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Femme Fatales Set 1

Minimates
by yo go re

I hope I'm not stepping on Artemis' toes with this one - it's not very often you get a four-pack of figures that's all women! In addition to their plastic statues, DST is applying the name "Famme Fatales" to a few series of Minimates, beginning with this set.

The goddess of birth and rebirth, Dawn appears differently to everyone who sees her, because she is all women and all women are Dawn. She is Isis, Kali, Gaia, Mother Earth and more, the guardian of witches and the lover of Death.

She appears differently to everyone who sees her? Then why does Joseph Michael Linsner always draw her looking exactly the same? Not that it's a bad look, by any stretch of the imagination, but it's very consistent. She's been the same ginger tart for 25 years now. Different clothes may come and go, but the woman inside them has been as steady as the tides. Actually, wait: maybe that's just how I see her, and you see something different! That changes everything, then!

Dawn is a white girl with bright orange hair that hangs down over her right eye. She should be careful: I knew a girl in middle school who wore her hair in a similar manner, and the eye that was covered ended up weaker than the other. The hair is a new piece, molded specifically for Dawn, and has a nice level of detail. Both eyes are painted, but only the left one gets the three tears dripping from it.

Dawn is the only figure in this set who's had a Minimate before, but this one is wearing a more familiar costume (though it's still not the most famous one). It comes directly from the cover of Dawn #1 - so does the sword, in fact. She has new pieces to represent the chain on her left arm and the rose on her right, and the details of her... outfit... are all painted on: the garters, the lacy skull pattern down the center, and even the zipper on the front of her panties.

Ariel Chylde is a girl cursed to become the many creatures from her many nightmares. Every time Ariel transforms, she sheds her skin and a new nightmare emerges from her Id to act out her deepest, darkest impulses. But even though Ariel can host the shape of many evils, she has a heart of gold and must save her small town from the forces of darkness she's set free.

Wow, really? That's what Darkchylde was about? Good lord. No wonder nobody read that. Then again, it's more interesting than what the book seemed to be about, which was a girl who was half demon or something. That's a tired old cliche: having her turn into monsters from her nightmares is definitely more original; granted, it might have worked better as a one-off villain in Sandman than as the headliner of what was, ostensibly, an ongoing series, but hey, good for them! Way to take things in an unexpected direction.

Ariel is wearing a red tank top with a heart on the chest, a pair of jean cutoffs and is running around barefoot - how delightfully white trash of her! The figure doesn't look very much like the comic art, because her body is the same shape as everyone else's, rather than being distended and ill-proportioned (as it was always drawn).

So that we know this is Darkchylde and not just the Queen of the Trailer Park, she has a monstrous left arm. It's long and spiny and purple, which seems to be her standard method of transformation. She's also got a pair of large purple bat wings, but rather than try to fit them onto her shoulders somehow, they plug into the hair piece - a clever solution! You can even remove them, if you like - it's not clear whether they're actually intended to be removable, but they can pull out without breaking, so it's almost the same thing. She's also the only figure in this set that has paint on the underside of her waist block: the rest of the ladies are all apparently going crotchless.

Born Mortal, Hope was about to be burned at the stake for her father's crimes when she made a deal with a demon: her life in exchange for her service. As a servant of Hell, Lady Death once worked towards extinguishing all life on Earth, but ultimately turned on her masters to rule the underworld.

Lady Death started as literally nothing more than a pair of tits to shove in the face of a teenage boy. She appeared in the original Evil Ernie comics as the driving force in his quest to end all life: she promised they could be together once everybody was dead. Seriously, what would a teenager not do for some 34FFFs? That's low-hanging fruit. [In more ways than one, right ladies? --ed.] The character got a real origin (and a personality) when she headlined her own limited series, but she was still mostly garbage until the Elseworlds-ish medieval version CrossGen published. Sadly, when CrossGen folded the character rights were acquired by Avatar Press, which has taken her back to her stupid '90s roots.

Lady Death was designed by Steven Hughes, and this figure takes its cues from him. How can we tell? A certain part of her body has a very distinctive shape, and no, it's not what you think: it's her hair. The hair on this figure is a new, giant piece, reaching down to her knees, and the way it flares up in the front is total Hughes - modern artists make it slightly more natural.

Head to toe, this is the classic Lady Death. Her skin is chalk white, and her clothes are black. She's wearing a two-piece bikini - or at least a bra and panties - with garters running down to her... stockings? Boots? What are those things? She's also got opera gloves and wears a cape with a red lining. There are golden skulls on her cape, her top and her briefs. While all Minimates share the same featureless torso, this is one case where we really wish there was some kind of "female" chest block they could have used for her: the entire point of the character is that she's stacked like pancakes; they could have even molded breasts as part of the cape or something - weird as that would be - but to make a Lady Death without, well, you know? It's just wrong. It would be like making Spider-Man without arms, or Flash without legs.

Lady Death may not have her two most important accessories, but she does get something: her sword. She and Dawn can have a fight, I guess. The blade has notched edges, and the handguard is a skull with arrowws point out of its center - in other words, it's the old Chaos Comics logo, paying tribute to her original publisher. That's pretty neat!

Tarot is the swordmaiden of the Black Rose coven, charged with keeping the balance between Mankind and Magick. Tarot uses her Magick and enchanted sword to battle the forces of darkness.

Yeah, just for the record? Any time you see magic spelt with a K, it's a pretty good sign that whatever you're getting into is crap. It's like the phrase "starring Adam Sandler" or "better ingredients, better pizza": the verbal equivalent of a poisonous toad signaling its toxicity with bright colors.

This figure, of course, is Tarot, Witch of the Black Rose. If you ask some people about the comic, you'll hear that it's a very popular book among women, that it's empowering and a refreshingly uncompromised artistic connection direct from creator to audience; if you ask anyone else, you'll hear that you have to get out of here, your vagina is haunted!

Tarot was supposed to get her own Minimate four-pack, but it was cancelled due to low preorders. Kind of a shame, really. Anyway, the titular witch has finally found release, and she's mostly unchanged from the original prototype. The original plan was to create new sculpted boots and arm details, but on the final figure they're just paint details. We'll say this right now: it works a lot better this way. Tarot's costume is a lot of things, but "bulky" isn't one of them. Molded pieces would have had more detail, but this way she's appropriately sleek.

The hair, horns and mask are all one piece, because there's no point in making them separate. If you pull the piece off, you'll see Tarot's naked face beneath it. Awww, yeah: naked! The particular shape of the eyes really does look like Jim Balent's art, for what it's worth. On any other figure, it would just be "generic face," but on Tarot, it's clearly comic-accurate.

Like Dawn and Lady Death, Tarot includes a sword. Unlike both of them, though, she has a scabbard to hold it. Considering that Tarot's official title is "swordmaiden to the goddess," omitting the Black Rose sword would be silly. Nearly as silly as flattening out her enormous flesh-pumpkins. Painted decolletage may work for an average-sized (comicbook) chest, but Booberella here needs more than that. Perhaps even more than Lady Death, Tarot needs an enhanced chest. Yes, the toy looks better without it, but it's not true to the character. Come on, Daurkechiyhldde has her monster arm - is that so different? They didn't just paint a normal arm purple and call it a day. They need a female equivalent of the "powerhouse" chest. A "brickhouse" chest.

Back when the Indymates box set came out, we hoped that more would be coming. But that was six and a half years ago, so yeah. The first Femme Fatales set is a great successor, though, bringing us four new comic-based Minimates who will be more than happy to mingle with the rest of your collection.

-- 11/13/11


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