Review > Keldor (Masters of the Universe Classics)

One of the last and most mysterious of the original He-Man minicomics was “The Search for Keldor.” In the comic, King Randor enlists the Sorceress’s aid in seeking out his long-lost brother Keldor. Curiously, Skeletor panics upon hearing about this and summons Scareglow and Ninjor to stop Randor and company. While soundly beaten by He-Man and Clamp Champ, the villains do prevent Randor from learning any more about his brother’s disappearance.

The story strongly hinted that Keldor was none other than Skeletor himself, and while this was never confirmed in any other 1980s media, it became a much-discussed topic with the rise of online He-fandom in the 1990s. By the advent of the 2003 Mike Young Productions (MYP) cartoon, it was practically common knowledge that Skeletor was in fact Keldor. The MYP series cemented this by depicting Keldor himself and showing his assault upon the Elders; however, no mention of a filial relationship with Randor was ever mentioned.

Keldor was made into an action figure as an SDCC exclusive in 2003. This was the only SDCC I’ve ever attended, and yes, I got myself a Keldor. The 2003 exclusive was a mixed bag; while the interchangeable “melting skull” head was of course incredibly awesome, the black was was way overdone.

Obtaining a 2003 Keldor was a nightmare at the convention, a tradition Mattel has carried on ever since. While the latest version of Keldor wasn’t a convention exclusive, it was still pretty damned tough to get.

Packaging: The usual MOTUC packaging, though I think the time has come to try changing it up a bit by shrinking the logo at the top. Almost every single character’s head is slightly obscured by the logo.

Here’s a shock, though–the twin swords came out perfectly straight. Not the slightest warping by the bubble, nor apparently from the production process. It’s almost scary.

Design & Sculpt: Keldor is primarily Skeletor with a few new parts: his head, his boots, and his cape. I don’t know who designed Keldor’s face, but I can’t decide whether the stereotypical mustache-twirling, hipster-goatee-bearing look is clichรฉd or genius. The Four Horsemen did tone down the dour expression of the 2003 figure, making Keldor a bit more handsome and giving him a roguish grin that hints at the charm that netted him Evil-lyn and a legion of adherents. In short, I really like the head sculpt.

There’s not a whole lot to say about the new “boot” feet–I mean, they’re boots.

Is the cape part of the sculpt or an accessory? I’m not sure, but I’m going to discuss it here. The cape is made from relatively pliable plastic, and can be easily removed by popping the head off. Some fans have expressed disappointment that the cape falls open so far down the back, but I think this was done to accommodate the sword holster. The holster still works with the cape on, though the sword might get a bit warped if left there over time.

But the real question you’re dying to know: how does it look on Skeletor? After seeing review pics on other sites, I didn’t think the cape looked very good on either the original or the 2-pack Skeletor. However, once I got it on the 2-pack Skeletor (whose colors match much better), I thought it looked great. Oddly, I don’t think it’s something that comes across very well in photos; you have to see it in person to get the proper effect.

Plastic & Paint: Keldor is bright blue. Brighter even than Faker. This means you won’t be doing much limb-swapping between your Skeletor and Keldor figures, unless you’re willing to repaint them. It’s disconcerting really, and one wonders whether it was a decision of Mattel and the Horsemen or simply a factory thing–or both, if it was just about saving money (perhaps there was a sale on bright blue plastic). On the other hand, maybe living Gar have a bright blue shade while undead Gar are a bit paler.

The purple parts of the outfit are closer in shade to the 2-pack Skeletor than to the original. Basically, the purple of the original Skeletor leans toward the blue side of the color, whereas the 2-pack and Keldor are more to the red side. Keldor’s armor is much darker than either of them, though, as you can see in the comparison pic. His loincloth and the leather strips on his shoulders are black, not purple.

As for paint application, I found Keldor particularly sharp in this department. The studs on the leather armor are clean-edged, while the bones on the chest armor are gray with a nice silver drybrush, giving it a metallic appearance. The only negative is the black “fur” of the loincloth, which is a bit glossy and gloppy, but also barely visible.

Articulation: See the pic–it’s the standard MOTUC articulation. The forward-and-back movement of the ankle joints stuck briefly when I first opened the figure. The rocker ankles work fine.

Accessories: Keldor comes with the infamous vial of acid that will eventually lead to his transformation into Skeletor, and his split swords. For the record, these are two of the best split swords we’ve seen yet, and they snap together perfectly and will even stay together indefinitely when played around with.

However, the split swords have been the source of much controversy, with many fans wondering why Keldor didn’t come with a “Classics-ized” version of his Millenium swords (as Man-At-Arms came with a Classics-ized version of the Millenium Power Sword). I think the short answer is “it was too expensive to tool new swords,” but rather than give this annoying and unfortunate but relatively honest-sounding answer, they’ve stuck to a convoluted explanation about how the Four Horsemen originally designed the twin swords as the two halves of the actual Power Sword, which Skeletor had managed to obtain and unite. In the Horsemen’s vision, the techno-sword was a stopgap measure made by Man-At-Arms and enchanted by the Sorceress to allow Adam to still change into He-Man.

