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Medicom Mafex #161: The Dark Knight Returns: Superman Action Figure Review

Image © Dan's ToyBox 2022

Look, up in the sky... it's the Medicom Mafex The Dark Knight Returns Superman Action Figure. He's been out for a little while already and though there have been several video reviews, Dan's ToyBox is proud to bring you our take on this latest entry into the Mafex Dark Knight Returns stable of figures. I will tell you, this is a great figure and was worth the wait!

In a dark and dystopian future, the heroes have all gone into hiding, left the planet, or work only under the auspices of the government. All, that is, save the Batman. Bruce Wayne has come out of a 10 year retirement to wage his one man war on crime. This time is different though. This time, his help is not welcome and the new police commissioner in Gotham's first act is to issue an arrest warrant for the Dark Knight. As Batman's renewed presence continues to defy government edicts, the President enlists the one hero still permitted to operate, albeit secretly. Superman is dispatched to Gotham to take the Dark Knight down, by whatever means necessary. As Superman knows, though, Batman is not to be taken lightly and this will not be an easy battle. Will the Man of Steel prevail over the Dark Knight? If you've not ever read Frank Miller's "The Dark Knight Returns" find a copy, settle in, and enjoy this groundbreaking piece of comic literature, you won't regret it.

As usual Dan's ToyBox will utilize our standard of Accessories, Appearance, Articulation, and Affordability to develop an overall grade for this figure. HOWEVER, in trying to give a better rating system, each category will be scored on a rating of one to ten toyboxes and then the overall grade will reflect those scores as we move our ratings to Zero to Ten Toyboxes, with Ten being a "Must Have" figure for your collection! So, it's up, up and away for our review!

Image © Dan's ToyBox 2022


Medicom Mafex is, typically, one of the better companies when it comes to packing accessories. In this case though, less is more. Superman comes with five pairs of hands: one pair of fists, one pair of fists with openings to hold the Kryptonite arrow, one pair of flat "flight" hands, one pair of open hands, and one pair of relaxed hands. He comes with two head sculpts, one undamaged and one with acid damage from his fight with Batman, one Kryptonite arrow, and the typical Mafex Flight Stand. I will say that I'm actually disappointed that there isn't more with this figure. The Hush Superman came with an extra Batman fist, wearing a Kryptonite ring. Granted, this figure does come with the arrow, but I think I'd have liked to have seen maybe some heat vision effects or something to display Superman's powers. You really can't add any further hands, but maybe some additional power effects would have been nice. That being said, I'll give this figure 6 out of 10 for Accessories.

Images Copyright Dan's ToyBox 2022


If you are looking for a comic book accurate figure... look no further than Medicom Mafex when they drop figures based on comic book stories. The Superman figure from The Dark Knight Returns line is simply incredible. He could have leapt right out of the book into three dimensional form and once again, Mafex does amazing justice to their comic book counterparts. Best of all... the yellow on the S logo and Superman's belt are a nice, bright yellow, unlike the Hush version and are much more accurate to the source material. The paint applications on this figure are amazingly clean and even the detail on his acid damaged face looks wonderful. I was looking at the comic book and noticed something really cool... the page in which Batman sprays acid from his gauntlet in Superman's face... the acid spray that is packaged with the Armored Batman figure is also comic book accurate in shape and splatter pattern. I've posted pictures of these two figures together over on the Dan's ToyBox Instagram page. Anyhow, where I'm going with this is that Mafex has gone to great lengths to produce as comic accurate a figure as they possibly can and have succeeded! The blues and reds on this figure are crisp and very realistic to Superman's signature look. I am also greatly pleased with the detail on his face and even the hair sculpt which is true to the source material. The cloth cape is also one of the best that Mafex has packaged, especially since it is wired around the entire perimeter of the cape which allows for some incredible posing options. This figure easily earns a solid 10 out of 10 for Appearance!!!

Images Copyright Dan's ToyBox 2022


One of the biggest surprises with this style and character design is how well these figures pose and move. Just like each of the Batman figures in this wave, Superman has some surprisingly good articulation. His head is on the typical Mafex bent ball peg, which allows him to look up and down very well. The neck is also on a peg, which helps to increase the range, giving Superman some amazing flight posing ability. His side to side movement is easy and unhindered and he gets a little bit of head tilt/wobble. The shoulders are on the normal Mafex butterfly joints which increase forward and backward range for the arms. His arms raise out to just above a T pose and the shoulders will rotate 360 degrees without any hindrance either. The upper bicep swivel works well , the double jointed elbows bend in fairly deeply, but the muscle design does limit how far the forearms can actually go. The hands are on pegged hinges which rotate and hinge up and down. The torso has a nice diaphragm joint which crunches forward and back, tilts sideways, and rotates. There is also a joint at the waist, although mine is very tight but can be moved. Coupled together, Superman has a fairly decent forward ab crunch. I feel like there should be drop down legs, but mine are either too tight or non-existent as the motion on my legs does feel limited. He can do a decent split, but kicking forward tends to spin outward, rather than upward. There is a limited thigh swivel, based on the ball joint at the hip. The knees have that nice Mafex double joint and can bend in really well, but not entirely, due to the sculpt of his calf muscles. The ankles hinge and pivot really nicely and the toe articulation is smooth. I wish the leg movement didn't feel so restricted to me, but the rest of the figure does move exceptionally well. I'll give this figure a 7 out of 10 for Articulation.


As we know, Import figures do tend to cost significantly more than domestics. I had this figure on pre-order, initially, from Big Bad Toy Store for $104.99 and actually did find it on Amazon for $109. Interestingly, when I first received my order from Amazon, someone tried to pull a fast one as the Hush Superman figure was packaged in the TDKR Superman box. Needless to say, I immediately contacted Amazon and lodged a complaint with a demand for the proper figure. Needless to say, Amazon came through not only by sending me the correct figure within the next 48 hours but also sent me a return shipping opportunity at NO cost to myself. I do think perhaps this figure could have been a bit lower, but the fact that I was still able to find it for about what I was going to pay on BBTS was a positive. For that alone, I'll give him a solid 8 out of 10 for Affordability.

So, what does this mean, overall for the figure? He's a solid addition to the TDKR line from Mafex and makes for an excellent display and posing piece. I am very happy to give the Medicom Mafex TDKR Superman a solid...

8 out of 10 ToyBoxes

This is a great figure and well worth the purchase! Thank you, as always, for spending your time in Dan's ToyBox and until next time... GEEK OUT!!!!


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