DC Superheroes 2 packs
Batman/Batgirl, Clark Kent/Superman

Back in the 1980's, there was a little line called Super Powers. Manufactured by Kenner, and based on the DC cartoons of the period, it became a classic line loved by many DC action figure fans. Even now, twenty years later, some of the character representations are considered the best ever produced.

Mattel's DC Superheroes line is a nod back to that earlier series in many ways. Some aren't directly intentional. For example, because DC Direct controls the licenses around the artist specific versions of the DC characters, the DC Superhero versions are more generic, more timeless and often more classic in style and design.

The line is also helped out by the amazing talents of the Four Horsemen, who Mattel has wisely employed on this series. The Four Horsemen do some amazing work, and for another example look no further than my earlier reviews this week of the Nightmare Before Christmas figures from NECA, also done by the Four Horsemen.

Target recently released three exclusive two packs - Superman/Bizarro (which were already released as single carded figures), Superman/Clark Kent, and Batman/Batgirl. Tonight I'll be looking at the latter two, which have one new character each. You can find these at some Targets (distribution has been tremendously spotty), and they run around $15.

I'm going to focus this review on Batgirl and Clark Kent, although you'll see a couple photos of Supes and Bats for informational purposes. We've seen both these figures before, and you can find reviews of both here at the site. And yes, they are identical to the past releases, although the eyebrows on my Batman appear a bit different. I suspect he had some issues when getting pulled from the mold though, and that he wasn't supposed to look quite like that.

Packaging - **
The packaging on these two packs follows the rest of the series, with the sunburst background and bright colors. However, it loses a star off past packages because of the utterly ridiculous way the Kent and Batgirl figures are posed in the trays.

Clark appears to be hailing a taxi, and Batgirl...well, let's just say she's squatting in a rather unattractive fashion. This isn't the best way to sell either of these characters, especially Batgirl, who is a much, much better figure out of the package than she appears.

Sculpting - Batgirl ***1/2; Clark **;
Batgirl looks terrific, and most folks have been extremely happy with her. I still have a few issues, but she is certainly one of the better versions we've gotten.

One problem I noted is the heavy flashing along the mold lines. This is more common with mass market toys, but it seemed to be a particular issue for Babs, especially on the shoulder joints, thighs, and sides of the torso.

Also, she's definitely thin. Lindsey Lohan envy thin. This makes some of the joints a little weak, particularly the knees.

But on the big plus side, her head and hair sculpt is fantastic. There's some wonderful little details on the costume as well, like the thread lines on the gloves and boots, that gives the final product that something extra. Her sculpted cape also flows well, and doesn't interfere with her poseability.

Clark does not fair as well. Guys in suits are never exciting, and action figures in suits with lots of articulation never look right. It's a combination that doesn't seem to work.

Clark has a tiny head, which is fine when he's Supes, as that follows comic art, but when he's Clark, it throws things way off. He's wearing glasses, which in this scale is always a problem. They are too large for his face, but I'm betting that's no surprise. The ball jointed shoulders look odd with the wide suit coat, the pant legs appear tight and short, and his forearms are disproportionately long. He also has that weird transmographing disease, in which he apparently takes off the suit coat and his chest doubles in size, since Clark is much thinner than Superman.

But, it's still nice to have a Clark in the display, even if he's pretty much on par with the Clark Kent from the Super Powers line 20 years ago.

Paint - Batgirl ***1/2; Kent ***
Batgirl has a few imperfections, but considering she's a mass market toy, they are very few. There's a little bleed around the mask onto the face, where the cut between colors isn't quite as sharp as I'd like, and there's a few stray marks here and there. But overall she's far above average for an action figure bought at a major retailer for just a few bucks.

I'm particularly impressed with the work around her eyes, and the restraint shown by Mattel when it came to any paint wash on the boots or gloves. They went a bit nuts with Batman, but Batgirl has only enough to show off the smallest details - not look like she's been wrestling in the mud. Although that's not such a bad visual either, I suppose.

Clark is decent as well, with fairly good cuts and only a little slop. There's more here than on Batgirl, and the face work isn't as impressive, but he's still above average when you look at the other stuff hanging on the pegs at Target.

Articulation - Batgirl ***1/2; Kent ***
This overall line has some great articulation, and both these figures are better than average. And Batgirl is even better than that.

Clark's articulation is all there, but doesn't work particularly well with the sculpt. There's a ball jointed neck with some limited movement forward and backward, ball jointed shoulders, cut biceps and thighs, pin elbows, knees and ankles, and ball jointed hips that are the funky style similar to the rest of the series. While there's a lot of these joints, I found that they provided a lot less posing potential than you'd expect.

