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Rebirth Vixen

DC Multiverse
by yo go re

More like "Thiccxen," am I right?

With the powers of the Tantu Totem, Mari McCabe can take on the abilities of any animal as the superhero Vixen.

Vixen, when she was introduced to the comics, was planned to debut in her own comic - she would have been the first black woman to lead her own series, but then "the DC Implosion" happened. In the mid-70s, Marvel surpassed DC's sales to become the #1 company in the industry, partially because of their better stories, but also because they just published more titles so that fans wouldn't have money left for anything else. (Toy fans may also recognize this as Hasbro's Marvel Legends plan for competing with Mattel's DC Universe Whatevers.) In order regain their market share, DC began hyping "the DC Explosion," launching 57 new titles in four years. It didn't work. In 1978, the new titles started to get cancelled, and fans dubbed it the DC Implosion. One of the cancellations was Vixen's book, before the first issue was even released.

Vixen has had some utterly horrible looks over the years, made even worse by the fact that she's supposed to be a professional model in her free time. Special mention has to go to her time with the Suicide Squad in the '80s, when she had Wolverine hair and a braid-mullet. This version is based on DC's "Rebirth" comics, though the asymmetrical hairstyle is a lot more '90s than '10s.

This is one of the better costumes Mari's worn over the years, keeping her traditional yellow colorscheme, but adding in some healthy doses of "Arrowverse"-inspired black on the sides. It also doesn't feature a comical amount of cleavage for someone who jumps around all the time. While some of the bodyparts are the same we've seen on other recent female figures, but there are a shockingly high number of new pieces for a Mattel figure: namely, the feet and shins are molded with her boots and the angled bars on their sides, and her chest has both her popped collar and her totem necklace as sculpted elements. At that point, it becomes weird that they didn't also mold the diamond-shaped thingies around her waist. Painting the bracelets on works okay, because there's an edge between the arms and the hands, but the waist is just weird.

These new DC Multiverse figures have far superior articulation to the things Mattel made in their heyday. Vixen has a balljointed head, swivel/hinge shoulders, swivel/hinge elbows, swivel/hinge wrists, a balljointed chest, balljointed hips, swivel thighs, double-hinged knees, and swivel/hinge ankles. The right hip is a little stiff on my figure, but the rest are just fine. As one of the rare heroines whose power is physical rather than mental or energy-based, it's important she actually be able to move and fight, and this toy can. In a way the DC action figures always should have been able to.

The figure includes an accessory, but it's not great. Vixen's ability is to mimic the powers of any animal, but through mystical means, not physical - so if she adopts the strength of an elephant, for instance, she doesn't turn huge or grow a trunk or anything, she just gets strong. Often her powers are depicted with a ghostly image of the animal surrounding her, and that's what this accessory is trying to duplicate. It's the same bird mold Mattel has been hawking for years, molded in translucent purple. You get what they're going for, but her ghostly images don't hang around like pets, and they're generally sized to her body, not to real life animals. So we're glad Mattel was able to squeeze one more use out of these tools, but it's not anything special or enticing.

She does include the entire torso of this series' BAF, Lex Luthor. According to the back of the two Walmart-exclusive figures, that chest was supposed to come with Green Lantern Simon Baz, and Vixen was supposed to come with the cape. But according to the back of the mass market figs, there is no Simon Baz. (According to Amazon, too.) So clearly plans changed between the time Mattel produced the exclusives and the time they produced the regular ones. Unusual behind the scenes insight!

Vixen isn't an outstanding figure, but she's better than Mattel's output used to be, and she was a character they had yet to do (other than a Justice League Unlimited animated figure), so there's a definite draw there.

-- 06/26/19

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