It’s time for some NEW ADVENTURES! Eternia just isn’t big enough to contain the evil of Skeletor or the might of He-Man any longer.
Throughout the course of the MOTU Classics line, we have been treated to several variations of He-Man and Skeletor. It makes sense, they are the two top dogs and they had the variations in their vintage incarnations. I have enjoyed most of them so far, and Battle Armor Skeletor and Thunder Punch He-Man have probably been my favorite executions, but for their part, the comics and bios have done a decent job of explaining “why” the variations are needed from a narrative standpoint. That is made all the more important when you think about how to integrate different incarnations of the property, such as New Adventures.
Taking something that was made to be entirely different by its nature from the original source material can be a tricky thing, especially if you are attempting to write one comprehensive narrative. So, moving the timeline of the New Adventures to a point that makes sense overall is a good decision, in my opinion, and then you are not left with a generic “New Adventures” He-Man. He then becomes Galactic Protector He-Man, and that comes with a purpose, not just a name. This is He-Man in his new role: chasing down Skeletor, chasing down the Horde Empire, and, as you might guess, he will indeed be protecting the galaxy.
I personally have no stake in the history of the New Adventure corner of Masters-dom. That is not to say that I don’t believe that those who do should not have their interest treated with respect, but I am pretty much open to a blank slate at this point, and I kind of like where it is going. Sure, it might put He-Man in long pants, something that I am still not too sure about, but you cannot be the most powerful man (and most powerful woman, She-Ra comes too) in the universe and make people believe it by staying on one planet all the time.
Hordak is defeated, Skeletor now holds his power of magic and technology, and even though he did not gain the secrets of Grayskull, he decides that he wants to turn his attention to galactic domination and nobody does that better than Horde Prime himself. If you want to be the king, you have to come at the king. So, naturally, guys like Icarius (Flipshot), Hydron, and the gang aren’t equipped to handle such a threat, so they recruit He-Man and She-Ra to help save the galaxy. Does this become their final big test? I don’t know. I will have to “keep reading the bios,” but once you can dispatch Skeletor and the most oppressive regime in all the land, heading back to Eternia sounds like a pretty good plan.
I am positive we will see how this all plays out with future Classics additions from the NA corner (of which there are A LOT), but like said, I am good with this as natural progression of He-Man’s story. One thing in particular that I like from this bio is that it says Adam becomes He-Man permanently during this time. I really like this aspect and it is not because I don’t like the Adam/He-Man concept, because I love it, but, again, I think Adam officially and permanently taking on his responsibilities as He-Man is a good move. It shows his growth. Contrary to that, I am interested in seeing where She-Ra/Adora goes from here. I always pictured the twins making opposite choices in dealing with the power, so I actually hope that Adora eventually forsakes it. To me, she has kind of always understood the weight of role a bit better (because she had to), so when the threat has been extinguished, she would want to live a peaceful and enjoyable life. We will see where it all goes, but that is just what is cooking in my own brain pan.
The figure itself offers a lot of “new adventures” for a He-Man figure, even if we have seen a lot of the pieces before in Classics. Let’s face it, from the shoulders down, this figure is essentially Bow (with a few key changes), but we have all pretty much drawn the conclusion that some of Bow’s updates design cues were done with GP He-Man in mind. It’s not bad really, this line is centered around part reuse, but this is one of the instances of the “chicken or egg” and which came first. So he does share distinctive boots and gauntlets with the Etherian bard, but they naturally blend in with the rest of the his motif.
As I said before, this is first time we have put HE-MAN (not Adam) in pants in this line. Because of this, he loses his trademark furry shorts, and, at first, I thought this to be pretty criminal. I mean, that would be like removing Superman’s red trunks. Oh, wait… But, the choice is what it is and it gets characters in outer space; admittedly, he would also look pretty ridiculous wearing the shorts with all the additional tech too. So it did not take me long to adjust to a pant-ed He-Man, and when you take those blue tights and couple them with his space armor, you build a pretty cool look for He-Man, no matter how divergent it may be. He also has a new hip piece with his unique belt, and this might be my least favorite aspect of the entire figure. It seems clunky to me, and I am not a fan of the “H” to “M” logo on his belt – it just doesn’t look right. I know it is source accurate, but I would have much preferred with went with the classic iron cross or even the Battle Armor “H” here instead. That is simply a personal preference.
