Before Superman/Batman, there was World's Finest Comics, a team-up book that ran from 1941 to 1986. Its long run gave rise to the notion of Batman and Superman as "the World's Finest Team." Even after the comic was cancelled in the wake of Crisis, the World's Finest kept popping up in various ways including, in 1998, an alternate reality take on the concept: Elseworld's Finest: Supergirl & Batgirl.
In Elseworld's Finest, there is no Superman, no Batman. For various reasons, they never came to be. Without any male heroes to overshadow them, women have much more prominent roles. Wonder Woman leads the JSA, and a large portion of its members are female. This is a much more diverse world, one that's truly reflective of our own reality. And that's not even counting the two stars of the show!
Orphaned by a petty criminal and taken in by the Waynes, Barbara Gordon protects a paranormal-free Gotham City and fights off attacks as well as loving advances from the Joker.
Since his parents weren't shot by Joe Chill, Bruce Wayne never became a mentally unhinged sociopath. He does, however, work for one, playing the "Alfred" role of able assistant, using his family fortune to help Barbara's war on crime. Though Alfred rarely flirts openly with Batman. Barb also writes novels about her exploits, which help keep the cash flowing. With no Superman to act as a stabilizing force, Batgirl has been able to turn Gotham into the totalitarian lock-down that Batman has always wanted - no one was able to tell her "no." She uses the Oracle operating system to keep an eye on everything happening in her city.
Batgirl in this Elseworlds tale started out in a costume reminiscent
of her classic Silver Age version - complete with bright red utility purse. By "modern" day, however, she's switched to a more militaristic look. It's a sleek black bodysuit with oddly placed silver armor and a golden bat symbol on her chest. It's a nice design, very eye-catching, but hardly practical. The shoulder pads and the spiked gloves make sense, but what of the plate armor on the outside of her calves? What is it supposed to be protecting?
The sculpt is excellent. The pose is very strong, yet feminine, with a lovely contrapposto that still leaves her balanced. The features are exaggerated - the proportion of her hips to her waist, for instance - but only in service of the figure. She's not overly cartoony, by any means. Her cape billows behind her, in finest Gotham City style. The paint on her belt gets a little unruly, but only in the most minor way - other than that, there are no problems with her. On her face, for instance, everything's fine.
Batgirl's articulation holds no surprises: knees, hips, elbows, shoulders and head. Honestly, given the fact that this figure is black, black, black, extra articulation would hardly have stood out.
You can barely make out her shape as it is. She stands just under 7" tall, and though she doesn't have a batarang (for shame!) she does have an accessory: a big honkin' gun/bazooka she shot at Supergirl. Her right hand is molded for the trigger, and the thing is just big enough to rest on her shoulder, even without adequate articulation. Of course, that leave the figure wildly unbalanced, and even the included base won't help her (the peg is poorly placed, barely connecting with her foot).
If you just want an alternate Batgirl, this figure will do you fine. But if you want the (Else)world's finest, you need Supergirl to go with her.
When the love of her life Lex Luthor is kidnapped, Supergirl forms an unexpected alliance with Batgirl and finds out the shocking truth about Lex and Kal-El, the cousin she never knew.
Supergirl's origin is basically the same as the Silver Age version: when Krypton was destroyed, Argo City was flung into space. The inhabitants managed to live a while longer, but ultimately Kara Zor-El had to be sent to Earth to save her life. The big difference was that instead of her cousin greeting her upon her arrival, it was Wonder Woman - who served as Kara's adoptive mother. Supergirl joined the JSA, and started dating respected businessman Lex Luthor, who'd made his fortune by inventing a revolutionary solar battery.
Like Batgirl, Supergirl originally wore her Silver Age costume, but has adopted a new one by "today." It's a solid blue bodysuit, with red boots and a red cape that attaches directly to the S shield on her chest. It's certainly an interesting and graphically pleasing look for her, and stands well with any of the costumes she's worn in the real DCU.
Again, her sculpt is good. Wisely, DCD had Sam Greenwell sculpt both halves of the Elseworld's Finest team, so they look like they belong together. This Kara is more Power Girl than Supergirl, however - she's noticably busty. She's got a really weird haircut, but that's a function of the original art in the comic. It's some sort of swept-back "Grace Jones" kind of thing. Combined with the fact that her neck is a bit too slender, the big triangle of hair makes her look like her head is going to fall off.
Supergirl has the same articulation as her friend, which poses a problem. The way she's designed, SG is unbalanced. She's back-heavy, unable to stand by herself even briefly. The base will help her somewhat, but even that's not a permanent solution. After playing around with the figure, I've found that the best way to keep her upright (ie, the only reliable way) is to not try to get both feet on the ground. Plant her left foot firmly, then just rest her on the point of her right toes. Logic would tell you tat less contact with the ground would make her less stable, but the opposite is true. So yes, she can stand on her own, but you have to work at it for a while.
Supergirl's hair tops out at 6¾",
and she has no accessories. If you've read the story, you can probably think of one or two that would have worked, but nothing that would really be mandatory.
Elseworld's Finest: Supergirl & Batgirl was a really good story, and these are both nice representations of it. Hopefully we'll see some more figures from this book in the future - the redesigns of the characters were quite catching, for the most part, and would look really nice in 3D form. You could build your own alternate reality JSA!
Which other Elseworld's Finest designs would you like to see made? Tell us on our message board, The Loafing Lounge.