REVIEW: DC UNIVERSE CLASSICS "COLLECT & CONNECT" GIGANTA
Much as Toy Biz and Hasbro did with Marvel Legends, and as a number of other toy companies have done with assorted products, when Mattel kicked off their superb line of DC UNIVERSE CLASSICS figures, they started a similar practice, whereby each figure included a part of an additional figure, that could be assembled once all the parts were rounded up. Mattel's DC Universe Classics line has dubbed this "Collect and Connect".
Granted, it does require a person to round up most or all of the individual figures in a given assortment to construct the additional figure (although there are some "secondary market" sources), but when it comes to DC Universe Classics, this is hardly a great hardship.
Series 8 of DC Universe Classics features the very interesting lineup of MR. TERRIFIC, GENTLEMAN GHOST, DOCTOR FATE, PARADEMON, HAWKGIRL, COMMANDER STEEL, and VIGILANTE. Of these, only Hawkgirl is not needed to complete the Collect-and-Connect figure, as she comes with a display stand instead. But, hey, that's no reason not to add Hawkgirl to your collection!.
The Collect-and-Connect figure for Series 8 is -- GIGANTA, a longtime foe of Wonder Woman and occasional enemy of the Atom.
Let's see what Wikipedia has to say about her:
Giganta is a red-haired super-villainess appearing in DC Comics publications and related media.
A longtime enemy of Wonder Woman and an occasional foil for The Atom, Giganta possesses the superhuman ability to increase her physical size and mass, effectively transforming into a giantess.
Her first appearance (Wonder Woman #9, volume 1, published in 1944), written by Wonder Woman creator William Moulton Marston, presents her as a brutish strongwoman with no super powers other than unusual strength. Later adaptations (including appearances on Hanna-Barbera's popular cartoon series "Challenge of the Super Friends" in the 1970s) introduced Giganta's size-changing ability, a feature of the character which has been retained to date. She also appeared in the Justice League animated series, and even had a recent cameo in the "Superman/Batman: Public Enemies" movie.
In her first story, in the aforementioned Wonder Woman #9, a villainous scientist named Professor Zool artificially evolves an ape named Giganta into a malicious red-haired strongwoman. Giganta is ultimately subdued and captured by Wonder Woman and taken to Paradise Island for rehabilitation. In issue #28, she joins a rebellion of prisoners held on the island, thereby becoming a member of the criminal team Villainy Inc. Giganta is not seen again in the comics until 1966, in Wonder Woman #163 (volume 1), in which her origin is revamped to include another member of Wonder Woman's rogues gallery, Doctor Psycho. This appearance also premiered a short-lived update to her look, giving her waist-length blond hair and an even larger physical stature. In the current DC Universe, Giganta is Dr. Doris Zeul (a name that tips its hat to Professor Zool, a key figure in the Golden Age Giganta's origin). Appearing in the modern continuity for the first time in 1997 in Wonder Woman #127 (volume 2), Zeul captures a comatose Wonder Woman and holds her at a secret research facility. Suffering from a fatal blood disease, Zeul plans to use an experimental machine to transfer her "life-essence" into Wonder Woman's body. Interrupted by Wonder Girl halfway through the experiment, Zeul seemingly dies. Her assistant Branson discovers that Zeul is in fact not dead, but instead had her essence stored in the transference machine's buffer module, which then channeled her consciousness into one of the lab's test animals, a gorilla named Giganta.
Desperate to return her mind to a human body, Zeul/Giganta then abducts a comatose circus strongwoman named Olga. Though the subsequent events have never been detailed in the comics, Zeul apparently succeeds in transferring her mind into Olga's body, and, presumably, Olga's mind into the body of the gorilla.
When she next appears, the red-haired Giganta demonstrates the ability to grow to gigantic size, like the Super Friends version. In Wonder Woman #1 (volume 3), it was revealed that Olga already possessed this power when Zeul stole her body. The source of the ability is unknown, though it may be related to a shaman who placed Olga in a coma prior to her abduction by Zeul. Whatever the case, the ability appears to be mystical in nature, as Giganta has been shown (in The All-New Atom) to be aligned with the forces of magic.
