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Mumm-Ra w/ Ma-Mutt

by yo go re

Last year at SDCC, newcomers Icon Heroes released an early exclusive version of their Thundercats Lion-O ministatue. This year they followed that up with the logical choice, an exclusive Mumm-Ra.

click to embiggen

Mumm-Ra never had an origin on the cartoon, because it was the '80s and very few shows realized cartoons could have things like "characterization" or "a plot." According to the Wildstorm comics, he was born Wahankh in ancient Egypt, and was friends with the pharaoh. But he secretly wanted to overthrow the royal family, so he bargained with the Ancient Spirits of Evil for the power to do so. When he was defeated and sealed inside the onyx pyramid, they refused to give him any more help until he built four large statues in their honor.

Speaking of statues, that's what this is. Icon Heroes isn't making action figures, they're following NECA's lead with the MotU ministatues: immobile PVC pieces, done in a 6" scale and designed to fit (stylistically) with real action figures. While the pose is taken straight from the old cartoon, the style owes more to the Four Horsemen than to either that animation or even the old LJN toys. He has the chunky musculature that is usually a Four Horsemen trademark. The arms appear to be slightly too short for the body, but it's not terribly noticeable. You might want to admire the detailing in the lower edge of his loincloth/skirt thing, but be careful: he's not wearing anything underneath! His greaves have several different textures, and large tufts of fur poke out the bottom, falling against his sharp-toed feet.

The head is great, as well. It begin with, it's sculpted so he's looking down - Mumm-Ra is more than 8" tall, so he towers above 6" figures. His mouth is open in a wicked laugh, revealing sharp teeth and causing his chin and cheeks to wrinkle. There are lumpy ridges over his eyes, rather than eyebrows, and his helmet is appropriately ornate.

The paint is quite good - and unlike some exclusives this year, that's important. His skin is a nice pale blue, with some very subtle shading to accentuate the muscles. There are shadows in the folds of his cape, and a drybrushing on the fur at his ankles. The only errors that we can spot both involve the shins: the blue from the leg spills down onto the top of the bronze shinguards, and the edge between the armor and the bandages on his ankles is uneven, as well. Neither of those are deal-breakers, but they are mistakes. Someone somewhere is probably picky enough to be upset about it. The important stuff, like the colors on his skirt, the lines around his eyes or the snake symbol in the center of his chest, are all fine, however.

Since the ministatue can't move, and sense of dynamism has to come from the pose. Since he's standing there with his arms flung wide, we've already got a bit of it, but there's more. The strips of cloth on his headdress are blowing in some unseen wind, and he has floating bandages on his shoulders, left arm and waist, just as on the cartoon. To help keep him standing, he comes with a black oval base. Unfortunately, the peg that connects him to said base is in his foot, not in the base, so he can't stand anywhere without it - that's a big point against him. It's one thing to have the base for added stability, but at least give us the option of going without it.

The packaging's petty snazzy. It's a big black box with Mumm-Ra's big red symbol in the center. Open the left flap, and you'll see the small mummy version of Mumm-Ra saying "ancient spirits of evil" in front of the boar and crocodile statues; inside the right flap, he's larger and his bandages are beginning to shred as he says "transform this decayed form" in front of the ox and vulture statues. With both flaps open, you get a clear view of Mumm-Ra the Ever-Living! The cardboard tray behind the figure is a copy of the pyramid's main burial chamber, with that weird skull thing in the center, so you can use it as a diorama even after you open him.

Icon Heroes has borowed a page from Mattel's playbook, offering an extra piece with this exclusive if you bought it at the show. Mumm-Ra is an AFX exclusive, and you can buy him from their site, but if you preordered and picked it up at the show, you got a free bonus figure of Mumm-Ra's dog, Ma-Mutt. Resembling a demonic bulldog with ragged ears and huge tusks, Ma-Mutt is just as much a statue as his master, though when it comes to animal sidekicks, that's not so unusual. Ma-Mutt gets his own small oval base, and has the same high level of paint and sculpt as Mumm-Ra.

Though NECA's MotU Ministatues were a great product line, I steered clear of Icon Heroes' Thundercats versions. They seemed expensive, and the last thing I need is another line to start collecting. But the news of Mumm-Ra as this year's SDCC exclusive, coupled with the Lion-O statue being offered on Figure of the Day, finally got me to bite. The quality isn't quite as high as the Four Horsemen's work, but it's damn close, and if you can allow unarticulated pieces into your collection, Mumm-Ra is a good one.

-- 08/21/11

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