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Batgirl

DC Bombshells
by yo go re

It's time to drop some more bombs!

Barbara Gourdon was born in France. Her father was a small-town policeman and a farmer. At age 20, she taught herself how to fly a plane, and three years later she enlisted in the French Air Force to protect her home in the war. Due to her incredible piloting skills and her ability to find her targets even at night, she became known as "The Batgirl." Luc Fuchs, a German pilot dubbed "The Flying Fox," fell in love with Barbara and defected to her side. After many missions together, he was seemingly killed in action. Obsessed with finding a way to bring him back to life, Gourdon began travelling the world; eventually, her search led her to a mansion deep in the swamps of Louisiana - a mansion called Belle Reve.

One thing that seldom sits right in Elseworlds stories is the point when they try to justify the hero's supranym: in the normal universe, Batgil can just be Batgirl because she wants to be like Batman, but in an alternate universe, they have to bend over backwards to make it happen. Why would the people naming her call her a "bat" and not a "bird"? Why would she be Batgirl and not Batwoman? Or just "The Bat"? She's French, why wouldn't she be La Chauve-Sourisette? It'd be better if the characters just went "you know, call me this, no reason."

And honestly, what pilot dresses like this? Old-fashioned planes weren't insulated (or even enclosed), which is why aviator jackets are literally a thing - it was the only way to survive the cold temperatures high in the sky. Bombshells Batgirl, meanwhile, is wearing tall yellow boots and purple jhodpurs, then goes shirtless, only covering her torso with a bustier. That makes perfect sense when she's just supposed to be a fun, flirty pin-up design, but it doesn't work as well when you create a full story for her and send her into action. "Sexy nurse" would be out of place in a real emergency room, and "sexy pilot" is out of place on a battlefield. A little handkerchief tied around your neck won't function like a scarf, girl!

Barb wears a flight cap with two pointy little ears on top, but that, at least, you can imagine someone making for her after she got the nickname. Her goggles are a removable piece, allowing you to see her youthful face, though the shape of her head seems off somehow - like, the eyes are slightly too high or the jaw is oddly pointed or something. Not a major mistake, just something small.

Her costume has no shortage of bat-themed elements, beyond even the obvious one (ie, the large golden bat that is the only thing concealing her frosty nipples). She has a bat belt buckle, bat emblems on the sides of her boots, and a bat pattern printed on the body of her corset. For a super subtle touch, look at the toes of her boots: those mustard-colored tips form the ears of a bat symbol! In the original art, her "cape" was really just the trailing end of her parachute, not tucked properly into its bag, but like a photocopy of a photocopy, that little detail has been lost as the design has been translated first to a statue, then to comicbook art, and now to a toy, so it really just looks like she has a cape hanging out of her backpack for no reason.

If you count the goggles, backpack and cape, then she has three accessories. That's a big drop from the first series, where each figure came with multiple pairs of hands and a few things not original to the artwork. This makes it harder to justify the pricetag on these figs. If nothing else, she could have come with a second cape, one spread out to better duplicate Ant Lucia's original design.

Even the articulation has been scaled back. Like her sisters, Batgirl has swivel/hinge joints at the ankles, wrists and shoulders; double-hinged elbows and knees; swivel biceps; hinged waist; and balljointed hips, chest and head. She retains the extra hinge joint in the hips, allowing you to extend her legs for more posing options, but she loses the swivels in the thighs, which undermines the usefulness slightly. You can still get her in lots of fun pin-up poses, but you do have to limit your choices somewhat. What a shame!

The first series of DC Comics Bombshells figures were really great, but if Batgirl is any indication, the second lineup doesn't have quite the same spark.

-- 11/29/17


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