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Thundercats Classic
by yo go re

Considering that most villains are colored opposite of the heroes they face, it's unusual to see a bad guy wearing red, white and blue.

This mysterious creature, shrouded in a robe, lives in the Black Pyramid, in the dark corners of Third Earth, his native home. Mumm-Ra spends much of his time pensively watching the Thundercats in his larger-than-life, bubbling cauldron. Possessing a strong and sharp mind, Mumm-Ra by contrast, has a body that is weak and feeble, so his survival depends on him returning to his sarcophagus each day. However, he does more than just rest in his tomb. While he serves four Ancient Spirits of Evil that have granted him with immortality, Mumm-Ra, with his intelligence and cunning, is the mastermind of the Mutants, controlling them to do his bidding in defeating the Thundercats.

Mumm-Ra was an '80s cartoon villain, so clearly he couldn't be allowed to be too threatening or too successful, but he did better than most of his contemporaries. Megatron may have killed more of his enemies (thanks, movie budget!) and Cobra Commander may have come closer to conquering his world, but Mumm-Ra was scary and intimidating in a way no one else was. Even in this, his decayed form.

It's hinted or strongly implied or whatever that Third Earth is our Earth, just far in the future. Mumm-Ra even says in one episode he remembers when it was First Earth - suggesting he's supposed to be a human (or the remains of a human, at any rate). Why, then, does his face seem so weird? Huge eyes, as is the style at the time of the line, a very high nose, gigantic old-man lips, jagged teeth... being immortal and evil makes you ugly!

Outstandingly, Mattel went for a completely new body for Mumm-Ra. Remember, this is his tiny natural form, not the "juiced up on Ancient Spirits of Evil" form, so he's only about 5⅝" tall. His arms and legs are even thinner than the Thunderkittens', and they're sculpted with raggedy old bandages wrapped all the way up. Bonus points for not being symmetrical, allowing different bits of his limbs to peek through and let us see how emaciated he is. His entire torso is covered up, including a little "skirt" so we don't have to think about which direction they wrapped his skeletal genitals. There are several extra loose bandages glued on, to give the figure a 3D look: dangling off his temples, some around his ribs and falling down past his waist, the lower edge of his skirt, and then a pair that run from his right arm to his left arm, like he's going to start jumping rope with them.

The articulation is good enough that he almost can, in fact. He has a balljointed head, swivel/hinges in the shoulder,s elbows and wrists, a swivel waist, and swivel/hinge hips, knees and ankles. It's certainly better than any previous Mumm-Ra has moved, that's for sure! Of course, the only previous Mumm-Ra figures have been the Minimate, the Bandai reboot, and the LJN mailaway, which only moved at the shoulders and nothing else. This guy is a gymnastic dynamo by comparison! Of course, a lot of that articulation is for naught since he covers his body in a long red cloak, but Mattel surprised everyone by thinking of that ahead of time.

Mumm-Ra includes two capes: the one he's wearing in the package is open wide and billowing in the wind, allowing us full access to all his joints. The second hangs straight down, covering the right side of his body entirely and just giving as a glimpse of what lies beneath. Think of them as "active" and "resting" capes. They both look nice, and add some variety to the toy. There is one small problem with the resting cape, however: the neck opening is too small for the head to fit through, so you'll have to pop the head off the joint, put it in through the front of the hood, and then put the body up through the cape; on the plus side, this allows the bandages hanging from his cheeks droop over the front of the cape, just like they should.

Additionally, the figure includes an extra set of hands with a minorly different grip than his usual pair. Seriously, that is one of the few flaws with this line: the "alternate" hands are often minor changes at best. His left at least goes from "open and gesturing" to "gripping tightly," but the right might as well not change at all. For weapons, he includes the gnarled, demon-headed staff the 1986 toy came with (but isn't actually anything from the cartoon), as well as the Sword of Plun-Darr. Well, not the full sword, just the twisty, serpentine hilt. Shame they couldn't include his faithful companion Ma-Mutt, though. Might have to settle for the Icon Heroes statue version.

Actually, you may want to get that statue just to have a Mumm-Ra the Ever-Living in your collection at all. Yes, he's technically in a 6" scale rather than the 7" scale Mattel is doing, but he's kind of sizeable, and there's no guarantee Mattel will ever get to do one. Decayed Mumm-Ra was an exclusive offered only to fans who subscribed to "Club Third Earth," like so many Matty sub figures before him. That means a lot of folks who might have liked to get this great little mummy may be missing out.

-- 12/24/16

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