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Medicom Mafex #164 Cyborg Superman (Return of Superman) Action Figure Review


Image © Dan's ToyBox 2023

Welcome to our latest action figure review. This time we are looking at the Medicom Mafex #164 Cyborg Superman based on the design from the "Return of Superman" storyline back in the early 1990's. I had pre-ordered this figure but then decided to cancel it. One of my buddies got it and basically told me that I was seriously missing out if I didn't add one to my collection. I'm glad I took his advice because this is a solid piece! Thank you, David Bryan Dodson, can't wait to see more of your custom work!!!


In 1992, DC Comics did the unthinkable. They killed Superman. In the now famous "Death of Superman" storyline, the Man of Steel met his fate at the hands of the monster known as Doomsday. The creature had already torn through the Justice League and the only hero left standing in it's path of destruction was Superman. The pair battled furiously across the country, finally ending up in Metropolis. As the two combatants clashed in front of the Daily Planet building, glass and debris rained down around them from the force of their blows. In what would be both fighters final burst of energy and effort, the pair hurtled at each other, landing mutual killing blows. Superman and Doomsday lay silent and shattered before the horrified eyes of onlookers, including Superman's love, Lois Lane. Over the next several months after Superman was buried in Centennial Park, several heroes would step in, trying to fill the Man of Tomorrow's boots. That is, until four mysterious beings showed up. Each one claiming to be the one and only Superman; the armored Steel, the otherworldly Last Son of Krypton, the teenaged Superboy, and the mysterious Cyborg Superman. This "Reign of the Supermen" would last over the course of the next several months, leading to the dramatic Return of Superman, in which we learn that they Cyborg is really a former astronaut named Hank Henshaw. Hank Henshaw was an astronaut until a solar flare struck his space shuttle during an experiment in space. The flare damaged the ship and negatively affected the crew. Henshaw, his wife and the rest of the crew's bodies had begun to mutate and, after returning to Earth, all of Henshaw's crew, his wife included, either perished or committed suicide. Henshaw learned that Superman had thrown the Eradicator into the sun in a battle during the space shuttle experiment. This led Henshaw to blame Superman for causing the solar flare, the accident, and his wife's tragic death. Using advanced communications equipment from the space agency he worked for, Henshaw saved his consciousness by sending his mind into the birthing matrix which had carried Superman from Krypton to Earth as an infant. Reshaping the birthing matrix into a small craft, Henshaw sets out into space. The solitude and lack of corporeal body soon leads Henshaw into mental instability. He then uses Superman's birthing matrix to create a body identical to Superman's, however, with cybernetic parts. With his powerful new form, Henshaw returns to Earth to kill Superman, only to learn that Superman was already dead as a result of his battle with Doomsday. Henshaw then concocts a plan to "become" Superman, whilst secretly working with the monstrous Mongol to destroy Green Lantern's home of Coast City and build a giant Engine City in its place. Henshaw's ultimate plan is to turn Earth into a new Warworld and commit atrocities throughout the galaxy using his fallen foe's face and name. Following Superman's eventual resurrection, Henshaw would not only become a recurring adversary of Superman but of Green Lantern as well. He later becomes a member of the Sinestro Corps during the Sinestro Corps War. Hank Henshaw first appeared in the pages of "The Adventures of Superman" #466 (May 1990) and then as the Cyborg Superman in "The Adventures of Superman" #500 (June 1993). The character was created by Dan Jurgens.


*Phew* that was a lot of background, but fun as heck to write for you all! Regular readers can skip this part, but for those of you who are new to Dan's ToyBox, we grade our figures based on four criteria: Accessories, Appearance, Articulation, and Affordability. Those factors are then taken into account and the figure then receives an overall grade of Zero to Ten ToyBoxes. As always, this is purely my own opinion, and my desire is to be as objective as possible in order to help you make the best-informed decision on whether or not you wish to purchase this specific action figure. med decision on whether or not you wish to purchase this specific action figure.



Image © Dan's ToyBox 2023

ACCESSORIES

The Mafex Cyborg Superman comes with a surprisingly small assortment of accessories which is actually ok for this offering. He comes with five pairs of hands. Each right hand is cybernetic and each left, is flesh. He has one pair of fists, one pair of flight hands, one pair of open/grasping hands, one pair of open/relaxed hands, one cybernetic pointing hand, and one flesh fist/cape gripping hand. He also comes with a blaster cannon attachment and two laser blast effects. There is also the standard Mafex flight stand. The highlight, for me, is the cannon. In order to place the cannon, the cybernetic right arm actually unplugs at the elbow joint as the cannon is his right forearm and fist reconfigured into a weapon. The arm and elbow joints are strong enough to hold the cannon up, with the laser blasts plugged in. That, in and of itself, is a solid piece of engineering. Not that the blasts or cannon are particularly heavy, mind you, but that they could be awkward due to the length of each blast. Also, when plugging the blasts in, be careful to rotate them so that the "flatter" sides are facing each other. This allows for the blasts to sit cleanly in the cannon. This is one of the coolest accessories I've seen, so far, with a Mafex figure. The different poses for each hand, especially the pointing finger help to give the figure more character and easily slide onto the pegs. Mafex continues to pack the hands with plastic sprues to keep the wrist holes from shrinking and this is a terrific idea from Medicom. The only additional accessory I'd have liked to see would have been an alternate head sculpt, maybe with an open, screaming/angry mouth. Still, that being said, these accesories are worth a solid 9 out of 10!



