Many of you know Julius Marx from the site, Action
Figure Times. He does a terrific column over there called The
Amazing Justice League of Julius Marx. Check it out - now on to
Finally, after being pushed back from
November until the beginning of this New Year, collectors are able to add
another 9" DC figure to their shelves. The Target 9" Secret
Identity Superman has arrived. I was a big fan of the old Mego
"Worldís Greatest Heroes" line as a kid, and was excited to see
the rebirth of that style of 7"-9" figure with cloth costumes
starting with the Toy Biz Famous Covers figures and later expanding to the
DC 9" Super Heroes line.
The DC 9" line has seen a couple of
"deaths" and rebirths since itís debut two years ago. Now,
it looks as if the line will continue for at least another year in the form
of Target exclusive figures based on the Superman and Batman
Ďfamilies." Reports are that Corporate Target is watching this
line very closely in terms of sales. The Batman Secret Identity figure
from last year has now completely sold through the allocation made for
Target. If you missed the Batman, or think you will miss the Superman
figure, you will have a second chance through Diamond comics distributors.
The SI Batman was solicited in last monthís Previews catalog and we should
see the SI Superman follow suit in the next few months.
Packaging - ***
I must say I like the packaging better on this new Superman than on the
Secret Identity Batman figure exclusive. The dark packaging on the
Batman made the overall presentation of the product a little dark and
murky (I know, I know Batman is SUPPOSED to be dark!) There were a
lot of blacks and purples, and it didnít really pop out on the shelf at
Target. This new Superman packaging is bright and clear. There is a
big bold "Superman" logo on every panel and you know just what
you are looking at. Itís still the same kind of box with a big
front window and a smaller window on top; the color design is just better
on the Superman box. Through the front window the figure is posed is
a great running and changing pose. You can clearly see the
figure, the outfit and the phone booth accessory.
The packages for these new Secret Identity
exclusives are boxes, which is a change from the first wave of the DC
9" Heroes line. The First wave of Green Lantern, Green Arrow,
Aquaman and the original Silver Age Target Exclusive Batman and Superman
all came in a silver and black six-sided box, that showed shelf wear and
could be bent/damaged quite easily. I think the SI Batman box will
easily show wear in time too because of its darker colors. The Superman
box should hold up and better disguise wear.
Sculpting - ****
The only NEW sculpting here is the head (and a pair of glasses), and I
gotta say I like it! The box art shows more of a 70ís era (or a
mid 90s Jon Bogdanove) look for Superman and I prefer the more pronounced
spit curl. He has a very stern look on his face and the glasses fit
him well. I prefer this new Superman/Clark head to the Target Silver
Age Superman figure of old. The look on his face and the curl make
this a better-looking Superman, but I think the oleí Superman head works
better for Clark Kent. The old head has more of a "mild
mannered" look. The new head is a little too intense for
Clark. With the new figure in "Clark" mode he looks angry,
in a hurry and if you bother him heíll pull a vein out of your neck.
I suspect when any of you come over in the future and see my 9"
figure shelf you will find the Secret Identity Superman figure in Superman
mode and the Silver Age Superman figure dressed as Clark. Even
though the cape on the Silver Age Superman is no removable, it is a
smaller cape and easily tucked into the back of the pants.
Paint - ****
So far, ALL of the paint jobs Iíve seen on the faces have been really
clean. The hair and eyes are right on. I know sometimes with figures
of this size you can get some wonky eyes, and Iím sure SOMEWHERE in the
production run there maybe some honked up so as always, your mileage may
Another problem figures of this size
sometimes suffer from are over-painted lips. The 9" Star Trek
figures were some of the worst offenders on this front, but Superman
canít talk smack about any other nancy-boy figures or else they will
remind him to look at the blue lipstick on his 9" Superman Blue
Hasbro thankfully left well enough alone and didnít put ANY paint or
gloss on this figureís lips. This figure actually gets an
extra star because of it's LACK of paint. Simpler is better.
This new version of Superman has the added
details of the "S" shield on the back of the cape and the red
belt-loops, that were missing on the Silver Age version. These are a
couple of much needed details and helped bump up the score in this
This doesnít exactly fall under the
"paint" heading but I think it is important to mention that
buyers should look at the application of the "S" shield on his
chest and on his cape. You can see through the window if they have
been applied straight. I havenít seen that problem on the Superman
yet, but I did see some Batmen with crooked emblems.
