Friday, September 18, 2009

Toy Review: Masters of the Universe Classics Hordak by Patrick Garone

Our look back at the Masters of the Universe Classics figures concludes with Hordak, the “Evil Leader of the Evil Horde.” Hordak is perhaps best known as the snorty nemesis of She-Ra in the 1980’s Princess of Power cartoon. He was first released in June and sold out in about an hour, making him one of the more popular figures in the line and, thus, a prime candidate for rerelease in 2010. He is also one of the best figures released in the line thus far and well worth his $20 plus shipping and handling price tag.

New on the packaging for Hordak is a sticker that identifies his sub faction, The Evil Horde. He is given a spacey “real name,” Hec-Tor Kur. So for those of you wondering, Hordak’s first name is Hector. Okaaaay. Interestingly, there is no mention of She-Ra anywhere in his bio and it seems the MOTUC Hordak draws heavily from his minicomic origins and, especially, the 200X storyline in which he briefly appears as Skeletor’s phantom mentor who had been banished to Despondos after an encounter with King Grayskull in ancient Eternia. This makes me wonder how Mattel will work in the other Princess of Power characters into their unfolding Masters of the Universe Classic continuity. We should find out more in January, when Adora is released.

Like the other MOTUC figures, Hordak uses tooling from previously released figures, although he has a good amount of new pieces. Hordak has new feet boots and hands and features the return of the long loincloth of King Grayskull, which must have been all the rage back in the day.

The paint is rather understated, with reds, grays and creams being the dominant colors. There are some nice metallic details like bolts on the armor and an iron-looking paint used for the belt and a segmented frame around the hood.

Hordak also features a new armor system which only covers his chest and leaves his abdomen exposed to allow for the “ab-crunch” joint to be used. This was The Big Controversy, prior to the Mossman Flocking Controversy and the Teela Articulation Controversy. I personally don’t think that this removable half-armor makes or breaks the figure, although it might have been better to have sculpted abs like they did with He-Ro. Attached to the armor is a red cape, sculpted out of soft plastic. In a first for a Hordak figure, the hood is sculpted as a separate and removable piece, which allows independent movement of Hordak’s head. In addition to the above armor pieces, there is also a removable bicep band with the Horde logo painted on it. Hordak is pretty much covered in Horde bling from head to toe.

Hordak has always had a very cool and distinctive look to him. I’ve read that his head was originally inspired by an African witch doctor’s mask. Hordak was given a makeover for his 200X appearance was far more evil and angular-looking. The head sculpt on the MOTUC figure seems to be a hybrid between the classic head and the modern head. It is very much right in the middle of those two designs. It is much meaner and scarier-looking than the 1980’s version, yet not quite as nightmarish as the 200X head design or the staction figure. There are lots of nice details such as little folds and warts sculpted onto Hordak’s head.

Aside from armor-related accessories, Hordak comes with three other accessory pieces. The first is a nod to his 1980’s weapon, a Horde Crossbow, although sculpted in black plastic as opposed to the white of the vintage bow. There is a surprising amount detail to this bow and it almost looks as though it would be able to fire a projectile. The second accessory is a small bat-like creature that can perch on Hordak’s arm, which recalls his 1980’s “bat shield” or his companion Imp from the cartoon. Finally, Hordak comes with a large staff straight out of his appearance in the MYP series episode “The Power of Grayskull.” It’s great to have this accessory, as this version of the character is much more of a sorcerer like his appearance in the 200X continuity, than the techno-villain from the Filmation series.

Hordak is a great addition to the line and part of the upward trend in quality and value that we have been getting all summer from the Masters of the Universe Classics line. Hordak, Man-At-Arms, He-Ro and Tri-Klops have all been great figures that have been loaded with cool accessories and armor. Hordak is definitely in my top five list of MOTU classics figures thus far and if you haven’t already got him, be ready to pick him up in the likely even that he goes on sale again.

Patrick Garone
Staff Reviewer

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Toy News: Living Dead Dolls Presents American Gothic Return To Spencers!

As the weather turns colder and the leaves begin to fall, the Living Dead Dolls once again emerge from their crypt for a special issue of dolls.

This is the second time this theme has been reinterpreted by the spooky dolls.*
*The first set, created in 2004, was a huge hit, “It was one of their best selling exclusives!” says Damien Glonek, co-creator of the Living Dead Dolls “They were an instant classic”.

Because of the overwhelming success of the original edition and continuous public demand, Mezco decided to revisit the set. “We see fans at conventions and without fail they as if have more of those two dolls” says Ed Long, co-creator of the dolls, “This year we decided to make that request come true!”

Far from a run of the mill reissue, the new dolls have significant differences from their predecessors. The new edition features the updated doll bodies, which feature ball joints for a far greater range of motion. In response to customer requests, the dolls are “bloody”. “Bloody makes sense” Glonek says gleefully, “After all, there are lots of sharp tools on a farm”. Lastly, and certainly most notably, the faces have been totally redesigned. The redesign is still clearly inspired by the same source, but is markedly different from the original issue.*

The Living Dead Dolls Presents American Gothic are now available exclusively at over 700 Spencer’s stores nationwide.


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Comic News: “Hero Up!” With The Super Hero Squad Show Premiere On Saturday!

