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DC Direct
by Artemis

Look! Up in the sky! Is it a bird? Well, kind of...

For centuries, Hawkgirl Hawkgirl (Shiera Hall) was the true love of Hawkman (Carter Hall), both of them reincarnated through the ages, always finding true love together. But when Kendra Saunders recently found herself as the new Hawkgirl, she declared that the chain of fate had been broken - that she was not Shiera. She may be right. She may be wrong. She may be lying. But she definitely won't be stopped.

She's also a member of the Justice League of America, because she happened to turn up to a fight one day while Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman were giving up trying to agree on anything, and had adopted the time-honoured "next half-dozen people we see" method of selecting the world's best and brightest heroes. Even more notably, she wears pants, and doesn't have her underpants on outside of them - what crazy fashion ideas will they come up with next?

shouldn't her stockings go on BEFORE her trunks? Hawkgirl dates all the way back to 1941, making her one of the veterans of the superhero field, and like all veteran superheroes her backstory and continuity are a godawful mess that DC regularly makes worse by hitting it in the head with attempted fixes. Then again, you try running a character for upwards of half a century without making continuity flubs - most TV shows can't manage six-and-a-half episodes without someone forgetting something, never mind decades. And Hawkgirl, however confused she may be, has that one quality that is worth its weight in gold: she looks damn good.

Sculpturally speaking, she's an imposing figure - a touch above 6½" tall to the top of her head, which makes her roughly average for DC Direct's not-quite-7" scale, but her upright stance, the rising crest of her mask, and of course her wings, make her stand out from the crowd. Her proportions are solid, with strong thighs and shoulders standing out, more feathered than a 1970s haircut and the general aesthetic of the sculpt is comic book realism - close enough to reality, with an eye to looking good. Thus her body and costume are big on overall appeal, and not so much into fine detail - there's some vague musculature in her arms and exposed midriff, and a few wrinkles and tension lines in the fabric of her outfit, but nothing you'd notice at first glance.

The mask and wings, however, have plenty of fine sculpted detail - especially the wings, which sport very pleasing textured feathers from top to bottom, all arrayed and angled as you'd expect. A minor bonus is that the wings aren't quite symmetrical - they look great as a pair, but there's no question they were sculpted individually. DC Direct, with its comparatively small production runs, probably hasn't automated its process that much that mirroring a sculpt would be easier than just sculpting two wings, but with technology and cost-cutting racing neck-and-neck, you never know what'll happen next.

Kendra's (or Shiera's, or whatever's) mask isn't removable, so it seems to fit perfectly over the head, but the ears and the jaw are all you get of her face. It's not easy to act with just your jaw - Goldeneye the makers of Robocop went to great pains to find an actor who could (and it's debateable how much they succeeded) - but the set of Hawkgirl's jaw conveys a sense of resolute stubbornness that's in keeping with her bio. Thankfully the days when Hawkman and Hawkgirl's masks had actual eyes in them are long gone, so instead of those truly goofy things, Hawkgirl has metallic gold eyes, which fit the proportions of the hawk mask while also matching with the human-shaped face. The facial paint apps - glossy lips and the gold eyes - are clean and crisp, but the rest of the mask is painted more to the body's level of quality, so the edges of the black stripes waver a bit in a way you don't tend to see on the heads of action figures at this price point.

As you'd guess from that last sentence, the paintwork on Hawkgirl's body is less than stellar, although there's nothing hideously wrong. The basics are covered, with a bright, consistent yellow on her top, divided cleanly from the green, a metallic which helps the somewhat garish yellow/green colour scheme seem a bit more plausible. The shiny red on her boots is also nice and clear, with good coverage. The boots, belt, and top are all decorated with gold detailing, with mixed results - the boots work well enough, and the rest of the costume doesn't have anything blatantly wrong with it, but the gold strays outside its lines in a number of places, especially on the belt, and around the shoulders. The paintwork on the bracers is probably the worst of it - the nondescript brown doesn't help them look snazzy, but the poor application of the silver studs, none of which are covered as much as they should be, really saps the effectiveness out of the sculpt.

DC Direct takes another nervous step towards enlightenment by adding swivel wrists to the standard allocation of joints - which is just as well, since for some reason they elected to have Hawkgirl's biceps turned inwards, so that her elbows bend across in front of her body, rather than perpendicular to the shoulder line. Bicep swivels would have been a nice fix for that, though admittedly the arm placement isn't entirely without merit - it makes her look kind of butch, in fact. Anyway, add up a neck balljoint, shoulder swivel/peg balljoints, peg elbows, the aforementioned wrists, peg hips and peg knees, and you've got yet another DC Direct figure that's limited to just standing around, but can be individualised a little bit. It's not the worst niche to be in, all things considered. The wings are mounted on balljoints that are about perfect in their degree of stiffness - the fairly heavy wings don't flop about on their own, but they're easy to move manually if you want to. Unlike the winged DC Armory figures, Hawkgirl's wing balljoints are angled properly for her back, so the wings sit at just the right angle behind her, though obviously - unless someone makes a new set - there's no way she can spread her wings.

Since (as Seanbaby will attest) she's fingering that thing like a guitar just being able to fly really isn't much use, Hawkgirl carries a mace, and it's integral enough to her that even DC Direct couldn't not give it to her as an accessory. It's nothing extravagant, but nice work, with a shiny silver handle and dull silver head, rounded bumps laid out over the head in a randomish manner that looks good from most angles (there's one patch where the pattern has an odd gap, but you can just have that bit facing down and no one will be any the wiser), and the weapon slides snugly into her clenched left hand, in which there's a hole for exactly this purpose. But wait, there's more - no doubt giddy with excitement at having given an action figure an accessory, DC Direct gave her another one: a Starro starfish.

Starro is the Justice League's oldest and arguably stupidest-looking enemy, being basically a giant purple starfish with a red bullseye on the centre of it, Oh no, a zit! And right before the big dance! containing an eye. Since it's just a big sushi bar on its own, Starro provides malevolence by spawning itty bitty baby Starro starfish, which clamp themselves onto people's faces and thus mind-control them, like Invasion of the Body Snatchers - only not so much with the paranoia, since you can easily identify the afflicted people by the purple starfish stuck to their face. Hawkgirl comes with just such a starfish, about the size of the palm of her hand, cast in shiny purple and painted with the red bullseye (though no obvious eye) - she can hold it in her open right hand, but there's no mechanism to attach it to her face, unless you just do what I did and use a dab of blu-tack.

And that's not the only cute touch - on the back of the packaging is a replica of the Justice League membership certificate, as seen in the recent restart of the title. stand in the place where you work The name is left blank, so if you want to cut it out, write in your own name, and then tell everyone that you're a member of the Justice League, now you can. The certificate (in accordance with the one seen in the comic) specifies the "Tornado's Path" storyline, though, so you can't pretend you joined the JLA after a real adventure. Hawkgirl also has the usual Justice League of America base, which isn't crucial to keeping her upright, but with the heavy wings hanging behind her it is a big help.

Those paint issues (and the weirdly angled arms) are minor annoyances, but overall this is a good quality figure that shouldn't disappoint Hawkgirl and/or JLA fans - though the Starro fans will no doubt complain about having to buy her just to get their beloved echinoderm.

what's supposed to be happening, here?


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