Superman Returns
13" Hyperposeable Superman

The newest trailer is out for Superman Returns, and by golly, it's looking good.  Spacey as Luthor looks spot on, and Routh's portrayal of Superman gets better with each tidbit.  Yea, yea, the S isn't big enough, the color of the cape is a little too dark, oh please.  If the writing, directing, acting and editing are great with this film, nobody will ever even remember that the costume isn't quite right.  If the writing, directing, acting and editing are bad - well, then it will seem like the costume was the most important thing in the world.

So far, the toy offerings have been pretty slim, if you're looking for something even average.  The 5" figures have been at best forgettable and at worst laughable.  But Mattel has released the Hyperposeable Superman, designed very much like the nice Action Cape Batman.  Will it be the best of the bunch?

Packaging -  ***
The box shows off the articulation with a series of action shots of the figure on the front.  It also has a very large window area, with the Supes preposed.  It's not collector friendly packaging - no surprise - but it is quite sturdy.

You may get a little frustrated with the twisties though, which are taped down as well as tightly twisted.  There are also several plastic retainers holding the cape in place, and they always leave small holes in the material once you remove them.

Sculpting - ***
This isn't a bad Routh sculpt.  It has the cleft chin, the long nose, and the approximate shape of his head.  The hair looks about right, and they did a nice job with the detailing in the curl.  This is no Sideshow or Hot Toys version, but it is my favorite that Mattel has given us so far.  He's recognizable as Routh, even if it's not dead on, and that's probably as good as we're going to get in this series.

If you thought Action Cape Batman was a touch big at 13", then you'll really think Supes is big.  He stands a full 14" tall at the top of his head. However, the good news is that he fits in nicely with the AC Batman, since he's slightly taller and thicker.  Superman should be bigger than Batman, at least in my opinion, and here the size is about right to pose these two together.  I would like to think that Mattel was actually going for that, and just didn't get lucky.

I wonder if it would be possible to transfer this head to the Ken doll version of Supes?

Paint - ***
At a quick glance, there's certainly no slop here.  The cuts between colors are clean, the hairline neat, the eyes straight, and even no glopping in the skin tones.  Of course, that's largely because most of the pieces are cast in the color, not painted, more common with mass market toys.

There are also details missing that a higher end toy would include, like coloration for the lips, or variations in the hair.  The techniques used on other figures to bring out detail are missing here, largely because detail is missing in the sculpt.

Still, the paint ops that are present are clean, and won't be an area of major complaint for anyone.  The figure could have been improved with the kind of attention to detail that higher end items get, but then it would be a higher end item, wouldn't it?

Articulation - ***1/2
I gave the Action Cape Batman this same score in this category, and I was being a little generous that time.  However, Superman has added some new joints that work quite well.

He has the ultra cool ball jointed neck, and it allows for some terrific tilting.  It also *almost* allows him to do a great flying pose, but not quite.  It does have a pretty good range of movement though, and really adds to the posing possibilities.

He has ball jointed shoulders, with the joint articulated on both sides of the ball, pin elbows and knees, pin and peg wrists that allow the hands to move in and out, along with twisting, cut thighs and shins, the same funky hips that allow for forward, backward and in/out mobility, a cut waist, and an ankle joint that not only moves the foot forward and backward, but side to side.

Unlike Batman, who had permanently sculpted hand positions, Superman has two pin joints.  One is half hand, and one is at the base of the fingers.  This allows for everything from an almost fist to wide open mitts.

Finally, there's his mid chest joint.  It allows for quite a bit of forward movement, in case he wants to check out his own snazzy boots, but doesn't move backward a whole lot.  If it did, that would have helped even more with the flying pose.

Accessories - Bupkis
That's right - nada. Zippo, Zero.  The big goose egg.  I suppose the theory is that the 'hyper' articulation is the selling point, but a little kryptonite or something would have been nice.

Fun Factor - ***1/2
This is easily the most fun of the Supermen I've seen so far for the film.  The smaller onces are a tad too high on the lame meter, but you get good articulation, nice heft, good sculpting, and a nice big scale here, all adding up to some decent play value.  You're only problem will be finding villains for Basketball Jones here to battle.

Value - **
At twenty bucks, he's about five bucks high.  No accessories, and no action feature like the Action Cape Batman, should mean decent pricing.  I suspect that this is a case of pricing him at the next step up from many of the other items in the line, rather than at what is best for him specifically.  Let's face it, Toybiz can deliver 12" rotocast figures for a ten spot, so Mattel should be able to hit that for $15.

Things to watch out for - 
Not a thing.  I doubt there will be any consistency issues across this line, so what you see is what you get.

Overall -  ***
If you thought the Action Cape Batman was good, there's a very high probability that you'll like this Superman.  If you hated old AC Bats, then it's a pretty safe bet you'll hate this one.

I'm pretty happy with him, and he's going to go extremely well with Batman on the shelf.  He has a few more joints than the previous 13" superhero, and the Routh head sculpt is passable.  I'm still waiting for a definitive sixth scale Superman, and this certainly isn't it, but he'll make a nice movie based figure for the shelf.

Packaging - ***
Sculpt - ***
Paint - ***
Articulation - ***1/2
Accessories - Bupkis
Fun Factor - ***1/2
Value - **
Overall -  ***

Where to Buy -
I snagged mine through, but Toys R Us seems to be putting them out now as well.

Related Links:
I've had a ton of Superman reviews in just the last few weeks:

- there's guest reviews of the 10" rotocast version, and several of the 5" figures.

- I reviewed several of the 5" figures as well, including the hilarious Super Breath version.

- DC Direct has their regular 13" version out that got a guest review.

- If you're looking for some nifty comic based Superman figures, check out the DC Superheroes Superman, Bizarro and Supergirl.  These are from Mattel as well - it's hard to believe they can do it so well and so badly at the same time.  These are also currently available at stores like Target and Wal-mart.

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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