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Wonder Woman

DCD JLA Classified
by Artemis

Yeah, McGuinness again - technically this gal's from JLA Classified Classic, but in practical terms she's yet another entry in DC Direct's "DC Cartoony" line. I'm still not a fan, so it'd be handy if they'd make figures of heroines I don't want to buy, like... uhm... dammit.

Amazonian princess and warrior, Wonder Woman is both an ambassador of peace and soldier for justice. Possessing the powers of the Greek gods and goddesses, Princess Diana displays an array of superhuman strengths and is skilled at wielding a cadre of weapons.

I've always said you can't get enough Wonder Woman - well, since DC quit messing her around, I've always said it - so here we are again, with the twelfth Wondy to join my collection. Good heavens, they're almost outnumbering the weaponised Barbies (one of them is a Barbie, at that) - I'd say enough is enough, but they're still in a tiny minority compared to the 3.7 new versions of Batman created every minute, and with the artist styling this one is considerably more varied than most.

Like earlier McGuinness ladies - I've got Supergirl and Power Girl already (oh, and Natasha, but she's got her mask on so it's not obvious), and there are also Batwoman and Superwoman (who were slightly before I started collecting in earnest, or I'd probably have bought them too) - Di's built on a model of broad stance, arms held wide, and colossal thighs. There are worse models to work from. The latter fit in fairly well, since apart from narrowish hips, and the typical two-handspan waist most heroines suffer from, she's got a powerful physique, with calves and biceps to match the thighs.

Her costume sticks close to the enduring modern Wonder Woman look - the corset-style golden girdle (yellow in the previous release) is the main difference from the version in use in the latest comics, which employ a more belt-like girdle - but it's got a couple of peculiarities. Her breastplate deviates from most (including the five figures I have that aren't other versions of the costume entirely) in that it's got a flat front, not dipping into the cleavage at all. The fabric section follows the metal, giving Di's bust as a whole a weighty look, somewhat realistic but, for that reason, a bit jarring with the overall animated look of the figure. The covered portion of her breasts is actually a separate piece, to facilitate casting the rising edge of the metal breastplate without interfering with the shape of the bare upper breast behind it; it leaves a visible seam beneath the add-on section, which when you notice it accentuates the sense of a heavy bust sitting downwards over the lower chest.

The other main area of difference is the boots - Diana traditionally sports footwear that's less than skin-tight, but these take the looseness to an eye-catching extreme, with loose upper bodies that sit down against the ankle, with the folds almost making them look like separate greaves. The rest of the costume is pretty conventional, and rendered in smooth lines and surfaces, with the paintwork clean and colourful to match. Her starry panties sport fewer and larger stars than normal, in keeping with the simplified, animated look.

McGuinness faces rarely come out of the mold well when they're transitioned to three dimensions - cartoony his work may be, but the man has an instinctive grasp of subtle angles that makes the sculptor's job even more difficult than usual. Here it's resulted in a big drawback, with Di's left eye higher than the right - in the art (as on the sample on the packaging) this is also the case, but the angles of the face are slightly asymmetric to support it, meaning you look at the face and see an expression, not a misplaced facial feature. The sculpted face is symmetrical but for the wandering eye, failing to achieve the same effect. The rest of the facial sculpt and paint is a good effort, echoing the body's clean, smooth style, but the eye sabotages it.

The good news articulation-wise is that, since this is a re-release of a figure that came out before Supergirl and Peegee, it was back when McGuinness Direct understood the neck balljoint. Unfortunately it's all but immobilized by the hair, which sits so tightly against the back of Diana's shoulders that there's barely a couple of millimeters of play in the sideways swivel, and a fraction of that in the other two axes. For the rest it's business as usual, with wrist swivels being the only improvement on the standard plan - swivel/pin shoulders, pin elbows, peg hips, pin knees. The shoulders don't allow the arms to properly drop to the sides of the body, and the hips only swing about 45° forward, and near as dammit nothing backwards - she may as well be a statue with a couple of joints, really, but that's always been DC Direct's style, so while it's annoying it's not as big a stumbling block as it would be if Star Wars suddenly started doing it.

As always (aside from the Agent Diana Prince and Amazonia Wonder Woman figures, so far as my shelves go) Diana's got her trusty lasso, and as almost always (DCU Wonder Woman being the exception now) it's a sparkly gold cord, decent but unremarkable. The clasp is on the back of her waist, rather than the side, and while it's an open hook and the lasso could be worked free of it, neither hand is capable of holding it, so there's not much point. Unless you want to tie Di herself up with it, as happened every other week back in the bondage-happy early days. Lasso aside she's got a base, which is worse than useless - it's a small black disc with a single peg, meaning that the left foot won't even touch it let alone rest on it when it's attached to the right. Furthermore the feet aren't level - if her right is flat on the base, her left winds up hovering in mid-air. She stands just fine on her own (with her feet at a slight angle to the ground, but you don't notice it), so the base is easily ignored.

This isn't a bad figure, base and eye regardless - it's bright and cheerful, but not quite so much as to lose the dignity of the character, even if it's expressed in a playful kind of way. But since it's good only for as-is display, and not what you'd call a definitive Wonder Woman (I'd still give the Dodson-styled one that title), it's really just one for the collectors, whether it be a Wonder Woman collection, or one of the McGuinness-styled figures (beside whom this one's got a nice Mediterranean tan, incidentally). She fits in okay, but she wouldn't really make it on her own.

-- 05/26/09

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