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Wonder Woman

The One:12 Collective
by yo go re

So Shocka stole the joke I was going to use to open this review, which means I've got to come up with something new to say. Something exciting... something everybody's into... I know! Math!

Wonder Woman first appeared in 1941; it took 76 years and nearly 900 issues before she got a movie. Superman, by contrast, made it to movie theaters only a decade after his first appearance. And if you really want to have your mind blown, consider that Barb Wire, a character literally created by committee to cash in on the '90s "bad girl" craze, got a movie in 1996, a scant three years and 19 issues (most of which were guest appearances or cameos) after her introduction.

In 2014, Mezco Toyz announced The One:12 Collective, a line of high-end collector's figures. They're done in the 6" scale, like Marvel Legends and whatever Mattel is calling their unsellable DC figures this week, but they feature softgoods outfits like you'd see on a 12" Hot Toys or Sideshow figure. They're also many times more expensive than the mainstream lines, which is why I've so far had to pass on them. (Monkey Boy loves them, though. Email him and tell him which ones you want him to review.) But the Wonder Woman movie was so good and the Wonder Woman toyline so bad, I finally had to try one out.

Even before you get her out of the packaging, you'll be able to see how much better the detail is on this figure than on any of the others. The sculpted lines of her armor are deep and crisp, and, since it's all separate pieces fit over the plain body beneath, it all actually looks like armor she's wearing. A lot of the One:12 Collective figures look like people wearing their pajamas, because no matter how you craft the costume, it's never going to stick as close to a body as comicbook art can; that's nothing new, Mego all its various knockoffs have had the same trouble for years. For Wonder Woman, though, the only "softgoods" part of the costume is her blue skirt - done here as actual overlapping strips of material, just like the real movie costume - while the rest is molded plastic. In other words, it looks good on the figure, even at this small size.

Her bodice and belt are a single piece, because that just makes sense. It looks as though the band around her left bicep should have a hollow space in the middle, and that Mezco just filled it in because that would have been too hard to mold at this scale - but really, no, if you look at the real piece on the costume, you'll see that it's filled in, just like this one is. Her silver bracelets have gilded edges and a worn texture. We already talked about the skirt, so moving on down we find the bits of armor strapped above her knee are twisted slightly to the outsides as compared to the body of her boots, which again looks odd but is accurate. The boots (or greaves, really) are slipped onto the leg, which means those flashes of skin you can see between the halves? That's really her, not just a line of paint. The sandal bits are molded as part of the feet, making them (and the leather wraps around her hands) the only costume elements that aren't separate. Nice!

The likeness is similarly superior to other offerings. Now, granted, it's not as perfectly accurate as the version seen in the promotional photos, but it certainly puts every Mattel attempt to shame. Deep, deep shame. Well, there was that one BvS figure that looked okay under museum lighting, and this one benefits from the same thing... maybe she just needs some Hasbro-style paint-printing. Or for you to have a professional lighting rig in your house.

Ah, but wait, this figure has something else no previous Wonder Woman can claim: an alternate head! The face is only minorly different: her lips are parted, and her brows come closer together in the center; in other words, she's got a "rest" head and an "activity" head. The hair on this one falls behind the shoulders, while the hair on the other falls in front. It's also a separate mold in both cases, meaning she doesn't suffer from the terminal case of wideface Mattel's did.

Neither does the hair block her articulation at all. The One:12 Collective line does not shy away from articulation - in fact, when you open the package there's a slip of paper warning you that the toy's body may be more flexible than the clothes it's wearing, and to be careful. Diana moves at the ankles, knees, thighs, hips, waist, wrists, elbows, shoulders, and head. It's possible the "waist" is really a torso joint, or that there are both kinds, but remember that her armor is inflexible, so all we're getting is a little bit of wiggle there anyway. Not only is the head unblocked by the hair, the legs aren't blocked by the skirt - since it's fabric, it just moves out of the way like the real thing would do. So put one more in the win column for Mezco. For our money, the most important thing is she can do the "No Man's Land" pose really well.

Of course, doing the pose wouldn't mean much if she didn't also have her shield to shelter behind, nor if she was forced to wear it on the wrong arm, MATTEL. The shield has excellently intricate detailing both front and back, but the first thing you're likely to notice about it is how small it is. It's about 1⅝" in diameter, which is about half the size it's shown in the stock photos. And yet, again we say if you look at the film, you'll see this is right. Watch as she climbs the ladder out of the trench - the shield, slung to her back, is just slightly wider than her shoulders, and that's what this accessory delivers. Was the one in the promo pictures a prototype that got corrected? Over-enthusiastic photoshopping because someone felt the item looked too dainty? Who knows!

Beyond the shield, which has loops to slide onto her forearm, Diana is armed with the god-killer sword she lifted from Paradise Island, and her magic lasso. The sword is actually sharp at both ends, so be careful when you're putting it into her hand or tucking it in the belt loop that carries it. The lasso is just a ring of plastic, not actual string, but it can hang on her hip. For more action-y poses, the set does include a more playable version of the lasso: still not string, but rather, bendable wire, so you can pose it swirling around her, whipping about, or even bending improbably like the line on Daredevil's billyclubs. That's a cool idea! And since it's yellow, rather than the coiled version's gold, it accurately portrays the "powered up" state, where it's glowing. But can we just reiterate how frustrating it is that there's no Wonder Woman videogame that's half Arkham, half God of War? Her jumps would take the place of Batman's grappling gun/cape glide combo, and her lasso would replace Kratos' blades.

The set includes three pairs of hands - fists, relaxed, gripping - and a circular display stand with a clear, articulated arm to support her in poses. Add to that the included baggie for storage of the accessories, and it becomes very clear that The One:12 Collective isn't meant to compete with Hasbro or Mattel, it's going up against Figma, Figuarts and MAFEX.

Even the packaging leans that direction. The exterior is a minimalist teal and brick red, with golden WW logos and as little text as possible. That's just a cardboard sleeve over the box that actually holds the toy, stylish black with glossy black One:12 logos and the Mezco roach printed on the back. A large window allows you to see the toy inside, resting in a deep recess and sandwiched between two trays so she and all the accessories stay in their place securely. It's nice, but the fact that all the toys in the line come in identically sized boxes mean there's a lot of wasted space in here, and it's going to take up a lot of space if you want to store it.

There's one thing we really wish Mezco had seen fit to include with this toy. If you look at their One:12 Superman, he came with ricocheting bullet effects. Wonder Woman's whole thing is deflecting bullets. Why doesn't she come with the same? It may have been too expensive to cast her bracelets from metal and put little magnets inside a spark effect, but even something that simply slipped around the arm (like those old Star Wars "deflecting blaster fire" flares that fit on lightsabers) would have been preferable to nothing. She's missing an important part of her repertoire!

This figure is, no doubt, mad expensive. All the One:12 Collective figures are. She sells for four times as much as the Mattel Wonder Women you could buy at Walmart or Target, and honestly, she's not four times better than those are. But she is probably at least three times better, maybe three-and-a-half? So, yes, expensive, but not totally unreasonably so for the value you're getting? There's no reason to be a One:12 completist (not that there's a reason to be a completist on anything else, either), but if there's a character you're a big fan of, or one that's unlikely to get a good toy from anyone else - and has a costume that works in the style and doesn't look like pajamas - then treat yo'self, fool!

-- 09/05/18

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