The following is a guest review.
While I have been a fan of Masters of the Universe since I was a wee lad in 1982, I know very little about Princess Of Power, or the Netossa character specifically (beyond the difficulty to get a carded vintage sample). In fact, watching the She-Ra cartoon in preparation for this review was the first time I’d done so since the ’80s. It is not through any dislike or feeling the figures are bad, “girly”, or poorly done; I’ve just always leaned towards the mini-comics, Evil Warriors faction, and the classic card back art. I enjoyed the Filmation cartoon as a child, but my days with Masters of the Universe started with a barefoot barbarian and Alfredo Alcala and ended with the introduction of the Horde and the Snakemen.
However, I feel that MOTU Classics, is an “everyone is welcome” line; a wide variety of characters that showcases the diversity of 20th-century genre fiction, as well as the human imagination. Its freakiness and combinations are what make it unique and endearing. To start excluding or pinpointing what or what is not MOTU is strange in a line that not only includes barbarians and robots, but also elephant-headed men and human motorcycles. To say these multi-color super-heroines aren’t welcome on the same shelf as my giant green cat that a blonde weightlifter rides is, to me, not in the spirit of the line, either today or thirty-plus years ago. Buy what you want to buy, collect what you want to collect, but putting others down because your taste is different than theirs isn’t exactly my cup of tea.
Being the only black female figure ever produced in the vintage She-Ra: Princess of Power toyline, as well as one of the more difficult to find figures from the final wave of POP toys, has made Netossa a popular vintage figure among She-Ra collectors since the 1990’s. It may be worth noting some fans believe that Netossa is in a romantic relationship with her vintage Wave Three companion, Spinnerella. Looking at the episode of the cartoon Netossa and Spinerella appeared in with 35-year old, 2013 eyes, it’s pretty easy to draw those conclusions, but since no one, to my knowledge, has asked anyone who worked on the show about it, fans just don’t know for sure. Their relationship is obviously much closer than some of the other characters on the show, with Netossa calling Spinnerella “sister,” and Spinnerella seeming to go to any lengths to protect her friend from harm in the episode “When Whispering Woods Last Bloomed.” Regardless of the hard facts, Netossa has become an icon of sorts for some gay fans, and her relationship with fellow Great Rebellion member Spinnerella is for many a very important part of their own personal relationship to the property.
Netossa was originally released in January 2013, and sold out two days later. She continues the Masters of the Universe Classics tradition of releasing a POP character as the first new figure available for the year. Let’s take a look at the figure.
Packaging: Netossa comes packaged in the standard green-brick style with a bio on the back we’ve seen since 2009. This is enclosed in the in the standard white “mailer” box.
Design & Sculpt: The vintage Netossa’s cape was fabric, and the wings on the side of the head were attached to the cape. As they based much of their sculpt on the Filmation style guide – like most of the other POP figures in the Classics series – the Four Horsemen found an interesting compromise by placing these wings on her head. Many fans felt this was a mistake, and would have preferred a design closer to the toy. It’s a pretty good approximation of her cartoon look from most angles, but does look a little goofy.
The face sculpt is absolutely amazing, and one of the best females in the line. It’s obvious that there was some serious attention to making the face as beautiful and unique as possible.
The figure features new lower boots, skirt, lower arms bracers, and chest piece. While the vintage Peekablue and Netossa shared torso sections, this may not be possible with this new Netossa-specific chest section, as Peekablue doesn’t have the blue armor wings.
Plastic & Paint: Netossa is not made of recycled black plastic painted over, which made MOTUC fans very happy. The net seems to be made of a better rubbery material than Leech’s red net, which was of infamously poor quality.
However, Netossa is again the subject of controversy in the paint department as well. Netossa’s paintwork is generally high quality, especially in the face. The details on the bodice, boots, and bracers are in a metallic blue that look quite nice. She’s consistent with Frosta in that the white portions are light gray instead of white, which disappointed many POP fans. They’re supposed to be white, and the gray seems to be a cost-cutting measure to avoid paying for a shadowing paint pass.
Then you get to the cape, and see the black spot in the back. Much has already been written about the large black paint spot that Neatness cape got. It sits directly under her hair, and gives a shadow, but it’s nothing natural light shining down doesn’t already do. It would be acceptable at a lower price point, but we were constantly told in 2012 how expensive paint was on these figures, and that the price increase this year would enable them to continue to do the shading and other complex paint work.
If the paint is so expensive, then why do this little spot on the back of the cape that no one will see? If the cape is considered an accessory, then why add paint in a place where it makes it look like Netossa has been putting cigars out on it? Why not make the white parts white, and use that black spot money to make legitimate shading?
Luckily, the spot is pretty light on my figure, and it barely shows in the pictures. It’s fairly obvious in person, but based on other online reviews and photos, I got very lucky.
Articulation: Netossa is on the standard “2.0” style female body, with almost all the standard MOTUC articulation except the lower leg boot-cut swivel. It’s a shame as I find the smaller high-heeled female foot is a little tougher to balance and that swivel helps keep the figures standing. She also won’t be riding Swift Wind anytime soon. While she sports the 2.0 body, the skirt does restrict the legs a bit, and is too stiff to bend in a way to allow riding anything.
Accessories: Netossa suffers in the accessories department as do most of the POP releases thus far. She includes a shield, and technically, has her net/cape. That’s it. The shield has a cool blue gem in the center, as well as some nice silver detailing.
Personally I’ve always considered anything the figure wears in the package that is not instantly easily removable part of the “outfit.” Scott has mentioned several times before that Mattel is counting her cape as an accessory, so we’ll give Mattel the benefit of the doubt and include it here. The problem is, it’s a great cape, but a lousy net. Since there are no drawstrings, the cape can’t really “catch” anyone or anything. I tried for a while to make it look like she caught something, but failed miserably.
What’s frustrating is that they had two other options of accessories to include. Her vintage mask would have been a nice addition, especially for fans starved for
toy details. And the usual MOTU trick of going back to the cross-sell artwork for inspiration would have shown a blue Bubble-Power style sword.
As usual, He-Man fans have come to save the day, and there are artists doing custom masks for the figure. Many have been giving Netossa a trident, to give her a more gladiator type look. Anything would have been better than nothing, especially when six months prior fans were told the price was going up so accessories wouldn’t be cut.
Quality Control: My figure arrived in great shape with no issues beyond the microscopic paint dots on her face, which I didn’t notice until looking at the photos. They look annoying in pictures, but are pretty invisible in real life.
Overall: Netossa has been sparking debate among fans since her reveal at San Diego Comic Con 2012, not just about sexual preference or the toy’s details, but also about POP and its place in Classics.
The lack of face mask, sword, and the black spot on the cape, brings this from being an average release to a slightly below-par release. Despite the issues, Netossa is a solid action figure, and a must have for POP fans. I don’t think the figure will turn someone into an instant Princess of Power fan, but it is a worthy release in the line and adds another interesting, unique character to your collection.