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Livewire

DC Direct Superman/Batman
by Artemis

"Shocking." - James Bond, Goldfinger

In a frenetic fight, this pure-energy supervillainess explodes a prop made of Kryptonite - which turns out to be real. As small shards slice and embed themselves in Superman's body, he is incapacitated for three days - which kicks off the global hunt for Kryptonite.

This series is based on "The Search for Kryptonite," which is why that bio's more about the story than Livewire herself (or Live Wire, according to the packaging, but that's some guy from the Legion of Super-Heroes called Garth, and I sure didn't buy that). To fill in the blanks, Livewire used to be Leslie Willis, a shock jock (gettit?) DJ who made a name for herself heaping abuse on Superman. In her debut in Superman: The Animated Series she was electrocuted and transformed into Livewire while Superman tried to save her from the inevitable consequences of appearing live on stage outdoors during a thunderstorm; naturally she blamed him afterwards. And, like Harley Quinn, she was a bit of a hit in cartoon form, and was later incorporated into the comic DC universe, although there she always had her electricity-control power to a degree, and her getting zapped into her new form didn't involve Superman (although she's still peeved at him on general principles).

Said new form is what we've got here - 6½" of ashen-skinned electrical mayhem, wearing a typically tight bodysuit (made from ionised air, allegedly) and a grin that's make the Joker drool. For an artificially generated costume, DC Direct (or Livewire) sure put a lot of effort into making it look real, with sculpted gentle creases around the ankles, knees, hips and waist, between her shoulders, and around her gloves. There's apparently one hell of a corset in there too, somewhere, because she's slightly less than half an inch from front to back at the waist, and not much more side to side. The paintwork is simple - very pale blue skin plus deep Prussian blue for the costume, no shading to speak of, but the skin is painted on cleanly, and the blue has a slightly metallic finish that picks up highlights on the sculpted edges and creases pretty well. She has odd discs at both wrists that look kind of like bangles, but they're sculpted in place, and correspond to the animated version's glove cuffs.

Her face is pretty, but dominated by the aforementioned crazy grin - there's a bit of the animated style remaining which, by extension, makes her look a bit like Harley Quinn, with the slightly narrower right eye and the tilted lips, and I fancy she also looks a bit like Lori Petty, who voiced her in her cartoon form - see Tank Girl for an example of her pulling a comparable crazy face. The grin is good work, distorting the face enough to look real, but not so much as to throw off the sculpt, and the paintwork backs it up with clean narrowed eyes and glossy lips. Her hair is pale blue with white highlights brushed onto it, but quite lightly - you really only notice it at the back, where the sharpest edges are.

DC Direct have been adventurous here, so Livewire gets a sternum balljoint in addition to the standard fare (balljoint neck, swivel/pin shoulders, pin elbows, swivel wrists, peg hips, pin knees). The sculpt is very tight at the edges so there isn't much of a visible gap - indeed with the costume so dark, and the joint only crossing light-painted territory at the bottom of her breasts, it's not difficult to miss the joint entirely at a glance. It's got some useful mobility though, in all three axes, and the strips of skin on the lower torso piece is painted fully beneath the upper part, so tilting her shoulders back doesn't ruin the look of the lightning bolt. In fact, even swivelling the joint to her left is passable, since the offset stripe just looks like another jag in the bolt, and side-to-side tilting isn't extreme enough to muck it up either. It's quite the well-designed joint, which is a bit of a surprise from a company that normally doesn't put much effort into that area - kudos to them.

Livewire comes with the usual Superman/Batman base, a platform slightly raised above a smaller base footprint with the two heroes' logos superimposed on the top in red - the one peg, for the right foot, is quite tight, but if you intend to have Livewire posed with both feet flat, she can do without the base just fine. She also comes with a pair of translucent blue electrical tendrils, one based around a sphere of energy with a loop to fit over the fingers and keep it in place, the other just a coil of arcs that slips over the hand and wrist. Both fit on either arm - the sculpted glove cuffs put Livewire's hands palm up on the left, palm down on the right, so depending on which hand you choose she can either hold the sphere up show-off fashion, or be readying it to throw (though it's quite a bit loose on the right than the left). I haven't yet found what I'd consider to be the other piece's "intended" orientation on either hand, if it has one - it fits on well enough with a bit of jiggling, but it doesn't really conform to the shape of either hand, which makes it look a bit disposable.

This is - as the solicitation in Previews proudly proclaimed - DC Direct's first Livewire figure, and she's a good one. I don't know the character at all (aside from her appearance in the fan film World's Finest, played by Persiana Cota), but I like the figure - she's well made, and visually quite distinctive, so I'm glad I got her.

-- 07/13/09


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