We are knee-deep in subscription season, and moving towards the 2015 home stretch. August’s Masters of the Universe Classics Intergalactic Skeletor (read: New Adventures) is this year’s quarterly variant figure, complementing the 2013 Galactic Protector He-Man. Review samples have made the rounds online. Once again, the bulky overlay, designed to be skin this time, really marred what could have been the most threatening Skeletor to date. Disappointing execution aside, Intergalactic Skeletor has enough amazing details, a strong sculpt, and extras to not only compensate for the misfire on the armor, but gives the figure a real value.
Intergalactic Skeletor, self-imposed leader of the Space Mutants, easily displays majestically alongside his disfigured, techno-suited cronies nicely. Sculptor Djordje Djokovic left no stone unturned, submitting for Mattel his finest piece of work to date. Everything, from the metal-fused skull cracks, to his metallic spine, down to the veined piping is simply extraordinary. You can just get lost in the little details. It’s not enough that it harkens back to the original toy. This piece of art stands to be the ultimate version of the character ever sculpted. From a sculpting perspective, I don’t know how it could have been any better. The Masters of the Universe Classics sculpting team Four Horsemen Toy Design and Djordje are clearly enjoying a mutually beneficial relationship and there is no denying a great deal of effort went into Intergalactic Skeletor.
There is paint missing in a few areas of metallic detailing, but given the recent absence of metallic paint on previous 2014 figures, it’s unfortunately becoming standard. The pale green of the skull helps draw you into the deep purple eye sockets. His colors are more dynamic then his mutants, which helps him stand out on your shelf. His helmet and staff are molded in the same plastic, but regrettably his staff isn’t painted in any metallic accents. Given the amount of play and display options his staff can have if a Disks of Doom Skeletor gets made, it would have been preferred to prioritize painting such an important and heavily-used weapon. That said, the staff is beautifully-sculpted and is very nice as-is.
Skeletor’s articulation is pretty standard for a Masters of the Universe Classics figure. In lieu of the wrist articulation, the cut joint lies at the end of the gloves. Skeletor can hold his staff one-handed or two, and makes for some fantastic fighting stances. There are a few things that will impact posing due to the new tooling. Intergalactic Skeletor’s cape is glued to the front of the torso overlay. The cape may inhibit sitting in certain cockpit-style vehicles unless the overlay is removed. On the plus side, the brilliant sculpting of the spine work remains intact. The glaring unavoidable issue is Intergalactic Skeletor’s swapped shoulders. This is something that should have ended with King Hssss, and put a very bad taste in collectors’ mouths. While it’s unfortunate and hard to un-see now that it’s known, it doesn’t butcher the overall aesthetic of the figure, nor does it have enough detail to break the pattern flow to the mis-matched arms; a silver lining, if there is one to be found.
Skeletor comes with a few accessories, and a surprise extra. Needing every advantage again the most powerful man in the universe, he had a well-fit battle helmet, techno-designed havok staff, and a “skin” armor overlay. The first two pieces are well-done, and Mattel kindly listened to fan feedback about a removable helmet. The travesty of the figure is the overlay. Once again, design hasn’t figured out how to recreate the armor magic they had with the likes of Fisto and Clamp Champ. In addition, this technically isn’t armor, but rather, skin, and didn’t warrant tabs to be a removable piece. Even with all these drawbacks, it does give him a thickness that one would expect from having a “powered-up” form, increasing the stakes against the Masters of the Universe. When he is not arching back, the overlay does hit the top of the belt, so the gap isn’t as obvious and distracting as one may think. The final accessory is a battle-damaged Faker head. It’s an interesting display option for Faker, but it’s an odd choice given the myriad of other heads that were fan-requested over this particular one. The head would look best on Battle-Armor Faker with the destroyed chest panel, but that figure had even more limited exposure than the alternate head.
The Masters of the Universe Classics Intergalactic Skeletor may not have come out according to plan, but it’s a fantastic piece that will finally add a more coherent feel to the Space Mutants. While there are seemingly ever-present obstacles to overcome with an ever-changing production environment, the hope is that the pluses outweigh the minuses and collectors should enjoy all the fantastic work put into the design and sculpt. If this is the last entry for the Space Mutants, it’s the best one we could have asked for.