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Masters of the Universe
by Poe Ghostal

You spin me right round, baby
Right round like a record, baby
Right round round round

Ever since I read Matt's unadvisedly exhaustive exegesis on the history of Sy-Klone over at X-E, the lyrics to the band Dead or Alive's 1985 hit "You Spin Me Round" have been indelibly tied in my memory to the name Sy-Klone.

Sy-Klone represents a milestone purchase for me. He is the first Masters of the Universe figure I have purchased (from the new line) that I didn't have when I was a kid. All the other figures I once owned. Originally I had planned only to buy the updates of my original toys, but I've come to love the new MotU toyline. I now plan to collect all the figures, with the exception of any lame variations. (Of course, Mattel hasn't made doing so easy, stocking stores with Smash Blade He-Man figures and packing the secondary characters one to a case, forcing me to either order cases or submit to the scalpers on eBay.)

Since I never owned the figure and haven't seen Syke's origin episode on the new show, I can't give much background on the figure. To my knowledge, Syke was rarely on the original cartoon either (two episodes back-to-back, then never again), so he has none of the iconic value of characters like Orko or Trapjaw. Thus, I cannot wax philosophic (or "quasi-Psych 101 philosophic," as one adorably self-important reader recently put it) about the nature of what is this thing called Sy-Klone. In the absence of wax, I have no choice but to simply review the Sy-Klone action figure.

The new Sy-Klone is extremely similar to the original. The design is nearly identical, with the exception of some savvy detailing for the 21st century. Like the original figure, Syke 2003 features a lenticular chest sticker (seen above, in both states) and the ability to spin around very fast. There's a dial just above his butt-crack to facilitate this spinning. Syke's arms, like those of his 1985 predecessor (1985 - the same year as "Spin Me Right Round" - coincidence?!) are loose, so when he spins right 'round (baby), his arms are thrown out from his sides.

Facially, the original Sy-Klone somewhat resembled He-Man, giving some credence to the "clone" aspect of his name. The new Syke doesn't bear the same resemblance, but it's still an interesting visage. The new cartoon explains his odd blue skin by claiming that he's a member of the Gar, a separate race of beings on Eternia. All blue-skinned people are.

The biggest difference between the original figure and its 2003 incarnation is the addition of a hula hoop. Yes, the new figure features an onboard hula hoop, a big red ring presumably intended to accentuate his abilities as he twirls, twirls, twirls toward freedom and the destruction of Skeletor's forces. It can either be positioned sticking straight up behind him, or fold down over his shoulders thanks to an ingenious slot system. If it were more easily removable, I'd suggest pointing it down, as that's how it looks when he's still packaged, and it's pretty nice. For such a weird choice, it does look believable.

Commensurate with sculptors the Four Horsemen's attention to detail, Sy-Klone also bears a little circular shield like his predecessor did, though it's otherwise not the same design at all. The '80s version was a solid piece with a bump in the center and two sculpted... I don't know, wind streams? on the front. This one has a hollow ring, similar to his hula hoop, and the bump in the center is a planet with a ring around it.

The most significant thing worth mentioning about Sy-Klone are the arms. Since the figure's arms are intended to move outward as he spins, the shoulder joints are loose and floppy; it's the only way centrifugal force could reliably lift them out as he gyrates. Truth be told they're not too loose, but they are looser than any of the other figures'. Endless use of the action feature might make them moreso. If you want them to hold an "up" position, twisting them forward or back slightly will do it.

Overall, I find Sy-Klone a colorfully designed but relatively uninteresting addition to my MotU collection. Now that I'm a completist, I of course had to have him, but to anyone not interested in completing the line or the character himself, this figure can be passed by.

-- 06/03/03

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