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Marvel Legends
by yo go re

Every superhero has an origin story. Tigra has two.

Altered by means mystical and scientific, Tigra has spent much of her career as a superhero seeking stability. Constantly beset by alterations to her powers (or their removal entirely), it took years for the final disposition of her soul to be settled, and for her metamorphosis from human woman to cat form to be systematized through the use of a mystic amulet. Despite it all, she's persisted as a member of the Avengers on both coasts, a private investigator and solo adventurer, and most recently a New York City cop.

Originally, Greer Grant just wore a typical yellow and blue costume and fought under the name of "The Cat." Her book lasted only four issues, and she slipped into obscurity for a few years. Then, when the Comics Code was relaxed in the '70s, Greer was dusted off and turned into a sort of werecat, to cash in on the rising tide of horror characters. The discarded Cat costume, incidentally, eventually came into the possession of former Archie-knockoff character Patsy Walker, who used it to become the superhero Hellcat.

Tigra gets a new sculpt, of course. She's slender, with only a minimum of muscular detailing. Technically the character is supposed to be covered with fur, but that's not represented in the sculpt: she's perfectly smooth. Of course, the same thing could be said about Nightcrawler, so if ToyBiz didn't go so far as to make him fuzzy back then, there's no way Hasbro was going to do it now. She's got claws on her fingers and toes, and her bikini is a raised element, not just painted onto her form.

The figure stands 5⅞" tall, and moves at the neck, shoulders, elbows, wrists, torso, hips, knees and ankles, plus she has a swivel joint at the base of her tail. Her face is okay, but maybe just a bit squinty. Her skin and hair are both orange - more yellow on the body, and redder on her head. Her eyes are green, and the stripes on her body are dark brown, rather than black. Her bikini has a metallic sheen, and the silver clasp is crisp. The paint on the teeth ringing her waist is somewhat messy, heavy in some spots and thin in others.

Tigra gets the biggest piece of this series' Build-A-Figure, Nemesis: his entire upper torso. It's a massive piece, 5½" across, and actually comprises four different parts: the chest itself, armor plates on the shoulders, the small skeleton inside the suit, and a clear dome that goes over the top. Of course, translucent plastic and small, thin pieces don't get along well, so the tabs that hold the dome on snap easily - sometimes even before you open the package. We'd tell you to be extra careful, but it won't help. We'd tell you to check the figure quickly and return it if there's a problem, but this series is so tough to find that you may never see another Tigra. Basically, it's something you're going to have to fix. We'll tell you how in the BAF review.

Tigra is one of those characters who always skirt around the edges of the mainstream Marvel Universe. Her biggest role was probaly her time with the West Coast Avengers (or was it Avengers West Coast?), and her most major contribution lately has been sleeping with the Skrull version of Hank Pym, and getting severely beaten by The Hood's criminal gang. Not exactly a high point in her career. She's currently taking revenge for the latter in the pages of Avengers: The Initiative, but that's still awfully close to Women in Refrigerators syndrome. This figure would be better - and more, you know, "cat-like" - if she had double hinges in the elbows and knees instead of the pseudo-balljoints, but even without her few small paint errors, she still wouldn't be a very impressive Marvel Legend.

-- 12/28/09

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