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DCD Justice League International
by Artemis

We've already revealed how Donna Troy was created by accident - well, there must be something in the water down at DC headquarters (assuming there's any left after Grant Morrison injected it all into himself), because they did pretty much the same thing with Ice. Not bothering to check if the character Icemaiden already had a real name, she was given a second one, and subsequently retconned into two characters. DC also didn't really want to do 52, and gave Sinestro Corps War nothing in the way of promotion - it's like they only succeed by accident.

Ice - The power to generate ice to fight off villains is in stark contrast to Tora Olafsdotter's warm personality.

She may have a warm personality - I mean, if she can stand Guy Gardener, she'd have to (though it must be said anyone who read him during Ice's heyday saw him at his worst, bordering on inadvertent character assassination) - but she's evidently not the most imaginative supergirl in the world. I mean, "Ice?" That's so generic it's bordering on upcopyrightable (probably is, at that). Even She-Ra managed to come up with "Frosta". Perhaps Norwegians are like Eskimos and have a zillion different words for all things winter, and this one is the "ice" that means "superhero wearing outfit wholly inappropriate for winter climate." She was originally Icemaiden, but she and her best friend Green Flame (whose superpower is green flame) renamed themselves Ice and Fire; you can see why they bonded.

She did later adopt a costume that, while not exactly heavily insulated, did at least cover her from the neck down and thus look a bit more plausible for an ice-themed character (not that they as a rule bother, what with the "sexy ice maiden" idea perpetually floating into artists' minds - as a whole, they must use up 90% of their powers keeping themselves from freezing), but in keeping with the Kevin Maguire art this series is aping, she's not wearing that. Shame, I rather like it - it's not stripperiffic, but it's very cute. Like JLI Black Canary, Ice shows her heritage to the dark ages of fashion, the '80s, with big gloves and boots, short-cut poofy shoulders, and a neckline that reaches her navel. Unfortunately DC Direct still weren't over their love affair with metallic effects, and have rendered all of the blue besides the boots in gloss metal blue, which makes it both way too dark, and nothing at all like the simple, flatly-coloured art they're trying to reproduce. Obviously, the boots don't match. The white is all glossy too, but at least you can't really get the shade of white that wrong.

Before we move off her body, she's got a strange mark on her right hip, a largish depression in a "C" kind of shape, almost like an inverted scar - it's so big I'm wondering if it's intentional, something Ice picked up somehow at some point, but there's nothing there on the packaging art, and the position suggests it might be some kind of manufacturing flaw related to the hip joint.

Speaking of the art, the head copies it faithfully - unfortunately the specific piece of art they chose (reproduced on the packaging at the top, rather than in the main image) is one where the artist apparently drew in her hair while on the phone and never bothered fixing it. It's like the world's worst bowl haircut, and manages to be almost completely detrimental to the figure - the best that can be said of it is that it's sculpted sharply, but that's like being mugged and appreciating the precision with which they kicked you in the face while you were lying on the ground bleeding.

For starters, her hair uses the same reflective white as her costume, making it look plasticky and fake (and, as before, a poor match to the comicbook colouring of her era). It encroaches on the sides of her face, making her head look too small for her body, especially with the big shoulders of her costume - it's not actually out of proportion, much, it just looks it. And the cut at the sides and back manages to draw attention to the divide of the balljoint, making it look like her head's a separate piece that's just been stuck on the end of her neck. It is, of course, but given that almost every other piece of art I could find gives Ice a really cute, slightly ruffled hairdo, it's not like their hands were tied in hiding that joint.

Her face, for what it's worth, has decent features, attractive though nowhere near cute enough for Ice, and the narrow nose and neutral expression do nothing to overcome the hairdo's negative impact.

Ice has a few joints over the DC Direct standard, but managed to muck that up overall as well. She's got the usual balljoint neck, but only swivel shoulders beneath the giant poufs, then pin elbows and swivel glove tops. Peg hips, pin knees and swivel boot tops round her out, but the placement of the knees is just atrocious - the sculpt puts her knees low on her legs to begin with (though not quite as much as it seems, when you account for the high hip cut of her costume), but the joints are even lower; pose her with a bent knee and it's staggeringly obvious that her leg is bending in the wrong place.

Ice has only one accessory, the Justice League International base, a clear plastic oval with the book title set into it as detail. It's the same base as JLI Black Canary got, and it's only slightly improved by the translucent plastic looking vaguely appropriate for the character. It's still overly large, but unlike Dinah, Ice has a bit of trouble standing up on her own - she had stable poses aplenty, but the knee joints are weak as well as misplaced, so keeping her standing without her base can be a challenge long-term.

Personally I'd say she's in the wrong costume, but I'm not docking DC Direct any points for that - they've decided to go with the old dumb costumes, so good luck to 'em on that. But then they managed to make a mess of everything else as well - the mismatching and off-model metallics, the ugly hairdo and generic face, the horrible knees, the dull base. Ice is a fun, lovely character - this is a dull, regrettable action figure.

-- 05/20/09

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