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Masters of the Universe
by Poe Ghostal

My wise colleague yo go re has previously reviewed Trapjaw, but, being OAFE's resident Masters of the Universe maven, I thought it best to contribute my 2¢ on the One-Armed One.

For some reason, it wasn't until recently that I made the connection between Trapjaw's name and the similarity of his bottom jaw to a bear trap. I suppose I thought it referred primarily to the dangerous speed at which he could snap his jaw shut. In any event, "Trapjaw" evinces the same creative paucity found in most MotU nomenclature (Clawful, Two-Bad and Buzz-Off being the worst by far). Of course, the troops of GI Joe and the Transformers weren't much better off, but these types of names make it fairly impossible to take any of these properties seriously. We're all enjoying the new MotU comic, but I feel for the writers who have to use names like Evil-Lyn and Ram Man and try to squeeze an ounce of seriousness out of the whole thing. The only characters with real names are Teela and Orko.

yo's review cited the biography for Trapjaw provided by the Cartoon Network's official site for the new show. However, that biography has since been contradicted by Val Staples, writer of the MotU comic and the upcoming summer miniseries Icons of Evil, which will reveal the origins of Tri-Klops, Trapjaw, Beast Man, Mer-Man and Evil-Lyn. Apparently everything at all about him is up in the air, including whether Trapjaw's real name is "Kronis."

The first and most noticeable thing about the TJ figure is its height. He doesn't quite seem to be in scale with the rest of the line, at least in comparison to his size on the cartoon. Trapjaw's a big guy. yo's suspicion is probably correct: they had to shrink the figure a bit to compensate for that gigantic arm.

We expected to love the new TJ figure, but have come to like Tri-Klops more. Trapjaw suffers from a few problems: first off, his belt (and the segmented ovals on his legs) weren't bright green, as they were on the original figure. It adds a certain realistic, gritty look to the figure, but a new variant with the bright green is now showing up in stores. The easiest way to tell them apart at a glance is that the variant doesn't have any paint on the skull and crossbones on the center of his belt.

The robotic arm is nice, but it's not without its own flaws. The bizarre upward-slashing action feature seems pretty useless, and you can't even use the elbow joint to straighten his arm. The claw accessory is poseable and features two points of articulation (at the base and the claw itself), but it's a little too loose. The gun and hook are fine, but for our money the hook is the most iconic of Trapjaw's prosthetics.

His pose is a bit troubling as well. His torso is sculpted with a bit of a twist, adding to the overall theme of pre-posing that seems to be sneaking its way into this line (Orko and Teela have a touch of it, too). The robotic arm is so heavy Trapjaw has difficulty standing (all my MotU figures rest on McFarlane stands). But there's no faulting the sculpt itself; it's as good as everything else we have seen from the Four Horsemen. Especially impressive is the character and expression in Trapjaw's face. He is one ugly man!

This review seems to focus on the negative, but Trapjaw is yet another proud addition to your MotU collection. We focus on the faults because the Horsemen and Mattel set such a high standard with the early series of figures (see Skeletor and Mer-Man for examples). We're nitpicking, for the most part; Trapjaw is an excellent figure, and an essential purchase for any MotU collector.

-- 01/28/03

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