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Retro Review: DC Icons "Death of Superman" Superman vs. Doomsday 2 Pack Figure Review



For as much fun as I have reviewing new releases, these Retro Reviews really bring out some great memories. To be honest, I didn't even know this two-pack was a "thing" until I happened upon it in my local comic shop way back in 2017 (really miss ya, Sam)! I was collecting, mostly Marvel Legends at the time, but when I saw this, it was a no-brainer. Unfortunately, when I went back to get it, it had already sold. Thankfully I was able to find one online a couple of months later. The "Death of Superman" story has been one of my favorites during my comic collecting days and seeing these figures brought back some really fun memories.


In December 1992, DC comics launched a nearly full year storyline that did the unthinkable.


They killed Superman.


Originally, DC had planned a story featuring the wedding of Clark Kent and Lois Lane. However, ABC television had just premiered the new series: "Lois and Clark, The New Adventures of Superman" which was also planning a wedding story arc. DC elected to postpone the comic book wedding in order to coincide with the TV show. While in a staff meeting discussing different possible storylines, artist Jerry Ordway jokingly suggested they kill Superman. At first the idea was likely met with humor and skepticism, but declining sales in the Superman comics led the writers to believe this could be a good idea. There was a prevalence of thought that perhaps the character had been taken for granted by the public and decided to temporarily kill him to emphasize his importance and relevancy. Their plan was for this big crossover event to surprise readers and show that Kryptonite wasn't the only thing that could kill Superman. The event took place in three story arcs... the first being "Doomsday" which ran from December 1992-January 1993 and culminated with Superman #75, the last page of which was a trifold spread with Lois Lane holding Superman's body after his final battle with Doomsday. The second arc, "Funeral for a Friend" ran from January 1993-March 1993 and dealt with the immediate aftermath of Superman's death and how the DC Universe reacted to it. This arc ended in Superman #77, seemingly signaling the end as there was no end of issue blurbs for upcoming issues. In fact, what was actually printed regarding the next issue of each book simply said... "There is no information for 'book title' at this time." The entire Superman comic line was given a 3-month hiatus, returning in June 1993 with "Adventures of Superman" #500. "The Reign of the Supermen" had begun and introduced four characters, each claiming to be the Man of Steel. This final part of the series would run through October 1993, featuring Superman's resurrection and culminating in the pages of "Adventures of Superman" #505 in which the real Superman would make his return to Metropolis. Even though, technically, the amount of time for the story ran 10 months, this included 3 months without any Superman books at all and to an avid reader, it felt so much longer! Interestingly enough, in spite of the "real world" gap in issues, the in-story continuity remained intact, as if all of the events continued subsequently without any significant passage of time. To this day, "The Death of Superman" remains an incredible tale featuring one of comic's longest running, most beloved characters. The story received massive, never before seen coverage in the mainstream media and the six million copies sold of Superman #75 established it as the top selling comic that year.


There is quite a bit to discuss in terms of: Accessories, Appearance, Articulation, and Affordability where this set is concerned. We'll go through each category and then give this two-pack a final overall score of zero to 10 toyboxes! Let's go back to "The Death of Superman!"



ACCESSORIES

This set comes with quite a bit of stuff! The background is a cardboard fold out of the debris strewn entrance to the Daily Planet, which makes for a great backdrop for posing the figures. There is a base with different pegs and peg holes to place the different broken stone and masonry pieces, of which there are 8 pieces. There is a post with Superman's torn cape wrapped around it, two visual word bubble effects, a clear post to stand them on, a smaller fragment of Superman's cape which can hook to the claws on Doomsday's hands, a set of fists and a set of open clawed hands for Doomsday, a punch effect and heat vision effect for Superman and lastly, an alternate Superman headsculpt with his eyes closed in death. I have to admit that I was really surprised to see this many accessories packed with a domestic figure, and I have to say that I'm actually sad that the DC Icons line is gone. I did enjoy those figures quite a lot. Probably the only things I'd have liked to see would have been alternate hands for Superman and a "dead" Doomsday head sculpt. Otherwise, I'm really pleased with the accessories and give this a solid 9 out of 10.



