The two boys stood knee-deep in the swamp, ignoring the thick mud that sucked at their legs. They were too amazed at what they were looking at.
Before them lay an enormous body. It was vaguely anthropoid in shape, but far larger than a man. Its features were rough and wrinkled, like those of an ape, and a stubby horn protruded above its brow. It was curled slightly on its side, its huge arms tucked beneath it. It was obviously very, very dead.
“Procrustus!” exclaimed one boy. “That’s a Shadow Beast, isn’t it?”
“Sure looks like it,” said the other. “But…what happened to it?”
One of the boys, gathering his courage, grabbed a stick and poked at the creature’s face. It didn’t move, but its face shifted slightly, revealing empty sockets where its eyes had been.
The boys shuddered in horror. “I wonder how it died,” said one.
The other boy frowned. “Look at its face. It’s all…shriveled up. Like an old plant…or…”
The boy never finished the thought, for at that moment, something grabbed both of them around the legs and yanked them beneath the murky water. A few bubbles, popping at the muddy surface seconds later, were the only sign they had ever been there.
As a kid, Leech was one of my favorite He-Man figures. Like King Hsss, Leech hung around my toy box for years after I’d given away most of my other Masters of the Universe toys. His appeal, I think, lay in the fact that he was a big green monster with sucker hands and a fun suction action feature. He also had a really unique sculpt, which was rare among He-Man figures and may have been part of the reason I didn’t mind using him with other toy lines.
Capturing the big, rotund look of Leech in Masters of the Universe Classics, which makes heavy reuse of existing parts, was a tall order for the Four Horsemen. They actually had less to work with than the original sculptors, who were able to create an entirely new figure.
One could argue that it was a bit early for Leech and that he might have been better served as an exclusive down the line. I think that might be partly true, but that doesn’t mean I’m unhappy with the result here.
Leech gets a lot of new parts, including his heads, hands, forearms, and feet, as well as the large plastic section over the torso. From a sculpting standpoint, I think the Horsemen did a great job in keeping the character in MOTUC style. No, he’s not as detailed and badass as the Staction, mostly because it strongly follows the original design, but you knew that was going to be the case.
Some reviews have said he looks like a goofy B-movie monster, and I both agree with that and think it’s a positive thing, as I love goofy B-movie monsters (I think he kind of resembles the Horror of Party Beach).*
Sculpting-wise, the only major changes I would have wished for are sharper teeth and alternate hands with folded, webbed claws instead of novelty flying discs.
Other reviews have said Leech looks oddly ill-proportioned. I think part of that may be because the vintage figure had such stumpy, bent legs. Most reviewers seem to pose Leech with his legs extended to their full length, which heightens that ill-proportioned look. With his knees bent, I think some of that goes away.
One a side note, a few reviews have said the plastic of the head feels “cheaper” than previous figures, but I’m not sure that’s the case. It’s possible, but I’m wondering if it’s simply the result of the plastic having been spread more thinly across the narrow jaws and ears. A solid round head will naturally feel more durable. But I could be wrong–it’s possible they went with the thinner plastic because it took the sculpt better, or, as has been implied, as a cost-saving measure.
Leech not only gets the standard MOTUC articulation but a bit extra. He’s got a ball jointed neck, ball and hinge shoulders, hinged elbows, a hinged abdomen, a swivel waist, ball and hinge hips, swivels at the top of the thighs, hinged knees, and swivels at the top of the boots. He also gets ball and hinge wrists and ankles, which are a very nice touch that add a lot of posing freedom.
Leech comes with two accessories, his Horde crossbow and a soft plastic net with suction cups. The net is presumably a nod to the vintage figure’s action feature. The crossbow, which clips to Leech’s wrist, has a different head sculpt than the bows of Hordak or Grizzlor.
In sum: I’m a Leech fan and I’m happy with this figure. It’s exactly what I would have expected from a MOTUC Leech. Some interchangeable hands would have been a nice touch but don’t ruin the figure. I understand why some other reviewers have been critical, and every opinion is valid. I can only call ’em as I see ’em.
Where to Buy:
* If I want a truly horrific leech-based monster, I’ll go with TMNT’s disgusting Bloodsucker, who creeped me out even as a kid.