DC Collectibles recently released the latest wave in their "DC Comics Super Villains" line of action figures. Among them is the stunning Black Manta action figure based off of Ivan Reis's DC Comics New 52 re-design of the character from the pages of "Aquaman." The sculpt was beautifully done by Jean St. Jean.
It has been said before that Black Manta is one of the coolest designs in comics and St. Jean's sculpt exemplifies that. Manta's trademark sleek black bodysuit and over-sized diving helmet with giant red eyes are true to form. The additional line work that is the signature of the New 52 re-designed costumes transferred perfectly, adding texture to this simple design. Speaking of texture, the eyes are even sporting some, that is the level of detail put into this sculpt. Given the over-sized head and backpack, the sculpt wisely does not have ankle joints as part of its 15 points of articulation as they would weaken over time from the weight of this top heavy figure.
The attention to detail does not end there, as the air tubes from Manta's helmet feed directly into his backpack, adding a realistic limitation on Manta's head movement. Speaking of the backpack, Manta's daggers fit flawlessly into the slots. So much so one could easily overlook that they are removable in the first place! The fit is firm enough to leave the daggers in for storage without concern for them sliding out. Unfortunately, the same can not be said for the slot for the mini-trident, which is subject to fall off with little contact/movement.
Issues securing the weapons do not end there as the mini-trident and, oddly enough, just one of the swords take a little finagling to obtain a firm grip in Manta's hands. Even then, those two weapons are only tight enough for posing and display purposes and will not withstand much playability. Granted, this is a high end action figure, so playability is not, generally, the primary consideration, but it is worth noting. How is Black Manta going to battle a giant turtle if he can not hold onto his weapons (See Slideshow)?
As tremendous as the sculpt is, there is one limit on functionality that should have been avoided. The default positioning of the right hand with the wrist launcher is set so that Manta's forearm and hand are facing palm up. Not only is this an odd pose, it places the wrist launcher on the underside of Manta's arm, causing it to interfere with the wrist movement when holding one of the weapons. The arm contains enough articulation that it can still be posed in most positions, however, though minor, it is an unnecessary limitation on the figure's poseability.
Those are really the only issues on an otherwise incredibly fun and cool looking figure. Black Manta will look great on the shelf, in your hands, or whatever ocean mock up scene you come up with. Caution: a red eared slider turtle will eat your figures.
The DC Comics Super Villains Black Manta action figure is available now at comic shops and other retailers, including Amazon.