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Masters of the Universe
by Poe Ghostal

Stratos is one of He-Man's many bizarre allies. He has one of the weirdest designs of any MOTU figure - an achievement in a line filled with so many freaks. He looks like one of the Wicked Witch's flying monkeys...if that monkey took steroids and flew a jetpack. I mean, he's clearly a big monkey with feathers. Red feathers. And a jetpack.

Shaggy goes skiing The sculpt is good. Of all the new figures, Stratos most closely resembles his original '80s incarnation. The Four Horsemen have heightened his simian features, though, enchancing that "flying monkey" look. I love the expression of Stratos's face - sort of a dopey grin. "Tee hee, I can fly, I can fly," he seems to be thinking. And fly he can - well, theoretically. More on that in a moment.

In terms of articulation, Stratos features ball-jointed hips, swivel joints at the wrists, neck and waist, and up-and-down movement at the shoulders. Why this strange shoulder articulation, rather than the ball joints all the other figures sport? Because Stratos needs to flap his wings. That's right! Push the middle "missile" on Stratos's back and he flaps his wings like a madman. Technically, the wings are articulated as well, since they can fold down to enhance this flapping feature.

Lookit me! I'm a bird! I don't think I need to point out the absurdity of this action feature. No bipedal humanoid of six feet, regardless of how light their bone structure is, can achieve flight by flapping his wings. Certainly not by flapping his wings from a standing position. No, it's obvious the jetpack will be doing all the work. I don't like the action feature itself, and I hate it for taking away Stratos's ball joint shoulders.

In terms of accessories, Stratos is, again, the biggest loser of the bunch. He comes with one missile, which can be fired from his jetpack. His jetpack has two handles attached by tubes that plug into his jetpack, enhancing his "Woo-hoo, here I go, up, up and away!" expression.

In sum: If you're going to pass up any figure in this line, make it Stratos. Of course, being a diehard He-Fan, I nabbed him up immediately. I suspect kids will greatly enjoy his flapping feature as well, making this a good pick for the young'uns. But ultimately, compared to others in this line - let's say, oh, Skeletor - Stratos is a bit lackluster, especially due to those stiff shoulders.

Agree with this review? Disagree? Think Stratos suffers from delusions of birdship?? Discuss it over at The Loafing Lounge.


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