Black Manta has always been one of the cooler looking DC villains. It’s that iconic helmet that conveys his name and gives it a creepy, sinister visual. He’s got one of the more signature looks of any DC villain. Fixing a big mistake from the DC Icons line, DC Collectibles is making sure each DC Essentials hero figure has a villain counterpart. That means our DC Essentials Aquaman has a DC Essentials Black Manta to immediately battle on my shelf. Let’s see if this guy swims or sinks.
Packaging: The black accent plays off the white backdrop very nicely. Mixing up the accent colors is my favorite part of the various DCC lines. I wish they put some effort into the bio and package art. It’s very bare bones, but I’d rather have more figures than fancy packaging so it’s a matter of picking my priorities.
Likeness: With Black Manta it’s really just a matter of getting the helmet right. Screw that up and the figure just looks lame. Fortunately that’s not the case here as the helmet looks terrific. It’s big and wide and scaled appropriately as if a head was underneath. Sculptor Paul Harding added some solid detailing and patterns with the helmet including the wide eyes and connections to the rebreather.
It’s a little harder to make out the details on the collar piece, but it looks good. Black Manta is otherwise a blank slate sculpt save the right arm gauntlet. It’s not too intricate, but captures the detail from the source material correctly.
Scale: Even with the supersized helmet, Black Manta stays within the scale of the rest of the line. This is good as I would find some kind of way about him looking down at Superman.
Paint: There’s not a lot of paint demands with this guy. DCC went with a semi glossy black finish to help make the outfit pop with a subtle sheen. The silver elements are nicely done. I just had some minor runoff with the red along the left eye socket. In fairness it would have been far more surprising had this figure had some major paint issues.
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Articulation: Like the other Essentials figures, the articulation is what really sets this version of Black Manta apart from all the other versions. We can get some creative poses while staging some underwater action with Aquaman.
The tubes won’t impede the neck articulation even with the tubes connecting to the rebreather. There’s a surprising amount of range despite the oversized helmet.
The trick with him more so than some of the others is getting the ankle joint to cooperate due to his top heavy nature. This is not a rare problem for a Black Manta figure as few companies tend to factor in the weight of his head. Along with swappable hands a more stable ankle joint would be at the top of my wish list for ways to enhance the line.
Black Manta has:
- ball-jointed shoulders
- elbow (double-jointed)
- wrist hinge
- knee (double-jointed)
Accessories: One of the main knocks on the DC Essentials line is how it pales in comparison accessories wise with the previous DCC line of DC Icons. Each figure was stacked with accessories even if it was just an alternate head to showcase powers.
With DC Essentials, DCC is sticking true to the name as there’s no frivolous accessories. Characters that really warrant them get something. Superman and The Flash get zilch, but Aquaman gets his trident.
Black Manta also comes with accessories. He’s got two swords. These are the weapons he used in his first DC Rebirth appearance. The handles are sculpted with a pretty cool pattern. It’s nice to see DCC putting some quality work into accessories with the line.
Additionally, he’s got a curved blade. The cool thing about these accessories is that they all fit onto his backpack. As an old school GI Joe collector, I always appreciate when a figure can hold all of their accessories.
Worth it? At $26, Black Manta isn’t the same value as say a standard Marvel Legends figure. Thanks to the accessories, he’s not far off from a WWE Elite figure though. Factor in the smaller market and scale and the price doesn’t seem as bad. Accessories definitely help with these figures though.
Rating: 9.5 out of 10
Ankle issues aside, the DC Essentials Black Manta is another winner from a fairly impressive second wave of the line. Now I’m ready for more members of the Legion of Doom.