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Masters of the Universe
by yo go re

Despite all its microcephalic steroid freaks and primary-colored ideas of fashion, the world of He-Man is remarkably even-handed. There are monstrous freakjobs on both sides of the "good and evil" divide, which proves that you can make anything of your life, no matter where you start.

Buzz-Off One such example is the supposedly heroic Buzz-Off. Seeing this bee guy, we were supposed to instantly forget the important lessons imparted to us by years and years of bad sci-fi movies - namely, that an insect (or any animal) even slightly larger than normal is a threat to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Now, in most situations, you'd consider a human-sized bee an enemy, a threat. Not He-Man! He looked at a 7-foot-tall insect and saw a 7-foot-tall friend. Awww! of course, it helps that on the new cartoon, Buzz-Off wasn't a solitary oddball, but part of an entire race of bee-like Adreenids. That they were at war with his ally Stratos and the people of Avion didn't seem to faze Prince Adam.

The original Buzz-Off was, as per usual, a bit of a goof, what with his silly little claw hands and the dopey grin on his face. Don't bees have long, straw-like mouthpieces to suck nectar? How can you smile with that? Lucky for us that the Four Horsemen can make anything look cool.

plates The new Buzz-Off is really impressive - he looks tall and threatening, and much more insectoid than before. Rather than a dumpy, badly repainted body, he's all-new. The segments of his exoskeleton overlap naturally, and his limbs are thin and spindly.

Of course, there are a lot of design elements that reference the '80s toy, beyond just the colors - he's still got claws instead of hands, and weird three-toed feet. Of course, they're new sculpts instead of just being reused from Skeletor. To make him more insectoid, he now has a pair of vestigal arms poking out of his ribs. That's kinda creepy. There's a pair of 3 3/4" translucent wings attached to his shoulders, as you'd expect from a big bee.

hydraulics! Hey, you want to know something about bees? All insects, really. They've got hydraulic bodies, which is why their legs curl up when they die. Inside their little exoskeletons, they've got the muscles needed to contract their legs, but not the ones necessary to stretch them back out again - it'd be like if you had biceps but no triceps. They use their internal fluid pressure to push the limbs out. When they start to dehydrate, they don't have enough pressure to straighten up and thus, they curl up when they die. MY EYES!

One of the old figure's strangest features was the goofy helmet he wore - it looked more like Mouseketeer ears than the segmented eyes it was supposed to represent. Buzz-Off gets a new version of this odd headpiece, one that looks much better. It slips onto his head more like a skullcap than a helmet, now, and the mask's big eyes line up with the figure's as they should. Buzz-Off looks impressive with or without his little hat.

Movement is average for the MotU line: head, shoulders, wrists, waist and hips. His wings and miniature arms move, as well; they may pop out when you try to move them, but they go right back in easily. He comes with a large battle staff/axe that fires a little hooked missile out the end. The missile is molded from translucent yellow plastic, which helps it look like honey or wax or royal jelly or whatever. Something for bees, okay? Launchy. Ptoing!

Buzz-Off is a great-looking figure; the Horsemen did an amazing job updating the '80s design into something that's cool today. The Masters of the Universe line has some truly monstrous characters, but thanks to Mattel's mis-management, most of them are monstrously hard to find.

Could anything have been done to save MotU? Tell us on our message board, The Loafing Lounge.


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