Saturday, December 28, 2013

Review: Toralei Stripe as Cat Tastrophe -- Power Ghouls

When we last left off, Polterghoul was toying with metaphysics and getting in touch with her inner superhero. Today things take a turn for the ferociously fierce worse, as none other than Cat Tastrophe has come onto the scene! She's here to wreak havoc and eat catnip, and she's all out of catnip...

Without getting too spoiler-y, let's just say that in Cat's included comic book (which is, of course, beautifully illustrated), we learn she has been the catalyst for much of the previously seen mayhem. But would you expect anything less from a woman whose name is literally "catastrophe"?

The entire setup of the Power Ghouls line has been so clever. I love how they incorporated various superhero elements into each of the characters, and having Toralei take on the role of super villain is such a natural fit. I also like how a full story with an arch and character development took place throughout each of the doll's comics. Power Ghouls was a well thought out line and it seems Mattel knows it, since Sweet Screams seems to be taking the same approach. I hope we continue to see lines like these far into the future for MH!

The doll itself takes heavy cues from the Catwoman of the original 60's Batman TV series, as portrayed by Julie Newmar. Some have said the doll is based on Anne Hathaway's recent portrayal of the Catwoman character, but alas, such is not the case. Hope I didn't burst any bubbles there. (Or maybe I do -- meow.) Cat, your fierce beauty is influencing me in ways I never saw coming.

"If I were to kiss you, would you think I was a bad girl?"

Speaking of fierce beauty, let's take a closer look at this doll. Overall her faceup is actually pretty similar to the basic doll's, just with a few color changes. She still has her massive, striking green cat eyes, subtle facial spot, and cheek stripes. Her eyeliner is now a beautiful lavender, while her eyeshadow is a light shade of magenta.The shadow runs under the eye as well, in an extremely thin strip. Overall the shadow isn't as detailed as the basic doll's, simply due to the fact that it doesn't have the multiple layers that doll has. But no matter -- it's still a very striking look. Her lips are nearly the same color as the basic doll's -- a deep-ish purple, but for Cat it has red overtones that make it considerably brighter in comparison.

Cat wears her long, straight hair in a ponytail that wraps her ears before being pulled tightly behind them. The sides are a fairly dark orange while the center is a much lighter shade. The center portion runs between her ears into the ponytail, where you'll find black stripes lining the streaks. In it's ponytail, the hair lands right above her rear. The texture is very soft, silky even. This hairstyle was directly inspired by Julie Newmar's Catwoman, a perfectly fitting reference. And given the current domination of vintage 60's fashion and style, Cat's hair is also completely on-trend. Good job, Mattel!

"With all your many attributes, you haven't learned the first thing about good manners."

Julie Newmar rears her feline influence again on Cat's outfit. She wears a formfitting bodysuit of horizontal stripes in red, orange, and black. In an extremely clever touch, the black stripes feature tiny grey dots -- mimicking the print of an old-school comic book. I really love this kind of attention to detail, plus it relates directly to the entire theme of this line. Printed over the bust is an orange "cat skullette", Cat's super villain symbol and a direct tie to Toralei herself. Now you may be saying, "Wait a minute, John! Julie's Catwoman suit was solid black, how is this related to Cat's outfit?" Well, it's not in the colors but rather the cut. The length of the sleeves, the shape of collar, even the way Cat's utility belt hugs her body -- all very Newmar.

"Let no one say that Cat is not the best-dressed woman in the world."

Cat comes with some great accessories -- or are they weapons? Whatever the case, they're extremely cool. Most notable is her nifty utility belt. It comes in silver and wraps her waist tightly. It's detailed with another cat skullette, some studs, and a pouch, from which hang two orange feathers. (I guess the cat really did get the canary, but she must've dyed them to match her outfit. Even a super villain knows how to accessorize.) Around her neck is a red, studded choker, featuring a dangling silver cat skullette charm. She wears a silver, studded cuff on her right right forearm. On her left wrist is a silver studded bracelet featuring a tiny mouse on top. Is this a hidden weapon? Can the mouse fire bullets? Who knows, but it looks great and is yet another small touch that adds immensely to the detailed theming of this doll.

Cat wears a solid black mask outlined in studs. I love the design but to be completely honest I actually prefer the doll without it. It certainly makes a statement -- it's just not one I personally always want to hear. But I can see why some swear by it. She kept it simple for her earrings. She probably didn't want them getting hung up in her hair. (Thank you for that, Mattel.) In her right ear is a simple black stud; in her left is another stud, accompanied by a small black hoop. She wear black fingerless gloves on both hands, although the left glove has some silver studs to add a bit of visual interest (and remind us that this Cat is dangerous). Last but far from least are her boots. They're knee high, stiletto'd numbers in red, with a silver inseam zipper. Cat scratches are molded into them throughout. When villainy calls she's gotta dress fast, and she doesn't have time to worry about nicking the boots. The scratches only add to the look anyway. The soles and heels are solid black and outlined in studs. The actual stiletto comes to a sharp point -- very cat-like.

Overall: If you've read my Top 10 MH Dolls of 2013 list you already know I think extremely highly of this doll. Toralei was a natural fit for the Power Ghouls line, what with her love of general villainy in the first place. As with all the PG dolls, her setup is elaborate and fun. Cat Tastrophe succeeds on multiple levels: as a reference to her obvious doppelganger, Newmar's Catwoman, as a fitting counterpart to her basic doll (all those studs and stripes and colors inform the personality of both dolls), and simply as a gorgeous doll in her own right. It's time for Cat and I to let you go... ferociously fun trouble is calling...

"You can brush my pussy willows before you leave. And don't go against the fur."