Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Action Figure Review : Oo-Lar from Masters of the Universe Classics by Mattel


     The best decision ever made in the Masters of the Universe Classics line was the idea to unite every element of Masters of the Universe under one canon. The original toyline, Filmation cartoons, New Adventures of He-Man, 200x/ MYP productions, and even concept art and ideas are all joined together under one banner. While it definitely makes for a convoluted and messy story line told through the brief bios on the rear of the backer cards and in a few minicomics, it does interestingly justify the greatest amount of characters in a single toyline, such as Oo-lar, the Jungle He-Man. Oo-Lar is a new name and identity applied to the He-Man's appearance in the original minicomic "He-Man and the Power Sword" that was packed in with the original He-Man action figure in 1982. In that story, there is no Prince Adam; Instead, He-Man is the greatest warrior of an Eternian jungle tribe who leaves his village to go and defend the mysterious Castle Grayskull. It's an incredibly different origin for He-Man, thus Mattel chose to now dub that incarnation of the character with a new name and a new identity. Giving various concept images of He-Man new identities has been par for the course in MOTUC as we've seen Vikor, Vykron, and Wun-dar created as precursors to He-Man for the MOTUC canon. While many fans love the dual identity of He-Man as Prince Adam, others whose introduction to the mythos was through the original minicomics have come to cherish the jungle barbarian version of He-Man. No matter what you like or what you call him, subscribers to the 2015 Club Eternia subscription now have a jungle He-Man of their own! Ready for the review? Then join me after the break...





The Facts:

Height: 7 inches

Articulation: Hinged ankles with lateral rockers, hinged knees, swivel thighs, swivel/hinge hips, swivel waist, hinged torso, swivel/hinge shoulders, hinged elbows, swivel wrists, ball jointed head.

Accessories: Spear, sword, alternate "original" He-Man head, minicomic.

Non-Scalper Price: Oo-Lar was a subscription extra included with the $26 subscription fee last summer.



The Positives:

*Overall, the Four Horsemen captured the Tarzan and Conan influenced He-Man as depicted by artist Alfredo Alcala in the earliest Masters of the Universe Minicomic. For fans of barbarian fiction and traditional swords and sorcery fantasy, it just doesn't get any more basic than a big muscular warrior with a scowl on his face and a loincloth fighting for his life. There are a surprising number of new parts on Oo-lar as well since he's barefoot and not wearing any booths, anklets, or wrist guards.


*Other than the lack of a boot swivel (due to the fact that Oo-lar's not wearing boots), Oo-lar is as well articulated and sturdy as any other MOTUC figure out there. You'll have a great time posing this savage warrior fighting any beasts and monsters from your collection.







*The paint work is pretty minimal on this guy but it works. His bare skin look neither overly flat nor toyish and the more detailed areas like his hair and his loincloth have dark washes to bring out the details. His face looks great and features clean, even paint applications.











*Oo-Lar comes with two accessories: A spear and a sword. The sword is a random sword that appears in Castle Grayskull in "He-Man and the Power Sword but the spear is Oo-Lar's signature weapon. In the first panel of the comic Oo-lar is leaving the jungle with only his spear. Both accessories feature fine sculpts and excellent paintwork. While the sword looks like a simple but professionally crafted metal weapon, the spear looks primitive and crude. It has a nice dark paint wash to give an appropriate level of ruggedness to the piece. Both accessories are cast in a solid and sturdy plastic that doesn't feel at all brittle. Of course, Huntara also comes with third weapon for Oo-Lar: His ax.





*Oo-Lar is also packaged with an additional head for He-Man that looks like the original 1982 action figure. The Masters of the Universe Classics head certainly is not a bad looking sculpt but it looks like a blend of various He-Man appearances including the original toy and the Filmation cartoon series. This sculpt, however, is a direct update of the vintage toy and it has a very unique and stern look. I'm not sure I like it better than the MOTUC version but it certainly has a more intense and expressive look. It's a great accessory and I can see these being in high demand for fans wanting to replace the heads on many of their He-Man figures.


