Smallville is the latest hit for the frog over at the WB network.  Based on Clark Kent's teenage years, before all his powers have developed and long before he was wearing the big red S, it probes such interesting topics as the loneliness of having to lie about who you are.

While the show has one or two major problems, not the least of which is its over dependency on Kryptonite mutants, in general it's well written and fun to watch.  The exlporation of the relationships between Clark and his high school sweetheart, Lana, and he and his rich buddy Lex Luthor are perhaps the highlight of the show.

DC Direct is currently shipping three action figures based on the show, and not surprisingly they are Clark, Lana and Lex.  This review is going to be a 'still in the bubble' review, since I couldn't bring myself to spend thirty six bucks on these, and instead photographed a friends. 

Packaging - **1/2
While there's nothing particularly exciting about the packaging, it's certainly adequate.  The colors are particularly well chosen - lots of blues and reds of course - and the photos look good.  There could be more text on the show, and of course they aren't collector friendly, but in general it gets a passing grade.

Sculpting - Clark ***1/2, Lana **1/2, Lex **
Now here's a real mixed bag!  They got Clark just right - the set of the jaw, the shape of the head, the eyes and nose...even the hair is fairly accurate.  Unfortunately, the same can't be said for the other two.

Lana isn't terrible, but something is  First, on all the ones I looked at (a grand total of three) her face seems crooked, as though the jaw is at an odd angle.  Second, the shape of her chin is off slightly, being more rounded than it should be.  And finally, they somehow managed to take her very unique but sweet look and make her appear much more harsh, particularly in the eyes.  I also despise the cheerleader outfit, since it is so unlike the character on the show and was abandoned by her so early on.  That's not as much a sculpting flaw as a poor design choice.

Lex is the big loser of the bunch though.  While the body sculpt is alright, both his hands and head sculpt are weak.  The hands are oversized, with a much softer appearing sculpt than Clark's.  (Lana also suffers a bit from oversized hands).  And his head sculpt is the weakest of the three, looking the least like the actor and more like a generic bald guy.  The head is too large as well, which is extremely apparent when comparing the figure to the photo included on the trading card.

Here's the bottom line - a person familiar with the show could pick up Clark and recognize him pretty easily.  It might take them a minute or two to figure out that it's Lana, but without the other two around they'd never guess this was Lex.

Paint - ***
The paint ops are pretty normal for DC Direct standards.  The colors are quite basic, and outside of the faces there's very little detail.  Clark is red and blue, Lex is wearing black, and Lana has on a colorful cheerleader outfit, but the colors are all pretty primary with no detail to the outfit.

While the clothes might not be too exciting, at least the paint application on the faces is fairly clean.  I saw a few crooked eyes and sloppy eyebrows on the figures I looked over at the comic shop, but if you've bought DC Direct figures before you know what to expect.

Articulation - **1/2
I didn't open these, so I'm using an educated guess here.  It looks like neck, cut shoulders, elbows, wrists, and waist on all three.  The waist is the one I'm not too sure about...

Lana also has thighs and knees, but she's the only one that's not a statue below the waist.  And since it looks like her skirt restricts much upper leg movement, I'm not sure that her articulation will prove all that useful.

Accessories - Clark ***1/2, Lex and Lana **1/2
This is another category that's a mixed bag.  Clark comes with three very cool and appropriate accessories - a good sized backpack, hefty chunk of green meteor rock, and an extra set of hands that are showing the effects of the kryptonite.

This is one of the few times that the extra set of hands really makes sense, and adds to the display possibilities of the figure.

Lana and Lex don't fair so well.  Lex has laptop, with a Lexcorp web page showing, and a copy of a Lexcorp Annual Report.  Meh.

Lana has two rather cheesy pom-poms, and I'm not talking about the actress here at all.  She also comes with your very own kryptonite necklace, but I doubt too many collectors will be wearing it as a fashion statement, unless that statement is "I blew all my money on toys so I can't even afford cheap fake gold jewelry".

Value - **
With DC Direct, it depends heavily on the comic shop you buy them at.  I've heard of some shops having these as cheap as $11, others as high as $15.  However, even at $11, these aren't figures that deserve that price point.  They are extremely basic, with limited articulation and only one has really good sculpting.  I suggest doing some serious shopping around for these, because I doubt they'll be flying off the shelf.

Overall - Clark ***, Lana **1/2, Lex **
I'm a very big fan of the show, and I'm pretty disappointed with the figures.  Even though Clark looks good, without anyone else on the shelf to display him with I really don't need him.  Had Lex and Lana turned out as nicely, I would have grabbed all three in a heartbeat.

Where to Buy - 
Most comic shops got them on Wednesday, but I've heard Electronics Boutiques are starting to get them already as well.  Online - 

- Convergence Comics has a great price at $9 each plus shipping, but I've heard that they might be having some issues these days. You might want to give them a call before you order. (MROTW Affiliate)

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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