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Queen Marlena

Masters of the Universe Classics
by yo go re

There's always been something missing from every He-Man toyline: we'd get his sister, his dad, his uncle, his great-great-great-great-however-many-greats-grandfather... but never his mom. Until now.

An explorer from planet Earth, Marlena traveled with two companions in an experimental warp ship through a dimensional rift. Crash landing on Eternia, Marlena was the ship's only survivor, rescued from certain death by a young Captain Randor. Falling in love with him, Marlena chose to remain on Eternia as Randor's wife and eventually served as Queen after the end of the Great Unrest. Although her children do not suspect it, she is well aware of both Adam and Adora's dual identities and is proud of her warrior twins. Often assigned diplomatic duties, Marlena has been trained by Duncan and Clamp Champ and has lead Randor's armies into battle in times of need. Queen Marlena helps rule the free people of Eternia with her wisdom and strength.

It's worth noting that this bio is only available on the SDCC release: Marlena was also available via Mattel's site, but the packaging was different. Also of note is the fact that while He-Mom has always been canonically from Earth, she originally traveled with three companions, not two. And while it was hinted at in the comics and cartoon, this is the first time it's been confirmed that she knew He-Man's secret.

Marlena is looking resplendent in her forest green dress. That's a new piece, naturally, since the only other character who wears a single drape of cloth that reaches their feet is Orko, and he wouldn't make for a very good repaint. She's got a high collar and a golden belt in the shape of a V. She's wearing her crown, a one-pointed version of Randor's three-pointed headpiece.

The dress is a soft pvc piece with a seam running up the back so you can remove it. No, not for any nefarious purpose! It's to accommodate the rest of her accessories. But before we get there, this provides us with a unique opportunity to examine the articulation of the plain MotU Classics female body. Most of the joints are exposed - balljointed head, swivel/hinge shoulders, swivel biceps, hinged elbows, swivel wrists, swivel thighs, hinged knees, swivel shins, and hinged/rocker ankles - but the rubber tunics they wear conceal the swivel/hinge hips and the balljointed torso. Clearly the body is not designed to be seen sans accoutrements, since it looks an ungodly mess, but it's interesting to know what's there.

The figure's second comstume allows you to turn her into Captain Glenn, her non-Eternian identity. You may be thinking "wait, she's an astronaut and her last name is 'Glenn'?" Yes, she's related. Very astute. Her shirt is similar to the one worn by Adora, though it's been redesigned to look more like the top of a jumpsuit than a medieval tunic. Her name is printed on the breast, and black stripes run down the outside of her legs from the belt. Her arms come from Adora, and the boots are shared with She-Ra - because nothing says "astronaut" like high-heeled boots with a V-chaped top. Though her astronaut's uniform was shown in the old cartoon, it looked nothing like this: it was just a typical white space suit, lacking the "retro sci-fi" flare of this new design.

There's a new head for Captain Glenn, since it wouldn't make sense for her to be wearing a crown in space, right? It's the same facial sculpt, but she has a different haircut - it's shorter, and just pulled up into a little ponytail held by a golden band. It's interesting how much she looks like Teela - the expression, the haircolor and style... it all adds up. Wonder if that's why Adam is attracted to her?

Adding to the retro feel of Captain Glenn's spacesuit is the ridiculous bubble helmet. It looks like something staight from the cover of a 1950s pulp novel. There's a small backpack and two (sculpted) black tubes that run over the shoulders to the device on the front of the chest. The actual helmet is silver in the back, rising up to cover the entire back of the head, while the front half is clear. The hemispheres separate so you can actually get her head in there - it's completely goofy, but it suits the world of He-Man perfectly. There's a red, black and yellow symbol on the front and back of the chestpiece. It's the same seen on her ship, the Rainbow.

There are accessories included for both Queen Marlena and Captain Glenn. The queen gets a sword (same one that Battleground Teela had, only with a black hilt and green pommel) and a golden staff featuring the royal crest or whatever it is. You know, the cross seen on Randor's staff and sword. Meanwhile, Captain Glenn has a small laser pistol and holster belt and a large rifle that's identified as a "Higuchi 1114," but is actually based pretty blatantly on the rifles used by Skeletor's minions in the live-action movie. Of course, the pistol looks like Teela's from the film, too, so the Horsemen aren't above homaging that cinematic landmark.

We're not quite done, yet, however: Marlena isn't the only important character to never get a toy before, so this exclusive is actually doing double-duty. Included in the oversized blister with Marlena is Cringer, the de-powered form of He-Man's companion, Battle Cat. He's an all-new sculpt, measuring 7¼" long and 2¾" tall. That makes him small enough to fit with your Mo2K collection, if you want.

The sculpt is a very good representation of a tiger... from the neck down. The head has Cringer's typical wide-eyed, cowardly look, which perhaps should have tipped us off (before the official announcement at SDCC) that Mattel had finally acquired the long-unavailable rights to the Filmation cartoon designs - that expression is straight from their model sheets!

This is a really good set. You get two characters who have never had toys before, and they've both been made well. Marlena is a fun figure both as a queen and as a captain, with cool accessories for both modes. Plus, just the fact that you can create two different versions of her is fun. Then, on top of that, you've got a Cringer who'll work perfectly no matter which version of MotU you prefer: Classics, Millenium or even the 1980s originals. Add to that the two versions of packaging, and this is a nearly perfect summer exclusive.

-- 08/08/11

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