Following her transformation, Giganta allies herself with Queen Clea and the modern incarnation of Villainy Inc. in an attempt to conquer the lost world of Skartaris. Villainy Inc. is defeated by Wonder Woman, but Giganta is subsequently seen as a member of several criminal groups, including the Secret Society of Super Villains and Injustice League Unlimited. As part of the Society, she takes part in the "Battle of Metropolis", a confrontation with multiple heroes, including Elasti-Girl, the size-changing member of the Doom Patrol. The Society ultimately loses this battle.
When Diana Prince noted that Giganta's intellect reduces as she grows in size, compelling the villain to become less rational and more prone to violence, she was corrected by her colleagues in the Department of Metahuman Affairs. They implied that Giganta has overcome that limitation and retains her full intelligence at any size, a theory backed up in the conclusion to the "Who is Wonder Woman?" storyline.
On the heels of the "One Year Later" event, Giganta, along with The Cheetah and Doctor Psycho, engaged in a battle with Donna Troy (who had assumed the identity of Wonder Woman one year after the events of Infinite Crisis as part of a search for, as they term it, the "real" Wonder Woman (Diana of Themyscira). In the following issue, the villains continue their quest, holding Troy hostage in order to draw Diana out for a rescue attempt; they also contend with the current Wonder Girl (Cassie_Sandsmark), Robin (Tim_Drake), and (though they don't realize it at first), Diana herself, in the guise of government agent Diana Prince. In issue 3, Giganta and her allies also battle Hercules, with the giantess being felled by the legendary champion.
Giganta has also appeared in the pages of "The All New Atom", currently employed as a regular teacher at Ivy Town's University. Infected and controlled by M'Nagalah, the monstrous "Cancer god", she was sent to seduce and capture, Ryan Choi, the new Atom, in the process even going so far as to swallow the miniature hero alive (he escapes, and also discovers that she has a tongue piercing).
Now free of M'Nagalah's control, a seemingly repentant Dr. Zeul retains her position at Ivy University and has approached Ryan for a second chance, despite the bizarre circumstances of their first meeting.
Before their second date, the Atom is approached by Wonder Woman on behalf of the Department of Metahuman Affairs and asked to wear a wire on his date with Dr. Zeul. After professing her desire to reform, she is informed that Ryan is wearing a wire and tears off the roof of the restaurant to see Wonder Woman and Ryan talking - unaware that Ryan had removed the wire. A fight between Wonder Woman and Giganta ensues. Wonder Woman quickly knocked Giganta out but Ryan intervenes to stop Wonder Woman from beating her further. After admitting she had lost her temper - they realize that Dr. Zeul has disappeared. Whether she heard or saw Ryan's actions to stop her from getting further injuries is yet to be seen.
On the cover of Justice League of America #13 (Vol.2), it shows Giganta as a member of the new Injustice Leagu and she is one of the villains featured in Salvation Run. She also had an appearance in Final Crisis.
In Wonder Woman #36, Giganta is attacked by Diana while on her way to a date with Ryan Choi, implying that their relationship have survived despite earlier difficulties. Mellower than in her appearances in the All-New Atom series, she seems to accept and respect the shortcomings brought by their different lifestyle, going so far to help Wonder Woman in a mission, reasoning that, being Ryan a superhero, probably they should both be used to put their heroics in front of their private lives.
As to her powers and abilities, Giganta has the ability to increase her size from 6'6" to several hundred feet. These powers seemed to have been given to her magically. It is presumed that she works out, keeping herself athletically healthy, lean, and muscular. Though her incredible power does not surface until she uses it and grows, she is still quite formidable, having some fighting skill and training. In full-size mode, she is nearly as strong and as durable as Wonder Woman. Giganta is also a brilliant scientist who now retains her full intelligence at any size from normal to maximum. Giganta's suit is specialized to grow with her and enhances her invulnerability. Even at normal size, it is bulletproof and resistant to extremes of heat and cold.
So, how's the figure? Really superb. And I do feel I need to clarify something regarding the costume. Giganta is best known for wearing what amounts to a leopard-skin bikini, or top with loincloth. Precisely how this outfit grows with her is unknown, but if her powers are indeed magical, it may simply be an aspect of that.