When the MYP cartoon came along, it abandoned these ideas and just made the techno-sword the official Power Sword, while giving Keldor the cool-looking but unexplained twin swords (which were unceremoniously destroyed late in the pilot episode).

So what Mattel has been saying is: since those were supposed to be the two halves of the Power Sword–even though it was never depicted as such–we’ve given Keldor two halves of the MOTUC Power Sword. To which you might say, OK, then shouldn’t one be gray? No, says Mattel, because they’re not the real Power Sword halves, they just look like the Power Sword halves. What?

Look, even if this bizarre train of logic is the actual reasoning behind why they didn’t give Keldor the Millennium swords, I’d almost rather they just said it was a cost issue and left it at that. Why get bogged down in an argument with fan geeks–the most notoriously pedantic form of community known to man?

At the end of the day, the whole thing doesn’t bother me that much, because I never liked the Millennium twin swords–the way they connected at an angle bugged me, as opposed to connecting flat against one another like the vintage MOTU swords or split down the center like the Starsword from Blackstar. But I’m sure with a little creative engineering and a willingness to spend money on new tooling, Mattel and the Horsemen could have come up with something like this.

Quality Control: Did I mention the swords are completely straight? Also, out of the package his lower legs were coated in mold grease, and as I mentioned, I had to work his ankles to get them moving.

Overall: It’s funny how Mattel has twice managed to make a Skeletor figure with the head of a casino magician not only desirable, but a fun toy to own. Once I got my Keldor I opened him, fiddled around with him, posed him on the coffee table, and said to Dr. Mrs. Ghostal, “Y’know, I really like him.” There are definitely MOTUC figures I didn’t feel that way about (no offense, your Majesty), but Keldor is not one of them.

The relative lack of new tooling, particularly in regard to the swords, costs Keldor a raven. But overall, this is a fun figure.


Comments now closed (23)

  • I dunno, I really dig the blue on this guy. The Errol Flynn face, I'm not so sure, but the wildly divergent color schemes of MOTU were real selling points for me as a little kid, and today.

  • My only problem with Keldor is the power swords. I hate the half ones and i have glued mine together.

    Poe your half swords are better than all of mine. Mine have never stayed together for very longI still want him to have dual swords. i just dont know yet which way i am going to go with it.

  • I'm still not sure how I feel about the face. I guess it'll grow on me eventually though.

    I'm not too upset about not having the Millennium line swords, but it would have been nice. I actually left Keldor posing with Skeletor and Faker's full swords when I put him on the shelf last night. I think the contrast looks good and its evocative of the millennium swords.

    Both of my Keldor's halves were perfectly straight as well, and the pegs fit in fine at the handle and the hilt, but the blade of the sword doesn't want to stick together!

  • Keldor is going to be another favorite of mine for sure. The head sculpt is fantastic. I like his swords and while I agree that cost was indeed the reason they didn't give him a Classic style 200X sword, I don't really care. I wasn't really excited to see the 200X power sword with Man-At-Arms. I like the look of Keldor's swords, especially the colors, but I do think that Calderon's idea for them would've been great.

    What I really want to know is: How the hell can Keldor and Randor be brothers if Keldor is a Gar and Randor is clearly not? Is anyone else bothered by this? Maybe I missed something so please clue me in here.

  • @toyman2581: According to Mattel, they're half-brothers. So presumably Keldor's mother was a Gar. And apparently Gar pigmentation is a dominant trait. That, or his mother was really dark blue (as dark as Webstor), and Keldor's skin is therefore a lighter mix.

    But I'll get more into this when I get to Keldor's bio discussion…

  • I thought that they were half-brothers. Perhaps King Miro was pulling a "Thomas Jefferson" and had some late night rendezvous in the stables with some Gar slave girls…

  • @Poe:

    I was thinking that was probably the case but I hadn't seen anything confirming it. Thanks Poe!

  • You know, if you think about it, had the MYP cartoon done the whole "merged with a demon" aspect, Keldor might not have been blue skinned. It's easier to say the demon did that to him than invent an entire race of people to explain it. It's not like normal old acid can melt your face AND turn your skin blue.

    So, in a way, story-wise there's not really a reason MOTUC Keldor should be blue, other than staying true to the MYP version. Just food for thought.

  • I rather like the half-brothers aspect. Makes the conflict between them that much more interesting and gives the story a little Shakespearean vibe.

    I like the look of the figure. The sly grin gives him some character and fits with what we know of him.

    Also did anybody else notice his painted fingernails? Is this a first for MOTUC or have I just not been paying close enough attention?

  • @Mysterious Stranger: I do believe Evil-Lyn has painted fingernails. Its a small touch, but its really nice.

