The DC Super Powers Bundle from McFarlane Toys includes a new wave of figures and vehicles, inspired by the pioneering superhero toys that defined an aspirational aesthetic for an entire generation of DC fans.
While the initial owner of the DC toy licence Mego had some success with their 8″ doll-like figures, they eventually crashed in 1982. Meanwhile, Kenner had game-changing success with their Star Wars line of toy, so in 1983 DC awarded them the licence. While the Marvel licence was suffering at Mattel, as the company was focused on its Master of the Universe range, at Kenner the Star Wars line was beginning to wind down after the release of Return of the Jedi (1983) allowing a greater focus on the DC toy line strategy.
The idea was to create a line similar in size to the Star Wars toys and also develop vehicles and playsets. For the title of the collection, Kenner rejected more obvious choices such as Justice League, or naming it after the successful cartoon Super Friends (1973-1985). Instead, they went for The Super Powers Collection to both inspire power fantasies in young minds and because it drew attention to the “power function” of each of the figures, such as Superman swinging his arm like a punch when you squeezed his legs.
The line was big success running for three years, from 1984. Most importantly, this collection helped to create a defining look for the characters. Despite the fact that comics had entered the Bronze Age and were starting to get darker and more complex, Kenner were promoting a brightly coloured aesthetic, with adventure-focused, pure hero-based line-up with designs taken from the DC Comics Style Guide which had been compiled in 1982. This was a dossier illustrated by Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez created purely for the purpose of creating marketing images and therefore presented a cheerful and inspiring side to the characters.
The success of the toys led to a wealth of merchandise, an animated TV show, plus three comic mini-series (which had no less than the great Jack Kirby on board). This version of the DC superheroes in this period lives on to this day on T-shirts and posters as the defining, classic look.
In 2022 McFarlane Toys resurrected the DC Super Powers brand to release a mash-up of the old and the new, including a version of The Batman Who Laughs and Superman’s hysterical jet, with huge fists protruding from the front (a vehicle redundant in so many ways when you think about it, but which so beautifully captured the era). This year sees the release of wave four in the line, including Walmart exclusives.
This new DC Super Powers Bundle line-up includes Wonder Woman and Aquaman, both in their Rebirth era guises. Diana has a cloth cape, and Aquaman holds a trident. Then there’s the Tim Drake Robin, not the Boy Winder during the original Super Powers release, but the longest running one of the modern era of comics. Once again, he comes with a cape.
Finally, there’s the Dark Knight himself. We had a Batman in the 2022 release, but this version is the so-called “classic detective era” of the seventies and eighties, with a brighter blue against the grey, the yellow oval insignia, more upright ears and that all-important blue drawn eyebrow frown.
Then there are the vehicles. As with the previous release of Superman’s jet, the emphasis in the design is on the fun. Wonder Woman’s invisible jet includes a working winch claw and is big enough to seat the Amazon princess via an opening hatch.
The Batmobile is a variation on the original 1985 Super Powers release, with similar blue colouring and wheels with the outline of the Bat symbol on silver hub caps, and a picture of the cowl on the bonnet. However, this iteration has a curvier shape reminiscent of the original design and the Tim Burton Batman movie (1989). The “power” functions include a pop-out battering ram and rocket boosters on the rear. Before you ask, yes, both Batman and Robin fit in the seats.
All items are available individually, but the DC Super Powers Bundle is a great way to scoop up all the pieces together… and why wouldn’t you? In an age of ever-complicated stories, superheroes are being put through the wringer like never before, and we love it. The success of the recent Dawn of DC event taps into a time when things were a little simpler. At the heart of all that wonderfully convoluted DC continuity and reinvention are the heroes in a purer and simpler form of color and inspiring powers.
The DC Super Powers Bundle is available to order now from McFarlane Toys.
- Each 4″ scale figure comes packaged in iconic Super Powers blister card packaging with updated artwork and logos reflecting your favorite characters.
- Compatible vehicles to go alongside the DC Super Powers Line, that fit both new and old figures.
- Vehicles are showcased in DC Super Powers themed closed box packaging.
- Collect all McFarlane Toys Super Powers Figures.
Images and Press Release Courtesy of McFarlane Toys