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Diana

Dungeons & Dragons Cartoon Classics
by yo go re

A thief, an acrobat, an inventor, and a detective walk into a bar. Then they all pick it up and start swinging it around.

Diana is known for her acrobatic talents and carries a javelin that can launch her high into the air.

Well, I hope she'd be known for her acrobatic talents; she is The Acrobat, after all. Allegedly she was a champion gymnast and equestrian in the real world, which raises the question, did Dungeon Master just assign them all their roles randomly, like handing out pre-made character sheets at your weekly session, or were the abilities based somehow on their actual personalities and skills? If it's the former, how did Diana get so lucky? If they'd been standing in a different order when Dungeon Master met them, would Hank have been the Acrobat and Diana the Ranger? On the other hand, if it's the latter, how did Dungeon Master know all about them within seconds? Or did he know about them beforehand and bring them to The Realm himself? It was never explained how that carnival ride transported them off Earth, after all.

Dungeons & Dragons was a surprisingly balanced cartoon for its era: Team Good Guy (whatever they were called) had six people, and two of them were girls! Two? A virtual gynopoly! Granted, Scooby-Doo had similar numbers, but that was created back in the hippie days - the only actual '80s cartoon that could compete was GI Joe, thanks to Lady Jaye and Scarlett, but that also had, like, 30 boys, so the achievement was less impressive. [*cough cough* --ed.]

Not really sure why the show's producers decided that the most logical outfit for an Acrobat to wear is a fur bikini - that just makes us think "barbarian" instead. She looks like He-Man's little sister, an impression not at all lessened by wearing tied fur boots and a belt with three large circles in the center of it. There are golden bands around her upper arms, and a broad collar/necklace with a winged emblem raised above the surface. She's wearing a headband that disappears into her hair, but peeks out again at the back of her head. Because her costume isn't a bunch of crazy layers, her sculpt looks more like the cartoon than any of the figures we've reviewed so far. The only flaw is her hair, which should be fuller than it is.

Diana's articulation is no better than the other figures', but since it's not half-blocked by PVC flaps, it's all more useful. She has swivel/hinge ankles, swivel boots, double-hinged knees, balljointed thighs, balljointed chest, swivel/hinge wrists, swivel/​hinge elbows, swivel/hinge shoulders, a hinged neck, and a balljointed head. That's not nearly enough for someone called "Acrobat." Why are there no thigh swivels? Why a single swivel/hinge in the elbow instead of a double-hinge there and a swivel in the armband? Like we said, having full access to these joints means she feels like she moves better than the rest, but it's still insufficient. Oh, and for those who like to keep track of these things, the left elbow on my figure snapped when I tried to move it, so I had to go get a replacement from the store. Good thing this is one of the mass market characters and not an exclusive.

It's odd that the side-of-the-box bio calls Diana's weapon a javelin. A javelin is a thrown weapon, a glorified spear that you let go of when you attack with it, yeah? This is more of a quarterstaff, something you hold onto and smack people with. It doesn't have a sharp end. Yes, she throws it sometimes, but would you call Captain America's shield a javelin just because he throws it? In the story, it functions like Cheetara's staff, able to extend or shrink as the user wishes, from pole-vaulting length down to just a few inches for storage. This set includes two versions of it: one plain, the other molded with motion-blur swoops on both ends, as though she's spinning it around. Unlike Hank's miscolored bow, both staves are the appropriate shade of green.

Rather than a Build-A-Figure, the Dungeons & Dragons Cartoon Classics have a "Build-A-Dice-Set" - get them all and you'll be able to play a game of D&D. Diana gets a normal D20, not the larger, fancy, logoed one the Dungeon Master and Venger set included.

Diana is the best D&D cartoon figure we've looked at yet, but you don't need a 20-foot pole to vault over that low bar. It's not that she's done any better than the rest, it's just that there are no major mistakes dragging her down.

-- 03/01/23


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