Thursday, October 8, 2009

DCUC Superman: Red and Blue

These two characters are the perfect example of when a good idea is poorly executed. Here's what the back of his box reads:

The funny thing is, that's not how it happened. According to the infinite wisdom of comic books, Superman Blue (or Electric Blue Superman) came to be when Supes’ powers started “evolving” into pure energy and his body eventually became unstable. So a containment suit was used to keep him in a solid state. The result was a new costume, blue “skin” and energy based powers. Blue Supes found that he could turn these powers “off”, and that he would be completely human when that happened.

However, to make a bad idea even worse, Cyborg Superman, or Hank Henshaw, trapped Supes in an “energy containment structure” and literally dissipated him. So Hank leaves but the energy reforms moments after.

Except this time, a red stream of energy reappears in addition to the original blue stream. So both form Supermen, and both, of course, believe they were the original Superman.

Red was rash and Blue was calm, while every one of their readers (I somehow avoided being one) was bored. So what did they do? They had them collide and BOOM(s), the original Superman was back.

Despite their obviously craptastic story, the designs of the two Supermen are both actually quite appealing. And just like their characters, their DCUC toy counterparts are so wonderful, but yet so, so flawed. Just check out the melted hole bottom left of this MISB Superman Blue's "s" shield.

Even the guy who sold me this conceded that the quality control for the early DCUC waves was pretty bad, so much so that he gave me a loose Superman Blue for buying Supes Red, Blue, and Hawkgirl from him. So I was more than happy to be getting 4 figures for the price of 3. But whaddaya know, the loose Supes also had two glaring defects: A really ill-fitting seam and a warped right foot.

And the paint on these guys are also seriously not the best quality. Chipped paint/smudging/spillover near the joints and seams just make the toys a little less appealing up close.

The accessories also aren't the best, with detachable lightning for the wrists/fists that don't seem to want to stay in place for long. The lightning on their back that forms an energy 'S' shield is not removable, but you can always modify that--it'll peg on perfectly even without glue.

As for Red, he doesn't have the seam and foot problems Blue has, but he did have 2 very sticky/tight leg/hip joints. Both legs felt like their pegs weren't rotating correctly in his hip. But after much coaxing and cajoling, the left peg became unstuck. The right leg is still refusing to respond, so Superman Red is sorta lame right now.

But I understand these problems are inherent to the early waves of this line, and these guys being wave 2 figures, would suffer from an ailment or two. Because honestly, even with all the defects, I still found posing/playing with them quite enjoyable.

And while Red is the rarer variant of the two, both of them are not just straight repaints. In fact, Blue's head looks like the standard Supes head sculpted with headgear and hair. Red's hair is similarly sculpted, but he's got a grimace on his face that makes him unique when compared to all the other DCUC Supermen (Blue suit original, Black Suit, and Brianiac 2-pack).

Now, why couldn't they use this face sculpt for one of the other Supermen? The dopey face on long-haired versions works on Superman Blue, but on the rest, the expression just seems so lost. It's so much better when an action figure has an opinion, in this case a facial opinion. :P

Time to rate 'em both!

Aesthetics: 8.5/10 - The points here are for the bold colours and the design of the character. The sculpt is also excellent. I'm particularly pleased by the differing heads. But poor paint, dodgy seams and chips/spill overs bring this score down.

Poseability: 9/10 - Like it or not, they're DCUC figures, and these have standards, like the 23 points of articulation. The only bad thing for these guys is Red's stuck left/hip. I may have to perform surgery. :(

Fun: 9.5 - One without the other would just be very meh. But both of 'em together--Are you kidding? :) They make for great posing opposite one another.

Value: 8/10 - If I had known that the quality of these early waves are as bad they are, I might have held off on getting these two. But they were a good deal and S$55 for 2, ONLY if they didn't have major flaws. But in this case my MISB Blue has a serious hole on his costume, and his replacement had seam trouble at the thigh. Red's got bigger issues with the unrelenting right leg joint.

And while it's cool to have the electric "S" shields on their backs, it would've been much cooler if they weren't glued on.

Overall: 8.75 - I really like this toy. But somehow, every time I play with it I seem to notice a new flaw, a paint chip here, a smudge there. The wrist lightning issue is also really a problem for me. I mean, who likes equipment that keeps falling out of they're hands. And I'm also thinking it's no fun to get one of these Supes without the other. They should have done them both as a 2 pack exclusive somewhere. But as is, if you can still find 'em, you should grab 'em, especially the Superman fans!

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