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Masters of the Universe Classics
by Poe Ghostal

As a kid, Leech was one of my favorite He-Man figures. Like King Hsss, Leech hung around my toybox for years after I'd given away most of my other Masters of the Universe toys. His appeal, I think, lay in the fact that he was a big green monster with sucker hands and a fun suction action feature. He also had a really unique sculpt, which was rare among He-Man figures and may have been part of the reason I didn't mind using him with other toylines.

A Slebetor Slug-man from deep in the Lake of Gnarl, Leech was called from the depths by a magic spell of Hordak to bolster his forces against King Grayskull and the Snake Men during the Great Wars. Mindwiped by Hordak's lead witch, Leech became a loyal member of his Horde Army, using his magically enhanced energy-draining powers to suck enemies of their strength. He later played a key role in the Horde's fight against the Great Rebellion after Hordak claimed Etheria as a new homeworld during their banishment in Despondos. When called upon in battle, Leech sucks the power from his enemies!

Capturing the big, rotund look of Leech in Masters of the Universe Classics, which makes heavy reuse of existing parts, was a tall order for the Four Horsemen. They actually had less to work with than the original sculptors, who were able to create an entirely new figure. You could argue that it was a bit early for Leech and that he might have been better served as an exclusive down the line. That might be partly true, but that doesn't mean we're unhappy with the result here.

Leech gets a lot of new parts, including his heads, hands, forearms, and feet, as well as the large plastic section over the torso. From a sculpting standpoint, the Horsemen did a great job in keeping the character in MOTUC style. No, he's not as detailed and badass as the mini-statue, mostly because it strongly follows the original design, but you knew that was going to be the case.

Some folks have said he looks like a goofy B-movie monster, and 1) I agree with that and 2) think it's a positive thing. I love goofy B-movie monsters! For my money he kind of resembles the Horror of Party Beach. You want a truly horrific leech-based monster? Go with TMNT's disgusting Bloodsucker, who creeped me out even as a kid.

Sculpting-wise, the only major changes we would have wished for are sharper teeth and alternate hands with folded, webbed claws instead of frisbees. Leech does look slightly ill-proportioned, but part of that may be because the vintage figure had such stumpy, bent legs. If you pose Leech with his legs extended to their full length, it heightens that ill-proportioned look. With his knees bent, some of that goes away.

Similarly, some people have said the plastic of the head feels "cheaper" than previous figures, but that's not the case. It's simply the result of the plastic having been spread more thinly across the narrow jaws and ears. A solid round head will naturally feel more durable. But it's possible they went with the thinner plastic because it took the sculpt better, or, as has been implied, as a cost-saving measure.

Leech not only gets the standard MOTUC articulation but a bit extra. He's got a balljointed neck, swivel/hinge shoulders, hinged elbows, a hinged abdomen, a swivel waist, swivel/hinge hips, swivels at the top of the thighs, hinged knees, and swivels at the top of the boots. He also gets swivel/hinge wrists and ankles, which are a very nice touch that adds a lot of posing freedom.

Leech comes with two accessories, his Horde crossbow and a soft plastic net with suction cups. The net is presumably a nod to the vintage figure's action feature. The crossbow, which clips to Leech's wrist, has a different head sculpt than the bows of Hordak or Grizzlor.

I'm a Leech fan and I'm happy with this figure. It's exactly what I would have expected from a MOTUC Leech. Some interchangeable hands would have been a nice touch but their exclusion doesn't ruin the figure.

-- 10/31/11

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