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New 52 Cheetah

DC Essentials
by yo go re

Sonic's not the only one who's gotta go fast.

Extremely fast, highly agile, and armed with deadly claws and fangs, the Cheetah is a menacing foe capable of challenging her archenemy, Wonder Woman.

The DC Essentials line doesn't bother chasing the trends of DC's constant reboots, so it's free to do whatever versions of characters are most interesting, be it Post-Crisis or Rebirth or Silver Age or whatever. This appears to be one of the New 52 versions of Cheetah - proving that continuity is hard, she ended up getting two different origins and personalities, one in which she became Cheetah willingly after being raised in her aunt's pro-Amazon cult, the other where she was forced into it in the fictional country of Bwunda. The common thread between them was that she was actually one of Diana's first friends in the human world before turning into a crazy cat-lady, a cool twist on a villain who's been around since the Golden Age.

While the "Rebirth" Cheetah looked like one of the CGI monsters from that creepy new Cats movie (being inspired, it seems, by her JLU design), the first New 52 take on her was a lot closer to the existing Barbara Minerva, with long human hair and a face that wasn't quite pure feline yet, though was definitely leaning that direction.

Cheetah is starkers, because why would you need clothes when you're got fur? Well, she wears a necklace and a belt, but mainly to make herself look scarier: they're strung together fangs. The figure was sculpted by Sam Greenwell, who's made her very, very leggy. Like, a good 50% of her total height is in the leg. Is that because she's part cat, or is that just how he's chosen to sculpt her as a woman? That in turn makes the head look small, and thus leads to a proportionally unbalanced figure. Like she's constantly leaning away from you. The hands and feet have sharp claws, and her pointy ears poke out through her hair.

The paint is excellent. Mattel's DCUC tried a little bit of shading, but ruined the overall look by half-assing her black costume. DC Direct leaves her bare, but really goes wild with the shadows and highlights. Her face, chest, stomach, and the insides of her thighs and forearms are pale enough to nearly be white, while the base color is a yellowish tan and there are darker bits on the shoulders. Her spots are black, and are scattered nicely all about (though they entire skipped the apps that would be under her hair on her back).

DCD has given up on their 6" Icons line, so Cheetah stands 6½" tall - more in line with Matty's stuff. They haven't given up on the articulation, though! She has swivel/hinge ankles, swivel shins, double-hinged knees, swivel thighs, balljointed hips, swivel/hinge wrists, double-hinged elbows, swivel biceps, swivel/hinge shoulders, a balljointed chest, a hinged neck and balljointed head. She's also got three swivels for her tail: one where it meets the body, and two more in the middle. It gives you a lot of options for how you want it to be posed, Kurt, and it's not something I recall seeing on any figures before. Someone has to have come up with this idea before, right? The only bad part is that they didn't put any spots on the underside of the tail, so when you turn it, suddenly sections become blank.

Cheetah is a classic Wonder Woman enemy, one of the few who're actually threatening instead of just weird. And this is the best toy she's ever had. The proportions are odd and there are a few paint issues that could have been better, but she's still far ahead of the competition.

-- 10/16/19

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