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Mattel: Masters of the Universe Origins Man-E-Faces Review

Human. Robot. Monster.

I’ve gone on record as stating that Man-E-Faces is one of the best concepts of the ’80s. In short, it’s the brilliant transmogrification of a human transforming into either a robot or a monster that makes it so much more than “dude with spinny head.” It sets up an infinite amount of play scenarios. There are many many reasons why Masters of the Universe was such a great concept, but Man-E-Faces is at the top of the list. Why settle for a toy that can only be one thing, when it can be…

Wait for it…

Man-E.

I love the juxtaposition of science fiction containment suit aesthetics mixed with barbarian exposed abs. I know the original toy trended towards orangish skin that could have been taken as an actual skin-tight uniform worn under the blue part, something this figure continues, while the Masters of the Universe Classics figure made it clear that it was definitely skin. I kind of prefer to think of it as skin, just with a slight melon color. Maybe it’s a side effect of that whole robot monster magical mumbo jumbo going on. Who knows. I’m too busy spinning that dial and turning him into various things.

The figure is a nice recreation of the original toy with the additional articulation that they’re all coming with now. You get fully articulated shoulders, swivel hinge elbows and knees, hinged wrists, ball jointed hips, boot cuts and the front pegged ML style ankles.

I wasn’t expecting any head articulation due to the design of the armor he wears, but I was pleasantly surprised to find out that his helmet swivels, which allows him to do a lot more than just stare straight forward. He can turn his head to the left and see what’s happening over there, and then do that incredible thing that most of us mastered at an early age and look to the right. I’m not going to say this blew my mind or anything, but I do enjoy a good head turn. I do it once or twice a day.

Anyway, that adds a whole other level of dynamic expression to the figure. He can’t look up and down, but that’s probably realistic. This isn’t going to be a dude that’s going to easily see his own belly button with that thing on.

The dial on his head that facilitates his personality shift is nice and fluid, and each head slots into place comfortably. I know that this figure is pretty much the action figure equivalent of changing the channel to find something else on tv, but damn diddly damn do I have an endless supply of fond memories of finally getting him when I was a kid and having him freak the hell out on everybody. Sure, he kicked the hindquarters of all the bad guys, but that unpredictable monster side meant that he spent just as much time tussling with He-Man. And the robot just didn’t like anybody. Stupid flesh things, with their blood and stuff.

Man-E-Faces comes with his one and only accessory, which is a laser pistol right out of Flash Gordon, Buck Rogers and every other black and white science fiction serial of ye olde gooden days. This looks like just the kind of bazorp bazorp gun that Our Hero would take on other evil alien scumbags intent on devouring our kids and ruling the planet. I like to think the human and robot are comfortably adept at using it, while the monster side of him is like “What the hell is this stupid thing?” but keeps it around in case he needs to use it to pummel someone to death.

Grr. Arrgh. Beep. Boop. And such.