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Abbey Chase

Danger Girl
by yo go re

When Image Comics was founded in 1992, it was a bunch of superstar artists who really didn't have an understanding of how to actually deal with the business of making comics. By the late '90s, that had begun to shake itself out, but history repeated itself when Jim Lee's WildStorm branch of the company started the Cliffhanger imprint, which was a bunch of superstar artists who really didn't have an understanding of how to actually deal with the business of making comics. Cliffhanger began with three comics: Battle Chasers, Crimson and Danger Girl.

Abbey Chase is known as a champion marksman, a virtuoso of languages, a scholar of world history, and, most widely, as a heart-stopping femme fatale. Though spending the majority of her young life as a loner, Abbey is a natural team leader. After bumping into the Danger Girls during an adventuresome hunt, Abbey shepherded the team to victory in their first battle against the menacing Hammer Empire. Soon after, Abbey became a full fledged member of the Danger Girls international covert operations. Abbey is proficient with a plethora of small arms, her preference being the Desert Eagle .50. Abbey's also known to favor the Glock 17 for its durability through severe weather conditions, including its ability to fire underwater.

Yes, long before becoming the archivist opposite Nic Cage in National Treasure, Abigail Chase was a comic character who served as a cross between Lara Croft and James Bond. (Technically "Danger Girl" is the name of the world's first all-female espionage network, not Abbey herself.) And of course the loner instantly became the team leader, because what's the point of creating a series that parodies genre tropes if you're not going to go all-out?

Danger Girl was created by J. Scott Campbell before he decided that only ever drawing covers and pin-ups was lucrative enough, and this toy re-creates his artwork perfectly. Abbey's got that diamond-shaped face, the arching eyebrows, and even the big shock of hair that falls over her right eye. Although they painted her mole, it seems to be slightly too low on her cheek.

Abbey's wearing her trademark outfit - a babydoll tee that's about two sizes too small, black gloves, black and green pants, and tall leather boots. The shirt is gray rather than white, but just imagine this is her after sweating through some sweltering jungle for a few weeks - besides, imagine if we'd gotten instead some ToyBiz Marvel Legends-style blue shadows, how weird that would have looked. Everything black about her is already blue, in an effort to match the coloring in the comic. You know, maybe it's possible to be too true to the source?

The Danger Girl line was made in 1999 by McFarlane Toys, so you know the articulation is going to be garbage. Abbey has a V-crotch, swivel waist (at the bottom of her shirt), swivel wrists, swivel shoulders, and a swivel neck. Granted, some of their later toys would be even worse, but this is just sad. One cool thing, though? This is the first action figure to disguise the neck joint by putting the swivel where the neck meets the head, rather than where the neck meets the body. These days that's pretty standard, but using the jawline to hide the joint hadn't been done before.

Abbey comes with her gun, and there's a holster on her right leg that can sort of hold it. But that's sure to get overshadowed by the big ornate base she comes with!

Taking a cue from the Tomb Raider sets that were coming out around the same time, the Danger Girl toys padded their value with multi-part display bases. Abbey's is a pile of dirt, which only sounds boring: like we said, she's been running through the jungle, and that's what this shows; yes, there's dirt, but there are also large rocks, plantlife, bamboo shoots, a pile of skuls, and a cracked stone face, presumably part of whatever temple ruin she's been looking for. There's even a snake crawling around, all black with red and yellow stripes. It's a very cool piece, but its value to other figures is slightly hampered by the big "Abbey Chase" and Danger Girl logos sculpted on the front. This is a display for her and her alone. There are two footpegs, though you can get the toy to stand on her own with some finagling.

Danger Girl was a fun comic. Technically it still is, since IDW keeps publishing new miniseries every few months, but it's hard to consider it the real thing when it's not drawn by J. Scott Campbell, you know? You can keep the tongue-in-cheek cheesecake, and even hire similar artists, but it was Campbell that made the book a success. Thanks to McFarlane Toys, you can relive the glory days.

-- 02/04/16

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