Although some heroes in the DCeased story got infected because they were selfish, impatient fools, most did not. Batman, for instance, got it trying to protect his family. And Aquaman was out in the world being legitmately heroic!
Finding a cargo ship floundering in the middle of the North Atlantic,
Aquaman came aboard to see if anyone needed help. This was in the immediate aftermath of the virus' attack, so the broken cellphone outside the ship's hold meant nothing to him; opening the door, he found the entire crew infected and waiting for him. And even a man who can survive at the bottom of the ocean can still be overhwlemed by dozens of blood-crazed pseudo-zombies.
We say "pseudo" zombies, because they're not really the traditional brain-eating types: more "bitey," less "chewy." The infection spreads by blood contact as well as by digital imagery, and since the blighted ones' want nothing more than to infect as many people as possible, they just want to injure and maim, not kill; a fully dead body can't scrape the person next to it, you know? They're not the un-dead, they're the anti-living. And once infected, Aquaman used that aggressive blood transmission in a brilliantly brutal way, spilling the blood of Atlantis' guards and letting the tides carry the plague right into the underwater city.
Aq's new zombified head was sculpted by Paul Harding, who's given him a wide open mouth and big gashes across his face. So far, this is the toy that's closest to the comic art in terms of wounds (especially that big one going over his right eye), but there's nary a single panel in all six issues where the character's hair is just sitting calmly like this - it's either blowing in the wind or drifting in the water, so to see it like this feels incorrect.
The head is the only new part of the sculpt. Although eventually he was seen with his costume fairly torn up, it was intact at the beginning,
so this isn't awful, but doing something more than a reused body would have been better. Of course, that's what DC Direct's plan was a couple years ago, and so it's what McFarlane Toys is able to deliver to us now. On the plus side, the DC Essentials release this one is reused from had a lot of uniquely Aquaman-ic parts, including the entirety of his scaled shirt, the belt, the gloves with their fins on the back and his shins with the same. So really it's just, what, the thighs, knees, and feet that are old? He does get the clawing hands that come with being a zombie, as well.
To really show the damage Aquaman's costume took,
he'd need to have a bare shoulder, a couple rips, stuff like that - things that mostly wouldn't be suitable to accomplish just using paint. Maybe a couple of fleshtone slashes on his pants would have been nice, but all we really get is a little bit of red smeared on his chest and gloves. The orange of his shirt is metallic, which does look very nice, and the green chosen for his lower half is dark enough to make a great contrast.
The toy has a balljointed head, hinged neck, swivel/hinge shoulders, swivel biceps, double-hinged elbows, swivel/hinge wrists, hinged chest, swivel waist, balljointed hips, swivel thighs, double-hinged
knees, swivel shins, and swivel/hinge/swivel ankles. The neck hinge isn't very deep, but it does allow him to tilt his head back far enough that you can make him look like he's swimming. A character who needs to look up who can actually look up? Imagine that! What a concept! One of the biceps was stuck fast, and needed to spend the night in the freezer before I could get it moving; additionally, the lower hinge on the left knee didn't want to bend until I pried it apart a little.
It's nice finally getting these toys that were once cancelled, but in the case of Aquaman at least, more should have been done to zombifiy them than just some paint and a new head.