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The Boys
by yo go re

Two down, five to go.

Annie January is as down-to-earth and sincere as they come; the girl next door with superpowers. And as Starlight, "The Defender of Des Moines," all she's ever wanted to do is save the world - and while a lot of people say that as a corny catch phrase, she actually means it. So when she's selected to join The Seven, it's every dream she's ever had come true. But that dream becomes her worst nightmare when this fresh-faced Midwesterner arrives in New York, and learns that the old adage is true: never meet your heroes.

Or at the very least, never meet The Deep, because he's a scumbag. Everybody on The Seven is - that's the point of "ooh, edgy dark superheroes, we're so grown up!" stories - but The Deep is the most overt (on the show at least), and unfortunately the first one Starlight meets.

Like last time, we're starting with the packaging. Chris Longo designed a box that represents the character inside rather than the property. It's something he started with the Back to the Future line, where every release had some unique graphic on the front of the box, but those still all had the DeLorean on the side - the Boys boxes are designed like the character's costume all the way around. So for Starlight, that means white with gold trim, and her three-star symbol behind her name. You've got to look at it on the shelf to see that it's for The Boys, the contents don't jump out at you unless you already know what you're looking for. Still, it's going to be one cool display if they get around to making everyone.

Thankfully, Starlight is wearing her first costume, the one she and her mother put together when she was still just a local hero: the other option would have been the "Starlight 2.0" one the Vought International marketing team came up with for her, which is a lot heavier on the sex appeal. "Skankier," if you will. The problem isn't how women dress, it's how people tell women how to dress. The idea is that this one was something made from a combination of high-end, custom-made fabrics, and things you could buy off the shelf at Jo-Ann Fabrics; in other words, Annie and her mom saved up to buy a little bit of the special stuff all the Vought supersuits are made from, but utilized more commonplace materials for the bulk of the work. The sculpt captures the lines of the dress very well, and the extra details - the stars, the belt, etc. - just just as much attention.

Starlight is played by Erin Moriarty in her second comicbook role: she was also the girl Jessica Jones tried to help in the first season of the Netflix show. The likeness is good, looking like her from more angles than Homelander did. We get two heads, but they're both the same sculpt: one is just painted with "glowing" eyes to show that her powers are active.

The costume is mostly white, with varying shades of gold for the accents, boots, and bracers. The little bit of skirt visible through the slits in the lower part of the dress has the same speckled star pattern as her cape. The cape is softgoods, but just like with Homelander, the details have only been printed on one side - it's much less of a problem here, though, because her cape is supposed to be light, not equally striped on both the front and back.

Her articulation is as good as we get from NECA these days: balljointed head, swivel/hinge shoulders, double-swivel/hinge elbows, swivel/hinge wrists, a balljointed chest and waist, balljointed hips, swivel thighs, double-swivel/hinge knees, and swivel/hinge ankles. Considering her legs are bare, the knees look really good - very organic, despite being big joints. That's quite the accomplishment! The skirt is PVC, but it's not that flexible, so her legs do get limited by it. It's okay, despite what the cape might lead you to believe, she can't fly, so all she needs to be able to do is walk around. Mission accomplished!

All Starlight's accessories are alternate bodyparts. In addition to the head, she's got a pair of fists, and a second pair of bracers that have a slightly different gold patterns on them. What's that about? Did she change her gloves after joining The Seven? It's easy to find shots of the actress wearing the alternate ones, with the gold stripes on the side - are the ones without what she was using in Des Moines? Stephen Mazurek's photography makes it look like the figure would have an alternate "light up" hand, but that's just lighting for the promos, not an actual feature. It's not like we're asking for a battery-operated light or anything, just a translucent hand or even one painted solid pale yellow, anything at all that would even hint at her powers beyond the minor difference of the alternate head's eyes. If Homelander can get laser beams, Starlight should be able to get some sort of blast effect for her hands.

As an action figure, Starlight has the same major problem Homelander did: her choice of alternate, swappable parts aren't very "alternate" at all. At least he could switch between "smiling slightly" and "grimacing slightly"; Starlight looks the same no matter what.

-- 07/17/21

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