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DC Superhero Girls
by yo go re

Cartoon Network's Teen Titans cartoon introduced millions of children to DC's teen superheroes, and set them up for a future fandom. So naturally, when DC rebooted its universe with the "New 52," rather than taking any cues from Starfire's personality on this wildly popular show, they made her a tool for other people's pleasure (both characters and readers) that alienated the very audience they should have been trying to court. They did eventually try to correct course, but by then, it may have been too late. Superhero Girls to the rescue!

Starfire is a warrior princess from the planet Tamaran. Despite her exotic alien beauty, she is a down-to-earth girl. Since arriving on Earth she's travelled as a part-time fashionista!
Super powers: Flight, Starbolts and Super Human Strength.

Animated Starfire was wide-eyed, enthusiastic, and curious about everything to do with her new home, Earth. New 52 Starfire was a dead-eyed sexbot. As you might expect, Superhero Girls stuck with the former characterization and even kept the same voice artist, Hynden Walch. In fact, that's a pretty good benchmark for anyone wanting to write the character: if you can hear Animated Starfire's voice in your head when you read Starfire's dialogue, you're doing it right; if you're just having her stand around and pose so people can talk about her body, you're doing it wrong.

Thanks to the Superhero Girls art style (now being shared by Mattel's girl-based WWE Girls line), this Starfire figure definitely fulfills the "wide-eyed" part of her character. Like all the toys, she has a pleasantly happy look, though given Kori's unbridled enthusiasm, a bigger smile would not have been unwarranted. And shouldn't her eyes be green?

Although Superhero Girls tones down a lot of things, it definitely keeps one of Starfire's defining physical characteristics, the one that really makes her appeal to a lot of fans: namely, her big, bountiful, oversized... hair. Thankfully, the original '80s perm is long gone, replaced by a simpler style that's still bigger than the average girl's. It's straight, with just a little bit of a wave and not a lot of volume, but a big chunky lock falls in front of her right shoulder. The hair itself fades from orange at the top to yellow at the tips, suggesting its fiery nature.

This Starfire dresses more modestly than most other versions, in a mini-dress with a simple siver belt and what appears to be a bit of armor or a shawl or something on the shoulders. Her boots come up to just below the knee, and the silver gauntlets she wears are separate molds that turn on the forearms. Starfire's core personality has always involved self-confidence and pride, and her costumes have reflected that: she's happy with her body, and so she shows it off (for her own pleasure, not for others'); heck, even the Teen Titans/Teen Titans Go design puts her in a crop-top that bares her belly! This design still has hints of showmanship, though, thanks to the gap between the bottom of her collar and the top of her dress - it's not quite a Power Girl boob-window, but it's flashier than the other students at Superhero High.

Her articulation is the same as the other girls': swivels at her boots and wrists, swivel/hinge joints in the knees, hips, elbows and shoulders, and a balljointed head. Her hair is so heavy that it tends to pull the head back to its neutral position no matter where you move it, and her dress really limits the range of her legs quite a bit, but there's no way around that outside of making her skirt softgoods, and then it wouldn't match up with the top half, would it? The skirt is PVC, and done in two pieces, but there's no avoiding it getting in the way.

Star's only accessory is a starbolt, the blast of energy she can fire from her hands. It's a cloudy green piece with a little clip that can fit around her wrist, which isn't the most impressive thing ever, but better than nothing, yeah?

After a massive debut in 2016, Superhero Girls seems to have stagnated. The initial six figures sold well, but then no one ever came to join them. I saw a random Katana pop up at Target one time, but didn't even know there was a Starfire in the works until she showed up at Ollie's before Christmas, and there's apparently a Hawkgirl out there somewhere, too, but good luck finding her. That's only three new characters in an entire year. A year! The cartoon has scads more characters than that, both heroes and villains, but Mattel is dragging their feet like crazy. It'd probably be easier to maintain some excitement if they'd actually release product on a consistent schedule.

-- 01/04/18

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