In more recent times, she has adopted a somewhat more traditional, not to mention more covering, super-suit, that consists of yellow-gold-colored tights with black trim, some of it ribbed. There is a bit of leopard-print trim on this costume as well, a nod to her original outfit.
Obviously, Mattel has chosen to go with her original garb. I don't hear anyone complaining.
One more media note: Giganta actually had a live-action appearance. She turned up in the 1970's "Challenge of the Super-Heroes" and "Super-Hero Roast", which were produced by Hanna-Barbera, and were pretty much notable for bringing back Adam West and Burt Ward as Batman and Robin, Frank Gorshin as the Riddler, assorted other actors as a host of heroes and villains. The entire mess was put forth as a comedy, complete with laugh track.
Giganta's high point, such as it was, came when she and Atom were interviewed by a Hollywood reporter about their impending engagement. Honestly, the camera trickery to make Atom appear about six inches in height wasn't bad, and the actress hired to portray Giganta did a capable job.
Anyway, to have Giganta, it is necessary to have all seven separate parts. These are divided between six of the individual figures in Series 8. Gentleman Ghost comes with two parts -- Giganta's head and lower torso, as well as a 1-1/2" tall Atom figurine.
Assembly of the figure is not difficult -- none of the Collect-and-Connect figures have been. However, someone on another Web Site made a very wise observation, which I would like to repeat here -- it is extremely advisable to snap Giganta's legs into her lower torso BEFORE you connect the lower torso into the upper torso.
Why is this significant? Because the upper torso features both parts of the leopard-skin outfit she wears, and the lower part of this hangs below the attachment point for the two torso parts. Thus, the simplest means of assembling Giganta is to insert the two legs into the lower torso, and then the entire lower assembly into the upper torso, whereupon, now, the lower part of the leopard-skin outfit now drapes over the lower torso appropriately.
The leopard-skin outfit is somewhat flexible, and it probably wouldn't be impossible to insert the legs into the lower torso if it is first attached to the upper section, but really, why make assembly any harder than it has to be?
All of the various components go together quite easily -- the legs, arms, head, and torso sections snap together very readily.
So, how's the figure completed? Extremely impressive. Giganta is, to date, the tallest DC Universe Classics Collect-and-Connect figure, and as such the tallest DC Universe Classics figure PERIOD, yet developed for the line. Giganta stands a full 10" in height. Contrast that with the previous record-holder, Atom Smasher, who stands just slightly under 9-1/2" in height, and he has a bit of an advantage over the next tallest figures in the line, the San Diego ComicCon exclusive Lobo, and the Collect-and-Connect of Solomon Grundy.
Now, any of these individuals are both heavier and bulkier than Giganta, due to their gender and design. But heightwise, Giganta is the distinct winner.
Detail on the figure is superb, and I'm convinced that it was designed entirely from scratch. One can sort of tell on Atom Smasher that some of his parts are enlarged versions of established molds. That's one of the reasons I like him. He's consistent with the rest of the line. So is Giganta, overall, but I'm also quite certain that she was designed from scratch.
Couple of reasons I think this. For one thing, there haven't been all that many females in the DCUC line. More than in some action figure lines, certainly, but as far as design is concerned, there's Wonder Woman, clearly a distinct figure given that she's taller than every other female released to date (except the big G here), and there's -- everybody else. And everybody else pretty much used either the same molds or is based on them. Harley Quinn and Starfire share more than a few parts. Catwoman is distinctive, but she's the same size as the other two. Big Barda is distinctive, but you're not going to use her armored form as a basis for Giganta, either.
So, between the minimal number and general distinctiveness of the female figures this far released in the DC Universe Classics line, I'm of the opinion that Giganta had to be pretty much designed from the start, with some acknowledgment of the design specifications that were in place.
The figure has a very impressive look to her. Okay, she's been a super-villain, and a pretty brutal one. And she can grow to several hundred feet in height. That having been said, especially in modern times, she has not been portrayed as unattractive, and this is reflected in the figure. She's not some monstrous creature. She looks, basically, like a normal human woman -- who happens to wear a leopard-skin bikini and can grow as tall as a skyscraper.
