- The Washington Times - Saturday, June 8, 2013

Mattel complements the live-action return of DC Comics‘ Superman to theaters next week with the release of its Man of Steel: Movie Masters.

The toy company’s latest set of multi-articulated action figures average 6 inches tall and offer an affordable way for collectors to own some key characters from the latest film directed by Zack Snyder.

Tapping into the sculpting excellence of the Four Horsemen Studios, the line-up presents three-dimensional interpretations of actors Henry Cavill as the Man of Steel, Russell Crowe as Jor-El (Superman’s biological father) and Michael Shannon as a Kryptonian military leader looking for revenge against the son Kal-El (otherwise known as Superman).

Figure profile: Paraphrased from the back of package — Imprisoned in the Phantom Zone, General Zod, a warrior born from generations of warriors before him, escaped when Krypton was destroyed. He led a small band of surviving Kryptonians in search of a new home. In the process, they discovered a planet called Earth and a man once known as Kal-El.

Accessories: As with all Movie Masters, General Zod gets a fantastic paint job but near zero extra items with only a base to stand upon that displays his family crest.

Our villain wears a tight-fitting, black body suit (maybe Kryptonian long johns or aerobics wear?) and gets a generous 20 points of articulation, but his hands are in permanent fists.

SEE ALSO: Zadzooks: Iron Man 3: Iron Patriot figure review

By the way, the trio of figures are all about fists. I’ll guess either representing their rage at the demise of Krypton or sculptors enamored with the Three Stooges “why you I oughta …” school of design.

As far as facial sculpting, fans of actor Michael Shannon would be hard-pressed to identify this figure representing him without the iconic costume.

However, the other figures fare much better with Jor-El looking like a dreary-eyed Russell Crow (with some nicely detailed body armor) and Superman looking very much like Mr. Cavill (reference those pouty lips) topped off by his large and red plastic cape.

Price: $14.99

Read all about it: General Zod made his first sequential art appearance in DC Comics‘ Adventure Comics No. 283 back in 1961. Look to pay about $200 for a copy in Fine condition. I suggest a cheaper route and find the trade paperback Superman vs. Zod ($9.99). It compiles not only his first appearance issue but also Action Comics Nos. 473, 548, 549 and Annual No. 10 along with DC Comics Presents No. 97.

What’s it worth: General Zod is a bit of a dud as part of the first round of Man of Steel Movie Masters figures. I’m looking forward to the next wave featuring Zod in battle armor (with a goatee) along with his accomplice Faora.

However, if not for his slightly inflated price, he works quite well as a role-playing entity for the tween in the family to challenge Superman. Except, I could never get the Man of Steel, in his articulation configuration, to actually kneel before Zod.

I’m still not sold these Movie Masters are made for the adult collector, I would be more inclined to look at DC Collectibles brand for some slick Man of Steel Items.

I’d also recommend the DC Comics Unlimited line of action figures coming in at around the same price. The line does an excellent job of bringing some sequential art heroes and villains such as Hawkman, Darkseid and Aquaman to scaled, three-dimensional life, each worthy of a spot on a shelf in an office cubicle.

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