Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Zach's Figure Reviews: Barbara Gordon (Batgirl)

Hey, let's do something different. Since I'm waiting for three books in the mail, I can't really comment on terrestrial Triassic fauana, marine reptiles of Kansas, or all those beautiful new ceratopsians. So, the meantime, why not something new? As you may or may not know, I collect superheroines and gaming figure form. Much to Scott's chagrine, they are "inaction figures," lacking any sort of articulation. This confounds and befundles my friend: he wants toys he can play with. I want toys that are pretty and double as art references. They are rarely cheap, but I love 'em anyway. I often visit other websites to scope out future and current available figures (Tentacle Armada and Tomopop are good references) and these websites often have figure reviews. Hey, why not write my own? So let's start with one of my favorites, Barbara Gordon--otherwise known as Batgirl.

Batgirl is from DC Direct's experimental Ame-Comi line. They have produced a lot of figures at this point, including two others that I own and six or seven that I just don't like the art direction of (Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy are particular sticking points). Some of their newer figures are pretty nice, like the "old-style" Catwoman and Black Canary. They've even released the current all-black version of Batgirl, but I don't like the pose, and I don't think the character fits this line very well. Now the company has produced their own versions of Batman and Robin loosely based on
The Dark Knight Returns. I'm not a fan. Anyway, let's talk about Batgirl herself...

Batgirl is, of course, Batman's second sidekick after Robin. She is also Commissioner Gordon's daughter. The poor girl is eventually shot by the Joker, leaving her paralyzed from the waist down. Not one to give up so easily, though, Barbara puts her tech skills to use, taking on the mantle of the Oracle, and basically serving as Batman's field operator. She's even in Batman: Arkham Asylum, so hey.

It's a very dynamic pose, though the parallels to Saturday Night Fever are hard to ignore. Maybe she's at the club and didn't have time to change? I don't know. While this may be a small detail, I really like her cape--it drapes over her shoulder and drapes down and folds up, like it's being hit by the wind just a little. Aside from the partyin' posture, Batgirl looks pretty capable here, complete with a spartan utility belt, some kind of pouch, and a nicely-sculpted Batarang. If there's one thing I don't like about her outfit, it's the spikes on her gauntlets and boots, which look a little forced. They should've stuck to the simple curved blades for the gauntlets and removed them entirely on the boots.

Okay, she's got a big rack. She's a comic book heroine--it's gonna happen. At least she's not Karen Starr. One thing I do like about her...breasts (aside from the fact that they're breasts, and they're volumous) is that the bat symbol wraps around them, as it would on a skintight outfit. One confusing aspect of the costume is that there appears to be a vestigal zipper just below her dirty pillows. I almost wonder if the original sculpt had an open zipper that bared a lot of skin and cleavage, but further edits covered her up but forgot to remove the zipper? Who knows. Anothr thing to note is the presence of orange lines running up and down the" suit. They're not functional, but they do give the costume a subtle color "kick" that I think improves the overall color scheme.

Here is a good detail shot of her accessories. Whether in a crime-infested alley or on a catwalk, Barbara Gordon is always prepared for a fight. This is an impressive figure in terms of little details. Even the ventral side of her gauntlet is not devoid of detail. You can also get a better look at the red lines and zipper here, and her small but effective kneepads (insert inappropriate kneepad-related joke here). I should add that her hair is semi-translucent, and that translucence improves toward the terminal end of each strand. It's a nice effect.

"You know it's all right, it's okay, we can live another day. It's okay to understand the New York Times' effect on man! Whether you're in trouble or whether you're a lover, you're stayin' alive, stayin' alive. See the city breakin' and everybody shakin' and we're stayin' alive, stayin' alive. Ah ha ha ha stayin' alive, stayin' alive..." Hey, is it just me, or does her cowl look like a WWI bomber helmet? I actually really like the goggles, though I wonder how that cowl stays on without a chin strap or something. Actually, it's always been like that for Batgirl, hasn't it? Her hair prevents her cowl from attaching to her cape. Also, um...back pain in the future, I think.

If only I had a disco ball, this picture would be complete. She's got a nice curve at the waist. She's not particularly hippy, but she's hippier than Karen Starr (just wait until we get to Karen Starr). It's worth mentioning that Batgirl's cap is not attached to her back. It's a solid piece of plastic, sure, but you can bend it back if you want and see her entire figure. And it's a nice figure, if a little exaggerated (just a little). Batgirl was the first of the Ame-Comi girls to come out, and this was like two or three years ago. At the time, I got her for $50, which I think is a fine price. She is 8.75 inches tall, and articulates with her base via pegs. I've never seen her in stores since I bought her, so I'd bet that she's "out of print." If you can find her online though, I highly recommend Batgirl.

So there you have it. Should I keep doing these figure reviews? In addition to being helpful, I'm trying to provide a few chuckles so that non-enthusiasts won't mind reading this drivel. Leave comments, and if you're lucky, I'll move forward with Powergirl or Wonder Woman tomorrow.


davidmaas said...

Cool review. More!

Glendon Mellow said...

I study my many Star Wars figures the same way.