I’ve made no secret of the fact that my favorite bit of Masters of the Universe fiction is the three-issue DC Comics miniseries from the early 1980s. I grew up on the Filmation cartoon, and it holds a special place in my heart; many of the early minicomics were great; the Mike Young Productions cartoon in 2003 had some great storylines and characterization. But the DC Comics miniseries is an epic that tosses together the sword and science of the world of Eternia with reckless abandon. True, its version of Zodac is a thinly-veiled Metron. But the series features many fun Kirby-esque touches, from epic energy battles to phantasmagorias to over-the-top, blood-and-thunder dialogue. It’s the way I like to think of Eternia–a world where every moment is epic.
Since the miniseries was created while the toy line was still in development, a few of the characters looked a little different than the toys, none moreso than Teela. In the DC miniseries, the Sorceress looked identical to the toy version of Teela.¹ I’m not sure where the model for the DC Teela came from, but she only dressed this way in the first issue. By the second issue, Mattel must have corrected DC, because she was wearing the toy’s white one-piece (though she kept the blonde hair). This led to both Teela and the Sorceress wearing the same outfit.
I’ll admit I was a bit surprised when a campaign sprung up on He-Man.org for “blonde bikini Teela.” I still wonder to what degree this was owing entirely to the fact that she was hotter than her more modestly-clothed counterpart…but for me, the appeal of this figure, beyond its more generally sword-and-sorcery look, is that it’s the first figure to be based on my favorite bit of MOTU media. It gives me hope that we may see a figure of the evil sorcerer Damon in the future.
Of course, the way they shoehorned this look into the bios makes no sense at all, but we’ll get to that in the appropriate bio discussion post. Despite her relatively obscure place in the MOTU mythos, the figure sold out quickly. Furthermore, Mattel seems to have recognized Battleground Teela may represent the MOTU equivalent of Slave Leia, as they had a model dressed as BG Teela at San Diego Comic Con this year. (Thanks to MegaGearMax for the reminder about that.)
Packaging: I know you’ll be shocked by this, but BG Teela comes in the standard MOTUC packaging. I have absolutely nothing new to say about it.
Design & Sculpt: The newly-sculpted parts of Teela include the head, torso, breastplate, pelvis, and thighs. The arms, lower legs and boots are taken from the original Teela.
I like the torso sculpt. It’s the first bare torso we’ve seen on a female figure thus far. However, the relative attractiveness of the torso is undermined by the breastplate. The sculpt seems a bit large and soft, there’s no good delineation between the plates and the center strap, and the spirals on the cups are thin and lack detail. It’s quite possible most of these issues are due to the production process, though.
Some fans have complained that the breasts are too small, but I’m not going to complain. Not having the stereotypical massive, gravity-defying orbs of Red Sonja is not a negative in my book.
For the head sculpt the Four Horsemen seem to have used the MOTUC figure’s face but BG Teela’s hair. It is supposed to be the same character, after all.
Plastic & Paint: As on Catra, the facial paint applications are fairly clean and sharp, though it’s a little uneven around the lips. Unfortunately, the plastic used for the head is very glossy. The arms and torso are molded in flesh-colored plastic with a more appropriate level of gloss, while the legs are not only have an incongruent matte finish, but are of a slightly different shade (though it’s hard to notice except under bright light).
The paint applications on the bracers, biceps bracelets, and belt have a great leather-with-gold-trim look. The gold is uneven in places but not too bad.
Again, the problem is the breastplate. The paint on the plates looks a bit thick and uneven, especially where they meet the center strap. Unfortunately, that spot is front and center on the figure, so you can’t help but notice it.
Articulation: BG Teela represents a slight change for MOTUC females: she no longer has the swivel at the top of the thighs. Rather than having ball joints at the thighs, she has the swivel-hinge that was used on almost all the Millennium MOTU figures. I have to admit that I don’t miss the swivel very much.
Aside from that, Teela has a ball and socket neck joint, hinged balls at the shoulders, swivels at the biceps, wrists, waist and top of the boots, and hinges ast the elbows, knees and ankles, with a side-hinge on the feet to allow a wider stance. The hair restricts the head movement a bit.
There’s no ab crunch, but of course we haven’t had a functional ab crunch on a single female MOTUC figure so far. I’m not sure how much I miss it, since it really would have broken up the nice torso sculpt.
Accessories: Teela has two accessories: a sword and a blast. Both are based on the comic panel shown at the top. I love them–fun, character-appropriate accessories.
Quality Control: Nothing–tight joints all around.
Overall: As excited as I was for this figure, it isn’t perfect. The breastplate just looks bad, as does the overly glossy face.
But I love the figure overall. It looks great alongside the more barbaric characters like Vikor while still fitting in with the rest of the line. And I heartily encourage as many MOTU figures as we can get from the DC miniseries.
¹As many fans know, the figure that was meant to be the Sorceress was changed to Teela late in the toyline’s development, and some of the early minicomics reflect this.