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Good Morning, Super Hero City!

Superhero Squad
by yo go re

The "Heroes" Scale figures are a huge hit for Hasbro - it started with Star Wars (more or less), but quickly jumped over to Marvel. The Superhero Squad proved popular enough to get their own animated series on Cartoon Network, and now it's beginning to feed back into the toyline, with some of the characers created specifically for the show showing up on store shelves - or, in the case of this SDCC exclusive, at online stores.

As a not particularly super-powered person, The Mayor Of Super Hero City is a ready-made hostage for the villains under the command of Dr. Doom. Of course, The Mayor is under the protection of Iron Man. Dr. Doom will have to get up pretty early in the morning if he wants to pull a fast one on the Armored Avenger!

This set, known as "Good Morning, Super Hero City!" (really - it's right there on the UPC), is sold in a fancy blue box. The front is dominated by images of the three figures inside, and the art is repeated all around the sides. It's a fifth-panel window box, so you can open it up to look at the figures in their yellow tray, facing duotone versions the same character art in yellow, green and red.

We'll start with Iron Man, the "Armored leader of the Heroes." Yes, despite the fact that Captain America exists in the Superhero Squad universe, Iron Man is the team dad. Maybe the producers were in that oddball group who thought Iron Man was on the right side in Civil War? Or the success of the movie forced their hand. Even before that, Iron Man was never much of a leader. He's like the Avengers' CFO: he's important, in that he signs the checks, but you still leave the big decisions to someone who's actually, you know, capable. And not a total pantload.

One of the downsides to loving the SHS toys is that they are, after all, aimed at kids. That means that for every cool obscure character collectors might actually want to get - say, for instance, Nova or Shang Chi - we have to buy a repainted re-release of one of the "big name" characters. So as you might imagine, there are a lot of Iron Men in the line so far. As of this writing, 43 of him.

This version is wearing the same armor seen in the cartoon, which is basically a simplified version of the movie/Extremis armor. This is a new mold, sort of: it hasn't been seen before, but in addition to this set, it's available in three other releases. The important thing, though, is that the paint is different - bright metallic red, yellow instead of gold, and human eyes painted within the slits of his mask.

Iron Man is a tall figure, 2½", but that may be because he's actually standing upright, rather than in that familiar squat so many of the Heroes-scale figures use. He moves at the neck and shoulders, which isn't very much at all. His left hand is a fist, and his right is open to show the repulsor port in his palm. Overall this is an unremarkable figure, but then, that's why we got him out of the way first - it's the other two figures that sell this set.

Since The Superhero Squad Show is a severely toned-down version of the real Marvel Universe, the villains all tend to hang out in the same clubhouse (which, by the way, looks like everybody's favorite eyeball-squid, Shuma Gorath). Doctor Doom is still their leader, but when your main henchmen are kid-safe versions of MODOK and the Abomination, you're basically one step below a Captain Planet baddie.

In keeping with that decidedly less-evil interpretation and the "have to get up pretty early in the morning" joke from the back of the packaging, this Dr. Doom toy shows his... well, if not his "softer" side, then at least his more mundane side. This isn't the evil overlord from the comics, just an average guy. You can tell he just got up and went outside: he's wearing a monogrammed robe (yes, a bathrobe - over his armor and cape) and Godzilla slippers. Or maybe they're not Godzilla, but instead the "nameless monster" Dr. Demonicus mutated.

Doom has his reading glasses pushed up on top of his head - bet he won't be able to find them when he needs them. And because it's early in the morning, he's sculpted with stubble. Yes, on his mask. Hey, it's a cartoon - who says he can't grow a beard on there? The "beardy" parts are painted darker than the rest of the mask, and since both the facial hair and the glasses are sculpted detail, this isn't a mold that will be reused.

Completing the "early morning" look, Doom is sculpted holding a mug of tea and the morning paper. The newspaper is cute, all rolled up and even sculpted with a rubber band holding it shut. You can tell his mug isn't coffee because coffee doesn't have a little paper flap on a string to aid in dunking. This tea-drinking tyrant's mug has an anti-Iron-Man logo on the side, which is cute, but shows a flaw with the cartoon: in any real comic universe, he'd hate Reed Richards more than Tony.

Finally, we have the Mayor, Super Hero City's bumbling bureaucrat! Like many a tv bureaucrat, he seems to be a bit of a crackpot, though he clearly cares about the state of his city. Compared to the other figures in the set, he's tiny - a mere 2⅛" tall - but after all, he's just a plain human, while they're both guys in armor. Of course they're bigger than him!

The Mayor has obviously been affected by hanging around superheroes all the time: though he wears a conservative blue suit, he's accessorized it with giant yellow gloves, a big red cape, and moonboots that would make Napoleon Dynamite jealous. He moves at the neck and shoulders, and the way the cape is slipped on, it can move around a little as well.

In addition to all that, he wears a blue cowl that covers everything but his face. His glasses even run outside the mask, rather than meeting his ears beneath. He has a large M logo on his head, so either he's really lucky that he was elected mayor, or that's part of the Super Hero City official mayor uniform, like a top hat and a sash are in our world. The paint on his head is a bit of a mess, but when you're buying an exclusive, there's no way to check for that ahead of time.

The Superhero Squad Show is hard to watch. It's apparently written for the same crowd the original Playskool toys targeted, and not even an awesome voice cast and a heaping helping of obscure comic references really help it all that much. Fortunately the toys remain fun, and this set, with two unique figures and one that's at least new and painted nicely, makes for a good exclusive. On the show, the Mayor is voiced by Stan Lee, which is another reason to consider buying this, but you have to wonder who the better fake mayor is: Stan Lee, or Adam West?

-- 08/16/10


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