Friday, April 16, 2010

DC vs Masters of the Universe He-Man

That right folks, just He-Man and none of that blue-suited, red-caped shenanigans called DCUC Superman.

Why?  Because I find the DCSH Supes far superior (barring the Public Enemies version, which is pretty nice too) and also because DCUC Superman has been released, re-released, re-packaged in 5-packs, 2-packs, given long hair, put in a black suit even, and now he appears yet again,  unchanged and unimproved despite his many character inaccuracies.  Ah well, at least I can say this is actually my first DCUC Superman--I have the black and yellow 'S' ones from the DCSH line and have seen no real need to go out and get one more with a thinner and less accurate 'S', a shorter cape, a darker-than-normal blue, and a duller looking, more expressionless face.

I made an exception this time though, because of The Most Powerful Man in the Universe! Dadada daa da duh Dadada daa da duh Dadada daa da duh daaaaaaa...HE-MAN!!! Who can forget that catchy original theme song from 1984? So if you wanna sing along to the rest of the lyrics, click on the link!

Ok, ok.  No songs, just a toy review. Of my childhood idol, He-Man!

I remember I had this very comic (that comes hidden in the 2-pack) way before I knew how to read, where Superman fights He-Man After being mind-controlled by Skeletor.  I recall thinking every time I saw the cover that I couldn't decide who I'd want to win the fight because I loved both the characters.  Who'd be he bad guy? (Because good guys never fight each other.) And worse yet, who would win?  Would I really like the guy who won the fight to win?  And what the hell was Superman doing fighting for Skeletor? I was so torn in my less than literate years.

Well, I'm not torn any longer because now I can read.  And I also know that He-Man would kick some Kryptonian ass!  At least in this two-pack he will!

Like: He's my first ever Masters of the Universe Classic figure and how reminiscent of the 1980s toy he is!  He Man's exactly how I imagined him in my mind's eye when I used to play with the figure  of yore--the old version could barely move his arms and head except in circles, to say much less for the legs.  For this new version, every muscle is fully detailed, the proportion is great, and he's got the best articulation ever on a He-Man figure!  Now I don't have to imagine my He-Man moving the way he could in the cartoon because this guy can do it better than that and then some.

Like: The poseability is perfect for a figure of this scale and this is due a great deal to the ball head, ab crunch, and the hip/leg ball-joint/swivel combo. Nice jab Mattel.  Now you could only make them about 10 bucks cheaper...

Like: The non-flimsy, dual pegged removable harness.  No breakages, and it has a place to sheath the sword.  After years of trying to shove He-Man's sword down the back of his "armor" and breaking it time and again, now the sword has a proper home. Ah.

Like: Rocker ankles! With hinges!

Dislike:  That the swivel ankles are loose.  The rockers are fine but the combo of the moderate tightness of the rockers and the loseness of the hinges make for some precarious posing.  I mean after all, look at how much muscle mass the guy has! The funny part is that he's got the weight in plastic to match the muscular bulk.  Luckily, the tightness of the knees and hips saves He-Man from collapsing altogether too easily, else Skeletor would have defeated He-Man moons ago for sure. Heh.


Like: The paint.  He Man's got a really primary color scheme, but very well-executed.  Somehow the simplicity of a flatly colored cimc book He-Man translates very well to his action figure conterpart.  Instead of looking more "kiddy" colored or simply flat, the brighter colors contrast well off each other and make the already awesome sculpt pop just that bit more.

The main areas which have gret paint: the hair, red parts of his harness, boots, belt, bracers.  The bracers may look only yellow but have a shiny gold centre.  The studs along the middle also remain yellow to match the bracer rim.  The cross and other red areas are a brighter (than the previous single pack release), almost pinkish red, but still bold.  His hair is a bright yellow with no wash, meaning the darker areas you see in his locks are actaully a dark flesh color.  At first I thought: gross! Way to slack off Matty!  But then somehow it looks great!

His boots are a similar red to his cross with slightly darker straps, while his belt, like his hair, is really a marvel to behold.  On the one hand it's a sparkly orange with pink gems.  But somehow once again it works very well with the entire bright cheery tones of He-Man.  Never in a million years did I think those two colors would make for a great fashion statement, even in Eternia!

Special mention must also go to the face paint job.  You'd think that because this is a mass-market release that QC would not be as good, but Mattel have delivered a quality product for about half the price!  The brown eyebrows are spot on, as are his blue eyes. The whte in the mouth is also perfectly applied.  No complaints here for sure.

Only a few really small paint flaws: there's a small paint chip at the right ankle joint.  I'm not sure if this could have been due to my handling of the figure but even then, the paint shouldn't chip off like that.  The upside is that it's a really small chip so it's not a big deal.

There's also a sliver of brown on his left pec (chest), which looks like it matches the color of his wooly loin cloth/underwear.  I'm actually digging it, because it looks rather like a birthmark or a scar.  But it's completely hidden by his harness and only visible when you "strip" him.

