Femme Fatales: Lady Death by Diamond Select

I am excited to say that Brian Pulido just completed another wildly successful project on Kickstarter. Blasphemy Anthem needed something like $25k to fund it, and it wound up with $323k (for a comic book, folks!!!), proving yet again that Lady Death still has a significant fan-base with deep pockets. To celebrate, I thought I’d dip into my unopened stack of Diamond Select statues and check out their latest version of Lady Death.

Femme Fatales is where it all started! Out of this unassuming line of independent comic statues grew the now high profile and highly prolific DC and Marvel Gallery series. So, it’s good to see DST bringing this line back to its roots now and again. This is actually the second version of Lady Death to be released in this line, with the original going for some pretty crazy money these days. As always, the packaging is collector friendly and has plenty of windows to let the light in and allow you to see your new acquisition, even before opening it. If you are unfamiliar with these, they are roughly 9-inch scale PVC statues perfect for collectors on a budget.

And, WOW, what a statue!!! Lady Death stands with her right hip thrust slightly out to the side, holding a ball of flame in her right hand and with her left hand resting on her sword. Fans of more museum-style poses will definitely dig this one, and with the magical ball of flame in her hand, it still offers a bit of energy and a hint of action. Above all, I think it really captures the regal look of the character.

The figure’s costume is definitely one of the more impressive sculpts I’ve seen in the line. Let’s face it, a lot of the Gallery Statues deal with fairly simple comic character costumes, and the ornate nature of Lady Death’s skimpy outfit gives the sculptor a little something more to sink his skills into. Her black chest piece, for example has a delicate golden skeletal structure to mimic the wings of a bat. Tiny golden skulls decorate it, as well as serve as fixtures on the clasps holding up her stocking-like boots. She even has a tiny golden skull serving as a clasp to secure her cape. The armor plates on the backs of her forearms are studded with spikes, and there are some subtle wrinkles in her boots. They also did a particularly nice job with all her hellacious curves.

The paint on this piece is applied well, with sharp lines and very little bleeding or flubs. There’s a tiny bit of uneven line along her bikini bottom, but nothing I’m going to get upset about. I dig the high gloss coat used on the gloves and boots, the gold has a somewhat antiqued look to it, and the inside liner of her cape is a deep crimson. It wasn’t until closer scrutiny that I realized her top has a bit of a purple sheen to it. Her skin is chalky white with a hint of blue, and while it looks fine, I think the blue applied around the bottom of her breasts is a wee bit overstated. Yeah, I’m really looking hard to find anything to nitpick here. And as I’m often fond of observing with this line, I’ve seen far worse paint on much more expensive statues.

The portrait is beautiful and features some sharp paint for Lady Death’s ruby lips and black eyebrows. Her pupil-less eyes are framed by some immaculate eyeliner. They also did a wonderful job sculpting her hair. It frames her face perfectly casting a little shadow over her left eye and brow, and then cascades down about her shoulders. The expression is slightly stern, but not overdone.

Her sword is a thing of nightmarish beauty and extends from the base all the way up to her neck. It’s permanently attached to her left hand, but the tip simply rests on the base. The ornate golden cross-guard features a tiny skull in the middle, and the segmented grip is painted brown. The blade has a bit of a pitted and antiqued finish to it. The ball of blue flame is the least effective thing about the statue. It’s not easy to sculpt something like that in plastic and make it look convincing. I do dig how the tip of it snakes down around the body. It’s semi-transparent with some darker paint used on the tips of the mystical flame. It’s perfectly fine, but I think it could have been done better.

The bases in DST’s Gallery and Femme Fatales line don’t tend to impress me, but they really did a great job on this one. Lady D stands on a circular stone pattern with skulls and roses strewn about it. There are also some blue crystalline structures protruding from the sides and a pair of braziers burning at her feet.

Never forget where you came from! That’s good advice and I’m glad to see that DST’s statue line is taking it to heart. As I pointed out earlier, long before they secured the lucrative Marvel and DC licenses and transformed Femme Fatales into Gallery, characters like Pulido’s Lady Death were their bread and butter. It’s nice to see them returning to their roots. And it’s a testament to how great this line is, that no matter how hard I try I can’t seem to stop collecting it. Lack of display space be damned, I just can’t resist these pieces! Lady D set me back only $40 and that’s a damn fine value for this kind of craftsmanship.

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DC Gallery: Supergirl by Diamond Select

It does my heart good to be coming back with a third review this week. It makes me even happier to relive the old days with a DC Friday review! I’ve been trying to cut down on the number of Gallery statues I buy from DST, because they were getting out of hand, but this past month, they’ve released a bunch that I simply could not resist. Today, I’m opening up one of those, and it is indeed… Supergirl! In case you’re unfamiliar, these are roughly 9-inch scale, budget-priced PVC statues, and DST churns out a lot of them!

