Over the new couple of days you should be seeing a vast number of improvements to Infinite Hollywood as I try to make this website more enjoyable for you. With that out of the way I want to introduce today’s toy review as we take a look at our first DC Direct figure in this site’s history, Red Son Superman.

Red Son Superman comes from the Elseworlds 2003 comic series entitled “Superman: Red Son”. The basic premise of the story is “What would happen if Superman was born in communist Russia instead of America?” It presents an interesting what if, type of story where Superman stands for “Champion of the common worker who fights a never-ending battle for Stalin, socialism, and the international expansion of the Warsaw Pact” as opposed to “Truth, Justice and the American way” as the more traditional Superman stands for. DC Direct is the only company thus far to tackle this alternate universe story and it’s a perfect fit for the company.

Packaging:
This package is massive. It’s wastefully big. I can’t get over how gigantic this package is. It’s the same width as three GI Joe Rise of Cobra packages stacked side to side. It’s a very girthy package as well with a ton of wasted plastic. I have no idea why DC Direct has made this package so big. Even the figure inside looks pretty small on the card.

This is a standard bubble card with a decent sized cardboard backing. The back of the package shows some other figures in the Elseworlds series, but only one other figure, Wonder Woman, actually comes from this particular story. There isn’t anything particularly flashy or eye catching about the package, other than it’s enormous size to make you want to get it.

DC Direct is a speciality market toy company and as such you probably won’t see these figures in stores. I suppose that’s why they designed the giganto packaging. However some Toys R Us stores do carry a small amount of DC Direct figures and I can’t imagine any of them could find shelf space for a figure’s package this big.

Articulation:
Through the years DC Direct have earned a rather bad reputation for their articulation. By no means are they as bad as McFarlane figures but they have never gotten their articulation levels quite as high as most mass market toylines. For this particular figure we see a few decent portions of articulation but it certainly could be better, even the articulation that’s included could be better.

The head is a simple cut which is always somewhat disappointing with Superman figures since he’s supposed to look up when he’s flying. The shoulders are ball joints which is nice. These are true ball joints as opposed to pin/post style and offer up a decent range of movement. The arms are simple hinges but interestingly I’m a tad disappointed as they don’t have a great level of movement. Typically elbow hinges are fine with me but in this case the elbow just doesn’t bend enough.

He does has swivel wrists which is a nice addition but the lack of swivel arms will likely alienate a fair number of fans. Moving down he has a T-crotch and I have to point out that I hate the way DC Direct does their T-crotches. It’s not so much that I hate a T-crotch, but DC Direct has a nasty habit of having a really small T in the T-crotch as opposed to the more traditional wider T shape. To me it looks a bit like male genitalia at best and god knows what at worst.

Finally he has hinge knees. This is all very basic articulation. While it’s certainly more articulation than you get on your standard McFarlane figure or a DC Super Powers figure, it’s not quite as much as I would have liked. Of course DC Direct tends to make their action figures more as poseable statues than action figures, so I guess one can understand why they have chosen the limited articulation levels that they have.

Sculpt:
The sculpt is where this figure really shines at. There is something definitively Superman about this figure. He looks a lot like George Reeves to me. Not necessarily the real George Reeves, but if George Reeves had been put onto a page of a comic book. This is a more barrel chested Superman than say your typical buff Superman physique.

That’s not to say this guy isn’t loaded down with muscles, but he looks more like a 1950’s strongman than a 2000-era steroid bodybuilder. Of course his actual chest has some weird refinement on it that’s not natural. I don’t know if humans actually have muscles where he seems to, but it compliments the musclebound look.


In Communist Russia, Flag waves you!

Superman’s face is the best part with a big strong bold chin and bigger ears than we typically see on the Man of Steel. Superman has bright blue eyes that are really well painted. His hair is perfectly parted, so much so that it’s actually sculpted into the head. The back of the neck is a little wonky looking as the hair is just painted on there but it still completes a pretty impressive design.

Unfortunately this figure is almost definatively sculpted to be looking to the side. As such part of his neck muscles are already tilted in that direction. You can make him look forwards and it doesn’t look too bad but if you’re actually studying it, you can tell he’s meant to be looking to the side. That goes back to the “action statue” I was talking about before with DC Direct. Sometimes they intend you to pose the figure in a specific fashion.

The rest of the sculpt is pretty plain, nothing too fancy to write home about. I like the belt buckle but the legs annoy me a bit as one is slightly turned to the side again to help out the pose they “want” you to put him in. Paint work is very strong with very little slop throughout. His body has a few scuffs and rubs throughout but I think those came from the twist ties holding him in.

Accessories:
DC Direct isn’t known for their accessories but Superman does get a couple. Since he’s Superman there isn’t much you can give him. He has a big Soviet Union flag. It’s a very cool accessory and he looks good holding it. That is, if you can get him to hold it. I had quite a bit of trouble getting it into his hand. Once it was in there it looked good, but it took far too much effort to get it in.

His only other “accessory” is the stand. It’s a decent little stand but nothing too impressive. DC Direct almost always includes a stand. For what it’s worth though, the figure stands fine on his own. Would have been cool to get a few more accessories.

Additional Notes:
I’m almost surprised that Mattel hasn’t considered doing this figure since you could almost easily replicate him with a repaint but they may not have the license to do Elseworlds stuff or they might have some fears about putting a figure on the market that promotes communism.

This is the perfect type of figure that DC Direct should be making. It’s from a limited run of comics and probably won’t ever get made into a mass market line. It’s artist specific and that’s something that DC Direct has been doing for years. He runs right at 7 inches so he’s really not compatible with DC Universe Classics.

Value:
This figure retailed for around $12-$15 depending on where you got him at the time he was released. He’s a few years old now but expect to pay around the same price. You might be able to find him on clearance if you know where to look and your local comic shops may have him at a variety of different prices. I believe I paid under $10 for him a while back and I’m quite content with the figure at that price, even a little more. To me he does seem a bit like a statue. I can pose him some, but he’s more of a desk trinket than something I’d get down on the floor and play with.

Score Recap:
Packaging – 5
Sculpting – 7
Articulation – 6
Accessories – Soviet Flag, Stand
Value – 7
Overall – 6 out of 10

If you’re looking for a Red Son Superman, this is a great figure. They made a President version of him too which has a spiffier costume. I liked the Red Son storyline well enough, but I didn’t care for all the alternate versions of everyone else. Red Son’s storyline essentially becomes a revamp of the entire DC Universe and I much prefer the idea of a Russian Superman, which is why I bought this guy. He has a lot of the typical DC Direct flaws, but since I only wanted him I’m okay with it.

Like what you see here at Infinite Hollywood? Then tell your friend! Digg this article and get the word out about our little site here. If you don’t, Mother Russia will force you into a labor camp.

2 Responses to DC Direct: Red Son Superman

  • The S says:

    I swear I’ve seen either a different Red Son Supes figure or one in a different package.

    So why do they list Red Son Superman as forthcoming in wave 2 if it was in wave 1? Misprint?

    Anyway, great review. I rarely pick up Marvel or DC figures these days, but I do have interest in these alternate depictions of them.

    Love how you wedged in a Yakov Smirnoff joke. Wouldn’t be an article on Russia without one.

  • Cloud says:

    I have this Superman too. I was seriously considering to do a repaint into a more traditional blue red costume but that would also mean I need to repaint the flag. Too much work.

Leave a Reply