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SDCC 2015 Reactions: Masters of the Universe

MOTU_LogoSay what you will about pretty much any other company or toy line, but Mattel’s Masters of the Universe panel did not skimp on the awesome. From the beginning they promised “transparency” and they seemed to mean it, showing off not just one or two figures but the entire lineup for two different subs. That is radically different from previous years that asked for many to sign up on faith. While I have never had an issue with this, many people want to know what they’re getting. Hopefully they’re happy with this new upfront attitude.

First we got a look at the figures that will be finishing up 2015. Let’s take a brief look at each of the newly revealed figures:

Buzz Saw Hordak (august 2015)

Dude’s got a buzzsaw in his chest. That’s so MOTU. A lot of people were upset with Buzz Saw Hordak’s inevitability because he was essentially the same Hordak. Well, there are a few differences, not least of which is the fact that he’s got a frickin’ buzzsaw in his chest. Like, literally, the toy has an action feature-esque feature. Except you have to make it shoot out and do stuff. Personally, I think the fact that Hordak somehow gets buzzsaws in his chest is fascinating. It’s like the Tall Man in Phantasm and those silver balls. Hordak can send them out after people, and they have their own level of sentience. Or he can see through them. They can buzz through the Whispering Woods chopping down magical trees or do all kinds of things. I don’t know, there’s all kinds of things cool about the fact that he’s got sharp spinning things in his chest. God, I love this line.

Saurod (September 2015)

From the live action MOTU movie, Saurod also managed to get an action figure in the ’80s along with Gwildor and Blade, making him the final representation we needed from that trio of movie-inspired figures. While Karg and other movie-styled characters seem to be off the table, it’s great to finally complete the vintage movie trio in this line. Saurod is appropriately as badass as it gets in the detailing department, from the armor to his reptilian skin.

Perfuma (October 2015)

Perfuma was a figure everyone knew was coming, and she came out about as “POP” as possible. Personally, I’m not an “ew, girl toys have cooties” guy, so I’ve really enjoyed all the Princess of Power figures. And having just finished up a run-through of the She-Ra cartoon, Perfuma’s appearance is all the more welcome based on the fact that the episode featuring her being kidnapped by Hordak is hilarious. Seriously — if you’re not a fan, find that episode and watch it. If you’re not completely entertained, then you may not be technically human. I dig the big flower bazooka thingie she comes with. She’s like a home decorator gone nuts.

Flying Fists He-Man and Terror Claws Skeletor (3rd quarter 2015)

Putting these two in a box set is perfect because this is when the wacky action features really got even wackier. As a kid I never understood why the strongest man in the universe needed a separate doohickey to punch people with, and I also wasn’t quite sure just where Skeletor was going to go digging. Wacky stuff happened back then, but I love that we’re getting them now. The oversized claws look really cool; I’ve read complaints that they’re a little plain, but I think a plain aesthetic works for them.

Dragstor (November 2015)

I’ve been looking forward to getting him because it’s yet another robotic bad guy, plus he’s got a wheel in his gut. I think anything with a gut-wheel deserves to get bought without hesitation. It’s one of the only rules I have in life. I absolutely love the fact that in the ’80s the toy idea-men decided that they needed a villain that got down on his belly and became a go-kart. I wish ideas like that were happening nowadays, but they’re not. They’re just not. Unfortunately, his gut-wheel will be static, but that was expected. That’s ok. I can pretend. And make the “zoom zoom” noises the entire time. Genius.

Point Dread and Talon Fighter with Teela 2.0 (November 2015)

This is a huge deal, and a huge vehicle, and it will burn all of our money, but so awesome. While I would have placed money on the Attack-Trak being the next vehicle, getting the Talon Fighter along with Point Dread completes a decades-old dream. Another of those “never saw it to get it” stories, even after loving the mini-comic that featured it. Those vehicles like this, Battle Ram, and the Trak really defined MOTU to me, so this is a must have. It looks unbelievably cool.

Dare (December 2015)

Man, does this guy rile up the villagers. So here we have the Son of He-Man making his debut, a character everybody and their mother knew was coming but apparently hoped wasn’t. Me? I’m into it. I don’t care. I want the entire story, past, present, and future. If He-Man gets a son, then he gets a son, and we see what his adventures are. Even if he has to have them against . . . Skeleteen. Yeah, that name is no good, but stuff can be done to make all of this cool. I’m all in for this Universe, and the son fits in just fine.

Laser Light He-Man versus Laser Power Skeletor (December 2015)

These are the most obscure variants, but I’m glad they’re getting out. These are probably the oddest of any variant of the main heroes and villains because they’re like futuristic New Adventures-styled versions despite belonging to the regular MOTU-era versions. This is about as science fiction-y as it gets for masters of the Universe, and I dig it.