On Saturday, September 19th, tune into Cartoon Network at 8:30 AM to catch your favorite Marvel characters like never before in The Super Hero Squad Show!

Experience the adventures of Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Silver Surfer, Wolverine, Storm and all your beloved Marvel Heroes as they search for pieces of the powerful Infinity Sword. But will Doctor Doom and his nefarious allies find the pieces before our heroes? The greatest heroes in the universe unite against the deadliest villains in an exciting, family friendly Super Hero team up unlike any in history!

The early reviews are in and critics love The Super Hero Squad Show:

“Wherever viewers happen to catch the show, they’ll be rewarded for their time, given Marvel Entertainment’s goal of pleasing every demographic possible. From quick wits and fart jokes to sizzling action and some subtle phantasmagoria, The Super Hero Squad Show works on enough levels to bring families together.”—Scot Thill, Wired.Com

"Super Hero Squad shows us a side of the Marvel Universe we haven't seen before - one that's side-splittingly funny! Modok and Hulk are TV's newest breakout stars!"—Michael Avila, Newsarama.Com

“The Super Hero Squad Show provides a great introduction to the Marvel Universe for a new generation of fans.”—Tony Guerrero, ComicVine.Com

Don’t miss the first episode of The Super Hero Squad Show this Saturday! Tune into the Cartoon Network at 8:30 AM to “Hero Up!” with your favorite characters in the Marvel Universe…or any other!

To learn more about The Super Hero Squad Show, please visit and!


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Image Comics Founder Jim Lee provides gorgeous rendition for the CBLDF anthology's limited edition cover!

JIM LEE, the fan favorite artist of Batman, X-Men & WildC.A.T.s, provides the Image Comics published Comic Book Legal Defense Fund benefit anthology, LIBERTY COMICS #2 with an all-new, limited edition 1-in-25 variant cover based off his collaboration with Sandman writer NEIL GAIMAN.

"Jim has long been a true Defender of Liberty with his ongoing support of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund and his cover goes above and beyond the call of duty," CBLDF Executive Director Charles Brownstein said. "We're very thankful for his generosity."

LEE and his story with NEIL GAIMAN, '100 Words', lead off an all-star ensemble of industry greats in the all-new second volume of LIBERTY COMICS. Passionate comic book storytelling, all in service to an important cause, the incredible contributions list includes a Painkiller Jane story by JIMMY PALMIOTTI and JIM RUGG; a new Mr. Gum adventure from MIKE ALLRED, DAVE JOHNSON and JAMIE S. RICH; The Apocalypstix by RAY FAWKES and CAMERON STEWART, a return to Channel Zero by BRIAN WOOD; a preview of Choker by BEN MCCOOL and BEN TEMPLESMITH; and a special Martha Washington piece by DAVE GIBBONS, alongside exclusive material by PAUL POPE; KATHRYN & STUART IMMONEN; CHYNNA CLUGSTON; PAUL GRIST; and JASON AARON & MORITAT. LIBERTY COMICS already features two covers, one by Batman: The Long Halloween's TIM SALE and a new Kick Ass image by creator JOHN ROMITA JR.

LIBERTY COMICS #2 (AUG090303), a 48-page full color comic book for $4.99, will be in stores October, 14 2009.


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Comic Review: Caped TPB (BOOM! Studios) By Rudy T.

And you think your job sucks?

Jimmy Lohman's come to Capital City with hopes of becoming the next big thing in the news biz but when every newspaper, tv station and website turn him down he jumps at the chance to become reporter Grant Godfried's assistant. His enthusiasm is short lived when he discovers he's just signed on to become assistant to the superhero known as Edge so in addition to answering phones and fetching lattes Jimmy's got to worry about keeping the hero from indulging in drunken karaoke, providing cover stories for stood up dates and making sure he has a spare set of keys to the Edgemobile. When one of the villainous Gemini brothers is murdered while in the custody of The League the surviving Gemini vows to blow up a building a day but Edge and Jimmy discover his plans delve deeper: murder superheroes when they're in their civilian identities. The more clues the duo tries to dig up the more the evidence points to Gemini having a partner...on the inside.

Caped by Darin Moiselle and Josh Lobis is an interesting story about the daily drudgery of being an assistant to a superhero who's humor is well balanced with the drama. Jimmy Lohman's beleagured character is resilient in the way that he adjusts to being constantly put into harm's way and still presses on to solve the case when even Edge feels all is lost. There were times where the story's humor reminded me of Drew Melbourne's ArchEnemies which I also really enjoyed. Herrara's art in the first two chapters really set the tone of the story and Piriz made an empressive effort to continue in the same tone while retaining his own style. I have a love/hate relationship with some books that take a tongue and cheek approach to superheroes. Hero Squared and the already mentioned ArchEnemies are examples of superhero satire done right and Marvel's Ultimate Adventures miniseries shows what happens when stories come up short but Caped was a comic that had a good tone to it and didn't try to buldgen the reader with joke after joke.

Extras: Character design sketches by Caleb Cleveland and Caped Inside Covers with blog-like monthly updates

Written by: Darin Moiselle and Josh Lobis

Art by: Yair Herrera and Sebastian Piriz

Covers by: Joe Quinones and Saumin Patel


Rudy T.
Staff Reviewer

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