Thursday, November 26, 2009

Toy Review: Masters of the Universe Classics Scareglow

November’s entry to the Masters of the Universe Classics toyline was the much-anticipated Scareglow, who sold out in a matter of hours on the online store. Assuming he was produced in the same numbers, Scareglow even outsold last month’s very popular Teela figure. This figure marks the first time Scareglow has seen a toy release since his initial release at the tail end of the MOTU series in the 1980’s.

Since he was released so late in the original line, Scareglow had never made any appearances in the Filmation cartoon and his sole appearances in classic Masters of the Universe media were in a couple of minicomics releases. He also never managed to make it into the MYP cartoon and his sole appearance in the 200X continuity was in a special benefit comic. Due to his lack of appearances and his confusing classic designation as “The Evil Ghost of Skeletor,” and his resemblance to the Overlord of Evil, there have been years of confusion as to who or what Scareglow was. He was often speculated as being Skeletor’s ghost from the future. This new Classics continuity represents a chance to finally set the record straight on Scareglow and perhaps reveal some interesting connection to Skeletor. Was he, in fact, the Demo Man that was mentioned in Skeletor’s bio, or some by-product of that union? But instead we have an all new bio that is unconnected to Skeletor. Scareglow is Karak Nul, a bounty hunter that had attempted to break into Castle Grayskull and was cursed for his trespass and banished to a distant dimension forever chained to his crimes. His ghostly form is Scareglow, who has been recruited into Skeletor’s crew.

As far as the actual figure itself, there is a definite sense of déjà-vu here. I understand that one of the realities of this line is that there is going to be significant parts sharing but I can’t overstate how tired I am of seeing the Skeletor limbs recycled over and over again. Let’s take a look at this: February, Skeletor. April, Mer-Man. May, Zodac. September, Webstor. And now, in November, Scareglow. So for almost half of this year, we’ve gotten figures with the same very distinctive, very silly monster feet and scalloped forearms. Let me say again, just because, this was the way it was done in the ‘80’s doesn’t mean it has to be done exactly the same in the Classics line.

The only newly sculpted body piece on Scareglow is the head, which is very much the highlight of this figure. It is much more scary and evil-looking than the Skeletor head and I’m sure we will see a lot of people customizing their Skeletors with this new piece. The left hand is sculpted open like Skeletor but my copy’s hand is actually so open that he can barely hold his reliquary.

The paint on Scareglow is a kind of love it or hate it proposition. If you buy into the gimmick of glow-in-the-dark bones painted onto a muscular body then you will like it. Otherwise, it is kind of silly looking (his spinal cord is painted onto his abdomen after all and what does he need to wear a loincloth for anyway?) It really only kind of works if you have the lights off and are looking at him head-on, otherwise it looks like a Halloween costume. Unfortunately, much of the detail painted on the head in SDCC prototype, as been removed and the final figure is rather stark and white looking. This makes him a little more cartoony and less frightening than how we first saw him.

As far as accessories go, Scareglow has a lot to offer. First, is his cape, which is the nicest part of the figure after the head. The cape is sculpted and painted to look thinner and worn toward the bottom. The detail on it is quite nice and it actually looks like fabric. He also comes with a big halberd, his “Scythe of Doom,” which also glows in the dark and I’m sure we’ll be seeing recolored in a future accessory pack. His other accessory is the curious “Grayskull Reliquary,” a minature Castle Grayskull that can be chained to his arm and which opens to reveal a small key. This is a nifty little piece which ties into the original bio that Mattel has written.

Really, the only way to have done this character justice would have been a translucent figure with glow-in-the-dark embedded bones (which was never going to happen). Despite my dislike of the basic premise of the paint scheme and the lack of detail on the head of the final figure, there is a lot to like about Scareglow. He’s got a good amount of interesting accessories and even an “action feature.” One of the best things about him was that he was made at all and fairly early in the line at that. Once again it shows that Mattel and the Four Horsemen are digging deep into the lore of Masters of the Universe and giving us some of the rarer and obscure characters beyond just the expected core characters. In the case of Scareglow, they have given us a fan-favorite who hasn’t been produced as a toy in over twenty years.

Patrick Garone
Staff Reviewer


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