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Masters of the Universe
by Poe Ghostal

In the waning days of the Masters of the Universe line, there was a mini-comic entitled "The Search for Keldor." This comic became quite sought after by collectors, primarily because it had a very interesting story: in the comic, King Randor, father of Prince Adam (aka He-Man), engages the Sorceress's aid in searching for his long-lost brother Keldor. Skeletor learns of Randor's plans and is frantic to prevent Randor from finding out the truth about Keldor.

The comic implies that Keldor is Skeletor - thus making Skeletor He-Man's uncle. This very Star Wars-like twist (or is that Hamlet?) was later confirmed by one of the designers on the line. Within fan circles, Keldor passed from rumor to legend.

wanna see us make out?

When Mattel revamped the line and brought back the cartoon in 2002, they offered diehard fans a delicious treat when Keldor himself appeared in the prologue of the first episode ("The Beginning"). Though no mention was made of any relation between Keldor and Randor, viewers did get to see what Skeletor looked like before he lost his face - and even see how it was lost. During the battle, Keldor hurls a vial of acid at Randor. The king blocks it and sends the acid flying back at Keldor's face. Bye-bye Jafarian good looks, hello Skullface!

This year, Mattel has offered fans yet another treat: an exclusive Keldor figure. While the body is primarily a repaint of the regular Skeletor figure, Keldor features a number of interesting accessories.

First, a word on the design of Keldor himself. Many fans had come up with their own visions of Keldor, and very few of them had Keldor with the same blue skin as Skeletor. Most assumed that was just another aspect of his deformity (along with the skull-face) - the result of Keldor's dabbling in the dark arts. Presumably, if he was Randor's brother, Keldor would have normally-toned flesh like Randor's.

You're getting warmer... It's still possible Keldor was once flesh-toned, but that's not how he appeared on the cartoon, nor in his figure form. Also, Keldor's face seems a little uninspired. With the little devil beard, sharp mustache, jutting eyebrows and slicked-back hair, Keldor probably couldn't look more like the stereotypical villain. He looks like he should be tying Teela to the railroad tracks. All he needs is a cane and a top-hat. That, or a turban - he looks somewhat like Jafar from Aladdin.

In the cartoon, Keldor wore boots and a cape. The figure, since it's just a redeco of Skeletor, lacks the boots, but it does have a cloth cape. The cape is rather unimpressive, and I intend to customize a large, purple satin cape for him (with metal wiring in the inseam, so it's poseable).

In terms of sculpting, there's not too much to discuss here that wasn't discussed in the Skeletor review. However, Keldor features some significantly different paint applications from the Skeletor figure. For one, there is a lot more detailing on the armor. The little face on his belt is painted silver, as are the spidery shapes on his gauntlet. His chest armor also has a black wash, and there's a black was all over the body. I think the body wash is a bit much, but it's grown on me. All of this brings out the McFarlanesque quality of the Four Horsemen's work on this figure.

But the figure's body is of secondary interest to the real selling point - the interchangeable heads. The figure comes with three heads: Keldor's normal head, a Skeletor head, and a "burning" head, showing Keldor in mid-transformation to Skeletor.

The Skeletor head need not be discussed, other than to mention it's been given one hell of a black wash. I was initially a bit disappointed with the Keldor head sculpt, but it too has grown on me. I'm beginning to like Keldor even more than Skeletor. Like Prince Adam, he's a toy based more on an issue of plot and character, rather than just being a cool design for a toy line. He's more than just a bad guy - he's Skeletor before he went bad. This is Sauron when he was still an apprentice to Morgoth.

Battery acid?  You're soaking in it! The third head is the best one. As you can see, it shows Keldor in agony as his face burns away - doing in seconds what it took Michael Jackson years to accomplish. I particularly like the clear green flames coming out the top of the head. There's the facial expression I was looking for: pure, unadulterated agony. This one is not for the kiddies.

Stupid lavalamp! Keldor comes with the same twin swords and staff as Skeletor (all with washes, of course). He also comes with a wee vial of acid. Made from clear green plastic, it's a tiny but fun accessory. Now kids can re-enact the scene where Keldor is horribly mutilated time and again!

A word on the packaging: Keldor comes in a beautiful window box, similar to that of the ToyFare Faker exclusive. The window box itself coems in a larger black box with some lovely graphics. It might have been nicer if Mattel had foregone the showy extra box in favor of more Keldors for fans. But for $20, you do get an exclusive that approaches its money's worth.

What was Mattel thinking with that idiotic raffle? Tell us over at The Loafing Lounge.


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