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Cheetah

Ame-Comi Heroine Series
by Artemis

This feral femme fatale has clawed her way out of the jungle and to the top of Wonder Woman's list of enemies!

It's not like it's a huge list, is it? There's Cheetah here, Circe, and then you're getting into "...and the rest" territory with the Professor and Mary Ann. Still, give the girl her due - she's got a catsuit and some fake claws, and she set her sights on taking down Wonder Woman, the single best melee warrior on Earth. I don't know where she's hiding them, but she's got a set of balls on her. (Actually, since Halloween, I do know where she might be hiding them, but let's not get into that.)

In fact Ame-Comi Cheetah is a bit more convincingly feral than the delusional fetish model you used to wonder why Lex Luthor kept around the Hall of Doom (mind you, you could say the same of two-thirds of the Legion of Doom's roster, so no surprise there). She's kitted out in the remains of a bodysuit, with random strips of possibly-former-skirt about her hips (and half-heartedly attempting to conceal her thonged backside), plus strappy thigh boots and a tattered sleeveless jacket. She's wearing jika-tabi, with the separate big toe - maybe for agility, maybe she's crazy and thinks she's a ninja - and some big-ass mittens with chains wrapped around them. They've got pointed claws on them, and fair enough, big cats have padded feet like little cats rather than wicked talons, but the mittens, let's face it, do look a bit silly.

Speaking of silly, there's her pose - I imagine she's supposed to be racing forwards, but so as not to overbalance her the statue captures her just as her foot's touching the ground, so that the leg is more or less vertical. Good for structural stability - I doubt she'll lean unduly, even though all her weight's on that one PVC ankle - but bad for conveying swift motion; she looks more like she's prancing than sprinting, and combined with the mittens the overall effect isn't so much a feral madwoman as an overenthusiastic furry who's just spotted someone to yiff. On the serious side of things, she's got a skull on a chain around her hips - it's a big cat of some kind (boyfriend, perhaps?), and the chain has a catch link on it allowing it to be attached and removed without trying to slide it onto the figure from the top.

Like Di, Cheetah's face is pretty close to the packaging art - what's missing this time is the slightest hint of a smile in the art. The sculpt's thin upper lip and downturned corners of the mouth make her look far more serious, but a bit less crazy - take your pick whether it's a good change or not. The pupils of her eyes are also a bit wider and rounder than the cat-like eyes in the art, but the flat broad-bottomed nose, added to the big cat ears and spots on her body here and there, still convey the fact that she's genuinely part-kitty in some fashion.

Her base supports her by a raised and tilted peg housing, which fits snugly to the bottom of her right foot and encloses the wide, contoured peg extending from the sole - she's well-balanced on it, and the width of the base will keep her upright through rain and shine.

One issue with some of these bases, particularly noticeable on this one, is that they're not perfectly solid - the bottom edge of the disc has a downward lip, so there's a sliver of hollow space beneath the base. That becomes a problem when, like this one, there are pegs that extend downwards from the centre of the base as well - they're meant to be all on the same level, but the disc will pretty invariably be slightly warped (maybe from the printing process, I don't know), so you get a base resting on its central peg, and wobbling around on whichever bit of the outer rim has the weight on it. Since all the Ame-Comi figures have broad bases I have them overlapping, some three-deep, to get the figures standing closer together (I like a clutter more than sparseness), but if you plan to display these girls solo, or spaced out, it may be worth sticking a little bit of blu-tack or similar beneath the back edge of the base, just to keep it from tilting over and showing a gap at the front.

Bases aside, series three is where Ame-Comi is really starting to get into its stride. The reinterpretations of the characters are reasonably inventive, and specific to their natures rather than just being based on random anime costume cliches, and that characterfulness allows the sculpt and paint quality - which has been there all along - to shine.

-- 11/19/08


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