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Maleficent

Disney Mirrorverse
by yo go re

Usually when there's a big Disney crossover to be had - Mickey Mousecapade. Kingdom Hearts, Disney Magic Kingdoms, The Descendants, several park shows, etc. - Maleficent is the overarching mastermind (mistressmind?) behind it all. Sometimes she's serving Chernobog, but since he's basically Satan or Cthulhu, she's the top of the heap. It's only fitting for the Mistress of All Evil, the greatest villain Disney's ever produced, but that's what makes it so surprising that this time? She's on your side.

Vengeful and powerful, Maleficent unleashes raw untamed forces by channeling transformation magic! While trapped in a state between sorceress and dragon, she harnesses her chaotic might to sear enemies with fire and lightning.

Maleficent may not be the big bad of Mirrorverse, but she is responsible for what's happening in the story: she wanted to usurp Mickey's magical power, and ended up summoning the Fractured (the evil clone enemies) to do so; but she lost control, and so has had to join the heroes in attempting to save their world.

There were two Kingdom Hearts Maleficent figures, from Mirage/N2 and Diamond Select (and boy, is it hard to find a bigger gap in quality between two companies than that!), but Mirrorverse plays around with the world more, using its own designs instead of hewing to the movies, so this is still new ground. The idea is that, living in a world powered by friendship and positivity, Maleficent has found her own innate dark-based powers diminished, and so is having to tap into her dragon side in order to maintain her basal threat level. Thus, instead of just looking like a severe human, she's got more draconic elements visible.

Maleficent's normal outfit is just a set of long black robes with purple highlights. It took Disney a while to get there, but it's become iconic in the intervening time. Mirrorverse keeps the colorscheme (mostly), but really ups the detail! Instead of a robe, this is like a dress, with a long train rising up to a fitted bodice, with a scale-patterned drape hanging down the front. She wears black gloves with spikes near the elbows, has sharp spikes on her shoulders that match the shape of her familiar headdress, and wears a high collar that flares out wildly. The armor on her chest resembles a dragon's face, and the big sleeves or cape or whatever are wings. There are smaller vestigial wings wrapped around her waist, and if you turn the figure around, you'll find a sharp spine running down her back. And beyond, in fact. It continues past her waist, and isn't simply molded on, but rather hanging freely - this is her tail!

Over the years, Disney seems to have decided that Maleficent's skintone is meant to be green. If you look at her various in-park appearances, that's her consistent shade (often a surprisingly dark one), but go back to the cartoon, and while she does have a slight tint in that direction, her skin is more gray than anything else. Mirrorverse sticks with the original, so if you were hoping for a bright green, you'll have to customize that yourself.

Articulation is about as good as you could hope for on a toy of this style. Mal's got a barbell head, the balljoint-hinge shoulders McFarlane likes these days, swivel biceps, double-hinged elbows, swivel/hinge/swivel wrists, and a balljointed waist. She's not sculpted with any legs, so of course there's no articulation in the lower body. DST did the same thing (and N2/Mirage's didn't move at all), so no shade there: it's the right way to do figures in dresses and robes. Her wing-sleeves are attached to the shoulderblades and the wrists, but they're a soft enough PVC that they flex with the arms quite nicely.

Like Belle, Maleficent only comes with one accessory, her spell staff. It's black and jagged, calling to mind both her dragon form and the thorns with which she surrounded and isolated Aurora/Briar Rose's castle. There are two light spots on the staff - one a large handhold, the other a small nub - that are the same greenish gold as the crest at the top. Considering how often in recent years Maleficent's raven, Diablo, has been treated at the capper of her staff, it should be no surprise this one has a very stylized bird shape, as well. Maleficent's skin may not be green, but her magic still is, so there's a green sphere cradled between the bird's wings and head. Her right hand is shaped to hold the staff, while her left is open.

Even if you have no interest in Disney Mirrorverse, this is just a really cool redesign of Maleficent. She's already intimidating enough when she's just wearing black and using magic to turn into a dragon; having her be half-dragon is even greater. Honestly, we wouldn't be surprised if some design cues from this look survived past the end of the game and were adopted into the "official" version someday down the road.

-- 10/15/23


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