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Tigra

Marvel Legends Retro Collection
by yo go re

Rowr!

Fast feline reflexes and a prehensile tail make Tigra a dazzling force to be reckoned with.

Before she was Tigra, Greer Grant was The Cat, wearing the costume that would eventually be passed down to Patsy Walker. Part of an initiative to reach out to female readers, Greer's origin saw her subjected to an experiment designed to allow women to achieve their full physical and mental potential. Her superheroic career was cut short (not even a year of Marvel Time) when she was shot by Hydra agents attempting to kidnap the doctor who designed the experiment; Greer was dying, but Dr. Tumolo revealed she was a member of the Cat People, and could save the girl's life by changing her into one of them. Greer chose life, and one mystical ceremony later, she was changed into a were-tiger. As you do.

Hasbro did a Tigra in the early days of their Marvel license, but that was 2009 and the toys from that era honestly don't hold up. Like, they were fine at the time, but newer stuff absolutely blows them out of the water. It's not that this figure is significantly different from the one from over a decade ago - she's still wearing her bikinki, she still doesn't have a full body of sculpted fur - but the level of artistry that went into it is higher. Today we get better proportions and finer detail, creating a better toy. Her body is at once less exaggerated and more athetic, and the little fang details on her briefs are smaller and crisper. They did do some fur, on her shoulders and elbows and calves, so that's better too. The only thing the packaging calls out about the figure is her "Cat's Head Amulet!", but that's part of the sculpt, not an accessory, so why bother?

Tigra includes two heads, and they're pretty distinctive. The one she has in the package is calm and casual, with the mouth close and her hair just hanging down to her shoulders; the alternate is wilder, with her lips pulled back to bare her teeth and her hair flying out behind her. Angry kitteh! The normal head also depicts her the way she was drawn for most of her existence, with a clear, undetailed face. The second head has black tiger stripes on her cheeks, which is a fairly recent feature. We know about the intransigence of leopards, but can a tiger change its stripes?

This new release definitely has the superior articulation. In that old review, we bemoaned the figure's lack of double-hinges for the elbows and knees, instead getting the single swivel/hinges Hasbro was using all the time then; this figure corrects that, instantly becoming better. She's got a barbell-jointed head, which isn't as flexible as a normal balljoint/hinge would be, but her long hair wouldn't have done much with that anyway. Moving down, there are swivel/hinge shoulders, swivel biceps, swivel/hinge wrists that allow you to swap out either fists or clawing hands, a balljointed chest, balljointed hips, swivel thighs, and swivel/hinge ankles. Her tail is also on a swivel, though it doesn't want to turn very easily - in fact, it's easier to just pull it out and reposition it than to move it normally. She didn't originally have a tail when she became Tigra: that happened after she lost her powers and then regained them. Again we have to ask why no one has copied what DC Direct did with Cheetah's tail, adding extra swivels for better poses.

There's one area where the old toy gets the edge over this one, and that's the paint - more specifically, the shade chosen for the toy. Since the beginning, Tigra has been orange; but a soft orange, a desaturated orange, not orange orange. She's not the color of Garfield, guys! The orange on this toy is way, way too vibrant. Her stripes are more of a design element than a natural part of her body, too. The bikini is black, with a slight sheen to it that looks nice, but man, that orange. It's like she needs to be left in the sun to fade for a while.

That said, we already had a Tigra that was the right color, but disappointed in every other regard. And given the choice between the two, this is the better version.

-- 02/11/22


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