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Skull Queen

Spawn Series 11: Dark Ages Sawn
by Artemis

Anyone remember the Spawn movie? No? Well, I liked it; I'm not saying it was good, but I liked it. I'm like that, especially if Melinda Clarke is around, dressed to kill. I only mention this because it's the only Spawn I've ever encountered in any form outside of action figures, so as far as I'm concerned, pretty much everything McFarlane has done has been an original line, rather than merchandise, and the fact that I've got a fairish collection of Spawn girls - even dating back to when I couldn't just afford to buy any old junk (mind you, I really shouldn't be doing so now) - says something about their overall quality.

Wanda here is from Series 27 of the Spawn line, back in 2005, and I suppose it's fair to regard her as the poster girl for the McStatue fad - by this point McFarlane had outgrown their initial tendencies to do what everyone else does by including stuff like joints, and playability of any kind, but they haven't yet devolved into endless pointless repaints of the same manga-ized robot figure. Actually, I see the latest wave of those has vanished from the Spawn online store thingy; no great loss there, no-one wanted the blasted things anyway, but it's a shame the downfall of McFarlane into producing merely the plastic equivalent of sports cards has taken their annual Naked Psycho Warrioress tradition down with it. I'll miss those.

Anyway, back to Wanda. From what I remember of the movie, she was Spawn's wife, back when he wasn't Spawn, and had stuff like a heartbeat and skin. He got set on fire and went to hell, subsequently returning in Spawny form in exchange for the promise of seeing his wife again, only to discover that she'd remarried with some dweeb from a couple of scenes earlier on. She was played by Theresa Randle, who's well fit, and incidentally if you Google her at present you'll get a bunch of photos of her at some premiere or other wearing a dress made of holes loosely stitched together. Lucky dweeb. This is the comic book version of Wanda, so all or none of the above may be accurate.

Series 27 was one of those "Art of" series, reproducing famous Spawn art in statue form. I don't really know how anything from Spawn could be considered "famous" except to Spawn fans - I mean hell, the Eagle Transporter from Space: 1999 has a better claim to fame, being involved in the conception of the Millennium Falcon (and the Blockade Runner corvette). Still, for what it's worth, this figure recreates an image of Wanda in a wedding dress, standing in front of a rose stained glass window, with a dove sitting on her hand and her hair making a spirited bid for freedom by leaping off the front of her head. It's from Spawn #65, which came from the '90s, so there you go.

Wanda herself, sans base, stands 6½" tall, and she's pretty gorgeous. She's decked out in a sexy (but not too sexy) wedding dress, with a figure-hugging skirt, lace push-uppy bodice, a silver-white shawl arranged around her shoulders, and a matching silver collar. The shawl is an interesting design, with intricate lace patterns woven into the top and center, leaving the space between and the bottom smooth and sleek - the use of glossy, pearly plastic makes it a striking and attractive contrast. The dress beneath, especially below the corseted waist, is a thin but heavy fabric, gripping the hips and thighs like the world's most expensive wet t-shirt contest, then falling in reflective cascades to the base. The sculpted folds and contours are high quality work, especially the feeling of weight in the fabric on the right side of the skirt, where Wanda is holding the train up, displaying the finely-woven lace pattern along the hem.

The face is an area where the figure differs slightly from its parent art. The hair is still styled in the front-heavy pointed mop, but it's been scaled back a bit, and the point tilted up rather than down, so that it looks more like a delicate hairdo, and less like Cloud Strife got caught in the rain. The art isn't hugely stylized, but the figure takes its realism a lot more seriously, sculpting a face that's far closer to human than comicbook, and rather stunning too. In place of the artwork's lidded gaze and sombre pout, plastic Wanda has her eyes closed, and wears a serene, private smile, making her look like pretty much the happiest woman in the world.

The focus of her attention, closed eyes regardless, is the dove on her left hand, and it's been given a bit of special attention given its prominence in the figure's overall look. Less than an inch long, it's too small for proper feather patterns, but the sculpt approximates them with fur-like strokes, and a subtle paint job with white over light grey gives a decent impression of feathers. The eyes are picked out in black, with yellow for the beak - about the only flaw is that the beak is very short and stubby, which is not completely wrong, but it makes the dot of paint look a bit careless. Oh, and I guess it's a flaw that I keep thinking it's about to crap on Wanda's hand, but that's not really the fault of the sculpt of paint, just my cute little sense of humour at work.

The shawl is a solid piece, but removable with a little care. Taking it off reveals Wanda's shoulders, upper arms, and upper back, all of which are sculpted with delicate care and painted a solid, consistent mid-light African-American skintone, matching her face minus the blush she's wearing. It also reveals two of her four joints (bicep swivels, which as per usual for McFarlane are really just assembly joints left open to allow for the pose to be fine-tuned, so the dove is right in front of her and her right hand is tight around the clutch of skirt) and her boobs, which are standing proudly to attention.

If this was a spandex-clad superheroine you'd dismiss them as either fake, or just comicbook art, but this is a wedding dress, which typically incorporate everything short of a team of trained midgets hidden just beneath the surface to sculpt their wearers, so it's entirely plausible that Wanda's just showing off what god, in a rather randy moment, gave her. They must jiggle like nobody's business when she moves though - she probably needs the shawl just to get up the aisle without the groomsmen spoiling the carpet with drool.

Aside from the biceps, Wanda's other joints are a swivel neck and swivel waist, both fairly useless in that she just looks ridiculous if you use them. Her whole purpose in life is to stand on her base in her predetermined pose and look pretty. Which brings us to her base, an elaborate affair of a tiled marble floor, stone wall, fancy window, and a pair of free-standing candelabras. The candelabras plug into the floor via two of their three feet - or rather, they get plugged in, and then quickly get unplugged again and tossed into the spare parts drawer, because they're soft plastic and get wildly bent out of shape while in their packaging, unless you like wrought iron that looks like it's blowing around in the breeze.

The rest of the base is top notch, though. The marble is a sticker, cut to match the contoured edge of the base, and applied (on mine, anyway) without any rippling or bubbling. The wall and window frame are a base of grey plastic detailed by a light grey highlight - simple but effective, as a framing device for the real focal point of the whole thing, the window. This is a clever structure of coloured translucent plastic, molded with the shape of the glass, including its rough surfaces, and the delicate iron work in the framing. The "metal" is painted, the "glass" either coloured a pale pastel pink, or milky-clear. The whole thing is backed by a card segment glued in from the rear, giving a feeling of depth and light to the window.

She's a display piece, nothing more - the quality of the workmanship on the dress is high, so that she could stand alone, but displaying her without the base (sans candles) would be a real shame. She's got no play value, but if you want a gorgeous bride on your desk (an action figure, that is, not a real one), you'd be hard pressed to do better without going to considerably more expensive collectables.

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