With both DC Direct & Mattel producing (roughly) 6″ figures, I’m often faced with the temptation of mixing the two lines together. Sometimes it works seamlessly and other times not so much. DC Direct beat Mattel to last year’s breakout character: Mera and I again find myself searching for some compatibility.
Mera is a long-tenured member of DC’s stable (she’s 48), but the amount of attention she gets has varied over the years. Initially, Mera was the queen of her own water dimension who sought Aquaman’s aid when her kingdom was overtaken. Aquaman bailed out her of trouble and restored her to power, but the two fell in love and she ended up abdicating her throne anyway and marrying Aquaman (hey, you gotta win the war to get the girl, okay?). She was a main character in his books throughout the sixties and seventies, but when comic books sorta just stopped featuring relationships in the 80s, Mera fell by the wayside. She returned to prominence last year courtesy of a starring role in Blackest Night and Brightest Day.
Sadly, Mera’s sporadic appearances over the last couple decades also meant a lot of dumb things happened to her. Lots of aqua-breakups, aqua-reconciliations, dying (not really), getting cheated on, being trapped in other dimensions, ending up with a second child that immediately grew to adulthood, etc, but one of the more unforunate occurred recently in Brightest Day. Geoff Johns will continue to get major props from me for bringing Mera back to the forefront, but he also retconned in a bit of stupid back story while doing it. It turns out, she was really an assassin that was sent to kill Aquaman, but fell in love with him instead. GASP! (I think you’re supposed to gasp or something after a shocking revelation, right?). Anyway, Mera’s recent time in the spotlight had an even better upside – it garnered her two figures from DC Direct, one as she appeared in Brightest Day and a Red Lantern version from the end of Blackest Night.
Much like they would if Mattel ever gets around to making them, these two versions of Mera are mostly the same figure. The different pieces are easy to spot – the Red Lantern emblem, the fins on the back of the legs, the forearms/hands, the bony collar on Red Lantern Mera, but one thing that surprised me was that they have the same hair! Only the faces/crowns are different to capture the unique looks. But don’t let the parts reuse deter you, as a lot of work went into sculpting the Mera base body.
If you’re familiar with the Pop Sculpture Blog, then you might already know the cool little bit of Mera trivia they revealed in a feature on Mera’s sculptor Karen Palinko last year. If not, let me enlighten you: all the scales on Mera were individually applied. As a toy reviewer, I am often impressed by the lengths the sculptors go to get the figure just right, but this one has me shaking my head every time I think about it. Individual scales. There needs to be a prize for that.
While this is a review for both Mera’s, I’m having a hard time not focusing on the Brightest Day Mera. She’s the more recent of the two (shipping this week as opposed to last Fall) and has become somewhat of a sensation do her rather beautiful head sculpt. It’s apparently caught the internet collecting community unaware. Usually, most DC Direct releases come and go (even Red Lantern Mera, for example), but I’ve seen threads popping up to specifically discuss Mera and her good looks at many of the forums I frequent. And deservedly so, it’s a great head sculpt.
While the Brightest Day Mera is definitely one to write home about, I think the Red Lantern Mera is similarly well done though. She’s screaming in rage, looking mean & tough, without being ugly. That’s pretty impressive too. And while the basic sculpt for both figures is excellent, Red Lantern Mera still shines a little brighter with her bone collar, forearm & calf fins. The Four Horsemen will have their work cut out for them if Mera makes it into DC Universe Classics.
Of course, the biggest issue for this figure is probably going to be scale. Scale is a funny thing. By its very nature, it should be pass/fail. Is it the right size? Yes? No? But collectors are a fickle bunch and, as such, figures being considered in scale with another is anything but precise. So are these Meras DCUC compatible? In my opinion? Almost.
It largely depends on where you’re going to put her. The DCUC women all tend to run small, so she’s definitely going to look like an Amazon when placed with them (even the Amazons). She can fit in a little better with the male figures, but she’s still a tad tall for the guys too. It’s really up to the individual collector. Obviously, I think the sculpts are terrific enough that I don’t mind mixing them in despite the height issues (and even at the risk of having doubles when/if Mattel makes their own), but I know that she’ll simply be too tall for a few of you out there. And I wouldn’t say you’re wrong. Continue to Page 2…