And third, there's a little bleeding from his belt orange to the front of his woolies.  Not a biggie, but the back is perfectly fin as are the pink jewels.  But you wouldn;t notice it unless you really examine He-Man's loin cloth. (And which of us doesn't, right?  Right?...Er...yeah..)

Dislike:  That he only comes with a battle axe and a shield. Where's the power sword?  Is buying the original single release the only way to get a grey, color accurate power sword? (BTW the gold power sword you see here comes with the Lex Luthor vs Skeletor 2-pack.)

Dislike: That his shield and axe are a tad small.  I know, I know, the proportions have always been such since the 80s, but if the 200X animated series and the release of the toy line taught us anything, it's that most MOTU designs could use some updating.  And this includes weapon size.  Sure, the animated series wasn't all that great (I liked it but didn't love it), but things like the new power sword were awesome.  Man-at-Arm's armor weaponry, for instance, was also awesome.  Skeletor's cloak-like, more shadowy appearance was a great character design, and He-Man's less bulky, more athletic look was good too.  But the weapons were the best, both in proportion to the characters and in the high-tech but yet medieval-ish designs.

Like:  That the 200X weapons and shield fit this DCUC vs MOTU Classics 2-pack He-Man to a T!  The colors work, the size is awesome and he looks waaaaaay badass!!!

Like: That there's so much to like!  If he'd had more solid ankle hinges He-Man would be close to perfect. Then again, I suspect it's highly likely I just had bad luck with the way my figure's ankles turned out.


Aesthetics: 10/10 - What can you say when an update on an old toy you loved as a kid returns in a way that is probably how you imagined him but better?

Poseability: 9.5/10 - 25 points of articulation on my count, Five in each arm, 6 in each leg, and the three main ones in his torso and neck.  As you can see, he can pretty much do anything you want him to.  Compared to the grand total of five, yes five PoAs from the 80s figures, this He-Man is like a contortionist.
Fun: 10/10 - He-Man has always been a fun concept with the age-old super hero idea of a secret identity, a teenage alter ego (that's us as kids) and a magical transformation.  And this figure captures all of that superhero-ness, all that power, all those muscles and combines it in one package for us.  I managed to get my hands on the 2-pack Skeletor as well, so they'll be facing off with each other in my display.
What also makes this toy really enjoyable is that the 200X accessories fit him perfectly.  So if that sort of thing is your bag, baby (it's mine for sure) then you'll have a ton of old figures to plunder.  Or if you never got into the animated line, then you could go look for them cheap/on clearance wherever you are, then steal their accessories for He-Man!  I know I'm planning to locate a set of the 200X Skeletor's weapons for ol' knuckle head.   As it is I only have the rpaint figure but e weapons look soooo evil, so cursed, and Skeletor!

Value: 9/10 - Even with the lack of too many accessories, He-Man's still worth it because of how great he looks and how well he plays.  As much as it may seem like he should come with more stuff, he does already come with an axe, a shield, an issue of the comic meeting between Supes and himself, and a tool (DCUC Superman, whose price in this pack is unjustifiable. Lol.)

Overall - 9.8/10 - Bonus point just because he's He-Man!

This has got to be one of the toys of the year for me.  There's really nothing like it that makes you not regret having given all your old 1980s figures away.  Opening up He-Man and having him in my hands playing and posing and looking better than he ever has is really nothing short of magical. And if I never ever buy another MOTU Classics figure again (just saying.  They are awesome.  I should get more...), my MOTU needs will still be abundantly satisfied by the Most Powerful Man in the Universe!

Take that, evil bad guys!
Well, of course it's not done!  What review of the Most Powerful Man in the Universe would be complete without a comic? ;)


  1. Haha, congrats on getting your hands on the 2-packs! I was thrilled with my He-Man/Superman one.. well, other than Superman. He really let me down. But still, major congratulations! It's the only He-Man that I have, and I really think it's well done. I have no desire to get any of the other re-releases of him. Just need a 200X and an 80s He-Man and I'll be good to go. =)

    A great review, too. I like your system. Easy to follow with the likes and dislikes. I think the MOTUC line is easy to pass on until you actually touch one.. then you're just hooked!

  2. @Wes GR- Haha, I completely agree on how easy it is to get hooked! I know I am now, despite wanting to do as you've said and only get the one He-Man that has hit retail. But maybe if I find a Battle Armor He-Man at the right price...

    But gosh, I really do NOT like this Superman. And I'm a Supes fan. Sigh. Well, DCSH FTW!

    Thansk for the coment on the format. I find it easier to write this way and I think it's easier to read as well. :)

    The 200X He-Man should be relatively easy to find, no? Well, if you need help getting one, I could check out my neck of the woods fer ya. ;)

    Oh yeah, no flimsy crates in Eternia--they're too advacned so there's no excuse fro those being around. Heheh. :P

  3. I agree with your logic on the crates... I can't imagine that they would have fit in. Besides, The Wasp is too tired from pushing the last set into frame. =)

    I don't think the 200X will be hard to find at all.. probably Ebay if nothing else. Just need to get some real income going (next month will be MUCH better) in order to get my hands on the Skeletor and He-Man from that line that I so desperately want. Really appreciate the offer of assistance, though, and will certainly holler if it's needed!

