Thursday, November 24, 2011

An Amazing Sculpt Paired With Low Articulation Cannot Keep The Justice Cheetah Figure Down!

The Good: Great sculpt, Amazing coloring detail.
The Bad: Rotten balance when off stand, Could use more articulation.
The Basics: The Justice Cheetah action figure gets a much softer recommendation from me as its articulation and balance issues leave me less impressed than I wanted to be.

Since I first read Justice (reviewed here!), it has been my favorite graphic novel of all time. It is a tight, intense story with phenomenal artwork and character development that services the entire DC Universe extraordinarily well. Because I love Justice as much as I do, it is almost shocking how long it has taken me to get any of the merchandise associated with it. And yet, as a little gift to myself for getting my new job, I began my Justice action figure collection. I began it with the Series 1 Cheetah action figure from DC Direct and I cannot undersell how happy I was to get the figure, especially at the deal I snagged it at.

Cheetah, in Justice is Priscilla Rich, a socialite who sells her soul to the forces of darkness to almost limitless physical power. After slaying her two cheetahs, she dons their furs as a perverse, clawed costume and attacks Diana (Wonder Woman). As a gift from the gods and goddesses she prayed to, Cheetah is able to deliver a toxin to Diana that leaves Wonder Woman scarred, burning from the inside out.

It is Cheetah with her sewn-together costume, blood-scratches under her eyes, that is the subject of the Justice Cheetah action figure.


The Cheetah figure is amazingly well-detailed, considering she comes from a comic book with painted panels. The artwork of Alex Ross translates amazingly into the Cheetah figure as this Cheetah has depth and sculpted detailing for every little hair on her fur! The possessed socialite stands 6 1/2" tall to the top of the figure's raised cat ears. Her costume is yellow and white with black dots, stitches and red blood outlining each place the costume is tensed, making it clear that Priscilla Rich was none too careful about how she slayed her pets and made the outfit. Cheetah is from DC Direct.

This toy is an impressive sculpt; for a character that has only had two-dimensional references, Cheetah looks good in all three dimensions. DC Direct did not make the character insanely busty, which is reassuring and she comes with her clawed hands open and ready to scratch her enemies. She also has a tail that rotates and is cool in the way it turns from spots near the base to stripes at the tip of the tail. The detailing on such things as the gloves and seams is immaculate.

The Cheetah figure is also well-sculpted on her face. Cheetah has the sharp cheekbones and an angry set to her lips which makes her look pissed off. She wears a hood made of one of the cheetah’s heads and that gruesome detail is well-rendered and prevents the need for any hair sculpted for this figure. Cheetah's eyes are bright blue and look dangerous. DC Direct rendered those exceptionally accurately. They also got the coloring right on Cheetah’s skin tones, which is a great touch because this version of Cheetah looks as photorealistic as a toy can!


Cheetah, crazed rich woman that she is, comes with only her stand. The stand is a black and silver square that looks like a piece of flooring. It is 6" by 4.5” and 1/2” tall and it has a pair of peg holes spaced 2” apart. The pegs come with the figure and plug into the base and then into the hole in either of Cheetah’s feet. She is perfectly stable on her base.


The DC Direct figures were designed more for display than play. Unfortunately, Cheetah is a bit of a wash on the play front and the display front for anywhere but her stand. She has less articulation than I would like and absolutely terrible balance off her stand! Because of her sculpt with the legs spread in an action pose, there is only one way to get Cheetah to stand flatfooted. Standing that way, on her own, Cheetah is almost impossible to keep standing. On her stand with one or both feet plugged into the base, she is perfectly stable.

Also disappointing is the lack of articulation, especially in the wrists and neck. Cheetah comes with only ten points of articulation, most of which are simple swivel joints. Cheetah has joints at the knees, groin socket, shoulders, elbows, tail and head. The elbows and knees are both hinge joints, but the rest are swivel joints, which is disappointing for the head.


Cheetah is part of the DC Direct Justice Series 1 line which was fairly common, despite being mostly distributed through comic book shops. Cheetah was one of three villains in the first line and she might have been bought up at the time, but has not retained her value at all. Originally available in the $15 - $20 range, her price has plummeted to $5 - $10. In other words, fans are not likely to ever make money off this figure.


Cheetah looks great, though she looks great in a fairly limited number of poses. Even so, the Justice Cheetah remains the best Cheetah to hit the market yet and that makes her a must-buy for fans of the whole DC Universe. . . at least for now!

For other DC Universe action figures, please check out my reviews of:
Blackest Night Nekron
Wonder Woman Wave 1 Circe
Watchmen Limited Edition Rorschach Unmasked


For other toy reviews, please check out my index page!

© 2011 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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