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First Look – Masters of the Universe Classics Icarius

Usually I am not one to chalk up predictability as a positive trait. I mean, there are some things that are best as a constant reliability, but I am usually one that embraces the unexpected. However, one of the things I count as being wonderfully predictable is the fact that when he get a rash of new character announcements in the Masters of the Universe Classics line, they are always, well, unpredictable! Predictably unpredictable, it is the best of both worlds! I would certainly call the line-up for the final months of 2011 eclectic, and we will be bringing you several in-depth Looks at the figures that are (currently) coming out in October and November. First on the docket is the Club Eternia figure for Halloween month and a return to MOTU territory that has not been tread-upon since May of 2010(!). Icarius, one of the key Galactic Protectors from the often-overlooked New Adventures saga makes his debut and teaches us that, even if you are not used to his Classics handle, a rose by any other name is just as badass.

Icarius Biography

So, there is a lot to talk about here and I want to get as much out on these new figures as I can before Power Con happens this weekend (I can’t be the only one praying for a Frosta reveal can I?) so buckle up. If you have been taking the time (or wasting the time depending on who you ask) to read our First Looks, you know that we try to go beyond what is physically there in plastic with each figure release. For a character like September’s Leech, it is usually pretty easy. I have a deep attachment to the character so recalling a story about him from a couple of decades back is just tapping into what I already there. But, keeping with MOTUC’s predictable theme of being unpredictable, Icarius (better known on these shores as Flipshot) comes from the exact opposite place as Leech. But isn’t that cool?

See, as a pup, I had no real idea that the “New Adventures” of He-Man even existed until I stumbled upon the (what I considered to be) strange-looking figures at the store. See, by that time I had moved beyond MOTU and was entrenched in the worlds of Ninja Turtles, Ghostbusters and WWF figures. Who the heck were these characters that were supposedly Masters of the Universe? Hydron? Flogg? Kayo (what the heck kind of name is that?) and Optikk (okay, he was kind of cool)? No Man-at-Arms, no Teela, no BATTLE CAT, no Beastman and, especially, no Mer-Man! Um, sorry – to my 9 year-old eyes, none of these guys were He-Man guys. Did I have my first tinge of toy-resentment at such a tender age? I am almost sorry to admit that yes, yes I did. In fact, I think I made my case for being furious about it (to my poor mother of all people) right there in the store. Imagine, a little kid laughing, nay, cackling in resentment over little plastic men. Usually you have to grow into that through years of hobby rage, I seem to have moved in the opposite direction when it comes to that. So, the story of my New Adventures experience started with some not-so-quiet disdain for something I knew nothing about and ended two minutes later as I walked out of the toy aisle with my new Mondo Gecko figure. Or maybe it was Genghis Frog. Anyway, it was short and bitter.

But ain’t that the way it goes? Twenty years later and I was presented with a new Masters line that appeals to all of my expansive character and consistent style traits and I knew that these New Adventures characters were going to be on the way. So, I went back and looked at pictures of a lot of the old figures, and even though they did not immediately strike me as being particularly MOTU-esque, some of them had some cool looks. I still thought Optikk was especially cool. I also when back and grabbed both seasons of the old cartoon on DVD for, what I thought at the time as a mad bargain, at $7.99 each. I will just say that those did not really help the cause of bringing NA into my MOTU-verse, but I was willing to give it a shot.

NA Represent!

Fast-forward to the MOTU Art Show in early 2010 and the new Optikk figure DID help the cause of brining NA into my collection. Big time. I was immediately struck by him and the Horsemen did such a great job of bringing his look into the MOTUC style that I was instantly ready for more of those characters to be added each year. Plus, and I know that most of the MOTUC bios have gotten some pretty hard scrutiny (some deserved, some not in my opinion) but I think that the integration of the NA characters and timeline has been pretty darn great so far. So that made up for what I just could not stand to take from the other NA medium (sorry, I don’t mean to be harsh, the show is just not my thing).

