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DC Universe Classics
by Poe Ghostal

Despite being the King of Atlantis and having complete control over anything that lives in water - from whales to great white sharks to lampreys - ol' Orin still tends to get shunted to the "...and the rest" part of the figurative Justice League theme song.

Found abandoned, Prince Orin of Atlantis was raised in the ways of the surface world and renamed by lighthouse keeper Arthur Curry. But in the water was where young Arthur truly thrived. In adulthood, he took the name Aquaman and used his aquatic abilities to patrol the seven seas. The aquatic avenger's renown soon earned him a place among the newly assembled Justice League of America.

No well-known superhero has been the subject of as much derision as Aquaman. Whether due to the the inexplicable orange-and-green costume or the unfortunate limitation of performing best in an environment in which humans can't live naturally, Aquaman has been the Justice League's lowest-ranking A-lister for decades.

While every figure thus far in DCUC has been exceptional, sometimes it seems like the Horsemen take a little more time on certain characters, and I suspect Aquaman was one of them. The detail on the scaled armor on his torso is as good as anything you'll see on a specialty market figure, and the head sculpt captures Orin's leonine features. His legs are buff, with some fins added to the back of his calves.

Again, Mattel seems to have put a little extra oomph into Aquaman. The paint used for the torso is just the right bright shade of orange, and the wash brings out the detail on the scales perfectly. The shiny green plastic of the molded gloves adds a touch of the aquatic, like the material of a raincoat or galoshes, while the smooth, matte finish of the legs suggests the skin of a shark. The paint work on the head sculpt is also very good, and there's some nice gold detailing around the collar of his tunic.

Aquaman has the standard DCUC articulation: balljoints at the neck and shoulders, hinge joints at the elbows, knees, ankles and abdomen, post-hinge joints at the hips and swivel joints at the wrists, biceps, thighs and waist. In addition to Grodd's right arm, Aquaman, like his nemesis Black Manta, comes with a long trident. I really like its sculpt; the way the left and right prongs bend closely to the central one somehow makes the weapon seem even more oceanic. It fits easily in either or both hands.

If you don't like the old-school Orin, there are two versions of Aquaman shipping in this series: this "classic" version, which everybody is familiar with from his position on the Super Friends (if nowhere else), and the modern "Arthur Joseph Curry" version, who sports a longer haircut, golden gauntlets and a distinct lack of black underwear.

For a guy who doesn't often get the respect he deserves, the Four Horsemen and Mattel have done justice to this Leaguer.

-- 09/08/08

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