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First Look – Masters of the Universe Classics The Faceless One

You know, in any other toy line you might look at the figures included in this latest round of First Looks and scratch your head. First, we had a crazy cat lady, then an image-changing chick in a gold bikini top and unknown animal pelt short shorts and now; we have Nearly- Faceless Nick™ – an ancient guy that lost his humanity, his face and his jaundiced daughter to a fit a teenage rebellion. However, in the Masters of the Universe world, we just call that May and June and that head-scratching quality about it is what makes it so great. So, wrapping up this stretch of MOTUC previews, we present to you The Faceless One, brought to plastic for the first time ever.

The Faceless One Bio

One of the best things about the MOTU Classics line is that it is giving us the chance to pull together all (currently available) corners of a scattered and often arbitrary mythos and put it into one giant, and for the most part, ICONIC action figure line. Of course we have our Battle Armor He-Mans, but we also have our Adoras, Optikks, Vikors and now, Faceless Ones. So hopefully, when all is said and done, we will have (dare I say) hundreds of figures of characters that span every beat in the MOTU-verse in one cohesive and classic style. While the Faceless One never struck me as a particularly engaging or effectual character from his pretty one-dimensional MYP cartoon origins, he has a new lease on life and has been built into an ominous character of history, thanks to his new biography.

Ah, the Classics bios, one moment we wait with baited breath for the next reveal and in the next we experience waves of nerd rage. June 2011 is a perfect example of their polarizing effect as Battle Ground Teela’s bio brought many a fan boy to the brink, but I have found near universal acceptance (or at least tolerance) of the Faceless One’s story. One month, two figures and a complicate state of collector being; but you know, that is all part it. While I am making BG Teela a completely new character for MY MOTU-verse and am essentially ignoring her entire bio, I am accepting almost all of the details from Nick Powers here and will make them a part of my history for him. That is the great part about a fantasy toy line, you can have it your way, baby.

Faceless One Close-Up of his Non-Face

While I am not fan of the style of the MYP style, I will certainly welcome the characters into Eternia and I have to say, in a list that contains figures like Count Marzo and Chief Carnivus, I think the Faceless One outshines almost all of them and rises to near-Keldor lofts of cool figuredom. A lot of these guys have some strong elements to their looks and even before Mr. Powers was revealed at Toy Fair back in February, you already knew that he would have to be a pretty complex figure. Oh, and of course he would not be without his controversies either, this is the MOTUC line after all.

Treasures of Zalesia
This sucka is heavy

While I am very welcoming of just about any character into this line, I do have the requirement that a figure of any character, be it Beast Man, Vikor or Dekker fit into the style and scheme of the Classics aesthetic. To me, the Four Horsemen are establishing the very best look and feel to MOTU in its 30 year history and ever since Skeletor and Mer-Man were revealed (they are the ones that REALLY got me onboard) I realized that I want a figure of every character ever in this style and in this line. Planned until 2017? Pfft, Matty you need to go to at least 2 figures a month to keep up with my wish list! So far, I think the 4H have done an outstanding job with this task and they are probably sitting at about a 90-95% success rate in terms of style interpretation. Like with every line, there are figures like the aforementioned Mer-Man and Buzz-Off and Catra (and many more) that are grand slams to me, but there are a couple, like Count Marzo that came up a little short. That is not to say that Count Marzo (for example) is a bad figure, quite the contrary, but he doesn’t feel as “Classic” as some of the other figures. In relation to the subject of this First Look, I garner the FO to be closer to the success category than the near miss. For one of the more modern and new MOTU characters, Nikolas Powers feels right at home in the Classics line, even if he is not like anything we have seen before.

The Ram Stone
Energized Havoc Staff
Like the Frikkin' Holy Grail with this stuff*

Evil-Lyn’s frustrated pops is a very hefty figure, a WALL of purple and black. In fact, when I pulled his white mailer out of the shipping box I was almost convinced that Mattel had slipped a secret accessory past us as there was no way the figure could weigh as much as he does. But no, no secrets and no chicanery, The Faceless on is just a big boy; at least his cloak/cape/hood thingee is. Basically the figure is the standard humanoid body with Keldor boots and the Marzo grippy hand (so he can brandish his pretty green Ram Stone, more on that in a minute) with several new and wholly unique costume pieces.

Marzo vs Powers

Even in a line where reuse is part of the philosophy, the fact that the FO shares a basic construction with most of the other figures doesn’t really matter – his new pieces are so, so, um – grandiose and attention-grabbing? That you can’t even really see them. That is not really a statement on what they are, just that that is the design of his look. As part of his assimilation into the Classics style from his MYP look the FO has actually gone through very few changes, it is just that the things that have changed or been interpreted are fairly striking. The first of these is his “skirt” piece. In the cartoon, his robes pretty much went down to (or past) his feet in terms of length, so much so that I don’t think his lower half was ever shown until he was getting beaten up. For MOTUC his skirt was shortened to about knee-length but it keeps the basic design and feel of the original with all of the pinks and purples and bone(?) motif still intact. The length provides the legs with greater movement and since the skirt itself is made of a very soft plastic (yes!), for being such a large piece, it is not too bad in terms of restriction.

