The Good: Great-looking sculpt, Generally good balance
The Bad: Could use a lot more articulation, Collectible value, Hand molding, Accessory inarticulation.
The Basics: Despite looking pretty amazing, the Red Lantern Mera figure is more of a statue than a toy!
I cannot think of a Blackest Night figure I was looking forward to more in my last buying spree than the Red Lantern Mera action figure. My collection could always use more women and more villains and the Red Lantern Mera figure hits on both of those criteria. Unfortunately, this is one of the least-articulated DC Direct action figures I have come across and it seems like the company is hoping fans will not notice how many problems the figure actually has by loading it up with accessories. Sadly, they are not all they ought to be and the result is a very disappointing release.
For those unfamiliar with her, Red Lantern Mera is the rage-filled Queen of Atlantis. Turned during Blackest Night: Black Lantern Corps Volume 2 (reviewed here!), Mera becomes a powerful adversary that Wonder Woman must turn and focus in order to stop her from killing anyone as the embodiment of rage that she has become.
It is the red-suited Mera with a visage frozen in mid-scream that is the subject of the DC Direct figure!
The Red Lantern Mera figure is well-detailed, which makes the figure with the red-scaled outfit appear desireable. The rage-infected wife of Aquaman 6 3/4" tall to the tip of the figure's crown. Her skin is fair and only visible on the hands, face and bust. The Red Lantern Mera figure is available only from DC Direct.
This toy is an initially wonderful sculpt, especially for a character that has only had two-dimensional references, Red Lantern Mera looks good in all three dimensions. DC Direct gave the figure comic book heroine breasts, but the detailing on aspects like the fingernails is much more realistic. The character’s hands are molded mostly open, which makes it virtually impossible for the figure to hold anything. At various points around the character, there are coral spines and this makes the Red Lantern Mera distinctive and dangerous-looking. On her abdomen is the Red Lantern symbol and, appropriately, this Mera has no eye definition as she is literally blind with rage! The figure’s hair is brushed to one side, as if there is a strong force blowing upon her hair. The sculpt is so detailed that the right hand features the Red Lantern ring upon her ring finger and all over her catsuit-like costume, there are scales.
Red Lantern Mera's costume features strong monotone colors: the red metallic costume covers all but Mera’s head, hair and hands. The hair has decent highlights in the orange mane, so it does not look like anything other than it ought to. The spines have incredible coloring detail, with grays, off-whites and browns that make them look like they are coral. The skin tones of the Red Lantern Mera are monotonal.
Red Lantern Mera, angriest woman in the galaxy, comes loaded with three accessories in addition to her stand. She has Dex-Starr, her Atlantean staff, and her Red Lantern. The stand is a red and white disk with the Red Lantern logo. It is 3 3/4" in diameter and 1/4” tall and it has a single peg which plugs into the hole in Red Lantern Mera's right foot. She is very stable on his base, even in extravagant poses. However, the peg in my base immediately came out (it pops out the bottom), which is more than a little annoying.
Dex-Starr is, for those who do not know, the little abused cat who is given a Red Lantern ring and becomes surprisingly ferocious. The Dex-Starr mini-figure is a neat accessory . . . by its look. It is well-sculpted and well-colored, but cannot stand and is only articulated with a simple swivel joint at the head. That lowers its overall coolness, as far as I am concerned.
The staff from Atlantis is a 6 5/8” tall pike with a broad, trident top. The copper-bronze coloring to it has a sheen that helps the trident match the coloring detail of the rest of the figure, but with its smooth lines and very tight ribbing on the grip, at a distance it looks a little underdetailed in Mera’s hands.
Finally, the Red Lantern Mera comes with her actual Red Lantern power battery. The power battery is a 1 7/8” tall by 1 1/4" wide and deep rounded lantern with a flat handle. The handle detaches fairly easily from the actual lantern battery, but it reattaches just as easily. The only real problem with the lantern accessory is that Mera cannot really hold it.
The DC Direct figures were designed more for display than play. Red Lantern Mera is cool only for display. She has excellent balance, though it is always better on her stand. Because she lacks a hinge joint on the ankle, when off the stand, Red Lantern Mera must be posed flatfooted or she is likely to fall over.
Red Lantern Mera comes with only nine supposed points of articulation, which is pretty poor, even by today's standards. Red Lantern Mera has joints at the knees, groin socket, shoulders, elbows, and head. The shoulders are proper ball and socket joints, while the elbows and knees are both hinge joints. The head is on a ball joint, but the solid hair of the figure prevents it from moving even three degrees!
The real problem for both poseability and playability, other than the lack of wrist articulation, is that the hands are molded too far open to securely hold either of the accessories. The fact that the Red Lantern accessory is more often than not going to fall out of Mera’s hands and Dex-Starr pretty much lays on the base next to Mera makes it much lower on the play and display scales than I would have hoped.
The Red Lantern Mera is part of the DC Direct Blackest Night Series 7 line which was fairly common and seemed to be populated by characters fans were not immediately drawn to. The Red Lantern Mera is one of four villains in the wave, but as a cool looking female character toy, Red Lantern Mera continues to be in demand. Despite the Red Lantern Mera is an obscure character in an obscure corner of the story the Red Lantern Mera figure has already increased in value by about half. Most of the DC Direct female character figures tend to appreciate and it looks like the Red Lantern Mera is headed in that direction, despite the issues with her quality.
I cannot remember the last time I opened a figure I had been so looking forward to and discovered it was so lacking on as many fronts as the Red Lantern Mera is. The lack of articulation and ability to hold the accessories is a huge drawback for this figure, despite how neat the sculpt is. I’d argue that fans who want the figure for anything but a very academic type display of superheroes and villains may want to wait for DC Direct to give this one another pass!
For other Blackest Night figures, please check out my reviews of:
Wave 8 Black Lantern Black Flash
Wave 8 Indigo Tribe The Atom
Wave 7 Arkillo
Wave 6 Blue Lantern The Flash
Wave 6 Star Sapphire Wonder Woman
Wave 5 Nekron
Wave 2 Indigo-1
Wave 1 Saint Walker
For other toy reviews, please check out my Toy Review Index Page!
© 2012 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.