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Masters of the Universe
by yo go re

This is a man's world.

In fact, truth be told, it's a He-Man's world. Eternia is overrun with manly men, all bristling with muscles so large as to be grotesque. Yet tiny little Teela runs with the big boys and is more than capable of holding her own.

Strong and independent, Teela is trained in martial arts by her father, Man-At-Arms. Raised alongside Prince Adam, they could be twins. However, Teela takes her position seriously and doesn't tolerate fools. That puts her at odds with the fun-loving prince. She has no idea that Adam and He-Man are one and the same. Teela carries both a sword and a Cobra Staff that rests as a small golden cobra amulet on her belt. Over time, Teela discovers that she possesses empathic powers of clairvoyance. Perhaps it is these powers that create the sense of kinship she feels toward the Sorceress.

Of all the figures released so far, I think Teela has benefited the most from the Four Horsemen's redesign. In the '80s, she didn't look young at all - she was rather stocky and wore her hair in a bun. In fact, according to the cartoon's storyline, Teela is intended to be a teenager, though she certainly never looked like one.

Of course, neither did "young" Prince Adam, so I guess fair is fair.

But all that's changed. Teela is much skinnier than before, looking like a young girl who's just starting to age. She actually has a feminine pose, unlike her '80s counterpart. Her hair is now worn in a flowing ponytail, rather than the stoic bun. Actually, the figure's hair is about three (scale) feet shorter than it is on the cartoon, which I appreciate - it looks silly animated, and it would've looked worse in plastic. Facially, she only looks slightly older than her supposed teen age.

Gone is the giant brown plastic serpentine headpiece that Teela used to wear. She's still got her staff, though it's much more detailed than ever before, as is her brown disc shield. Her outfit is basically the same, with a leaf motif going on, though it seems overabundantly yellow now. She needs some bronze paint, I think. She's even got the same spring-loaded "power punch" waist twist that 1982's Teela sported. Her head, waist and forearms are swivels, and her shoulders and hips are balljoints. She gets a sword that can store on her back, though the staff is still her main weapon.

The Four Horsemen's McFarlaney origins come peeking through in this figure: she's sporting One Giant Boot*, though it has been toned down a bit. She's actually got a series of pouches around her right ankle, which is not only an odd design choice, but it would also make walking difficult. What, Man-At-Arms couldn't invent her a backpack? [actually, the large boot is to hide electronics for Castle Greyskull --ed.]

Overall, Teela's not bad. In fact, she's pretty darn good. The only things that might be better are her face and the choice of paint colors. Oh, and maybe that snake headdress, but I don't think anyone misses it terribly much. In fact, originally the snake thing wasn't even hers: in the original mini comics, the Sorceress looked exactly like Teela, except she wore the headdress. Teela was created when Skeletor tried to create a clone capable of harnessing the Sorceress' power, meaning that the old toy was intended to do double duty as both women.

-- 12/15/02

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