Walgreens is back again, this time with a character not tied to any specific recent releases. Black Ant was released to coincide with the movie line, Daredevil had just been in a Spider-Man series, but it's been nine years since there's been a Namor action figure.
Namor is a trident-wielding super-being with tremendous strength and the ability to swim at incredible speeds!
It's entirely possible the reason we're getting this version of Namor right now has something to do with the recent news that Namor's film rights, which for years had been tied up at Universal (alongside Hulk and Howard the Duck), may finally be getting untangled. Not that Hasbro is forbidden from making non-Disney-movie characters (despite what the tinfoil hat conspiracy crowd would like to believe), but if the corporate lawyers have been hammering this out for a few years, it may have been clear that it was about to reach a conclusion, so Hasbro and Walgreens opted to take advantage of the potential movement on the issue to put this toy into production. Or maybe it was just that it's been years since there's been a toy, and important things have been happening to him in the comics. Whatever the reason, that's good synchronicity!
Namor has a new head, with his usual pointy hair, ears and eyebrows. It's a great face, with a lot of personality - the set of his mouth and the arch of his eyebrows make him look perfectly imperious. I had a few to pick from when I got to the store, and I chose one where the pupils had been painted slightly off-center. Namor is throwing some serious side-eye!
The new parts don't stop with the head. Though his arms and legs seem to come from the usual source, that doesn't mean much. Not when he's got new forearms (for his golden bracers) and new shins (for his wing ankles). But beyond that, he also has an entirely new torso - not only is his vest a sculpted element, so is his belt! It has a fine diamond pattern all the way around, and even the trident in the center is etched in. The vest has a raised collar, because this figure didn't have enough new pieces already. Seriously, who budgeted all this for a store exclusive?
The new bodyparts don't mean a reduction in articulation. Other Marvel Legends move at the head, neck, shoulders, biceps,
elbows, wrists, torso, waist, hips, thighs, knees, boots, and ankles? So does Nomar. I mean, Namor. For the best swimming poses, he also comes with flat hands that you can swap for his usual gripping pair. His back has a hole in it, in case you have any old ToyBiz Doop stands lying about.
The figure is mostly black, though he has golden
bracelets and belt. The center of his costume is metallic blue, and the thin black lines that make up the scales are painted on crisply. His ankle-wings are a pale bluish-gray, and his skin is surprisingly tan for somebody who lives at the bottom of the ocean. I get that Atlantis is sort of a Mediterranean-descended island, but fish that live that deep are all blind albinos, so why is Prince Namor rocking a healthy olive complexion?
And for that matter, why is he "Prince" Namor? He's got no parents, he's not married to a queen regnant, he's certainly not humble... so if Aquaman is King Arthur Curry, why is the Sub-Mariner not King Namor McKenzie? The figure comes with what we can only assume is his latest staff of office; it's not Neptune's Trident, it's not whatever this thing was... it gets its mold from Odin's spear, and while it's mosly the same gold as Namor's belt, it's also accented in metallic aqua and white. It does look very nice with him - better than with Odin, really. Again we have to ask, how did a store exclusive have the budget for more paint apps than a mass release? The only issue is that it's a little too thick to fit his hands well.
It's probably the lack of a BAF piece that does it. The back of the box shows the figures from the Captain America 3 Giant-Man series, but makes no mention of Build-A-Figures at all. Just as with Daredevil, Namor's packaging is specific to him: it's black and blue, but a different shade than the Civil War toys have (more green in it), and he gets his own logo on top. Even the tray behind the figure is unique, with a scale pattern suitable for this underwater hero. The package stands out nicely on the shelf, and the toy looks great in it.
Namor has traditionally been recognized as making his first appearance in Marvel Comics #1, in October of 1939, but that was a reprint of a story from Motion Picture Funnies Weekly #1, a (failed) attempt to create a book that could be given away as a marketing promotion by theater owners. Although it was never given out, several copies were printed in the spring of '39, making Namor even older than he seems. This isn't just a good exclusive of him, it's a good figure period.