DC Superheroes series 2
Bizarro and Supergirl

The second series of Mattel's super hero line, called DC Superheroes, is hitting comic shops now, and should be in stores any day. The first series were really re-releases of Batman based figures that had only made it to market internationally. The second series hits up the other big kahuna in the DC universe, Superman.

With all the Superman Returns toys hitting shelves as well, this will definitely be the summer of Supes. This second series includes Superman, Bizarro, Doomsday and Supergirl. I've already had a guest review of the Superman, so I'll be saving him for a review over at MPS next week. I haven't been able to find Doomsday yet, as he's the shortpack. That's the long winded way of saying that today's review will only cover Bizarro and Supergirl.

These run around $10 at most retailers, although many online retailers are under cutting that price to compete with stores like Target and Toys R Us, where these will show up hopefully soon.

They've announced plans for three more waves at this point, including two more Batman themed and another Superman themed. It appears that Mattel is committed to giving the 'collector figure at mass market' theme a shot, as long as collectors are willing to support it with their wallet.

Packaging -  ***
The cardback and bubble are attractive, sturdy, and show off the figures well. They've gone with almost no twisties on several of them, using the inside tray and the cape itself to hold them in place. The comic book that's included with each one is used effectively as a backdrop, and information on the rest of the series is included on the back of the package.

It's a nice job as far as mass market packaging, but nothing extraordinary.

Sculpting - ***1/2
The sculpting on both of these figures is terrific, and reflects a more generic, non-artist specific conceptualization.

DC Direct has been going more and more towards doing characters like these with very specific artist styles. Their focus has been on the art of Ross or McGuinness or Sale, etc. etc. etc., and that can be very rewarding to the die hard DC fan. However, there's something to be said for a more generic, iconic, standardized look, and that's what Mattel is shooting for.

They hit the mark nicely with both of these characters. While the detail in Bizarro is fairly obvious, with his extreme muscles, bulging neck veins, and toothy grimace, it's really the more subtle work on Supergirl that impressed me the most.

She has a soft yet tough appearance that is difficult to pull off. She appears rough without looking masculine, pretty without looking soft. There's some great detail work in her boots and costume, and even the S on her chest is sculpted, rather than just painted. Her hair is long, but sculpted in a softer material, more rubber than plastic, that allows the head to turn and move more than a harder material would have.

Bizarro has a wonderful head sculpt, with wild hair and an even wilder expression. His cape is tattered, and his body is thicker and broader than Superman's. He's not taller though, and the odd body proportions work great for this character. I've always been a big fan of the STAS Bizarro, but this one is just as nice.

My only complaint on Supergirl is her cape. It's sculpted folded in layers, and juts away from her back at an angle. I would have much preferred something that was closer to her body, which would have made it easier for her to take deeper stances and not topple over.

But other than that minor nit, I have nothing bad to say about the sculpts on either of these figures. Of all mass market toys were this good, we'd live in action figure nirvana.

Some folks will find the scale not to their liking. Bizarro is about the same height as Superman, and these are very much a 6" scale. They fit in well with the first series (although the Batman in that set is a tad tall), and also with the earlier Mattel comic based Batman line. Zipline Batman (and the villains from that series) will look good with most of these on the shelf.

I have heard some bad things about Doomsday in the scale department though, and he appears much too small compared to Supes and company. I haven't found him yet though, so he doesn't factor in here. Once I do manage to dig one up, I'll do a review as well.

Paint - ***1/2
These are mass market toys, not specialty market, so much of the plastic is cast in the appropriate color. However, the paint ops that are here are much better than the usual mass market work, where the excuse "well, it's just for kids" gets used far too much.

The paint work is clean and neat, with nicely cut lines between colors, clean small detail work, and consistent colors. The facial work is the standout, with great detail on Bizarro's teeth and Supergirl's eyes.

There is a little slop here and there, most notably around Supergirl's S, and some of her skin tone is a little clumpy. But overall these are much better than the usual mass market release, and deserve kudos.

Articulation - ***1/2
Both of these figures show much improved articulation over past Mattel comic based characters. This is a great indication of where this line could go, and raises the hopes of those looking for more Marvel Legends like DC characters.

