REVIEW: ADVANCE REVIEW: Kotobukiya DC Comics Superman Classic Costume ARTFX+ Statue

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    Jan 2007
    Southern California

    ADVANCE REVIEW: Kotobukiya DC Comics Superman Classic Costume ARTFX+ Statue

    This Isn’t Your Father’s Super Powers Figure...

    Retro is certainly in when it comes to toys and collectibles these days, and depending on your age and level of nostalgia for yesteryear your mileage will vary. More than anything else the 80s are back in a big way, especially the 3 ¾ inch scale figures we all loved... and while some lines like ReAction and others continue that scale with new characters, others reproduce classic figures in new styles and scales. One of those is a brand new lineup from Kotobukiya. Joining their 1/10 scale ARTFX+ Statue series are DC Comics Classics, designed to remind you of the old Kenner Super Powers figures. And of course, there’s no one better to start with the Man of Steel himself, Superman! Read on as we take a look at this new statue that’ll be in stores very soon.

    To toy collectors the Super Powers influences on this new lineup are apparent from the very first glance at the packaging. Superman comes in a box and not on a card, but Kotobukiya has gone to great lengths to make the artwork and design reminiscent and evocative of the old Kenner card backs. In fact, the package is designed to look like a jumbo version of the old card on the front and back with all of the same great iconography and artwork of the titles and character art; there’s even an “unpunched hook” at the top of the front panel! Where there was once a plastic bubble holding the action figure is now a photograph of the new statue, and of course there are added Koto and ARTFX+ icons.

    The back panel recreates the original card’s layout with a “Collect Them All!” section showing off upcoming statues in this line, information about the Classic line and Superman, and a couple small details showing off its special features. As an added bonus, the sides of the box look like a peek into a case of Super Powers figures with three Supermen in a row!

    A few twisty ties later and Superman is free to stand tall in your display. Rather than sticking to the exact look of the original Super Powers action figure (which as we all know is pretty dated unless you’re going 100% for that retro style), Kotobukiya has updated this line with modern sculpts that are reminiscent of their source material. This Man of Steel, then, has much better proportions and is far more lifelike than the toy, with a very detailed sculpt by Atelier Bamboo. The non-articulated statue stands just under 8 inches tall in the 1/10th ARTFX+ scale rather than the traditional 3 ¾ inches.

    While it may not look exactly like the 80s toy, everything about this statue is pure Superman from his spit curl to his classic costume (with red trunks), body type, pose, etc. Clark stands in a typical “action figure pose,” feet slightly more than shoulder width apart and hands balled into fists at his sides. There’s a slight tilt downward to Superman’s head as though he’s looking down at his enemies or watching over those who need his protection; this may be a specifically Japanese aesthetic as the previous New 52 ARTFX+ Superman had a similar nod. The Man of Steel is muscular but not Ed McGuinness-huge, and his skintight costume is accented with the subtle belt, layered boots, and some creases. Supes has a good portrait that I think looks best in ¾ views and has a great profile. You’ll notice that the callbacks to the original figure even include joint lines in the sculpt, but there is zero articulation on this statue - they’re just for show. Draped down Superman’s back is a real cloth cape that’s emblazoned with his “S” symbol as well, just like the original action figure.

    Despite some companies and products over the years proving this wrong, it shouldn’t be hard to get the paint and colors right on a Superman statue. This new ARTFX+ version is spot on with the classic bright blue, red, and yellow that has been iconic for so many years. It’s a simple but highly visually effective presentation that draws your eye to details like the “S” shield on Superman’s mighty chest and the yellow belt with red loops over his trunks. There’s not too much else to say about the paint work on this statue; Clark’s skin tone is appropriately light, his eyes blue, and his hair black. Again, all as it should be. The paint applications are very clean and nothing was out of place.

    There were a couple things that made the Super Powers Superman figure stand out, with hallmarks of the line like a cloth cape and the iconic “Power Action” feature. The latter, in Superman’s case, was a “Power Action Punch” activated by squeezing together the figure’s legs. Now, the ARTFX+ statue is non-articulated, so there’s no squeezing legs or wildly swinging arms, but Kotobukiya replicated the idea of the super-punch with an alternate arm! The right arms pop out and slide in easily, and the punch version is one piece that includes three distinct arms connected by a motion blur trail as Superman’s fist flies upward into action! I’ll probably display my Superman with the standard arm for the most part, but it’ll be fun to switch it up every so often for a more dynamic look.

    The photos really tell the story of this cool statue, bringing back a specific, classic, and timeless look for the Man of Steel. If you’re a fan of the Super Powers style or a collector of everything Superman you’ll definitely want to check out this new ARTFX+ version. In addition to the nostalgia factor it’s just a really nice looking statue, made even more unique by its sculpted “articulation,” cloth cape, and optional power punch arm. Best of all, the 1/10 Superman is only $29.99 (MSRP), making him very affordable and not that much more than the price of many new 6 or 7 inch scale action figures. Superman will be out in late August or September at retailers online or near you, and he’ll be followed in succession by other DC greats like Flash, Green Lantern, Batman, Robin, and more. Hopefully Kotobukiya will get to all of the characters released in the original Super Powers line, and even beyond!

    All Photos by Scott Rubin

    Review Sample Courtesy of Kotobukiya

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