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Power Girl

DC Direct Superman/Batman
by Artemis

I have to say, I'm not a great fan of artist's-style action figures - what works on the page rarely seems to turn out well in physical form - so on first glance, I wasn't that enamoured of this series. Luckily for DC Direct, I can't resist Power Girl.

Power Girl As it turns out, Superman's situation is so dire, it takes Supergirls from multiple universes, including Power Girl from Earth-Two, to free him from the clutches of Darkseid's evil.

Wait, I thought "Power Girl from Earth-Two" was, y'know, Power Girl. The one who's hanging around Earth Prime anyway? Blasted DC multiverse. Anyway, wherever she's from (reading Superman/Batman may help, but since I don't give a rat's for Superman or Batman that's unlikely), this Power Girl is visually the one we're all familiar with - white costume with closed neck, short hair, one shoulder cape, you know the one. So since there's already an action figure of her - the Infinite Crisis one - is there a point to having another?

use the Most Common Superpower, Kara Well, kind of. Depends how you feel about Ed McGuinness. As alluded to above, this figure is all tricked out in the artist's style... well, kind of. Moreso than her transdimensional sister Supergirl, Power Girl's artistic style is lost in the translation from page to plastic - you only have to look at the headshot on the packaging, and then at the figure itself, to see how the latter is a genericised version of the former, without the subtle angles and kinks in the linework that make McGuinness's art look not quite like a kids' cartoon. The figure does look like a kids' cartoon, so if that's not what you want, be warned - but at least it means she's sufficiently different to the earlier figure, and within its style it's a well-executed sculpt.

Her breasts are fairly restrained - is this supposed to be Power Girl or Little Annie Fanny? not that you wouldn't notice them, but given that this is a caricature they could have turned out huge - and her thighs are quite well-developed, even compared to the powerful look of Supergirl, so while she does look cartoony, she doesn't look either silly or unlike the "real" Power Girl. Obviously there's no delicate stitching on the costume, but everything's where it should be in roughly the right shape and size, although the boot tops are noticeably exaggerated. The only real oddity is the costume hips: to accommodate the hip articulation, they sit up thickly above the skin; under most lighting conditions you'll get a line of shadow there, which looks a bit strange on the otherwise fairly skin-tight outfit.

The face is decent work, but the hair is too rounded and the expression to neutral to sell the McGuinness style - even PG sneaks glances at her own chest she looks like, yep, a cartoon, rather than a cartoon-esque rendition of our favourite serious-minded powerhouse. The bob of hair really dominates the whole head shape, but that aside her cheeks are softer than Supergirl's, giving the two figures some distinction between then aside from hairstyle, and the facial paint apps, while largely the same, skip the individual eyelashes in favour of just the single line around the edge of the eye, which makes her a bit less girly. Only the front fringe is a separate piece, with the rest of the hair moulded as part of the head - on the down side that leaves a seam running across the top of the hair, but it also lets the edge of the fringe falling across the forehead be very sharp and close to the face without risking either paint app being mucked around with.

The rest of the paint work is capable work, but it relies largely on single colour pieces. In fact the only paint to speak of is the belt, the cape clasp, and the chest - even the gold cord is a separate piece, glued in place. The clasp (part of the soft cape) matches the cord well enough, and the belt is decent - the use of pearly white plastic for the costume means even the slightest lack of coverage on the edge shows up like a lighthouse, all this, but no neck and the coverage here isn't perfect, but it's not a bad effort - but the skin colour on the chest suffers a bit from paint pooling brightly in the cleavage, where there should be a shadow.

Articulation-wise, she's got that goddamned swivel neck that plagued Supergirl. Power Girl's short hair frees up the joint, but by the same token it would have given a ball joint unrestricted range, so it's still pretty annoying. She's also craning her neck forward a little, with the joint tilted to match, so as her head turns it also tilts sideways, making her look kind of quizzical - if you just want her looking tough and determined, you can't really turn her head much. You know what would've eliminated that problem? A balljoint! That aside, she's got the balljoint shoulders, peg elbows, peg hips and knees, and... yes, "and," there's more! She has swivels at the glove and boot tops as well - DC Direct have finally noticed that it's not a bad idea to put useful joints in places where the sculpt is practically made for them. Pity they did it on the same figure they skimped on the neck with. Anyway, the swivels allow for some handy tweaking of the body language on her arms and legs, making her a respectable degree more versatile than your average DC Direct figure. Except. For. The goddamned. Neck.

Accessories are limited to the standard same ol' same ol' Superman/Batman base, which (since PG doesn't wear either symbol) is of limited relevance - still, since it'd be almost insane not to take advantage of the bonus leg articulation on the one occasion we actually get some, you likely won't have both her feet flat to the ground, so she'll probably need the base to stand. At least she's related to the Superman family.

If not for the neck joint she'd be a really good figure - stuck with the half-hearted attempt at the McGuinness look, yes, but she's visually effective regardless, and the articulation offers options you just don't get from DCD figures nine times out of ten, the previous Power Girl included. But if you don't know this already, take my word for it: the smallest tilt of a balljointed neck can change the whole body language of a displayed figure, so not having one here is a big minus. I can't imagine what convinced the designers to skip it, I just hope to god they realise the error of their ways before more good figures are similarly hamstrung.

Let's make a sandwich!


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