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DC Direct Return of Superman
by Rustin Parr

For my money this is certainly the most ridiculous and most... "don't ask, don't tell" comicbook costume ever. Is it the gloves with the big folded over cuffs? The two belts? The leather jacket? The earring? The hair style? I can't really say... but what I can say is that Sssssuperboy actually turned out to be a decent figure.

Superboy Kon-El - better known to the world as Superboy - was created by Cadmus Labs using a blend of DNA taken from Superman and human subjects. His powers are based around tactile telekinesis that allows him flight, superhuman strength, and invulnerability.

Aesthetic opinions aside, the sculpt is pretty solid. Good proportions, nice wrinkle work, well-detailed hair, and a sculpted-in "S" logo, a big plus in my book. The coat is hard plastic that's all part of the same mold as the torso - no PVC overlay here, unlike so many figures. A nice touch is that the little built-in belt thingies on the coat are cast in soft PVC, which makes them seem nice and realistic. The left side belt even has holes sculpted in it!

The Kid's got 17 points of articulation: (slightly ball-jointed) head, (DCD style) ball-jointed shoulders, biceps, elbows, wrists, hips, thighs, knees, and ankles. The only really real problem here is the head: it doesn't tilt back at all, only tilts forward slightly, and can turn a full 360 degrees, as with regular articulation. I ask you, what's the point of a "balljointed" neck, especially on a figure of a character that flies, when the head can't tilt back? I mean, Superman's head tilts all the way back, and that's half of what makes him so cool!

Supersmug Superboy's face does look appropriately childish - he's got a smirk on his face, and that haircut... which is oh so "early '90s tough-guy wannabe"... is painted well. To show the shaved patch, DC painted it grey. And yes, the glasses are removable; they stay on surprisingly well without any tabs or pegs, relying only on friction to hold them in place.

Nice S When the young Super-clone was broken out of Cadmus, he didn't have a cape - he left it in tattered shreds in his holding tank (though why they were growing the clone in his costume is never explained). He was given the leather jacket to help hide his bright read and blue outfit, and only added the "S" insignia to the back later. Instead of just painting the yellow logo on the jacket, DC had it sculpted on, just like the other guys' capes.

The paint is overall pretty good, but mine has several little slip-ups, most noticeably on the "S" logo, the jacket zippers and around the boots. Another nice little thing that shows DCD will also cram as much as they can into their figures, all the belt buckles are painted gold, even on the yellow bands/belts. It's a detail that you wouldn't even miss if it wasn't there, but very cool of them to do.

RED?! You bastards!

So as far as accessories go, you've got the glasses and then the big S-shield logo base shared by all ten figures in this Superman sub-line. Only about 1/4" thick, the base still has a nice heft to it, giving it enough weight to keep the figure from falling over. For some ungodly reason, DCD decided to screw us over and do the four new figures red bases, as opposed to the blue bases from the first two. I'm sure it was to create a mini-brand and draw the line together, but what about the Cyborg Superman from series 2? He's on a blue base. Same with Doomsday. Basically all they did was ruin the display.

If you like Superboy, then you'll never do better than this figure; it's a better toy than his goofy design deserves. I've never actually read the "Return of Superman" story/ies so I can't really comment as far as that goes, but this is a very solid figure that I am ultimately happy to own... even though this costume... what were they thinking!? Is this how DC viewed the youth of the '90s? No wonder comics took a nosedive then.

Did you like this Superboy costume, or were you glad to see it go? Tell us on our message board, The Loafing Lounge.


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