We’ve already seen Supergirl twice in the DC Gallery line, both of which were based off the animated Justice League Unlimited series, with one for regular release and one as an SDCC Exclusive. If you’ve been with me for the three dozen or so Gallery Statue reviews I’ve done here on FFZ, then you should be readily familiar with the packaging. These statues come in collector friendly window boxes, with windows on the front, top, and side panels. This particular box is a little larger than most of the Gallery statue boxes in order to incorporate the rather dynamic pose. The statue inside is nestled in a clear clamshell, letting you see what you’re getting from almost every angle. In this case, the box itself is nice and colorful, with some beautiful character art on the back (even if it doesn’t match the statue at all!) and her S-Shield printed on the back of the interior tray. All that is great because I am currently displaying these statues in their boxes. Let’s get Kara out of the box and check her out!

The statue comes out of the box all assembled and ready for display, and looking mighty fine! For the most part DST has been producing these statues with fairly static and reserved composition. That’s certainly not the case here, as Supergirl is seen bursting forth from a fiery explosion and ripping a chain in half. No doubt, an eeeevil chain! She has one leg drawn up at the knee with her other leg trailing down and touching the base. The pose shows off both her power and the grace of her curves beautifully. Straightaway, I’m going to say that this is one of my favorite poses this line has done, and it’s also one of the better poses I’ve seen on a Supergirl statue recently. It exhibits some great keneticism and excitement, and it just captures the character perfectly.

I’m also very fond of the costume style they chose here. She sports the blue long-sleeved crop-top and skirt, yellow belt, red boots, and the flowing red cape. As is routine for these statues, all of the details of the costume are incorporated into the sculpt, right down to some subtle wrinkles. This goes a long way to bring the costume to life and it often helps keep the paint in line too. And the coloring is also very much on point. The shades of red and blue go great together and include nice subtleties like a glossier finish on the boots and a matte finish on the cape. The S-Shields on both her chest and the back of her cape look nice and crisp. The skin tone is warm and even, but my one nit-pick would be that it’s a little too glossy for my taste. It’s not so bad under normal lighting, but my studio lights make her look like her skin is wet and glistening. Eh, maybe that’s not so bad.

I was a little unsure of this portrait from the initial solicitation shots, but I think it turned out quite good in person. Indeed, I like it even more than DC Collectibles’ Cover Girl version of Supergirl, and that one is no slouch either. The paint on the eyes and lips are sharp, and I like how her mouth is slightly parted to show that it took the tiniest bit of effort to rip apart that chain. The hair sculpt isn’t terribly dynamic, but it does kick off to the side a bit to offer a little windblown look. I’m not sure this portrait is based on any particular art, but she’s pretty and I think it’s an overall  good look for Kara.

Bases have not always been the best thing about DST’s Gallery statues. It’s not that a lot of them are bad, but they’re just kind of there. That’s sort of the case here. Supergirl’s base is serviceable and lends itself well to the action pose. I’m not one hundred percent sure what it’s supposed to be, but I’m assuming it’s just a ball of fire from an explosion. I suppose it could just as easily be a fiery comet or something. Not knowing what it is doesn’t really compliment the sculpt that much, but I’m willing to accept it as an abstract construct.

And before wrapping it up, I thought I’d toss in a shot of Gallery Supergirl alongside the previously mentioned Cover Girl Supergirl by DC Collectibles. Obviously, the costumes and styles are different, and this is a PVC statue as opposed to cold cast porcelain, but I think the Gallery statue holds up remarkably well against the competition. Plus, the PVC material is a lot more durable.

Once upon a time I used to call Kotobukiya’s Bishoujo line the best value in statue collecting. Well, two things have happened for me to revoke that praise. First, Koto has raised their prices a lot. Second, DST’s Gallery line has come along. And while the quality here isn’t on par with Koto’s, at around forty bucks, this is an extremely nice display piece for the money. A lot of thought went into the composition, the sculpt is excellent, and the paint only shows a few minor rough patches, which aren’t even worth it to me to complain about. As always, I would recommend buying these in person whenever possible, so you can scrutinize the paint you’re getting, but this one came to me in the mail, and I did just fine with what I got.

DC Gallery: Catwoman by Diamond Select

How about a DC Friday for old time’s sake? Once upon a time I could fuel DC Friday every week with a seemingly unending offering of figures from Mattel and DC Collectibles, not to mention there were statues galore! Well, DC Collectibles killed off their Icons line, Mattel just lost the license to Spin Master, and I’m trying to not buy as many statues these days, because I’m all out of room to display them. Nonetheless, Diamond Select’s DC and Marvel Gallery series continues to be tough to resist. And their new version of Catwoman was an impossible temptation! So let’s take a look at this feline temptress!

For the unacquainted, DST’s various Gallery series are a budget line of roughly 9-inch scale PVC statues that grew out of their old Femme Fatales series. They later branched out to DC Animated Series statues before ultimately embracing all of Marvel and DC. The statue comes in a box with windows on the front, sides, and top panels, which offer enough visibility that you could just about get away with displaying these in the package. That works for me, because I ran out of shelves long ago, and now I display most of these as a wall of the stacked boxes. While the DC Gallery’s previous versions of Catwoman have been based on her animated appearances, this one is drawn from her more modern comic look. Of course, everything here is collector friendly, and Catwoman comes out of the box all assembled and ready for display!

