Exclusives can be a pain in the ass, or they can be proof that patience pays off. In the case of today’s Rise of Evil 2-Pack, it turned out to be all about patience. This set, featuring Keldor and Kronis, the original forms of Skeletor and Trap-Jaw, is another Target Exclusive that has been infamously difficult to find. After weeks of having no luck, I came very close to grabbing it from a scalper on Ebay. I actually had it in my cart, and I just couldn’t bring myself to pull the trigger. My desire to own it wasn’t stronger than my disgust for the people buying them up to profit on it. Two weeks later, I found six of them sitting on the shelf. Go figure!
Still, if Mattel is going to insist on doing exclusives, I’ll concede that this is probably a good pick for it. Some may argue that Keldor and Kronis are essentials, but I wouldn’t really agree. They are definitely great figures to have, but essential? Nah. Also, I think Mattel probably completely underestimated the demand on this one. Let’s start with Kronis!
The Evil Criminal from Another Dimension represents Trap-Jaw before getting all messed up and undergoing a body-horror style repair by Tri-Klops, or at least I think that’s how the 200x lore went. The figure recycles Trap-Jaw’s torso, pelvis, and legs all with the same coloring, including those neon green patches on his thigh armor. The left arm no longer has the bolt on the shoulder and he has his normal right arm, both of which include the standard Eternian wrist cuffs, here colored in pale gray. The chest harness is different, as it now has a strap that goes across his chest and secures in the front, but it’s definitely similar to the one Trap-Jaw uses to hold on his artificial limb.
The head sculpt definitely fits the look of psychopathic space pirate. He looks demented and like someone who probably has a lot of problems running around in his noodle. The slack-jawed expression includes a wall of white teeth and an look that suggests he’s rather displeased with me and quite possibly wants to do unpleasant things to my intestines. The close-fitting helmet is similar to what he would wear as Trap-Jaw, right down to the loop at the top for zip-lining. String not included! I’ll note here that my figure is a bit of a bobble head. The neck connection is just loose, making poor Kronis’ head wobble around.
Kronis comes with one accessory, and that’s his cool looking laser rifle. The rifle has two grips, but Kronis only has one grippy hand, as the left is the standard open hand we see with a lot of these figures. I really wish Mattel had added a second grippy hand like they did with Clamp Champ, but he can still hold the rifle fairly well and rest it on his open hand for some decent poses. Moving on to Keldor!
OK, so Kronis was pretty neat, but Keldor is really where it’s at with this set. This guy looks absolutely amazing. He features a very standard pale blue Origins buck with purple boots and wrist cuffs, and a black pelvic piece. The shoulder armor and belt are recycled from regular Skeletor, but cast in a darker purple, which matches his darker purple boots. We also get a few paint hits on the chest piece, including the neon green emblem and the mauve stone in the middle of his crossed bones. Wow, this all looks so good!
Keldor also comes with a cape, which is held on by a plastic chain that goes around the front of his neck. It looks great from the front, but it’s not terribly flattering from the back, as it just puffs out and makes him look like a grape.
The portrait is nothing short of fantastic. Keldor was quite the dashing fellow before the magic acid mishap. He definitely has all the stylings of a villain, with that mustache, widow’s peak, and pointy beard, but the broad grin makes him look like he would be a charismatic adversary. I think this is one of the best head sculpts to come out of Origins so far!
Keldor comes with both his sword and the Havoc Staff. The sword is finished on both sides, unlike the half-sword that came with the original Skeletor release. It’s also painted with a neon green glow toward the point.
The Havok Staff is the same sculpt, but the dark purple transitions to a translucent neon green as it gets to the ram head at the top. This makes for a cool effect, and not a bad stand-in for Skeletor’s staff.
And finally, Keldor comes with a brand new Skeletor head, which is a huge improvement over the one we got on the original Origins release. I love the sculpt, and the paint is just about perfect. He also has some flashy red jewels for eyes. It’s almost a shame that the hood is darker than the armor on the original release, because I would use this as my regular Skeletor head in a heartbeat if the colors matched up.
But in all honesty, this figure could easily stand in as your Origins Skeletor, providing you don’t mind him having regular feet and not those webbed monster feet. I just love everything about this guy! He looks like a premium quality release compared to regular Skeletor.
No doubt about it, this is a great set! Keldor definitely nudges out Kronis as the star for me, but Kronis is no slouch either. And while I’m glad I didn’t have to pay extra, I probably would have been OK with spending more if I had to. This 2-pack is a release that I would have expected to come much later in Origins‘ lifespan, but it’s cool that Mattel is investing in some deep cuts fairly early on. It makes me wonder what other goodies they have in store for us!