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Liz Sherman

Hellboy 2
by Artemis

After an ancient truce existing between humankind and the invisible realm is broken, hell on Earth is ready to erupt. Now, it's up to Hellboy, the planet's toughest, roughest superhero and his expanding team in the B.P.R.D. - pyrokinetic girlfriend Liz, aquatic empath Abe and protoplasmic mystic Johann - to battle a merciless dictator who has awakened an unstoppable army of creatures.

Not the most informative bio character-wise, but obviously it's just a generic text for the whole series of figures, and mainly intended to make you want to watch the film. Still, it tells you what you need to know - Liz does flamey stuff, and likes a bit of big red Ron Perlman in the evening. Well, a girl could do worse.

Liz has evidently had a bit of a makeover since the first Hellboy movie, which I guess is fair enough, since during the course of that one she got at least some of her mental crap in order. She's all business now, decked out in a rugged-looking shirt and leather pants combo with heavy boots, and sporting a swish new hairstyle. The style is realistic, but echoes of Mike Mignola's art remain, with the punkish rolled-up sleeves and chunky belt buckle and pouches giving her a slightly stylised edge. There's a lot of fine detail in evidence, from buttons and stitched seams - and even slim zipper pockets on her sides - to delicate creasing more or less all over the outfit. Physically she's a bit of a mix between realism and the kind of proportions you generally see in action figures - she's got a suitably modest chest, but her waist is quite slim, especially from the side, and the bulky belt beneath it just makes it even more obvious. Maybe she's been dieting.

Selma Blair is reprising the role, and the facial likeness on this figure is quite good, so far as can be judged by photos. The new hairstyle - especially the lack of slightly unkempt bangs across her forehead (in favour of a much more controlled sweep across to the left) and the baring of her right cheek - really alter the way the angles of her face come across, so thinking back to how she looked in the first film isn't a lot of use for judging how well the sculptors have done their work this time around. Still, all indications are that this is accurate to Liz mk2 - and it's a good Selma, and very attractive on its own merits to boot. There's a slight flush to the cheeks, which makes for a nice tonal contrast with the stark black of her clothes, and her eyes are nice and steady, with a calm, unruffled gaze.

The entirety of her outfit has a very subtle, very well-judged grey drybrush across it, picking out the creases and details with gentle highlights that enhance the rugged, lived-in look of the clothes without going so far as to make them seem out-and-out dirty - the clean boots help a lot with that. The buttons and zipper tags are picked out in gold, but it's a rich, dark shade of metal that can easily disappear into black if it's not catching the light. The silver on her belt, the studs on her pouches, and the buckles on her boots is a lot more visible, and all quite cleanly applied. The cross she wears on her choker is a bit strange - it's plain black, and looks for all the world like they intended to put a metallic tone onto the black base and forgot. Maybe it's meant to be black, but the coverage errs on the side of completely covering the sides of the sculpted cross, as well as the face of it, making the shape a bit difficult to discern.

Articulation is plentiful, but a bit irksome here and there. The balljoint neck is fairly free, limited only by the hair down the left side of her face contacting her turned-up collar. She has balljoint shoulders, recessed into the hollows fairly well without sacrificing too much motion, and pin elbows and swivel forearms make for reasonably mobile arms, though they're not really super-articulated by any stretch. A swivel waist hides itself pretty well, between the black clothing and the belt hiding it, and the balljoint hips are really the only highly visible articulation - along with pin knees and pin/rocker ankles, they round out fairly capable legs. All in all she's no Street Fighter, but there's a fair bit of posing can be done with her. Unfortunately she suffers from one big drawback: the ankle rockers are loose, and if you pose her with her feet close together, it's all too easy to leave her prey to slowly tilting until she tips over. Both feet have peg holes, if you have a spare base handy, but even when based she can develop an annoying tendency to lean.

She has two accessories, which take the form of alternate hands/forearms with accessories built into them. The left hand gets a flame, in Liz's trademark ghostly blue, while the right gets a handgun. The flame hand is good work - the position of the fingers is evocative of summoning up the fire, and the majority of the flame itself being clear, with strong blue only coming in at the tips, is a very effective look. The handgun hand isn't good work - the fingers clenched tightly around the grip were evidently too close for the painters to cope with completely, so there's a rim of skin tone around the fingers before the black of the gun kicks in. On top of that, the gun's silver drybrush is messy, and almost half-hearted - it's like they wanted to make damned sure no silver ended up on the hand, with the result that not enough ended up on the gun either.

More puzzling are the empty hands, which are very similar in positioning to the full ones - the right seems shaped to hold a pistol, and the left is exactly the same posture as its incendiary counterpart. These days it's a simple thing to make an empty "gun grip" hand that a pistol can slot into quite well - we've seen it on numerous figures - so why they had to go the problematic route of making a built-in gun hand when there was already an empty gun hand there just boggles the mind. I'm not turning my heel on the built-in-accessory concept - as I say, the flame works well, probably a lot better than any plug-in would have - but there's a time for it, and a time for the traditional route of separate accessories.

Were it not for the gun hand and the loose ankles, this would be an excellent figure. It's still a very good one - the sculpt and paint are quality, and mesh well, and the articulation is serviceable and mostly well-concealed. It's a shame she has those niggling flaws, but they're things you can live with - scrounge up a spare base from somewhere, and ignore or omit the gun hand, and you won't regret having her on your shelf.


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