The REAL update this figure has over all of the rest of the previous He-Man figures (ever, I believe) is that we finally have a hinged wrist for him to be able to hold his sword perfectly aloft. This is kind of a big deal. I will not even say much about it because, well, there it is. It is just right to be able to do this, and what’s right is right and I want this to be possible for ALL He-Man figures going forward. In fact, I want a new classic He-Man 2.0 just so that this can be integrated into the figure. Seriously, it is that important because He-Man holding that Power Sword above his head in front of Castle Grayskull is as iconic as it gets.
Here’s the thing though, if you have the gumption and the time, you can actually swap out this hand with that of a Classic He-Man figure with relative ease. A simple heat and pop got the job done for me, and while, from an aesthetic standpoint, it does not jell perfectly, it certainly works. The new hand is certainly bigger than the classic hand so you might be able to see it, but if that doesn’t bother you, go for it. It also might be a tad loose at the plug, but if the sword is up and aloft, it doesn’t matter one bit. It’s pretty cool.
The continuing good news with this is figure is that you are really getting two entirely different looks in one release. Back when the figure was unveiled at NYCC last year, only the basic harness and ponytail head (another first) were revealed and I was a bit disappointed. However, NY Toy Fair brought us more with the helmeted head and tech armor, so you are really getting a lot of a basic figure release (even though he is technically a quarterly variant). Just from an interesting figure point of view, I am pleasantly surprised with how much I like this figure after not giving him much thought in the past. He really does have a lot going for him.
Since he does come with so many different pieces, you can create a lot of combinations for his appearance. I am positive the ponytail and the harness are meant to go together, as are the helmet and armor, but you can have it your way, baby, and configure him as you will. Heck, you can even put a regular He-Man head on the body if you want. That is great aspect of the modular nature of this line. So while I think that the Ponytail/harness look is probably more familiar, I say go whole hog here – I actually really prefer the helmet and the armor look. I might be in the minority here, but I think it gives him much more of an outer-space-man look and dovetails him more naturally with the likes of Hydron, Kayo, and the crew of the Starship Eternia.
You can tell right away that the person that sculpted that Classic He-Man’s head (Eric Treadaway) did not sculpt GP He-Man’s head. I think it was done by the “5th Horsemen, an amazing talent in his own right. It is not better or worse, just slightly different, but it adds to the aesthetic departure that New Adventures brings. Both faces are the same, but obviously there is more going on with the helmeted version and I really like the big circle/air inlet on the back of the helmet. I don’t know, I would like to see what the split is as far as preference for each head. I think that once people have him in-hand in July, we might see some opinions turn. The one thing that strikes me about he ponytail head is that there might have been a bit of mold warping or something going on, the right side is slightly more indented than the left, but the close-up pictures really accentuate it.
The harness is source accurate (with added iron cross) and serviceable as you can store the laser version of the Power Sword in the sheath at the back. I suppose it is different from his classic harness, and slightly more garish, but the overall look just doesn’t strike me as much as the actual armor. That piece has a ton of techy pieces and hoses and buttons and whatnot, so there is a lot to see and enjoy. I am willing to bet that Cornboy and Jim had a good time fabricating this piece and it looks really good on the figure. Like I said before, it helps to create a look more on-par with the rest of the Galactic Protectors, much more than the harness.
He also includes his green shield and laser Power Sword. Again, I am not sure how taking something so iconic like the Power Sword and completely changing it works, but it does and I kind of wish that the bio would have done more to flesh this out for us. That might be a good place of concentration as we get more stories with more Galactic Protectors. Both pieces are cast in kind of a frosted translucent neon green plastic, so maybe the sword is the “light sabre” of MOTU, it certainly looks like it could be made of hard light. Again, I have to admit that both of these pieces look much more at home with the overall design of GP He-Man than just sending him into battle with his normal ware.
Finally, in keeping with a long string of figures of late, this figure is of excellent quality. He has good plastic, strong joints and clean paint, especially considering how much there is of the latter. This is a good thing, Mattel. I know you don’t always get credit for the things you improve (this is the internet, after all), but this is such a vast improvement over some of the figures last year, please keep it up.
So… New Adventures Skeletor is obviously required now. I am not sure if they will call him “Space Mutant” Skeletor or what, but we need He-Man’s counterpart to make this whole thing work. I am very pleasantly surprised by the overall quality and appeal of this figure, even though my passion for this line lies with unique characters. Taking that into consideration, I want to address Mattel and say that while this is a great figure, it is NOT a substitute for getting more unique New Adventures characters ASAP. Those Galactic Protectors need some backup, STAT! Galactic Protector comes to Matty Collector during the glut of July, so don’t overlook him when you are loading up on Clamp Champs and Icers.
*Thanks for sharing the adventure and thanks to the Mattel MOTU team for literally bringing this future figures right into our present!