Retro Action DC Superheroes
Green Arrow
8 Inch Scale
By: Mattel

In the mid 1970’s Mego’s World’s Greatest Superheroes were really starting to take off. At the same time, so was the character of Green Arrow, from DC’s collection of comic books. Arrow’s popularity was getting to a larger spot than it had ever been before and the character made an interesting addition to the Mego toy line. When Mattel decided to do their take on the World’s Greatest Superheroes, now dubbed Retro-Action, Arrow was the first figure announced.

Green Arrow makes an interesting choice for their first figure and he’s an exclusive to where he can currently still be purchased after a re-release. Arrow received a signifigant upgrade in this new line, which made him an good launching point for Mattel with hopes to prove to fans that they could stay true to the old Mego style, while adhering to modern sensibilities.

Oliver Jonas “Ollie” Queen dressed like Robin Hood, becomes Green Arrow. He is an archer, who invents trick arrows with various special functions, such as a glue arrow, a net arrow, explosive arrow, time bomb arrow, grappling arrow, fire extinguishing arrow, flash arrow, tear gas arrow, cryonic arrow, a boxing-glove arrow, and even a kryptonite arrow. In the late 1960s, writer Denny O’Neil chose to have him lose his fortune, giving him the then-unique role of streetwise crusader for the working class and the disadvantaged. In 1970, he was paired with the more law-and-order-oriented hero Green Lantern in a groundbreaking, socially conscious comic book series. Since then, he has been popular among comic book fans and most writers have taken an urban, gritty approach to the character.

Mattel’s Green Arrow obviously looks a lot like the vintage figure and pretty clearly follows that style guide, but has been updated and improved in a variety of ways. I’ve never been a huge Green Arrow fan, though I must confess that his portrayal on Smallville has endeared me more to the character. It’s almost a shame that this is the hardest to find and thanks to shipping, most expensive Retro-Action figure around, as he’s arguably Mattel’s best effort thus far.

Since Ollie is only available on, he comes with a white mailer box like the Masters of the Universe Classics figures. This box features the Retro-Action logo as well as the Green Arrow’s name. It’s very similar to the MOTUC boxes, but much thinner.

Beyond that, the package is largely the same as the versions out at retail now. The same card, the same back and since there is nothing unique about the packaging such as bios it’s nearly identical. The only real difference is the name Green Arrow on the front.

There is something charming about the package and how the figure inside has no twist ties or rubber bands. I do wish there was a coffin shell like the old GI Joe packages though. I think the figures would be better protected that way.

The back of the package shows off the rest of the series. Arrow is right in the middle. Interestingly, each series has announced a hero and then a villain for them. Arrow is the exception as he has no villain figure. I would assume that’s because of Green Arrow’s rather obscure rogues gallery. Of course I would have loved a Brave & The Bold cartoon style Clock King figure, as he was originally a Arrow villain and would look great in this style.

Mattel, make this figure!

Unlike Lex Luthor there was already a precedent set for Green Arrow. In fact many contend that the 1975 Green Arrow figure was Mego’s best figure in the entire line. He was also the last 8 inch DC superhero that Mego produced, which means that Mattel has a lot to live up to.

Thankfully for Retro-Action’s success, they largely achieved what they set out to do. This figure looks a lot like the vintage Mego Green Arrow. He follows that same sort of guide on the head sculpt and costume, but slightly tweaks it to make it look better. The face might appear identical to the untrained eye, but the beard has been trimmed down, the eyes resculpted and generally some of the wonkiness of the original sculpt has been diminished.

Arrow now has large green leather-esque gauntlets, instead of the fabric versions of the original figure. This has been a point of contention with some folks however, as the gauntlets are a bit long running up above the elbow at times. Your mileage may vary.

The face sculpt is very good and somewhat reminiscent of the old Super Friends Green Arrow design. The beard has been slightly rounded to not look so ridiculous, but otherwise it remains the same.

The rest of the costume looks almost identical to the old Mego style guide. The key difference would be the belt color and that there isn’t any yellow paint on the hat or arrow feathers. Of course Mego never painted it’s accessories and it would appear that Mattel is following suit. It’s interesting to note that the Mego style guide also has the gauntlets up above the elbow.

