The Ultimate Guide to
Released in two waves, the action figures were the heart and soul of the SMOS line. The figures themselves were actually well-designed and sculpted. The articulation was standard for Kenner, with joints at the shoulders, knees and neck on most figures (a few had minor articulation differences). As previously mentioned, the character choices seemed driven by the (then) recent death and rebirth of Superman storylines of the Superman comics.
Each figure came with its own trading card that more than made up for the lack of individualized card art. There were a host of accessories included with the figures (from the sublime to the ridiculous). Capes (where appropriate) were molded plastic, but generally well-done.
The first release was in 1995 and though the figures seemed to sell briskly at first, there was an eventual glut of first series figures on the shelves. Although the lone villain (Conduit) was the shortpack, the swiftest seller was undoubtedly the basic Superman figure (Power Flight). The first assortment was rounded out with two of the heirs to the Superman throne (Steel and Superboy) as well as the real deal himself in his recovery suit when he returned from the dead (Laser).
Comic book advertisement for the Superman: Man of Steel and Legends of Batman lines.
Although the second series sold better than the first (with Lex Luthor being the most difficult to find due to being shortpacked and extremely well done, the problem of lingering first series figures was only made worse by Kenner's decision to re-ship all the first series figures in the second case assortment. While this type of strategy has been more or less successful with Kenner's Star Wars line (Power of the Force), it was a dismal failure for the SMOS line.
Not long after the release of the second series of figures, rumors began to spread about the cancellation of the line. Though several new items had been shown at toy fair (see the Unreleased Items section), the line was officially cancelled in mid-1996 (although there was one last flurry of releases in late 1996 and early 1997 - see the Deluxe Figures section).
Here's a look at the case breakdowns for each series.