Mattel seems to be continuing in the direction of its lackluster 3.75-inch The Dark Knight Rises figure line, if these prototype photos that Joe Moore (over at Toyark) found are of any indication. The photos, which come from eBay listings, depict two unpainted, presumed prototype Superman figures from the upcoming Man of Steel line based on the film of the same name.
The figures use the same style as the previous 3.75-inch TDKR line, featuring a rather basic five points of articulation and cloth (rather than plastic) capes. Between this and the also-weak sculpting, these figures look like something worse than even the '90s DC Comics film toy lines which, to be brutally honest, is embarrassing.
While this trend back to a more basic style technically began with Mattel's 3.75-inch Green Lantern line, at least that line included cool accessories (usable with larger figures!), an added waist joint, and the character selection actually featured selection. Mattel went a rather horrendous route with TDKR, giving us innumerable Batman variants with only two Banes (one mold), an exclusive Catwoman, and an exclusive Bruce Wayne. These smaller lines with their lower price points (generally around US$6 for a single-card, which is still a rip-off) may be predominantly aimed at children, but even as a kid I wanted characters besides the hero. I'm hoping that the Man of Steel line doesn't turn out like the TDKR one although I don't suppose I'd buy much from it either way.
At any rate, it's aggravating that Mattel's response to the demand for 3.75-inch scaled figures has been to throw up its hands in frustration after its mediocre attempts have failed. Mattel's 3.75-inch DC Infinite Earths line was gradually improving (in terms of sculpts and articulation anyway, not necessarily their marketing philosophy) and, while overpriced, could have eventually provided Hasbro's successful Marvel Universe line with a little competition.
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