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Camille Noire

Tortured Souls
by yo go re

When Todd McFarlane and Clive Barker teamed up to create 2001's Tortured Souls line, they managed to create one of the year's hottest lines. That type of success pretty much demanded a follow-up, and indeed we got it.

While Lucidique was the sole carrier of the XX gene in the first line, this time we were offered two: the arachnine Szaltax and the angelic Camille Noire.

When we say Cami is angelic, we don't mean she's a bastion of purity; her particular "torture" is that she's been crafted into the visage of an angel. The flesh has been flayed from her back and stretched over arched metal harnesses to create wings, and a buzzsaw blade is embedded in her exfoliated skull as a halo. The combination looks great.

As with the previous Tortured Souls, McFarlane's sculptors really went the extra mile to detail the figure's open wounds. Her back is just as raw as Luci's was, with the deep crimson muscles and tendons contrasting nicely with the figure's porcelain skin. The piecemeal wings are translucent, and really wrinkle like stretched and stitched tissue.

Camille wears a black corset that hooks into her flesh as it lifts and separates. Her black fingerless gloves are nailed in place, and a wicked black neck brace holds her head up high. Barbed wire runs up her right arm, as well as circling her brow just beneath the blade. There's a thick leather strap wrapped tightly around her right thigh, which leads up to one of the figure's problem areas: the paintjob.

Recognizing that such a tight binding would cause severe bruising, the figure was designed with large purple contusions on her thighs. The paint was applied very poorly though, leaving the figure with less bruises than big purple dots. I passed on three Camilles (and she ships one per case) before finding an acceptable one.

The skin has been stripped Cami's left thigh, and a bit of fishnet stocking now holds the muscles in place. A large ring is driven through her kneecap, and both shins have various metal spikes hammered into place. A black skirt and two red ribbons hang down from the figure's waist, trailing on the ground and covering the back of her legs. She's got an eyelet sewn into each shoulder, presumably so she could be hoisted into the air to further complete the angelic look.

In what I find to be the most painful part of the figure, Cami's shoes raise her up onto her toes, leaving her to walk permanently en pointe. Because there's no way that these tiny feet would support the figure, McToys included a free figure stand. Good show, guys. She's posed with her left hand gesturing forward, seemingly welcoming the viewer, beckoning us toward her. Spooky!

Though the TS2 names are a bit of a mixed bag, Camille Noire is pretty easy to decipher. "Camille" means virginal, unblemished character, while "Noire" is a variation on the French "noir," or black, making Camille Noire the black virgin. A fitting name for this vile angel. Of course, her name cannot help but reference Camille Paglia, notorious feminist author, whose views on the nature of sexuality and power could either be supported or undercut by the things through which this Camille has gone (depending on how you want to look at it).

Cami is nearly 6⅝" at the top of her saw, and moves at the neck, shoulders, wrists and hips, plus a few extra points on her framework and skull. Normally I want more movement in a toy, but in this case the choices suit the figure.

Part of Tortured Souls Series 1's appeal was the segmented novella offered with the figures. You got a great, detailed background of whichever character you purchased, and there was a running story to encourage you to buy the other figs.

Alas, there's no story to accompany these new Tortured Souls, so we don't know much about them. Sure, there a small pseudo-blurbs on Spawn.com, but nothing informative. I can't help but think that this is going to impact TS2's sales, but only time will tell.

-- 01/15/03

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