And this is a case where the composition and overall style had me mashing the pre-order button the moment I saw pictures in the solicitation. Sure, when it comes to Catwoman I’m an easy mark, but having her perched on the giant Egyptian-styled cat-head turned my head in a big way. She sits on the top of the statue with one leg bent under her and the other dangling down, while leaning slightly forward on her hands, both clutching at the statue in a very cat-like manner. I’d like to imagine that she just crept her way into the skylight of the Egyptian Wing at the Gotham Museum of Antiquities, pounced down onto the head of this giant statue and is now sizing up the various lasers and security cameras that stand between her and whatever coveted bauble she happens to be after. There’s something to be said when the composition can send my mind to working up context for the figure and that’s exactly what happened here.

Despite being a fairly modern look, Catwoman’s costume gets by with a fairly low amount of detail, and that is in no way a slight against the sculpt. Her body suit relies on some neatly sculpted stitch lines and it’s smooth contours accentuate her curves and muscle tone in all the right places. The finish looks black, with just the right amount of gloss to make it look like leather, and under the right light it can give off a purple sheen. The front of the suit features a silver zipper, which is pulled down just enough to show off her kittens, and that low plunge is balanced out by a high collar.

And while the suit itself is simple, that’s not to say there isn’t some great detail to be found. The boots in particular are wonderfully done, with sculpted laces running part of the way up and interlaced through the eyelets. The excellent sculpt is finished off with a high gloss black to differentiate them from the rest of the suit, and the same finish is used on Catwoman’s gloves.

Her brown whip, which doubles as her belt, is coiled around her and sculpted with a very fine braided pattern. It loops around her waist four times, held in place by a silver belt-buckle, and terminates with the segmented grip protruding from behind her right hip.

And that brings us to the portrait, and DST did a fine job on it! I love the way the mouth is sculpted with the lips slightly apart to show off her pearly whites, her nose is perfect, and while I don’t really associate this likeness with any one artist, I still think she looks great. The cowl is sculpted with the same stitch lines we see in her suit, and the paint lines between the cowl and her skin are clean and sharp, even around the chin strap. One of the things that particularly impresses me here are the lenses in her goggles. They’re remarkably clear for a piece in this price range, showing off her green eyes. Hell I think the lenses here look every bit as good as the ones on DC Collectibles’ second Cover Girl Catwoman statues, which retailed at more than twice the price.

And that brings us to the base, which not only compliments the figure beautifully, but really elevates the whole statue. The Egyptian cat head features a large loop earring in each ear, some geometric patterns around the base, and a Egyptian eye motif on the collar. It’s all sprayed in a gold finish, which has just the right amount of sheen to it. It’s quite simply marvelous!

With over two dozen of these Gallery statues in my collection, I usually only have the space to have a handful on display at any one time. So it’s quite the compliment to say that this one is going to be immediately taking up one of those spaces, and bumping someone back into their box. I just haven’t decided which one yet. This is a piece that I was super excited to get from the moment it was revealed, and now that it’s in hand, I’m happy to say she does not disappoint. Toss in the fact that she was only $44 and it’s hard not to love and appreciate what DST has been doing with this line. Every time I think I’m out, they release a beauty like this one to pull me back in!

Marvel Gallery: Savage Land Rogue by Diamond Select

This week is one of those rare Marvel Mondays where I stray from Marvel Legends and look for some Marvel lovin’ elsewhere. And the only reason I’m doing that is because I’ve had this Marvel Gallery Rogue from Diamond Select sitting around and waiting to be opened for a couple of weeks now. So even though it’s going to put me further behind, we’ll set aside Legends for the day and have a look at this statue instead!

For the unfamiliar, Marvel (and DC!) Gallery grew out of Diamond’s Femme Fatale line of 9-inch scale PVC statues. The name may have changed but the packaging has stayed more or less the same. Rogue comes in a colorful box with windows on the front, side panels, and the top. And for some reason, DST persists on referring to these as Dioramas, which I suspect is some kind of licensing stipulation. Either way, everything is collector friendly and the statue comes nestled between two plastic trays. There’s no assembly required and she comes right out of the box all ready for your shelf.

And… WOW! Rogue stalks the wastes of The Savage Land with her spear at the ready and wearing the remnants of her X-Men costume, which happens to be torn away in all the right places. Yup, the bulk of the body sculpt here is just skin, but DST did a fine job not only with Rogue’s shapely form, but also with the subtle hints of musculature here and there. As for the costume, she features a dainty pair of green boots, a ragged green bikini bottom partially covered with leaves, and the top half of her yellow X-Men outfit with a green shredded undergarment peeking out beneath it. Short green gloves and some yellow wraps on her thigh and bicep beautifully round out this lovely make-shift costume.

They also put in some nice work on the crude dagger, which she wears on her belt. It’s got sculpted wrappings around the hilt and a makeshift brown sheath hooked onto her loose belt.

The composition is a nice mix of museum-style and cheesecake. She has one leg drawn up at the knee, with her left toes resting on the raised rock of the base and in her hands she holds a spear, ready for action. I like the pose a lot, it looks like someone just snapped a shot of her stalking the land in search of her prey. There’s a hint of imminent action, but overall this piece casts aside a strong sense of energy and just lets Rogue’s majestic and sexy form do all the talking.