Images © Dan's ToyBox 2023

APPEARANCE

The Cyborg is absolutely EXQUISITE. Just when I think Mafex can't get any better at comic book accurate characters, they throw another great one at me! The design of this figure so perfectly matches Dan Jurgen's style that you'd swear it was taken right out of the comic page. There is so much sculpted detail in this figure, that I'm honestly uncertain where to begin. So, let's start at the top. The head sculpt is incredible. There is an unbelieveable amount of detail in the cybernetic parts of his face, right down to the red optics for his left eye and the small red light in his chin. Each of the cybernetic parts throughout the figure are intricately detailed and are very tight to the source material. The gunmetal silver is so beautifully rendered that it is seamless to the rest of the figure. The blues and yellows on this costume are what we had hoped for with the Hush Superman. I'm hoping that we will see a "Death of Superman" Superman figure in these bright blues/reds/yellows at some point. The distinction between cyborg and flesh/costume is so nicely done and there are no paint issues on my figure, that I could see. One of the best parts of this figure, in my opinion, is the cape. The cape has inserts at the shoulders, which help it flare out better. Many reviewers have removed the inserts for a more natural look. I decided to leave mine in as it gives the figure a more menacing look, very much in line with his appearance in the comics. What I really like about the cape though, and Mafex seems to have really upped their cape game, is that the material feels a bit heavier and the wiring around the cape perimeter is much sturdier. Previous capes... Hush Superman, Hush Batman, The Dark Knight movie Batman for example, were very light and soft, where the newer capes such as this one, those in the Dark Knight Returns Batman/Superman figures are made of a heavier material, which feels like it will last longer and be more durable. I don't feel that this will tear, or the wire will poke through it as easy as the earlier caped figures. There are subtle hints of black wash in strategic spots on the figure, which only serves to enhance the look and design. I really, really looked hard to try and find something to nitpick and maybe the only thing is that sometimes the cape inserts can peek out at the shoulders but are easily hidden again. Even with the accessories, the laser blasts are translucent yellow/white at the blast origin, turning gradually darker orange as you move toward the end of the beams. I honestly feel this earns a solid 10 out of 10 for appearance!



Images © Dan's ToyBox 2023

ARTICULATION

As always, Mafex crushes it with their engineering. The articulation on this figure is so smooth and easy to manipulate. Starting at the head... it turns side to side, coupled with the neck, looks up and down very deep and has some nice head tilt, though the cape can potentially limit it somewhat. The butterfly joints at the shoulders allow full rotation, a better than T pose lift and very good forward/backward hinging. The bicep swivels work just fine and the double-jointed elbows bend in very deep. Although, if you have the arm cannon in place, you are limited to about 90 degrees. All hands hinge and turn easily. The upper torso has a decent crunch which, when coupled with the lower waist can crunch forward very deep. It can also bend back nicely, pivot, and has great side to side tilt. The waist can also turn and has a great side crunch as well. The internal ball joints work together so well on this figure and best of all, there is no paint scratching! The legs drop down and can split very nicely, can kick forward very high, and back somewhat. There is hidden thigh twist, which allows you to rotate the legs outward. The double-jointed knees bend in very well and the ankles hinge and rock beautifully. The toe articulation works well and is firm enough so that you don't have to worry about it "folding" on you in a pose. I know that this is standard Mafex engineering, and we've discussed it so many times over, but this has got to be the smoothest articulation I've ever seen on a Mafex figure. Honestly, I think my only complaint is that the drop-down leg feature can sometimes take a bit of work to get back to their proper position. Still though, the Cyborg Superman is a dream to pose around and gets a solid 9 out of 10 for Articulation!!


AFFORDABILITY

The Cyborg Superman retails online for $104.99 and is available for pre-order at BBTS. I actually found mine on Amazon for the same price. However, the day I ordered it, the figure was on sale, and I had Amazon points available, so my price was significantly reduced! Even so, I cannot honestly complain that the retail price for this figure is outrageous. Personally, I wouldn't think twice about paying that much for such an incredible figure. This is definitely worth every cent and so earns a solid 9 out of 10 for affordability.



Image © Dan's ToyBox 2023

Overall, I cannot state how much I enjoy this figure, enough! This is one of those rare figures that I am excited to drop the coveted...



10 out of 10 ToyBoxes!!!


If you choose to add this figure to your own collections, I fully believe that you'll enjoy it as much as I'm enjoying mine! Thank you for your continued support and until our next review... GEEK OUT!!!!

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