(Commence PART 1) These two guys are from the DC Classics Superheroes 2-Pack of Superman vs Parasite (obviously). They were released in 2010 for a retail price of 34.99 USD (give or take).
Okay, these being Mattel’s DC figures, you’ll probably know what to expect if you’ve already collected any other figure from this line. Much like Hasbro’s Marvel Universe line, there’s a huge re-use of parts and shared engineering in this line.
Superman is well represented in this toy form. It’s not any particular Superman to my knowledge, but captures a generic sense of Supermanality. He feels like a Superman you’d see appearing in the background in the middle of a Green Lantern Corps story or a member of the Justice League in a Batman comic. In other words, he’s a “generic” Superman, not meant to look especially powerful or noble but nor is he spotting some damn hippie mullet. If you need a Superman on your shelf, this is your guy. That said, aside from his head sculpt and maybe the cape, he’s not particularly distinctly Superman. It’s a natural consequence of mold re-use that you’re going to end up with a lot of generic bodies who are primarily differentiated by their paint jobs, but oh well, in Superman’s case, that’s alright. As the standard bearer of super heroes, Superman isn’t exactly known for having a lot minute details as signatures of his design. The most important things about Supes are the colors, his emblem, the cape and the hair. And this guy has ‘em all.
In contrast, Parasite is a more distinct looking figure. Being an upper B-Tier enemy of Superman, Parasite isn’t as bound by tradition and signature appearances as Superman is. In this case, they’ve opted for a monstrous look for the guy, which is cool. He’s obviously supposed to be hunched over, and that helps a lot in the unique silhouette department as well. The thing that further puts Parasite on the opposite end of the DCUC spectrum is that he’s got those minute details that Supes is missing. Where Superman’s suit is very clean with no creases or folds anywhere, Parasite has bits of wrinkled surfaces and exposed veins that help to further set him apart from Supes and add value to getting this set. Another cool thing about Parasite’s relative lack of fame or signature appearance is that if you’re buying any of the modern action figures that are available, he’d make a good generic monster or villain for them to combat.
The paint job on both figures are good. They’ve got clean lines overall and Parasite has slightly more obvious shading than Supes.
Articulation is also standard DCUC. They’ve both got all the basic points of articulation and are pleasantly unrestricted by their bulky muscles. Superman’s cape doesn’t get in the way of his arms and his legs don’t have enough backward movement where the cape would be an issue anyway. Otherwise, both are well articulated, although both have somewhat weakish right ankles on mine (easily fixable with some clear nail polish).
In terms of accessories, there’s none. You just get these two figures with this pack.
Overall, I paid about 20+ USD for this set. For that price, I’m satisfied. No geek’s shelf can be complete without a Superman, so if you’re like me and you didn’t have a decent Supes before, this guy can fit the bill. Parasite’s just an add-on really, but as an add-on, he’s pretty decent. I wouldn’t recommend these guys at their original retail price though. (Commence PART 2) And in all honesty, DCUC and it’s current descendants are archaic compared to modern action figures. On the western market end of things, we’ve got Marvel Universe and the new Marvel Legends, which have done away with the weakness of the old Marvel Legends where they were over riddled with joint seams. Now modern western action figures have adopted the DCUC style of more balanced ratios between sculpt and articulation. Compared to those guys, Superman and Parasite (Superman especially), look terrible whenever certain joints are used. In particular the elbows and knees, which will see the sculpt be “broken” when they’re bent. And then of course, there’s the almost crippling hips joint which makes all DCUC figures look like crap when you spread their legs.
And hey, that’s just compared to the western market toys. Until like, around 5 years ago, the Japanese market was basically all statues. They had some articulated stuff, but those were either riddled with problems or weren’t affordable for the average consumer. Now we have stuff like the Super Imaginative Chogokins which have finally solved their durability problem, and of course, stuff like S.H. Figuarts. Both of which put DCUC to shame in terms of details, hidden jointage and articulation.
But hey, this is still a Superman/Parasite review. The off tangent isn’t really so much to criticize DCUC so much as to set some background. The point is, do these two still have a place in a modern collection? The answer is yes, but here’s the funny thing; in part 1 of this review, I mentioned how Superman has less minute details than Parasite. Yet, in a modern display, this makes Supes fit in moreso than Parasite. Supes’ clean look leaves him looking classical, especially since he IS the Super-f’in’-Man. Parasite on the other hand, despite having more detail than Supes, ends up looking under-detailed compared to a modern figure. Even the smaller scale figures like Marvel Universe or G.I. Joe have way more details than Parasite, leaving him looking somewhat out of place if he’s surrounded by modern stuff.
Despite this, both still have a place even in a modern collection. There may soon come a time when these two will look too archaic to fit in, but for now, they still work. Superman in particular, still works well despite his relatively larger size. Figures are getting smaller these days, but Superman is Superman. Him being taller can still work. Among modern Marvel figures such as the Ironman line, he’s a big guy, because he’s Super-flippin’-man. With S.H. Figuarts, he’s a tall westerner amongst short easterners. Meanwhile, Parasite works as a kaijin.
So again, these two are still worth it. If you can get this 2-pack for cheap, grab ‘em. Just don’t pay full prices for them unless you really really need a Superman for your collection.