And that brings me to the portrait, which is strong and overall quite well done. There’s no playful side glance here, Rogue’s gaze is straight on, maybe looking over toward the horizon, and her slightly narrowed eyes and tight lips dominate what is a confident and powerful likeness. Her coif of brown hair casts off to the side slightly, with the iconic white highlights and a green strip tied around her hairline. The sculpted bone necklace is a great touch too!

The paint here is overall pretty good, but it does show a few rough patches. The lines between skin and clothing are not all as crisp as they could be. There are a few areas around her mid-riff where the sculpted lines of the jagged top are flesh colored where they should be green. These are issues that would surely irk a perfectionist, but I think they’re well within the expectations of a budget statue line like this one. The skin tone is quite smooth and warm throughout, although it does have a bit of a glossy sheen to it, which is most noticeable to me on her face. Normally, this is something that bugs me, but hey, it’s pretty damn humid in The Savage Land, and Rogue is probably sweating buckets. On a QC note, my statue has a few scrapes in the flesh paint, the most notable of which is on her right shoulder and is clearly visible in the pictures. In the past, I’ve had some luck cleaning up these sorts of marks out with a magic eraser to smooth out the paint, but I probably won’t bother here and just write it off on dirt from the inhospitable environment.

The base is fairly simple, but it does the job of not only holding up Rogue, but also giving us a slice of her environment. It consists of a lump of pouris brown rock with a shock of vegetation growing out of the side. It looks good and it doesn’t take up too much real estate on the shelf, and those are two of the highest compliments that I can pay to any statue base.

Rogue here is exactly the reason I keep coming back to Diamond’s Gallery statues, despite the fact that I ran out of display room for these four or five statues back. Normally, I pick these up on Amazon after they’ve been released, but I actually pre-ordered this one back when it was first solicited. Sure, it means running the risk of paying more than I have to, but it only took one look at this figure to make me certain I wanted her in my collection. And with a retail of $40, Diamond’s Gallery statues continue to be some of the best values I’ve found in the collectible statue market. Or at least that’s the case now that Kotobukiya has been hiking up the prices on their Bishoujos. Sure, a few minor QC issues are bound to rear their ugly heads, and for that reason, I always recommend picking these up from a comic shop where you can inspect what you’re getting, but even though I got mine sight-unseen, I’m still perfectly pleased with the one I got.

Marvel Gallery: X-23 as Wolverine (SDCC Exclusive) by Diamond Select

It feels like forever since I reviewed a statue here. That’s probably because I’ve been cutting waaaay back on buying these things as my available display space becomes more and more tight. I don’t have a problem with putting action figures away, because I can always take them out and play around with them, but if you can’t display a statue, then what’s the point of buying it, eh? And since there’s a nice sense of balance to beginning and ending the week with Marvel content… let’s check out Diamond Select’s new Marvel Gallery release of X-23 as Wolverine.

I’ve been an avid fan of both the Marvel and DC Gallery lines, even way back when they were part of the Femme Fatale’s line. These are roughly 9-inch scale PVC budget pieces, which seldom disappoint. As always, the statue comes in a collector friendly window box, with windows on the front, top, and side panels to let in plenty of light. The figure itself comes suspended between two plastic trays and displays fairly well in the box.

Diamond produced two versions of this statue, the regular retail features Ms. Kinney wearing her mask, whereas this unmaksed PX Previews Exclusive was available at San Diego Comic Con and afterwards at select retailers. The box itself denotes that it is an exclusive along with the addition of the “Unmasked” call-out at the bottom. There’s also a piece of silver tape over the top flap stating this release is limited to 4,000. Not exactly a strict limitation, but I presume it’s at least less than the production quantity of the masked retail version. There’s no assembly required here, so let’s get her out and see how she turned out! And just to put cards on the table, I’m not a fan of this book, but I sure do love the way X-23 looks in the Wolverine costume!

Diamond has been all over the place with the poses for this series lately. Sometimes you get something exciting and dynamic, other times you get something more reserved. X-23 here certainly leans toward that later with what I would consider to be very museum-style composition. Ms. Kinney stands with her right hip thrust to the side, her right arm down by her side, her left arm held up at the elbow, and both hands balled into fists and popping her her claws. The skin-tight suit shows her shapely form from all angles beautifully, and every bit of detail in the suit is incorporated into the sculpt. That last bit is a big deal for me, as with the fairly low price point of this line, I would have expected them to squeak by with just paint lines to make up the bulk of the costume. Other details include the belt, complete with signature “X” belt buckle, and the flared tops to her boots.

Budget statues tend to succeed or fail based on the quality of the paint applications, and I’m happy to say that the paint work on this piece is overwhelmingly good. The yellow is bright and vibrant, and the blue is deep with a beautiful high-gloss metallic finish. The belt is painted matte brown with a gold frame for the belt buckle and a black “X” on a red field. The paint lines for the costume itself are all pretty sharp. There are just a few very minor areas where slight improvements could be made. Indeed, the biggest flaw on my statue’s costume is a little blue showing through on the yellow trim at the top of her left boot, and even that isn’t so bad.

