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Kenner Total Justice Superman Mail-In Action Figure Kenner, 1996
Day #114: March 22, 2011
Kenner Total Justice  Superman Mail-In Action FigureSuperman
Mail-Away Figure

Total Justice Mail-In Premium
Item No.:
n/a
Manufacturer: Kenner
Includes: Cape
Action Feature: Removable cape
Retail: 4 UPCs + $1.00
Availability: ca. 1996
Other: Some elements are translucent

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Kenner Total Justice Superman Mail-In Action FigureThe 1990s were a heck of a decade for action figure collectors-- really, that's the time you can blame for today's market. Everybody was experimenting with new and old ideas, and even though Hasbro bought Kenner, the old Kenner brand was still a very important name in action figures up until the end of 1998. One of the many lines Kenner revived was a new take on DC heroes (i.e., Super Powers redux) named Total Justice which included extreme action poses, big accessories, and in the case of some figures, weird and often translucent armor. Why should Superman's legs be partially transparent? I have no idea. But here it is.

Standing 5 1/2-inches tall, this version of Superman came out at a time when the market actually did support a Superman toy line based on the comics as well as an animated series, aimed primarily at kids. Batman was more popular as a toy, but both Batman and Superman received mail-in figures as part of Total Justice. While the retail figures looked a little more like normal, comic book-inspired defenders of the peace, this mail-in guy looks like what most toy collectors remember as being a "Kenner toy." While there's no preposterously large accessory, he does come with a lot of clear parts. So far these haven't discolored, which is pretty surprising to me as my Ambush Predators all look awful these days.

The construction is typical 1980s and 1990s Kenner. The shoulders, neck, and hips are jointed plus (as this was increasingly popular in the 1990s) Superman also has a jointed waist. These are all swivel joints, so they really won't do much to alter the pose as sculpted by the designers. His legs have to be in a certain pose for gravity to keep him standing. He's ready to do battle with Lex Luthor, or Aquaman, but he's not really ready to sit down or to just hang out. Again, this was pretty typical of Kenner toys of this era. "Extreme" just wasn't an adjective, it was a corporate mandate.

Kenner Total Justice  Superman Mail-In Action FigureThe figure was designed to hold accessories, but has nothing to speak of in this department beyond his removable, clear red cape. There is a big yellow "S" shield on the back, and it pops off if you detach it from the holes in his back. If you happen to have extra weapons from other Total Justice figures, his right hand can hold various rocket launchers or whatever. You know, just like Superman might use.

I picked up this figure at a local collectible toy store, Empire of Toys (currently Toy Anxiety). It was five bucks, which seemed like a good idea at the time. In today's market fans just don't care about most of the 1990s Kenner DC figures, thanks mostly to Mattel's and DC Direct's generally fantastic, abundant, and typically superior offerings. There's simply no time to look back anymore, and today this figure should cost you between $5 and $15 sealed in the mail-in baggie. I don't necessarily think that it's worth the asking price unless you've got a soft spot for the Kenner house style or toys back from the era where it was pretty obvious that the bean counters at the big toy companies couldn't quite determine what collectors wanted, what kids wanted, or how to achieve a happy medium. As a curiosity, this is a great piece-- if you know a Superman collector that has it all, this might be a fun gift. I mean, I'd probably get a good chuckle if I got one of these as a present because I live to find weird toys and write about them, but then again I did buy more of those Kenner figures than I care to admit.

...oh, that's not true, I'll be digging out those Kenner figures to review in the next couple of months.

--Adam Pawlus

Additional Images

Kenner Total Justice  Superman Mail-In Action Figure Kenner Total Justice  Superman Mail-In Action Figure
Kenner Total Justice  Superman Mail-In Action Figure Kenner Total Justice  Superman Mail-In Action Figure

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Want to buy this figure? Check DC Comics availability at our sponsors:
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