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Lucy Lawless

The Simpsons 25th Anniversary
by yo go re

Well this is unexpected: it's only Series 2 of NECA's Simpsons 25th Anniversary line, and they've already duplicated a figure Playmates made.

TV's favorite warrior princess was kidnapped by Comicbook Guy - aka "The Collector" - in the second tale of Season 11's "Treehouse of Horror X." Luckily for her, newly-minted superheroes Stretch Dude and Clobber Girl (Bart and Lisa) come to Lucy's rescue and she repays them by flying them home on her back - something her TV character could never do, but is no biggie for the real Lucy.

Xena... sorry, "Lucy Lawless" got a toy in 2003 alongside the Collector, Stretch Dude and Clobber Girl in that year's Treehouse of Horror set. Of course, that was more than a decade ago, and like the other THoH playsets, The Collector's Lair was never easy to find, so it's not like we're faulting NECA for choosing to release her - just commenting on the fact that she's not as unique as the other figures we've gotten so far. Now the question is, which one is better?

Well, to begin with, the face on this one is much more feminine. It's still not quite accurate to the animation model (or, more specifically, to the art shown on the back of the card - it's not like we humble OAFEs have access to official model sheets), but it's close enough. Her face is round, there's a split in her bangs, and her hair is held back by a headband. Perhaps the back of her hair should stick up a little higher, but not to the extreme "Peg Bundy" levels of the last toy.

Things are just as good below the neck. The details are very crisp, and the costume sits away from the body a bit more than before. But the real improvement is less about the body and more about the body language: while Playmates' Lucy Lawless had a very plain, reserved posture, NECA's is much more powerful. She's standing with her feet apart and her weight spread evenly between them. Her arms are held away from her sides, and her hands are balled into fists. Basically, she looks ready to kick some ass, which suits not only the fictional character Xena, but also the Simpsons version of Lucy Lawless, who apparently has superpowers. Of course, she moves at the Springfield Four - her waist is just cut straight through the middle of the figure, rather than being hidden by the skirt (as Playmates did it).

The paint is more complex, as well. On the cartoon, her costume was tri-tone brown; the toy drops that down to just two, but does a better job of it than Playmates' did. She's missing the darkest brown, but gets a lot more areas painted with the light brown. The studs or rivets or whatever they are on her skirt get individually picked out with white paint. She's got painted eyelashes, and since her mouth is closed, it really draws attention to the way Simpsons lips are drawn. Her lipstick is confined to the center of her mouth, kind of like a geisha. Plus, her hair is black, rather than brown - another step up in quality from the last version.

It's ridiculous that DC continues to not make a Wonder Woman movie because they claim the audience isn't there, when Lucy Lawless basically spent six seasons (and a movie) playing a character who was Wonder Woman in everything but name, and was a massive success doing so. I didn't plan to buy this figure, simply because it was one Playmates had already made; but NECA's is better in almost every way.

-- 05/17/14

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