The Negatives:

*While the overall look of the figure is fine, if a bit bland, something about the ankles and the bare feet throws me off. I'm not sure what it is but they bare feet and ankles look really awkward to me.

*It's not going to factor into my review of the figure, but I want to mention the minicomic Homecoming: Fall of Eternia Part 1. Where to start? Let's just say that it is typically wise to know how much room you have to tell the story you want to tell. If the sky's the limit, feel free to introduce dozens (hundreds, even!) of new characters, span generations, and make some pretty big changes in your universe. Do you only have about 14-16 pages? Keep it simple and focused. Unfortunately this minicomic, penned by former brand manager Scott Neitlich with art by Axel Jimenez, tries to tell a third of story on a scale with something like Crisis on Infinite Earths or Final Crisis in less pages than one issue of the monthly DC Masters of the Universe comic. Oh, and the pages are around 1/4 of the size. I've always defended the bios themselves not as great writing but as an experiment in creating a universal encyclopedia of MOTU and trying to see what happens when everything is blended together. When there's room to tell a story, though, tell a story. In these pages Neitlich could have told any story he wanted. He could have told a short story about Oo-Lar's role in the line of He-Men defending the Power Sword and helped to solidify Oo-Lar into the canon. Instead, we're treated to a series of loosely connected images and plot twists. They're well rendered (Jimenez's art is great) but this is a prime example of using the wrong media and format to tell the (wrong) story.


     While Oo-Lar is a figure I've wanted for quite a long time, I will admit he's not the most exciting figure in the line. He's well done but a tad underwhelming. Honestly, I think that's simply due to the design of the character and not any fault of the figure. The accessories are great, the extra vintage He-Man head sculpt is an impressive extra, and the amount of new body parts is surprising, but at the end of the day this is still a loincloth wearing He-Man. Nothing wrong with that; just a bit duller to me than something like last month's Snake Armor He-Man. Overall, I'm giving this figure a Good and a 1/2. It is extremely awesome to have this figure as part of the long line of various He-Man incarnations we've seen throughout the years. Since he's a sub exclusive figure, if you want to track him down you probably need to be ready to pony up some cash or find someone who ordered multiple subs that will cut you a better deal. Some folks just don't seem to care for this figure, so maybe things will work out for you!


I've reviewed lots of Masters of the Universe Classics figures, including:

Masters of the Universe Classics by Mattel
Arrow
Battle Lion
Batros
Blade
Castaspella
Castle Grayskull
Clamp Champ
End of Wars Weapon Pak
Extendar
Fang Man
The Fighting Foe Men
Flutterina
Galactic Protector He-Man
Galactic Protector She-Ra
Geldor
Glimmer
Goat Man
Gwildor
Horde Prime
Horde Troopers
Huntara
Hydron
Icer
Karatti
King He-Man
Lizard Man
Loo-Kee and Kowl
Lord Dactus
Mantenna
Mermista
Modulok
Nepthu
Ninja Warrior/ Ninjor
Octavia
Plundor
Procrustus
Ram-Man
Rokkon & Stonedar
Scorpia
Sea Hawk
Shokoti
Sir Laser-Lot
Sky High with Jet Sled
Snake Armor He-Man and Battle Armor King Hsss
Snake Face
Spinnerella
Spirit of Hordak
Stackable Stands
Strobo
Strong-or/ Strongarm
Tung Lashor
Two Bad
The Unnamed One

5 comments:

  1. you are right, he is very plain looking but for any fan of mini-ternia, he is super exciting. when discussed, years ago, i thought it was very dumb & i would hate him but he is awesome. no picture of him with his axe?

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    1. I definitely like Oo-lar and I've wanted him for quite sometime. He's one of those figures that I've wanted and needed yet still kind of understood would be duller than others when I got him in hand. I took the picture of the axe with Huntara but completely forgot to a separate picture with Oo-Lar and the axe. If I remember, I'll to take one with a note that the axe doesn't come with Oo-Lar himself.

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  2. Replies
    1. Yup. He's basic and he is what he is.

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  3. I dont remember him from the mini comic but he looks like he could be used to make a good thundarr the barbarian custom.

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