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Thundercats Ultimates
by yo go re

So why, if he doesn't have a tail, is he "monkey"-an? Because if he were "ape"-ian, he'd have to be a bee.

Monkian is the leader of the Monkians from Plun-Darr. He is a powerful and brutish warrior whose ape-like strength makes him "the muscle" of the Mutants. Monkian is also incredibly agile, especially when climbing, swinging, and leaping through the tree branches of Third-Earth. Because of this, he is often tasked with important reconnaissance missions for the Mutants. Rarely seen without his signature helmet, Monkian's preferred weapon is his deadly flail.

Monkian leads the Monkians, Jackalman leads the Jackal Men... slow down with all these names, already! How do you expect us to keep up! None of the Mutants in the original cartoon had much of a distinct personality, but the 2011 cartoon gave him a terrific introduction: when we meet him, he's in the middle of being executed for his crimes, suggesting a threatening backsory without needing to show it.

Super7's Thundercats Ultimates are a continuation of Mattel's Classics, just with more parts and a (frankly unwarranted) premium pricetag. Part of that is alternate heads, something Mattel didn't do. Monkian gets both a calm head and one that's shouting or screeching or whatever verb you want toa ssign it. While the serene head is decent for display, the angrier one is a reference to the original 1986 toy, which was molded with his mouth open like this.

Despite having one of the "plainest" bodies possible, Monkian is still a new mold. It's hard to see, but he has fur sculpted on even the "bare" parts of his skin, though clearly nothing as substantial as the thick white ruff on his shoulders and covering his back. Because he's an ape, his feet are a bit more like hands, with a large gap between the big toe and the rest, the way there would be a gap between a thumb and the other fingers. He wears an unbuckled helmet with a (soft) spike on the front and a short red loinloth around his waist. The animation model gave him various leather straps wrapped around his limbs, which this toy does as well. The ones on the left forearm are molded on, the ones on the right elbow and knee are separate pieces glued into plugs at one point to hold them in place, and the one around the left leg is attached at the hip and the ankle, and literally wrapped around the toy. Wild!

The articulation is what we expect from this type of line: Monkian has a barbell neck, swivel/hinge shoulders, swivel biceps, swivel/hinged elbows, swivel/hinge wrists, hinged torso, swivel waist, swivel/hinge hips, swivel thighs, swivel/​hinge knees, and swivel/​hinge ankles with a nice rocker range. Monkian was typically drawn with a bit of a hunched posture, which you can choose to give this toy if you want. Or you can have him standing straight up if you prefer that more. The thick hair and beard on his two heads is designed to be as minimally impeding as possible, and the band around the left leg doesn't limit anything at all.

Monkian is not as loaded-down with accessories as Slithe was. We get alternate hands still - two pairs for gripping (one with the hinge running vertically, one with the hinge running sideways) and a pair for gesturing - plus his trademark monkey-face shield and morningstar with a real metal chain. There's also some chunky blue gun that is surely directly from the cartoon. That's plenty of stuff, we're just saying you shouldn't expect him to come with an entire arsenal.

Monkian was a bit of an underrated character in the old cartoon: treated as incompetent, dumb muscle, he once had the opportunity to take on the Thundercats by himself, and wiped the floor with them all until he got to Lion-O and his literal magic sword. The guy's no pushover, but all he got to do was be a support class for Team Evil. In any case, it's nice to at last have a good quality action figure of him, bringing us one step closer to completing the evil Mutants.

-- 06/30/22

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