After having spent the past week reviewing brand new figures I thought I’d go old school with this review. Today I’ll be talking about the original He-Man figure. This toy was released way back in 1982. I would’ve only been 4 years old at the time. My memories from those years are spotty at best but I do remember being super stoked about getting my hands on these Masters of the Universe figures. I’ve talked before about the diverse nature of this toy line making it stand out from the crowd. In the first series alone, there was an Ape-Man, a Fish-Man, and a Skeleton to choose from. I always liked He-Man, he was the star of the series after all but I didn’t love him, not like I loved Mer-Man. He-Man didn’t stand a chance with me against the flood of wacky new foes and adversaries continually added to the line. A Bee-Man, Snake People, a Cy-borg, A bug-eyed monster, the toy line continued to expand and innovate and meanwhile He-Man was just a dude. A dude in furry shorts with a pageboy haircut and even less imagination than Superman when it came to establishing a secret identity. He-Man sadly was the least interesting toy in the entire toy line. When Doug and I played MOTU it was never He-Man that saved the day, it was more likely Buzz-Off or Stratos. If you’re gonna run around in a hairy diaper all day you sure as hell better be a tough guy. I sure as hell wouldn’t mock Conan the Barbarian for his fashion choices. But He-Man or “Prince Adam” was far too nice to be taken seriously as a badass.
The action figure at least has an angry scowl on his face as opposed to the submissive smiling visage of his animated counterpart. The He-Man introduced to us in the mini comics packaged with the figures was also harder edged than what was presented to us on the show. With no regular monthly comic book to remind us that He-Man is truly a fierce medieval warrior in a harsh magical realm fans were left only with the very child friendly cartoon to shape our perceptions. The G.I. Joe and Transformers cartoons were just as sterilized but at least they had comic books published regularly to present a more mature version of the characters. The angry scowl on this toy was not enough for me to take this nancy-boy seriously after watching him run around as the cowardly Adam in his violet tights so many times in the cartoon. For me, He-Man didn’t really get cool until his 2002 makeover. Finally I found He-Man at least as interesting as his supporting cast. That was short lived though. While I love the current MOTU Classics line, it’s authentic recreations of the 80s toys comes at a price, He-Man kinda looks like a wanker again. I’ll talk more on those versions another time, for now let’s get back to the original. He-Man has the standard MOTU body structure that was used over and over again. The short squat muscly He-Man body was reproduced in a variety of colors to create the base for nearly all the figures that followed. It featured the standard swivel waste allowing him to slash you with his power sword or deliver a sweeping clothesline. The head sculpt is well done but just not as heroic as I would’ve liked for the series’ star. The haircut just kills me. My vintage He-Man is a little worse for wear. All of his accessories, sword, shield, axe, and chest armour have been lost over the years. His hand was mangled in a chewing incident which you’d think was done by a dog but was in fact courtesy of my little brother Brian. Now poor He-Man couldn’t properly hold his accessories even if I had them. This He-Man was not one of my favorites growing up but it was the first He-Man figure produced and I got him when I was very young so there is a nostalgia factor when it come to this toy. Let’s say 6 out of 10.