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The Goddess

Masters of the Universe Classics
by Poe Ghostal

The second Masters of the Universe Classics bonus figure, the Goddess, is a product of the line's two imperatives: to offer a lot of character variety, and to re-use molds as often as possible.

After the death of King Grayskull, the Power of the Universe was transferred from the Sword of He to the Council of Elders, who hid it deep within his castle. Knowing the full sword was the key to channeling the power again, they split it in two to prevent it from falling into the hands of evil. For five centuries, they waited for a worthy heir to be born. During this time their spirit guide, the creature known as The Goddess of Eternia, trained secret heroic guardians to keep the two halves of the sword separated. Many of these brave warriors took the name "He-Man" in honor of the sword they protected - giving birth to many different legends of the protector of Eternia.

In the early days of MOTU, the origins of Teela and the character who would eventually become the Sorceress were very murky and intertwined. They were always intended to be different characters, as concept art by Mark Taylor shows; but somewhere between the early concepts and the production of the first mini-comics it became unclear who was who. Rather than producing two separate figures, Teela and the Goddess/Sorceress, Mattel produced one figure with aspects and accessories from both characters: the staff and snake armor of the Goddess, and the shield and hair-bun-wearing head of Teela.

Those first mini-comics confused the matter even further. In her first mini-comics appearance in "He-Man and the Power Sword," the character was called "the Sorceress" - and she was green. It isn't until "The Tale of Teela" that she's referred to as "The Goddess." Over the years, fans began to view the Goddess as a different character - apart from Teela and the Sorceress - and now Mattel has canonized that idea in MOTUC.

Oh, and then there's the whole "Her real name is Sharella" thing. That comes from a one-sentence mention in the description of He-Ro from the "Powers of Grayskull" licensing kit, where she's described as a "tribal chieftess" who helps train He-Ro. But wait... there's more! The "Sharella" name on the package is actually a sticker, and if you peel it off, you'll find the name "K'yrulla!" That name seems to be original and doesn't have any historical significance for MOTU, but it's amusing that even now, the Goddess's identity is something of an open question.

Let's face it - this is a clear green Teela. She's so much of a repaint I originally wasn't planning to get her, until I realized I was never going to display Teela with her snake armor on. The Goddess offered me a way of doing that. From that perspective, I viewed her a bit more favorably. I really like the sculpt and texture of the snake armor. Plus, with the snake armor on, the Goddess looks much better holding Teela's snake-headed Staff of Ka than Teela does without the armor - and you can give the more plain staff to Teela, who was originally supposed to come with it anyway.

However, by re-using the Teela sculpt, the figure isn't completely accurate - the feathers on the pelvis aren't meant to be present on the Goddess, and in fact, even the unproduced 1980s figure wasn't going to have them. The feathers should have been sculpted as a separate piece from the rest of the outfit. It would have allowed both the Goddess and Evil-Lyn to have different ornamentation and increased the value and appeal of both figures.

We haven't been too critical of the $20 price point for these figures, but this is one place where Mattel took the cheap route, and it bugs me. A lot. One more minor sculpt-related point: based on the art, the gauntlets should be reversed. They were sculpted as-is for Teela, whose art depicted them reversed from the actual figure; but, given the size and shape of the forearms, they could have been swapped in the factory and it would have looked fine. Of course, it's an easy swap to make yourself. I don't actually care enough to do so, but it's worth pointing out.

The Goddess has a balljointed head, balljointed shoulders and hips, hinges at the elbows, knees and ankles (as well as excellent side-to-side movement on the ankles), and swivels at the biceps, wrists and the top of the boots. Theoretically there's also a waist swivel, but like Teela it's rendered immobile by the one-piece outfit. As with Teela, the head is loose, and the Goddess is a bit of a bobblehead. There are a number of ways to correct the problem, but the ideal one would be that Mattel develops a better peg for the head and neck and uses it on Evil-Lyn.

You have to give props to Mattel and the Horsemen for realizing that molding the figure in plain green plastic would have been going a bit too far. Instead, she's made from translucent green plastic, giving the figure an ethereal, ghostly look. It's a nice touch and goes a long way toward making the figure less of a plain repaint. The rest of the paint applications are fairly clean, with little noticeable slop. Again, the work on the snake armor is impressive, with has a great look and feel.

We will say this for her - the Goddess comes loaded with accessories. The problem is that, with one exception, we've seen them all before. She comes with He-Man's axe, shield and Power Vest, Teela's shield, and a new spear. The spear, as mentioned above, is based on the original concept art of Teela, and many fans - including me - will be swapping the spear for Teela's Staff of Ka. It's a nice weapon, and it even has a touch of paint applications on the spearhead.

However, there's one more thing that needs to be mentioned: the Power Vest. On the original and reissue He-Man figures, the Power Vest appears to be made of dark plastic painted a fairly dark shade of gray, and is prone to paint chipping and scratching. The Power Vest that comes with the Goddess is molded in a lighter gray, which makes the red parts really pop, and better matches the original He-Man's look. That was a pleasant surprise, and the new vest immediately went onto He-Man. Perhaps more than anything else, the vest made picking up a Goddess a good choice.

Ultimately, the Goddess is just a Teela repaint. But she does have a number of things going for her. She's a unique character, she allows you to display both regular Teela and the snake armor version, she's molded in translucent plastic, she comes with a new staff, and the He-Man vest that she comes with is better than the one that actually comes with He-Man.

-- 06/14/10

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