Thursday, January 10, 2013

Review: Power Ghouls - Clawdeen as Wonder Wolf

Today's review marks the second installment of this month's Clawdeen Extravaganza. It also doubles as my first Power Ghouls review, something I'm very excited about! Power Ghouls is a brand new line, exclusive to Target, consisting of four dolls. It's a sort of sister line to last year's Target exclusive Scarily Ever After doll line. In that line we saw three of the Monster High ghouls re-imagined as fairy tale characters, complete with included storybooks. Power Ghouls works in much the same way, substituting fairy tale characters with superheroes, and storybooks with comic books. I love this type of postmodern reinvention of the characters we know and love so much. I think the whole idea in general is really fun and it gives us a chance to view the ghouls in unexpected, unique ways. As you probably know I also love me some MH paper ephemera so having our characters presented in comic book form is a big highlight as well.

In addition to the comic book, as a deluxe doll Wonder Wolf also includes a stand, hairbrush, and numerous accessories. She also gets an elaborate character set up, starting with a box back that is presented to us as a Gory Gazette cover story on Wonder Wolf.

Since the comic book is a full story detailing the origins of Wonder Wolf I won't spoil the adventures it contains by posting the entire booklet. But I will share the cover and a cropped scan of one of my favorite drawings in the comic:

As you can see everything here looks great. The drawings are done in an authentic comic style and the story is both fun and engaging. Clawdeen's sharp intellect and skeptical nature come through. The story feels true to the character. As luck would have it the comic book isn't the only thing that looks great here: the doll is gorgeous, too! She's presented in the box busting through a brick wall -- very cool! I didn't get a picture of it but did an admittedly so-so recreation of it:

As you've probably guessed by her name, Wonder Wolf's heroic inspiration is Wonder Woman. Wonder Wolf's outfit and especially her shield are the strongest links to Wonder Woman. But make no mistake, this doll feels very "Clawdeen" while offering a few stylistic departures along the way. Let's get started!

If you've read my review of Scaris Clawdeen you know I'm quite beguiled by that doll's beautiful faceup. Well, I won't say I like Wonder Wolf's faceup even more, but I like it just as much! Clawdeen as Wonder Wolf is truly beautiful. She has the standard bright yellow and brown irises. Her makeup is a bit of a departure, though. She has shimmering, golden eyeliner that is topped by dark plum eyeshadow. It in turn is topped by deeply shimmering golden eyeshadow that goes to her brows. The top layer of shadow matches the eyeliner while the plum shadow also runs under the eye. Her semi-matte lips come in a shade of plum that's a tad muted compared to the plum of her eyeshadow. These colors are rich and luxurious; they remind me quite a bit of Jinafire's faceup, actually. Wonder Wolf looks very fierce in the comic book but the doll comes across as friendly and sweet. Not to say that's a drawback -- this is most certainly a gorgeous faceup.

Wonder Wolf has curly hair that lands at her rear. Her bangs have a fat curl in them. Connecting her stylistically to Clawdeen are neon green streaks that start in her bangs and run backwards into the hair directly behind them. She also has more green streaks framing her face. The green is used sparingly -- the streaks behind the bangs trail off and disappear while the streaks framing her face are quite thin and only show up a couple of times on each side. The majority of her hair is the beautiful dark brown. The texture is, unfortunately, prone to tangles and frizz due to the curls. On the plus side it stays in place well and, if you use a very wide-toothed comb, can be styled rather easily. Overall I like this hair quite a bit. The style is fantastic and the texture is workable. It also matches her faceup very well.

Wonder Wolf wears a bodysuit that utilizes short-shorts in place of pant legs. The colors consist of the Clawdeen mainstays of purple and green. Aside from a few small bits in the shorts the texture is entirely metallic (way cool). The bodice is purple and connects to a large green collar that fastens with Velcro in the back. Under the bust is a gold skullette with wolf ears and a tuft of hair. It's really cute and works as another tie to Clawdeen. Attached to the bodice are the previously mentioned short-shorts. They feature a print of purple and green comic bursts with an occasional black zig-zag. There's also some yellow spots with tiny black polka dots. It sounds like a busy print, and I suppose it is, but it totally works for this look. Each leg is hemmed with purple ribbon. The overall vibe of this outfit is very retro, landing somewhere around the late 60's to early 70's. Stylistically it's perfectly fitting for a comic book superhero. Plus it just plain looks amazing on Wonder Wolf.

Great footwear is essential for any superhero, including Wonder Wolf. She wears golden boots that feature purple platforms and studded heels. The tops of the boots are also lined in purple. The body features several molded details including a row of studs that run down the center of the boot before forming a teardrop shape over the foot. The sides are lined with molded diagonal lines. Although these aren't the most amazing MH boots we've seen (that honor goes to basic Robecca's rocket boots, in my opinion), they're nothing to sneeze at. They match her bodysuit perfectly and are definitely "comic book". Well done, Mattel!

Wonder Wolf has several accessories. A studded purple headband holds her hair in place (a must for a girl on the move, especially one who's got villains to battle), while two purple cuffs are worn on her left arm -- one around the bicep and the other around her wrist. She wears a gold studded hoop and matching starburst earring in each ear. The starbursts feature a skullette in the center. Around her waist is a gold belt showcasing the phases of the moon in the front and studs in the back.

Her last accessory is the most "superheroic". It's a gold, circular shield centered by a purple wolf in outline. The wolf is surrounded by purple moons once again in phases. At the top of the "moon phase circle" is a purple wolf skullette that matches the one on her bodysuit. The perimeter of the shield is lined with more studs. This is an impressive piece, no doubt. It has a vaguely Roman look to it. The outlined wolf reminds me of a drawn constellation while the moon in phases emphasizes this character's wolf-y nature. The shield is made of hard plastic (it feels nice), and has two wide armholes in the back to slide Wonder Wolf's arm through. She holds her shield easily and looks great doing it!

Overall grade: A This is a fantastic doll! Her overall look works on several levels -- as a unique interpretation of the Clawdeen character, as an homage to Wonder Woman, as a postmodern take on the general idea of a classic comic book character. She comes with several cool accessories, particularly that doozy of a shield. The character set up is detailed and fitting for Clawdeen. And we get a really cool comic book, to boot! The only drawback is that my doll has a stiff neck, making it hard to pose her head. It's not as bad as it was with my Robecca dolls, but it's nonetheless a problem that's starting to occur quite frequently on Monster High dolls. Hopefully Mattel is aware of this problem and is trying to correct it. Bottom line: This is a cleverly conceptualized and designed doll. She has a lot of personality and is very beautiful. Mattel got it right with Wonder Wolf.


  1. Excellent!! I didn't realize these were in stores already! I guess that's what I get for stepping away from the toy world for a week or so XD

    1. Hey, it happens to the best of us lol. With MH in particular things seem to move really fast. One day there's nothing new in sight for a few months, the next day, three new lines have hit shelves!

  2. I loved this concept and thought it looked like they'd nailed the execution, but I didn't think I'd actually buy her. That is, until I saw her. You have the best photos, but none of them touch having her in hand. She is just WOW. I couldn't get to the cashier fast enough!

    1. Thank you! I agree -- nothing can compare to having the actual doll in your hands. That's why my critiques of dolls I haven't seen in person yet come with a caveat pointing that out. The doll you see pics of online and find kind of boring may look amazing to you in person! Wonder Wolf looks great online, but even better in person, for sure.