Cyborg Superman

If you want to take something that's already cool and make it cooler, it's really quite simple - roboticize it! Godzilla is cool...but Mecha Godzilla is even cooler! Hey, Jamie Summers was an attractive enough woman before they added the extra parts, but once she was bionic she was amazing. And everybody loves chickens, but who can argue that Robot Chicken is even better?

So what to do with Superman...he's already pretty damn cool. Oh, he's no Batman, but he's still the Man of Steel. How's about we actually make him out of steel? And there you have Cyborg Superman!

Okay, so he's not really Superman, but rather Hank Henshaw. He's a villain of course, and hates the real Superman as you'd expect. How Hank actually ended up in this cyborg form of Supes is rather complicated, but it was part of the Reign of Supermen story line after Superman was killed by Doomsday.

The beauty of slapping some chrome on Supes is that you don't have to know why to see just how damn cool it looks. There has been plans to include a Cyborg Superman in the DC Superheroes line up, but he's not made it into the regular rotation yet. However, the '2 up' version of him in the 12" Mattel line has made it out, and is hitting Toys R Us stores right now along with the repainted Batman.

Packaging - **1/2
The boxes don't do a ton for me, but on the plus side these are no longer the yellow, but the blue and black deco. I certainly prefer that, and they show off the figure well enough on the shelf, but you'll have to utterly destroy them to get the figure out so the MIBers are stiffed.

Sculpting - ***1/2
With the previous figures in this line (only Superman and Batman so far), we had already seen the sculpts in the smaller 6" line. This guy hasn't yet made it out in that format, so this is a new sculpt to us.

And it's a great one too, showing off the fine work of the Four Horsemen. There's lots of detail here, even for a mass market item, and the cybernetic appearance of the skull looks terrific. Getting the face to look right was a challenge, since part of it is covered by 'skin', but they did it extremely well and in a manner that is quite realistic. This work is as good as much of what we get in the superhero specialty market.

The hands are both sculpted in fists, which is appropriate to the character (and lack of accessories). The lack of lower body articulation means he can really only stand in one pose, but fortunately the sculpted pose works well. There's no issues with his center of gravity, and the stance is heroic without being goofy.

Paint - ***1/2
The paint is perhaps the most impressive part of this figure, considering it's a mass market item.

The basic blues, reds and yellows that we've come to know and love on his outfit are all fairly clean and consistent. There's a little issue on the torso with the blue being slightly uneven in coverage, but it's pretty minor. There are also a few slightly sloppy cuts on the uniform, but for a mass market item, it's well above average in quality.

The steel sections are very well done, with a nice air brushing of a darker gray to give these sections a very realistic metal appearance, and a shadowing that brings out the details extremely well. It really makes this figure stand out from the pack, and that's going to be a big selling point for him.

I do want to mention the human looking right eye though. It's painted to be looking through the lid, as if his head is tilted downward when he's staring at you, or he's looking up at something. This works well if you're slightly above him when you're looking at him, and you have the head tilted down a bit, but if you're even with him, it looks a little odd. It's something to consider when you're putting him on the shelf.

Articulation - **1/2
These aren't like the Marvel Legends Icons - they aren't super articulated. Just calling them articulated is a bit of a stretch, but what's here does work well.

The neck is a ball joint, although it's a little restricted. He can look up, down, side to side and tilt, but only a little. Still, it's world's better than a simple cut joint, and the tilt downward pose is useful since his one human appearing eye is looking upward.

He has ball jointed shoulders and these work well, even with the rotocast arms and torso. There's pin elbows and knees, and cut hips and waist. He's not going to do much from the waist down other than the basic standing pose, but at least he can stay standing without much effort.

Accessories - **
Supes, even the evil Cyborg version, isn't really a guy well suited to a ton of accessories. There's the bent I beam or hunk of Kryptonite, and that's about it. So the fact that this guy doesn't come with anything outside of the base isn't a huge surprise.

The base is the same one from the first Superman release I believe (although I never forked over the cash for that one). It looks good, and the two pets ine up nicely with his feet. While he doesn't need it to stand, it does add something to the display.

Fun Factor - ***
He's not super articulated, but he's still a fun action figure. The packaging proclaims that this line is some sort of ultimate second coming for collectors, but the reality is that kids would have fun with these guys. They're well built and can stand up to play, and have enough articulation to battle. The joints are tight enough to stand well though, and will probably last for some time.

Value - **
I've been pretty vocal in my disappointment with the price point on this series. Hasbro is still doing the 12" Marvel Icons, and they're still running at the $20 mark. These guys shouldn't be more than $20 either, even with arguably better sculpts and paint. They don't have as much articulation, and they are rotocast as well.

However, on the previous Bats I gave a half star lower in this category. The thing that does bump this one up *slightyly* is the exclusivity. That means (theoretically at least) a lower production run, resulting generally in a higher cost. Since he's not just some simple repaint but a new sculpt (especially since we don't know if we'll ever see the 6" version for sure), that helps soften the cost.

Things to Watch Out For - 

Overall - ***
I'm still not at all happy about the price tag on these figures. These are a good $10 too much, especially since the sculpts are 're-used' (although new molds are needed for the different sizes).

But the quality of this figure takes the line a big step forward, and I have to say that he really is worth buying. Now if we can just get some of the other better DCSH 6" figures in this format - how's about a Mongul or Darkseid? Now that would be fantastic!

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

Where to Buy -
This guy is a Toys R Us exclusive, so that's the place to find him!

Related Links -
I reviewed the first Batman from this '2 up' series awhile back. 

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

This page copyright 2003, Michael Crawford. All rights reserved. Hosted by 1 Hour