Retro Action DC Superheroes
8 Inch Scale
By: Mattel

Earlier this year, Mattel jumped into the Re-Mego market, with their Mego-like Retro-Action toys. For many fans this was a great way to relive the glory days of Mego and to introduce new generations to the fun. Although the first wave had some issues, Wave 2 seemed to be even better. With Batman and Two Face providing a one-two punch for the mainstream and an old Mego favorite, Aquaman and his nemesis Black Manta to pick up the slack.

Aquaman is a costumed super-hero, gifted with the power to make sea creatures obey his commands, who is the product of a union between a lighthouse keeper and a young woman of ATLANTIS.

I have always wanted the Mego Aquaman, because I’m just a diehard lover of the goofy Aquaman character. Vintage Aquaman Megos seem to be in the worst shape for whatever reason, so when the announcement of a new Mego-style Aquaman was made, I was giddy. Earlier this year I reviewed Lex Luthor, and despite a few faults I was pretty kind to him. So now that I’ve got my hands on the finned friend of the fish, does Aquaman sink or swim?

Retro-Action figures are marketed towards adults. The concept for these figures is to look like they’re vintage figures that have been unearthed in some old storage room somewhere. Unfortunately, it doesn’t quite work. For starters this package is bright pink. Who chose that as a color, seriously?

What’s wrong with pink, you say? Well I just recently found these figures stocked in the GIRLS aisle of my local TJ Maxx. Now granted, TJ Maxx is a mess, but these were neatly stacked amongst all the other pink toys. GIRLS AISLE TOYS.

Aside from that, the package is okay. It has the whole series on the back of the card and it has faux aging on the card. That doesn’t really do much for me. Sadly, the biggest issue is probably that these guys aren’t fastened into the card in any way. This means that of the 15 Aquamen I’ve seen in the stores, most have had their hair paint rub off inside the card.

Unlike Lex Luthor who didn’t have an official Mego counterpart, Aquaman was a popular Mego figure back in the day. That means that this figure needs to improve upon the classic Mego Aquaman, or at the very least meet the same standard. Unfortunately, while there are some improvements, there are some detractions as well.

For starters the face sculpt is very “young”. This doesn’t really look like any form of Aquaman. He’s got a very child-like face and innocence about him. It’s a shame they couldn’t give us a Brave & The Bold style Aquaman. He kicks ass.

The other issue is the body. The Retro-Action body is a mess and the guy CAN NOT STAND out of the package. This is a major problem. I suppose not having boots is part of the problem, but the major problem is in the construction. This means you have to use the “rubber piping trick” in which you take a piece of rubber tubing, cut it into a small C and place that around the band that holds the legs together. I had no real issue doing this with Luthor, but for whatever reason it took THREE sets of pipe to hold Aquaman up where he could stand straight. Good news is that Wave 3 apparently has fixed this, but bad news for those just now buying Wave 2.

The other real problem is the costume. It only has one snap on it and apparently on mine the snap is sewed onto too much material. Meaning that when this bad boy snaps, it leaves a gape and just barely comes together.

The good news is that they added the “scales” to the outfit. The bad news is that the scales almost immediately started coming off. Tons of little black flakes are all over this figure and some of the scales are already starting to disappear. This is just from me moving the figure around to take a few pictures. Heaven forbid I wanted to actually play with it.

On the plus side, the fins on the heels are now made out of a vinyl material. He also has gantlets and doesn’t have the Mego classic “oven mitts” for gloves. That’s good too!

The poseability of the figure is decent. Mattel really didn’t live up to their promise of offering up a more articulated body with this line. It’s got about the same range of motion as a vintage Mego, with slightly different construction.

The upper body really isn’t bad and Mattel did some improvements here, but the tiny waist and bulbous thighs represent a real problem. It makes the “underwear” of the figure look really contorted. Without the piping in the waist fix, this guy looks like he has scoliosis.

Sadly the rubber bands which hold the legs together are too tight and the hips are so smooth that they snap back into place.

The only real improvement is a swivel hinge to the feet. Mego had a swivel hinge on the wrists previously and Mattel followed suit but also gave them to their feet. It’s a nice addition, but doesn’t add a lot one way or the other.

I’m of the belief that all Mego-style figures should come with several accessories. The toys just aren’t good enough not to. They might have been in 1975, but not in 2010. Batman should come with a batarang and a grappling hook, Superman should come with a bent steel girder and some kryptonite, etc… Everyone should have at least two accessories.

Aquaman only gets one and that’s his trident. It’s a nice sculpt and it very well may be new. I can’t recall getting this in any other figures, but it’s hard to say.

It fits in his hands well and he can hold it with both. It’s a pretty great accessory. I still think he should have came with something else, like a rubber octopus or something. The trident could be a bit longer too… But those are minor quibbles.

Here is where everything falls apart. These figures retail for $20. I almost bought Aquaman a few times at Toys R Us for $20, but every time I looked at him all contorted in the package, I couldn’t bring myself to it. When rumors began to hit that these guys were showing up in secondary chains for half off, I decided I could afford that for Aquaman. Unfortunately, even at $10 this guy feels like a bit much. The head sculpt isn’t very Aquaman, the shirt will need replacing, the body needs to be fixed… So once you eliminate the head, the body and the outfit… I spent $10 on a trident?

Score Recap:
Packaging – 6
Sculpting – 6
Articulation – 7
Accessories – Trident
Value – 6
Overall – 6 out of 10

I guess I hold Aquaman in a higher esteem than what Mattel has done with him here. Everything here isn’t terrible, but the constant problems with this line just really hit poor Arthur hard. Perhaps if my Aquaman’s costume fit him a little better and wasn’t falling off as I tried to fix his body, I’d be more lenient. I thought about buying a second one, so that his costume could be transplanted if need be… But then I’d be paying $20 for this guy again, so I’m not sure. Aquaman isn’t a total thumbs down, but he’s a solid thumbs in the middle.

6 Responses to Retro-Action Aquaman Figure Review

  • Philip Reed says:

    The more I hear about this line the happier I am I've skipped. But know that if I ever see the Batman in stores I won't be able to resist grabbing him.

  • TBolt says:

    Personally Iove the new Aquaman headsculpt and all. If you look at the collection as a whole they all fit together nicely and seem to be carrying the same design theme. I have not had the scale flakeage and this is the first I've heard of it.

  • Yeah. I'm going to be reviewing Bats soon, so that should give you an idea of how he is. I'll also be reviewing a similar product in the next week or so that's much better than this, which you might want to take a peek at.

  • I'm okay with the ones I have, but Aquaman really feels like a let down to me. Of course it doesn't help when my Aquaman has an outfit that's so easily prone to damage. The issue there is that every other Aquaman I've encountered either had paint coming off or a visible snag on this outfit in the card. So I really thought I was buying the "perfect" Aquaman, only to have his scales flaking off and his suit snap sewed into too much material. It's a real bummer.

  • Lt. Clutch says:

    I love the classic 70's/80's Aquaman, but even I have had second thoughts about this figure. Not feeling the same buzz I got back when my dad got me the original Mego version (on a card!) "Because he was always a favorite," as he said that day at TRUs. This one reminds me of the old Filmation 60's cartoon more than anything else. Not worth $20, though.

  • My sister used to crush on Aquaman. It's uncanny and surreal how, after all these years, Aquaman is now an action figure.

Leave a Reply