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DC Armory
by Artemis

Sorry Bruce, it's not Robin in drag.


With the bottle city of Kandor in danger of being overtaken by a religious zealot, Power Girl must disguise herself as ancient Kandorian hero Nightwing to instil hope in the oppressed and fear in the unjust.

Supergirl #6 Nowadays, of course, everyone thinks "Dick Grayson" when they hear Nightwing (well, apart from the vast majority of the population, who think "Nightwhat? Is that some comicbook thing? Jeez, get a life!"), but in fact Nightwing and Flamebird were the aliases adopted by Superman and his pal Jimmy Olsen way back when they used to venture into Kandor to fight crime there. Supergirl #6 found Power Girl and Supergirl fighting crime in Kandor, so naturally they adopted the same names - either the Crisis retconned away Clark and Jimmy's costumed adventures, or the people of Kandor aren't very perceptive when it comes to, for instance, whether their superheroes have breasts or not.

Nightwing is Power Girl's alias, so she certainly does. Have breasts, that is. For her incognito adventuring she's adopted a vampire-bat-themed outfit, she's going to strain her back predominantly black with red highlights, bat wings, and an exaggerated batwing-style helmet with fangs and a scary red glowing mouth. It's a bit goofy-looking, to be honest, but I guess people aren't inclined to giggle at someone who can throw a tank at them. The wings are superfluous, of course, but unlike the Batman and Aquaman entries in the DC Armory series, Power Girl and Supergirl are armoured to disguise themselves, not get extra powers.

As a replica of the costume, the sculpt is pretty good - the tops of the thigh armour are a touch off, mainly to incorporate articulation, some of the small details like the belt buckle are simplified somewhat, and the twin rows of red lights running down her chest are smaller than drawn, but it's nothing to throw a tantrum about. Nightwing does have one major sculptural issue, though - there's no way on Earth (or Kandor) that Power Girl could fit in it. Granted all superhero physiques vary somewhat depending on the artist, but Power Girl is pretty they're about five seconds away from comparing their breasts consistently portrayed as athletic at the least, more often heading towards downright muscular, and "Nightwing" just doesn't measure up.

Comparing the figure to the Infinite Crisis Power Girl - which shares the same head sculpt, so it's a pretty natural comparison - her waist must be ruthlessly corseted in there, her bust must be in a tight squeeze, and her thighs and biceps simply would not fit. Compared to Nightwing's appearance in Supergirl, the physical proportions are closer (Ed Benes only really draws one female body), but since the sculptor didn't sculpt a new head to match the art, I'm not inclined to give this a free pass. A minor secondary problem is that, when you know what Power Girl should look like, you tend to see the unmasked head as a bit too big for its slender body, even though it's not actually out of proportion to any appreciable extent.

The two heads - masked and unmasked - are swappable, so the mask doesn't suffer from being overlarge to accommodate a separate head inside it. evil jack o'lantern It's a simple helmet, gloss black with red eyes and mouth, unremarkable in appearance but accurately sculpted and cleanly painted. Unmasked, as mentioned, Nightwing re-uses the head from IC Power Girl, which is attractive, confident and mature, albeit with shorter hair than she had during the Kandor story. The paints have been varied though, for a warmer skin tone, redder lips, and a warmer hair colour due to an orange wash. That last part didn't work out so well, unfortunately - the overall colour is good, but the consistency of the paint was too thick, leaving splotches on the hair sculpt's flat surfaces. My IC Power Girl seemed to be looking off to the right - not sure if that was universal - while Nightwing's gaze is centred.

There's not a lot else to report, paint-wise - better this than the alternative the skin tone on the neck matches the face well, the glossy black is well done all over, and the red and occasional silver highlights are clear enough. The chest lights have a bit of slop on them, but with light glancing off the sculpted edges, that's actually not very visible. The wings are a mix of slightly impressive and slightly disappointing - in the comics the segmented texture was far more apparent than the very shallow sculpt with no painted distinction here, but the overall shade from bright to dark red over the wing surfaces is quite nicely done.

Articulation... she's a DC Direct figure, so save for the wings I could mostly just copy and paste in the paragraph from the last one I reviewed. Balljoint neck (good range, due to short hair), balljointed shoulders (slightly restricted by shoulder armour, but not much), black hides joints well, it seems pin elbows, peg hips, pin knees. The hips are nothing special, but clever in a small way, with the segmented armour extending up a little way over the joint, rather than being broken or truncated by it. Each wing is mounted on a balljoint - they're packaged unattached (though more or less in their correct position in the tray), and the balls pop in and out easily enough. [I bet they do! Zing! --ed.]

Oh, do shut up! They joints aren't loose and will hold the weight of the wings well. Though the joints themselves are fine, they're sabotaged a bit by poor planning - the ball recesses are of course in the upper back, and since Nightwing is sculpted with one of those insane and probably painful look-at-my-physique back arches, the recesses are angled downwards, rather then being properly perpendicular to "upright," and the wings themselves come out of the upper surface of the ball, not the centre. As a result, the wings will only swivel upwards so far, and can't be spread out above the figure to any real degree - which is a shame, as that'd look quite good.

yep, that's how it's spelt, all right! Aside from the alternate head, Nightwing comes with a generic Armory base, which has "Armory" printed on it just to annoy those of us who didn't care what Noah Webster thought of English spelling (these days he'd be one of those clowns who thinks "thru" is a real word). There's one peg, and unfortunately no matter what you do Nightwing will end up standing slightly off-centre, with her left foot on the edge of the base. Given the wings, and the fact that her boots don't do anything to bulk out the size of her feet, she'll need the base to stand upright.

It's a bit of a surprise to see this figure at all - aside from being the last couple of issues before the title did a nosedive, Supergirl's Kandor arc wasn't anything special, and though the Nightwing and Flamebird costumes were okay-looking, they hardly set the world on fire. I suppose it demonstrates the strength of the DC Direct line, that by marketing directly to comic shops and readers it can profitably produce these relatively obscure characters - but there's no getting around the fact that this figure, while good in many respects, is a bit lazy in others, and could have been a lot better.


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