Pros: sculpt, articulation, paint and accessories are all top-notch
Cons: by giving Skeletor both halves of the sword, they left He-man with a lame crabsword
Commanding an evil army and wielding the Sword of Power, Skeletor, the evil lord of destruction, plots to overthrow the peaceful kingdom of Eternia. Only the combined forces of He-Man and his fellow Heroic Warriors can stave off Skeletor's evil might.
He-Man. What's to say about He-Man? As people enter their mid-twenties, they often find themselves with steadier jobs, a fair amount of disposable income, and yet still a sense of confusion about their place in the world. They crave a return to the simplicity of their childhood, and think back fondly on the cartoons and toys that ruled their formative years. Thus, the marketing of nostalgia runs in twenty-year cycles. Twenty years ago, a barbarian in furry underwear was god to a million eight-year-olds. Today, He-Man is back to life.
Of course, no hero is complete without a foe, so Skeletor is back as well. Fortunately, he's no longer the toady lump of reused plastic that he was back in the day; thanks to the Four Horsemen, he's actually a demonic-looking force of evil.
Formerly sculptors for McFarlane Toys, the Horsemen developed the "house style" of McToys--it was their work that kickstarted the action figure (r)evolution in which we currently bask. Covering everything from sculpting, engineering, painting, and even designing the packaging of the figures they work on, the Four Horsemen are quite a talented group of guys.
Previously, Skeletor was cast in the same stumpy, squatting pose as all the rest of the MotU figures. Today he stands hunched over, ready to fight or command his legions. The sculpting detail is just as good as anything McToys produces, with muscles, veins, armor and leather all wonderfully detailed.
Rather than drastically reimagine the characters of He-Man's world (that idea failed in 1989), the designs have simply been updated: Skeletor wears the same black and purple armor he always did, with a bat insignia and silver crossed bones on his chest; intricate, skull-encrusted bracers; a Romanesque Centurion-style skirt; ornate, spiked cothurni (shin guards, greaves, or jambeaux, take your pick) above bare feet.
A big complaint among some collectors is that the figures aren't very detailed in the paint department--that there could be more colors, a blackwash, whatever. Personally, I think that's just a load of crap; rather than the flat brown lumps that McToys have become of late, the Masters of the Universe figures are distinct, bright, and precise. Excellent color.
Even Skeletor's weaponry has been updated. The lame ram's head staff the old figure had is now a wicked-cool ram's skull, painted in silver and bronze. Originally, He-Man and Skeletor came with swords cast from the same mold--just in different colors. They each had half of the Sword of Power, the weapon which would give the bearer rule of the world were the halves ever joined. Today the Sword of Power has been updated: the evil half features a screaming, horned skull and a clawed pommel; the good half is a bronze eagle. Both halves come with Skeletor, which pretty much means that He-Man is boned (HA!).
Articulated at the neck, shoulders, wrists, waist, and hips, Skeletor not only out-does most McToys, he also beats the original 80s version. Balljointed hips mean that you'll have no trouble getting Skeletor to stand. Push the button on his back, and he swings whatever weapon is in his right hand. Standing just over 6" tall from his feet to his purple hood, Skeletor finally looks just as evil as we always imagined him.
Need to catch up on the backstory of He-Man? http://www.he-man.org/
Love to laugh at the idiocy of the 80s? Want to download full He-Man episodes? http://www.x-entertainment.com/
For another view of Skeletor, read poeghostal's review at http://www.epinions.com/content_72104185476
Suggested For: Collectors
Bang for the Buck: 5 - Don't pay more than retail
Best Feature: Sculpt/Likeness