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DC Direct Superman/Batman
by Artemis

People complain about Supergirl's current outfit, with the midriff-baring top and microskirt and so on, but it's not Kara's fault - Ma Kent designed it. That's right, sweet old Martha Kent sent her adopted niece out to save the world in an outfit that might as well have had "My hot barely-legal body - come and get it!" written on the cape. I think she's been watching too much daytime TV.

When Superman steps into trouble at the hands of Darkseid, it's Superman's cousin, Supergirl, who comes to his rescue.

That's got to be a dispiriting sight, being in trouble with Darkseid and seeing Supergirl speeding to your rescue - last time she went anywhere near Apokolips she switched sides faster than you can say "personality disorder." Anyway, since Superman's not dead we can take it that Kara muddled her way through more or less successfully for once - and that's quite a milestone for her, so let's have an action figure to commemorate it!

If you want the current Supergirl (as an action figure, not the way Hal Jordan wants her), there's not a great selection. There's the rework of the DC Superheroes Supergirl, but good luck finding one of those - I still haven't. Or there's the Michael-Turner-styled one (and her "Darkseid's ho" variant) but that was, let's be charitable, a steaming pile of failure. Which is a shame, since if you ignore A) the underage issues (not applicable in Australia anyway) and B) her wreck of a personality (applicable everywhere, sadly), Supergirl's costume is quite good - sexy in a modern kind of way, good colour balance, with the long sleeves and (of course) the cape making it clearly a superhero outfit rather than just a tank-top-and-skirt combo worn by a sorority girl crushing on Brandon Routh.

This whole series is based off Ed McGuinness art - on paper, McGuinness has an edge that tips his work into "stylised" rather than outright "cartoony," but in action figure form that tends to go by the wayside, and Kara is indeed an animation-esque version of herself. That said, she's quite a respectable sculpt, with decent proportions and clear definition to her costume and the curves (and occasional musculature) of her body, so she won't look hideously out of place alongside more realistic DC Direct figures or suchlike. Bold and attractive is the idea, but not going overboard - the costume is pretty eye-catching to begin with (the design, not the bod, Hal), with the strong contrast between the main blue and the bare skin, and bright yellow picking out the sleeves, belt and boot tops, so these details stand out without being overplayed sculpturally. Kara's thighs are quite powerful, not quite what you'd call defined-muscular, but getting there - it's not quite in keeping with her general portrayal averaged over all her various artists, but taken on its own for this figure it's not a bad look, and gives her a sense of strength. There's a little bit of unattractive molding flash on the left side of her skirt - not a great drawback, but most figures manage to be a little smoother.

Kara's face is where the stylisation shows the most - it's overtly cartoony, with a delicate little nose, semi-caricaturish lips and eyebrows for expressive value, and huge eyes. With the clean lines and bold colours of the whole figure the face isn't really out of kilter (as, for instance, I found Superman/Batman Natasha Irons' face, compared to her armoured body - I keep her mask on to conceal the clash of styles), but it isn't something you can ignore. If you accept the look, it's an attractive face, pretty with an expression of solid determination. Her hair is sculpted in one of those carefully windswept styles, matching the skirt (but not the cape, which oddly hangs straight down), with an orange wash giving definition to the blonde. The facial paint apps are all clean, and the use of metallic blue for her irises gives them a nice sparkle.

The colour on the rest of her is similarly clean and crisp. Kara's skin tone is warm, and consistent over the neck, hands, midriff and thighs, regardless of whether it's cast in colour or painted. The costume's primary blue is likewise consistent between the cast arms and top (and underwear, since I'm sure a certain Green Lantern will want to know) and the soft skirt - the shade of blue is really quite good, bright enough to be in keeping with the overall bold, comic book look, but not quite bright enough to tip over the edge into toylike.

DC Direct's never really been at home with articulation - one always gets the impression that they're afraid of the whole notion, and just laid out the balljoint-head-shoulders-peg-joint-elbows-hips-knees layout then left it alone in a darkened room never to be revisited. Well, this time they have changed something - Kara has a swivel neck. Seriously, DCD, what the hell? Want to go listen to some Bros tapes while you're holidaying in the eighties? Since she can't tilt her head at all, Kara's limited to looking straight ahead, or slightly off to the left, since those are the points her hair hits her shoulder. The rest of the articulation remains unchanged from the almighty DC Direct Plan, so you can tweak her a bit, but basically she's stuck just standing there looking mildly tough.

Supergirl comes with the same Superman/Batman logo base as the rest of the series - at least the "S" shield is appropriate for her, though. There's a single peg for her right heel, though if you want to skip it she stands fairly well on her own so long as both feet are flat on the ground.

Bottom line (stop peeking up her skirt, Jordan), she's a decent figure to look at - even with the McGuinness stylization, she'd be a fair choice for anyone who just wanted the current Supergirl (another Hal joke here?) - but the sorry articulation really undermines her. If you see her as she is in the packaging and think "I'd like her on my desk," (do Green Lantern Corps officers have desks?) then she'll do well enough, but there's not a lot of meaningful difference between Kara here and a McStatue. Which is why I've had to keep making Hal Jordan pedophile jokes just to pad out the review. Much like the real Supergirl, she's pretty but boring.


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