Friday, 22 August 2014

POP! Heroes – Wonder Woman


Company: Funko
Series: Heroes
Year: 2011

And so we come to the first female POP! of Funko Week – Wonder Woman.
Wonder Woman is one of my favourite superheroes. One of the first females to join what is still a very heavily male-dominated crowd, she’s been in the game for more than 70 years now, appearing in her own title and serving as one of the early members of the Justice Society and a founding member of the Justice League of America.
Yet despite having some good runs (e.g. Lynda Carter in the 70s TV show, George Perez in the 1980s comics) she’s often been poorly handled by creators who aren’t quite sure what to do with her. One case in point was her 2006 relaunch, which regularly had issues delayed, a revolving door of writers and artists and dull stories that tested the brand loyalty of the fans (myself included). The only consistently good thing was the covers.   

Still, the New 52 seems to be writing some of these wrongs and the upcoming Superman vs Batman: Dawn of Justice looks to be featuring her prominently, with Gal Gadot in the role. Hopefully the future holds good things for her – but now, onto the POP!

Wonder Woman wears her best-known outfit of red bustier, blue trunks and red boots, complete with tiara and bullet-deflecting gauntlets. It's a classic look, that could fit just about any era between the 1960s and now, though at a guess it's based on the standard Jose Luis Garcia-Lopes or George Perez depiction of her.

She uses the basic female body, which is okay, but I don’t think it looks quite feminine enough. I commented earlier this week that a lot of the early POP!s used the same basic body – and the female one kind of looks like it’s just been retooled from the male body, with minor variation. The arms are fine, but the legs seem a little off.
In her right hand, she clutches her signature weapon, the Lasso of Truth. While she whips out a sword from time to time, the Lasso is easily her best-known accessory and it would have been remiss of Funko not to include it in some form. If they ever decide to do a variant, she should have her throwable tiara off and held in her other hand.

Wonder Woman was one of Funko’s earlier POP!s, so her paint is on the questionable side. I picked her up last year at Supanova, and while I looked for a good one in among the pile they had, I don’t recall seeing any that were better. The tiara is sloppy, the earrings  have bleed and there's just lots of rough edges around the whole thing. It's disappointing, but pretty typical of the older POP!s – they're not at A-grade level these days, but they have definitely improved.

This same sculpt of Wonder Woman has since been re-released in her New 52 outfit, which is similar but different. The reds and blues are darker, the yellow areas are now rendered in silver, and she’s got fewer stars on her trunks. I like what I’ve read of her characterisation in the New 52 (namely, a few issues of Justice League), but I don’t love the changes to the outfit. While it looks okay on the page, it doesn’t translate well to POP! form; the colours are too muted on what is an inherently brightly coloured and cutesy toy. Both versions are reasonably easy to track down though, so you should be free to take your pick.

While I’m happy with the broad strokes of the figures, the paint issues made her ultimately disappointing. I’d like to see this figure get a re-release with better paint, but in the meantime she’s still an essential part of the Funko Justice League – and most of her compatriots are in a similar (paint) boat.  

What’s more disappointing is that there have been very few females released as part of the Funko Heroes or Marvel lines. Raven and Starfire from the Teen Titans cartoon have both been released, as have Harley Quinn and a couple of variations of Catwoman. Marvel has had Jean Grey, Black Widow and Gamora, but that’s been about it.
Both Marvel and DC have a lot of cool female characters that would be likely to sell, so it’s disappointing that they’re being overlooked in favour of numerous re-releases of Batman, Spider-Man, Iron Man and Captain America. Even Hulk has had two or three figures by now!  These are all cool characters and I understand that they are big drawcards for more casual fans of the lines, but it’s time to go deeper.

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