Joined: 18 Dec 2005
|Posted: Thu Jul 12, 2012 4:27 pm Post subject: Masters of the Universe Classics: Horde Prime
|Greetings fellow He-Fans and She-ravers,
Who's the big boss of the Evil Horde? Hordak right? Not exactly. Somewhere along the lines in the story development the Evil Horde went from being a small group of villains- i.e. a literal horde- to an evil intergalactic empire. Where there's an empire there must be an emperor and that emperor was known as Horde Prime!
I'm pretty sure Horde Prime was a Filmation invention, although he did appear, and much more prominently, in the UK comics. More on that in a bit. While Hordak was the main villain of the series, just like Darth Vader had to answer to Palpatine, Hordak had a boss running the empire from afar. Likewise he was mostly mentioned and not seen much. On the cartoon all we ever saw of Horde Prime was a smoke obscured silhouette or a giant robotic hand. Even then he was only in a handful of episodes. The only clues we had to his true look were in one episode we saw his son Prince Zed, who looked like a normal human only with pointed elf like ears, and in another episode it was mentioned that he apparently had two heads. We never saw him and he never had a figure... until now.
Horde Prime comes in the standard MOTUC bubble package with the Evil Horde logo sticker on the front. We still can't see his face thanks to both his helmet and his head being partially blocked by the MOTUC logo. The back of the box shows off other figures in the line, Horde and rebel, and gives us a bio that still does not show him! Why they didn't just use the smoke obscured image from Filmation I'm not sure.
Much as I hate the name Hec-Tor-Kur for Hordak, I don't mind this Anillus Kur name for Prime. I'm not happy with the change to He-Ro's background but I'll cover that when I review him. Now for this new continuity Prime is established as Hordak's older brother. The status of a family relationship came about due to the aforementioned Prince Zed. In the episode he calls Hordak "uncle" and lest we think it's just a nickname and he's not actually related he later sends a letter to Hordak signed, "Your nephew, Prince Zed." However this could still mean Prime was Hordak's brother-in-law which is what I always accepted. This is why I'm okay with the Kur name for Prime but not for Hordak.
Okay let's look at the actual figure. He's about fifty/fifty new and reused. His torso and upper legs are the standard buck. His shoulders, biceps and forearms are the same as Roboto's (though the shoulders are correct and not reversed this time), He has the same loincloth piece as Faceless One and the lower legs of Trap Jaw. His feet are the same as Hordak and he also has a similar cowl, however his one is not attached to the cape and features new sculpted lines/grooves. Prime's cape is a new piece as are his armor, hands and upper boots.
The new boot pieces are similar to Hordak's but are a new mold and include bat wing tips on the sides. They are apparently a bit longer too as Prime stands slightly taller than Hordak. It's not just the helmet, you can see he is about a shoulder length taller. Prime's helmet fits snugly on his hidden head and if you notice it is actually inspired by what we could see of Prime behind the smoke in Filmation. This was a great touch, especially since he was designed before the Filmation rights were secured!
Prime's hands are also a tip to the Filmation look, although they are much smaller of course. They are also removable like Roboto or Trap Jaw. And can be replaced with his weapon which, keeping in the Horde theme, is a crossbow. As a cool new feature both of Prime's hands are removable so you can put the crossbow on either side, and keeping with the line his parts are interchangeable with the other figures to feature this option like Trap Jaw and Roboto. Prime was originally also going to include a cool Horde staff but it got cut for budget reasons. Cool as the crossbow is I would have preferred getting the staff instead. Thankfully we've just learned that the staff is getting released in the next weapons pack (along with some other cut weapons like Draego-Man's) so all is forgiven.
Prime's armor is similar to Hordak's but features an unpainted Horde logo with no face details. At first I thought this was going to get reused for Mosquitor with his chest window but preview pics show that is not the case. I'm really not sure who they plan to reuse this armor on but they have to have someone in mind otherwise why bother? Prime's cape has the Horde emblem on it, though it sticks out some from his body. The cape's shoulder pads have grooves on the inside to fit onto the armor's shoulder rims and stay put better.
Mattel went out of their way once again to keep Prime's hidden face a secret. Covering it upon the reveal, removing the head from review samples and all the normal tricks. They wanted you to have to buy him to see what he looked like. As usual photos eventually leaked but they were of an unpainted prototype, so there was still some mystery. Well he's out now so they can't keep the secret anymore. Ready to see the face of Horde Prime? Here it is:
How can something be cool looking and a bit of a letdown at the same time? Well the sculpt is pretty cool. This does answer the big question; If Horde Prime is the leader why does the Horde emblem have Hordak's face on it? The look also seems inspired by the 200X Hordak to some degree. You can tell he is of the same species as Hordak, but that for me is also kind of a problem as I never looked at this as a standard appearance for the race. Largely thanks to Filmation I assumed Hordak's face was more unique to him. We saw several people from the Horde home world and they all had the look like Prince Zed -human like but with elf pointed ears. Hordak's ears were similarly pointed so I had always assumed he was somehow deformed by dark magic or something. Also again remember I always viewed Prime as a brother-in-law and not of the same blood. The other issue is the red skin. If he's Hordak's brother why are their skins different colors? I've seen photoshops and custom paint jobs where his skin was done in the off white Hordak colors and I feel it looks better that way.
Now as I mentioned, Horde Prime did also appear in the UK comics and in those his appearance was not hidden. As you can see it was a very different take on the character, nevertheless I and many other fans always accepted that this was what Horde Prime really looked like. As for the giant figure in Filmation, that was just a Wizard of Oz style trick used by Prime to hide his true form and instill fear. Actually that part has basically been adopted as the official explanation by Mattel, regardless of what his face actually looks like. Now as I understand it, early on Mattel didn't have the rights to this look but acquired them at the same time as the Filmation rights. And so a second head was quickly sculpted.
Now this head has mixed reviews. Many say this look is kinda goofy and they that they don't like it. It should be noted though most of these same people come out and say they don't like the concept of Horde Prime to begin with so... is that really a fair critique? The look is perfectly captured no question. For me this is Horde Prime and I am very happy this head was included despite there being no explanation for the radically different looks for the character, which Mattel claims they want to avoid and that's why they won't give us 200X heads! If I had to make a complaint it's that the paint job on the helmet is a different shade than the red on his outfit and maybe should have been doe to match a bit better. It's also worth noting that some of the UK comics used this head look but gave him yellow skin, red mustache/face tentacle things, and a silver helmet.
There are a lot of fans that don't like the idea of Hordak having a boss and prefer to disavow Horde Prime from their canon. This is probably why he was originally going to be the subscription exclusive until the Filmation rights were obtained and he was bumped to a monthly slot in favor of Shadow Weaver. (I've already discussed why making Weaver an exclusive was a bad idea -why didn't they do Snake Man-At-Arms as the exclusive?) Me, I like the concept if done right and to that I again say that the UK head is Prime to me and he is Hordak's brother-in-law not flesh and blood. As for the other head, it's Hordak's ancestor who originally founded the Horde and that's why it's his face on the emblem that looks so much like Hordak and not Prime. Before the Filmation rights were obtained the figure was going to be called Horde Supreme as a safety precaution to avoid copyright issues, so that's this guy's name. I have two figures so I can display both heads in my collection and regard them as two separate characters.
Regardless of how you feel on the concept of Horde Prime, this is a very cool looking figure and a welcome addition to the line in my opinion. Horde Prime is sold out on Mattycollector.com so check the secondary market. Good luck and until next time, Good Journey.
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