Skeletor Steals all the Flavor

Then there is the cape/cloak and hood. Holy crap I cannot believe that the poor Nick is not a hunchback at this point, especially since he has been wearing it for thousands of years. Maybe that is an upside of losing your humanity. This is by far the biggest and heaviest costume piece in the line, leaving the likes of the Grayskull and Marzo capes in the dust. The details in the sculpt are really sick and design of the cloak itself is very unique and executed nicely. The cape and hood are all a part of one larger entity, but the two pieces that come down over each shoulder are separate parts that are attached via a rubber “hinge” to help retain some of the movement in the shoulders. This is successful to some degree, but the reality is that this cape thing is gigantic and the Faceless One is going to look best posed in a more static position. Now, you can move the arms, but then the cape goes askew and looks awkward as it sits. This isn’t a unique trait to this particular get up, it is a common hindrance of most capes, we are just dealing with a big cape.

Classic Colors?

My favorite part is the upper shoulder/hood detailing. The design on the almost spike-like shoulder pieces makes for a very imposing silhouette and if you are confined to Zalesia for all eternity, you can at least look like a bad ass when you tell those pesky Masters to get off of your lawn. The shoulder area is where the bulk of the weight of the cape lies so when you pose the figure, keep in mind that he is going to be top-heavy. The hood was an area of hot debate when it was revealed at NYTF as the “inner lining” of it was painted purple as opposed to the more accurate black. At first I did not have a major issue with this but then after looking at it for a moment it struck me, when it is black it makes it look like Nicky No-Face’s Faceless Face is ominously floating about his shoulders. No arguing that that is just plain cool. I am happy to see that Mattel made this correction in time and it paid off – the figure looks a lot creepier this way and brings out the somber and despondent air that that is brought by a guy with no face.

Wreaking Havocs

Speaking of the face, this was the other point of hot contention at NYTF. On the MYP cartoon, the Faceless One was portrayed in such a way that his “face” looked flat, smooth and pale while with dark shadows that kind of looked like facial features. Well, this Classics-ized version has a little more definition than that, but he still looks pretty faceless. There is kind of a nose and mouth there, but the deep-set cavernous eyes are what draw the most attention and I think they do a good job of achieving the effect. Actually, if you stand a few feet from the figure the nose and mouth lose most of their definition and he even more, well faceless. I called him Nearly-Faceless Nick™ earlier and I think the merits of his level of facelessness would be debated no matter how he turned out, but he certainly is not as defined of face as say a Skeletor or Scareglow. It was rumored that there were a couple other versions of the head sculpted by the Horsemen, I would have loved to see them at some point, if no other reason than posterity. As it stands though, The Faceless One is a creepy and slightly sad-looking figure and to me, he is pretty successful in achieving a physical embodiment of his characterization.

The No-Faces Support Group

Finally, since he is the perpetual caretaker in the now ruinous remains of Zalesia, the Faceless One was charged by King Grayskull to guard the two sacred treasures of the realm – the famous Havoc Staff and the mysterious Ram Stone. That darned Keldor, not only did he steal some of Nick’s style and color scheme, he also stole his staff and, for a time, his (Ram) stone. I think there is a lot more to be revealed about the Havoc staff and I am excited to hear what it might be. I never gave it much thought as a kid past it being Skeletor’s main weapon of magic, but there has to be more to it now. Nick can take heart though because even if that nasty Keldor stole his daughter too (dang, that is like, four things now), the FO gets the cooler Havoc Staff. Yeah, it is the same sculpt as the one we have already gotten a few times, but this is the “charged up” version and I think it looks slick. The head of the staff is cast in a translucent plastic which we were told would be red, but the actual production has produced more of a clear hot pink. It sounds strange but the color REALLY pops and it goes very well with the FO scheme. He also has his Ram Stone and while this was shown before in a translucent green, the final version is more pearlescent and solid. I suppose it was a 1:1 trade and while the stone still looks cool, I hope that maybe we can get a clear version in a weapons pack at some point. Overall I would have to say that these are two of my more preferred accessories that we have gotten in while.

That'll learn you to steal my look. And Staff. And Ram Stone. And Daughter
Family Affair: The Powers Edition

So there you have it, and with this we meet the finale of our current round of MOTUC First Looks. We have some very diverse characters this time around and I am pretty pleased with the end result of the Faceless One. He is not my favorite of this recent group (that would be Catra) but he is the one of the strongest direct translations from MYP we have gotten yet (he beats Carnivus and certainly tops Marzo). I think he will be the most debated of this bunch so I am looking forward to hearing your thoughts.

Alright. Which one of you looked in the Ark of the Covenant?

*Thanks so much for reading and again, thanks to Scott, Danielle and Rhobyn for sending these samples along. We may have wrapped up MOTUC but we still have some DC action coming at you this week. Stay tuned.

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5 thoughts on “First Look – Masters of the Universe Classics The Faceless One

  1. Great review I was gonna buy him regardless but now im even more excited about him. Awesome to hear he is so heavy! I love a figure with a little weight to him. Your a little hard on Marzo but thats because he is my favorite fig from the MYP toys so far. Im still holding my breath for MYP Giants but anyway thanks for the great read.

  2. WOW, the “classic colors” scheme didn’t even occur to me, but it looks really cool! Amazing review, as always. Mattel did an amazing job with him! The staff is really well done!

  3. Great pics – though I’m curious to see the results of the FO’s body w/a Scare Glow head swap…

  4. Ha! Nearly faceless Nick! I have to tell you, that’s probably the best opening paragraph you’ve ever written for one of these. Good stuff.

    Great choice shooting him against white for most of the pics so we can see all the detail, but my favorite pics are him against the dark backdrop. He looks like he’s melting into the shadows – perfect for this guy – and amping up my anticipation for the figure. I still have no idea what to do with this guy when I take pics, though.

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