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Zombie Lab
by yo go re

Oh, they're hookers! Why didn't you just say so?

Atlanta's ABC station recently promoted a news investigation by saying "two prostitutes have been murdered in the same community - and neighbors are fed up," which is a perfectly fine promo (if a bit sensational). Unfortunately, it didn't end there. The next sentence went on to clarify "[the neighbors] say the prostitution still runs rampant and despite years of complaints, nothing's been done." Wow, really? The tweet was ratioed all to hell, but imagine how screwed up your priorities have to be to be more upset by the idea of sex workers existing than by the fact of real human beings getting murdered. In Hong Kong, where the story for Zombie Lab is set, prostitution is legal (with certain restrictions, of course), so it's not at all unreasonable to find a couple of women who have managed to survive the outbreak so far.

(A note about name: the packaging for this figure, as well as her art card, call her "Oliva," while Chapter 5 of the story calls her "Olivia." The latter is a more familiar name to us, so we'll probably go with that. We shall see.)

Like her friend Ashley, Liv gets a new head. It's a bit thinner than the Keanna/Zoe sculpt, with slightly sunken cheeks and lines around the chin that make her look like she's frowning, even though the mouth is in a neutral pose. And her nose is a bit pointier than Marian's. So Zombie Lab has four female faces, and they all look like individual people, rather than just being one mannequin with different wigs on. And speaking of hair, hers is just above shoulder length, a different style than we've seen yet.

Olive is dressed for a night out on the town, so it's possible she's just meant to be someone going to a nightclub, and not a lady of the evening. Although that may not mean much, since the term "nightclub" is used euphamistically in Hong Kong to refer to hostess clubs. Anyway, she's wearing black sleeves and spiked bracelets (the same as the ring on Zoe's bat), a pink and black striped bra or halter top, a black miniskirt, black leggings with pink diamonds down the front, andblack combat boots. Her underwear is white, weirdly - could they not have just left that black like the rest of her lower body?

Locker Toys Group licensed Boss Fight Studio's Vitruvian HACKS "character kit system" for Zombie Lab, so Olivia definitely has great articulation despite her small size. Namely, there's a balljointed head and neck, swivel/hinge shoulders, elbows and wrists, a balljointed torso, balljointed hips, double-hinged knees, and swivel/hinge ankles. All the joints here worked just fine without having to be super gentle and timid with them at first. The skirt has slits up the sides so it can flex away from her legs, though that does leave flashes of the white undies visible. Maybe that's her gimmick? Like, the opposite of wearing sexy underwear beneath boring clothes: she wears mundane underwear beneath outlandish clothes.

The included art card is what really make Oliva look like a prostitute. (Geeze, I really hope this figure isn't just patterned after somebody one of the designers knows and cares about, or I'm going to feel really awful!) She's still wearing her party clothes, but instead of doing anything, she's just standing there on the street, hands on her hips. Shame it doesn't form a diptych with Ashley's similar art. Although the Kickstarter showed this figure coming with a knife, like the story has her using, her final accessories are a cleaver and a hatchet. Gues the knife didn't cost out. Pretend she left it stuck in a zombie's eye.

Realistically, sex work is no less "right" or "moral" than working in a refinery or playing football: as far as basic tradable commodities go, sex is right up there with food and shelter, so why should an escort be treated worse than a chef or landlord? I admit the odds are low that Locker Toys Group intended this figure (and her pal) to actually represent demimondes, but in the absence of actual information, you're free to make up whatever you want. So you ask us, these survivors are girls who already know how to defend themselves from grasping creeps.

-- 06/14/19

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