I grew up with He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, but admittedly my connection to the characters runs pretty thin. I love the major players like He-Man, Skeletor, Beast-Man, Ram-Man and Man-at-Arms. I’ve also got a soft spot for others like Clawful and Merman. Modulok is about as fringe as I get.
Although I’m aware of most of the He-Man lore, I’ll fully admit that there have been some characters in the Masters of the Universe Classics (MOTUC) line that I didn’t recognize at all, yet that hasn’t stopped me from buying many of them.
I love the Four Horsemen and they’re my principle reason for subscribing this year. That said, when hearing that King He-Man would be the Club Eternia exclusive this year I was a bit curious. I knew that King He-Man was from the unproduced Filmation cartoon show (He-Ro Son of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe) and wondered how the Horsemen would handle him.
Packaging and Bio: King He-Man arrived in his standard white MOTUC box which when opened revealed standard MOTUC packaging with one added detail: a sticker across the front that read “HE-RO: SON OF HE-MAN” hearkening back to the unproduced television series.
His bio reads:
King He-Man: Heroic Ruler of Future Eternia
Real name: Adam of the House of Randor
After his sister defeated Horde Prime, the threat of Adam’s old enemy Skeletor once more called He-Man to one final battle. In an epic duel on the Jaw Bridge of the great Temple of Power on Trolla, He-Man at last defeated Skeletor in single combat. Recovering the Vortex Key, He-Man could now return to his home world. Here he found his queen mother keeping the throne and mourning the passing of King Randor. Taking his rightful place as his father’s heir, Adam became King He-Man ruling over all of Eternia with wisdom and strength. He married Teela and together with their son Dare took over his father’s legacy, as the new He-Ro, defender of Eternia and the wielder of the Sword of Power.
Sculpt & Paint: In this area, King He-Man is a controversial figure for me.
His body sculpt is similar to what we’ve seen from the rest of MOTU, but the paint applications on his chest armor, loin-cloth, and cape (including brown fur fringe) all look excellent with no slop. There are many nice color accents here with gold, blue, red, and silver all over the figure’s accouterments.
The sticking point for me is definitely King He-Man’s head. Let me explain: on the one hand, his face features some pretty awesome little details, like a scar running over one eye, a droopy lower lip, and a mane of straw-colored hair. This is clearly a veteran He-Man who has suffered through years of war, strife, and battle…a man who has fought countless enemies and now wearily sits on a throne of skulls while listening to Norwegian death metal…well, not quite, but you get the picture. Points is, his head sculpt makes him look like a badass.
That’s all well and good, but when you consider that King He-Man’s face is supposed to be that of an aged He-Man, it definitely falls short. This is really how He-Man ends up? Looking like the unholy love child of Kenny Rogers and Chris Hemsworth from Thor?
Seriously, when looking at King He-Man next to the standard He-Man figure that we all know and love, there’s very little resemblance. They look like wholly different characters—not the same person just older. If I didn’t have to consider King He-Man’s countenance to his younger persona, this wouldn’t be a problem… but it is.
I’m no MOTU purist, and I like this figure on his own merits, but I just don’t see how he’s supposed to actually be He-Man.
Articulation: In terms of articulation, King He-Man isn’t anything special for a MOTUC figure, being built on the standard articulated body that we’ve seen over and over in this line. King He-Man sports a ball jointed neck, shoulders, and hips. He’s also got hinged knees, elbows, and feet along with an ab-crunch. Altogether this figure offers a fair amount of articulation by design.
Unfortunately King He-Man’s fashion sense—specifically his choice of cape, chest armor and loin cloth—limit his articulation. The chest piece gets in the way of his ab-crunch and his loin-cloth limits the range of motion for his legs, it’s really King He-Man’s heavy plastic cape that may limit his poses most.
I’ve always had mixed feelings about capes and cloaks on action figures in general. Cloth capes look totally cheesy and feel super cheap—often just draping sloppily over the figure and standing out against the plastic. On the other hand plastic capes look better, but they add considerable heft to a figure and can hinder the articulation and balance. That’s the case here with King He-Man. Like the other caped figures in the MOTU line (I’m looking squarely at you, Count Marzo), King He-Man’s cape looks pretty cool, but definitely gets in the way of his poses, and the weight can make him teeter a bit on the shelf.
Accessories: The accessories are a real shining point here. King He-Man comes with two major accessories: his power sword and his scepter.
The scepter is gold and the cross at the top is red with silver with a blue accent. It looks great, although it’s pretty much King Randor’s scepter repainted (not necessarily a bad thing).
The Power Sword really steals the show here. It is absolutely loaded with neat little details that make it look worn and damaged from battle. All sorts of little chips, dings, dents, rust spots, and scratches adorn the blade, and the handle is meant to looks like it’s bone and has been tied together hastily with leather straps. All in all, it’s very nice.
One final “accessory” that came with King He-Man is a Masters of the Universe: The Secret Origin of Skeletor comic book written by Scott Neitlich. In an effort to remain spoiler free, I’ll just say that the story is intriguing and the art is great. It’s an excellent addition to the figure.
Quality Control: The joints on my King He-Man were tight out of the package with no floppiness or other quality control issues.
Overall: As an anonymous action figure, I like King He-Man. He’s not particularly inspired like Draego-Man or some of the Horsemen’s other offerings for MOTUC, but all in all King He-Man is solid with acceptable articulation, fine details, great accessories, and nice sculpting.
But as I’ve said before, he fails as a representation of the future He-Man. For me that’s okay. In my collection he’s perched far away from He-Man, free from comparison to his younger counterpart, where I can imagine him as some other character. If you can look past his failure as a representation of He-Man, I think he’s a figure worth picking up.