Saturday, May 29, 2010

Public Enemy Number One: Superman!

Well, I finally cracked open my first DC Universe Classics Target Exclusive Public Enemies figure despite having all 6 figures across 2 waves necessary to build the Collect and Connect Brimstone figure.

I wanted so badly for this figure to be the perfect Superman because so far, none of the DCUC ones was good enough.  You name it: disproportionate head-size to body, long hair, too dark a costume, poor head sculpt and paint, to even too long a cape, every figure had its woes.

So what about the Public Enemies Superman?  Well, while he doesn't come close to being perfect, he's a helluva lot better than the standard DCUC Supes.  And while he's come under lots of criticism by many, I have to say some of the shortcomings actually turned out to be plus-points for me.  'Different strokes for different folks' is what Grampaw Nanna Uncle Charlie my pet dog Rex someone used to say to me.  I think.  I didn't dream of someone telling me for sure.  Or maybe I did...

So let's check Public Enemies Superman out!

Like: The head sculpt because it's the best to date. Supes needs to have a strong, lantern-jawed, symmetrical face with perfect hair.  So in a sense, a "realistic" face sculpt would never fulfil these requirements, much like how tough it is to find the right actor to cast as the Man of Steel.  This means Supes needs to have almost a caricature of a face, and the animated look of Public Enemies fulfils these needs.  Perfect blue eyes?  Check.  Perfect black hair with the perfect spit curl?  Check.  Perfect jaw?  Check.  Perfect expression of determination mixed with confidence?  Check.

Like: His big ol' blue eyes. Their painted with black pupils with the white neatly done and some dark lines for shading.  The overall effect is dramatic and makes the figure pop because his eyes stand out even when you're looking at him form a distance.
Like: The bigger buck used for his body.  Superman has always been traditionally bigger than the rest of the super hero population so it's time that he was given his due.  The DCUC versions and the DCSH versions are too small by just a tad.  Hopefully, Mattel will be able to use this buck to vary the sizes of their future offerings.  In that vein, time for a new female buck as well, one that doesn't make every super heroine look like they only eat once every three days.

Like: The lighter blue costume.  The DCUC Superman releases suffer from to deep a blue for their costumes, among other things.  The Public Enemies version of the Last son of Krypton is spot on.  The blue even matches the blue of his eyes! ;)

Like: That he has a thicker 'S'.  I really can;t emphasize enough the importance of the correct thickness in his chest emblem.  I can tolerate a blue that's slightly off.  I can even close one eye to a slightly dopey looking and otherwise expressionless face.  But that 'S'?  No, sirree.  It's what makes Superman recognizable as Superman.  It's his symbol.  It's what he threw at Non in Superman II.  Ok, maybe not for that last reason.  But they have to get it right, otherwise it makes him look like a cheap knockoff.

Like: The shorter cape.  I didn't fancy this at first, preferring the longer sweeping cape of the DCSH version, especially when it came to supporting more dynamic poses.  But a short cape has its advantages--it's not as heavy, it doesn't get in the way of the leg and arm articulation as much, and it actually looks better for Supes in this scale because it's rather more practical, don;t ya think? ;)

Like: The raised belt.  It's a nice improvement from the DCSH figures of yore and helps break the boredom of what would otherwise be a completely painted-on costume.  It's a minor detail, but and important one for the overall look of PE Supes.

Like: Great articulation. As with all DC Universe figures, Superman has your standard 23 points or so (depending on how you count) of articulation.  Special mention goes to his head, which has perfect up, down, left and right motion that's absent from recent new waves of DCUC.

Like: Skin Tone.  Some have said he's too tan.  Well, Supes should be tan cuz he wants to be in the sun all the time. And what Kal-El wants, Kal-El gets.  Some have also said he looks Puerto Rican or Mexican or whatever.  He frickin' looks like Superman with a nice healthy tan.  Why would anyone want  pasty white, unhealthy looking Man of Steel anyway? ;P

Dislike: Stuck Ab Crunch...that I can't get unstuck and that's still stuck right now!  This seriously bothers me.  I've no complaints if they joint came loose somehow but as it is, one of my favourite joints on a figure has pretty much been neutered.  Sure, he can still arch back to stretch out his torso, but he can't crunch without it slowly shifting back to an upright position.  Any solutions to this problem are welcome by the way!