Overall the detail and consistency is superb. It updates the classic figure, but keeps very true to the style. The one area some folks who don’t collect Mego, might find strange is the flesh fabric on the arms. I also find this a little peculiar, but it was something that Mego regularly did and it’s true to the design.

I still don’t love the body underneath and it’s undoubtedly the biggest problem that collectors face with this line. While Green Arrow doesn’t tend to slump as much as Luthor did for me, he’s still going to have to be fixed. You can take a look at my Lex Luthor review to see how to fix your Retro-Action figure so he can stand up straight.

The hips remain a problem as they’re just too big and the pelvis is entirely too small. (THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID!) There also needs to be some groove on the hip joints or something, to ensure that the figure can hold it’s poses. As it is, legs often snap back into place.

The lack of bicep swivel is quite alarming as well. Mattel didn’t update the body sculpt near enough to call this an improvement over the original Mego articulation. When you look at something like the Zica Toys Mego style body, you have to wonder why Mattel’s attempt didn’t come out something like that. No bands, thigh and bicep swivel, etc. That’s not to say you can’t pose this figure, because you can get him into a variety of poses. As mentioned before, Megos were quite poseable for their era.

I griped and grumbled about the small amount of accessories with Lex Luthor, but Green Arrow fares much better. Arrow needs to have several accessories and Mattel got this very much right. Of course I would have preferred if he’d came with a couple more and given that they already had the tools to make several of these accessories based off the DCUC designs, it’s a shame they didn’t give us even more.

Regardless of that fact, Ollie has quite a lot to work with and it makes his value better. Of course Mattel is just following in Mego’s footsteps in that sense as the Mego figure also came with much of this same gear.

In addition to the removable belt, shoes, quiver and hat he also has his bow and arrow. The bow has the boxing glove arrow permanently attached. That’s a bit of a bummer and apparently some sort of rule that Mattel must follow. You can purchase regular bows in the Mego communities though. It’s a nice sculpt and the head of the arrow can be turned around to a variety of directions.

There’s no real doubt in my mind that in terms of accessories, sculpt and overall design that the Green Arrow figure is probably the best value for the DC Retro-Action figures. With one big caveat… You can only purchase this guy online at the MattyCollector store. This means that if you’re only buying him, his price jumps from $20, to almost $30 with shipping.

It’s debatable if you should count shipping in the price or not, but I don’t really see how you couldn’t. This guy isn’t worth $28 in my mind. He is one of the few Retro-Action figures that I think is passable at the $20 price point, but he falls short when you add in shipping. I still fully believe these guys should be closer to $15.

Score Recap:
Packaging – 8
Sculpting – 8
Articulation – 7
Accessories – Quiver, Bow, Hat, Belt
Value – 7
Overall – 8 out of 10

I’m giving Ollie here a 8 out of 10, which again is pretty high. As I said in my previous Retro-Action review, if you don’t care for Mego at all, he’s probably a 6 out of 10. I scored the Emerald Avenger a little higher than I had planned because of his additional accessories and how well he compares to the vintage Mego figure. This is the one figure that I find most Mego collectors have no problem with. As always if you’re looking for more offbeat toys and pop culture follow me on Twitter.

Green Arrow is likely the best figure in Wave 1, but he’s also the most expensive. For a line that’s already overpriced, this is particularly troubling. There’s no denying that Ollie was a great start to the line and shows much of the promise that this classic toy line reimagined could bring. Now if we could just get that body up to standard, increase the accessories and decrease the price… Until then I can dream.

2 Responses to Retro-Action Green Arrow Review

  • Lt. Clutch says:

    That Alex Toth style guide shot of Ollie standing straight was how I first discovered the character (on the back of a Mego DC card) back in the 70's. These guys should be given a swivel grip of some kind, though. Ollie in particular, needs this type of articulation upgrade most of all. As for villains, how about Merlyn and Count Vertigo? They're both associated with Ollie and haven't appeared in any Mattel line, although I wish they would show up in DCUC first.

  • Agreed on Merlyn or Vertigo. Although I still think they might be too obscure for this line. I think they have to have pretty dynamic designs to make it in this Retro-Action range, though I could be wrong and both have had some unique styles through the years.

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