DC Icons Superman figure review

DC Icons Superman figure is here to save the day

If you’re going to do a DC figure line, collectors will be lenient with just about every other character, but Batman and Superman have to be right. When DC Collectibles launched its DC Icons line, Batman was an early standout showcasing the line’s potential. Now lets check out the DC Icons Superman.

Packaging: The Icons packaging isn’t especially flashy, but it has a distinct, classy appearance. The window is nice and wide so you can see the figure in full detail as well as any accessories. There’s not a lot of wasted space in the presentation, which is appreciated. You’ll need some tiny scissors to free Superman thanks to a very tight plastic tie keeping him in the tray. I’m not a fan of figure restraints that potentially lead to damaging the figure if you’re not very careful.

DC Icons Superman figure review -main pic

Likeness: This look is exactly what I think of when I think of Superman costume wise. Bright primary colors, red underwear on the outside, big red boots and wide open collar. Getting the cape/collar setup to look right isn’t as easy it sounds, but DCC executed it well.

The Icons Superman has a nice stern expression yet at the same time it conveys the thoughtful nature of the character. It works even if it’s not the cheerful farm boy I most often associate with him. Recently we’ve seen a few Superman figures with a raised S shield as opposed to being part of the outfit. And occasionally able to peeled off for Phantom Zone criminal trapping action. The S is nice and prominent on Superman’s chest capturing your attention like its intent.

DC Icons Superman figure review -looking up

In keeping with the Icons line everything is sculpted right down to the S curl in the hair. There’s no painted shortcuts here, which is a nice touch. The bigger problem from an aesthetic viewpoint is the gap at the hips. I’m sure DCC created that to give more clearance for posing even if it doesn’t make that huge a difference. More on that later. I kinda feel like DCC would have been better off keeping the red trunks more like briefs instead of boxers as it makes the space more pronounced.

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Scale: In my eyes Superman is the DC scale measuring stick. The other heroes with the exception of Martian Manhunter can be at his height, but shouldn’t be taller than him.

The Icons Superman is scaled as tall as The Flash, Green Lantern and Black Adam figure, but his smaller head gives the illusion that he’s shorter. I envision Superman as having a solid football player style build like John Byrne’s take in Man of Steel.

DC Icons Superman figure review - Justice League

That’s the reference line designer Ivan Reis used, but he’s built a little too generic like he’s the same size as The Flash. He certainly doesn’t look as powerful as Black Adam. I think DCC attempted to make a Superman that stayed consistent with the other figures in the line, but he’s a figure I’m sure most collectors would be OK looking more formidable.

Paint: Superman’s costume is so appealing as it covers the three primary colors. The figure is just as eye-catching thanks to the bright tones used for the red and yellow against the darker blue. The blue is just a bit little darker than I’d like. Blame it on getting a lighter blue Super Powers Superman figure in my youth.

There’s minor fading in a couple of points in the figure. The yellow belt has some blue bleeding through and the point of the collar has a bit as well.

Now for the bigger ‘issue.’ Superman was painted with an odd pink aura effect around his eyes. It’s not as bad as you’ve heard and you’d need to look closer than you need to at a 6-inch figure to really see it. From a reasonable distance, the eyes look like your average S.H. Figuarts Star Wars figure. For all the early online fuss though it’s not a major problem.

DC Icons Superman figure review - Batman vs Superman

Articulation: The Icons line is a little tougher to position than mass market figures. They’re sturdy and have stronger joints than you’d expect. But given DCC’s problems with part breakage there’s always that sense that you should only force a figure but so far.

I was hoping some of the delay was due to DCC revamping the neck articulation to allow better up and down movement. No one would benefit more from it than Superman, but he’s pretty much the same as the other figures on that front. Superman’s head doesn’t fit flush against the neck like the other Icons, which would be OK if the head rocked back further, but it doesn’t and further contributes to the pin-sized head visual.

Beyond that, the Icons figures have a very smooth articulation style. I wouldn’t complain about adding a waist joint or thigh swivels, but I don’t miss them that much.

DC Icons Superman figure review - vs Black Adam

Superman has:

  • neck
  • ball jointed shoulders
  • bicep
  • elbows (double-jointed)
  • wrist
  • torso
  • abdomen
  • hips
  • knees (double-jointed)
  • shin
  • ankle

Accessories: Superman typically gets under served when it comes to useful accessories so it was great seeing DCC include something useful. Superman gets a pair of open hands. I’m not quite sure the best use for them since Superman isn’t exactly the throttling kind of character. I’d rather he had flat palm hands like Flash to use for flying poses.

Kal-El’s trusty Kryptonian drone Kelex is included. The drones help keep the Fortress of Solitude together and nurture Superman to health when he’s in a bad way. It’s a great extra if you’re lucky.

Kelex is meant to be suspended on the included stand. My stand was pretty much worthless right away. In trying to plug Kelex  into the stand, the plastic strained terribly and the bottom piece snapped into the base. So unless I get some really strong superglue, my Kelex won’t be doing much hovering, which is immensely annoying. There’s no way to sugarcoat it: DCC has to make part breakage the exception and not the norm. Exchanging broken DCC figures is far more complicated than replacing a broken Marvel Legend at Toys R Us or Wal-Mart.

UPDATE: I contacted DC Collectibles and informed them about the stand problems. In keeping with their stellar customer service they sent me a new Icons Superman. It’s a hassle and a problem, but I really appreciate DCC’s efforts to make good on QC issues. That goes a long way with consumer confidence.

Worth it? We’re used to getting nearly 7” mass retail figures using the same standard parts for $20. With the Icons line we’re getting dedicated sculpts with barely any reuse for an additional $5. That just about balances out the price differential for me.

DC Icons Superman figure review - Justice League posing

Where to get it? You’re not going to find Superman in Target or Toys R Us. You’ll need to visit your local comic book store or track him down at Amazon.com or other online retailers.

Rating: 8 out of 10

My Superman bias is probably kicking in here. The figure definitely has issues from the smaller head and frame and Kelex’s stand. Despite those problems, I ended up liking the DC Icons Superman well enough. It’s not like this is the only crack DCC will get at Superman so hopefully we’ll get a bigger Man of Steel.

DC Icons Superman figure review - Green Lantern, Green Arrow, Superman, Batman and Flash

Here’s more of the DC Icons figures I’ve reviewed:

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