Thursday, June 10, 2010

Zach's Figure Reviews: Karen Starr (Power Girl)

I'm back for another exciting figure review. Yesterday we stared at Barbara Gordon, and today we'll be tackling Superman's cousin, Kara Zor-L. On Earth, she assumes the identity of Karen Starr and runs a successful engineering firm. She's currently starring in her own mini-series, illustrated by Amanda Conner. Really top-shelf work. The writing is similarly excellent. It's a shame the team is leaving after a scant twelve issues, because it's one of the better comics I've read in a long time. This particular version of Power Girl is another Ame-Comi creation, and more distinctly anime-inspired than Batgirl was.

The most alarming aspect of this figure is how much the designers changed Power Girl's outfit. It's usually pretty basic: white bodysuit, red cape, blue gloves and boots, and a golden shoulderpad and chain. Here is a good example of her modern costume. This statue's giant chain is the only real annoyance. She doesn't even have a shoulderpad for it to attach to--the chain just sort of begins at her neck and attaches to her back. The practicality of such an accessory is hard to justify in the comic, but here? Even moreso.

It's not obvious from the front, but in lateral view, you can see how exaggerated her knee posture is. They're apparently reversable, which is a super-power I didn't know Power Girl had. Take that, Superman! She's got a little more ass than Batgirl, and a lot more breast, too (we'll get to that in a minute). Overall, I like her pose--it's clearly inspired by comic art--but her proportions are a little odd. And I don't just mean her waist-to-bust ratio, either. She's got ridiculously long legs and a very short torso. I blame the anime influence.

Here's a good look at her cape. Power Girl has always had a strange cape. It's more of a ribbon than a proper cape, trailing behind her as she flies through the sky. I like the zig-zag pattern it adopts here. The cape frames her well from the front. This shot also gives you a look at her legs. Look at how long her thighs are, at the expense of the shins! There's also a pretty good shot of her gauntlets, which move been upgraded from here gloves to computer terminals. I'll have a better picture of that later. Also note the overall color scheme: whites and blues, which I like.

And here's the oblique view. The chain is pretty noticable now, as are her exaggerated knees. This photo also makes clear how ginormous her rack is. You could eat dinner off those things. Of some concern is Karen's bubbly expression: it doesn't look playfully determined so much as bubbleheaded beach blonde. One of the things I like most about Power Girl as a character is that she's well aware of her...ahem...assets, but approaches it with humor and sarcasm. A knowing smile or raised eyebrow, that sort of thing. "My eyes are up here," she might say to somebody oggling her chest. There's none of that here.

No, this Karen Starr looks kind of empty-headed. Again, I blame the anime influence. I suspect that Power Girl had a different designer than Batgirl or Wonder Woman. I like her hairstyle, though: it's simple and the proper length, and ever so slightly fall in front of her eyes. Her eyelids have purplish eye shadow, by the way, whcih is a nice touch. It's also worth mentioning that her computer...things are actually attached to her gloves by a yellow band, so they're not actually part of the glove. Still, their purpose isn't exactly clear. In the comic, Karen Starr is the first to admit that she punches first, asks questions later. For communications, she uses a basic earbud headset.

Here's a picture that illustrates my problems with that chain thing. It doesn't seem to function, and it's too big. You might also notice how far up her "boots" go, although I hestitate to assign the word "boot" to the blue part or her leg. Oh, one unfortunate misstep for this figure: it's very clear that Power Girl is made up of two parts: legs and upper body. You can clearly see the mold articulation at the top of her hip, where the skintone meets the bodysuit. There's a little bit of a rim to her hip. It's completely unnoticable at any distance, but upon close inspection, it's pretty obvious.

Here's the other end of the chain. It just kind of attaches to her neck AND the ribbon cape, which makes absolutely no sense (what if the chain pops off? What then, Karen?). Despite my dislike for the computer thingie, it is nicely detailed, with buttons and a little screen. I like to think that it functions as an old-school communicator--the contact's face shows up on the little screen, and Power Girl presses the green button to work the comm. But why would she have one on BOTH gauntlets? And what's the circular disk above each hand? Am I just over-thinking this?

And here's a look at the entire chain, which, again, is too big. Notice the two circles on her torso: the top one is some kind of gold gem, and the bottom one is a hole in the suit, exposing her navel. The anime stylings of the face are also pretty blatant from this angle. Also, I don't know if I've mentioned this yet, but GOOD GOD she has big breasts. Just think about it for a second: they're being held up and together by whatever superstrong material that bodysuit is made of. I can't figure out how this version of Power Girl remains upright, especially with her feet so far behind the rest of her (because of the exaggerated knees).

Is this a gratuitous breast shot? Probably. But it is also illustrative of Power Girl's asymmetric posture. Also, check out the wierd "handles" on her boots. Again, they serve no purpose. Power Girl is a good figure, but not great. Certainly not to the same quality (to my mind) as Batgirl. Being one of the earlier Ame-Comi figures, Power Girl came in at $50. Every Ame-Comi figure since has retailed for $60. She's the same height as Batgirl, too: about 8.75 inches tall. She articulates to her base via pegs under her feet. Unfortunately, given her pose, she's a bit more unstable than Batgirl is. I don't know if I'd pay the same amount for her now, knowing what I do about her. If you have a fondness for the character or just really like busty anime figures, you might look online to see if you can find her for cheaper.

1 comment:

Christopher Taylor said...

It's not obvious from the front, but in lateral view, you can see how exaggerated her knee posture is. They're apparently reversable, which is a super-power I didn't know Power Girl had.

I rather think that you're overlooking the obvious. Clearly, Kryptonians have a birdlike leg structure that only convergently resembles that of humans. They're not her knees, they're her heels. The true shins are what appear to be the thighs while the femur has become greatly shortened and no longer forms part of the visible leg. Instead, the femur's direction is permanently angled upwards - its backwards projection is what maintains the permanent pertness of the buttocks.