Toys / Comics to Toys / DCDirect

Modern Superman Action Figure

By Hervé St-Louis
April 5, 2003 - 11:37



The Modern Age Superman from DCDirect is the ultimate and most successful figure ever from the manufacturer, however, it is seriously flawed. DC Direct should have paid more attention to the quality of and production of this figure because it will probably be many collector's first item from the line. If DC's most visible character is so poorly produced, new fans will wonder about the rest of the line.

The figure looks very much like the Superman in the comics. Compared with the Silver Age version, it is more muscular and has a younger face. This Superman is a real bodybuilder and looks like a power house. Just like in the comics, his cape is longer. His shield is larger. This Superman feels like a superman.

The sculpt is good, though serious design flaws hurt the look of the figure. This Superman is beefier than most DC Direct figures released so far, including the Martian Manhunter and Eclipso. Whereas the latter have muscles as detailed as Marvel Legends figures, their limbs are longer. For example, Superman's upper arms are shorter and stockier.


However, Superman's legs are longer than either Eclipso or J'onn. The legs would have fitted perfectly with the figure, had DC Direct decided to market the original sculpt of the figure which had six packs abs instead of four. If you look closely at your figure, you will notice that DC literally chopped the lower abs of the figure. This looks awkward, especially on the obliques.

The upper obliques of the figure connect directly to Superman's waist. Considering the height of the figure, had he kept his lower abs, he would have been taller than J'onn and most figures. It is also possible that DCDirect thought that the proportions of the character would be better that way. Well they aren't. As mentioned the diminished mid section of the figure look out of proportions with his legs.

The other major problem with this figure is the bent right leg. His knee looks twisted. The word on the Internet is that the packaging created the bent in the figure's leg. This is the first time such a thing has happened with a DC Direct figure. Apparently, the Superfriends' Superman has the same problem. I believe the cause is probably in the cast of the figure. Superman stands like a pirate with a wooden leg.

The bent leg causes some great problems when trying to pose the figure. Superman likes to fall. In fact, he falls as much as the Silver Age version. Even when used with his stand, he will fall. This takes away from the coolness factor of the figure. Superman's weak ankles don't help.


This Superman has more articulation than any other DCDirect action figure released previously, including the Silver Age Superman's 16. I counted 20 points of articulation. The articulations are better integrated within the figure than the first Superman or anything produced by Marvel Legends. They are tight enough except the ankles. They are very loose, even when not used much.

Superman has articulations in his thighs, biceps and a nifty double wrist articulation. His hands can go limp and twist simultaneously. His head can look in many directions, better than Barry Allen's or Kid Flash's. Even his waist can twist.

There are no paint blemishes. The figure has one base colour without any highlights or shading. For Superman, this is fine. The only minor criticism is the weird trimming job on the hair line in the back. The Robin figure had the same. Since Superman's neck is so thick, the back of his head reminded me of Fred Flintstone. One of my Superman's feet has some varnish. The other doesn't. This is odd.

If your favourite version of Superman is big and imposing, this figure is perfect for you. It is much taller than the Silver Age version whose height was just about six inches. The new Superman towers most of Justice Leagues figures, except J'onn, who is his equal. The Birds of Prey Black Canary reaches him just above the shoulders. Robin does not. The younger Kid Flash barely scraps his pectorals.

Superman comes with a Superman-styled shield stand. The stand is useless since the figure will fall nonetheless. In fact, keeping the figure there may prematurely weaken the ankles because they stay put while the rest of the figure falls. Superman's cape is in soft plastic. Which is great and a better idea than the interchangeable capes the Silver Age Superman had.


For the packaging, DCDirect went back to the bubble cards. This is better for the environment. DC Direct didn't use the boring checkered pattern they've had since last year on new figures. Behind Superman, there is an exploding Krypton. The back of the card has a new layout promoting other figures from the line.

The cost of this figure is the standard single action figure cost. Again, I have issues with DCDirect's lack of clear pricing. Since DCDirect has sold out all its Superman figures, one can already feel the scalpers lurking in trying to buy off all remaining stocks to sell them on Ebay. I almost didn't get my copy, though, I ordered it six months ago.

It is not sure if DC Direct will release this figure soon again, even if it is a best seller. The manufacturer is reusing the sculpt for a JLA Superman with a different head. Perhaps they will wait for the JLA version to sell before releasing the Modern Age version again. Hopefully, DC Direct will fix Superman's crooked leg in the next releases. If you are new to DC Direct, the rule is to buy now if you want it. Don't wait.

Update February 6 2005:
This figure has sold out from Diamond Comics, the exclusive distributor of this action figure. The JLA variant is still available.


Rating: 7.5 /10

Last Updated: August 31, 2023 - 08:12

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