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Steel

DC Direct Return of Superman
by Rustin Parr

Man, this figure is so bittersweet. On one hand, it's a DCD Steel figure; on the other, it looks bad. So bad. The sculpt is good, but lordy is it overly bulky or what? And that cape... egads.

Steel When John Henry Irons was saved by Superman, he pledged to dedicate his life to making a difference. Using his knowledge of robotics, Iron crafted a suit of armor to fight for justice as Steel!

Maybe I just don't know the comic book version well enough, but I don't remember him ever being this wide. [you don't; he was --ed.] Maybe it's not even the figure itself, maybe its just that the shell, I mean cape, is just so ungodly damned big that it just turns the whole thing into a big, lame blob.

The saving grace of this figure (other than it just being Steel) is its angular musculature. Not all over, but some spots really capture the angular look and help bring back that whole "homemade" notion of the costume (hey, anyone remember when they made a movie of this guy with Shaq? What a joke!).

rivet gun The shoulder pads are separate molded pieces, as are the wrist guards. While the right-hand one gets nothing from this fact, the left-handed, gun-looking one can turn around the wrist with a Gattling gun motion. It's not loose enough to spin freely, but it does allow you to "pose" it and it adds some play value.

John Henry Irons Well, that's the fun stuff... the head is boring. It has nothing special to it and lacks any sense of character, of life. Plus, his nose is too narrow for a black guy inside the suit. The proportions are, well... he's all bulky, but is that a good thing? I don't think so. His feet are tiny, especially compared to the rest of him.

The "S" emblem is too wide and short for my tastes, it's riveting! though it does have molded rivets (love that), as do the shoulder pads and the head (though on the head, as with everything else there, they are very underplayed for some reason). The shield is not a separate mold, which - at least to me - is kind of surprising.

It's really the cape, I've decided, that ruins this figure. It's lifeless, boring and omnipresent. It needs to be narrower and have some wind going through it, like all the other Super-capes.

big, flatass cape Articulation is ball-jointed head, DCD-style balljointed shoulders, elbows, waist, wrists, hips, and knees; a whoping 12 points, the least in the entire line. The shoulders work really well; the head does not. For such a simple and skull-like back of the head, I'm amazed that there is no backward tilt for this guy, but hey, look at the rest of line: only one of the four has a working head balljoint.

For accessories, Steel has the big red S-shield logo base shared by all four figures in this Superman sub-line. Only about 1/4" thick, the base still has a nice heft to it, giving it enough weight to keep the figure from falling over. Of course he's got his trusty sledgehammer, which is a pretty boring accessory. He can hold it in one or both hands, but in two hands? Not so well.

All in all, I'm left with a very so-so feeling about the figure. It could have been so much better, but ultimately it's only mediocre, and the major cause of that is this ridiculously over-sized and lifeless cape. I can't really make a suggestion on this guy either way in terms of purchase; it's a cool character, but this is just such an aesthetically unappealing figure.


Which version of Steel's armor do you like best? Tell us on our message board, The Loafing Lounge.

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