Articulation - **
My only real disappointment in the 9" DC line (besides the look of
the removable cowl on the Silver Age Target Batman) is the fact that
Hasbro didnít take a page from Toy Biz and make a couple of different
sized base bodies for this line. Letís face itÖ. Superman is TOO
skinny. Heís too small. He doesnít really fill out his
costume and he looks puny next to the bulkier Famous Covers figures like
This is the same body that we have seen on
all of the adult DC hero figures so no surprises here. He has the
standard articulation of: neck, ball-jointed shoulders, bicep cut, elbows,
ball jointed wrists, fingers, all joined waist, ball jointed hips, knees
and ankles. The joints on the Superman I opened are probably the
stiffest of all of the 9" DC that I have open.
This figure certainly could be helped by a
ball-jointed neck to accommodate flying poses, so he loses a star for
Accessories - **1/2
Iím going to include the Clark outfit as an accessory. So, for
accessories we have the Clark outfit and a card board phone booth.
The outfitÖwell, I guess its score
depends on how you plan to use it in your display. If you want
just a Clark Kent figure standing around waiting for his JLA signal
watch to go off, it loses points. As we saw with the Bruce Wayne
Tuxedo, itís still tough to get outfits this size to look right with
the fabrics Hasbro is using. The shirt is sewn into the pants,
which helps the look of the suit, but makes it a little tougher to dress
and undress the figure. The tie is just a piece of ribbon and
because of the placement of the top shirt snap will never lay dead
center of the shirt like it should. On the PLUS side the Clark
outfit DOES include shoes, which is something we were missing with the
Bruce Wayne outfit. Make sure when you buy one of these that you
check and make sure he is wearing shoes in the box. I suspect we
will be hearing of people buying these, swiping the shoes for their
Bruce Wayne figures and then returning the incomplete figure.
If you are going to display the figure
with the coat and shirt open it bumps the score up to a ***.
The removable glasses are a necessary, nice touch (because you know we
COULD have gotten another head swap!)
Iím really pretty indifferent towards
the phone booth. Itís cute to have, but a little hinky. It is
the same image on almost every side, and there is no picture of a phone
on the interior. If you are going to have Clark in mid-cloths change,
youíll want this, but if you are just looking for a cool Superman
figure you wonít care about this cardboard box. There are instructions
included on how to properly fold it.
Play Value - ***
I think these figures are great and really remind me of the "Old
Days" playing in my room, or in the back yard, with my Megos.
I really like this line, it has good articulation, the outfits look great
and are pretty on model, they are just nice, accurate depictions of these
iconic characters. Iím also looking forward to finally getting
some villains in this line with the Joker, Penguin and Riddler being
kicked around as future Target exclusive 9" figures later this year.
Even if you are not going to play with him, there is something reassuring
about having a big angry Superman standing next to your computer.
Value - ***
Well, Iím a little biased on this one because when I found the figures
at Target they were "NOT ON FILE" yet. When they went
and pulled the DPCI number off the shelf label where these were sitting,
they used the old Batman number and not the new Superman number.
So I got my set for $4.94! I still really like these sets and
Iím a HUGE DC fan so I donít mind paying the $19.99 for these.
The first wave of DC 9" were $15 most places so with the added
outfit I can see paying a little more for the Secret Identity figuresÖ
You may want to ask me again how in feel about the $20 in the spring
when Iím plunking it down for the next in the Target Exclusive 9"
line- The Joker. Cuz heís NOT gonna come with an extra
outfit, but Iíll betcha that wonít stop Target from charging the
$19.99 for it.
Depending on where you live, how
many Targets are in the area, and how heavily your Target ordered these
there is a chance you will find these on clearance in a couple of
months. I was able to pick up a spare Secret Identity Batman at
the end of itís Target run for $10.90.
Overall - ***
Iím glad I have him, and I think he is a definite improvement over the
Silver Age Superman. Plus he just looks cool standing in front of
the rest of your 9" JLA.
Where to Buy -
For right now Target is the ONLY place to get this. Eventually
this figure will pop-up in Diamondís Previews so you may order him
though your local comic shops.
Figure from the collection of Julius Marx.