APPEARANCE

If anybody ever wanted to talk about a "leapt right off the page" look, these are the figures! These are probably my absolute favorite renditions, in terms of specific comic story accuracy. Doomsday is sculpted incredibly well, with a tremendous amount of attention to the bone projections, torn trunks, features, and muscle definition. The paint applications are terrific! There is a bluish wash to his hair, making it look just like the comic book. The bone spurs all have a light brownish wash to them, giving them depth and a very realistic bone-like look. Even the detail of the bone "cages" over his eyes, the eye paint itself, and the detail in his mouth is rendered with care and an eye for exactness. What is even more impressive is the detail on the silver band around his waist. The torn suit hangs in tatters over it, but you can see the remains of the metal bands that held Doomsday secure for a while. My only slight gripe is that his boots are a different shade of green than his trunks. The trunks are more of a blue-green, while the boots are lighter. It's not enough to be a distraction, but you can see the differences in the pictures in the article. Superman, for me, is on another level entirely. The blood on his shoulder, leg, and face is amazing detail, designed to match the location of some of his injuries from the battle. I was floored when I saw the scratches and bruising on his cheek, over his eye, and the trickle of blood from his mouth (on the deadsculpt). I really am impressed with how highly detailed and with the amount of care that obviously went into these paint apps. His eyes and mouth are detailed incredibly well also, with the angry, screaming face. (Upon which, the heat vision effect rests very nicely and looks tremendous!) The tattered remains of his iconic uniform are testament to the grueling battle he's fought and the sculpted detail to show the torn shirt with the ripped remnant of the proud S-Shield is simply excellent. What I find even more impressive is that the entire torn shirt is sculpted on the body, so that we don't just see blue paint applied in a torn shape, but rather, have some depth as the cloth lays atop his skin. Even the hole in his pant leg is sculpted to maintain the illusion of shredded cloth. This figure also has, in my opinion, the best painted depiction of chest and arm hair I've ever seen. Hasbro could learn a thing or two from this figure. What I enjoy most though, is the crisp, bright red, blue, and yellow. In spite of the battle he's been through and his costume taking a beating, Superman still stands as a bright colored beacon of hope and the gold buckle on his bright yellow belt is a really nice touch. The translucent yellow/orange punch effect looks really cool when placed on Superman's fist. In fact, it is molded to the shape of his hand, and sits very neatly in place. The heat vision sculpt is a translucent red and the sculpted design shows the "waves" of searing heat emanating from Superman's eyes. This is sculpted to fit on his face, with a small cut to bracket the top of his nose. It's held in place simply by friction, with no pegs or anything and that is very impressive! Overall, the figures themselves are incredible and the amount of detail poured into the backdrop, base, and stone accessories is very impressive. The only major improvement I could say regarding the debris would be a black wash to help bring out the nooks and crannies in the stones. That said, this package earns an amazing 10 out of 10 for Appearance, in my opinion.


ARTICULATION

The only drawback so far, for these figures, is in Articulation. Starting with Doomsday: his head can turn left and right, but has no up or down movement, nor any tilting. His shoulders will rotate a full 360 degrees and can raise the arms out to just above a T pose, which is nice. However, due to the shape of his torso, the arms cannot fall flat to his sides. The bicep swivel works just fine and is accompanied by another swivel at the single jointed elbow. Sadly, this bend is very limited and doesn't even come close to 90 degrees. The wrists swivel easy enough, but the hinge is also limited due to the sculpted cut of the wrist. Doomsday's upper torso can pivot and has some limited crunch. The lower abdomen crunch helps some but is also very limited in range of motion. This limits his upper body considerably when posing. My biggest articulation complaint is with the legs though (on both figures). Doomsday can do a really nice split and has drop down legs. However, the joints on both legs are very loose, allowing his legs to swing easily and unfortunately shift, causing him to fall very easy. I have tried multiple times to help secure them better, but they continue to be a weak point on the figure. The upper thigh cut is cleverly hidden above the silver leg bands and works just fine. The knees, though double jointed, are limited in how much they can bend, and the ankles will only hinge up and down. I know that the bulk of Doomsday's problems stem from the character design and limits imposed by the sculpt, so I can't be too tough on the upper body. The legs, though, disappoint me a lot. Superman isn't much different either but does have more range of motion. Again, I get this is a result of his design which helps. His head will turn easily and can look down very nicely. The shoulders will rotate a full 360 and can also raise to higher than a T pose. Unlike Doomsday, Superman's arms can hang down nicely at his sides. The bicep swivel works fine and the double-jointed elbows bend in very deep. The wrists hinge easily and swivel as well. Superman's upper torso has torsion and crunch, but the forward movement is limited. He also has a lower diaphragm hinge but is also very shallow in movement. His forward crunch is quite disappointing. As with Doomsday, Superman can get some great splits with his dropdown legs. Also, like Doomsday, his leg joints are loose, which allows his right leg to swing and move far too easily, leading to the figure falling over unexpectedly. I did get some super glue up in and worked it around the joint, which has helped to a degree, but not as much as I'd like. His legs can kick forward very nicely though. Unlike Doomsday, there is no upper thigh cut, but rather a hidden thigh swivel at the internal joint workings. The double-jointed knees bend in reasonably tight and, as with Doomsday, the ankles are limited to up/down hinge with no pivot. For me, the loose leg joints are the major issue. Coupled with the other engineering limitations, I reluctantly have to give the two pack an overall 5 out of 10 for articulation. There is some good, but it's not enough to overcome the bad.



AFFORDABILITY

As I mentioned at the beginning, I found the DC Icons Superman vs. Doomsday two pack online. I paid $59.99 plus tax and shipping, which back in 2017 was at the higher end of the price scale. For all that came with this package though, at today's prices, that would be a steal! I was able to find this on eBay for $179.99 today, which isn't a shock. Still, going at the 2017 price, I cannot complain at all about the original retail on this figure and definitely feel that it's worth what I paid for it then. The original retail price receives an 8 out of 10 for affordability.



"For this is the day that a Superman died."

Overall, time hasn't diminished my enjoyment of these figures. Recently a packed a bunch of my DC figures in order to make shelf space. However, this two pack was kept out for display. I've always really liked it and am glad I bought it when I did. I'm really happy to give this Retro Review of the DC Icons Superman vs. Doomsday Two Pack a score of:



9 out of 10 ToyBoxes


I would say this is a definite addition to any Superman collection and well worth pursuing even at today's prices! I'm glad you took some time today to spend in Dan's ToyBox and until our next review... GEEK OUT!!!



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