In the early days of MOTU, the origins of Teela and the character who would eventually become the Sorceress were very murky and intertwined. They were always intended to be different characters, as concept art by Mark Taylor shows; but somewhere between the early concepts and the production of the first mini-comics it became unclear who was who. Rather than producing two separate figures, Teela and the Goddess/Sorceress, Mattel produced one figure with aspects and accessories from both characters: the staff and snake armor of the Goddess, and the shield and hair-bun-wearing head of Teela.
Those first mini-comics confused the matter even further. I’m planning to go into this topic in much more detail later, but in her first mini-comics appearance in “He-Man and the Power Sword,” the character was called “the Sorceress”–and she was green. It isn’t until “The Tale of Teela” that she’s referred to as “The Goddess.” Over the years, fans began to view the Goddess as a different character–apart from Teela and the Sorceress–and now Mattel has canonized that idea in MOTUC.
Oh, and then there’s the whole “Her real name is Sharella” thing. That comes from a one-sentence mention in the description of He-Ro from the “Powers of Grayskull” licensing kit, where she’s described as a “tribal chieftess” who helps train He-Ro. But wait…there’s more. The “Sharella” name on the package is actually a sticker, and if you peel it off, you’ll find the name “K’yrulla”! That name seems to be original and doesn’t have any historical significance for MOTU, but it’s amusing that even now, the Goddess’s identity is something of an open question.
Packaging: Same great MOTUC packaging, though unfortunately the one new accessory–the spear–is hidden behind the figure. Still, I like how they sort of hung the Power Vest on the axe, as in the mini-comic image above.
Design & Sculpt: Let’s face it–this is a clear green Teela. She’s so much of a repaint I originally wasn’t planning to get her, until I realized I was never going to display Teela with her snake armor on. The Goddess offered me a way of doing that.
From that perspective, I viewed her a bit more favorably. I really like the sculpt and texture of the snake armor. Plus, with the snake armor on, the Goddess looks much better holding Teela’s snake-headed Staff of Ka than Teela does without the armor–and you can give the more plain staff to Teela, who was originally supposed to come with it anyway.
However, by re-using the Teela sculpt, the figure isn’t completely accurate–the feathers on the pelvis aren’t present on the Goddess (see above), and in fact, even the unproduced 1980s figure wasn’t going to have them. As I recently remarked in regard to the upcoming MOTUC Evil-lyn, I think the feathers should have been sculpted as a separate piece from the rest of the outfit. It would have allowed both the Goddess and Evil-lyn to have different ornamentation and increased the value and appeal of both figures.
I haven’t been too critical of the $20 price point for these figures, but this is one place where Mattel took the cheap route, and it bugs me. A lot. Not enough that I don’t like the figure, but it cost the figure a whole raven in the Overall section.
One more minor sculpt-related point: the gauntlets should be reversed, based on the art above. They were sculpted as-is for Teela, whose art depicted them reversed from the actual figure; but I believe, given the size and shape of the forearms, they could have been swapped in the factory and it would have looked fine. Of course, it’s an easy swap to make yourself. I don’t actually care enough to do so, but it’s worth pointing out.
Plastic & Paint: I will give props to Mattel and the Horsemen for realizing that molding the figure in plain green plastic would have been going a bit too far. Instead, she’s made from translucent green plastic, giving the figure an ethereal, ghostly look. It’s a nice touch and goes a long way toward making the figure less of a plain repaint.
The rest of the paint applications on my figure are fairly clean, with little noticeable slop. Again I’m impressed with the work on the snake armor, which has a great look and feel.
Articulation: The Goddess has a ball-jointed head, ball-jointed shoulders and hips, hinges at the elbows, knees and ankles (as well as excellent side-to-side movement on the ankles), and swivels at the biceps, wrists and the top of the boots. Theoretically there’s also a waist swivel, but like Teela it’s rendered immobile by the one-piece outfit.
As with Teela, the head is loose, and the Goddess is a bit of a bobblehead. There are a number of ways to correct the problem, but the one I’d prefer is that Mattel develops a better peg for the head and neck and uses it on Evil-lyn.
Accessories: I’ll say this for her–the Goddess comes loaded with accessories. The problem is that, with one exception, we’ve seen them all before. She comes with He-Man’s axe, shield and Power Vest, Teela’s shield, and a new spear.
The spear, as mentioned above, is based on the original conception of Teela, and I many fans–including me–will be swapping the spear for Teela’s Staff of Ka. It’s a nice weapon, and it even has a touch of paint applications on the spearhead.
However, there’s one more thing that needs to be mentioned: the Power Vest. On the original and reissue He-Man figures, the Power Vest appears to be made of dark plastic painted a fairly dark shade of gray, and is prone to paint chipping and scratching. The Power Vest that comes with the Goddess is molded in a lighter gray, which makes the red parts really pop, and better matches the original He-Man’s look.
I was pleasantly surprised by the vest and immediately put it on my He-Man. Perhaps more than anything else, the vest made me glad I picked up a Goddess.
Quality Control: Aside from the loose neck joint, no problems.
Overall: Ultimately, the Goddess is just a Teela repaint. But she does have a number of things going for her. She’s a unique character, she allows you to display both regular Teela and the snake armor version, she’s molded in translucent plastic, she comes with a new staff, and the He-Man vest that she comes with is arguably better than the one that actually comes with He-Man. All that makes me glad I picked her up, but as always, your mileage may vary.