Supergirl has a ball jointed neck, although the hair restricts it some. As I mentioned, the hair is a pretty soft rubber though, and that helps reduce the amount of restriction.

She also has ball jointed shoulders, pin elbows, cut wrists, cut biceps, cut waist (at the bottom of the shirt), ball jointed hips, pin knees, pin ankles and a cut at the top of the boots. It's not quite ML or Street Fighter articulation, but it's moving in the right direction, and all the joints are very useful for posing and play.

Bizarro has a ball jointed neck, also somewhat restricted by the neck sculpt, but more useful than a cut neck nonetheless. He has ball jointed shoulders, with articulation on both sides of the ball, pin elbows, cut wrists, a chest joint, cut waist, cut thighs, pin knees, and pin ankles. He also has the cool hip joint that allows the leg to move forward and back, but also bend out to the side at almost a ninety degree angle.

The joints on both figures are tight enough to hold poses, but didn't require any effort to free them. None of the joints overtly hurt the sculpt, and I'm really digging the new hip joint on Bizarro (which is also on Superman).

Accessories - Bizarro **1/2; Supergirl *1/2
Bizarro has a true accessory - Supergirl does not. At this price point, you'd expect a little more.

Bizarro comes with the bent and beaten car axle/tire. The tire still spins on the axle, although it's seen better days. It looks like Bizarro has already spent some time using this on Superman's head. It's a great sculpt, and very realistic, although the scale of the tire seems a tad big. Maybe it's a truck tire.

He can hold the axle in his right hand, and can actually balance it above his head and remain standing without too much trouble.

As I mentioned, Supergirl doesn't get any extras, which is a huge let down. Both figures do come with a comic book though, so she still gets a small score here.

I'm not a fan of included comic books. It's only one step up from badly done collector cards. The book is going to end up tossed 30 seconds after the figure is open, and once the dog tears it up, it's trash can city.

Mattel was obviously copying Toybiz and Marvel Legends with the books, but they're about 2 years behind. However, to Mattel's credit, they've said they are investigated the idea of Build a Figure parts, something that Marvel Legends has done more recently to great success.

Fun Factor - ***1/2
The articulation and style of these figures make them a ton of fun. Some of the pins seem a little weak, especially on Supergirl, but I don't think most kids will tear them up too fast - at least not any faster than usual.

The scale on these figures makes them work well with the previous comic based line too, so you can get a variety of Batman villains to stand in with Supes.

Value - **
The lack of accessories and the ten dollar price point hurt the value of this line. Marvel Legends still run in the $8 range, and provide much more bang for the buck. The loss of the bases with these figures was a big hit, but it should be one they can recover from.

Things to watch out for - 
Not much. I had no issues with stuck joints or bad paint (compared to the usual mass market fair), and breakage is pretty unlikely.

Overall -  Bizarro ***1/2; Supergirl ***
Both of these figures sport excellent sculpts, solid paint apps, and good articulation. Only the lack of accessories, especially in the case of Supergirl, at this price point, hold them back from better scores.

Still, I have faith at this point that Mattel can get it right with this line. If collector's are smart enough to support the line, Mattel is smart enough to continue to improve.

I do find it funny though that the same company, in the same month of the same year, has managed to show the right way to do mass market Superman figures AND the wrong way.

Packaging - ***
Sculpt - ***1/2
Paint - * **1/2
Articulation - ***1/2
Accessories - Bizarro **1/2; Supergirl *1/2
Fun Factor - ***1/2
Value - **
Overall -  Bizarro ***1/2; Supergirl ***

Where to Buy -
These will eventually hit retailers like Target and Toys R Us, particularly with the spring reset. Right now your best bet is online though:

- Amazing Toyz has the singles at $9 each.

- CornerStoreComics has the singles at $9 each, or the full set of four at just $37. 

- YouBuyNow has the singles at $9.50, but they don't have all of them in stock at this point.

- Killer Toys has the singles for $10 - $15 each, depending on the character.

Related Links:
As I mentioned earlier, there was a guest review last week of the Superman from this set.

Also, I reviewed the Batman and Killer Croc from the first series. Since some of these were originally released as European exclusives in the old style card/bubbles, I reviewed the Bane and Scarecrow from there, and have a great guest review of the Batsignal Batman and Attack Armor Batman

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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