Joined: 18 Dec 2005
|Posted: Fri Jul 13, 2012 11:06 pm Post subject: Masters of the Universe Classics: He-Ro
|Greetings fellow He-Fans and She-Ravers,
Near the end of the vintage Masters of the Universe toyline Mattel began planning a new spin-off series that would serve as a prequel and explore the origins of He-Man's power. Called, appropriately, The Powers of Grayskull, this new line would feature as its main hero He-Man's ancestor the most powerful wizard in the universe; He-Ro.
A prototype He-Ro figure was made and had some advertisement but sadly the line never came to be. Only the three dinosaurs; Bionatops, Turbodactyl and Tyrantisaurs Rex saw full release plus the giants Tytus and Megator saw release in Europe only. As a result fans knew little about He-Ro but it was enough to make him a wanted character for many years. Finally the figure saw release in the MOTU Classics line.
He-Ro was released as the 2009 SDCC exclusive available at the con, then offered as a bonus on the website afterwards. There is a very minor difference between the con version and the site version which I'll get to in a little bit. Both come on the standard MOTUC blister card pack, but you'll notice this guy does not have the Powers of Grayskull sticker on his bubble. Remember this was the first POG figure (aside from the original King Grayskull) so they hadn't thought to do it yet.
You will also notice his title says Heroic Cosmic Warrior instead of Most Powerful Wizard in the Universe. Sadly that's the big problem with finally getting He-Ro. As I mentioned before, in the 200X line He-Ro was overlooked in favor of creating King Grayskull as He-Man's ancestor and original wielder of the power. MVC wanted to put He-Ro into the 200X comics and even made a redesign for him but Mattel was committed to King Grayskull and wouldn't allow the planned story. The best they could do was stick him in the background of one flashback issue where he was just there but said and did nothing.
So when it came time to finally put out his figure Mattel was stuck with the issue of fitting him and King Grayskull into the new continuity together. Obviously the story had to be changed and so it was... but not for the better.
I hate this new bio. I've already expressed my distaste for the Sword of He and Overlords of Trolla concepts, and I despise how what was to be the main Preternian hero has become a small, however pivotal, footnote in the storyline. Mainly I hate it because a large part of what made me want a He-Ro figure was his story and that has now been all thrown out!
The original story was He-Ro was Prince Adam's ancestor named Gray. (thus leading to Gray's Skull Castle -Castle Grayskull) Under the tutelage of his mentor Eldor he obtained great power and was able to transform into a mighty wizard called He-Ro. His transformation technique was more complicated. He had to kneel, place one hand over his heart while flexing the other arm into a muscle and say, "Magic and strength, tempered by heart. I stand for peace!" He-Ro fought against the Snake Men and the Nameless One (supposedly going to be a time displaced Keldor) and it was he who created Castle Grayskull. His allies included his mentor Eldor (who kind of combined elements of Man-At-Arms and Sorceress) and Sharella, a tribal chieftess who taught him combat techniques and would serve as a potential love interest. (Poor Sharella has been completely thrown out and her name given to Green Goddess -I'll rant more on that when I review that bitch)
I can understand with including both King Grayskull and He-Ro there was a need to change things, but why so dramatically? Most fans had already worked out a way to have them both in their personal canons that didn't screw around with the established story. Many depicted He-Ro as King Grayskull's son (since he had to have had a child in order for Adam to be his descendant) or some made him Grayskull's brother and linked him to She-Ra. (siblings, jewel in weapon...) either way works and is WAY better than this!
Now the actual figure himself however is fantastic. He is pretty much spot on to the original vintage prototype. His armor is not the vac metal seen on that one but still has a nice golden metal look to it. He-Ro uses the standard buck for most of his body, but actually introduced several new pieces that went on to be used on other figures in the line. His boots, both tops and feet, were a new sculpt and he features different forearms with longer bracers. Even his new loincloth piece has seen reuse in the line. His armor does leave his abs exposed and unlike Hordak or the Battle Armor figures he has the standard buck and not the flat ab torso. However if you look back at the vintage prototype you see he was going to have sculpted abs on his armor (kinda Batman like) so it actually works out well.
A new feature that I don't believe was going to be on the original vintage figure is this design on the back of his cape. This image has popped up here and there in previous continuities with no real explanation only vague hints of a connection to Grayskull. In this new continuity it is apparently the emblem of the Cosmic Warriors. His cape is attached to the armor and is made of a sturdy plastic. This can limit his movement a bit as it's practically ankle length and not adjustable. It also can make taking his armor off a bit tricky. I really would have preferred it if the cape was a separate piece from the armor, and in retrospect it's strange that they didn't do this as it then could've been reused.
Under the armor we see the one difference between the version offered at the convention and the one offered on the website. The convention version has a SDCC logo on his chest under the armor piece. Since it's only noticeable if you open the figure and remove the armor this is hardly a feature to make most fans want to go out of their way to get both versions. The reason I have both is due to the other variance in the figures.
You'll notice He-Ro's staff comes in the package in the closed position. It can then open up revealing the gemstone inside. Here is where the chase figure status jumps in. There are three possible gem colors you can get; green, red, and purple. The green stone, being the color from the vintage prototype, is the most common but you never know when one of the other ones would pop up. There's some debate on the matter, but it seems the red is the next most common with purple being very rare. (I however had the hardest time tracking down a red one)
When you initially bought the figure there was no way of knowing what color gem you would get. Even now on the secondary market most sellers don't know what one it is if it's still MOC. There is a way to tell what one you have without opening the the box though. Shine a bright, preferably LED, flashlight down into the box above the staff and it will illuminate the plastic gem enough to make out the color through the slight cracks where the staff parts fold together. (So you could always ask the seller to try this trick if you want to know before buying) Of course this didn't help when ordering from the site. Both the con and site version were released with all three color variants, so if you want to be super ridiculously beyond Felix Unger obsessive compulsive about it there are six versions of this figure out there. As much as a completionist as I am, even I wont be that anal in my collecting. I got all three colors, and by luck of the draw ended up with a con version in the process, I consider the matter done for my collection.
He-Ro's other weapon is a Power Sword done in a translucent blue with a starry sparkle finish. Unlike other characters who use the mold but it is not meant to be the actual Power Sword, this one is. Or rather it's the (ugh) Sword of He. (damn it Mattel, stop making me use that phrase!) Going by the (crappy) new story this is what it looked like as it was fused with the power until said power was transferred to the Crystal Orb and that's why the Crystal Orb is blue and sparkly. (The Crystal Orb was always blue and sparkly, this is just a really bad attempt to explain and link it) While it's kind of a cool looking sword, I don't like the story behind it (could you tell?) and thus don't display it with my He-Ro figure.
As much as I really hate how his origin and place in the continuity was so drastically changed, and a cape separate from the armor would've been preferable (really I actually prefer cloth capes for figures) I am simply ecstatic to finally have an actual He-Ro figure as I had been wanting one for so many years. I just ignore the new story and stick with the original version (though I go with him being King Grayskull's son) and am very pleased with the figure itself.
He-Ro is no longer available on Mattycollector.com and since he was an SDCC figure is unlikely to ever get a reissue so you'll need to check the secondary market to find him. Good luck, good hunting and until next time, Good Journey.
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