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Mumm-Ra

Thundercats
by yo go re

One of the fun things about any property reboot is the way it can play with audiences' expectations. You've got an audience that's already familiar with the characters, their relationships and their setting, so when certain story elements are introduced, they think they know how things are going to play out. A good writer can take advantage of that, making us think we know what's happening while we freely ignore what's right in front of us.

Mumm-Ra is the essence of evil, a supreme sorcerer whose name alone strikes fear into the hearts of all.

In the old cartoon, Mumm-Ra lived on Third Earth long before the Thundercats made it their new home - in fact, that's part of the reason that it's a popular fan theory that Third Earth is actually our planet, way in the future. But on the new show, that's decidedly not the case. We won't spoil it for you, in case you haven't seen the show yet, or somehow inexplicably saw the first two or three episodes then not the rest, but trust us: this isn't the mummified corpse of some dude from ancient Egypt.

Mumm-Ra has a very creepy face. His skin is sort of a dark Williamsburg Blue, and he has solid red eyes. In the cartoon his pupils are yellow, but the figure doesn't get that paint app. He has little pointed ears, the flat remnants of a nose, and sharp fangs for teeth (which also go unpainted). His upper lip and his chin are deeply wrinkled.

This figure is Mumm-Ra in his decayed form, so he's scrawny and covered in bandages. There are a few spots where his blue skin shows through (and, in reverse, a couple bandages on his hand that should be painted white but aren't). To help up his dynamism, several loose strands of bandage trail off his limbs and head; they keep him from just being a stick figure covered in white stripes. He's rocking some large, bony hips, like many mummies, which keeps him from looking like a skinny guy who's still alive and just happens to be dressed as a mummy for Halloween. Of course, most of this is covered by his raggedy red cape... though you have to wonder why, if he's just a sack of bones with no flesh (more or less), he's got such a large hump - why, it's almost as if he's hiding something under there!

Articulation is really sub-par - to the extent that Mumm-Ra is more of a glorified accessory than a figure in his own right. Of course, the only previous "decayed" Mumm-Ra only moved at the shoulders, so almost anything is an improvement. He has swivel joints at the neck, shoulders, wrists and waist, and that's it. No elbows, no joints at all in the legs, nothing. The lower edge of his cape is designed to be laying on the ground, but it doesn't reach when his feet are on the ground - thus, some knees or ankles would have come in handy.

Mumm-Ra does come with a few accessories of his own - that's how we know he's a real figure! He's got his own version of Lion-O's Sword of Omens and Claw Shield. Evil versions! The sword - known as the Sword of Plun-Darr - has a batwing crossguard and appears to have the Eye of Thundera in the blade. That shouldn't be! The gauntlet/shield is huge and ornate, and has a spot inside where you can store the sword. It fits onto Mumm-Ra's left arm pretty well. The glove is gold, which isn't right: it's black as onyx on the show, with red highlights. Here both it and the sword are decorated like they're Lion-O's gear.

Mumm-Ra is a tiny, half-immobile figure with incomplete paint and wrong-colored accessories... and yet he's still a must-have for a 4" Thundercats collection. Fortunately, those flaws aren't really all that disappointing. Yes, we'd like him better without them, but he works well enough the way he is. He's not ToY material, but if you wait for a sale or have a coupon, he's a good buy.

-- 12/11/11


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