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DCD Justice
by Artemis

Look, up in the sky! Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's the 1970s!

Supergirl puts her leadership qualities to work and gathers a team to help evacuate the city.

Alex Ross quite likes the Silver Age of comics - just look at his current Avengers/Invaders miniseries for a bit of fanwankery that's up there with writing fanfic in which the USS Enterprise takes out a Star Destroyer - so his Justice was all about the Silver Age, and his Supergirl was a quick refit of old-school Kara Zor-El. Well, anything that's not the current Supergirl is a step up, I guess. Not that she had much to do in Justice - I gather that the above bio, which comes a close second to Batgirl's for brevity, pretty much sums up her role in things.

Unlike most comicbook characters, Kara was allowed to grow up a little bit back in the day - she began her publishing life as the usual teenager, but in due course graduated from high school, then college, and was portrayed as the 20-something young woman she'd logically have become, rather than the eternal teen that was the fate of most sidekicks back then (and still is now, pretty much [Nightwing excepted]). She started out with a fairly direct feminized teen copy of Superman's togs - a skirt rather than tights (red at first, later blue), and a shortened cape, but otherwise pretty dead-on, with the blue bodysuit, red boots, yellow belt, big ol' S shield on her chest, the whole deal. Apart from the gender, the main difference between the two didn't amount to much more than Kara being a blonde - and that was likely just to keep people from getting her mixed up with Lois.

That was then, and this is... well, also then, but a bit further along. Little Cousin Kara grew up, and DC eventually gave her a more grown-up, sexier outfit - no, really, those puffy sleeves were the business back in the '70s. Add in hipster shorts, extra circles on her belt to make it look like one of those loop thingies, a collar and a plunging neckline, and she's all ready to hit the disco and get down with some mod tracks. Or whatever. All Ross has done has been to lengthen the cape down to equivalence with Superman's, and bring its tips up over the shoulders, into the edge of the V neck - those minor tweaks aside, this is pretty much a Silver Age Supergirl figure.

She takes a bit of getting used to - when you're accustomed to tight sleeves and bare midriff, you're excused a bit of a "What the f&$%?!" reaction on seeing that top - but slightly goofy that she is, she's got a certain charm to her. Personally I don't give a rat's ass for Justice, but having done my research on the costume (yeah, the broadband's working again) I'm quite glad I've got this more-or-less version of it in action figure form - '70s it may be, but it's not a bad look. The figure goes for realism as much as possible, with minor fabric creases even on the skin-tight sections where you'd usually fine none at all on a comic book figure - the sides of her waist, for instance, and the undersides of her breasts - but the overall look is still bold colours and clean design.

The House of El shield is unusually situated on her left breast, rather than centred, and in a neat paintwork touch it's got a gloss coat picking it out from the matte fabric around it - though the gloss wasn't perfectly applied: mine has a little spot of glossiness on the blue, as well as the shield, but it's nothing major. One thing to look out for - not that you can spot it without opening the packaging - is that her cape is one of those ones that's threaded through a gap in the plastic bubble she's in, sitting behind it, and the plastic edge can dig into the soft cape a little, leaving visible marks. Be careful unpacking her, but it's a problem that's liable to happen simply from being packed to begin with.

Her face is another typical Ross face, like Batgirl's, but a really good example of the style. She looks young but not childish, level-headed but not stern; there's a roundness to her face, a very slight chubbiness to her cheeks and the sides of her mouth, that's youthful, and combined with her big blue eyes gives her a kind of girl-next-door beauty that's a good fit for her character. She's old enough to be wearing that neckline, but she's not Superwoman yet. Her hair is a nice, if unambitious, cornfield blonde, with a yellow-white highlight over a richer base showing off a sharp, attractive sculpt.

Jointwise - articulation, not the other kind, though Kara was at college for much of the '60s, so she's doubtless had a few - she doesn't put on such a good show. She has what I'm guessing is a balljoint neck, but her hair immobilizes it - and I don't mean "limited" or "can only turn if you tilt her head forward," I mean "might as well be glued in place." She's got the usual fare elsewhere, swivel/pin shoulders, pin elbows, peg hips, pin knees, with swivel wrists thrown into the mix for good measure. Swivel wrists are pretty useful for fine-tuning arm articulation generally, but not so much so here - the loose sleeves, and narrow, oval wrists, make it difficult to turn the hand and pretend the forearm is properly aligned to it. All in all, there's not a great deal you can do to personalize her pose - she's just standing around, looking straight ahead, and that's it.

Supergirl comes with the standard and stupid Justice base, and luckily her sensibly low-heeled boots are quite stable without it, so it can go into the unused parts drawer where it belongs. She doesn't have any other accessories, but she's Supergirl - it's not like she's known for using gadgets and weapons.

She's got her problems - the unhelpful articulation being foremost among them - but I have to say, I quite like Swingin' Seventies Supergirl. Her face sets her nicely apart from more generic comicbook heroine figures, and makes up for the blandness of her pose, with its level gaze making the motionless posture seem a bit more lifelike than it really deserves to. And while she may be a bit of a fashion disaster, she's at least an interesting one - and can you really say no to those puppy-dog eyes?


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