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Movie Masters General Zod

Man of Steel
by yo go re

So, what are the odds this guy will spawn a catchphrase that's the only memorable line from his movie two decades later, like the last Zod did?

Imprisoned in the phantom zone, General Zod, a warrior born from generations of warriors before him, escaped when Krypton was destroyed. He led a small band of surviving Kryptonians in search of a new home and in the process discovered a planet called Earth. Prepared for battle, General Zod wears armor made of materials native to his planet of Krypton.

There was a Zod in the first series of Man of Steel figures, but it was pretty dang boring: it was him in a plain black suit (and if you managed to find the rare variant [good luck with that, by the way] you also got a small pair of manacles). So basically, it was "on trial"/"being condemned to the Phantom Zone" Zod. Way to open strong, Mattel. The second Zod is much cooler though. Primarily because this one isn't wearing a Danskin unitard.

Zod is played by Michael Shannon, the former infielder for the St. Louis Cardinals. [No. --ed.] Okay, fine. The Michael Shannon who plays Zod is an actor appearing in his second comicbook film. The head on the original toy looked too big, but this version is more proportional. He has the same Caesar haircut as the previous figure, but adds an evil goatee.

It's not the goatee that's making you want this figure, though: it's everything else. Zod's wearing "Kryptonian Armor," but it's more obviously martial than Jor-El's ornate suit was. There are no small, thin, intricate lines, just sturdy plates of metal designed to protect whoever's inside. As others have pointed out, it looks rather like a Locust's armor, with the big ring around the neck, the two bands running down the chest, the large shoulder pads and the heavy knee protection. Either way the armor is pretty damn cool looking, and the addition of a grey cape makes it feel regal.

The articulation is what we've come to expect from Mattel's Movie Masters: disappointing. Zod has hinged ankles, hinged knees, swivel thighs, H-crotch, swivel waist, swivel wrists, hinged elbows, swivel biceps, swivel/hinge shoulders, and a balljointed head. The head looks down, but not up, which may be an intentional choice: just picture him hovering above the humans he's subjugated, looking down at them! You know what's better than that, though? Being able to look up and down. The shoulder pads are attached to the arm, so they move as you pose him, rather than having to be positioned out of the way - meaning his shoulders are better than any Iron Mans from the past two movies. Really though, who designs a figure with big spiky kneepads and then cuts the joint though the pad? Come on, guys, you're supposed to put the whole thing on the lower leg and use it to hide the joint.

General Zod has the same display stand that Jor-El had, just painted with his family's symbol instead of the big S. He also has a removable helmet for his armor, which is cast in translucent plastic and then painted grey to match the rest of the suit. What does that accomplish? It allows the lenses of the mask (and, inexplicably, the dome on the top of the head) to remain clear. Ish. Clearish. It fits tightly on the head, and looks impressive once it's in place. We hope there wasn't supposed to be some mystery in the movie about who this guy in the space-armor is, because Zod's been in tons of the ads.

The first Movie Masters Zod was pretty well crap, and its only worthwhile element was restricted to a rare variant. The second one, though? Now this is a villain!

-- 06/05/13


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