All right, are you ready? Sing it like the theme from the movie Shaft:
Who’s the time-travelin’ Palace Guard that makes sure the past don’t get marred? SPECTOR! Ya damned right! Who’s the Eternian that would risk his neck for his king, He-Man? SPECTOR! Can ya dig it? Who’s the Time Agent that won’t cop out when there’s Snakemen all about? SPECTOR! Right on. They say this cat Spector is bad Master. Shut yo mouth! But I’m talkin’ ‘bout SPECTOR! Then we can dig it. He’s a complicated fella, but no one understands him but Spinnerella. JOHN SPECTOR.
Yep, Spector stole Spinnerella. Sorry, Netossa! Like it or not, He-Fans, over the past eight months or so, the Mighty Spector (and his creator) has been the hottest topic of discussion around the interwebs when it comes to Masters of the Universe characters. Arriving in the third spot of the 30th Anniversary line, this newly-promoted Palace Guard joins Fearless Photog and Draego-Man as the new blood on your Eternian toy shelves. He brings with him the spirit of Gwildor and the introduction of time travel to the Classics canon, along with a gun and a new Cosmic Key. Even though he is a brand new character, after all that has been written about him across many communities, I feel like I know him better than most of the guys hanging out in Eternia. The time vortex has finally dropped off the Mighty Spector so let’s get down it and take a look at what has been at the center of all of the hubbub.
When the 30th Anniversary line was announced last July, the point and direction were made pretty clear: new characters would be introduced to breathe in new life and advance the storyline. Several notable MOTU contributors (and Geoff Johns) would be in charge of creating the new guys, and the original contest winner and a new contest winner would see their creations come to life in plastic as well. We are now all happy little owners of the Four Horsemen’s Draego-Man, and Johns’ Sir Laser-Lot will be along in August with Mattel designer Terry Higuchi’s figure coming in the fall. The Four Horsemen have certainly earned their spot for a figure, and Terry Higuchi has as well; Geoff Johns will bring some recognition to the line (he is already using an image of SLL as his Twitter avatar), and I think I am correct in saying that Scott deserves a figure as well. Whether you agree or not (everyone is entitled to), he is really the public face of MOTUC (and a very brave man), and he most certainly deserves his fair share of the credit for where the Classics line is today. Admit it, if you were managing the line, you would totally want to think up a character too. Scott has offered a plastic incarnation of the character he created during his childhood and the Mighty Spector is ready to loyally serve King He-Man.
I think by now everyone has shared their thoughts on the Mighty Spector. Yes, there have been some strong opinions and yes, they hit just about every tier between love and hate, but I think we are just starting to see the actual figure for what it is, so I am going to focus on that. At the end of the day, Spector is another MOTU character that you can choose to add to your shelf, toss in a box, or skip entirely just like the rest of them. So, like the case with any other figure, some people are going to love him, some are going to hate him, but I would imagine most people will accept him for what he is: a new character. New characters, by nature, usually always have a tough go of it with fandom right off of the bat, but Scott’s attitude and direction for the character have been clear since the start, so if you are paying attention to the Classics continuity, he is not taking over for He-Man or anything. He’s the time guy, like Ram Man is the ramming guy, Moss Man is the mossy guy, and Mer-Man is the fish guy. MOTU has always had that theme running so finding an idea that did not previously have a character attached to it (you can kind of argue Gwildor if you want) is what was done for time travel and The Mighty Spector.
The thing is, the figure is actually pretty fun to play around with. Do I love him as much as Mer-Man, Whiplash, or Man-E-Faces? No, no I do not. But as a figure, I can honestly say that he is more fun to play with (to me) than several of them, including Marzo, He-Ro and Roboto. Where he ranks in your personal collection is completely up to you, but I am going to put him with the rest of my MOTUC collection and welcome him with his place in my own continuity. That is where I arrived on my own terms, again, just like I do with any character. I do think that getting figures of characters that have never had figures before and introducing all-new characters in the line is essential to keep this train running down the tracks.
Scott has gone into detail about the background of the character and we now know what a lot of people originally thought was a superhero costume is actually a vortex suit to protect Spector from the time stream. That works for me, and the parts used to create the figure actually help to make him very streamlined and will help him be stealthy when he is wandering around other people’s timelines. The purple and dark gray of the costume complement each other well and no other character on the shelf has a matching palette. I remember Scott mentioning that one of the test decos had a very strong shimmer effect, and I figured that would be cool and appropriate. The final figure does have a bit of that in the purple spots, but it is pretty subtle.
I might have already convinced myself that I am seeing something that might not be there, but if you look closely at the facial features under the mask, they resemble the face of the Lieutenant Spector figure, which would be appropriate. I don’t think we have been given a functional reason for why he has the red diamonds on his mask, but Scott has said they are borrowed from a phantom from the Scooby-Doo cartoon. Phantom? Specter? Spector? I see what you did there! Overall, I like the colors used on the figure itself, and, in a world where everybody and their Goddess is as bright as the sun, it makes sense for the one stealthy guy on the whole planet to be wearing muted tones.
