Elseworlds Batgirl and Supergirl

The latest release from DC Direct includes two more figures in the Elseworlds style - Batgirl and Supergirl.  Based on comic artwork of Matthew Haley and sculpted by Sam Greenwell, these two lovely ladies hit comic shops this week.

But before we get into the in depth review of the final production figures, we've been given a chance to see photos of the early stages of the sculpting process on both these figures.  Matthew and Sam were nice enough to send this info along for me to share with you, and so you could get some behind the scenes looks at the progression of the sculpt.  Matt reminded me to give a special thanks out to Shawn Knapp, Jim Fletcher and Georg Brewer over at DC Direct for letting me include these very cool pre-production photos, and for all their continued hard work.  Now let's take a look at Batgirl...

Obvioiusly, this is Batgirl at a very early, very rough stage, where Sam is getting a feel for the pose and style.  And who would have thought she was an outie!

Here's the much cleaned up head sculpt, with sharper lines and cuts all around.  You can see it's sculpted with the articulation in mind, even if it isn't present in this early work.

Now some joints are added, along with some of the nifty armor.  In a minute we'll see just how close the final production version comes to matching Sam's work.  Now let's check out Supergirl:

Again, here she is in a very rough form.  You can see that a lot of work will still be required to clean up the rough sculpt, but the general design and musculature (not to mention certain other attributes) are sized up.

Things are cleaning up nicely, and some of the articulation is added.  The hair still needs some work, but you can see just how finely detailed the original sculpt is.

In the Elseworlds version, Supergirl gets her own cape, and it's a mighty nice looking one too.  You can see the detail work in the hair, and the sharper cut lines along all the details.  So how did the final versions turn out - did they manage to bring Sam and Matt's vision to life in mass production?  Let's see!

Packaging - **1/2
I've complained about DC Direct packaging before, so regular readers aren't going to be surprised. Once again, these are quite plain, especially the huge bubble. There's a sticker on the front that is specific to the particular character, but these are applied crooked and off center on both. While Batgirl uses up a little more of the bubble space than poor Supergirl (who seems lost in there), both still have a ton of waste.

Sculpting - Batgirl ***1/2; Supergirl ***;
These sculpts, done by very talented Sam Greenwell, are based on the artwork of Matthew Haley in the book Elseworlds Finest: Batgirl and Supergirl. Matthew has a reputation for how well he handles the lovely ladies, and Sam has done a terrific job recreating that artwork in three dimensions.

Out of the two, I like Batgirl the best. The proportions, from the width of her torso and size of her breasts, to the length of her legs and size of her head, seem almost perfect. The small sculpted details on the armor and knees are nicely done, and the pose is good, if not perfect. The left ankle/calf is a little wonky, with the line of the calf through to the foot a little off. It seems like the foot is twisted at a slightly odd angle to the calf, but this may very well be an issue with the molding process instead of the actual sculpt.

She doesn't stand on her own very well due to the heavy rubber cape, but she stays up fine with the included display stand. I would have preferred the peg hole in her heel rather than mid-foot, since there's more plastic there to keep her stable, but it works well enough as it is.

Supergirl might appear to be identical at first glance, but take a slightly longer look and you'll see that's clearly not the case. Obviously, the head sculpt is very different, but the body proportions and musculature are also quite different.

The Supergirl head sculpt is beautiful. There's tons of fine detail in the spunky hair, and I think Sam has done a terrific job capturing the appearance from the comic, where there is often an over abundance of dynamic movement drawn into every panel. Thankfully, he didn't try to over do the hair in terms of movement, and stuck with a more coiffed appearance. 

Just below the head is my first issue though - the neck. It's quite long and thin, and I think they could have lost another 1/8th of an inch here and still had plenty of movement in the joint. I realize she had a long neck in the book, but nothing quite this giraffe-like. The thinness of the neck also makes the head seem too big, but I don't think it actually is. Had the neck been thicker and shorter, I think the size of the head would have been just about right.

The body sculpt appears to have a much more muscular torso than Batgirl's, but on close examination, I think that's just a trick of proportion as well. Supergirl has such HUGE breasts - we're talking water balloons with no cleavage here - that it makes her appear thicker and wider than the rest of the actual torso is. I prefer the look of Batgirl, who has a natural appearance. Supergirl has clearly had some super work done. Supergirl would need Kryptonian strength just to stand up straight.

Her stance is a little different than Batgirl's as well. Batgirl has the usual hip-to-one-side that seems to be the trademark of hot superhero chicks, but both her feet are flat on the ground. Supergirl has this same basic stance, but she's on the ball of her right foot, holding her heel slightly off the ground. I'm sure the idea was to give her a little dynamic movement, making it look like she was moving toward her left. Unfortunately, the execution on this one causes major problems. The peg hole was placed in the ball of the right foot (where only the ball rests on the base) instead of the left foot (where the entire foot rests on the base). These means she wants to fall over backwards, peg or no peg, so getting her to stand even with the base is quite difficult. It's doable, but the slightest bump and she'll fall over, and over short periods of time she tends to lean back until she drops.  Had they switched the peg hole, the issue would have been solved. I suspect you'll be breaking out the drill and fixing this issue for yourself.

Scale on both of these is good in relation to the other Elseworlds figures released so far, and you should find plenty of display possibilities with past DC Direct releases.

Paint - ***1/2
Both of these figures have very clean paint ops, but Batgirl wins this category by a smidge.

