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Talia al Ghul

Batman Arkham City
by yo go re

Be gentle - it's her first time.

The headstrong daughter of Ra's al Ghul and on-again/off-again lover of Bruce Wayne, Talia al Ghul is second in command of the League of Assassins. A master of hand-to-hand combat and swordplay, Talia has dueled with Batman on several occasions and considers him an honorable opponent. Despite Batman's elusiveness her attraction to him has only increased - an attaction that her father encourages in his mad quest for a male heir. Talia knows that one day she may be forced to choose between her father and her beloved.

Talia was created in 1971, and this is the first time she's had an action figure. Well, there was a rare one based on Batman the Animated Series, but it didn't look good and it barely moved, so this is her first action figure. She's a complicated character, sometimes on Batman's side, sometimes (currently, for instance) his fiercest foe. She's also the mother of his child, thanks to a story that DC bent over backwards to pretend was an Elseworlds until Grant Morrison decided he wanted to use it - then they couldn't get it in continuity fast enough.

Ra's al Ghul was available in Series 3 of DC Direct's Arkham City toys, and now Talia is joining him in Series 4. Considering that she's the daughter of a Chinese-Arabian man, she sure does look like a white girl. If her hair were blonde instead of brown, she'd be a sorority sister. Wait, she's blonde in the game? Then the toy was smart to ignore that.

The figure was sculpted by Jonathan Matthews, who did a good job turning the game render into a full sculpt. The crazy layered details of her leather outfit have all been lovingly crafted here, putting even Catwoman and Harley Quinn to shame. And speaking of Selina and Harl, Talia doesn't have the microcephalic proportions that made those two less than stellar. Her head's not too small for her body, we're saying. She's even got her belly ring sculpted on there! The toy is a wonderful sculpt overall, but that doesn't mean she's free from flaws.

The sculpt may be good, but the pose isn't. She was clearly sculpted on a supported armature rather than being free-standing while work was in progress. How can we tell? Because if you line up the seams on her pants (as good a metric as any when it comes to making sure she's in her "correct" pose), then her center of gravity is just slightly forward of her feet, meaning she won't stand. Fortunately, the figure has enough articulation that you'll be able to get her to remain upright - the sculpt will just be "off" minorly. Big whoop! Talia has swivel boots, hinged knees, T-crotch, swivel gloves, hinged elbows, swivel biceps, swivel/hinge shoulders and a balljointed head. It's nice, but she could really use a base to help hold her upright.

While she doesn't get a base, she does get an accessory: a 3⅞" sword that's as true to the game renders as the rest of her. It's molded from translucent plastic and then painted, for some reason. She can hold the hilt in her right hand, and her left hand is held flat. A karate chop? A request for someone to hand her something? Whatever, it's nice.

Talia al Ghul stands 6½" tall, and between her high heels and her mystically enhanced papa, that seems like a perfect height to fit in with Mattel's various DC figures. Which is good, since this is the first time anybody's bothered to make a Talia action figure, and who knows when the next will be? She's a major Batman character, and now you can decide whose side she's on.

-- 04/04/13

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