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Welcome to a NEW Toy Related column review!

REVIEW: Mattel DC Universe Classics Aquaman

I was lucky enough to run across a figure that sort of eluded me for several months. I'm talking about possibly the BEST Aquaman figure I have ever seen. Mattel's second wave of DC Universe Classics (a toyline designed by the 4 Horsemen) offered the King of the Seven Seas... well, twice. After getting the modern one this summer, I finally managed this month to discover the classic version of Aquaman I was actually looking for, and added him to my collection of same-scale DC Direct and Mattel figures within my display case.

Mattel has provided collectors and kids with a wonderful looking classic Aquaman figure with high poseability and a very cool trident accessory. I cannot express enough how great this figure looks, and I am not even a huge Aquaman fan. The figure has a broad barrel chest and muscles that recall the silver age drawings of the character. His hair is sculpted into waves as if it were blowing in the breeze or (naturally) moving around under water. His face has a determined heroic look (no cheesy grin like some of his DC Direct figures!) and his gloves and fins on his legs protrude abit to help make the character extra dynamic. Though still too many for my personal tastes, the articulation points don't interfere too much with the design elements. He looks regal and powerful at the same time. Very nicely done.

In addition, Aquaman is also one of the DCU WAVE 2 five figures that buyers can collect in order to build a complete Gorilla Grodd action figure (you know, the mind-controlling simian mastermind). This is a pretty successful and clever incentive program integrated in the toyline to drive up sales of the individual figures with a "gotta-buy-them-all" mentality, or otherwise you may have to do without a really cool larger figure, or at least be stuck with some body parts to lay around as casualties of war (Here's a thought: Hey kids! Re-enact those comic covers with arms coming up from gravesites!).

The toy company got a little clever when packaging the figures in this wave, as Harley Quinn is packaged in a pose where she triumphantly stands atop a lying Grodd torso and head while holding her wooden mallet. Aquaman actually looks like he is swimming within his package. Black Manta (Aquaman's most famous foe) is also part of the line and is likely the figure bean counters at Mattel loved most as his deco is minimal (which is reflective of his comic design). Superman (in his temporary electric energy form) is available in either Superman Red and Superman Blue. And Firestorm (my review coming soon!) is available as either Ronnie Raymond (classic version) or Jason Rusch (modern version).

The version of Aquaman I managed to pick up this summer was a nice rendition; however, it wasn't the original Aquaman (born as Orin, and later named "Arthur Curry"); it was instead the modern Aquaman (Arthur Joseph Curry, who now likes to be called Joseph). To distinguish the two versions of the figure, Joseph has longer hair than Orin, has not black shorts, and has gauntlets instead of gloves. Joseph has a bit more gold on his outfit and darker eyebrows. To be practical, there really is no huge difference as anyone with an imagination can pretend Orin is Joseph or Joseph is Orin. The same, however, cannot be said for the Ronnie and Jason Firestorms. But collectors are going to be searching out the Orin version anyway, while kids could probably care less which one they receive. Joseph's comic book appearance shows a few more details that could have been worked into his version of the toy (see the DC Direct First Appearances version for instance), but then the ability to easily create the more accurate Orin version would have been stunted here. As it is, a simple head and arms change and voila!: Modern Aquaman.

Coming up in a later wave (no pun intended), Aquaman (Arthur) will be seen again, this time in the blue wave costume that he wore for a time during the 1980s.

The Mattel classic Aquaman is a figure I enthusiastically recommend for anyone, whether collector or kid. The modern one is cool too.

Orin (classic version):

FIGURE DESIGN:
9
PAINT DECO:
9
ACCURACY:
10
ARTICULATION:
8
PACKAGING:
8
FAN APPEAL:
10

Joseph (modern version):

FIGURE DESIGN:
9
PAINT DECO:
9
ACCURACY:
6
ARTICULATION:
8
PACKAGING:
8
FAN APPEAL:
6

Scott D.M. Simmons (www.scottdmsimmons.com) is an artist and writer living in Cincinnati, Ohio, and used to work as a digital photographer for Hasbro Toys. Nowadays, he is the artist for WANNABEZ (with writer Brant W. Fowler), an inker for HALLOWEEN MAN (and its crossover with Hack/Slash), and the creator of his upcoming ANGELWOLF COMICS stories. He also helps keep the open source JENNY EVERYWHERE seen on the web, and is the artist on the upcoming DEADLY CINEMA comic books.




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