The 2002 revamp of Masters of the Universe was ambitious in scope, encompassing the toys, a new cartoon, a McDonalds tie-in and even a videogame. Mattel was fervently hoping to recapture the bottled lightning they’d found in the early 1980s.
Unfortunately, the toys weren’t as successful as Mattel’s immense hopes, and after two years it was shut down (though it lived on for quite a while via NECA’s “stactions”).
The theories for the 2002 line’s demise have been hashed out ad infinitum, so I won’t go over them again here. Suffice to say Zodak represents the second 2002 character to appear in MOTUC. As a variant of the already slow-selling (comparatively speaking) Zodac, it’s not surprising that he took two weeks to sell out; I’m very curious to see how the Goddess does in December.
Packaging: Have you liked the packaging for every MOTUC figure thus far? Then you’ll like this one, because it’s the same. I personally like it, but I’m finding it a challenge to say something about it every damned time in these reviews.
Design & Sculpt: With the exception of his accessory, Zodak is entirely made of repurposed parts, so there’s not a lot to discuss in terms of the sculpting.
The design is another story, because choosing which parts to re-use is part of the design process. The 2002 figure represented a pretty radical design departure from the original character, and Mattel and the Four Horsemen did a pretty good job using existing parts to re-create that design. The gloves were first seen on Hordak, while the pelvis and boots are taken from He-Ro. The result is a far more cosmic-looking character than the original version who looks like a new character, not just a repaint.
It’s a shame, however, that we couldn’t get an unmasked alternate head, particularly given his single accessory and the amount of re-use. An extra head would have won this figure an extra raven.
Plastic & Paint: The plastic color choices and paint applications are even more important than the parts swapping for making Zodak look like a new, separate character. Fortunately, Mattel did a pretty good job.
In terms of plastic, the brown used for the skin tone looks good. The boots are molded in gray, rather than the silver of the original figure. I have mixed feelings on the boots; a silver paint job, a la the gold of He-Ro, would have matched the 2002 version better, but I actually like the gray.
The paint applications are more interesting. In keeping with the 2002 figure, the chest armor has more white and silver highlights than the 1980s version–and looks a lot better, too. There are some silver highlights on the mask that aren’t on the 1980s version, which make it look more detailed; however, there’s some errant silver marks on the back of my figure’s head, and some glossy slop around the top of the helmet. None of it is too noticeable, fortunately.
I think the use of white paint for the gloves, rather than the silver of the original figure, was the right way to go. It matches the detailing of the chest armor, whereas silver gloves might have looked a bit too 1950s retro. There are still plenty of silver touches throughout the figure, from the helmet to the boots to the little nub at the bottom of the back part of the armor, which gives Zodak his sense of the cosmic.
Of course, there are also the blue “tribal” tattoos, which are made from glow-in-the-dark paint. They’re just another treat on this bonus figure, and they’ve been applied quite neatly.
Articulation: Standard MOTUC articulation: a ball jointed head, ball and hinge shoulders, ball/hinge/swivel hips, hinged torso, elbows, knees, and ankles, and swivel biceps, wrists, and waist. The head’s ball joint has a decent range of motion, and the ankles have great side-to-side articulation as well.
Accessories: The oversized staff of the 2002 figure has been slightly downsized and Classicized for this release. The ends now resemble the barrel of the 1980s Zodak’s gun.
It’s a cool weapon, but you know what would have easily earned this figure another half-raven, though? If the staff could be collapsed and snap onto his armor for storage. It just looks like it should be able to do that.
Quality Control: Other than a few paint problems around the helmet, none. The joints are nice and tight.
Overall: I like Zodak more than I expected to. In fact, I think I like him more than the 1980s Zodac; he has a more distinctive design, and his skin tone is a welcome change from all the white and blue we’ve seen up to now.
Remember, a 2.5 raven score simply means “average”–which means nothing negative, just nothing particularly above-and-beyond, either. He gets an extra half-star for the paint work, the design, and the staff.