Joined: 18 Dec 2005
|Posted: Thu Jul 12, 2012 9:57 pm Post subject: Masters of the Universe Classics: King Grayskull (1 & 2.
|Greetings fellow He-Fans and She-Ravers,
It's Comic Con time again so I thought this would be as good a time as any to go back and take a look at the previous Comic Con exclusives in the MOTUC line. The first one was also the first figure in the line period, though a re-deco was later issued as a regular release; King Grayskull.
King Grayskull was a new character introduced in the 200X to explain the origins of the Powers of Castle Grayskull and by extension the castle itself. Some minor details about the castle had been hinted at in various continuities but there had never been an actual King Grayskull. Originally, had the Powers of Grayskull spin-off line gone into production, He-Ro's real name was going to be Gray and he would have been He-Man's ancestor and the original wielder of the powers. (Castle Grayskull =Gray's Skull Castle?) In 200X He-Ro was shoved aside and we got King Grayskull. I'll go more into detail about that in my next review of He-Ro himself. For now let's concentrate on the king.
As the first figure in the line and a SDCC exclusive King Grayskull had a elaborate box. The outer box had a Castle Grayskull deco while the inner box looked the same at first but actually had a slipcover. Pull the slipcover off and you can fold out sides then place the cover back on locking in an upper position and forming a Castle Grayskull display piece. (This is what I've been using lately as my background for my review pics)
The back of the outer box contains a bio for King Grayskull. It's bigger and not in the same style as the later bio cards, but again this was the first figure. The standard for the line wouldn't come for a few more months. This bio really is a basic summery of what happened in the 200X cartoon episode "The Powers of Grayskull" that introduced King G. About the only new thing is acknowledging He-Ro exists alongside him.
Once you assemble the inner box into the castle you can lower the drawbridge which is held shut with Velcro and reveal not only the figure inside but the special feature of the box. The package has inner electronic sound and lights so when the bridge is open we hear Grayskull shout "I have the power!" followed by a flash of "lightning" Very cool feature, sadly mine came with messed up electronics. Open it and you hear, "I..i..i..i.i.i.i.i.i.i" and it wont stop. I finally had to open the top and take the batteries out to make it shut up. Also these electronics make it so it's hard to impossible to get it shipped overseas due to international shipping laws and restrictions.
There was also a chase version released which was done in a bronze coloring made to look like the statue of King Grayskull Adam first sees in the episode. This version is very rare and hard to come by. (I don't have it this is a stock photo) I might as well mention the Spirit of Grayskull version (done in all translucent blue plastic) too although that doesn't really count. Only two were made and they were specifically for a charity auction so don't go looking for that one for your collection.
Despite being a 200X design, and featuring the 200X "asterisk" emblem instead of the vintage cross on the breastplate, Grayskull came with a vintage style power sword plus a shield and axe displayed on the wall behind him. He looks so great in the box, and I don't want to risk damaging the box, so I never removed him. To look at the body structure we'll just examine the 2.0 Grayskull figure.
The reissue version of King Grayskull came on the standard MOTUC blister card pack. His bubble has the Powers of Graykull sticker on it and also features a special design. Grayskull is posed in the box holding his two half swords and the bubble has a blue lightning design between the blades as though the Power Sword was just split into it's two halves. Which is inaccurate of course since the blade didn't get split until after Grayskull died, but it's still a neat feature for MOC collectors. His card back features a more familiar style bio that differs from the original's.
Did they decide to give the plot point of the eaten brother to Grayskull in place of Zodak or did Hiss eat both of these guys' brothers? Either way, it's a bit upsetting to see one guy's origin given to another. I've already expressed my distaste for the two halves of the Power Sword idea, (and the name Sword of He) and here's a good reason why. If Grayskull had purposely made it so only his descendants could use the sword then WHY BOTHER? If no one else can use it then you don't need to split it up and hide the pieces. Though for that matter keeping the sword in the castle instead of hiding the pieces outside makes more sense too.
One last thing, the picture. That's not King Grayskull! That is a picture from the old mini-comic "King of Castle Grayskull" however the image shown is of the man who would find the two halves of the Power Sword and become king in the future, not the past king! It was kept in shadow since no one was supposed to know who the destined king was. Of course the end revealed to the reader, but not the characters, that destined king was He-Man (big surprise). Remember though this was a Pre-Filmation story when He-Man was just a rouge wandering barbarian and not Prince Adam, heir to the throne. Bottom line though that's a picture of He-Man not King Grayskull. A rather embarrassing case of "Didn't do the research"... of their own material.
The re-deco of King Grayskull was given a normal release as a quarterly variant. It's the same mold but with a few paint differences to make it so people who bought the exclusive won't feel they no longer have a special figure while allowing those who weren't able to a chance to have the character.
The mold is the same which is the standard male buck. King Grayskull of course introduced the mold, being the first figure released. He does sport the longer furry loincloth typical of Preternian characters in the line. On that note it should be noted that the original had the very stiff plastic in the loincloth and also in his cape. The reissue uses the softer plastic for both allowing more flexibility. Also important to note is the original Grayskull did not have removable armor nor was his head designed to come off. The reissue fixed this as well. His head pops off just as easily as normal figures in the line and his cape detaches from the armor which can then be removed. Of course with the cape and long hair his head movement is limited, but does seem better than the first one.
Otherwise the figure is just a repaint, though a very good one. While the head is the same mold, I feel the reissue's paint job looks better. Not that the original is bad per se, just that the newer one seems better. The browns of his armor, loincloth and boots is a different shade and his breastplate, armbands and belt are done in a metallic silver as opposed to the flat gray of the original. His cape is now bright red, which looks good but is admittedly a bit too bright to be cartoon accurate. The fur trim of the cape on the reissue is actually flocked making it fuzzy but also a brighter white.
The 2.0 Grayskull includes the same shield and, as mentioned earlier, two half swords. This is the first time both halves were done in the sliver color and like Keldor's two purple halves, actually fit together well unlike the ones that came with He-Man and Skeletor.
He also has a whole sword with a unique design. Part of it is the usual silver and part is the translucent blue with sparkling star design seen in He-Ro's sword. This is meant to explain why the "Sword of He" (By the Elders I hate that term!) changed appearance after it was transferred. The sword is a mid transfer look as the power was moved into the crystal orb.
And that's the final accessory, as well as the one that really sells it to collectors who already had the first version. Even before the stupid Sword of He angle the crystal orb containing the power hidden inside Castle Grayskull has been a long staple of the mythos and a great item to finally have in the collection, even if it is basically just a fancy bouncy ball. Once Temple of Darkness Sorceress comes out with her stand for the orb the look will be complete, plus it'll solve the issue of the orb rolling off the shelf.
Sword wise I prefer to display my King Grayskull with the 200X style sword that came with Man-At-Arms. It looks perfect for him and if you put He-Man's head on the body you've got a 200X He-Man which is probably the only way to get him in this line.
Despite my preference for the original version of the Preternian story with He-Ro, which I'll finally cover next time, King Grayskull still has a place in my MOTU canon and the figure is very well done. All versions are currently sold out and, of course, the original is gone for good so if you want one I'd advise trying for the 2.0 version. You'll have an easier time of it and get him for a much lower price. Good Luck, Good Hunting and until next time, Good Journey
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