Inspired by He-Man.org’s Roast Gooble Dinner podcast, welcome to PGPoA’s latest MOTUC Bio Discussion!
Shadow Beast Bio
Real Name: Varies
Great ape-like beasts who live in tribes throughout the dark hemisphere, Shadow Beasts can only come out in the absence of light. Originally created by Count Marzo as a weapon to use against his enemies, the beasts were driven back by Princes Keldor and Randor and forced to reside in the shadows of Mount Barathrum. There they developed a long standing hatred of both the Human and Gar race. Easily manipulated, the ever growing colony of Beasts was later controlled by Beast Man in the service of Skeletor to take down Eternos Palace. With their great strength and stealth-like appearance, Shadow Beasts are more than a match for most heroic warriors!
Portrait Art Source: Cartoon model sheet
First off, again, thanks to Abuddah for the scan of this bio–I lost my figure’s packaging in the most recent apartment flood.
You know, until this moment I don’t think I’d actually read this bio. Funny how that happens. I used to obsess over these things the moment the packaging pics were released, now I can hardly keep up.
Why even bother with the “real name”? By using “varies,” we’re left to wonder if the Shadow Beasts are actually smart enough to have names (and make spiked clubs). Seriously, I’m really curious about how sentient Shadow Beasts are in the Classicsverse.
The detail about the Shadow Beasts having been created by Count Marzo is brand-new, I believe; I don’t recall it from either the Filmation or the 200X cartoon. The idea of Beast Man using the Shadow Beasts to attack Eternos Palace is directly from the 200X cartoon ep “Night of the Shadowbeasts” (yet another case of hyphen-or-no-hyphen in MOTU). Mount Barathrum is from the same episode, as Skeletor causes it to erupt, creating the ash clouds that blot out the sun and allow the Shadow Beasts to attack.
Why do the Shadow Beasts specifically hate the Gar race–simply because Keldor happened to be one? Being animals, I assume they have a decent sense of smell–did they have no idea Skeletor, who used them to attack Eternos Palace, was the same guy who defeated them and whom they’d hated for decades? There’s not a lot of room in these bios–each sentence is a valuable piece of literary real estate–and this sentence doesn’t really serve any purpose. At the very least, they could have told a bit more of a story, i.e., “when the heroes broke Beast Man’s control, the Shadow Beasts turned on their old enemy Skeletor.”
I enjoy the bios that give us at least one piece of intriguing new information–preferably one that isn’t too weird, mysterious, or destructive to established MOTU tropes. In this one, it’s the fact that Count Marzo created the Shadow Beasts, but I would have liked a little more than that. How did Marzo make them? Were they magically mutated from other animal stock, summoned from some other realm, or conjured out of thin air? And exactly how smart are they?