Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Toy Review: Masters of the Universe Classics Zodac by Dean René Middleton

It’s time for a bit of a retrospective look at the Masters of the Universe Classics Zodac figure. And I must admit that I when I first saw the pre release photos of this character I was particularly underwhelmed. The images of Zodac that were displayed on only served to stir up some of the memories I had from my childhood of walking into toy shops only to discover that many of the more desirable Masters of the Universe characters had already sold out, leaving only countless Zodac figures and weapons packs on the pegs.

As a direct result of those experiences, even now whenever I heart the term “Peg warmer” an image of that 1980’s Zodac figures face is usually the first thing that springs to my mind.

So when Zodac finally went up for sale on, I had some serious doubts and reservations about actually ordering him. For the most part I’d been really impressed with all the figures that had been released up to that point, but something about Zodac just didn’t feel right to me.

But even so, after a casual 45 minutes or so of procrastination [the previous figures Faker and Mer-Man had sold out in around an hour] I decided to order him. And when he arrived to my surprise I was not at all disappointed with him.

Zodac is very strange and quite unique in the sense that as a stand alone figure it cannot be denied that he is easily the most lack lustre of the MOTUC line up, and this has always been the case with the original Zodac from the 1980’s line.

However Zodacs real strengths are exposed when he is displayed within a context. And by that I mean if he is positioned alongside other characters such as the Heroic Warriors or Evil Warriors. That is where I feel that the figure really starts to shine.

Realistically, Zodac is probably the prime example of what the Masters of the Universe toy line was originally all about, in terms of having the power to create ones own world and acting out their fantasies with these characters. So Zodac is really what you make him. If you enjoy thinking up your own stories and mythology when looking at the MOTU figures, then the chances are that you will be able to appreciate this character greatly.

But if you enjoy the MOTU mythology just the as it is directly presented by Mattel, then the chances are that you will find this character considerably lacking in terms of overall excitement and visual appeal. And to realise that many people would feel that way is not very surprising, since as one of the original 8 figures released, Zodac has suffered from a criminal lack of character development.

His brief appearances in the Filmation cartoon made him appear as distant and morally ambiguous, which I personally as a kid I found hard to understand with such clear cut portrayals of good and evil being displayed by many of the other characters. Again this was directly contrasted by the way that it actually described him on the original card back as a “Evil Cosmic Enforcer”.

Furthermore his powers and abilities and overall purpose in the MOTU world was never really touched upon in the Mini Comics that were packaged with the original figures either. In fact the only story where Zodac featured a prominent role was in the short lived 4 issue DC comics story arc. And as a result of all of this, I think it has had a detrimental impact on Zodacs more wide spread appeal.

But even so, I do feel that he is actually a very good action figure. While not as visually stunning as characters such as Man-At-Arms or even Tri-Klops, Zodac does feel like a genuine part of the MOTUC line up.

His articulation is pretty much what we have come to expect from MOTUC, featuring around approximately 25 points of articulation. He shares the same hairy back sculpt from the Beast-Man and Stratos figures, and also has his standard Cosmic Enforcer Gun.

The armour is also removable, and I suppose this is where I think that they could have made a few improvements to the figure. It would be nice if they had incorporated some type of hook or holster which would enable Zodac to carry his gun on his body rather than in his hand all of the time.

And looking at the interesting touches that were made to Man-At-Arms, and even Mer-Mans armour design to allow for the weapons to be carried on their bodies, I think that Zodac could have really benefited from the same type of treatment.

Also, the gun itself seems to have a handle that is slightly too thin, and it tends to whirl around in his hand like a nightstick, rather than a gun.

Some fans also feel that it would have been nice if he had white gloves rather than the flesh coloured hands. Personally I don’t mind that, since I like to have Zodac in my collection as an “Evil Cosmic Enforcer”, and the white gloves may perhaps have detracted from the ambiguity of the character slightly.

But I do think that perhaps the inclusion of alternate heads with 2 different expressions that were either Heroic or Sinister looking would have vastly helped to increase the overall appeal of this character.

So Zodac is a polarising figure indeed. But I genuinely feel that he is figure that is defiantly worth adding to a MOTU collection. Because with the imminent release of the 200x inspired Zodak and the upcoming Wun-Dar figure, the Cosmic enforcers seem to be carving their on little contingent within the MOTU universe. And that will ultimately help to provide more diversity besides what we have already come to expect from the Heroic, Evil, Snake and Horde characters.

So with that in mind I would really recommend this figure to fans of MOTU in general. Because ultimately Zodac is really what you make him.

Review and Photographs by: Dean René Middleton

Toy Reviewer

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