DC Multiverse (Steppenwolf Wave): Aquaman by Mattel

It seems like forever ago that I saw Justice League, but that’s probably because it quickly got pushed down by my multiple (FOUR!) viewings of Thor: Ragnarok and the recent release of The Last Jedi. For the record, I was one of the seemingly few who enjoyed Justice League, and I really enjoyed it for what it wasn’t: A sour and suicidal thought-inducing monochrome vision of despair like Batman V Superman or Man of Steel. As a result, you know I had to pick up the action figures and today I’m starting with a look at Aquaman and Mera. I had intended to review these figures as a pair, but the more time I spent with them, the more I decided to give each their own review. So let’s start with Aquaman this morning and come back to Mera later tonight.

There’s not much to say about the packaging. It’s typical Multiverse fare and it is collector friendly. Before I get started, I will say that I was not a big fan of the way they’ve chosen to portrait the character in the film. I wouldn’t say I’m the biggest fan of Arthur Curry, but I did really enjoy the New 52 Throne of Atlantis run, and I’m digging the hell out of his current run in the Rebirth comics. So, I have definitely become more of a fan in recent years. The DCEU version isn’t really recognizable to me as Aquaman, but it more or less fit in the context of the film and I wound up not hating him.

And I sure as hell do not hate this figure, because it looks pretty damn great. Arthur comes donning his full suit of Atlantean armor. The sculpt here is  intricate and consists of a network of organic, curved lines against a field of muted scales. There’s barely any space on this figure that doesn’t contain some kind of sculpted detail and it looks really solid. The shoulder pads are also cast in soft plastic and connected to the torso, giving them the ability to work well with the arm articulation.

As good as the armor looks, the real star of this figure is the portrait. And yes, I can’t believe I’m saying that about a Multiverse figure. Not only is the likeness for Mamoa certainly there, but it’s actually expressive too! The face is framed with a mighty beard and a copious mane of shaggy hair punctuated with a good looking paint wash. I particularly love the pale blue they used for his eyes. This is without a doubt the best head sculpt I’ve seen in this line, even if that isn’t really saying a lot.

Alas, the articulation does disappoint. It’s not terrible, but it’s not up to the standards that I expect from a twenty dollar 6-inch scale figure. The arms are fine, as they have rotating hinges in the shoulders and elbows, as well as swivels in the biceps and wrists. hinges in the wrists would have been nice, but it’s not a big deal. The legs are ball jointed at the hips and have hinges in the ankles. The knees look like rotating hinges, but all I can get out of mine is a straight bend. I’m not sure if that’s because of the armor sculpt, or by design. The lack of thigh swivels is disappointing. The neck is ball jointed, but because of the hair, I can’t get a lot of movement out of it. There’s a swivel in the waist. The biggest let down is the lack of ab crunch or ball joint in the chest, which is particularly egregious in a figure of a character that swims.

In addition to one of Steppenwolf’s legs, Aquaman comes with his trident. It’s a very simple sculpt, cast in gray plastic with no paint. It’s serviceable, but it’s so plain it feels like an accessory that would be bundled with a far more basic figure. Also, the fact that his left hand is sculpted in a fist is a bit of a bummer, as he can’t hold the trident in both hands.

So, Aquaman is far from a perfect figure, but I still think he’s a very good one, especially for a line that has more often than not been sub-par. The sculpt and paintwork here is excellent, but the articulation is lacking a few critical points. Considering how pleased I was with the Wonder Woman movie figures, I’m beginning to suspect Mattel is willing to put the effort in where the DCEU figures are concerned, even if they’re not so gung-ho over the comic figures. Either way, be sure to swing back here later tonight and we’ll have a look at Mera!

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2 comments on “DC Multiverse (Steppenwolf Wave): Aquaman by Mattel

  1. If I ever see this guy on the pegs with a deep discount, I will bring him home so I can cut off his head.

    No no! I mean it in a good way. I see that head sculpt and I see Graviton. Hasbro will never make such a D-Lister so this will be the perfect base for a custom.

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