Icarius Accessories

But just as my excitement for the NA timeline and characters was piqued, all went dark. Optikk joined the fracas in May of 2010, and then, well, NOTHING. I thought that the wait between PoP ladies She-Ra and Catra was bad, but man, it has been SEVENTEEN months between Optikk and the sale date of Flipshot. I mean Icarius. Damn you Nerf. So, when I saw the Icarius figure in-person at SDCC back in July, I was pretty bowled over. I mean, part of seeing our first Galactic Protector in the line was relief, but maaaaaaaaaaaaaan, he looked so much cooler than I would have ever given him a chance to be. Those wily Horsemen, they have struck again. The best part is that I like this figure even more having him in hand. I suppose I can be tagged as a New Adventures fan.

Jetpack Rockets!

Where to start with this guy? There is so much going on and there are so many new things that make up Icarius’ construction that he feels kind of like a “broke the bank” figure. Sure, he borrows existing parts like his shoulders, torso and upper legs, but he also has new shins, arms, armor, weapon, a giant jetpack thingee and TWO heads. Really, he does. I am trying to think back to when we got what seems like so much in one package and I don’t think we have seen anything like him so far. Sure, there have been a lot of figures that have had a lot of weapons, but in overall “bulk”, I think Icarius is king of the mountain at this point. Plus, while I feel that he has captured that Classics aesthetic, like Optikk, he has something to his design that is helping to set the NA characters apart just a bit from the rest. I am sure you see it, and I think it is more than not being a barbarian-type so it is cool that even in a line that makes its bones on having a great consistency, diversifying across galaxies is still in the cards.

Icarius Cuts a Mean Profile

One of the things I struggled with at SDCC was whether I thought that his helmetless head looked more like Ahnold or Val Kilmer. Usually 4H figures don’t recall anyone from real life to my eyes, but somehow Icarius brings both depending on the angle. Have a look for yourself but there are times when I want him to say, “you’re dangerous” and at other times I want to tell him to get his ass to Mars. I think both can work in the right situation. The funny part is that both of his heads have a very stern and steely expression to them. What little background I got from the first 10 minutes of the first 5 or 6 episodes of the NA cartoon was that Icarius was not the most serious of all the Protectors. In fact, my first thought was that his head sculpt looked more appropriate for Tatarus (Kayo) but I think bringing a little more grit to Flippy is a fine thing. He looks cool and imposing as hell for it and to me it is perhaps a sign that He-Man’s mission with Protectors is going to be quite urgent and dangerous so I am really looking forward to learning more about it.

His other head, the one with his helmet and visor is actually even BETTER than the one without the dome protector. I think his helmeted look is certainly the more iconic showing for the character and there is a lot of nice detail to it in the sculpt. The best part is that the visor can move up and down over his eyes and it is made from a translucent red plastic so you can still see those peepers even when his is fully equipped for battle. I know is was not see-though at SDCC so props to the design guys for bringing out that small but important detail. I usually like being able to see the face of a character when a figure is on my shelf so I thought I was going to be faced with a tough choice about what head to use, but now I can go with the iconic helmet look and just flip up the visor. Ah, the problems of an action figure collector.

Lock and Load

The music does not stop there though. Icarius’ color scheme is a lot of blue with some silver and a few red accents. I am actually a fan of monochromatic looks for costumes when care is taken to pick the right tones and shades to add some depth. The light and dark blue is very sharp on his armor and he brings a cold color feel that we have not yet seen in MOTUC. At any rate, it looks great for flying through space. He has a lot of little techie details in the tubing on his chest plate along with the panels and ridges in his new arm sculpts. I am sure the latter will have to be reused at some point for someone, so I am excited to see where they might end up because they add some cool diversity to the MOTUC library. His boots are also new (feet are borrowed from Bow) and they have little rocket boosters attached to each side. I know it would go outside of the traditional updating realm for the line, but it might be cool to see Dragstor get these boots in some modified form so he can really add some speed to his chest wheelie. Oh, and as you can see, Icarius has an MJ thing going on with one glove and one bare hand. The thing about this is that I just happened to be talking with Toy Guru at SDCC when he an Bill from design noticed that the ungloved hand actually had the glove hand mold piece on the early test shot (yes, there are different sculpts to them). TG noted that they needed to get that changed and guess what – everything is correct here. I know that is just a tiny little instance of being at the right place at the right time, but when you hear something first hand and then find that it has been delivered, it is a good feeling. Anyhow…

