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Masters of the Universe
by yo go re

Some of the character concepts Mattel turned out for the original Masters of the Universe line were pretty good. I mean, just look at... hmm. And some were really, really dumb. Fisto takes a lot of flak for being one of the worst, because of his insipid name and powers, but he's not the absolute bottom of the barrel - that distinction falls to Jitsu, who's a Fisto rip-off. Copying a bad character makes you worse.

In the original show, Fisto didn't have much of a personality. He was a servant of Skeletor, but when he met He-Man, switched to the side of good. That's it. In the 2002 update, he's Man-At-Arms' brother, and Teela's real father. Hey, impressive! Way to move up in the world, Fisto! We also learned that his hand really was that size, even when it wasn't metal. Forget a knuckle sandwich; this freak has a knuckle buffet.

Fisto was one of the characters that fans were most looking forward to seeing updated by the Four Horsemen. The original toy was pretty crappy, but that had never stopped the Horsemen before. Unfortunately, he was released at the tail end of the line, when Mattel switched over to the Snake Men packaging - you know, the figures that no one ever saw in stores? Yeah, those.

Fisto isn't a new sculpt - in fact, about 80% had seen store shelves once before, as Ice Armor He-Man: those furry boots should give it away, if the pose doesn't. His loin cloth is new, as is his armor, head and, of course, his right arm. The design harkens back to the '80s toy, as it should, but is actually a lot better. The armor is more detailed, and looks like something that was built, rather than sculpted - no mean feat for a toy.

His hand is spectacular, though. Originally just a silver lump, this thing is now a technological marvel. A lot of fans were worried that Fisto's hand would just be a re-used Mega-Punch He-Man glove, but no: bigger, badder, totally new. Man-At-Arms designed this prosthesis, so it's detailed like the rest of the Masters' tech. There's even, for want of a better word, a grill on the back that allows you to see the pistons inside. Press the small button near his elbow, and the spring-loaded hand shoots forward. The figure moves at the neck, shoulders, right elbow, wrists, waist and hips. Unlike Ice Armor He-Man, his waist isn't sacrificed for an action feature.

Fisto has one accessory, other than his massive fist: a silly little anti-Snakemen clamp that would have better suited Clamp Champ. Meanwhile, he's missing the accessory he should have, his sword. The 1980s toy had a purple version of Tri-Klops' sword, and one of the new MotU comics showed Fisto with an unspeakably huge sword - it was very cool. But despite the fact that his armor is designed to accomodate the weapon, it's not included. Several fans made their own versions, but unfortunately, unless you've got some mad customizing skills of your own, your Fisto will be unable to slice anything.

The sword isn't the only thing Fisto is missing: he's lost his name. The assumption is that because Hasbro released the Jedi knight Kit Fisto, Mattel couldn't use the original name for the toy, so they managed to find a name even worse than Fisto - "Battle Fist." Yeah. Or, as he's known in French, Poing Super Combat. Okay, that? Much cooler name than Battle Fist. They should have just called him Poing Super Combat from the beginning. Of course, they also should have given him the right accessories and released him in numbers that met demand, but what are you going to do?

-- 02/27/06

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