Imaginext Superfriends Superman (with Krypto)
It's not often that we look at a toy that's suitable for young children, but today's review is an exception. Today's review, in fact, is of a toy from Fisher Price (yet another subsidiary of Mattel), who's been granted the license to make figures of DC Comics' characters appealing to a younger audience.
Under the classic banner "Super Friends," a large number of kid-friendly designs has appeared on the shelves. These come in several sizes, the larger of which I find ugly and uninteresting.
Fortunately, the smaller figures are far more pleasing to this collector's eye. If you can get over the idea it was designed for a four-year-old, you'll be pleasantly surprised by some of these toys.
Appearance: 7 out of 10
As is often the case, this represents an average. Alone, Superman would have scored a 6, while Krypto would have easily gotten a 8.
The largest problem on both are the mold lines, which are far more pronounced than you'd expect to find on most collectibles. Superman's lines are particularly obvious: when holding his "clamp", it even opens a bit. The plastic used is hard and fairly cheap looking, though I suspect that's so it can stand being chewed on (these are, after all, intended for kids as young as three).
While they're both solid designs, Krypto is particularly awesome. They've given him an eager expression and an upward glance, so he can look at his master. It kind of looks like he's waiting for a biscuit or for Kal-El to toss him a tennis ball (or a boulder). The end effect is excellent: I was impressed to see this level of quality on a toy that you might give to a toddler.
Packaging and Extras: +1
The packaging is fine for what it is, though it certainly won't appeal to most adult collectors. If there was any doubt as to the intended audience, it's gone with a glance:
Yup, that's ages 3 to 8. I think there should be a note stating it's also appropriate for geeks of all ages.
I'm not counting Krypto as an extra: if I was, the appearance would be lower and this score would be higher.
Play and Display: ----
The clamp works well on it's own, though it's hard to use with Superman, since it's just about as big as he is. Grab the kryptonite and you compound the problem, since that's pretty hefty, too.
Superman has a few points of articulation, but not as many as you'd hope. His legs move, but only in tandem: they're linked by a single joint, so he isn't going to do much kicking (he can, however, sit down). The arms are somewhat more impressive: they've used ball joints, so you get a decent range of motion from the shoulders. Unfortunately, there's no articulation on the head.
Krypto has no articulation whatsoever, unless you count the cape. Which... I kind of do.
Both Krypto and Superman have a cloth cape. While I normally prefer these sculpted, these work pretty well. Actually, Superman's works pretty well, while Krypto's works amazingly well. If you fold over one corner, the cape suddenly looks like it's flapping in the wind (take a look at the first photo at the very top of the page for reference). I doubt this was intentional, but the end effect is excellent.
Price Tag and Final Analysis: 8/10
These seem to cost about eight bucks, and that's a little too much. Fortunately, it's pretty easy to find them on sale for closer to five or six, which is more reasonable.
The obvious competition for these are Marvel's Super Hero Squad, which I've been reviewing here for a while. Granted, the Super Friends line is intended for a slightly younger audience (and there are other Marvel figures targeting that age bracket, too).
Still, there's enough similar to warrant comparison. And, to be fair, this fight goes to Marvel. As much as I like this farm boy and his dog, they're nowhere near as well made as Hasbro's Marvel figures.
On the other hand, these come with a healthy assortment of accessories, while the Super Hero Squad figures don't. Plus, Krypto is plenty adorable.
The next time you're wandering around a Toys R Us, do yourself a favor and check these out.
Don't forget to stop by The Middle Room if you have any comments.