The portrait here is solid, but maybe a bit unremarkable. Ms. Kinney is certainly pretty and she’s sporting a serene expression with just a hint of a smirk, like she’s about to dive into some action. I think the expression works OK with the very reserved nature of the figure’s pose, but I tend to expect a little more emotion out of X-23. The hair also looks pretty tame from the front, although it does fan out at the back, which is about as much energy as the composition here is putting out. The paint on the facial features is overall solid, but there’s an area on her top lip that could have been sharper.

I really dig the base they designed for her. It’s basically a sloping black oval with a raised “X.” The “X” features a gold border around translucent red plastic, which would look particularly nice when displayed on a light up platform. There are also a couple of scratches etched across the “X.” Oddly enough, Diamond continues to call these “PVC Dioramas” on the boxes, and while every now and then they do something that could be called a diorama base, most of the ones I’ve picked up lately are more stylized stands like this one. There’s nothing diorama-like about it, but I suspect the label is a way to get around licensing and what Diamond is allowed and not allowed to do. I can’t think of any other reason for it.

In the end, I really like how this piece turned out. Granted, it’s not the most exciting of poses, but then it wasn’t meant to be, so I think a lot of the appeal here will come down to personal taste in that regard. I do like some energy in my statues, but at the same time I find that more classic poses like this one are easier to display with other releases. They take up less space and usually look great together. I debated hard over whether to go for the masked or unmasked when I set about to pre-ordering and I ultimately went with the unmasked Exclusive, because I figured the regular release would be more readily available later on down the road should I decide to get both. Besides, at $45 the Exclusive was only five bucks more. Either way, it’s pretty cool to be able to get a statue like this for under $50, especially when they turn out this good.

FigureFan’s Favorites 2017, Part 2

Welcome back to the Week of Insufferable Lists. I’m not really here this week, but my Life Model Decoy is right in the middle of laying out my Ten Favorite Acquisitions of 2017. Let’s jump right in with the final five. Again, these are in no particular order…

Mythic Legions Stone Troll by The Four Horsemen: Back when I blew my tax return on that original Mythic Legions kickstarter, I never could have guessed how big it would get. Now my Mythic Legions army is expansive and early next year, I’ll be dropping another 35 figures onto those shelves. But if I had to choose one figure that really illustrates how big and successful this line has been, it would be the huge Stone Troll. The sculpt and paintwork on this guy are amazing and it really illustrates how much more craftsmanship can go into a toy that isn’t destined for the shelves at Target or Walmart. My only regret is that I couldn’t budget the Forest Troll to go with him, but at least I take comfort in the fact that soon he’ll have a Cyclops buddy.

DC Bombshells Batwoman (Designer Series) by DC Collectibles: While I had to take a pass on collecting most of the DC Bombshell statues, I was happy to get the Bombshell figures as a more space-friendly alternative. The first wave was chock full of knockouts, so it wasn’t easy choosing one as a favorite. In the end, I went with Batwoman, because I love the pun, I love baseball, and this figure is just too much fun. Great sculpt, great articulation, and great accessories! But hell, I just as easily could have stuck Harley or Wonder Woman in this slot. These are some of DC Collectibles’ best work in years.

Lost Exo Realm (LER-04) Deluxe Severo by Fansproject: 2017 will likely be my last big hurrah with Third-Party Transformers and it was mostly spent tying up loose ends. It took me a long while to get around to picking up Severo and wrapping up my LER Dinobots, so long that I had almost lost interest. He sat for months waiting to be opened, but when I finally did it was love at first sight. Not only is he an imposing beast in either robot or dino modes, but he comes with so many extra weapons and a throne fit for a king.

DC Gallery (Batman: The Animated Series) Zatanna by Diamond Select: I’ve been generally pleased with Diamond’s line of budget statues based on Marvel and DC characters. So much so, that I knew I had to include something from this line on my list of favorites. There were several contendors, but in the end, I had to go with Zatanna. Not only do I love the character, but this statue is very nearly perfect. The sculpt is a spot on representation of her from the Batman Animated Series, the paint application is clean and precise, and the overall quality feels like something beyond a budget statue.

Zenescope’s Robyn Hood Sixth-Scale Figure by Phicen: I purchased and reviewed all three of Phicen’s Zenescope figures in 2017, and I don’t think anyone really cared. That’s cool. Zenescope is a small comic book company, and most definitely a guilty pleasure of mine, so I can understand the lack of interest. I could have probably picked any one of these figures for this list solely based on the fact that it’s a miracle a company actually produced Zenescope merch, much less high end merch. And while I love all three of these ladies, the truth is that picking one was not even difficult. Liesel Van Helsing and Mercy Dante are both great figures, but Phicen just knocked it out of the park with Robyn Locksley.

And that’s going to do it for the good stuff. Come back tomorrow and we’ll start having a look at some of those purchases that sucker punched me in the nether regions with my first five Disappointments of 2017.

DC Gallery (Justice League Unlimited): Huntress by Diamond Select

If you’re keeping track, I last visited with DC Gallery, Diamond’s plucky line of comic-based statues, back in September with JLU Hawkgirl and I was disappointed. But before that Black Canary and Zatanna blew me away. Will today be the day that the DC Gallery restores its good name? Let’s find out and open up Helena Bertinelli based on her appearance as The Huntress in the Justice League Unlimited cartoon.

