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Movie Masters Jor-El

Man of Steel
by yo go re

The Man of Steel toys had their street date at the beginning of this month, but so far the Movie Masters section has been nothing but bare pegs. But Target was just putting their Superman section together when I went shopping on Tuesday, and I was able to pick up the (apparently short-packed) Jor-El.

The leading scientist on his home planet of Krypton, Jor-El had a son named Kal-El, a child who would someday be known on Earth as Superman. In order to save Kal-El from the impending destruction of their planet and subsequent chaos, Jor-El and his wife Lara sent him in a spacecraft to Earth. Jor-El wears his ancestral Kryptonian Armor, which is emblazoned with his family crest.

Superman's father, Jor-L (as he was then known) first appeared in the daily newspaper strip on January 16, 1939, making him yet another element of the Superman mythos invented for another medium and then adopted by the comics later. The name was changed to Jor-el (lower case E) in a 1942 novel, and eventually became Jor-El (capital E) in the comics - both "~strip" and "~book." He's a big part of Superman's life, despite being dead, and now he's getting his second action figure in as many movies.

Both of Superman's dads are played by ex-Robin Hoods, and Jor-El is Russell Crowe. This is the first time there's been a toy of the angry Aussie, since McFarlane never came through on the Gladiator Maximus toy we all kept asking for. The likeness is a bit soft, but recognizable, same as can be said for most of Mattel's Movie Masters.

As the bio said, Jor is wearing his ancestral Kryptonian Armor, which may seem like overkill for a scientist, but judging by the trailers, Krypton is far from a peaceful, scientific utopia in its last days. You wouldn't think a musician on Earth would need to wear a bulletproof vest, either, but 50 Cent has gotten rich by pretending that there's any real danger he might die trying.

The bronze armor is incredibly ornate, sculpted with lots of small, swirly details that wrap and curl around one another, falling in layers that are definitely mechanical, not organic. The armor has big shoulderpads, spiked elbows, a high collar, and thick metal go-go boots. Beneath it all he wears a dark blue suit similar to the movie's new Superman costume. There are two flexible bands that run from the back to the front of the elbows, but they don't impede the articulation too much.

Jor-El has the usual "not good enough" Movie Masters articulation: hinged ankles, hinged knees, swivel thighs, H-crotch, swivel waist, swivel wrists, hinged elbows, swivel biceps, swivel/hinge shoulders, and a balljointed head. The head, at least, can tilt up slightly, meaning that a guy who never once took to the sky is better at flying than any Superman Mattel has ever released. Between the giant shoulderpads ane the ribbons on the elbows, you have to be creative in how you pose his arms, but all the joints remain functional.

The figure has no accessories, sadly - how cool would it have been if he'd come with a tiny, wet baby Kal-El, as seen in the trailer (both Minecraft and normal)? Come on, guys! Think for a second before you release a figure. He does include a base - a grey and yellow version of the S shield logo, with a footpeg on the left and the X texture seen on the new costume.

The packaging for the Movie Masters is weird, too. The design is fine - the center of the card has Supes' shield (matched by the shape on the front of the blister), while the top and bottom look like his cap - but the packaging is much wider than usual action figure packs, making the figure look small and leaving us with a lot of unused space. We don't even have BAF pieces to worry about like the Dark Knight Rises figures did! This is just a bad design.

In true Mattel fashion, this first series of Movie Masters has Superman, Zod, and Jor-El. The second series will have Superman, Zod, and Faora. There's also an unrevealed SDCC exclusive featuring Superman and Zod. So yet again, we have some heavy saturation to look forward to (especially if these toys sell as badly as the Superman Returns toys did). And naturally, Jor-El is shortpacked, so you can look forward to Faora being shorted as well. Yay.

-- 05/30/13

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