Review: Superman vs. Alien Convention Exclusive Figure Set

NECA just might be the masters of finding toy contract loopholes. When they got the rights to DC and Marvel superhero action figures, it was only supposed to be in quarter-scale, as DC Collectibles held the full rights to DC Comics-based 7-inch action figures. However, NECA found that DC Collectibles didn’t hold the rights to the Batman Nintendo game, so they made a figure from that. Muhammad Ali’s estate owned the rights to the Superman vs. Muhammad Ali comic, so NECA went through them to make that Superman. And Dark Horse owns enough of the rights to the DC and Aliens/Predator crossover comics that NECA can –finally — make them in limited quantities for conventions only. Superman vs. Alien and Batman vs. Predator launched at SDCC, while Batman vs. Alien and Green Lantern vs. Predator will bow at NYCC.

The first two sets did not sell as quickly as I anticipated at SDCC — most days I stopped by the booth there were still some left. And ebay prices for the pair hover around the $100 mark; not a super-sized mark-up. Chalk some of that up to completists who feel that not going to both conventions means they won’t be able to get them all, maybe. Or to the fact that McFarlane Toys get the DC rights next year. But somebody’s loss can be another’s gain. These really are among the best superhero figures made.

We’ll start with Superman vs. Alien. This set may be the bigger draw, as the Xenomorph is the newer Resurrection body. This can be distinguished by a smooth head, suction cups on the back tentacles, no “tongue” on back, and hindquarter-style legs. To differentiate it from the upcoming movie figures, its dome has a wide purple stripe highlight. With lengthy articulated fingers and multiple ball joints on the legs, it’s one of NECA’s best “generic” aliens. But it will become available later on in a new paint job, solo.

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Probably due to licensing negotiations, the box is basic black, with just character logos. Since the set is only sold at booths or by mail order, the package doesn’t need to “pop.” The contents do all the selling themselves.

Superman uses a new “superhero” body that can presumably be recycled later. Indeed, it is mostly reused on Armored Batman, and probably regular Batman and Green Lantern as well. It’s mega-muscular with a hint of tight clothing, and has unique crotch and boots for Superman. Incidentally, while NECA’s crotch pieces are usually soft plastic to allow more leg movement, this one is solid. Instead, the upper thigh pieces wrap around separate ball-joints inside them which connect to the hips. It’s a very sculpt-friendly arrangement.

The hero body includes (barely) hinged toes, hinge/rocker ankles, mid-calf (boot) cuts, double knees, ball-and-cut hips, cut waist, ab crunch, ball wrists, double elbows, swivel-arm, ball shoulders, and double-ball neck. Most impressively, the cape is soft cloth, and it’s huge. This allows it to hang with natural folds, and it has the yellow S-logo on back. All joints are tight and hold position well. Superman capes at this scale are usually flexible plastic. So the way this cape works and hangs seems unprecedented. At least in this effective a manner.

Superman also comes with a bonus heat-vision head, that looks quite creepy without the vision attachments.

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Okay, so one of the attachments is just flashy-eyes, for moments like the Batman V. Superman confrontation. Kal-El’s just showing off his anger with this style.

But then there’s a full-on blast. It doesn’t stick to the alien any particular place, but can rest at almost any point. Superman also comes with alternate hands: one set of fists, one set of karate chops. Neither one feels exactly like the “flying pose” hand, but we can make them work.

The scale is similar to DC Collectibles’ “Essentials” line. Obviously the two aren’t exactly the same — the NECA buck is bigger and more exaggerated in the musculature. But if one assumes, for example, the Superman would be a bigger, more powerful guy than, say, Deathstroke, the match is close enough.

At $60, the set made for a great value. For $100, you gotta really want that Superman. And, frankly, you should.

Check out more images in the gallery below, and see if you’re sold.