Though Mattel has really come a long way with its Justice League Unlimited line, not every decision they make is a winner, nor is every character. The recently released Supergirl, for instance, is really disappointing.
The sole surviving inhabitant of the planet Argos - a world from Krypton's star system - Kara was discovered preserved in a cryonic tube by Superman during a chance visit to the planet. Taken back to Earth and adopted by the Kent family, Kara Kent acts as both a link to Kal-El's heritage and, as Supergirl, an ally in the never-ending battle against injustice.
There was a Supergirl available in Hasbro's Superman the Animated Series line, but she was released in such short supply that this might as well be the first version of the character.
Supergirl looks decent, but she's not really "on model" -
she doesn't look exactly like she does on the show. The resemblance is there, but only just. In particular, her eyes seem wrong, somehow. Some folks are complaining that, at 3 1/2" tall, she's too small, but that's not really the case - she's just younger than all the other heroes, and the previous figure was too big. Yes, she's slightly smaller than she should be (it makes her head look too big), but not as much as people would have you believe, and certainly not enough to make her look out of place.
Kara is wearing the mid-90s "riot grrl" outfit that was created for the Superman cartoon, which poses a bit of a problem. Though the costume was eventually adopted into the comics, the Supergirl who wore it is gone, replaced by one wearing a more traditional costume that more closely resembles Superman's. But that's just the comic, right? Why should that matter for toys based on the show?
Because the show is using it, too. Obviously
there was some communication between DC and Warner Animation during the planning stages, because the animated and print versions both look about the same, and both debuted at about the same time - or at least close enough together that the animated episode would have had to already be pretty heavily into production when the comic hit shelves.
It takes longer to get a half-hour cartoon together than to see an action figure through to production, so why didn't somebody tell Mattel that the costume was changing? The same thing happened with their comic-based line: you have to feel a bit bad for Mattel, who now has two Supergirl figures based on old designs.
In any case, changing the costume was probably
a good idea - another year or two, and it would have really started to look dated. Supergirl is wearing red combat boots, a blue miniskirt and a white bellyshirt with the S shield on the chest. She's got white gloves and of course, the ubiquitous red cape. The design was great, for its time, but Supergirl has always been plagued by "fashionable" outfits that look ridiculous a few years down the road - look at what she was wearing when she died.
The single-carded JLU figures all come with a new accessory,
and Supergirl's might be the dumbest. It looks, for all intents and purposes, like an armored purse. What the hell. It looks like riveted metal, and features a combination lock and a handle on one side. The thing is flat, and has a starp on the top, for cryin' out loud! It's a purse! They gave the girl a purse. So dumb. So very dumb. This isn't Barbie, Mattel - it's Supergirl, the Maid of Steel! She can bend girders with her bare hands! This isn't some dainty flower, so even if you make her a purse out of metal, it's still insulting.
The biggest disappointment in this figure has to be the articulation.
Like most Justice League Unlimited figures, Kara moves only at the big five. The problem is, the art on the back of all the cards shows her with twice that: the prototype was also articulated at the elbows, waist and knees. Why the big drop? The sculptors obviously intended for Supergirl to be more poseable than she is, so the final version is disappointing.
That's the word to really sum up this Supergirl: disappointing. She could be bigger, she could have more articulation, she could have a better sculpt, she could have a better accessory and she could have the modern costume. Unless you're a big fan of the character or looking for a new base for a custom figure, just leave her on the shelf.
Do you like this costume or the traditional one better? Tell us on our message board, The Loafing Lounge.