Monday, January 6, 2020

LEGION TOYS: DC Direct Pocket Superheroes

DC Direct Pocket Superheroes isn't necessarily a line of figures I was interested in when they were initially released back in 2001. However, since it's rare for Legionnaires to get action figure representation at all, I decided to acquire them for review and display purposes. I figured not only would these be fun to display with their larger counterparts in photo shoots, but would make a worthwhile review for the LEGION TOYS segment here on the Legion of Super-Bloggers!

Series 1 - Assortment 3 - December 4, 2002
Mon-El & Lightning Lad

Cosmic Boy & Saturn Girl

Series 2 - Assortment 4 - December 17, 2003
Ultra Boy & Phantom Girl

The Pocket Superheroes line from DC Direct probably has the most in common with Playmobil mini-figures and even Lego mini-figures may have had some influence on the sculpt and design of the line. Having said all that, I think the Kubrick mini-figures from Japanese toy company, MediCom Toy Inc., which debuted only a year earlier and were all the rage in comic book specialty shops probably inspired DC Direct to pursue this type of collectible line.

At the time, they were known as the smallest action figures DC Direct had ever produced, standing at a little over three inches tall. They are less blocky-looking in appearance than Lego Mini-Figures, hence the appropriate comparison to their lankier cousins, the Playmobil Mini-Figures. The male body type has arms that skew inward, which make them all look like very tense dudes on date night. The Hair Sculpts for Ultra Boy, Mon-El and Cosmic Boy are all identical (save Ultra Boy's hair color). Saturn Girl and Phantom Girl share a hair sculpt (again save the color, they are identical). But the way the ladies arms are positioned makes them look a lot more at ease. Pretty much the entire line is made up of re-use of the single male and female body types with varying hair peaces and paint applications applied. Other than the awkward positioning of the male arms, these sculpts are fine for this type of thing. Not outstanding, but good enough. As you can see from a side view, the balance to stand up these figures straight without a stand is slightly off. You'll have to slightly shift the weight of the figure forward to keep them from falling backward.

They come with some plastic stands and you're supposed to place cardboard backdrops from the packaging in the stands for your two figures to stand next to. It's a nice thought, but the cardboard is pretty cheap and won't really stand the test of time.
The Pocket Super-Heroes have 6 Points Of Articulation. The heads can rotate 360 degrees for the males and females, despite thinking that the hair sculpt might tend to get in the way. There is also 360 degree waste rotation. Both arms rotate 360 degrees at the shoulders, and the capes are designed using soft plastic, so they don't interfere with the full rotation. Both legs get a full 90 degree articulation moving forward. Because of the female sculpted buttocks, there is no reverse articulation  in the female body type. The male body type has very limited reverse articulation in the legs. I'd say to about a 45 degree angle.

Paint applications are limited, but outstanding for this scale of action figure. The faces have zero sculpt and are completely dependent on the paint applications on the faces. They are so mechanically replicated, they are most likely done via tampo printing. The logos and cape fasteners are incredibly clean on all figures and have no bleed. Boots, underwear, wrist cuffs and gloves are equally well painted. If I had to criticize anything, it would be Mon-El's yellow belt buckle, which is clearly painted over some kind of black paint or plastic. The yellow of the belt buckle is not as vibrant. It looks faded and has some slight bleed at the top and bottom of the buckle.

These are fine for the aesthetic the line is shooting for, but they aren't exactly my cup of tea. The main novelty is the small size, but they never really made any locales for the characters to interact within. For the Justice League, they at least got their meeting table. If there were time bubbles, the Legion Clubhouse or maybe one of those first appearance YES/NO buzzer tables for the figures to interact with, they'd be a lot more fun. To end on a positive note, one thing this line does have going for it, is that it contains the only action figure representation of Phantom Girl to date!


  1. I bought all the DCD Pocket Heroes. DC Direct had me by evoking Mego with the name "borrowed" from their 3.75" line of the late 70s. They are odd little figures, but I kind of dig their uniform weirdness. They look great grouped together on a shelf.

  2. These hero models are really good toys for children. They can let them know more about the heroes in movies and comics. Of course, with other toys, children may like it better. It can not only help children develop their intelligence, but also make them more happy!