The DC (and Marvel) Gallery statues evolved from DST’s old Femme Fatales line, and the packaging hasn’t changed much since those days. But hey, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. You get a collector friendly window box with windows on the front, top, and both side panels. This offers a great opportunity to scrutinize the piece you’re buying, assuming you actually get them at a brick-and-mortar shop. The back panel features a blurb about the character and you get a nice JLU logo on the front. The statue comes encased in a plastic tray and there’s no assembly required.

DST has managed to do some pretty fun poses with these statues, and The Huntress here is no exception. She’s staged sitting on the edge of a cylindrical light fixture with one knee drawn up. Her right hand crosses her chest and wrests on her left arm, which in turn is raised with her signature crossbow at the ready. She turns slightly, waiting for her prey to arrive, and clearly she means business. The composition here is a nice compromise between a staged cover-style pose, while still offering a whiff of action. I love it!

There’s more than the usual amount of sculpting invested in Huntress’ costume. Because of the simple nature of the source art, these animated statues don’t always offer a lot of opportunity for sculpted detail, but there’s a lot going on with this one. Indeed every detail, from the purple bands on her boots and gloves, to the tummy-exposing cut out, to the white stripes on her cape, is incorporated as part of the sculpt. She also features pouches on her belt and arm bands, and a holster for her crossbow. The crossbow is cocked and ready to go. Even the shoulder-hugging cape falls naturally and looks great.

It’s the paint that has been an issue on a few of my DST statues. It was particularly bad on their Lady Deadpool and not so hot on their Hawkgirl. Fortunately, The Huntress is here to set things right again. The quality of application here is fantastic. The lines that separate her boots from her skin could have been a tad sharper, there’s a tiny bit of slop where she makes contact with the light fixture, but I only point those out because I’m really looking for something to complain about. One of the pitfalls of some of these pieces has been scratching and rubbing showing up on large, featureless surfaces that are painted gray or black. I’m happy to say that’s not the case here.

If I had to nitpick anything else, I’d say the face is a little too triangular. When I compare it to the cartoon, I think it tapers too sharply toward the chin to be one hundred percent faithful to her look on the show. At the same time, it’s not bad at all, I’m just saying they didn’t nail it quite as perfectly as they did with Zatanna or Wonder Woman. With that having been said, the mask and the hair both look great, and the facial features are painted with the same care as the rest of the statue.

As usual, our last stop is the base and what we have here is certainly functional and well executed. I’m just not really sure what it’s supposed to be. I know she’s sitting on a light, but it’s not like any light I recall seeing. I’m guessing it’s supposed to be on a rooftop.

And so, The Huntress takes her rightful place alongside Black Canary and Zatanna as another shining example of how great this line can be when it’s firing on all cylinders. The three cornerstones of any statue will always be the pose, the sculpt, and the paint, and this lady hits them all with style. Indeed, at about forty bucks, I’m surprised at seeing this level of quality in what is essentially a budget line. If you want some nice representation of these characters, and don’t have a lot of money to blow, DC Gallery remains an excellent alternative to the more expensive DC Collectibles stuff.

Femme Fatales “Hack/Slash:” Cassie Hack (NYCC 2015 Exclusive Edition) by Diamond Select

You’ve probably already surmised something is up by the title of today’s feature, so let me just come out and declare that DC Fridays are going on hiatus. I’ve got some great DC related stuff pre-ordered and coming soon, but with DC Icons almost dead, and DC Multiverse too depressing for me to keep reviewing, my DC merch is pretty much relegated to statues these days. It breaks my heart because DC is absolutely killing it with their comics lately and I’m reading most of their current books. Sooo, I’m opening up Fridays as an “Anything Goes” slot once again, but as new DC stuff comes in, it’ll get shunted to the front of the line every Friday. Promise!

With that all having been said, I’m keeping things comic-themed today and checking out Diamond Select’s Exclusive Edition of the Femme Fatales Cassie Hack statue from Image Comics’ Hack/Slash! Phew, that was a mouthful! And yes, if by some chance this looks familiar, it may be because I reviewed the standard version a couple years back. If you’re down for some great horror-comedy-action funnybooks, you’d be well-served to check out Hack/Slash by Tim Seeley, which should still be available in TPB format. There’s hardly any merchandising surrounding this series, so it should come as no surprise that I was willing to double dip on the Exclusive.

The packaging is more or less identical, even to the point where the photos on the back of the box are of the retail release and not this Exclusive. You do get a sticker on the front window declaring this an “Action Figure Xpress Exclusive”. There’s also a piece of foil tape on the top denoting it is a NYCC Exclusive and that mine is number 669 of 1,000. Dammit… soooo close to 666! Anyway, it looks like I’m going in from the bottom to get Cassie out! There isn’t a lot of set up involved here. After freeing her from betwixt two clear plastic trays one finds that she comes permanently attached to her base, but you do have to put her accessories in her hands.

Here she is, and ain’t she to die for? In my review of the original retail release, I bemoaned the fact that this Exclusive was the more colorful edition and that I preferred it to the two. That opinion still holds strong today. Indeed, if I had known how easy and affordable this statue would be to eventually get, I would have waited, but more on that later. There is no new sculpting here, so we’re dealing with just a straight repaint, and even those changed areas are somewhat limited. The blue and gray gloves have been changed to red and gray, her gray skirt is now black with red squares, and her socks are now black with red decorations.

