Monday, October 20, 2014

Simplistic, But Okay: The 2014 Defender Of Mankind Superman Ornament

The Good: Generally good sculpt, Basic coloring, Affordable
The Bad: Seems small, Mediocre balance, Simplistic coloring
The Basics: The new Defender Of Mankind Hallmark ornament is a Superman ornament that is very basic, but not bad.

I am having a pretty big DC Comics week. Having caught up on the new television series of The Flash and read a new Wonder Woman graphic novel, I felt like reviewing one of the Hallmark ornaments for a DC Comics character. I chose the Defender Of Mankind Superman ornament. Ironically, given that I generally love DC Comics and Hallmark ornaments (not to mention that my most-read review was for the film Man Of Steel - reviewed here!), Superman is one of my least-favorite characters from the DC Comics universe. Superman is a monolithic good character in almost all incarnations of his character. That bores me.

The Defender Of Mankind ornament suffers a similar problem as the comic book character; the ornament is very simplistic. While I understand that an ornament based on a comic book reference might be simple, there is something very basic about this rendition of Superman; it lacks flair or spark for both a super hero and an ornament.


The Defender Of Mankind ornament faithfully presents Superman in his blue and red comic book costume. This is the Superman in his smooth blue and red suit, red belt and red cape. The ornament, released in 2014, is fair for an ornament based upon the classic comic book look of Superman. With such a basic dimensional model, Hallmark was able to create an ornament that is similarly uncomplicated. Measuring four inches tall, two and three-quarter inches wide and two inches deep, the Defender Of Mankind ornament is one of three DC super hero-based ornaments released by Hallmark in stores in 2014. The Defender Of Mankind ornament came with an original retail price of $14.95 and I am confident that there will be plenty left over at the end of the season, so I suspect there is no rush to buy them at that price.

The Hallmark Defender Of Mankind ornament is made of durable plastic. Superman’s costume is colored in bold blue and bright red. He is ripped with well-defined stomach and leg muscles underneath his costume. The Defender Of Mankind ornament has the traditional Superman symbol on his chest and the ornament even has the symbol silkscreened onto the back of the cape.

Defender Of Mankind features a Superman who looks more like the animated character than Henry Cavill. The skin tones are monotonal as opposed to having rich coloring, which is unfortunate and undermines the potential realism of this ornament.


As a Hallmark Keepsake ornament, Defender Of Mankind could have a sound chip or a light-up function. He has neither, but honestly it would have been virtually impossible to make a gimmick for this ornament.


As with all ornaments, the intent of the Hallmark Keepsake Defender Of Mankind ornament is to be hung on a Christmas Tree. And for those creating the ultimate superhero Christmas Tree, the Defender Of Mankind ornament is fair; there are many other Superman ornaments on the market from past years. The ornament has the standard metal hook loop embedded into the top back of Superman’s head at the most discrete position a hook loop could be from the head. From there, the ornament, when affixed to a tree with a hook, swings very easily. This ornament has a slight right bias, which makes sense given how much of the cape is stuck to the right of the ornament’s main body.


Hallmark Keepsake began delving into the collectibles market in 1991 with Star Trek when it introduced the exceptionally limited edition U.S.S. Enterprise ornament (reviewed here!). Since then, they have made ornament replicas of almost all major franchises like DC comics, The Wizard Of Oz and Harry Potter. The Defender Of Mankind ornament has been selling slowly at all of the Hallmark stores I have gone to. Given that it is hardly a sell-out, I would not bet on it being a great investment piece.


Fans of Superman and DC comics characters are likely to find the Defender Of Mankind ornament to be very average, though not at all bad. If simplistic and “right-biased” are the worst that can be said about the ornament, it could be much worse.

For other DC Universe superhero Hallmark ornaments, please check out my reviews of:
2013 The Joker The Dark Knight ornament
2013 San Diego Comic Con Man Of Steel Exclusive ornament
2013 Man Of Steel Superman
2013 Descending Upon Gotham City Batman ornament
2012 The Bat The Dark Knight Rises Limited Edition Ornament
2012 Catwoman ornament
2012 "Beware My Power" Green Lantern ornament
2012 The Dark Knight Rises
2011 Batman Takes Flight
2011 Green Lantern
2010 Limited Edition Harley Quinn
2009 Wonder Woman ornament


For other ornament reviews, please visit my Ornament Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2014 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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