Sir Laser Lot is the latest addition to the Masters of the Universe 30th Anniversary subscription. The character was created and designed by comic book writer Geoff Johns, who successfully revamped DC’s Green Lantern line of comics earlier in the decade and is currently shaping the development of the New 52. I once interviewed Johns for PGPoA, which you can read here. Sir Laser-Lot has also played a role in the new comics produced separately by Mattel (as minicomics packaged with toys) and DC’s MOTU comic.
Like the Mighty Spector, Sir Laser-Lot was controversial when revealed. Why? Let’s find out.
Design & Sculpt: I don’t think Sir Laser-Lot was necessarily doomed to his controversial status. I’ve said many times how the more sword-and-sorcery influenced figures in MOTU seem to do better, and a “knight” like Sir Laser-Lot could easily have been worked into this mold.*
What I think we’re getting with Sir Laser-Lot is a figure that’s clearly designed as it if had an antecedent in the 1980s. That vintage figure would obviously have had some sort of light-up gimmick; perhaps a solid right arm with a light to light up the sword (a la Laser Power He-Man) and a light in the chest (a la Blackstar) to make the “Gem of Tamadge” glow. The fact that the gem is just painted red, despite being talked up in the bio and the new comics, seems odd – making it translucent seems like a no-brainer.
In terms of sculpting, I think the Four Horsemen did their usual fine job. It’s a fairly simple sculpt, with a lot of re-use except for the head and armor. The “laser” bit on the side of the head looks incongruous but it’s a nice touch.
Plastic & Paint: The obvious problem with this figure’s look is all the blue. The lack of differentiation between the chest, torso, pelvis, and limbs makes the figure look dully monochromatic. (This is why superheroes often look better with colored briefs or big, bright symbols on their chests.) Just breaking up all the blue by having the armor be, for example, metallic blue would have gone a long way to improving the figure’s look.
And why not push the whole “laser” thing even further? Why not mold the cape in translucent plastic, like Scareglow? Incidentally, the cape is heavy enough that it makes standing the figure in certain poses a bit difficult.
Like Spikor, Sir Laser-Lot appears to have limbs molded in black and then painted a solid color. It’s probably worth discussing whether this painting-on-black-plastic trend is good or bad. Many collectors seem to be viewing it as a bad one, a sign Mattel is going cheap, though some argue it’s more expensive to paint something than mold it in that color. I confess I don’t know. But isn’t this how companies like NECA do it – mold it in one color then apply the paint? Doesn’t this reduce the “toyishness” of the figure?
Articulation: Standard for MOTUC. I’m not sure if the plume is supposed to move, but mine didn’t move easily so I wasn’t going to force it.
Accessories: Sir Laser-Lot comes with a sword, a mace, and a shield. Both the sword and mace are molded in translucent “lightish-red” plastic that detracts from the “laser” idea and makes them look more like candy.
The sculpt of the mace is a bit odd, with the spikes having small nubs like the triggers on a naval mine. The sword is a pretty straightforward sculpt, though I wonder whether it could be reproduced in silver and yellow as a minicomic Tri-Klops sword.
The shield is translucent blue, rather than a matching lightish-red, and has an odd symbol on it of what looks like someone shooting lasers out of their eyes. It’s entirely possible this has been explained in one of the comics; I haven’t gotten to them all yet.
Quality Control: I worry about how the painted limbs will look after extended posing, i.e., whether the paint will flake off. But other than that, I didn’t detect any major problems.
Overall: I like Geoff Johns as a writer, and some of his designs for new or revamped Green Lantern characters have been fantastic. I’m not certain how much input Johns had into the final design of Sir Laser-Lot (seems like quite a bit), versus to what degree Mattel made changes to save money, but the end result is disappointing.
I remain convinced that if Sir Laser-Lot was an update of a vintage figure with some sort of laser gimmick, he’d have strong fan appeal (lots of people want Rio Blast, and he’s arguably more incongruous to Eternia than Sir Laser-Lot). Without a sense of character history or nostalgia, this figure has to stand on its own design. The nonexistent laser gimmick may actually hurt his popularity by emphasizing the science fiction elements of MOTU and detracting from the sword-and-sorcery aspect that seems to appeal more to modern collectors. And personally, I just can’t get past all those swaths of blue.
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