Saturday, September 14, 2019

Action Figure Review: He-Man and Prince Adam from Masters of the Universe Origins by Mattel

   SDCC 2019 had a few really cool Masters of the Universe exclusive toys this year and today I'm getting ready to check out the first of them: The He-Man and Prince Adam 2-pack from Mattel's upcoming Masters of the Universe Origins. With the movie reportedly on the horizon and the upcoming Masters of the Universe: Revelations Netflix series, Mattel is getting ready to give He-Man another shot at retail. This time they're going back to the earliest days of MOTU by developing a line based on minicomic depictions of the crew with the aesthetics and size of the vintage line augmented with more modern articulation and features (extra hands, swappable heads). It's an interesting strategy for a mass market line but perhaps Mattel is hoping that collectors and nostalgic fans will keep it alive. While the Origins line isn't supposed to hit retail until sometime next fall, Mattel decided to give fans a taste of things to come by offering this really cool 2-pack. Ready for a very minicomics inspired He-Man and Prince Adam? Then join me after the break...

 The Facts: He-Man

Height: 5 3/4ths inches

Articulation: Swivel/ hinge ankles, boot swivels, swivel/hinge knees, balljointed hips, swivel waist, swivel/hinge shoulders, swivel/hinge elbows, swivel/hinge wrists, and a double balljointed head.

Accessories: 2 interchangeable heads, 6 interchangeable hands, harness, knife, ax, and shield.

Credits: Toy Designer: Brandon Sopinsky, Sculpt: Adam deFelice and Sean Olmos.

 The Facts: Prince Adam

Height: 5 3/4ths inches

Articulation: Swivel/ hinge ankles, boot swivels, swivel/hinge knees, balljointed hips, swivel waist, swivel/hinge shoulders, swivel/hinge elbows, swivel/hinge wrists, and a double balljointed head.

Accessories: 2 interchangeable heads, 6 interchangeable hands, vest, belt, and Power Sword.

Non-Scalper Price: $40 for the set.

* On the left is my childhood vintage He-Man (yeah, I lost his original harness as a kid so I had him decked out in the black Zodac armor), the new Origins He-Man is in the center, and Super7's recent vintage styled He-Man is on the right. While there are similarities between the three lines, there are absolutely a lot of differences, too. Still, I imagine that the Origins figures will blend in nicely with the two other lines.
 The Positives:

* Mattel's He-Man is unapologetic about copying what worked so well in 1982: He-Man is buff, tanned, and wearing very little. While the articulation does betray this as a modern action figure, most other things about the figure do make this feel like a legitimate vintage toy: The bold colors, the lack of paint, and the simple details. The details look great, though, and are very crisp and clean. 

 * The default head for He-Man features longer hair and a different face than the vintage toy. It definitely looks more like the comic depictions of the character. I like the angry look! It's very savage!

* He-Man's power harness is excellent. It's much sturdier than the vintage toy's harness and features an excellent paintjob. It is removable, though taking it off is a little odd: It separates in the back and rather than come over the arms, the top half goes over He-Man's head (you actually have to take the head off) while the bottom half of the harness goes over his legs. There's a slot for holding the Power Sword too, which is a great feature.

 * Prince Adam is... well, he's the exact same sculpt as He-Man. That's not any different from the minicomics, though. What is different is that he's much paler. He's also sporting a really cool blue fabric vest. He looks like the Prince Adam from the minicomics, particularly from the minicomics The Dragon's Gift, Masks of Power, and the Insect People. He kind of looked like this in the DC Comics, too. It's a nice alternative look.

* Adam comes with the same headsculpt as He-Man although his hair is a brighter yellow than He-Man's.

 * The vest is quite nice. It's made from a soft fabric and has some very ornate detail on the sleeves. The vest could be removable although it's very tight at the shoulders, so I didn't risk it. It's probably be a paint to put back on. The belt is easily removable, though. It's an elastic piece and you can just pull it down over Adam's legs.

* He-Man are mostly the same figure (the right boot is different) so they share the same articulation. Size-wise, and even proportionally, these are very similar to the vintage toys. The articulation is definitely quite modern, though, as the figures have swivel/hinges for the ankles,  knees, shoulders, elbows, and wrists, along with balljointed hips and heads. They can look taller than the vintage toys because they can actually stand up straight rather than being stuck in the "battle crouch" of the vintage figures. Of course, you can pose them like that so they fit in better with their vintage brethren. They're very sturdy figures made from a very high quality plastic. Imagine a MOTUC figure molded to the proportions of a vintage MOTU figure and you've got an idea of what to expect. 

* These guys are still bulky and built, so don't expect very smooth, fine poses. You're more getting battle poses rather than things like "scratching your chin" or holding weapons two-handed. The articulation is fun, though, and things like the more articulated arms and swivel/hinge hips allow for some fun and dramatic posing.

