Since we first saw photos of Wave 13 back in October it gave rise to much discussion (as if any reveals don’t) to the characters selected for this wave. Many have said that it is one of the most obscure waves yet, and depending on your love of all things DC this can be either a good or bad thing. People are questioning how this wave will sell, especially with the little known characters, but I’m sure as with most waves of DCUC, it will have one or two peg warmers, but the majority collectors will be spending countless hours trying to locate the rest.
Fans of Wonder Woman can now rejoice as Cheetah has joined the ranks of DCUC. Wonder Woman does not have the most famous rogue’s gallery. Other than Ares and C&C Giganta, she really hasn’t had much to fight in terms of her own villains. Sure, Cheetah may look a little cheesy, especially when standing next to some of the more realistic characters, but not every villain needs to be a deranged psychopath.
Cheetah made her debut in Wonder Woman #6 in 1943. Over the years she has seen many changes as the character has developed. There have been three unique female Cheetahs, Priscilla Rich (Golden Age), Rich’s niece, Deborah Domaine (Silver Age), and Barbara Ann Minerva (modern and current). Priscilla Rich (the figure we are reviewing today) was a socialite with a split personality disorder. After being upstaged by Wonder Woman at a charity event, Priscilla had a breakdown and her inner evil self emerged taking upon the Cheetah mantle. Barbara Ann Minerva, the variant Cheetah, has more of a supernatural origin. As a British archaeologist, Barbara Minerva sought out an African tribe who worshiped a female guardian with the powers of a Cheetah. After the Guardian was murdered by a band of marauders Barbara Minerva volunteered to take her place after being told she would gain immortality. Barbara Minerva then desired for the Lasso of Truth when she learned that Wonder Woman possessed it.
Several individuals have taken the name of Cheetah over the years. The first was a socialite named Priscilla Rich who resented the fame of the Wonder Woman of the 1940s. Turning a Cheetah-skinned rug into a costume, she tangled with the Amazon several times. Decades later glory-hunting archaeologist Barbara Minerva stumbled across an African tribe in the midst of a bloody ritual. She forced them to make her part of the ceremony so she could be come the vessel for the Cheetah spirit, attainting he abilities and feral nature of one of Wonder Woman’s greatest, most enduring foes.
Design & Sculpt: Cheetah seems to cull from the best of the female DCUC characters we’ve seen thus far. Unfortunately the females have been very hit or miss, and sadly most tend to lean more to the miss side. Thankfully Cheetah is a hit. To this reviewer’s untrained eye, she seems to be sporting a completely new mold.. which is a good thing. Although her arms are a bit twig-like, she doesn’t have the ugly exposed ball-jointed shoulders that Wonder Woman and Artemis were plagued with. Not to be confused with flimsy, Cheetah does seem to be quite fragile, while you could take Power Girl or Black Canary and throw ’em against the wall and they’d survive, Cheetah seems quite delicate.
Cheetah does suffer from the dreaded package pre-posing. As you can see in the package her legs are spread out for a sort of “pouncing” pose, which looks great in the package, but unless you are a MOC collector it is pretty useless. With plastic that is already very pliable, she can’t stand up quite straight. My Cheetah’s right hip looks like it’s not quite in all the way. It’s not a huge issue, since a character like her kills to be posed in a stance, but it’s still annoying.
Plastic & Paint: Cheetah seems to have been made out of a very pliable plastic, which is most apparent in her limbs, especially her hands as they bend at a mere touch. With very little in terms of unique sculpting, plastic and paint have to work to sell this figure. Thankfully they do! Her body consists of her cheetah suit with spots which she was molded in. She is a yellow-orange, but luckily she does not succumb to the curse of the “yell0w-molded figures”. Even with a glossy finish she really pulls off the suit well. The cheetah spots are well done. She has a light orange red shading running on her stomach and lower torso, as well as her backside which helps pull everything together.
Articulation: First and foremost I am very pleased to say that Mattel seems to have “solved” their ball-jointed head “problem”. Cheetah has full range of articulation in her head, which especially for this character could have been a make or break. In addition to the fixed ball-jointed head issue, Cheetah has ball-and-hinge shoulders and hips, hinged knees, elbows and ankles, swivel wrists and waist. She also has one unique point of articulation which is located on her tail. The tail is attached to her posterior unfortunately it lacks a ball/hinge joint, but near the end it does have a swivel so you can at least change direction of where the tail points.
Accessories: Cheetah comes sans any character specific accessories. Wave 13’s Collect & Connect figure is Trigon, Cheetah comes with his left leg. Also included is the DC Collector Button.
Quality Control: Other than the aforementioned pre-posing issue and the pliability of the plastic used , there are no major issues with Cheetah.
Overall: While I can’t say that Cheetah is a character that I’ve really been pining for, I’m certainly glad to have her, and she is one of my only must-haves from Wave 13. A lot of fans may be opting for the modern look, but for me the classic look is more iconic of the character, and fits in better with the Legion of Doom. Plus she has a nice expression rather than the empty look on the modern variant.