In 1989, the highly-anticipated movie Batman quickly became a box office and merchandizing bonanza that dominated the popular consciousness for over a year. Toy Biz held the license for the very first Batman movie action figures, and they simultaneously released a line of DC Comics Super Heroes whose first wave included Superman, Wonder Woman, Robin, Penguin, Mr. Freeze, Riddler, and Lex Luthor. These early Toy Biz action figures were extremely crude; the better-looking figures in the line used existing Kenner Super Powers molds, but their original sculpts fell way short.
One of the new sculpts from the line is this Lex Luthor figure, based on the revamped Luthor from the Man of Steel’s 80s Byrne reboot. It’s just not a very good likeness of the arch enemy of the most powerful superhero in the world Superman… This version of Lex has a giant melon with an odd grin that makes him less than intimidating. The card art’s contrast with the sculpt doesn’t really help; this rendering of Luthor, while powerful, makes him look an awful lot like Spider-man’s arch enemy Kingpin. The figure, like Kenner’s Super Powers line, also has an action feature: a power punch that’s activated by a lever on the back. However, it looks more like he’s punching himself in the forehead. Even the photo on the back shows him punching himself! Just a bad figure all around, this guy was a pegwarmer for many years into the 1990s. I have to admit, though, that over the 23 years since this was in stores I’ve really warmed to it; it has a goofy charm that many of today’s hyper-realistic, collector-scrutinized lines just don’t have.
The front of the card also has an original price tag of $3.97 from the now-defunct Hill’s Department Store. Over the course of my collecting, I’ve landed squarely in the “don’t remove price stickers” camp; it’s just nice to see what things originally cost and, to me, the price sticker is part of the packaging. Unless it’s one of those giant red Lionel clearance tags that covers half the card art, you’re better off leaving them on. And even then, you’re probably better leaving it on… removing a Lionel label has ruined about half of the French carded Mego Fantastic Four figures that I see these days. Leave those price tags on there, please!