The black and silver are both well done - clean and consistent in their coverage. There's a couple minor spots on the silver that could be a hair better, but overall she's quite impressive. She also has a perfectly aligned gold bat symbol on her chest, and a very nice use of a matte black on the majority of her costume, with a gloss black on her knee pads and interior of the cape.

Both figures have excellent paint work on the face, especially the sultry lips. There's no slop on the faces at all, and it's nice to see DC Direct picking up the quality in this area.

Supegirl does have a few minor issues on her suit. There's some slop around the tampo printing of the S on her cape, and the edges around the boots and hands aren't' cut quite as cleanly as you might expect. Still, these are pretty minor nits, and will probably only be noticed by the super picky amongst us, like me.

Articulation - **
If you're looking for super articulated figures, this isn't the place to be looking. These are designed with just enough articulation to find the sweet spot where they'll stay standing, and hold a decent pose or two.

Both have ball jointed necks, with the joint at the top of the neck. The range of movement is good, but not spectacular. It is good enough though for adding some real personality to the poses, and you know how big a fan I am of ball jointed necks.

Both girls also has ball jointed shoulders (jointed only at the torso), which was a bit of a surprise. This type of shoulder isn't that common on DC Direct figures, especially the ladies. The movement on both is a bit restricted by their design - the Batgirl's armor hinders it slightly, and Supergirl's cape makes it almost useless - but it's the thought that counts, or so I'm told.

Both also have pin elbows and knees, and a V crotch. Cut wrists would have been nice, and cuts somewhere on the calf/boot top would have been very useful as well, especially for Batgirl. She has that slightly wonky left leg, and a little extra articulation could have helped there.

Accessories - Batgirl **1/2; Supergirl *1/2
There are rarely accessories with DC Direct figures, and when there are, they are usually pretty small. That made the addition of Batgirl's big honkin' gun all the sweeter.

It fits nicely in her right hand, and the design of the arm and armor allow it to be held up or down without getting in the way. The paint ops on it are good, although the silver is a little inconsistent in its coverage in a couple small spots.

Supergirl doesn't fair as well, and is more in line with the standard DCD figure. She has her small display stand, and that's it. In fact, both figures have the small stands, but they are very attractive. They have the Elseworld's logo, along with their name, and one peg to attach the figure. These bases are consistent in appearance with the previous releases. It's good that they have the stands, because both need them to stay upright.

Fun Factor - **
These aren't designed to be toys, but you could certainly use them that way. The limited articulation and sexy pose won't do much for the under ten crowd though. Still, it's worth nothing that the quality of the pin joints is good enough that they could be played with, and I might just see how my six year old daughter feels about these two. This might be a chance to perk up her interest in superheroes.

Value - **1/2
These are going to run you around $13 most places, so the value rating is really a wash. These are pretty average in the specialty market, but if you pay more like $15 or above (like I did), you can knock of another half star. On the flip side, get them down around $11 each and you can add another half star.

Things to Watch Out For - 
Obviously, you still want to watch the paint on these. I saw a couple of each at my LCS, and they all looked good, but if you can be picky you might as well take the time to go over them carefully.

One other issue is in removing them from the package. The capes slip through the inner plastic tray, keeping the figures tightly in place without any twisties. I like that, but be careful when you're pulling the figure out. As the cape widens, the fit gets tighter, and you could easily damage the figure where the cape connects if you tried pulling it out too hard or too fast.

Overall - Batgirl ***1/2; Supergirl ***
I've always been a huge fan of the Elseworlds stories, and back when Kenner did their line of Elseworlds Batman figures, I was on them like white on rice. I'm glad these turned out as well as they did, since all too often the female superheroes end up so damn unattractive in plastic form.

I have to admit that the paint on both these figures is really impressive. DC Direct has their issues with consistent paint quality, but the pair I received really look outstanding.

Unfortunately, Supergirl has a handful of issues holding her back from a higher score. The inability to easily stand, the skinny long neck, and the lack of any real accessories at this price point ruin her chances of competing with Batgirl.

While I'm not reviewing the other three figures in this release, I did want to mention that the Kingdom Come Aquaman looked absolutely amazing on the peg, and I may end up picking him up.  I think he's going to just be too cool (the head sculpt is terrific) to pass up long term.

Score Recap:
Packaging - **1/2
Sculpt -  Batgirl ***1/2; Supergirl ***;
Paint - ***1/2
Articulation - **
Accessories - Batgirl **1/2; Supergirl *1/2
Fun Factor - **
Value - **1/2
Overall - Batgirl ***1/2; Supergirl ***

Where to Buy -
Your LCS should have gotten them in yesterday, or you can order online:

- Killer Toys has the set of five listed at just $55.

- YouBuyNow has them at $11.99 each.

- Alter Ego Comics has them for $13 each, or the set of five for $56.

- CornerStoreComics has the singles for $14 each, or the set for $55.

- Amazing Toyz has the set for $55, but is sold out of the single girls.

- for the U.K. readers, Forbidden Planet has them for ten pounds each.

Related Links -
Other DC Direct reviews include:

- a guest review of the last Elseworlds figures.

- I have my reviews of the Knightfall set, Unmasked set, first series of Elseworlds figures, the Long Halloween set, the Public Enemies Batman, the Alex Ross version of Batman, the Rogue's Gallery series, and the series 1, series 2 and series 3 Hush figures.

- don't miss out on the Batman Black and White statues, including the Mignola and Kelly Jones versions.

- there's also the 13" deluxe figures, including classic Batman, Two Face, Superman and Batman Begins.

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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