That does mean that I am not as big of a fan of the yellow harness and holster though. I think I have done a good job of talking myself into the idea the Spector is doing delicate time work and needs to remain hidden, so the bright yellow kind of blows the whistle on that. I do like the sculpt of the harness, and it has a dull gold used for accents that I think would have looked really nice as the base color for the entire harness. The silver used in the boots would have been a nice option too, and I might bust out the paint to tone down the bright yellow a bit. I never thought I would say I would want to tone down colors in MOTU, but like I said, Spector needs to be able to move in the shadows. The good part is that you can take it off if you so choose and there might be some mix and matchers out there that will find a different armor entirely for him. The spade symbol has also been a hotly-debated sub-topic in the Spector conversations, and Scott has explained that it is the symbol of the time agents. I kind of like the suggestion from way back about using the Grayskull logo instead (like on the ring that came with Tri-Klops), but it will be interesting to see if this symbol is fleshed out further in the storyline. The spade is NOT sculpted, so if you want to dispatch it from the deco, it can easily be done.
The leg holster did turn out kind of bulky, though, in order to accommodate for the gun. It does fit snugly in the leg holster and while it is fairly large, the holster does not really limit any movement in the legs. The bandolier has visible green power pellets ready for reloads and even though they are small, they are painted pretty meticulously. Since I don’t have thirty years of ingrained imagery of Spector rattling around inside my head, I feel more comfortable in choosing the configuration for his outfit. I will be keeping the harness on him but I might remove the leg holster since he will be holding his gun anyway. I have tried to take some pictures of the different combinations, so you can decide if you like him trussed up as is, or if you want to go for a more streamlined look.
Spector also includes three accessories (two of which are interchangeable for effect) that he can use while traveling back in time. His power pellet pistol is serviceable and he can hold it well. The barrel ends in a unique forked point, but the overall look is not as elaborate as a lot of the weapons found on Eternia. That being said, I do think the gun looks like a vintage line weapon that has been brought into Classics. His little Cosmic Key 2.0 that he wears on his wrist is by far my favorite part of the figure. I think the concept is really, really cool and adding the “on the fly” functionality to Gwildor’s (who we learn is long dead in the bio) invention adds a neat dimension to how time travel will impact adventures on Eternia. It even has that weird Eternian language printed on it that adorns Gwildor’s apartment in the movie. Plus, integrating the movie plot into the storyline is fun, even though as it stands right now, I will not be able to get a Karg, Lubic, or big golden Langella Skeletor out of the deal.
The wrist key looks like the base of the traditional Cosmic Key (as compared to the one that came with Preternia Disguise He-Man) and can be easily snapped into place on the figure. The paint scheme matches the key all the way back to the cinematic origin and it sets the tones for Spector’s wrist guards and harness accents. The cool new feature about this more compact key (aside from its portability) is that it can activate a sort of green laser blade. This is represented by two different pieces, one key that is not activated and one that is armed. The green looks good against the purple and I like the thought behind this weapon more than any straightforward pistol. I wonder if Spector can send foes through time by striking them with the blade. I might have just written that into my personal MOTU canon. Then again, sending Evil Warriors into random spots within the time stream might be a little dangerous. I know that there was originally supposed to be a green “whip” form for the key included as well that looked pretty cool. It went the way of Draego-Man’s shield, though, but maybe (also like the shield) Mattel can find a place to include it down the line. I think getting ahold of Spector’s key will be a major objective of Skeletor.
I forgot to mention this in the previous Slush Head First Look, but it is pretty important–the quality on both Slushy and Spector is absolutely fantastic. All of the plastic is solid and the joints are nice and tight. I mentioned before that Spector kind of looks like he is wearing a superhero costume, but that, coupled with the good QC, actually adds to his playability. He is a great figure to pose and he can get into the action easily because he is not inhibited by furry shorts or a long cape. Sometimes it is nice to have a figure that you can just play around with, and in that sense, Spector falls more in line with a DC Classics or Marvel Legends figure. Sure, I can see how some could use that as an argument for the spandex vortex suit not fitting in with MOTU, but if you take the explanation for the need for the suit, I don’t see any reason why it would not work. At any rate, I have kind of been endlessly posing him since I got him. I know, whoda thunk it?
So, here is where we are at: each month we get to acquire new MOTUC figures, and the chatter online immediately goes to exactly what each individual collector makes of them. Like the sands of time, Spector will be no different. No one—NO ONE—should really try to argue someone into liking or disliking a figure. It is a fruitless effort and I have never really seen any personal value in it. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Like with all figures, make up your mind about the Mighty Spector and how he fits into your MOTU mythos, if at all. I *do* think he does deserve the chance to be taken on his own terms and not by the things that surround the concept. I know paranoia was rampant about Spector being the new He-Man or the dues ex machina for MOTU, but Scott has made it clear that is not the case. It doesn’t matter anyway because he can be exactly what you want him to be. He won’t be time bombing any storylines from the past or anything like that. I think he is a fun figure to pose and aside from the harness and holster, I am convinced of the purpose of his costume. Plus, the Cosmic Key thing is pretty great. He will never be a Mer-Man, Fisto, Spikor, or Frosta for me, but that’s fine because few are, and he does have a place in my mythos now. I think it’s hilarious that Scott always has a Spector figure close at hand, but when I think about it, the same can pretty much be said for me and Mer-Man. Try him out, and, at the very least, I hope you had some fun with the pictures. And when the Back to the Future mini Hover Board gets here, it is going to Spector.
*Thanks for checking this out, this is it for MOTU this go around, but we have some DC goodies coming soon. Thanks also to Toy Guru for sending along his creation, it has got be awesome to have a character in Masters – I hope I won the contest!