Dislike: Loose knees.  Well, they're not hopelessly loose, but they're not as tight as the hip/leg or the ankle joints.  Thankfully those are fine and help compensate for the knees when balancing.

Dislike: That it's a Target Exclusive, didn't come to many areas. definitely didn't come to Southeast Asia.  Luckily I had friends living in the US who where willing to put up with my shenanigans when I asked for them to look out for the wave.  So thanks, Mary!  I don't have any problems with Exclusives, just exclusives that aren't available here in Singapore. :P


Aesthetics: 8.5/10 - It's the standard Superman.  Red, blue, and yellow.  But there's so many things that can go wrong and have done with the standard DCUC issue.  PE Superman gets 'em all right, or at least to my liking. ;)

Poseaility: 8/10 - He's great in this respect but really loses points for a stuck ab crunch.  His head is excellent but his score could've been better but for the stomach problems. Heh.

Fun: 9/10 - He's Superman and I have five other versions of him, so how much fun could he be?

Well, to my surprise, plenty.  It's funny how much more fun a figure can be when you look at it and you simply like what you see.  Also, he'll look great next to PE Batman and the rest of the supporting cast from that series.  Can anyone say mass brawl???
Value: 7/10 - He cost me around S$30 (US$21.42) after shipping and handling, which is about three-quarters of the price of what specialty stores around here are charging (if they have them at all).  In that sense, he's a deal.  Also, he comes with Collect and Connect Brimstone's right arm and a spiffy Public Enemies figure stand, both of which I consider bonuses when compared to the standard DCUC version's regular stand and no BAF for the same price (or maybe even more after the price increase).

But still, he comes with no other accessories, as is that practice with Supermen.

Overall: 8.3/10 - The best Superman figure in the DC Universe line yet.  He might take a hit for value but he rates very highly in the other categories.  Take away a stuck joint that's probably the exception rather than the norm and you have yourself an even bigger winner.  My advice?  If you're not keen on the CnC Brimstone, find him loose (preferably with the stand), find him limber (need that ab crunch), and find him cheap (or at least reasonably so).


  1. That last shot really accents the differences in the figures. I saw this guy and was tempted, but it was the shiny suit variant (have no idea why they would even bother with that) and I was already burned with my DCUC Superman being so disappointing, so I passed. I'll probably end up looking for a good DC Direct Superman instead.

  2. Yeah, I'm glad I held of on getting a DCUC Supes until now. I like DC Direct stuff insofar as the sculpt goes but I love me my articulation too much to go dow that route. Also, I don't know that DC Direct has nailed at least one good Superman look. At least to me, tat is. ;P

  3. I've only seen the variant in stores and I passed. I wasn't impressed with this series, except for the villains. They only one I picked up was Major Force. But aside from him I've only seen Black Lightning and the Batman and Supes variant. I would like to add this Supes to my collection, though.

    I actually have the DC Direct series, so I wasn't too worried about finding these. Cool review.

  4. Wow that does look a lot better. I have been trying to decide which version of the red and blue suit to get and if I can get it cheap it may very well be this one.

  5. Yeah, doesn't it? And here I was thinking it'd be pretty much the same till I actually took a picture of them side by side. I guess we all see a little of the perfect Superman we wanna see in all of his figures, until we actually compare them :)

  6. If you freeze him for like an hour then you can snap the torso joint forward and it will break the up the sticky (now frozen) paint that's gumming up the works. I'm jealous though. Yours has WAY brighter colors and lighter skin tone than mine.

  7. Thanks Reverend Ender! I'll try it as soon as I get back from my work trip. :)

    About you Supes, really? I've heard things about him being too tan but I thought it could just be a personal preference thing--I never thought he'd REALLY be darker overall. If so, Mattel's got MORE QC issues...;P

  8. I know this comment comes late, but for the record, that stuck torso joint is the norm. I have gone through several of these figures, frozen them all to no end, and that joint refuses to break free. Very frustrating. And those loose knees really suck!

  9. Oh wow, I'm surprised to hear that. Thanks for the info, dude. Anyhow, I tried the freezing technique and that worked perfectly. Yeah, my Batman had that problem too, come to think of it. About the loose knees, somehow, Mattel aren't very consistent with the QC on joint tightness...


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