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Katana

DC Bombshells
by yo go re

Every man's crazy 'bout a sharp-dressed girl.

DC's Bombshells comic reinvents the company's famous heroes in new, inventive, and inclusive ways, turning what could just be cheesecakey designs *cough cough Ame-Comi* into much cooler empowered women. But of course, that requires them to actually show up in the comics, first, and that can take some time. Marguerite Bennett faces a bit of the same thing Larry Hama did back in the day when writing GI Joe for Marvel: loads and loads of characters, and not necessarily any seamless organic way to introduce them to the story. That's why, for instance, Katana has yet to appear in any of the books. So how are we to know anything about her? It's not like there was any short, memetic recap of her abilities that--

"This is Katana. She's got my back. I would advise not getting killed by her. Her sword traps the souls of its victims."

Oh no, not again!

There's something about the Bombshells Katana design. Something that bugs me. And I can't figure out what it is. Maybe I'm just being oversensitive - for once, it's entirely possible - but the whole "dragon lady" thing she has going on just doesn't speak to me the way a lot of the others do, and I'm not sure why. Like Shocka says, it doesn't exactly count as cultural appropriation when that's pretty much what her character would have been wearing in the era. But maybe that's the problem: all the other girls, no matter where they're from, get costumes that reference more than just their culture; it's not like Hawkgirl is wearing a sombrero and serape, or Poison Ivy a French maid's outfit. But here's Katana in a kimono.

Yes, the design is sexy and alluring, showing her legs thanks to the front of the kimono being torn away, and it tells a story: the front was shredded either in a fight or to better aid her ability to fight, and she's wearing a piece of samurai armor (sode) on her right shoulder, so clearly this is something she put together quickly for a singular purpose, rather than a thoughtfully assembled costume. Its colors are based on the New 52 designs, rather than her original look - black and red, rather than red and yellow. (The armor is another nod.) There's a paler pattern on the red section of her dress, and golden flowers scattered around on the black. She wears traditional wooden geta sandals, which are sculpted separately but permanently attached. The large dragon tattoo on her left calf is an older illustration artist Ant Lucia had done before, though it's much smaller on the toy than it was on the actual design - it should come all the way down to her ankle.

While one of the preliminary designs would have seen Katana's mask be an actual physical object she was wearing, basically a bandana with eyeholes cut in it, but the final thing just turns it into paint - similar to Batwoman, she's using makeup to hide her identity, but it seems like it would work a lot better for Tatsu than it did for Kate.

Katana comes with a single accessory, and you can probably guess what it is. I guess we're lucky she came out before DCD did away with those entirely, considering how big the drop-off between Series 1 and Series 2 was. As it is, the sword seems slightly too small for a figure of her size (more than 7" tall, thanks to her sandals and hairdo), and it's missing one of the key features. Remember how Harley had a little Batman charm on her gun? Katana has a similar thing of Creeper on her sword. Or, she's supposed to; the toy doesn't. So she should have a larger sword, a more complicated sword, and some alternate hands (or at least have her pinky extended, for classy murder). And they really should have included the Creepr samurai mask she had her foot planted on in the art - it would have been a no-brainer in the first series.

Like the other three figures in this series, Katana moves with swivel/hinge ankles, double-hinged knees, balljointed hips, an extra hinge in the hips to pull the legs down, a hinged waist, balljointed chest, swivel/hinge wrists, double-hinged elbows, swivel biceps, balljointed shoulders and a balljointed head, which means that, also just like the other three figures in this series, she doesn't have any thigh swivels, leaving her legs quite restricted. Plus, it's already tough to find poses for her, because the trailing edge of her kimono gets in the way. It's PVC, so it flexes, but there's only so much it can do. It already hangs lower than her feet, so that it will actually rest on the ground, rather than hovering.

Based mainly on the strength of the first series, DC Bombshells were named the best toyline of 2017. Sadly, Series 2 took a pretty big dip in quality; hopefully things will pick back up in time for Series 3.

-- 01/10/18


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