As we move onward into 2016, that “transparency” word really starts to take shape. We seem to be looking at two separate subs: one for straight Filmation-styled 2.0 figures, and one for fan-demanded characters that come from various media. Mattel is really trying to give everybody everything, and for those like me who want everything MOTU, it’s getting crazy expensive.

The 2.0 Filmation variants are probably going to make some people ecstatic and some apathetic — which is about par for the course in MOTU-land. At one point I may have thought I didn’t need strictly Filmation versions of the main cast . . . but seeing them has changed my mind. While Filmation He-Man will never replace my Classics with the vintage head as my “default,” and Filmation Skeletor will never replace Alcala-styled Skeletor as my default for him, I am absolutely on board for a separate collection of cartoon-inspired aesthetics. I just really love MOTU and it’s hard to say no to anything . . . except for straight 200x versions of the main cast. Those don’t do it for me.

He-Man, Skeletor, and Beast Man were on display, with Trap Jaw, Evil Lyn, and Clawful shown in slide form. Beast Man is on a clean, non-furred body, and they each have very vibrant paint schemes to replicate their on-screen colors. I hope those carry over from the prototypes to the actual figures because I love that clean, bold look that looks like an animation cell in 3d form. I think this is a fun way to refresh the main characters.

I have to admit, of all of them, I really love Skeletor’s head. There’s so much expression there; it’s very faithful to his appearance straight off the screen, and while it will never replace the Alcala as my preferred Skeletor look, it might have just replaced the vintage toy and slid into the number two slot, something I once would have thought of as heresy. All this tells me is I’ll have to write a separate, completely Filmation-inspired “Class of” story specifically for this group. Which means someone’s going to be calling Skeletor “bone-brain.” Nifty. And dig those hinged hands.

I can’t ever say no to my favorite of Skeletor’s Henchmen, so getting another Trap Jaw will be very nice. This Trap Jaw comes with a handful (argh) of Filmation-inspired attachments, including the flyswatter. I wonder if they’ll be released in black somewhere down the road to fit with the previous Trap jaw? Now we need a mini-comic Trap Jaw to complete the trifecta, Mattel!

Extra special bonus in all of the Filmation stuff is the Filmation version of Evil Seed, which blows the 200x out of the water with his creepy artichoke-headedness. I don’t know, I just really dig this look a lot. It’s like the Emperor if he were extremely vegetarian. I am super glad that both Seeds are getting planted so we can pick which version we like above the other. More plant puns than anybody can stomach!

Finally we have the Collector’s Choice Club, a grouping of fan-demanded characters including Despara, Lord Masque, Vultak, Darius, Crita, General Sunder, Night Stalker, and a Horde Wraith as the exclusive. There’s something here for everyone, whether you’re a fan of the new DC stuff with Despara, or the POP cartoon with Sunder and Vultak, to New Adventures with Crita and Darius. Lord Masque is long overdue, and the Horde Wraith is something that needs to exist, because Horde Wraith. Tuskador wasn’t shown but will apparently be included in here. So that’s three New Adventures characters. Excellent, because I love all that stuff. Seriously, while many might not be enthusiastic about NA, there are some really awesome figures coming out of that group.

General Sunder’s release will, hopefully, somehow give us an opportunity to expand our paltry Horde Trooper collection. It will also make VeeBee faint. True story.

Night Stalker is a surprise here instead of Stridor, but I don’t mind getting the evil steed before the good one. Evil steed and Evil Seed in one year. Hahahooo.

Also shown was Anti-Eternia He-Man, but I have no idea where he’s supposed to fit in. Apologies if I missed it, but I can’t seem to find any info on when or how he’s coming out. Sometime in 2016 I’m sure, but I’m lost. I’m sure someone will enlighten me. Either way, this is one of those weird ’80s storybook things that I wanted as soon as I heard about it. It’s just so creepy and wrong.

Power Con Exclusives this year will be a powerful trio of repaints: Red Beast Man, who I have wanted ever since that first mini-comic I laid my eyes on; a green mini-comic Granamyr that I must have; and Camo Khan, which is a bizarre reworking of Kobra Khan. I can’t believe green Granamyr is making it out in some capacity. Mattel really is trying their damndest to service the fans.

Finally (I think) . . . Snake Mountain. Wow. This is a big one. As big as I am long-winded in this article, Snake Mountain takes everything that was Snake Mountainy from the vintage toy and amplifies it. I have to confess that I didn’t get Castle Grayskull, but Snake Mountain makes me want to get both and have them fight. How does a castle fight a mountain?


And that was MOTU for SDCC. I’m running out of words and strength. They really ladled it on this year, so for a line where 2015 was “the end,” we’ve got a pretty healthy 2016 ahead of us. This little line that could doesn’t look like it will be ending for quite a while. Who’s got the power now?

Yeah, damn right we do.