Armed to the Teeth

One of the spots on the figure that had some fastidious fans a little worried was his little plastic codpiece (sorry, there is just no nice way of referring to that spot) and how it would affect the movement of his hips. Since he is one of the few figures in the line to not have the standard issue furry shorts, a new piece always brings about some understandable reservation, especially since Bow has similar trousers and his articulation is somewhat limited. Well I can tell you that he actually has some of the most fluid hip movement in the entire line. Seriously. The plastic on his hips (and armor for that matter) is very soft so it give minimal resistance to the movement of the legs. They did a great job of pulling this important engineering detail through.

He sits. No problem

Aside from all that aforementioned newness, Icarius also comes with two very substantial accessories: his mini rocket launcher and his jetpack. Both of these have been faithfully rendered in their updates from the vintage counterparts to the new. The Four Horsemen are good at a lot of things, but monsters and technology are two of their strongest points and the latter really shows through on these two pieces. The rocket launcher is big, in fact, when clipped to Icarius’ arm it pretty much monopolizes the entire appendage. Like I said, it is a faithful update to the original and when it is commonplace to think that guys from the future always carry laser guns, it is nice to get some good old-fashioned mutant-seeking missiles. There are no detachable or moving parts on this piece but it is very unique to the line and is very appropriate for Iceman here. Er, I mean Flipshot. I mean ICARIUS. Sorry.

Primisian Flyboy
Right into the Danger Zone

Then there is his massive jetpack. I am mean, at first glance it seems almost gratuitous, but if you have ever seen what it would take to make an actual jetpack that could propel a human at even a glacial speed, it is probably not too far off the mark. The thing is big. Obviously. The good part is that it does not inhibit any type of movement and it is light enough that Icarius can stand up with the pack on with no issue at all. At first glance at SDCC, I thought for sure the figure in the case had his pack put on upside-down due to the shape (I seems more “natural” for the curve to be at the top and angling toward the back) and my fairly lay-knowledge of aerodynamics, but it was not and the giant wings tower over the figure’s head. C’mon – this is He-Man. The scoop and side rocket blasters have a lot of mechanical detailing on them and the painted red energy lines and blue accents are very clean for the most part. I say that because while clean paint lines are always important to me, on a piece of sleek technology it is even more essential to get it down right. Some of the coolest parts of the pack are things that I was totally not expecting. First, the little rockets on the side can move in and out of the cannon AND the pack itself is built on two hinges so it can fold in and out. I will be blunt – this is the best MOTUC accessory in the line thus far. Hands down. I am extremely impressed.

New Adventures, Old Grudges

Overall, Icarius is a badass. A Stone cold future man. What bugs me the most about the MOTUC line is when people won’t give a character a chance based on some established pretense. That happens a lot with PoP and with New Adventures. Now, I am all about people collecting the way they want to collect (a wise and bearded forum admin that I know is always good to remind us of that important point) but I really do hope that some of these comments and pictures might sway a few people into at least giving this figure a chance. I am comfortable in saying that from a straight-up toy perspective, Icarius is one of the top three figures in the line. If nothing else, even if you do not want him to stand with your MOTUC collection, he makes for an awesome toy. There is so much going on a ton to love that I think he will win a lot of people over. Plus, MOTUC is evolving as a line. There is FilMation and several other things to consider now so we are at an awesome crossroads to make the Masters mythos bigger and more encompassing than it has ever been. Icarius is a figure that really delivers in that aspect and I am now chomping at the bit to get some more of the NA guys like Hydron (the Yin to Icarius’ Yang), Flogg and especially Slush Head! I DO NOT want to have to wait as long as we did between Optikk and now to get the next NA figure so mid to late summer of 2012 would probably be reasonable. In the meantime though, Icarius looks awesome fighting Optikk and they will keep the war raging on Primus while we await more recruits and the chance to hear what the outcome might be. So, call this rose Icarius if you like, he will always be Flipshot to me!

You're Dangerous!

*This fly boy goes on sale on October 17th only a Matty Collector. Thanks to Toy Guru and crew for making this First Look possible and hold fast – more is on the way!

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