Justice League Superman - DC Direct 

DC Direct continues to crank out the product this year, with a ton of new announcements, many of them high on fan's lists.

One of their recent releases was a set of figures based on the Alex Ross art of the Justice League.  This set of four figures included Superman, Bizarro, Cheetah, the Flash and Sinestro.  While I'm a big DC fan, that's mostly because of my obsession with Batman, not Supes or the other Justice League characters.  But when I saw this version of Superman on the pegs, I just couldn't resist.

This is labeled as 'series 1', and series 2 has been announced as Batman, Black Manta, Black Canary, Aquaman and Parasite.  There's also going to be an exclusive to comic shops of Superman, with a resculpted head.  How many any shop has though depends on how many copies of the book "Justice" they order, so there may not be a whole lot at any one store.  You might want to talk to your comics guy now about it.

The regular Supes I'm reviewing tonight can be found at most comic shops, or specialty stores like Media Play or Suncoast, for around $13.

Packaging - **1/2
The boxes continue to be dull as dirt, but at least there's a little improvement here with the top graphics of the characters, along with the dark blue colors.

They still store easily, but are definitely not collector friendly, and you'll have to tear them up to get them completely out.

Sculpting - ****
This Superman has quickly jumped to the top of my list as my favorite version so far.  I've always like Ross' art, and I liked the Kingdom Come version, but this is the more iconic look.  It's captured perfectly, and fits in beautifully with the Hush Batman line as well.  He also looks great standing next to the KC version, and is different enough in style to stand out, yet close enough to look good together.

Both fists are sculpted in closed positions, but since he doesn't come with any accessories he can hold I suppose this pose is as good as any.

The sculpted plastic cape looks excellent, with lots of folds and style.  It appears to drape off his shoulders and down his back in a very realistic manner, and is just about the right length.

And just in case the costume designers for the new Superman movie are wondering...THIS IS THE WAY THE EMBLEM SHOULD LOOK ON HIS CHEST!

Paint - ***
The paint ops are good, but not stupendous.  This is an area that DC Direct really needs to work on to justify the higher costs of these figures.

The paint application on the suit is fairly good, although there's some bleed and slop around the lines of the shorts and belt.  The insignia are clean though, and the blues and reds are very consistent.

The face and hair show the most issues.  The eyes aren't quite lined up, with slightly wonky pupils, and there are stray marks and a poorly defined hair line in some spots.

For a specialty market toy, the quality on the paint ops in general has to improve for DC Direct to compete against the likes of Mcfarlane, SOTA or Palisades.

Articulation - ***
The articulation is a lot like the paint - adequate but not exciting.  He has neck, ball jointed shoulders, pin elbows and knees, cut wrists, and hips.  That's enough joints, but most of them are fairly limited in their range of movement.

I'm not sure why they didn't go with a ball jointed neck, and on a character like Superman, that's really inexcusable. They also still refuse to give us a waist joint, so I suspect that someone there hates them.  Or us.

Accessories - *1/2
There's only one accessory - his display base.  The base is fairly basic in design, and doesn't really work with any others, so it ends up being pretty disposable.  Since the figure stands just fine on his own, you'll probably toss it in a box pretty quick.

Fun Factor - ***
Okay, so the articulation is fairly limited, so if you have a kid who loves the Spider-man line or the Marvel Legends line, they might have an issue with this Superman.  There is plenty of fun you can still have though without a ton of articulation - hell, I loved playing with little plastic army men when I was a kid - and the sculpt and paint are very likely to appeal to any Supes fan, no matter the age.

Value - ***
DC Direct seems to be doing better with their price points, particularly with some slightly larger chain stores like Media Play picking these up.  I'm assuming you pay the $13 I did (actually I picked it up last week while they had their 25% off all toys sale, which might be still going on!) but if you end up getting stuck for $15 or more by your local comic store, you can knock some off this category.

Things to watch out for - 
Be careful with some of the joints.  I noticed the pins in the knee joints on mine were a little weak, and that I could break them if I overdid it.  Sort of like my own knees these days!

Overall - ***1/2
While he's not the end all, be all version of Superman, he's easily my favorite currently on my shelf.  I'm looking forward to what DC Direct does with the new sixth scale high end version they have coming out, although they're going to have to really go all out to validate the price.

The other figures in this line are also quite nice, especially Bizarro, but I simply had less interest in them.

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

Where to Buy - 
I picked mine up at Media Play, but you should be able to find him at your local comic shop as well.  Online options include:

- Krypton Collectibles has the Superman for $15, but some of the others as cheap as $8 each.

- Alter Ego Comics has the set of all five for just $50. 

- CornerStoreComics has the set for $55, or just Supes for $15.

Related Links:
If you like this, you'll probably like these:

- there are my reviews of the Hush series 3, Hush series 2, and Hush series 1, all done in a very similar art style.

- and here are some other versions of Superman, including this early DC Direct version, a Mattel version, a review of the 9" Hasbro version by me, and one by Julius Marx.

- and if you like Alex Ross, there are reviews of Kingdom Come series 1, series 2, and series 3.

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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