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DC Direct All Star Batman
by Artemis

You always hear about these idiotic campaigns to get rid of teenagers hanging around shopping malls in hoodies beating up other kids - oafish mall security guards moving them on (not the same as OAFEish, which is highly superior), playing Barry Manilow (surely it must annoy Barry when he hears about that), that sort of thing. And it's all highly misguided - after all, if you stop kids from being hooligans early, how are they ever going to develop into proper costumed vigilantes?

Fifteen-year-old Barbara Gordon has just assumed the identity of Batgirl and is eager to prove her crime-fighting abilities.

Aww, innit cute? She's right out of Gotham's version of Tiny Toons. Of course this just raises all those issues about child endangerment again, but since the other All Star figure I've got is Lois Lane with superpowers, let's not quibble over silly ideas. 15-year-olds have done stupider things, after all, although usually less to do with violence and more with music and choice of boyfriends. Heigh-ho. But since an underage Barbara Gordon is playing hell with my Birds of Prey threesome fantasies, let's just get this over with, 'kay?

Baby Babs stands just under 5½" tall, which is noticeably and appropriately shorter than the average DC Direct figure. Possibly in an effort to compensate (though likely more to do with the source art) her cape is spread out wide behind her - very much the approved "Batman and Robin running towards camera" cape spread, except that Babs isn't running anywhere, and given DC Direct's attitude to articulation, she's not going to be. You can kind of forgive the cape, though - she's not exactly a cartoon, but she's got a somewhat cartoony, cutesy look to her, and that lowers the realism bar enough for the cape to pass.

In other regards she's pretty plain, but the sculpt and paint don't make any mistakes. Her low-shine bodysuit has a zip up the front and stitching at the side seams, both painted on in blue, as well as the obligatory Bat-logo in bright yellow - good coverage on the symbol, obviously whoever arranged the paint knew enough to give the yellow a thorough undercoat over the black base. Her boots have the usual bat-ears design worked into their tops, but they're chunkier than usual around the bottom, with an actual sole making them look more utilitarian than the usual superheroine footwear. For a bit of extra decoration, Babs has a little plastic piece stuck on her belt, representing a collection of miniature superhero emblems - the Bat-logo, an Super-shield, a Wonder Woman star, and a little shape which, upon closer inspection, proves to be a Green Lantern lantern.

Babs's face looks a bit different from Jim Lee's art, but since I don't read the comic it's based on I may or may not be getting a representative sample. Anyway, she's got a rather square face, with a solid jaw, cute button nose, big green eyes, and freckles - she looks a good, feisty Irish lass. Her lips are a restrained pink, and of course she's wearing a bat-themed domino mask, though (like many heroes) she's really pushing the limits of how thin the mask can be without becoming totally useless as a mask. Her hair's a vivid ginger, and is done up in a ponytail which is swirling around dramatically (and cartoonily - new word there, have fun with it). She's wearing more hero trinkets as earrings - the same pieces as the one on her belt.

Articulation is the usual DC Direct minimal, and then some - or rather, and then less some, if you get what I mean. She's got a balljoint neck, swivel/pin shoulders, pin elbows, peg hips (a V-crotch, rather than straight vertical joints), and that's it. Maybe DC Direct figures don't grow knees until they're 16? To make up for it a bit, she's got a swivel waist, which is useful to a point, but the vertical zipper seam running up her torso - above and below the joint - means turning it too far mucks up the paint job.

She's got the standard All Star base, a relatively small disc with a single peg, for her right foot - with her middling-wide stance she fits on it, but only just.

It's a short review, but then, there's not really a lot to say about this figure. There's nothing especially ambitious about her, nor does she foul up in any noteworthy way; bear in mind that the waist turns, and you can learn pretty much everything else you'll need to know to make a buy/no-buy decision just from looking at her.

-- 01/02/09

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