So, the repaint is not entirely extensive, but I think it does a lot to elevate the original release. I’m not saying they should have put Cassie in some inappropriately bright colors, but the gray used for the skirt just seemed drab and boring for a statue. Overall, the quality of the paint application is pretty good here, especially for a budget line like this one.

The portrait still looks great, and features Cassie’s hair cascading down and covering half of her face. She’s very pretty and I love the delicate curve of her nose into her more prominent upper lip. The paint for her eyes and lips is applied sharply, and yes… she’s wearing gray lipstick!

Her accessories include Vlad’s mask and her nail-studded baseball bat. It’s a shame they couldn’t do Vlad as a companion piece, but that really isn’t within the scope of this line, at least not back then. Nonetheless, as I’m sure I said when reviewing the retail release, it was crucial they make his presence felt somewhere and including the mask was a pretty good way to do it. I was hoping they would have added some writing to the bat for the Exclusive, like “Kiss It,” but both the bat and the mask are exactly the same as the original retail release.

Also identical is the hatchet-inspired stand and I really do love this thing. It’s fun, creative, and perfectly fits the theme.

Generally speaking, these roughly 9-inch scale PVC statues retail for just under $45, which is not too shabby for statue collectors on a budget. There have been some ups and downs in terms of overall quality, but I’ve been a fan and supporter of DST’s Femme Fatales long before it grew into the DC and Marvel Gallery lines and Cassie here is a good example why. Now here’s the kicker: The limited run Exclusive is actually selling for about half the price of the regular retail release right now on Amazon, which is where I picked up mine. And so for a cool $15, I was able to get the preferred version that I thought would be difficult and expensive to find. Who knew? I’m sure as hell not going to complain about owning both versions. Especially since no other companies seem interested in doing anything with the license.

Femme Fatales (Justice League Unlimited): Hawkgirl by Diamond Select

Folks, my available content for DC Fridays continues to run scarce. Don’t take that as an indictment against DC Comics, on the contrary I’m reading more DC books than ever right now! But, with no really cohesive or worthwhile DC action figure line, I’m falling back to mostly statues. I can see a time coming where I may have to start rotating other content into Fridays, but we’re not there yet. Thankfully, the fine folks at Diamond are continuing to pump out the PVC statue love for DC in their wildly prolific Gallery/Femme Fatale line. And it so happens that I was lucky enough to have another of their Justice League Unlimited statues hit my doorstep just in time for DC Friday. Let’s open up the Bruce Timm style Hawkgirl!

Hawgirl is a 2016 release, which explains why the box still says Femme Fatales as opposed to the newer DC Animated Gallery branding, but they’re all really part of the same series, all scaled at roughly 9-inches, and are meant to display together. The box is identical to what we’ve been seeing all along, with windows on the front, top, and side panels to let the light in and see what you’re getting. In this case, that didn’t help me, because I got her online, but more on that in a bit. The box features the Justice League Unlimited logo and everything is collector friendly. Hawgirl does require a bit of assembly, as her wings need to be pegged into her back and her foot has to be pegged into the base. Getting her pegged into the base was a little tricky, as I had to bend her legs out to make the pegs fit. That’s not uncommon with statues, and it’s a lot less nerve-racking with a budget piece like this one.

All set up, Hawgirl charges up a rocky base with her wings trailing behind her. She’s clearly about to have at some unfortunate villain with the full fury of her mace. I dig what they did here with the composition. It’s a lot more energetic than most of the other Femme Fatales, but it still fits in fine with the overall theme. The sculpt reflects the animated style beautifully and they really nailed her stylized proportions. As an animated statue, there isn’t a whole lot of sculpted detail, but all the paint lines are incorporated into the sculpt.

If you’ve been with me through any of my previous looks at this line, you may recall me saying how important the paint quality is on these animated style statues. With limited sculpted details, clean and well-applied paint is absolutely crucial to carry the day and make for a presentable display piece. Unfortunately, that’s a bit of an issue with this one. Hawkgirl is a textbook example of a statue that looks totally acceptable from a fair viewing distance, but begins to fall apart under close scrutiny. The most egregious issues are the seams where the arms connect to the shoulders. These were obviously intended to be covered by paint, but the paint either wasn’t thick enough, or it cracked after being painted and the result is an eyesore on some fairly prominent parts of the figure, particularly the right arm. There’s also some unsightly white rubbing along the top of her left thigh where it meets her red hawk-undies. I’ve seen the same issues on pictures of the statue from other people’s collections, so I know it isn’t an isolated incident.

The portrait is fairly good. I’ll be honest and say that this style has been hit or miss with me and Hawkgirl, as she sometimes looks really silly as if her eyes are on the sides of her head like an actual bird. It’s not something specific to the statue, but the animation model as well. In the cartoon, the animators could force perspectives on her and most of the time it worked, but in this case when you’re doing a fully realized 3D statue of a 2D design, you can’t rely on that as a crutch. I think it works fine in profile and when viewed at a slight turn, but dead on straight she looks pretty ridiculous. Again, not a fault of the sculpt, but rather the source material. With that having been said, the lips are painted quite nicely, the eyes aren’t too bad, but my statue has some rubbing and scuffing on the right side of her mask. It’s also worth mentioning here that the flesh tone looks fine on her face, but has some rubbing on the arms, which just make her look dirty.

