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Masters of the Universe
by Poe Ghostal

In the original 1980s Masters of the Universe cartoon, Skeletor's minion Tri-Klops looked somewhat Native American in appearance, with very dark skin and long black hair. His only claim to fame was his eyes, which could see through walls and blast things. The eyes and his superhuman strength were essentially the extent of his characterization.

In the new cartoon, Tri-Klops gets a bit more characterization. The new He-Man cartoon is far more interesting, with more nuanced plot and characterization than the original series ever had. Whether that's a result of a slightly older target demographic or that the producers of cartoons have finally figured out that kids are smarter than they're given credit for, I'm not sure. But we'll be generous and assume it's the latter.

A mysterious evil warrior with amazing strength, Tri-Klops has three eyes instead of two. These three optical sensors project Gammavision: blasts of green, fiery energy and freeze rays. A skilled inventor and machinist, Tri-Klops has a talent for building remarkable devices that Skeletor uses in his war against He-Man. One of his most devious creations, the Doomseekers, are small hovering chrome robots that can spy on foes, trap victims in stun beams, project holograms and cause damage with their small metallic teeth. If that weren't enough, Tri-Klops also carries a sword and can blast foes with his various eyes.

So the new Tri-Klops not only retains his eye-blasting abilities, he's also a mechanical whiz. In addition, he seems to be third-in-command after Evil-Lyn in Skeletor's retinue.

The new Tri-Klops action figure gets the same treatment as the rest of the new Masters of the Universe characters. Sculpted by The Four Horsemen design studio, TK has been updated for the new millennium with the exquisite detail figure collectors have come to expect in the McFarlane Age.

I've got no complaints about the details of the sculpt; it's the pose that bothers me. Tri-Klops is by far the most pre-posed of the new line, harkening back to early fan fears that the Horsemen, as former McFarlane sculptors, would produce statues rather than action figures. With his bent knees, open right hand, twisted left hand and extended left arm, TK's range of poses are quite limited. Even the pose itself isn't particularly dynamic, since he can't hold his sword out in front of him. He can't even fit in the vehicles due to the bent knees!

After playing around with Tri-Klops a bit more, I believe I've discovered why he's posed as he is. He's in a fencing stance; his sword can be held out in front of him in an en garde position. And in that mode, it actually looks very cool. I still wish he wasn't so pre-posed, but I can appreciate the pose more now.

But aside from the pre-posing issues, Trike is yet another excellent MotU figure. His visor rotates, allowing his red, blue or clear [green --ed.] eye to face forward. The forward eye lights up when the head is held under a bright light, using the highly advanced light pipe technology created for Hasbro's R2-D2 figure. His sword can be slid into a slot in his back (which, yet again, is pointing the wrong direction for the hand he wields his sword in, honestly making me personally question whether the Four Horsemen actually understand how scabbards work), and he's got the usual huge button jutting from his spine, which makes him wave his sword arm around. I've never liked those buttons and I never will.

The accessories consist of the aforementioned sword and Tri-Klops' "Doomseeker" complete with a stand. The sword is a fashionable update of the original (even if it's silly), retaining its unique design and stylish green color. Unfortunately, the sword - though made from a tougher plastic than Mattel has been using on this line - is still prone to bending and will probably require the dunk 'n' bend method of repair (fill a sink with hot water, drop the sword in for a few minutes, straighten it and then run it under cold water until it hardens).

The Doomseeker is a bit disappointing. It's made from solid, rubbery silver plastic, rather than the "chrome" mentioned in the description. Though it's just a tiny little thing it comes with its own clear plastic stand, so it appears to "hover" in the air. It's a nice touch, but I can't help but think Mattel could have been a bit more creative with the Doomseeker.

While this review may seem a bit lukewarm, I am quite pleased with the Tri-Klops figure. Unlike Trap Jaw there are no problems of scale, as this picture shows. The colors are just right and the rotating visor is perfect, if a bit stiff at first. With the exception of the pre-posing, I'm quite satisfied with this purchase.

-- 01/22/03

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