    I actually had the minicomic, The Search For Keldor, I believe it came with Ninjor. It was the only reason I knew Scareglow even existed. I had several of those hardcover Golden Books MOTU stories, and one of them gave an explanation of Skeletor's origin, which as a kid was enough for me. I'll try to dig it up!

  • i am stoked to get keldor, he should be here next week. although the two power sword halves are sort of a bummer, i will probably just throw them in the spare parts bin.

    the plus side, really, is that i got to buy an MOC disco skeletor to use his swords for keldor. not only does keldor get gold swords, but i get disco skeletor. everyone wins!

  • Anyone else bummed that he didn't come with a half melting head? To me, that bugs me more than the sword thing. And trust me… the sword thing BUGS me!

    Also, did anyone else pick up on the fact that last months characters on Matty Collector, were all at some point, a Comic Con Exclusive?!

    Lobo, She-Ra, Keldor, and this year, Peter Venkman. Just an observation. a sick asbergers-type observation.

  • Zodac has painted fingernails too!

    I'm not sure what the big deal is with the swords. I'm assuming a large number of fans collected some 200x stuff. I know it's heresy to mix lines(it does cause me some OCD discomfort) but you can just give Keldor here a previous set of swords. They may be wobbly in his hand, I'm not sure, but they were certainly huge enough! My 200x Battle Armor Skelly needs his swords about as much as I need his figure.

    Of course, if that's the case, Mattel could have used the existing molds, right?

    Regardless, I'm probably more irritated by the inclusion of 2 half swords that only look good from one side, straight on. When separated, aren't the halves supposed to resemble entire swords anyway?

  • @RageTreb:

    MYP did do the merged with a demon bit. It’s not in the pilot episode, but gets revealed in a much later episode in flashback. (Sorry, don’t remember which one) It’s rediculously cool animation and marks the only time we see Skeletor without his hood up. Demo-Man is not mentioned by name.

  • Poe,

    I also have my Keldor displayed with Spy's weapons. They look great on him!

  • Regarding the swords destroyed in the MYP pilot, they did return later. I remember Skeletor doing an impressive job of holding off Randor AND He-man with them at the same time.

    And those fan-rendered classics-fied sword halves are cool.

  • Man I hate that head sculpt. Stupid sneer ruins the figure. I think that's what kept me away from him. I may pick up a re-release (assuming we get one) and pop a Skeletor head on him though.

    I have no use for Keldor, though. In my mind Skeletor is Skeletor.

  • Yeah, I didn't get Mattel's response either. I wish they'd just said, "it's too expensive." I think the closeness toy manufacturers have had with the collecting community in the last so many years has really brought us into a new understanding of how much it costs to produce a toy and we get it.

    But their canon BS? How can you quote canon on something that was theoretical? They came out and said that the Techno Sword was the Power Sword, so how can the power sword halves be Keldor's swords? Eh, just tell me it costs too much. I know MOTUC fans are nuts, but they're going to talk shit either way, so you might as well just be honest so we can argue about your business sense instead of your principles.

    Cool figure, don't mind the swords that much, just don't really like the story backing them up.

  • The bizarro sword logic hurt my brain, I had to forego even trying to explain it.

    Great job on the vial's warning label. He looks intrigued and it's just a hilarious picture to boot. I'm jealous!

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  • @wesitron: *highfive* ๐Ÿ˜€

    Hey Poe, after the first picture that showed the swords were two halves, why didn't you turn one of the swords around so only the "good" sides were facing the camera? They look better in pictures when the ugly internals aren't showing.

    And yes, I know the ridiculousness of being bothered by such a little thing like that. xD

    Also, oh my Goddess, he's GORGEOUS! He looks just like me! ๐Ÿ˜€

  • just got my keldor, dudes. i am super disappointed, which sucks because i was really excited for him. i love the way the figure looks, i like the character concept (MYP 4 life) and even bought a disco skeletor on ebay so keldor would have some swords.

    my keldor has terrible paint and his ankles are loose. his two sword halves don't even pretend to fit together… and despite reports, the disco skeletor swords are pretty loose in his hands (even though they look good). what a bummer.

  • I got me an extra Keldor just to remove his boots and swap them out with the feet on the ToysRus Skeletor. The purples are a close match, and between the all-yellow skull, black eye sockets and the addition of these boots, you have as close to a Filmation-accurate Skeletor as you could want! Epic win!!


    P.S. Re: Richard Grayson's comment; please excuse me for being pedantic, but it's more than just not mentioning Demo-Man by name; there really is nothing in that episode ("The Price of Deceit") to suggest that Hordak specifically merged Keldor with a demonic entity.

    All we see is Keldor's body change as magical mists swirl around him, which one would infer to be the result of Hordak's magic. There is no depiction of a secondary presence other than Hordak's spirit.

    Now, the MOTUC canon tells us that what Hordak was doing here was merging Keldor with Demo-Man, but there's really no indication at all in the actual episode (and thus the 200X canon) to suggest this was their intent at the time.