The mace is recreated pretty nicely here. Oddly enough, it’s sculpted as a separate piece and fitted into her hands. You can’t really remove it, but it does rattle around in there a little and you can turn it so that the lanyard can face different directions. The matte gray paint on the head of mine also has some scuffing and rubbing, but nothing too bad. Surprisingly, the painted wings on my statue are quite smooth and even.

The base is a giant rock, which in the context of the figure looks fine, but by itself it looks like a giant lump of chocolate, or perhaps something else.

I’ve been a huge cheerleader for this line and many of the statues have offered some really impressive value for the dollar, but there has been an occasional disappointment here and there. Lady Deadpool was one, and now Hawkgirl is another. There’s nothing terrible here, but there are just enough issues to bug me. And yes, I realize this is a budget line. Hawkgirl’s MSRP is around $40 and I picked up mine for considerably less, but after some stellar releases like Zatanna, Black Canary, and Medusa, I guess my expectations have been buoyed. Still, my track record on this line has been pretty damn good, and I’m not going to let a few flubs on Hawkgirl dissuade me from continuing to collect it.

Marvel Gallery: Jessica Jones (as Jewel) by Diamond Select

As much as it pains me to take time away from the piles of backlogged Marvel Legends in my closet, I’m taking a brief hiatus this week (and next week) to look at some other things Marvel. I may even go ahead and do a Legends theme week soon, just so I can get a whole wave out of the way. We’ll see. But, today I’m returning to my favorite line of budget statues from Diamond Select. These started life as the Femme Fatales line of indie comic figures and have since been re-branded as the DC and Marvel Galleries. Let’s have a look at Jewel… aka Jessica Jones. See what I did there!

The style of boxes hasn’t changed much since the Femme Fatales days. You still get window panels on the front, top, and both sides. This lets plenty of light in and allows for a good look at the statue before opening it. It also helps, as right now I have these all displayed in their packages. The decos on the boxes are usually designed to suit the character, although in this case we just get a pleasing star-scape with a big Diamond Gallery logo and the character’s name on the front. The figure comes suspended between two clear plastic trays and there’s no assembly required. One of the things I love about this line is Diamond’s willingness to take some risks with the character selection now and then. Sure, Jessica Jones is a big name now what with her excellent Netflix series and all, but instead of doing something that newcomers would find familiar, they released her as Jewel. That’s awesome.

And this is pretty awesome statue! Jewel is depicted in her simple, but sexy, white body suit with some gorgeous metallic blue paint on her gloves, belt, and bordering around her chest. These areas are also part of the sculpt, as is the rather large jewel that hangs off her belt. The suit itself features a very pretty pearlescent white finish that catches the light beautifully. The blue and white just compliment each other so well! Jewel’s muscle tone is also sculpted around her abs, and you get some subtle little touches like the hints of flex wrinkles around the backs of her knees and her toes. It’s obviously meant to be a pretty snugly fit costume and it shows off all her curves perfectly. There’s no doubt about it, the sculpting wizards at Diamond know their way around the female form.

The pose is playful and a more than a little seductive. Jewel has one leg in front of the other, her left hand is resting on her hip, and she’s blowing a kiss with her right hand, which manifests in the form of translucent purple shooting stars. Now, I’m not entirely sure what they were going for with the star effect, as I’m not aware of that ever being even remotely expressed as one of her powers, but it’s cute and fun, and I think that’s certainly the vibe they were going for in this piece. I like it, because the noir nature of Jessica Jones’ character packs a lot more punch when seen in the context of what she was like before Zebediah Killgrave messed her up. At least, that certainly holds true for this comic version of the character.

The portrait works on the same level too, although you could argue that she’s even a little more reserved than some of her panel art. The purple paint work for her eyebrows, eyes, and lips, is all crisp and clean, and the skin tone is warm and smooth. The only issue I have here is that I wish they used a matte purple paint for her hair, instead of the gloss they went with. I think it would have looked a little less plastic and more convincing. But truth be told, I’m just looking for things to nitpick.

The base is the same transparent plastic used for her shooting star kiss, and it has something of a crystalline look to it. Like the kiss, I think the base is a bit of a reach in terms of tying it thematically in with the character, but in the end it looks good and it presents the figure well, so I’m not complaining.

Once again, these are budget statues, with an average retail of about $45. I picked up Jewel for a little less than that and as is usually the case with this series, I’m so very glad I did. At roughly 9-inch scale, you’re getting a decent sized display piece, and I have to say the quality of the paint here is quite remarkable. I can usually find something about the paint on these to pick at, be it an uneven line or rubbing on the finish, but that’s simply not the case here. I’d easily compare the paint work on this statue to any number of ones from DC Collectibles, or even Diamond’s own Premier Collection, at more than twice the price. And besides, in market flooded with Marvel’s A-listers, how cool is to see characters like Jewel get their own statue? It’s just another reason why I’m happy to support this line.