Batgirl was the complete opposite. She also has a ball jointed neck, but it's pretty much restricted to a cut joint by the hair. She has ball jointed shoulders (with the joint on both sides of the ball), pin elbows, ankles and knees, cuts at the top of the gloves, and the mid-chest joint. Oh, and she does have those funky hip joints that most of the superheroes in this line sport. The articulation works well together, and you can get some terrific poses. I did have some early trouble with the right knee pin being warped out of the package, but it corrected itself pretty well over time.

One problem that some folks may have is with the appearance of the hip joints. Because she's so thin, these odd (but useful) hip joints tend to look pretty funky when she has any sort of wide stance. It's best not to spend too much time staring at her crotch.

Also, a cut waist would have been nice, allowing her to turn slightly to the side. Still, she's far better than most mass market toys, and it's nice to see Mattel following in the footsteps of Marvel Legends while trying to improve on the articulation model.

Accessories -  Batgirl **1/2; Kent *1/2
Clark Kent's glasses are not removable - probably a smart idea, since little Billy would lose them in record time - so they don't count in this category. His only accessory is a file folder. It's not even a sexy file folder, stamped with "TOP SECRET" or packed with paper. It's just an empty, flat, unlabeled file folder. And here I thought the clipboards that came with the WOS figures were the most boring accessories ever.

Batgirl does a little better, since she gets a batarang. It's sculpted in a good scale, and it fits in her right hand better than it did with the series 3 Batman. And yes, I believe this 'rang matches one of his, but I haven't checked closely to be sure.

Fun Factor - Batgirl ***1/2; Kent ***
These are toys first, which for me are really the best action figures. This line proves nicely that you can have great articulation AND great sculpts, and that a toy can both be fun to play with and terrific to look at on the shelf. I'm hoping that this series continues through many more series, and we start to see a greater diversity in characters.

If you know a kid that loves Supes or Bats and doesn't yet own any of these, the two packs are a fantastic way to get them into the series.

Value - ***1/2 if you need the second figure; ** if you don't.
A usual DC Superhero sells for around $8 these days. That's a solid *** value on the current market. Now you're getting two figures for $15, even less, making this a terrific deal IF you don't already own the Superman and Batman. If you do, you can snag a whole bunch off the score here right quick.

Things to Watch Out For - 
You'll find mass market paint jobs here, so they tend to be consistent if not always perfect. Other than trying to find the best application, there's not much to worry about. I did have one of the Batgirl knees bent in the package in such a way that it caused the pin to deform a bit, so watch out for any that are at an odd angle in the tray.

Overall - Batgirl ***1/2; Clark Kent **1/2
Batgirl is the winner out of all three two packs, and the only figure worth ponying up the price tag for even if you have her companion Batman. You can't guarantee when or even if we'll see her single carded, so it might be a good idea to just bite the bullet and spend the extra $7 now. Hey, you can always give the Batman to a neighbor kid - or in my case, your own kid. They'll love you for it.

And while Clark isn't in the same ball park as Babs, he's a decent addition to the shelf. Of course, we really need a Bruce to go with him, and if they do any further 'guys in suits', I'm hoping they try to balance the articulation against the sculpt a little better. Seeing Clark reinforces the idea that putting Lex in a funky space suit was a good idea.

Score Recap:
Packaging - **1/2
Sculpt - Batgirl ***1/2; Kent **
Paint - Batgirl ***1/2; Kent ***
Articulation - Batgirl ***1/2; Kent ***
Accessories - Batgirl **1/2; Kent *1/2
Fun Factor - Batgirl ***1/2; Kent ***
Value -  ***1/2 if you need the second figure; ** if you don't.
Overall - Batgirl ***1/2; Clark Kent **1/2

Where to Buy - 
Target is the place to be. Expect to pay $15 for the two packs.

Related Links:
I've covered quite a bit of the line so far:

- last up was the 12" version of the smaller Batman.

- in this smaller line, the third series was Superman themed, with Brainiac and Darkseid. I have yet to find Lex Luthor though! 

- there's the guest review of series 3 Batman and Azrael.

- a guest review of series 2 Doomsday, and another of the series 2 Superman.

- my review of the series 2 Bizarro and Supergirl.

- my review of the Batman and Killer Croc from wave 1.

- and finally, my review of Bane and Scarecrow that were released internationally as part of the old Mattel line, and then re-released with wave 1 of the DCSH.

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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