I suffered some extreme toy-related disappointment over the weekend. After having a resurgent interest in more colorful, cartoony figures (a la MOTU), I became interested in the Skeleton Warriors, a forgotten Playmates Toys line from 1994. This was between Playmates' two great eras: the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles era and that of the Simpsons.
In deciding to pick up the Skeleton Warriors I was encouraged by yo go re's recent review of Aracula, so he has to take at least some of the blame. In any event, I chose to go a little more into debt to get the majority of the evil skeleton baddies from this line.
The results can be summed up in one word: disappointing. I quickly wondered "What was I thinking?" A 1994 line from Playmates? Sure, these figures were perhaps a bit ahead of their time, but no nearly as much as a figure from the second or third Spawn series, or even Weed Killer. In fact, with a few exceptions, they're all pretty goofy-looking - much like the old Ninja Turtle figures. Now, I don't mind the Turtle figures; they still hold a certain nostalgic value to me. But these Skeleton Warriors are just a bit too cartoony for my taste. Two of the figures were decent: Grimskull, the "hero" who's only half a skeleton, and the aforementioned multi-armed Aracula. But the best quality of these two figures is their relative lack of goofiness.
The Skeleton Warriors toyline, which was the subject of a long retrospective a few days ago, certainly had possibilities. But as I look at the cartoon, I can't help being reminded of the late and unlamented New Adventures of He-Man. The two series look remarkably similar, both in the cartoon and the toys. But somehow, both went wrong where the original He-Man and the Masters of the Universe and the new He-Man show did not and has not. What that something is I'm not sure, and I'm not too inclined to spend valuable time and brainpower figuring it out. Suffice to say, the Skeleton Warriors were sort of a cross between Ninja Turtles and He-Man (at least in terms of toy design), and it just didn't work.