Let’s take a look at some more McFarlane figures, this time for some characters that are based on all different types of source material: two completely different versions of Superman from the comics, a Flash from a movie, another (Reverse) Flash that’s generally faithful to the comics, and a Wonder Woman design that has sprung forth from Todd McFarlane’s own imagination. Quite a spread, and each figure is pretty cool in its own right, so let’s dive in.
The Rebirth era was great for Superman in particular, for a number of reasons. Chief among those was the fact that you had Dan Jurgens and a rotating team of artists on Action Comics, and Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason on Superman, with both books coming out bi-weekly on alternating weeks. So for a few years there, you’d get a great Superman comic every single week. It rocked.
What didn’t rock nearly as much were Superman’s new threads, which… honestly looked like a blue onesie. The only real improvement it had over the New-52 suit was a lack of armor plating and busy piping, but the blue bodysuit and matching boots was not a great look overall. Thankfully, he got a new suit at one point which was about the best he’s ever looked without the trunks, but it took a while to get there.
Still, it’s Superman, and if McFarlane are going to make a figure of Big Blue, then I’ll review it. Personal aesthetic preferences aside, this is a pretty good Superman action figure, with three dimensions working in the Rebirth suit’s favor. The sculpting and defined muscles of Superman help to break up the blue, with some nice texturing keeping it from looking too drab. The shield is nicely centered on his chest and looks great as well, being just the right size to look stroking without being over imposing. The fact that the only yellow on this suit is in the negative space of the shield is just as apparent here as it is on the printed page, though, which kind of proves the costume needs a two-toned belt or something to break it up.
The cape is sculpted well too, and it hangs off Superman’s shoulders with some cool folds in the “fabric,” though it is a bit short. Clark’s head sculpt has the “side-eye” thing going on, and I’m not crazy about that, but his spit-curl is going the right way so all is forgiven. As you’d expect from a Superman figure, he doesn’t come with any accessories, save for a posing arm. That way you can have him displayed on your shelf going up, up, and away.
Now this is a Superman costume I’d completely forgotten about. Like, I’ve read Superman Unchained. I even have a signed copy of the second issue somewhere around here. But I remember next to nothing about this story, even though you’d think I’d remember Superman wearing spiky electro-charge armor.
Really, if you had told me that this was part of some sort of crazy “Warriors Unleashed” line that reimagined the Justice League in historically-inspired armor and outfits, then I’d believe that this was, like, Savage Samurai Superman or something. But no, it’s this insane mechanical armor from a Scott Snyder and Jim Lee joint, and it’s about as toyetic as you can get. And I think that’s good.
This isn’t a look I’m going to want Superman to have on an ongoing basis, mind you, but for what it is it makes for a cool action figure. The dark blue suit with red accents and yellow piping cleverly incorporates Superman’s trademark colors, and the helmet looks like a cross between a Samurai and a fish. Again, I think that’s good.
Given the heft and weight of the figure, he’s a bit limited in the types of poses you can get out of him, but snapping on those detachable wings allows for Superman to cut a pretty striking silhouette.
Justice League The Flash (Speed Force)
Tell me if you’ve heard this one: “this isn’t my favorite look.”
I’ve said some variation of this in regards to the previous two figures in this article, after all, and that applies to ol’ Barry Allen here too. With the bulky, segmented helmet, armor plating, and criss-crossing wires, I don’t like this Flash costume much at all. It’s too busy, and leans too hard into “let’s try to make this costume make sense,” when that same film series brought us a comics-accurate Aquaman and beautifully goofy Black Manta, neither of whom made any apologies for their wonderfully comic booky looks.
Even still (tell me if you’ve heard that one too), I kind of dig this action figure.
I kind of really dig it.
Yeah, the suit isn’t my favorite, but I absolutely love the “Speed Force” effect that it’s been given. There are four blue “electric bolt” attachments that can be put on his arms and legs, and the figure itself has areas that are molded out of transparent or semi-transparent blue plastic. It’s an awesome effect, with his hands going from flesh-tone to clear blue to make it look like Barry is becoming one with the Speed Force. Usually I’m not crazy about “variant” figures, because they most often come in “battle-damaged” or “palette swapped” varieties, but this Flash takes a well-worn concept and does something really innovative with it.
Alright, another comic-based piece!
There’s really not much I can say about Reverse-Flash that I didn’t already cover with the Animated Flash a few months ago. While they aren’t the same sculpts– Animated Flash was definitely leaner and had more exaggerated anatomy, while Reverse-Flash is more “realistic,” as it were– they’re remarkably similar in concept, if not the finer details. Both have faithful reproductions of their namesake’s costumes, and they each come with some nifty lightning bolt accessories to simulate their powers. Reverse-Flash has a solid build and can stand on his own pretty well, which is good, because you’re going to want to make sure a speedster can actually look like he’s running.
What sets Reverse-Flash apart from his animated foe is the sheer quantity of these little lightning bolt elements: there’s a massive. adjustable dual-pronged bolt that attaches to his back, two short bolts and two slightly longer bolts that can be attached to his wrists and ankles. Since they can swivel, it makes it super easy to keep them parallel with the ground, all while putting the figure in some truly crazy poses. It looks great and incredibly dynamic. Those accessories, along with smaller details like the open fingers on his hand and the menacing black background of his chest logo, just go to show how even simple character designs can truly pop.
Wonder Woman (designed by Todd McFarlane)
I think it’s fair to say that out of DC’s Big Three, people are more open to see changes made to Wonder Woman’s costume. Take away Batman or Superman’s trunks or do Supes’ spit-curl wrong and to some people (read: me) it completely ruins the outfit. As long as Diana has red and blue and those cool gauntlets, though, and everything’s good.
Unless you give her pants, which… OH NO.
Just kidding… mostly.
But for real, Todd McFarlane himself designed this Wonder Woman action figure, and it maintains the general spirit of her familiar look while adding some artistic flourishes and details that are very McFarlane. As a regular costume, it’s a bit busy for me, but as a one-off I think this is pretty cool. Adding a “battle skirt” to her comics costume is one of the best changes ever made to Wonder Woman’s look, so keeping the spirit of that with the loin cloth here is a nice touch. The ornate boots and gauntlets have some great sculpting and detailing, and the winged headdress looks great too. Her bodysuit is okay, though the pattern of the red and blue is a bit too busy for me.
Her accessories rock, though, especially that shield. The silver and gold paint application on the front is fantastic, and I love that the bands on the back are a leathery brown as a bit of contrast. The sword looks good too, even if I kind of wish it was maybe a tad smaller, but it has some great details and paint application as well.
The best decision they made was not giving Diana bulky shoulder pads, so she can hold her accessories and be posed well without limiting her joints. This might not be what I picture in my head when I think of Wonder Woman, but it’s an interesting design and cool figure on its own.
Overall: Another batch of solid figures from McFarlane that showcase their commitment to variety. While Superman, Flash, and Wonder Woman aren’t obscure themselves, the different versions and costumes these characters have allow for plenty of different action figures to be cast in their likenesses. The build quality is strong through and through, and the Justice League Flash in particular shows how great McFarlane are at blending plastics and paint applications to get some crazy effects. As I’ve said before, there’s something for everyone with these lines, and even takes on characters you might not particularly enjoy can make for some great action figures.
Disclaimer: McFarlane Toys provided Batman News with each figure for the purpose of review.
Fun Jug Media, LLC (operating Batman-News.com) has affiliate partnerships with various companies. These do not at any time have any influence on the editorial content of The Nerdy. Fun Jug Media LLC may earn a commission from these links.