DC Collectibles’ excellent line of figures based on Bruce Timm’s Batman: The Animated Series designs finally gets a Superman, with a Lois Lane too. Earlier this month, DC released Superman: The Animated Series #1: Superman & Lois Lane. The set continues DC’s ongoing trend of releasing the animated figures in multi-packs rather than individually, but unlike the Batman sets, this one is severely lacking in the accessories department.
If you’ve been buying the Batman: TAS figures, you should be familiar with the style of packaging. The two figures come in a relatively collector friendly box that includes a useful tray for the extra sets of hands. You do have to slice open some tape and there are annoying twistie-ties, but you can still pack the figures in the box for storage. The artwork is also wonderful, featuring a background with Superman that could be used for a nice display.
Superman and Lois keep up the good quality that recent Batman: TAS figures have had. The early figures were incredibly fragile, and the articulation was weirdly engineered. More recent figures, like the Joker from The New Batman Adventures, have been much better built. When you pick them up, they don’t feel like they’re going to break. That trend continues with the Man of Steel and the Daily Planet’s star reporter. Therefore, the sculpts of the figures themselves are the biggest plus of the set. They both look wonderful next to the Batman: TAS figures. Sculptor Irene Matar perfectly translates the 2D images to 3D with perfection.
However, all the figures in this collection still have wonky articulation, proving that Timm’s designs weren’t meant to be used for super-articulated action figures. Lois’ articulation is great, but Superman’s is sadly restrictive. He has no ab-crunch joint and his ball-joint neck can’t look up far enough to make it look like he’s flying. He doesn’t have ball-joined ankles, so you really can’t get creative standing poses.
And now for the most disappointing aspect of the set: accessories. All those extra hands – six for each figure (plus the seventh they come wearing) – are cool, but they have nothing to hold. I can live with Superman not coming with anything, but Lois should at least have a notepad or a copy of the Daily Planet. The Batman: TAS figures typically come with everything you could imagine from a particular episode, but DC dropped the ball here. There are two stands that are similar to the ones Batman: TAS figures come with, complete with the turnaround printed on the base. You need it to get Lois to stand, but there are ways to pose Superman so he can stand freely.
What makes the lack of accessories hurt even more is that there were no Superman: TAS figures shown at San Diego Comic-Con, meaning that it is very likely that this set will be the only one from that series. I get that Superman: TAS isn’t as beloved as the Batman series, but you can’t tell me it wouldn’t be cool to have Bruce Timm-style figures of the Fourth World characters or a Bizarro figure. Personally, I want Bibbo and Mister Mxyzptlk.
Overall, the set has a “ho-hum” feeling about it. As if the DC Collectibles team collectively groaned as they said, “I guess we better make an animated Superman figure.” At $55, it’s a steep price, even if individual Batman: TAS figures are now retailing $28 a piece. These figures will look great on a shelf with the other animated figures because the sculpts are fantastic, but without knowing if you’ll ever get an animated Lex Luthor to go with him, they’ll stick out like a Big Blue thumb next to Batman and the Joker.