Growing up I was strictly a Marvel kid. Between my brother Doug and I we collected the majority of the books published by Marvel in the 80s. It’s not that we didn’t like the DC characters it’s just that our cousin Greg turned us onto Marvel and that’s what we stuck with. It’s not like I had a ton of disposable income to blow on multiple publishers when I was 8 anyway. I knew Batman and Superman quite well because of their movies and TV shows and we did have a couple of their comics kicking around. But when it came to the rest of the DC characters I was really only familiar with them by way of the Super Friends cartoon. As I got older I learned more about them by reading Wizard magazine and Comic Shop News. I never commited to actually collecting a DC series until Robin got his own mini series in 1991. I always gravitated towards Robin as a kid and the idea of him having his own book intrigued me. The next DC character that struck my fancy was the Cassandra Cain Batgirl who got her own series in 2000. Around the same time Kevin Smith launched a new Green Arrow series which got me buying that character. Ever since, I’ve collected at least 1 or 2 DC books at any given time. I’ve collected Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, and a variety of others.
Green Lantern was never a character I had any interest in but around 2007/2008 I kept hearing what an amazing book it had become now that Geoff Johns was writing it. I eventually gave into the hype and gave it a try and immediately became a huge fan. Because of Johns’ dynamic take on the character I now have a wealth of GL graphic novels plus I currently collect 4 monthly Lantern related books. Geoff has moved on now but he got me so invested in the character that I’ll probably be a fan and reader for many more years to come.
Aquaman was another character I knew little about and didn’t have much interest in. I didn’t think he was a joke or a lame character as some people do, I just never had a good reason to give his books a try. Well when DC relaunched all of their comics in 2011 as “the New 52”, and they gave the Aquaman series to Geoff Johns, I finally had a good reason to check it out. I figured if the guy could make me love Green Lantern he could make me love Aquaman too. Johns was also the writer of the relaunched Justice League comic in 2011 and I read that first. I wasn’t a big fan of that book so that had me a little worried about his Aquaman. Though I don’t really think my dislike of the JL book was so much Johns’ fault as it was due to my general dislike of the New 52 concept. I bought the first 6 issue collection of Aquaman and I liked it. I liked the second volume as well. I recently finished reading the third and I think Johns has finally found his stride with the series. The third volume, which actually crossed over with the JL book, was very entertaining. It read like a big Hollywood blockbuster. If you’ve never given Aquaman a chance I would recommend you check it out.
I bought this figure a few years back, before the New 52, when the extent of my Aquaman knowledge was still only what I picked up in magazines and remembered from the old cartoons. This doll retailed for $75 dollars at my local comic shop, Strange Adventures. It sat there for quite some time as you can imagine. It might be there still if not for the insane sale that the shop has every fall. They used to have a sale on their back issues each September where one day they’d be 10% off, the next day 20%, and the next day 30%. This went on until the comics were 90% off! You’d think everyone would wait until day 9 to buy anything but if you wanted to beat the crowd you might cave and buy the books you want at 40% off. I was usually comfortable buying at 60% off, it was still an insane deal and there was plenty of good stuff left. Well for a year or two, about 5 or 6 years ago, Strange Adventures offered the same sale on EVERYTHING IN THE STORE. I went on 60% off day and spent like $300 but went home with like $800 worth of swag. It was an epic score.
However I was at work a few days later, on what would have been 90% off day, and I started wondering whether I had missed anything. I decided to pop into the shop on my lunch break. The place was practically stripped bare by that point but atop a spinner rack I saw this lonely Aquaman doll still untouched. I grabbed a few graphic novels along with this shimmering aquatic hero and made my way to the cash register. This 13 inch deluxe collector’s figure produced by DC Direct cost me $7.50.
It wouldn’t take much for me to say this figure was worth the money I spent on it but it really is a nice figure. I never would have paid $75 for it but I’d say he’s easily worth $40. This toy really is more of a doll than an action figure and I’m fine with that classification. It stands an inch taller than most of my other similar collectables which measure in at the standard 12″ height. I’m not sure why DC Direct went the 13″ route. The extra height might make these figures seem slightly fancier but it puts them out of scale with most other dolls. Aquaman is freakishly tall when displayed next to the Rocketeer or a Storm Trooper.
This figure is well articulated and very posable. He has a mid torso joint not found on most dolls but similar to the joint found on modern 4″ G.I. Joe figures. The head sculpt is very well done with a nice expression that seems to change depending on the angle you look at him. It’s a very classic, generic looking Aquaman. I don’t believe it’s based on any particular artist’s rendering or any specific time period. The costume is awesome and ridiculous at the same time. Aquaman has never had the coolest uniform, orange shirt with a sweeping neckline, and green footie tights, but this toy doesn’t shy away from the absurdity. The pants and shirt are made from a glimmering metallic looking material that picks up and reflects light beautifully. The shirt has an intricate scale pattern and the back of the legs have some really cool fins. He has interchangable hands so you can display him with clenched fists or open hands with posable fingers. I display him with one of each so he can hold his trident accessory in the posable hand. The trident is taller than he is and it looks awesome. Like it’s owner, the golden trident is also very shiny. Aquaman also comes with an adjustable black display base which props him up nicely. The base has an Aquaman logo that you can only spot in certain light; it’s subtle and classy, a base worthy of the King of Atlantis.