    And I could not agree with you more.. the Superman was incredible disappointing.

  4. Anytime, Wes! ;)

    What about all you murking MOTU fans out there? Any thoughts on this figure, especially those of you who've gotten more of the MOTU Clasics line?

    Don't be shy! ;)

  5. Waitasec... am I getting you AD contributors confused? Correct me if I'm wrong, Ewan, but you're not in the US, right? So how the heck is it that you have that Skeletor 2-pack when I *still* have yet to see it in stores?! (Granted, I ended up getting one via a forum pal... but still.)

    Okay, comments on the actual review -- great! Your photos always rule, and it's nice to see how well that stand works with the MOTUC figures. (Is that clip removable?) And I'm glad you like the look of the 200X accessories with the MOTUC figures! They mostly strike me as a bit too technological for the simpler MOTUC style, but I'll definitely be borrowing 200X Skeletor's weapons... even though their colors are pretty hideous (I have that wacky chrome blue and orange repaint). And this He-Man's shield is totally going to Battle Armor He-Man... who should have come with a shield of his own. :/

  6. Hey Wes!

    Nope, it's not a case of mistaken identity. I'm the same Ewan on AD from Singapore. ;) I had a friend visit New York recently and he asked if there was anything he could get from me from the Big Apple. So I just mentioned these 2-packs on a whim and he found 'em! (in the Times Square TRU, I believe ;D)

    Thanks for the photo comments. I'm constantly excited about sharing play experiences and thought I could capture this best by photographing my most enjoyable "play" moments. :)

    Yes! That clip is removable (the flight stand is the DCUC one for those who are unaware) and it comes with 3 different sized clips which are removable. The hinge on the stand is ratcheted, so it's nice and sturdy.

    Agree about the Skeletor staff and swords! I also thought the 200X technology would be too detailed at first, but then I put 'em together and I think it really fits with the figures themselves. I think it's got to do with the impressive musculature of the figs. If you put the 200X figs next to the Classics they don't lose out in the detail department. All are 4 Horseman designs, so kudos to them. :)

    The shield with BA He-Man is a great idea! And the funny thing is that I also have the variant Skeletor instead of the original as well!

  7. Hey Ewan!!! Found both 200X He-Man and Skeletor at a flea market today for five bucks each! Wooot! Just wanted to share! =) I'm definitely going to have to steal his sword for my two pack

  8. Oh man!!! That's an awesome find, dude. I'm actually planning to do the same and head down to the local Sunday flea market to see if it coughs up any 200X weapons I can pilfer.

    But damn, more than anyone else, I hope I find an original color Skeletor! (Or at least his weapons! ;D)

  9. Mine were original color on card. It was a very, very lucky find, and I was thrilled to pay five bucks for them. I just can't see myself buying one of the Disco Skeletors they put out. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to pass out from the 1995 Spawn figure fumes.. yeesh.

  10. Great review on one of my favorite figures! :) I bought a Battle Armor He-Man (he's the one I mostly had as a kid)from amazon a while back and immediately replaced his tiny battleaxe with the 200X sword and shield. Hell, that sword is the whole reason I'm ordering the Weapons Pack on Monday.

    I love the two-pack He-Man though. The unhindered ab joint and ball-joint head really let him whip ass in much cooler fashion...I mean "pose better". Yeah, that's it. Pose better.

  11. I mean hobotastictoys - Yeah, I noticed that sword in the pack! They even gave it the 200X colors. Originally it comes with Man-At-Arms, yes?

    @Wes GR - Disco Skeletor indeed! Ah, why did I have to think that it looked better than the original way back when it was released? Haha.

  12. Heh... I'm sure it really popped off the shelf back then, which would definitely make it appealing. We all did strange things back in the Dark Times of the Variants. =)

  13. Yep. The sword came with Man-At-Arms as his secret accessory. The one he came with though was just plain silver while the one in the Weapons pack has the more accurate paint apps applied. :)

  14. Sweet. I love how they have little Easter Eggs for their loyal customers! Now I'm also gonna have to get myself a weapons pack...and Man-At-Arms! Boyoboyoboy, I do love me my accessories! ;)

  15. Just a got reissue He-Man and I was thinking about getting the 2 pack with Superman just for He-Man, but realized its yet another Superman I didn't need. Already have 2 Black Suit DCUC, 1 Red/Blue, and a Silver Armored DCD figure. But I have 3 200X He-Men already so 4 He-Men in total. In this case, MOTUC>DCUC.

  16. @Anonymous-For sure in this case MOTUC beats DCUC. And I wouldn't even mind it at all if they fixed the issues with this particular Superman, like the too thin 'S' and the really expressionless face. I'm happy with the Public Enemy Supes I have though.

    Why in the world do you have 2 Black Suit Supes? ;)

  17. Yo, that display stand thing holding He-Man up for the jumping Axe Chop... is that a generic toy stand or does that come with He-man?

    1. Oh, that's a Mattel DC Universe Classics figure stand. You can get them directly from the Matty website still, I think. :)


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