* You know what I really like? The bracers on the wrists are fully painted! That was something the vintage line didn't usually have, so it's nice to see it here!

* Both figures come with the same set of six swappable hands. Here are Prince Adam's to the left. You get a pair of fists, a pair of open, grappling hands, and a pair of standard weapon grips. They swap pretty easily and stay in pretty securely. I don't know if every origins figure will have this feature next year, so we'll have to wait and see.

* And here are He-Man's swappable hands to the right. He has the same six as Prince Adam but they're molded in a more tanned skin color.
 * Do you know what my favorite thing about this set is? He-Man's boot dagger! The boot dagger showed up in early He-Man concept art and even made it into Alfredo Alcala's art for He-Man and the Power Sword, but it was "cut" before the vintage toy was produced. We finally get it, though, and it's awesome! I love it! The knife looks really cool tucked down in He-Man's boot, doesn't it? Also, check out the paint detail on the boots. It's actually quite intricate for this line.

* And here is the dagger. Yes, it is fully removable and makes for a cool accessory for He-Man to tote around. I love that the blade and the handle are two separate colors, also.

* The packaging shows Prince Adam wielding the Power Sword, so I've been displaying this with him. It's a great take on the Power Sword from Alfredo Alcala's art. It's a full sword, not a half sword like the vintage line, and it looks pretty cool. I love the design of this!

* He-Man comes with his classic battle ax, here based on the minicomic design, too, rather than the toy design. I'm not sure I like it as well as I like the classic toy ax but it's certainly not a bad sculpt at all. The extra silver paint applications on the blade are just icing on the cake.

* Last, as accessories go, He-Man comes with his shield. The sculpt is excellent, the paint applications on the red insets are clean, and it works like the vintage shield with a handle inside and a clip for He-Man's wrist.

 * I don't usually spend any time talking about packaging but when the packaging is this incredible, I have to. The set comes in the large box to the right that looks like Castle Grayskull brick with He-Man's harness wrapped around it. Inside is another box covered with clear plastic wrap that features art reminiscent of He-Man and the Power Sword. 

* Inside that box, which opens like a book, are the two figures and some cardboard comic pages. Adam is at the front of the book while He-Man is at the back. The plastic trays they are resting in are easily removable and form the first and last pages of the comic, respectively. The comic is only a few pages and features the talents of Tim Seely, Axel Gimenez. Val Staples, Nate Baertch, Ed Dukeshire, and Joseph Zacate.
 The Negatives:

* I'm not loving the two alternate vintage portraits that come with the set. The faces looks a little off for some reason and the hair colors are rally off. Seriously, if you're going to give us a vintage head you gotta get the hair color right, and none of these are a match.

* I like the method of adding articulation to the vintage styled bodies but the overly muscular limbs do tend to limit the range of motion. To the left is the limit as to how far the elbow can bend, which isn't a lot. I don't necessarily have a better solution off hand, but it's definitely a bit disappointing.

 * My He-Man figure had a lot of extra plastic flash in his joints. I was able to remove it with a little work, though.
   Overall, I'm very, very thrilled by this set. For the original asking price of $40 bucks (spoiler: no one is getting this set for $40 dollars) you're getting two very, very cool action figures with lots of extra stuff and some of the best packaging I've ever seen. This line seems like an unusual choice for Mattel to launch as a mass market line since it's so nostalgia focused, but I'm hoping it pays off. Many of the line's parts are going to see use in the upcoming Masters of the WWE Universe line, so Mattel is definitely getting their mileage out of molds and beginning to build some more interest. Even if this was a one-off item, it would be pretty Epic, but knowing that it's the launch of a new line makes it even more grand. While it seems that Mattel is putting any version of Masters of the Universe Classics on hold for the time being to give this line more of a chance (which seems like a very silly idea), I'm still very excited to see what all Mattel has in store for Masters of the Universe Origins.

Are you a fan of He-Man/ Prince Adam? I am too! Check out Fabulous Secret Powers where I store reviews of all of my He-Man reviews!


  1. I never understood how NO ONE ever could figure out that Prince Adam and He-Man were the same person. I mean they look identical. Same enormous build and bowl haircut. How stupid are these Enterians?

    1. It's the Power of Grayskull, man! It allows Adam/ He-Man to cloud the minds of those around him so they can't tell he's the same person. Then again, Adam and He-Man have different skin tones, too. And slightly different hair colors.

  2. My guess is that if Batman accompanied Superman to Eternia and he saw both Prince Adam and He-Man, Bats would probably tell Supes: "He doesn't even bother with eyeglasses. Or vibrating his head just enough to blur his face."


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