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Angela

Spawn Series 2
by yo go re

Man, first McFarlane makes a toy for DC Comics, and now for Marvel? I thought he joined Image to get away from work-for-hire.

A warrior of light, Angela has obtained a hunting permit and she has chosen Medieval Spawn as her target. Just like Medieval Spawn, Angela is outfitted with armor and a sword. The lance has a remote feature that shoots a spear-like projectile from its tips. She is unaware that both Spawns are, like her, fighting against the side of evil.

Angela was introduced in Spawn #9, written by Neil Gaiman. Todd didn't make Gaiman sign a contract stating that he was doing work-for-hire (actually, he didn't make him sign a contract at all), so when the two of them went to court over royalties, the jury found that Gaiman was co-creator, not employee. The idea of a heavenly angel being the archenemy of a demon isn't the most original thing in the world, but it was Neil Gaiman who introduced it to Spawn, and so he owns a full 50% of the character: the other half belongs to Todd, because he created her visual appearance. Either one of them can use the character however they want, as long as they cut the other a check at the end of the day. Todd's reaction was to kill Angela off and not make any more toys of her, so he wouldn't have to pay anything; and now, Gaiman has decided to take her to Marvel.

Angela was released in Series 2 of the Spawn toyline, which was early enough that the first shipments were still labeled "Todd Toys," rather than "McFarlane Toys." That changed soon enough, giving us the first of Angela's many variants. These early figures weren't great, but they were miles ahead of what any other company was doing at the time.

The design is classic Todd McFarlane: lots of ridiculous, pointless armor; straps that server no purpose; and One Giant Boot™©. There's a small knife molded to her left thigh, a smaller knife on her left kneepad, and a third knife in the heel of her boot. Wear all the knives! The armor on her shoulders is some sort of asymmetrical lightning bolt thing, and it, like the plate on her left forearm and the back of her right boot, looks like strips of metal bolted together. Her right arm has a chainmail sleeve, and the armor on her chest and biceps has a raised filigree pattern. She's wearing the big winged headdress that inspired Valkerie, with a single lock of hair spilling over the front.

Angela's loincloth is soft pvc, glued into the hips so it stays in place. However, this led to one of the most infamous action figure variants of the '90s: "Party" Angela. The figure is mostly molded in pink fleshtone, and the first shipments of figures left Angie's undercarriage bare. Bare plastic, that is. Which just so happened to look like bare skin. Not that shaving was as prevalent back then as it is today - you kids don't know how good you have it! Anyway, later shipments had an extra white paint app below the belt, but for a while Party Angela was all the rage. No idea who coined the name, though.

Articulation is very limited, but only because this was 1995, not because McToys had started their long, slow slide into irrelevance. Angela has a swivel neck, swivel shoulders, hinged elbows, V-crotch and hinged knees. That's where the industry was at the time. She has a scabbard that's attached to a sash around her hips - it's a free-floating piece, so it doesn't get in the way of the hips. Her accessories include a sword for that scabbard, and a 9" long spear. The tip of the spear launches at the touch of a button, and her left hand is open wide enough to (sort of) hold it. The sword fits in her right. The spear is also the subject of another variant: some were sold with "ribbons," which were twist-ties glued to it; the normal one just had sculpted ribbons.

In addition to variants based on her panties and her spear, Angela had many different paint variations. The original, seen in this review, has gold armor with silver trim and purple cloth; the second wave of figures repainted her armor silver and the clothes blue and gold; KB Toys had an entire series of solid gold Spawn figures, Angela included; then the McFarlane Collectors' Club had a version in red armor, a version that was all pewter, and one cast from translucent blue plastic - "Heavenly Fire" Angela. They all had the same sculpt and accessories, naturally. That's eight Angelas for completists to hunt down. But who knows, now that she's a Marvel character, maybe Hasbro will be making one.

-- 04/01/13


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