Earth-23 Superman gets the honor of being 2017’s first figure review. There’s a backlog of figure reviews left I’m almost afraid to count, but I thought he was a fitting figure to tackle now.
If I was starting a comic book company and money wasn’t an object, Grant Morrison would be my Number 1 draft pick. That guy has a boundless imagination. While everything isn’t a hit, I appreciate his willingness to do something different from the norm.
Final Crisis was one of Morrison’s most ambitious projects. It was during that massive crossover that Morrison debuted the Earth-23 Superman. But it wasn’t until The Multiversity that Morrison further fleshed out the character and made him a major component of an underrated great DC event.
Earth-23 is essentially black superhero Earth with a Justice League comprised of expected characters like John Stewart, Vixen and Steel, but race swapped versions of other heroes. I loved the concept and hope Morrison (or other writers) can revisit that Earth at some point. But I never even considered the possibility of getting any figures from Earth-23. While I’d been bitter with Mattel over the dying days of the DC Classics line, this was a figure I had to add to my collection.
Packaging: Earth-23 Superman marks my first DC Multiverse pickup. The package scheme is very close to the Marvel Legends setup with the black and red swapped. One area Mattel topped Hasbro is in using actual comic book art.
Earth-23 Superman has a small bio on the side. I don’t like that placement since there’s some wasted space on the back package. Like the Marvel Legends line, the figure is placed to make it easy to spot any flaws and for any tampering with the Build-A-Figure piece.
Likeness: I’m really impressed by the work on the head sculpt. The features and hair texture are that of a black man. This isn’t a quickie head repaint. Any similarity to President Obama is more than likely very intentional.
Earth-23 Superman largely uses the New 52 Superman Mattel released a couple years back. That means there’s some compromises to a completely source accurate figure. The comic version’s torso is more like an armored vest with the S-shield clasping it all together. That’s too complex for a DC Classics figure without some very expensive dedicated sculpting.
While it’s not a perfect match, the New 52 Superman was a good choice and has the Victorian collar so it works. As far as I can tell the wrist and boot cuff pieces are new.
Earth-23 Superman has a funky cape attachment. It rests on his back and only lightly wraps around his shoulders. Mattel gave it an admirable try, but that was going to hard to pull off. The right side cape piece actually looks right, but the left side rises up. Maybe some hot water could get it to lay down properly? It’s made of a nice soft material which does not impede posing or weigh Superman down at all.
Scale: One of the great things about the DC Classics line was the scale was pretty consistent. But of course, one of the biggest gripes of the New 52 Superman and Batman figures were they were too small compared to the DC Classics line.
That means that Earth-23 Superman is smaller than I’d like for a Superman. It’s not by much, but obviously a broader, more imposing Superman is better than a slight one looking up to John Stewart.
Paint: Here’s the kicker with this one. I saw Earth-23 Superman in stores three times. Each figure had some significant issues with the paint — mostly around the logo or eyes. Ordering this one, obviously sight unseen, and I get the best version I’ve seen.
Yellow is a pain to color properly especially with dedicated lining and costume details. Mattel did a great job with the main visible paint applications. The S-shield is perfect, which is pretty amazing considering the three colors utilized. The eyes also were sharp.
You’ll have to look closer, like under the first ring of the right boot to start to see some paint problems. The triangle point on the gloves is lined up just a bit off, but these are real nitpicky issues.
Superman’s skin tone is a little lighter than the comic version. I suspect this was intention to try and match President Obama’s skin tone more than the comic art.
Articulation: The DC Classics articulation scheme isn’t as good as the standard Marvel Legends figure, but it’s still pretty good. Basically, the DCC figures lack double jointed elbows and knees, which put some restrictions on more complicated posing. He can still accomplish more than basic moves.
Earth-23 Superman has:
Accessories: Earth-23 Superman comes with one accessory — the left leg of Batman’s Justice Buster. It almost comes up to Superman’s neck so this will be a pretty impressive Build-A-Figure. Unfortunately, I have little interest in building it so into the scrap heap or eBay it goes.
Worth it? I got the figure for $6.99. I would have paid the full $20 price had I found a good paint job. Amazon now has him for $6. Either way is a spectacular price for this top notch a figure.
Rating: 9 out of 10
For a repaint, this is a pretty solid figure. With a few more original sculpted pieces he would have been even better.
Where to Get It? Amazon is clearly the way to go here. Occasionally, I’ve found him at Toys R Us as well.