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The Engineer

DCD The Authority
by yo go re

"How can you expect us to save people from extra-terrestrial threats, but turn a blind eye when genocide is being perpetrated by earth-bound dictators?"

The world of machinery holds no secrets for the hero known as The Engineer. And there's nothing her amazing mind and almost organic knowledge of machines can't create to help The Authority in its mission to protect the world from the dangers attacking it from every point of reality!

The Authority turned the comic world on its ear. Rather than fighting villains or mad scientists, these superheroes were doing things that were actually important, like curing cancer and protecting political refugees. Originally, the Engineer was a man, a villain bent on changing the world "for its own good." He died, but not before sending his formula for nanites out into the internet. Online at just the right moment (you know how it was back then, only one person could be online at any one time), Angela Spica swapped nine pints of liquid machinery for her own blood, becoming the new Engineer. Now she's a hero, bent on changing the world for its own good.

If you look at pictures of the Engineer you'll notice that other than the ornate armor at her shoulders, she has no costume lines. She must be wearing a one-piece, right? Well, maybe, until you take a look at her feet - she's barefoot. Ten sculpted little toes. No shoes, no seams... Angie's going commando! This is in fact comic-accurate; the Engineer was normally sporting a cyber-cameltoe and grabbing for a robe when she retracted her nanite shell (for a while, at least: eventually she got over her inhibitions even when powered-down). This figure isn't as, shall we say, "detailed" as the comic art, but that's because she was being sold in comicshops - fun as that may have been for collectors, kids still could have seen her.

I was afraid this figure would be vac-metallized; that's how the stock photos looked, and that's never a good thing on toys. Fortunately she's just painted a nice flat silver with a bit of paint detailing on her face: black for the lips, eyebrows and eyelashes, then white and blue for her eyes. How does a hispanic woman get blue eyes? Nanites, that's how!

The sculpt is quite good, with muscles that actually look like they belong to a woman: curving and gentle while still looking powerful; Angie's even got a little belly. She's converted her right hand into a complex gun, and has a confident, forward-striding pose. Her helmet has a separate piece glued on top, and there's a lot of small, intricate detailing on her neck and collarbone. Finally, there are some ridges on her left forearm, creation the suggestion of gloves.

The Engineer stands exactly 6" tall, and has insufficient articulation: hinged knees and a T-crotch mean there isn't much to be done with her legs; her left wrist swivels, but there's no matching poseability in the gun; the hinged elbows and swivel/hinge shoulders are good; but the neck is held in place by the long, solid sheet of hair falling down her back.

It's a bit odd that the Authority action figures are shipping now - the comic series just became a victim of editorial differences a few months ago. However, the characters are still strong, and we're still lucky to get them in three-dimensional form.

-- 08/29/02

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