PLAY IMAGINATIVE NEW 52 SUPER ALLOY SUPERMAN
Today, we’re looking at the Super Alloy New 52 Superman. The DC collection from Play Imaginative thus far consists of Batman, Superman and Green Lantern, with Cyborg and the Flash coming soon (prototypes of which were on display at Comic-Con in 2013). The established style of the figures is a combination of multiple points of articulation with more than 80% of the figure made from die-cast metal, resulting in a pretty heavy product. Superman’s New 52 look has him donning something closer to light, flexible armour instead of the usual skin-tight spandex, and the Play Imaginative design captures that well, the shiny “S” crest being particularly eye-catching.
Superman’s design is squarely that of the New 52, and it’s not a look that’s universally beloved so those who were wishing for a sixth scale classic Supes made mostly from die-cast metal will be disappointed – but then again, how is that even going to work? Play Imaginative has done a good job of not making this Superman look too clunky or bulky and the
shiny, glossy red
and blue look great. We’re given three interchangeable heads: the default one,
a light-up heat vision head with “energy blast” effects around his eyes and an
angry one with teeth bared. The portraits of this version of Superman are
well-sculpted but do look very Asian, being inspired by Jim Lee’s New 52 art. I
thought there was something of a resemblance to Korean actor Lee Byung-Hun
(Storm Shadow in the G.I. Joe
movies), so that’s another aspect in which New 52 Supes clearly deviates from
the classic iteration. The range of motion is adequate but he can’t look all
the way up for flying poses. The light-up effect is really neat, but if you
look closely you can see red light creeping through from under his hair.
There’s a whole bunch of cool accessories and Superman isn’t even a gadget-oriented character, so props to Play Imaginative for coming up with stuff to include with him. There are four additional pairs of interchangeable hands, so Supes can punch, have fingers straight out in a flying pose, point at something or go all animalistic with a claw-like grasp. Two capes are included, one of them wired up so it can be posed and the other to just hang off Supes’ shoulders and be blown up by the fan in the base (more on that later). The capes are kind of finicky to attach to the figure and the clips are prone to coming apart. The non-wired cape feels like it might fray easily and is made of very thin cloth material; the “S” crest printed on the back is also visible from the back, kind of bleeding through, but it’s not noticeable since it is facing his back.
There’s a remote control to active the light-up heat vision head, as well as a mini screwdriver to open the battery compartments with. The exclusive edition comes with three Kryptonian control crystals: red, blue and green. I guess it’s like “press 1 for Marlon Brando, press 2 for Russell Crowe and press 3 for Terrence Stamp.” Yes, General Zod played the disembodied voice of Jor-El in Smallville.
There are two display bases, and the main attraction (besides the figure itself) is the Fortress of Solitude base, which lights up and also has a fan installed in it to blow Superman’s cape up. Some assembly is required and the way the crystals are configured makes it kinda tricky to figure out. Also, it does certainly look much more like plastic than it does crystal or ice. While very neat, the “wind machine” effect isn’t as impressive as it sounds, the cape’s movement in the wind closer to “flutter” than “billow”, really. I think that can be chalked up to it not being a long, majestic cape. That said, it is a very clever display option. The knob to activate the lights and fans is cleverly hidden on the base and looks like part of the crystal structure. There are multiple settings so you can have the fan or lights switched on by themselves or together.
Play Imaginative has delivered a figure that can compete with the big leagues and the die cast metal construction certainly helps it stand out among the sixth scale crowd. With good accessories, including two extra heads and those four pairs of hands, there are multiple display options and it’s topped off with that really nifty Fortress of Solitude base. There are still some minor kinks (the more I look at the non-wired cape, the cheaper it appears) and the main thing standing in the way of this being a definitive Superman figure is probably the New 52 aesthetic. Then again, this look has its fans and if you number among them, Super Alloy Supes is worth picking up and is probably display centrepiece material.