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Nancy Callahan

Sin City
by Monkey Boy

What would Sin City action figures be without hot, scantily clad females? Thank God we don't have to find out. We get two female characters in the first series of NECA's figures based on Robert Rodriguez's new film adaptation of Frank Miller's Sin City graphic novels, and this review will cover the one that seems to be flying off the shelves the quickest: Nancy Callahan, played by Jessica Alba.

Imagine stumbling down some Godforsaken back alley and stepping over sprawled, beaten, battered, lost souls. Imagine that as best you can. Then imagine you find your way into what looks like the sleaziest saloon on the planet. The place stinks, with all the usual stinks. There's a stage. The lights come up. You expect the worst. Then out dances an Angel. Perfect. Graceful. Beautiful. A dream come true. Nancy. Nancy Callahan. She amazes.

One of the most glaring differences between the movie version of Sin City and the graphic novels (aside from, mercifully, less male genitalia on display in the film) is that instead of being topless, as Frank Miller drew her, Jessica Alba's Nancy is wearing a jewel-studded bra, thanks to the no-nudity clause in her contract. While this didn't really detract from the film, it does seem rather odd that a town's most popular stripper remains fully clothed, while a hot lesbian parole officer walks around in nothing but a thong. However, if Alba had displayed her assets in the film, NECA probably wouldn't have given us a figure of her. Is the trade off worth it? Read on...

It's important to note that while there are at least two versions of each figure in this line, Nancy has the most variants with a healthy four. There are two different head sculpts available: one with wild, windswept hair and a closed mouth, and another with straight hair and slightly parted lips. Each of these head sculpts is, in turn, available in either color or black and white versions. This review focuses on the black and white, straight-haired Nancy, partially because it's the one I wanted and partially because it's the only one I could find, since fanboys are scooping Nancy figs up at an alarming rate.

When NECA first showed promotional images for these figures, people were quick to gripe about Alba's likeness. The final figure captures the likeness well, but that doesn't mean the sculpt is perfect. NECA is still having problems with female hair, unfortunately. GoGo Yubari and The Bride from NECA's Kill Bill line suffered similar hair problems, and NECA has yet to learn its lesson. In short, the hair doesn't really look like hair. It's chunky and very strange. Not horrible, but not altogether like hair, either.

From the neck down, the sculpt is great. It's your standard leather-clad hot chick, complete with navel ring and a healthy amount of exposed butt. She's got some cool working holsters for her six-shooters, and nifty bullets sculpted into her belt. There's a fair amount of soft goods on this figure as well; her chaps and forearm coverings feature lines of cloth with tassels, and the bottoms of her holsters are tied to her chaps with thin black string.

The paintwork is good, and the clothing has lots of small silver detail that is pulled off well. Like NECA's Marv figure, the head is a little darker than the body, but it's not tremendously noticeable. Black and white is a hard effect to pull off in a toy, but NECA did it nicely here. There are some nice touches worth mentioning, like the slightly glossy gray applied to her lips, and the very subtle airbrushing on her exposed skin.

Articulation is a little worse than the other figures in this line, but that's to be expected of a sculpt that is meant to focus on the uninterrupted female form. Nancy has a nice balljointed head and peg shoulders, elbows, and right wrist. That's it, move along, nothing more to see here. The figure looks nice, and the shoulders and neck and work in a few different ways, but some peg joints in the ankles or lower legs would have been appreciated to help the figure stand better. As it is, the figure is fairly unstable and topples easily.

Nancy gets a healthy complement of accessories, including two six-shooters, a cowboy hat, and an interchangeable right hand that holds an attached lasso made of real rope. The hat fits on Nancy's head through friction (looking tons better on the flat hair than the wavy hair), and with a little work she can hold it in her hand as well. The lasso hand and cowboy hat are well-done, scene-specific accessories, and the six-shooters are a nice gesture, even if they are a tad goofy. Her hands are actually sculpted to hold them, as if they weren't merely a part of her stripper costume.

I mean, do the NECA folks know she's not really a cowgirl? Perhaps making the figure seem like a sexy cowgirl rather than a stripper dressed like a cowgirl makes for a more family-friendly action figure, but I don't think these figures will be showing up at many "family friendly" retailers. One accessory that would have been greatly appreciated is a better stand, because the clear little oval she comes with doesn't do a terrific job of supporting her.

This figure's few flaws don't seem to keep it from flying off of shelves, and many collectors are reporting a serious shortage of Nancy figures. Despite the nitpicks regarding the chunky hair and unstable stance, this really is a fine figure (in more ways than one), so if you see one in stores and don't pick it up, you may find yourself regretting it later.!

-- 04/11/05

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