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Catwoman

Batman (Classic TV Series)
by yo go re

We almost ran this review last week - because what could be better for a Halloween than a girl dressed like a slutty cat?

This cunning cat is always top dog! Catwoman is the most purrsistent cat burglar in Gotham City - with the purrfect crime to get Batman in her claws before her afternoon cat nap. Conniving and clever, she develops her evil plans in her cat lair, with a terrible trio of tabby thugs in tow, isn't she just the cat's meow?!

Julie Newmar was a successful stage actress with a Tony Award under her belt when she decided to make a go of it in television. She had a few small roles - usually as a sexy temptress, because why the hell would you not cast her like that? - but it was Batman that made her an icon. It kind of made Catwoman an icon, too: thanks to the Comics Code Authority, Selina Kyle hadn't been seen in the pages of a comicbook since September of 1954; the first episode with her aired March 16, 1966, and she was back in the books by November. Gee, what a coincidence!

Now, I'll be honest: I can't tell Julie Newmar and Lee Meriwether apart (what can I say? White people all look the same) but this toy's head definitely looks like one of them. She's got her cat ears poking up through her hair, and is painted with the "spiky" eyebrows she had on the show. Were those supposed to represent whiskers? They're weird.

The Catwoman suit was designed by Newmar herself, specifically meant to show off her figure - that's why her belt hangs down around her hips, instead of going around the waist. Come on, the woman is the holder of an ass patent; I think she knows what's sexy.

The sculpting on this toy is just as soft as it's been on all the other Batman (Classic TV Series) releases, but in this case, it works to the toy's advantage: you don't want hard wrinkles and folds on a sleek suit like this, so the low detail suits her. Plus, it's crisp where it counts - namely, the belt and necklace (which is the feature that sets Newmar apart from Meriwether). Her feet seem very small, but that may be a combo of the stiletto heels and the folded-down boot tops. The costume's loose neck is accurate, but her gloves should have golden claws.

When the first press photos of this toy were released, there appeared to be no articulation. But that was clearly some kind of early mock-up, not the final product, a fact which apparently confused a lot of internet toy fans. Now, we know Mattel never met a decision it couldn't get wrong, but be serious: would they really release a toy that was that poorly articulated? [Uh, "yes"? --ed.] So, for the record: Catwoman is articulated. She's as articulated as any random Mattel DC female. We're talking a balljointed neck (rendered a swivel by the hair), swivel/hinge shoulders, swivel biceps, hinged elbows, swivel wrists, swivel torso, H-hips, swivel thighs, hinged knees, and hinged ankles. It's not as good as a random Hasbro Marvel female, but it's not as bad as people feared. The sky isn't falling.

Catwoman has no accessories. There was a press image showing this same facial sculpt with a cat mask on, but that was just a quick Photoshop, not a real thing - and it's definitely not included with the final figure. All she has is the 4¼" x 2⅜" half-circle display base. It's got a sticker on top with a big "CRRAACK!" sound effect, and a cardboard backdrop fits in the back. The rear of the insert shows a sliver of the Batcave (including the bat-poles), but what really counts is the front. Up there, we get a very sexy image of Catwoman next to a tied-up Batman - and then you realize that her hair is sticking straight out to the side and that this image is meant to be viewed sideways. This isn't Catwoman standing next to Batman, this is Catwoman straddling a prone Batman. Rowr!

You know, we've reviewed a few of these Batman TV figures now, and we've never mentioned the packaging. It's meant to show Batman and Robin scaling a wall, and the right side of the packaging is die-cut around Batman's head, the roof of a building, the Batsignal, and Robin's word balloon - yes, word balloon. Each package has Robin saying something different - in this case, "Holy cats! A cat!" which is pretty lame, even by the standards of the show. The package is purple, orange and yellow, with a green flare behind the Batman logo. The angular blister is molded with sound effects in its surface: BAM! POW!! WHAMM!! Rather than pictures of the toys or the actors, the cross-sell on the back of the card has retro-style drawings of the characters. It's all very nice stuff.

I have no idea how well the Batman (Classic TV Series) figures are selling, because so far, I've only seen one figure at all on a store shelf - are they selling fast, or are they not being ordered? I ordered mine from Amazon, which not only meant I got her as soon as she started shipping, it also worked out to be cheaper than retail. Of course, now that I've got this figure, watch Mattel announce a three-pack that also features Lee Meriwether and Eartha Kitt.

-- 11/06/13


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