The headsculpt is excellent. Giganta has an expression that is determined, but not necessarily mean. I wonder if perhaps Mattel was aware of the fact that the character has reformed somewhat in the comics and decided to reflect this. Interestingly, she has one eyebrow raised. It gives her a slightly sardonic expression to her face, as if she's fully expecting a wisecrack about her size and/or wardrobe, and is rather resigned to the fact that she's heard them all before, and short of stepping on whoever's making the remark -- which she just might -- there's not a lot to be done for it.
Her hair is a masterwork of sculpting. She has been given very thick and rather wavy red hair. Although not molded from rigid plastic, it's not especially flexible, and it does hinder head movement somewhat. A minor point.
Paintwork on the face is excellent. Although I suppose this could vary a bit from figure to figure -- fortunately she's packaged "face front" in the Gentleman Ghost package so it's easy to see and check the details, the one I have here is very neatly painted, with superb details in and around the eyes, and lipstick that is slightly redder than her hair color.
The body is very well designed, of course, and is designed to reflect a fairly typical super-heroine type of body, with decent but not extreme musculature, highlighted a bit with airbrushed detail. This is a practice that can backfire badly if not done well. On all of the Giganta parts I rounded up, it was done very well.
Apart from the leopard-skin suit, the only other items Giganta is wearing are ridged bracelets around her wrists and ankles. These are metallic copper in color, with little white details between each part. These are actually sculpted to the lower arms and lower legs, and I pity the painters who had to do the little white details. I also commend them, as they did a superb job.
Then there's the leopard-skin outfit. This is also superbly done. Both pieces were molded separately. Don't get any ideas, people, they don't look to be removable, at least not without ruining them and possibly the figure herself. The sculpted detail and painted detail on these pieces is nothing short of astounding.
Both parts are designed to look as though they have been stitched together from several pieces of leopard-skin fur. The fur texture has not only been incorporated into the sculpt, but where there's also sculpted stitching, the fur texture actually changes direction on the next piece over. Now THAT'S what I call an astounding level of attention to detail!
The outfit is molded in light yellow, with orange highlights sprayed on it, and some very intricate two-color brown leopard-skin spots imprinted on it. Honestly, it wouldn't surprise me to learn that as much time was spent developing and sculpting the two halves of this outfit as was spent on most of the rest of the figure!
The sculpted detail on her hands and feet is also superb. Her hands are both fists, so it's a little hard to define individual finger detail, but Giganta is not wearing any shoes or boots (I don't think she has to worry about stepping on anything that she wouldn't cause more damage to than would hurt her feet), and each of her toes has been sculpted very carefully, right down to the toenails and the bottoms of her feet. I was going to say that she was the first barefoot figure in this line, but I think the Collect-and-Connect from Series 1, Metamorpho, has that honor.
Articulation is, of course, superb, as one would expect from any DC Universe Classics figure. Giganta is fully poseable at the head, arms, upper arm swivel, elbows, wrists, mid-torso, waist, legs, upper leg swivel, knees, and ankles. The head is a little restricted because of the hair, and the legs are a little restricted because of the loincloth, but she still has a considerable range of articulation.
Any complaints? What, are you crazy? Okay, the legs are a little loose, but not severely. And that may just be unavoidable because of the "do it yourself" nature of the assembly. I've been encountering loose legs on some of the standard DCUC figures recently, and I'm a lot more concerned about that than I am Giganta.
So, what's my final word here? Giganta's prominence in the DC Universe, height notwithstanding, is probably a little debatable. She's probably become more prominent in recent times, and from the Wiki entry, has gotten a more interesting personality for it. She certainly warranted a figure, however, and Mattel has put together a truly magnificent one. If for some reason you don't feel like tracking down the individual figures from Series 8 -- which you really should since there isn't a loser in the bunch -- there are likely secondary sources for Giganta, although they're probably rather pricey ones.
But however you choose to acquire her, the DC UNIVERSE CLASSICS "COLLECT AND CONNECT" figure of GIGANTA most definitely has my highest recommendation!