The new Masters of the Universe Origins line stands as a shining example of how my willpower, when it comes to toys, is total shit. I swore I wouldn’t get into collecting these, because I already have a nearly complete collection of MOTU Classics. Then I told myself I would just pick up He-Man and Skeletor to see what they’re all about. Now I’ve picked up or pre-ordered just about everything the line has to offer, including the upcoming Castle Greyskull. So yeah, I’m pretty spineless when it comes to setting limitations for myself. So with that being said, let’s have a look at the first two ladies of the line: Teela and Evil-Lyn!
The vintage style packaging is as awesome as ever, and while there’s no original art on the front, the cards are still personalized to each figure. The Retro Play explosion points to the marrying of classic designs with new articulation, and you even get a mini-comic bundled behind the figure. Alas, these packages are not collector friendly, so be prepared to tear into them to get your figures out. But I’m honestly OK with that, as I’m sure it helped to keep the cost of the figures down. Let’s start out with the Heroic Warrior Goddess, Teela!
Teela comes packaged with her snake armor and headpiece on, but I’m going to set it aside for now to look at the basic figure. She’s clad in her white and gold one-piece bathing suit-style armor, which probably isn’t the most practical for protection, but at least her mid-riff is covered. Not all warrior-babes can make that claim. The sculpting here is great from the ram horns on her chest to the belt and other pieces of flourish. The gold here isn’t terribly flashy, but it gets the job done. Alas, mine has a paint flub in the form of a gold dot under the point of the left ram horn. As far as paint blemishes go, it isn’t the worst, but it was impossible to detect in the package under that headpiece. Her arms feature bicep cuffs and wrist bracers with some sculpted scroll work patterns, and she has the standard barbarian boots with sculpted fur cuffs and wrappings. The body type is a good compromise between feminine form and buff fighter. And as with He-Man and Skeletor, she’s built on a modular body, which can come apart at all the joints.
I was never a big fan of the vintage Teela’s portrait, because she had a baby face, which was a far cry from the red-headed temptress from the Filmation cartoon. So, I’m happy to say that the Origins version strikes out on its own. With her somewhat puffy cheeks and petite nose, there’s still a tie to that vintage head sculpt, but this one just works a lot better for me. The paint for the eyes and eyebrows looks great, and the coloring on her lips is quite subtle. Her sculpted red hair is done up in her trademark fashion, complete with gold headband.
I really only have one little complaint about the figure itself and that’s the knee jointing. It works fine in practice, but there’s something about the design that just looks a little weird. I think they were trying to conceal it, by covering the joint as much as possible. Honestly, it bothers me less and less each time I play around with the figure, but I thought it was worth mentioning nonetheless, especially since it seems to be a fairly common complaint with the figure.
Teela comes with her snake staff and her small shield, both of which are cast in a maroon colored plastic. Origins doesn’t seem like it’s going to be going for any paint applications on the accessories, and that’s fine as it’s a nod back to the vintage figures. I was a little concerned as to how well she would be able to hold the staff, but she can grip it pretty well. The shield has a handle for her to hold it and it can also be looped through her fingers. Either way, it stays on without any issues. The outer face of the shield has some sculpted scroll work patterns and a formidable spike in the center. I hope we get a weapons rack with some extra accessories at some point, because I would love to have a sword to give her.
And finally, here she she is wearing her snake armor with headpiece. This accessory is molded in soft plastic and fits around her face, while tabbing together at her back. I’ve never been a huge fan of Teela wearing this, probably because I was more in tune with the Filmation cartoon than the toys and comics. Still, I have to admit it looks really good on the figure and it features some excellent detail in the sculpt. Let’s move on to Teela’s counterpart, the Evil Warrior Goddess Evil-Lyn!
In keeping with the vintage figures, from the neck down Evil-Lyn is a straight repaint of Teela, but I feel like the change in color palate is drastic enough to make it work. Her armor has been changed to a combination of purple and light blue, with her bicep bands and wrist bracers more of powder blue. Likewise, the boots have been changed to a flashy purple and black. Combine this new outfit colors with her rather iconic yellow skin and you have what I find to be a strikingly different looking figure with the exact same sculpt. And happily, my Evil-Lyn has escaped any of the paint flubs that my Teela suffered.
As for the head sculpt, once again Mattel has developed a nice compromise between vintage and update. Evil-Lyn has some rather distinctive eyes and a mouth that is slightly parted to show her teeth in a dour expression. The helmet actually looks like it’s sculpted from a separate piece, which creates a gap between it and her face making it look very convincing. For a moment I thought it was actually removable. Mattel backed off of the whore makeup that the original Evil-Lyn wore in exchange for a much more subdued look. The paint for her facial features is all sharp and crisp and while there’s a little slop on her helmet, particularly around the skull motif, it’s not something I really noticed until getting in close with the camera.
In terms of articulation, I mostly discussed knees when talking about Teela, so it’s worth noting that these ladies feature an identical level of excellent poseability, especially when compared to the originals. You get rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, wrists, and knees. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, have swivels at the tops of the boots, and both hinges and lateral rockers in the ankles. There’s a swivel in the waist and a ball joint in the neck.
Evil-Lyn’s accessory count doesn’t compare to Teela’s. In fact she only comes with her wand, and it’s a fairly simple sculpt. She can hold it quite well in her left hand, but her right hand’s grip is a tad too loose for it.
I was amazed to be able to pick up these figures at my local Walmart, which usually has nothing new in the toy aisles. Maybe there aren’t as many collectors of this line around my neighborhood because I’ve had more success finding Origins figures than anything else. So far I’ve been able to nab four figures, one Battle Cat and the Sky Sled all at the same Walmart and that’s practically unheard of for this store! And apart from the small paint flub on Teela’s armor and weird knee structure, I’ve got to say these turned out great. As with the initial pair, these figures set me back $14.99 each and with a lot of figures roughly in this scale selling at the $20 range, that feels about right in the current market. I think part of me was hoping that I would be disappointed by this line so I could pass on collecting it, but truth be told, each new release makes me love it all the more.