Christmas day, 1985: this will forever be the day remembered for Two Bad slipping right through my fingers. Holiday cheer, family gatherings, fun in the snow, and many other things fell far behind the loss of Two Bad in my 5 year-old mind that day, and to make matters worse, it was not like I did not get him and then never saw him again. No, Two Bad would actually live at my house, but he did not belong to me. He belonged to my brother, and he spent his cold nights sleeping outside of the walls of Castle Grayskull instead of turning in comfortably in the caverns of Snake Mountain. How he arrived at such a fate is a tale filled with laughter and tears, but mostly tears; tears of a little brother that had an irrational fear of his gifted Moss Man figure. Masters of the Universe Classics has brought us many, many firsts for this property, but it seems near criminal that it has brought me my first vintage-styled Two Bad.
So here we are, 28 years later almost to the day, and I have to recant the most annoying Christmas morning of my childhood. I say “annoying” because it was by no means tragic, it was just a spoiled kid having to accommodate a sibling of a more tender age. I think I have told part of this story before with how I got Fisto and Moss Man one year, but I am not sure I ever said that I only got them at the cost of Two Bad. Yeah, I collected the bad guys of MOTU, and my younger brother got the good guys. However, in 1985, he got Moss Man and that figure, for some still-unknown reason, scared him to death. The texture, the expression, something sent him into hysterics to the point that my mom asked me if I would trade one of my new MOTU figures for his. So I did. I had opened Two Bad and Spikor by that point, and there was no way in hell I was going to let Spikor go, so Two Bad it was, and forever forward my emotional attachment to that character was diminished.
But that is not to say that I have not always been fond of the character, because I have been, and I think he has an insanely perfect MOTU design and name. In fact, when my brother forsook MOTU for other endeavors, I kept his Two Bad figure, so I have had that one and the 200x version for a while now, but this is the first time I am really getting a classic Two Bad brand new, and getting something like that so late in the MOTUC game is still a great feeling.
After Ram Man was revealed at SDCC 2012, fandom spent about 30 minutes basking in his glory (or tearing him apart) and the conversation immediately shifted to, “Where the @#$% is my Two Bad”? It was expected since we are always looking toward the next thing and when Two Bad was revealed in San Diego a year later, it wasn’t so much initial glee as it was a collective sigh of relief. Sure, the conversation turned to praise eventually, but I think everyone has pretty much expected to see Two Bad as the big subscription bait for 2014, so anything less would have been a stark disappointment. I suppose when you get this far down the road in a line it becomes easier to divine certain points of release, but Two Bad was certainly the most qualified figure to keep the line healthy in 2014.
The good news is that he has gotten the year off to a rollicking start, both in his aesthetics and quality. This mash-up of Tuvar and Badrah is certainly a welcome addition to the catacombs of Snake Mountain and he is going to be able to strut around the place as one of the nicest additions to the joint. I know I kind of made a big deal about figure quality all throughout 2013, but I think that it is very important and while they don’t really get a lot of credit for it, Mattel made good on their 2012 promise to improve things. Sure, there are still issues, and those are rightfully called out, but I also think that they should get credit for 2013 because I don’t recall getting a single figure that suffered from substandard quality.
I am happy to report that Two Bad starts the new year the same way 2013 ended: with great quality. All of the plastic used in the figure is solid and strong where it needs to be (torso and appendages) and soft and flexible where it’s required (loincloth). He is, by design, a very top-heavy figure since he has a torso that is about 50 percent larger than the standard male body. Having solid legs and strong joints is of the utmost importance so that he can properly stand and pose. I am happy to report that all hip, knee, and ankle joints are nice and tight and he can, as you can see, pose in action or plain old vanilla.
He also has good paint, both in detail and color choice. Let’s face it, this is a monstrous MOTU Four Horsemen sculpt, you knew they would knock it out of the park, but paint is powerful enough to make or break a figure. So, getting good paint applications (at least on this figure) is very important. I have been trained to always go to the eyes first and these are something that (save for, perhaps, some Spikors) Mattel has actually excelled at over the course of this line. Don’t believe me? Ask a Star Wars Black series collector to sing you the song of his people. Eyes are tough, and this particular figure has a little bit of slop around the left eye of Tuvar, but it is not too bad. The rest of his paint pops in appropriately bright and garish colors that are consistent with his vintage design.
There is one subjective thing of note with the design of the paint scheme on this figure and how much you care about it will depend on your personal taste or slavish adherence to the vintage design. See, on the old figure (pictured herein) the “split” between Tuvar and Badrah was uneven, almost like the purple and blue were melted together on the chest and then down the leg of Tuvar. With this new figure, the split in color is a clean line right up the chest and there is no break on the leg. It looks absolutely fine, but I don’t think it is as interesting or dynamic as the vintage design. I don’t know why this choice was made, but I do wish they stuck closer to the old figure for this one.
As for the aforementioned sculpt, there are actually quite a few new parts and the 4H put all the monstrous love they are known for into this guy. I personally think the purple half is much more interesting and there are countless scales on that side of the body. The brown gloves and boots are also new and unique and I really like them, I mean, you can even see the toe split in the foot of the boot. The head sculpts are also very cool and while they unmistakably resemble the vintage counterparts, the design is not a slave to what was done 30 years ago. The Badrah head is closer to the vintage, but the Tuvar head is certainly slimmer and has more defined bone structure than ever before. It all still fits perfectly in the overall Classics aesthetic, so I think Two Bad is a winner for all facets of sculpt.
Finally, Two Bad comes with two accessories: his vintage shield and 200x mace, along with removable armor. The armor fits very nicely, and I really love how the pegs on the back are hidden by being embellishments in the armor. If I had to pick a beef with anything regarding this figure though, it would be the weapons. Actually, not the weapon because I think the mace is fine and a successful translation from 200x to Classics, but I do take issue with the shield. It LOOKS great from the front, that is for sure, but the attachment clip on the back is just way too big, and it did not have to be. I see that they were going for an innovative way to attach to Two Bad’s unique gloves, but I think it was unnecessary as a regular small clip around the wrist would have been fine. So from any angle other than straight on, it really sticks out, both literally and as a distraction. Again, your reaction to this might vary, but I would have rather taken a good old fashion wrist clip that can be used on other figures as well. Oh, and one thing of note, since the Badrah side has a closed fist and the shield is built to specifically attach to the brown glove, your Tuvar will eternally be wielding the mace whilst Badrah plays defense with the shield.
So yay — I finally have a great Two Bad figure and it has been a long time coming. I think he will get 2014 started off with a bang and subscribers will really love him. They will be the only ones, though, because there will be no day-of stock for him. Great attention to detail was put into this figure, all the way down to his in-package display. He is hitting himself and let’s face it, that was the best part of the vintage figure’s action feature.
Two Bad will automatically ship to Club Eternia members in January.
*Thanks for reading and thanks to Toy Guru for sending this along! And don’t worry, even though we have not shown anything yet, there is still more MOTUC goodness to come, so stay tuned.