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Superman vs. Aliens

NECA
by yo go re

He came to earth in a rocket, a strange visitor from another planet. Now, years later, signals from space could be the beginning of a trail to his home planet Krypton. Can anything stop a man of steel from discovering his long-lost heritage? Can anything stand between a Superman and that which he longs for most? How about the most feared and deadly species in the galaxy?

NECA is now two-for-two in making me like Superman stories, which is about a thousand times better than DC has ever been able to do on their own. First they released the Superman vs. Muhammad Ali set, and that comic turned out to be pretty dang good; now it's Superman vs. Aliens, and again, the comic that inspired it reveals a great story. NECA sure knows how to pick 'em!

Like the Batman vs. Predator set, this figure is more "inspired by" the comic than a true attempt to re-create it. It's easy to tell, because as soon as Supes meets his first xenomorph (and, as he does, tries to treat it in a friendly manner), his costume starts getting ripped to shreds; NECA, knowing this was probably their one and only shot, was not going to throw it away on a Superman with no S-shield and only half his tights. You know, go classic right out the gate, save the super-specific variations for another day.

Right off the top, there's one big clue that this isn't based directly on the comic; no, it's literally "off the top": Superman vs. Aliens was published in 1995, right in the middle of the "Superman has long hair" phase, and so long hair he had, even in this non-canonical tale. Like we said, NECA went classic, giving him the short hair and the spit curl. Yeah, they made the right choice!

The SvA Superman doesn't reuse any parts from NECA's existing ones - this is a new sculpt. Well, kind of. Under his armor, Batman has the same body, though you'd never know it just by looking (at least not until NYCC this fall, when regular Batman and Green Lantern both use it, too). The body is very muscular, to be sure - a bit too striated for my taste, it looks more like something Michael Turner would draw than Kevin Nowlan, the guy who actually did the Superman vs. Aliens art. If that's your thing, you're in luck; but as far as the sculpt goes, DC Direct's 2003 figure is still at the top of my list. NECA's is better in many ways, but the overall presentation just doesn't speak to me specifically. The fact that the trunks and boots are slightly wider than the body makes them look like actual clothes he's wearing, not just body paint, though it would be nice if his chest emblem was slightly larger.

Same body means same articulation: head, shoulders, biceps, elbows, wrists, chest, waist, hips, thighs, knees, boots, ankles, and toes. Several of the joints were stuck fast on mine: I had to physically pry the lower left elbow hinge and the toe joints apart to get them moving. Lucky nothing broke! Those wouldn't have been terrible to leave immobile, but it's the principle of the thing. His accessories include alternate flat hands for flying poses, and an alternate head with a giant trench gouged across the eyes. No, it doesn't represent the Alien's blood blinding him, it's so you can pop in the included heat vision effects! Yes, like Supergirl, Clark can fire off some eye lasers. You actually get your choice of two: a little short pair, when he's just starting, or a longer set that end in a blast effect. Very fun stuff!

You'll recall that Batman's Predator was cobbled together from several different sources - Superman's Alien is not. It's a mold we haven't had before: the Alien: Resurrection Warrior Alien. That figure will be coming out soon, but this exclusive beat it to the punch. Consider it a sneak preview.

Judged by itself, the Argo Alien is very impressive, continuing down the path of stylization begun between the Big Chap and Warrior Aliens: the ribcage is higher, shorter, and thicker; the waist annd pelvis are narrower; there are big flares on the top of the hips, similar to the ones that have always been on the shoulders; the arms appear to join the body higher than a human's would be able to; the fingers on the hands are longer than ever, and the feet are less like a human wearing boots. It's unmistakably an Alien, but it's less "costumey" than the first two movies'.

One of the features of the Resurrection Alien is digitigrade legs, like the Dog Alien had. It's a cool feature, with exposed Achilles tendons running between the calf and the heel. Unfortunately, it's not a feature the Aliens Superman fought share: they just had normal Aliens-style feet. But you know, I've got enough of those already, getting this new mold, with its crazy feet and its less-human proportions and all the cool detailed ridges on the limbs, is a lot nicer.

The Alien has hinged toes, balljointed feet and heels, hinged lower knees, swivel/hinge upper knees, swivel thighs, swivel/hinge hips, a swivel tail, balljointed chest, hinged fingers, swivel/hinge wrists, double-swivel/hinge elbows, swivel/hinge shoulders, a hinged neck, balljointed head, and hinged jaw. In addition, the tail is bendy, and the inner mouth can slide out (though it's the toughest one of any xeno I own, the diametric opposite of the Prototype Suit figure). Dang thing just doesn't want to move at all!

So let's recap this set: the Superman doesn't look the way Superman looked in the comic, and the Alien doesn't look like the Aliens he fought; and yet with cool accessories and a sneak-preview mold, this Superman vs. Aliens set is a ton of fun.

-- 08/21/19


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