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Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
by yo go re

"Mister Nimbus!!"

The ruler of Talokan, an ancient civilization hidden in the depths of the ocean, Namor will stop at nothing to protect his people.

Black Pather: Wakanda Forever did a really great job at both introducing a new group of characters who have been living in the universe all along, and also explaining why we'd never heard of them before - which, yes, was also true of Wakanda itself before Civil War, but it bodes well for the eventual introduction of mutants. Well, mutants en masse: clearly we've already had some mutants. Hell, Namor is one of them! The movie did a great job of explaining that, too, by basically giving him Blade's origin of inheriting power via wombatism. [Note: that's supposed to be "womb-atism," like "rhumatism," not "wombat-ism" like the theory of wombats. It works better said out loud than written down --ed.]

Usually Atlantis is portrayed in fiction as being vagely Greek, since that's where the myth originally came from: you know, marble statues, columns, that whole deal. But because they wanted to avoid confusion with Aquaman, the MCU's Atlantis is not "Atlantis" at all, but Talokan, a new Mesoamerican-influenced realm - so it's still Atlantis, just being called by its endonym (a people's local name for their own home) instead of an exonym (what foreign people call it). You know, like saying "Nippon" instead of "Japan," "Deutschland" instead of "Germany," or "Turtle Island" instead of "America." What that means for Namor is that in addition to his usual little green swimtrunks, he's also wearing a bunch of gold jewelry, particularly a massive necklace piece. It makes the character more visually interesting for film, without ruining the look that made him him in the first place. The figure was sculpted by Dennis Chan.

Namor, aka K'uk'ulkan, was played by Tenoch Huerta, who was another of the actors who had to learn to swim for the role: unlike Aquaman, which was filmed on dry land and merely submerged in post-production, Wakanda Forever actually put its actors underwater. That meant trouble for the costume and makeup departments, who had to find things that would stand up to being dunked in a universal solvent for hours at a time. Namor still has his pointy ears, but his hairline has only the vaguest hint of that traditional widow's peak hairline. His nose piercing is less obtrusive on the toy than it was in the film, as well: here, it just blends in with his mustache.

One of the things that made Namor a mutant among his people was that his skin didn't change color when he exited the water - he was fleshtone all the time. The toy is a nice tan, which contrasts against his dark green shorts very well. The gold he's wearing is vibrant as well, not dulled at all by being too blue like we sometimes see on toys. The necklace and the bands on his upper arms are separate pieces, just held on by the toy's body, so you could have a slightly plainer Namor if you're willing to do some disassembly. The wings on his ankles are bright white, and the brown of his foot wraps doesn't blend in too much with the skin or armor around it.

More figures are using "barbell" joints for their necks these days, but we're really glad this figure sticks with the old balljoint/hinge combo: barbells have gotten a lot better than they used to be, but they still can't compete with the older style when it comes to allowing a figure to look up and down - you know, for instance, if they were swimming or flying. But what are the odds Namor would do either of those things? He's got all the usual joints otherwise: ankles, knees, thighs, hips, chest, wrists, elbows, biceps, and shoulders.

You can choose whether to give the toy flat, open hands, or a pair shaped to grip his sole accessory: a big spear. (Well, only the right hand can hold it; the left is a fully closed fist.) A spear is a logical melee weapon for underwater, because thrusting would be a lot more effective than swinging, due to the resistance. The spear is gold with a metallic green tip - allegedly pure vibranium.

He also gets the left arm of Attuma, the Build-A-Figure for this first series.

Movie Namor was a terrific representation of the character, every bit as stuck-up and self-righteous as he is in the comics. We're not going to be getting a solo film any time soon (like Hulk, his rights still belong to Universal), but he's ready to be a major force in the MCU moving forward; and to get righteously indignant when someone makes the mistake of calling him "Atlantean."

-- 12/22/22

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