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Kingdom Come Superman

DC Multiverse
by yo go re

While we wait for the mailman to bring us the new McFarlane DC figures, there are still plenty of Mattel leftovers to cover.

Having spent ten years in solitude, Superman returns to fights for justice in a new disinterested and indecent planet.

Although the front of the packaging simply refers to this as "Superman," the back has the good common sense to specifically identify him as "DC Comics Kingdom Come Superman." A little wordy, yes, but it's accurate. Kingdom Come was the 1996 Elseworlds story created by Mark Waid and Alex Ross; set a decade into the future of the DCU, the story finds the familiar heroes being replaced by a new, more violent generation, one ready to kill their enemies if need be; feeling he has no place in this world, Kal-El retires to the Fortress of Solitude, until a major catastrophe caused by the heroes convinces him he needs to come back and be a leader and a symbol of hope once again.

There has been a Kingdom Come Superman before, but it was from DC Direct in the early 2000s, which meant it had a terrific sculpt but was too big and had almost zero articulation. If nothing else, this one fixes that last problem, because it shares its sculpt with existing figures. On one hand, that's good, because it means he's not a glorified statue, but on the other hand it's bad because KC Supes was an older man with an older body, so while he was big and thick, he wasn't this defined. Even when he came to visit the "real" DC Universe, he was drawn to look like Alex Ross's softer art. This is a nice sculpt, but it doesn't suit the character it's supposed to be.

The head is new, at least, and it does show some age - not as much as it should, judging by the Alex Ross art on the back of the box, but it does at least look slightly older than the average Superman toy. Now, it should really be a bit thicker across the jaw, but then it might have looked out of place on this utterly ripped body.

The paint is (mostly) good: the blue of the suit is dark, and his logo has been redesigned to more of a graphic element than just a large typographical S in a shield. The top and bottom of the S are cut off by the borders of the shield, leaving just a slash across his chest, and the background is black rather than yellow, because he's in mourning. The logo should really be wider/larger, but this is the best they could do without worrying about how the joints would affect it. What really stands out as missing is the grey in his hair - the entire head seems to be painted with some highlights, but he should really have some Reed Richards-style gray streaks on his temples.

The figure moves at the head, shoulders, biceps, elbows, wrists, chest, waist, hips, thighs, knees, and ankles. As always, the head can barely look up or down, but why would you want that from a character who's known for flying? His cape is PVC, so it will hang straight down behind his shoulders no matter what way you pose him. You do get your choice of fists or open, flat hands for him, so that's nice. What other accessories could he really have used? A hand open wide enough to wrap around Shazam's face? Superman isn't really an "accessories" guy, not even 10 years from now.

He does include some Build-A-Figure pieces, though. The BAF is Lobo, and Supes has the chest, vest, and necklace. Not bad. The necklace is the only thing in the package tied to the tray; was Mattel expecting people to try to steal just that? Big demand in the aftermarket for Lobo necklaces, is there?

When DCD's Kingdom Come Superman was released in 2003, it cost about $20; when Mattel's was released in 2019, it also cost about $20. Inflation may be a pain, but there's no question Mattel delivered a better toy for the money. Not a better representation of the character in the comics, but a better toy. To make him more comic-accurate would have required an entirely new mold, and at the end, no one probably cared enough to make the effort.

-- 03/04/20

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