developing a phenomenal array of super powers. In adulthood, Clark would use these abilities as Superman, championing the virtues of Truth, Justice and the American Way while keeping secret his true identity as a crusading reporter for a great Metropolitan newspaper.

Like his heroic counterpart in the Gotham City 5 set, Superman re-uses the large body most commonly seen in DCUC. It features all the same articulation as that figure too. The only real difference between Superman and any other figure is a somewhat new head, belt and calves. I say somewhat because the head was first used on Eradicator, and the belt/calves on the variant DCUC 6 Superman. This part combo was seen before, in a two-pack with Brainiac, with the only difference being “heat-vision eyes.” Hurray for cheating out the consumer!

The body works fairly well for ole Clark Kent though. The face sculpt isn’t overly chiseled as with the 2006 figure, with much softer angles conveying a more realistic appearance. The belt is a separate piece sandwiched between the torso and pelvis, allowing for multiple-uses of the mold. I had some quality control issues with the belt, with mine being attached off center. It wasn’t hard to adjust though, just some hot water to make the belt flexible, and cold water to make it rigid once in place. Other than that, no complaints with quality. My only complaint lies with the cape, but that’s not a quality issue. It’s just bad. It’s poorly sculpted, unflexible, and the logo is placed too high up. I replaced the cape with that from a DCD Superman, and I think it looks much better.

The paint work is also pretty darn snazzy. Good cut lines between colors, and much more accurate shades of red and blue than either the 2006 figure or the series 6 variant. The logo is also more accurate, though not much bigger, the bolder outer red edge makes it look better than the series 6 figure.

Like the other figures in the Gotham 5 set, Superman doesn’t include any accessories. This isn’t as bad for him, seeing as he’s not the kind that carries around an entire arsenal in his belt. I’m fine with no accessories, but one of those flying stands Mattel’s making a big hoopla about would have been nice, and help promote their release on Matty Collector. As is, however, we have the best Superman figure.

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