Amazing Spider-Man Web Splashers
Aqua Tech Namor

In between all the cool and exciting photos of Marvel product from SDCC, and all the talk around Hasbro vs. Toybiz Worldwide, a new wave of Spider-man figures has slipped out - Web Splashers. These are part of the Amazing Spider-man series, and include 6 - count them, six! - Spidey variants, and two other characters. The two outliers are Venom and Sub-Mariner.

These toys are actually about two months late to market. Most kids have less than a month left of summer vacation, so sales of squirt guns and water toys will have slowed appreciably. Of course, while there may not be many more lazy afternoons at the pool, there's still always Saturday night in the bathtub.

I picked up Namor for a review tonight. I found these at Target as part of their reset, and they run $10 ($10!) a pop. They should be hitting the other major mass market retailers soon as well.

Packaging - ***
These are done in very much a water motif. The bubbles tend to be thin, easily crushing with normal handling, and the cute bubble sticker on the bottom, telling you who and what is in side, is prone to large air bubbles.

It is fairly eye catching, and it is designed for mass market consumption, so it gets the job done. But there's nothing exceptional or unique here.

Sculpting - *1/2
C'mon Sherman, let's join Mr. Peabody in the Wayback machine and head for the late 80's. Look, on the peg, it's Aqua Tech Namor! Yep, he'd fit right in.

Unfortunately, it's 2006, and poor Namor does not fit in. Not even close. Here we have a silly, goofy head sculpt with little detail, looking like a dollar store knock off. Here we have a body sculpt where proportions are so wonky that triceps and biceps could be interchangeable. And it's all wrapped up in cheap plastic and weak joints. This figure is such a throwback to the 80's, that it's not even in scale with current lines, clocking in at just 5 inches tall. What the hell?

Occasionally, I take one for them team. If I'm going to review good and bad figures, it's a duty I must perform. And I definitely took one this time. Look at the photos, and learn from my words - this is one sad figure.

Paint - **1/2
The paint ops are pretty average mass market work. You won't be wowed by it, but the cuts are pretty clean, and there's just a little slop around the eyes and mouth. The biggest issue is the pale skin tone used for the molded head, arms and torso, which just about screams cheap, and the sloppy work on the straps crossing his chest.

Articulation - **
The basic late 80's, early 90's Toybiz articulation is present - cut shoulders single pin elbows and knees, cut neck, T crotch, and that's it. No ball joints. No wrists, ankles or waist. And the joints that are here, especially the elbows, are weak and soft.

Accessories - **1/2
Here's what you get for your ten bucks, other than an undersized figure from your childhood. He comes with a vehicle of sorts, a kind of boat. There's an inflatable clam (yes, a clam) that the plastic 'boat' rides in, allowing it to float. Namor clips into the boat, and the boat also works as a squirt gun.

The weirdest part is that an 'air pump' is included. Any asthmatic, right in the middle of an attack, could still inflate this clam with two breathes, but they felt the need to include a little bulb-like pump to blow it up. *sigh*

Action Feature - **
The action feature is a squirt gun on the boat. Pull the trigger, and it sucks up water from beneath the floating clam, using the entire pool as your reservoir. Meh. It squirts alright I suppose, but that kid with the super soaker is going to kick your ass.

I guess you could also consider the fact that it floats as an action feature, if you really want to stretch it.

Fun Factor - **1/2
Stuff that floats is always cool. Stuff that squirts is usually cool (although not always). At least they're cool for about 30 seconds. Your kids will get more action out of the clam, especially if they're 13 or so.

Value - *1/2
Damn! Ten bucks? Let's hope that's because of the blow up accessory, and not the new price point for Marvel toys. If this was a Marvel Legends figure at ten bucks, the value score would be a little higher, but this is a fairly ugly 1980's toy for ten bucks. Damn!

Things to Watch Out For - 
Not much that you can look out for to improve your odds of getting a better one. Paint ops are likely to be consistent across the line, and the sculpt certainly is.

Overall - **
Let's pray to whatever God there is that cares about such things that this isn't the future of Marvel toys under Hasbro. Let's hope that this is merely a bump in the road, a casualty in the transition from one company to another, an aberration. Cause it's definitely bad news.

Don't buy these figures, please. At least not Namor and Venom, who represent everything bad with mass market toys. Let them hang on the pegs while the final runs of the current Marvel Legends and Spider-man figures sell out. Let's let them know that collectors - and kids - aren't fools.

Now, before you say "But these are just meant for kids", listen to yourself. By saying that, you're implying that kids are so stupid and unable to discern quality from crap that they'll buy figures that look like they were sculpted by a guy listening to a Flock of Seagulls. That attitude - that it's just for kids so quality doesn't matter - is what's helping the video game makers (who do realize kids can tell gold from crap) further erode the action figure market.

It's possible that in the last couple weeks, while I've been out of it with SDCC and everything else, that there's been long discussions about how bad the Web Splashers are. Perhaps there's some reason that I'm not aware of, some excuse. In the end though, that doesn't change reality.

I do wonder though - is this release some sort of weird anomaly?  I remember the Web Splashers line from 4 or 5 years ago...but I don't remember these inflatables.  Is this a throw back, or some sort of weird re-release of old stock?  Was this the second series of Splashers, that has somehow resurfaced as part of the Target reset? Odd, truly odd...

UPDATE - Okay, it appears as though these ARE a new release...technically.  They've repainted some of the old Web Splashers from years ago, and are actually trying to convince kids to buy them at ten bucks a pop.  These weren't good figures the first time they were released - they haven't improved with age.

Score Recap
Packaging - ***
Sculpt - *1/2
Paint - **1/2
Articulation - **
Action Feature - **1/2
Accessories - **
Fun Factor - **1/2
Value - *1/2
Overall - **

Where to Buy - 
Mass market retailers will be getting these in, and I found him at Target.

Related Links:
Sub-mariner hasn't always been treated this bad. The Hard Hero statue is pretty nice, and even the Marvel Legends series 2 Namor from a four years ago could clean the pool with this guy.

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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