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Invisible Woman

Marvel Bishoujo
by Rustin Parr

Now, as a general rule I am opposed to "hot chick" figures. I'm no prude nor is it that I am offended by hyper sexualization, my issue is more that typically it just reads as cheap and easy way to make a sale. Of course "hot chicks" will sell, so why bother doing something interesting or creative when you can put a heaving bosom on a bikini-clad hourglass figure? This protest-ical (pro-testicle?) stance really cemented itself during the latter half of McFarlane Toys' downfall when often their designs did just the above. Mrs. Claus anyone?

Yet, while most "hot chick" figures degrade the artform of toys by reducing it to the lowest common denominator, several companies have been taking sexiness to the other extreme by mixing classic cheesecake pin-up styles with modern anime aesthetics to get some new, bizarrely compelling (or is it!?) lines of collectibles. Our own Artemis has detailed a lot of these products, like DC Direct's Ame-Comi line as well as Kotobukiya's Bishoujo Marvel range and through those reviews I've been thoroughly dragged into the fandom. Thus, when Koto announced this variant of the Invisible Woman for San Diego Comic Con 2011 I knew I would be buying my first "hot chick" statue.

Ame-Comi was basically the first on the scene to take the "sexy girls" figural style from Japan and bring front and center to the US. While a big part of their line is redesigning the costumes (usually to great effect), Koto is simply further sexifying the Marvel characters as they already exist and anime-tizing the faces. This figure does just that by doing Sue Storm in the standard/common costume design of the Fantastic Four's storied career.

The standard release features the more popular dark blue gloves, boots and cowl (i.e., the original costume) as well as transparent extremities. Conversely, while this Sue has the same blue jumpsuit her accoutrements are white (the "Negative zone" costume), and she is all solid - no invisibling for her! The fact that they went this route is a big chunk of why I was drawn to this figure as the blue-and-white outfits are what the FF sported during the bulk of my time with them and thus I have more of an attachment to it (and it is sadly so rarely done in figural form these days). And, then, of course, there is the metallic paint - a feature that I am well documented for being hopelessly attraced to. And in this case it's metallic blue? Forget about it - I'm hooked!

A lot of what is not the uniform is just cast in colored plastic. However where they did paint, it's perfect. There are very fine details for the fingernails and especially around the eyes and it is all pitch perfect. Funko should well take note - execution is more important than conception and Koto continues to live up to the high standards we've all come to expect from them. From everything I can see and for what I expect, the paint on this figure is perfect.

The sculpt, obviously, is a huge chunk of the draw and it is quite a good execution at that. The face is suitably anime-ish, the hair as well. She is definitely sex-ed up; there is no denying her "appeal." This is definitely an idealized Invisible Woman, not quite the matronly mother of two the character is these days. While this willful sexy-ifying of characters is usually what bugs me, it's not too overstated here and ultimately works well for the statue. I mean, when they tweaked the costume they just removed the fingers from the gloves, it's not at all like they unzipped the uniform to reveal a hulking bosom or a massive crevasse of cleavage. It's in fact the full costume that makes the figure work. It suggests at the sex appeal without revealing too much. Simultaneously the sculptural detailing does the same, staying true to the skin-tight nature of the outfit but working in just enough folds to maintain a sense of realism. The pose is fun, borrowing heavily from the cheesecake inspiration, almost to the point of being too much for me. But Sue is having a good time being safely encased in a force field from the attacking monster.

On the Bishujo line the bases vary a lot, they range from diorama-esque to the fanciful and stylistic pin-up. One of the additional things in favor of Sue here, in terms of my interest, was a more diorama-esque base, which features the hand of the Mole Man's Monster, as featured on the cover of Fantastic Four #1, reaching up and trying to grab ahold of Sue, only to be held at bay by her "fantastic" force field. The hand is painted a pale green here while the normal release is more of a sandy-brown. The force field is suggested by a section of it being sculpted and extending off of the monster hand. They're painted fairly heavily here, and the way they're done it's honestly hard to tell if they represent the shield going up, the shield fully intact, or the shield coming down, and while at first that really bugged me, I've come to appreciate it. A big part of sculpture is being able to tell a story with the piece, and by adding the monster hand, and Sue's pose/attitude to any of the three force field options above tells a uniquely different story - and that is pretty cool. You may see her being a bit of a showoff as the field goes up, as if to say "don't worry, I've this under control," while I might see the field coming down with her cockiness making her ignorant of the looming threat. In essence, this is sculpture at its best.

While I generally avoid higher end product and especially in this sexy-chick style, this Invisible Woman PVC statue is pretty darn cool. It's a rare occurrence of every element coming together in favor of the statue. I thought the regular was cool, but this exclusive version was just undeniable. The design is fantastic, the sculpt is great and the paint (metallic blue and white flourishes) is just too awesome to pass up. Kotobukiya was selling this production run of 500 for $60 a pop, which is pretty reasonable in the scheme of things, but sadly for those without it I believe they sold out, so adding her to your collection may be tricky. At least the standard edition is still cool enough.

-- 08/30/11

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