Anytime I get a toy, or start a new toyline, I want to like it, because it’s money I’m tossing at something. So when I bought the He-Man and Skeletor figures from the new Masters of the Universe Origins line, I wanted to like them. But I didn’t know I’d like them like them. And that, friends and neighbors, is how you start collecting a new line.
I was all in on the Masters of the Universe Classics line from Day One. It was everything I wanted in a toyline: modern action figures based on a property I loved as a child, with designs that remained faithful to those original aesthetics. As far as “reimagined MotU figures” it remains my first love, and one of my favorite modern toy lines.
But these little guys…they do something completely different than MotUC.
First of all, the packaging is straight off of an ’80s peg. That very familiar long blister packaging reminds me of countless treks to the toy aisle in the hopes of finding that cool new MotU figure. Retro packaging is a thing right now, and these are the kind of toys that you kind of hate to open, but you want to get to the sweet sweet toy inside, so you open it anyway, all while you are silently wishing you could buy two to keep on in package, even though you know that is the path that leads to madness.
So while I love that retro-nostalgia packaging, it has to die so that the toy may live.
After getting He-Man and Skeletor in hand and fiddling with them a bit, I immediately went after the rest, preordering or ordering what I could find. These figures replicate much of the original figures, but elevate them with increased articulation in the places where it counts. I spent countless hours with those original five points of articulation without batting an eye, but in my head they were doing so much more. That’s what you did in the era before super-articulation.
You faked it. Somehow, you faked it.
Teela, Evil-Lyn and Beast Man are the second round of figures that I have in hand, and they continue the trend of faithfulness and slight updating. These feel like ’80s toys. These look like ’80s toys. But those extra points of articulation create a foggy transition. For me it brings the line all the way back to the…
Where He-Man was more of a super strong barbarian with an axe and less of the Filmation superhero. The original mini-comic vibe is strong. I have usually removed the Snake Armor from Teela like I did when I was a kid, but now it feels right leaving it on. Maybe it’s the stumpier aesthetics, but there’s more of a primal feel to these figures.
Teela and Evil-Lyn, like the original figures, are both based on the same body. The head is ball jointed and gets a decent range, and the elbows and knees get about 90 degrees of bend each. There are hip balls and a swivel waist, but none of the figures have torso articulation. They do have calf0swivels. The ankles are probably the most welcome change, with the type of joint current Marvel Legends figures have, allowing you to get a decent balance regardless of pose.
Teela comes with her removable snake armor, shield and snake staff. Evil-Lyn comes with her sceptre. Everything is like it once was, just…slightly enhanced. Teela has that familiar doll-like face, and Evil Lyn has an evil sneer. There’s an unapologetic simplicity to them, but it doesn’t negate how fun they are to move around.
Beast Man’s articulation set up is the same. For him I do miss some kind of torso articulation to get him into more of a hunched beastly pose but you can still crouch him and droop his arms a bit to get that simian-esque posture. Beast Man comes with his whip, but just like when he was a kid it’s not my favorite thing. I don’t think it was ever a concrete part of my playtime with Beast Man. He was more of a brute force and claws type of guy, and he feels the same here.
All three of these figures feel like those old figures with the heights and the general hand-appeal, but the extra articulation makes them fun in a way I never knew I was missing when I was a kid. When Mattel put the kibosh on Super7’s MotUC stuff I figured I would be done, but these have grabbed hold of me pretty hard, and I’m looking forward to getting them all over again. I said to myself maybe I’d just grab the figures that were on the original cardback, but then I preordered Scareglow so there goes that idea out the window.
I guess I’m going to be all in.
I knew it.