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Wonder Woman

DCD Wonder Woman
by Artemis

There're a lot of superheroines around, but only one who's truly universal: Wonder Woman.

In a rare lapse of judgment, Wonder Woman Diana Prince realizes she needs a break from the role of Wonder Woman, so she bestows the honor of serving as the world's greatest superheroine to her sister, Donna Troy.

If that sounds less than exciting, congratulations: you're a better judge of storyline than DC editorial, whose recent relaunch of Wonder Woman was the most thorough screw-up since Kevin Costner got it into his head to remake Mad Max III on water. Still, Wonder Woman is Wonder Woman, and not even the triple hit of Allan Heinberg's laziness, Jodi Picoult's inexperience with the character, and Amazons Attack's stupidity could put her down for the count; rather than quietly retiring her for possible future use, as would have happened to any lesser character under similar circumstances, DC handed Diana to veteran writer Gail Simone, and after two years and several creative disasters, it looks like the world's most famous Amazon may finally be back on solid footing - by happy chance, just in time for the relaunch's action figures to hit the shelves.

Wonder Woman's costume is one of those simple, timeless designs that are often imitated but rarely bettered - her look has been refined somewhat since her 1941 debut, but in broad strokes she is as she has always been. The Dodsons' art - one of the few things that went right about the relaunch - captures that simplicity, and the sculpt of the figure is a very credible translation of that art to solid form.

Diana stands about 6¾" tall, contrapposto but alert, no butts about it with her hair teased by a breeze but more or less settled. Her figure is athletic rather than muscular (compared to, say, Power Girl), and well-proportioned to give her the look of a tall, Amazonian (so to speak) woman. Every line of her costume is sculpted, with the natural exception of the stars on her briefs, and there's quite a bit of unpainted sculpt-only detail on her boots and bustier that gives the costume a modern, realistic appearance without detracting from its visual simplicity. Only a hint of flash (raised ridges left over from the mold in which she was cast), mainly on her thighs, detracts from the sculpt - they're not terribly obvious to look at, but most DC Direct figures do better in this area.

Wonder Woman's face is powerful and calmly confident - no aggressive posturing in her expression - simplicity and while she isn't as intricately realistic as recent McFarlane women, it's appropriate for her to be somewhat simplified and stylised in the manner of comicbook art. Depending on whether you're talking pre- or post-Crisis, she's either as beautiful as Aphrodite, or granted beauty by Aphrodite - either way, she's meant to be stunning, and the figure lives up to that standard. She's not flirtatious or sultry - she doesn't try to look gorgeous, she just is, which is just right. The paint on her face is likewise beautiful without trying too hard - simple lips, no blush or eye shadow, but attractive eyes, and offset quite nicely by the crisp metallics on her tiara.

The paint work on her body is good enough to support the sculpt, but doesn't really excel beyond it. Her skintone is smooth, even and healthy, and the colours of her costume are just muted enough to be bold without seeming toy-like or cartoony. Her metallics, the gold of her belt and breastplate and the silver of her greaves, are solid and clean, but not quite as thorough on the edges as they should be - see the parting lines? it's a small thing, but the simplicity of the costume tends to magnify any lapses in detail like this. Both the white stripes on her boots, and the stars on her briefs - actually a pale sky blue, to keep from dominating the darker blue - are good at a glance, but betray some inconsistency on close inspection, and the edges of her briefs going onto her thighs are a bit sketchy in patches.

DC Direct are never lavish with their articulation, and Wonder Woman is a pretty fair representation of their norm. She has a balljointed neck, which is restricted by her hair, but useful for some minor adjustments in all three axes - though if you don't have her looking a bit to her right, you'll have trouble getting the curl of hair coming down her neck sitting realistically on her shoulder. Balljointed shoulders, peg elbows, and swivel wrists make the arms reasonably mobile in themselves, but the lack of any torso articulation, and the basic legs, means the arms can't do anything dramatic without seeming awkward. Said leg articulation consists of the usual T-crotch and peg knees. Not a great tally of joints, but then again there's not a lot of places on Wonder Woman where they could be hidden.

As much as no Batman should ever ship without a batarang, there's one accessory Wonder Woman should never be without: the Lasso of Truth (more formally known as the Lariat of Hestia), rope which has been with Diana since the beginning, and is key to creator William Moulton Marston's concept of Diana's heroic role as bestowing 'loving submission' on her enemies - don't laugh, the early bondage subtext of the comic is a lot cleverer and more psychologically valid than people give it credit for. While comic printing technology has advanced and taken the Lasso from a simple gold rope to a stunning weapon that glows with power and flows in intricate patterns that display Diana's total control of it, action figure technology has yet to catch up, so as usual we get a little coil of thin gold cord. It's quite suitable to represent the Lasso, but it's not going to win accessory of the year or anything.

Wonder Woman also has a circular crimson base, boring base with her current logo applied in gold paint with a blue drop shadow, and a single peg to keep her upright - the hole is in her right heel, and though she can be balanced without it she's somewhat precarious, and getting the most out of her posture really does need the base.

While Diana isn't quite as ubiquitous in DC action figure lines as Batman and Superman, she's far from rare - just in the interim since first seeing the advertisements for this series and deciding I'd buy it, I've seen three or four other Wonder Women come and go. But this is a very good one - its faults are minor, and whether you're looking for a specific representation of Wonder Woman from her current comic, or simply a universal Wonder Woman figure, this will fill the role admirably.

this is the beginningof a beautiful friendship


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