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DC Direct: "Last Son"
by yo go re

When director Richard Donner started writing Action Comics for DC, his first storyarc seemed to draw a lot from the Superman movies. Like Superman Returns, Clark found himself with an unexpected son. And like Superman II, he was facing a trio of escaped prisoners who all had the same powers that he did.

Ursa A hater of all men other than General Zod, Ursa emerges from the Phantom Zone ready for revenge against Superman, even if it means exploiting her own son.

The whole "hater of all men" thing is a weird character trait to mention, but it's taken directly from her appearances in the first two Superman movies. Of course, since those were planned in the late '70s, it almost seems like some kind of weird attack on feminists. Maybe we're just reading too much into it.

Unlike Zod, Ursa wasn't a character from the comics. She and the mute Non were created for the movies, though she is at least similar to an existing Kryptonian named Faora. She was referenced in JSA Classified #3 as part of a hallucination, but now we have the real thing.

sleepy The criminals who escaped from the Phantom Zone all seem to be wearing the Kryptonian equivalent of prison uniforms: two-tone grey footie pajamas with a neckline that cuts down below the left arm, worn beneath a hooded trenchcoat with a light gray interior. The fact that the uniform is slightly baggy gives Ursa a much different look than the typical comicbook woman in skintight clothes. It's still feminine, but not exploitative.

In much the same way that the redesigned General Zod darn cute for a man-hater looked like Terrence Stamp, Ursa looks like Sarah Douglas. Well, without the Columbia make-up job. Her haircut has been updated, so she looks a bit more modern, but it's still close to what was seen in the movie. Rather than being a completely separate piece, the sides of her Phantom Zone goggles are sculpted onto her cheeks, with just the front glued in place. Maybe they thought putting full glasses on her would make her face look too wide?

aye-aye! The paint could use some work. The edges between the colors on the suit are sculpted in, so they're all fine - the problem is with the light lining of her coat. It spills over the sides onto the darker sections randomly, making a very uneven edge. The Kryptonian symbol on her chest (and on her throat, as well) is painted cripsly, so that's good, at least. Really, everything is fine - it's just the coat.

At 6½" tall, Ursa moves at the knees, hips, wrists, elbows, she can fly! shoulders and neck. Her neck, thankfully, is a balljoint, even though it can't quite tip back far enough for a good flying pose. Her left hip is loose, but not in the usual way - it turns just fine, but the peg is wobbly, and doesn't want to stay in place. And because of a quirk of the sculpt, her feet won't both rest flat on the ground at the same time - she ends up with about ½" of air beneath the foot.

It's a good thing, then, that the "Last Son" figures all include display stands. Chris Kent The 5¼" x 3½" base is Superman's S-shield, though that hardly seems right, since three quarters of this series are his enemies. Still, what else were they going to be? Like Zod, Ursa has no accessories - it's a shame, because it really would have been cool to get her son, Lor-Zod. Maybe they could have done a two-piece BAF, split between Ursa and Zod. Or maybe they're waiting to give us a Lois/Christopher Kent two-pack if we get a "Last Son" Series 2.

Superman's rogues gallery has always been rather scant. Lex Luthor, Bizarro, Metallo... if you really want to start digging, Parasite and Mongul. But after that, what've you got? Silver Banshee? Bloodsport? Conduit? Wannabes, nobodies and one-shot losers? Superman needs real threats, and a Kryptonian villainess from the Phantom Zone is a good step in the right direction.


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