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The Unnamed One

Masters of the Universe Classics
by yo go re

In January 2008, when development on what would eventually become MotU Classics was just getting underway, artist Emiliano Santalucia put together a detailed story bible that laid out where he and writer Val Staples were planning to go with their comicbook series - ideas they'd had for stories, but nothing they had ever submitted to Mattel for approval. In good faith, they sent the bible to Scott Neitlich as an idea of where the MotU Classics story could go, but it was still their work, their concepts, and their property. And yet when they gave a brief interview in ToyFare #143 (released in May, 2009), Mattel sent them a cease-and-desist letter. Now why would that be?

Formerly an Overlord of the Timeless Dimension, this great wizard betrayed his bretheren when he attempted to steal the Power of the Universe for himself. The Aura of the Gods was infused into the Sword of He for protection and Gorpo was stripped of his form and banished to the Nameless Dimension. Here he became known as the Unnamed One, spoken of only in whispers and myth. During his exile, he discovered a method of combining DNA of several reptilian species. He used this knowledge to create an army of cold-blooded warriors which he commanded to raid magical planets in an attempt to consolidate power for his revenge. His evil schemes were at last undone after Dare, the new He-Ro, confronted him in single combat slaying the ancient mage with the very power he once attempted to steal.

The He-Ro mentioned in that bio is not the same one who got an action figure: that one was Ro, and he lived in the distant past; the "new He-Ro" is He-Man's son, and lives in the future. On with the review!

So, here we have the Unnamed One - the ultimate Big Bad of the MotU story. Apparently. He's a Trollan named Gorpo, and if you think it's weird that The Unnamed One has a name, well, it is. But he's not un-named, he's un-named: he had a name, and they took it away from him. Also, "Gorpo" was the original name for Orko, until they realized that by putting a big G on his chest, he wouldn't be symmetrical, and they wouldn't be able to just flip and reuse the animation. Let's hear it for being cheap!

The Unnamed One is a larger figure than Orko - about 3¾" tall (not counting the stand that allows him to hover - that brings him up over the 6½" mark). Like Orko, he wears a full-length robe, though his is longer and tattered. He also adorns his outfit with an armored vest and wears a brown belt with a large pouch and a knife sheathed on the right side. You never see Orko carrying a knife! Rather than a scarf, his face is hidden behind a veil, and instead of a floppy wizard hat, he's wearing a pointed hood.

Gorpo/The Unnamed One first appeared in DC's recent He-Man and the Masters of the Universe miniseries. He spent the entire series speaking to Skeletor through what appeared to be a Horde skull, before appearing (unnamed) at the end. Whatever the skull was, a similar one is seen here in the center of his chest. Is it his symbol? The source of his power? A decorative element? Evil Horde copyright infringement? We don't know yet. But it's definitely here once we do find out.

For times when he's feeling more warlike, the Unnamed One includes a second head, wearing an ornate battle helmet. It's a decent design, it just really looks pretty goofy on the body of "Dark Orko," you know? His long, pointed ears with their tiny earrings poke out the sides, and his yellow eyes are visible within, but the angular underbite bevor and the metallic crest on the top flanked by six spikes are more "heavy metal album cover" than "He-Man villain." The dragon on his forehead isn't helping things.

The figure has a balljointed head, swivel/hinge shoulders and elbows, and swivel forearms. His flight stand also swivels at the base and where the toy plugs in, but that doesn't really count for the figure's movement, obviously. His skin is blue, like Orko's, but the robes are all tones of purple. This seems to be directly attributable to #1 fansite He-Man.org: they were the ones who resurrected the "Gorpo" name and used him as a character answering fan mail. The art that accompanied the feature depicted a purple version of Orko (with a yellow scarf and stars on his clothes, so obviously some things didn't get carried over to this version). It's a nice nod to the fans.

The Unnamed One comes with two accessories: for his right hand, a golden staff/wand, similar to the one Mo2K Orko carried, but with a green gem in the center and a snake wrapped up the hilt; and for his left hand, a translucent green blast that starts off as wild energy, and then turns into a bundle of snakes at the end - very fitting, for the guy who apparently created the Snake Men. The green does make it look like a leftover Green Lantern accessory, though, and it's too heavy for the figure's tiny arms.

So, remember at the beginning of the review, when we wondered why Mattel would send a C&D over documents related to a cancelled continuity? (For his part, Scott has dismissed Santalucia's work as a "fan pitch," as "too complicated," and "with too many Filmation elements.") Well, in the series bible, the Unnamed One (who, by the way, was only ever mentioned in a single panel nearly 30 years ago) was secretly one of the Overlords of the Eternal Dimension (a group only ever mentioned in a single line of dialogue in the 1983 cartoon episode "Golden Disks of Knowledge") who went bad and tried to steal power for himself. In Scott Neitlich's "original" MotU Classics storyline, the Unnamed one was secretly one of the Overlords of the Timeless Dimension (wow, big change) who went bad and tried to steal power for himself. Huh.

Now, he wasn't a Trollan in the series bible, but the actual meat of the story? That's clearly identical (although Santalucia went further, and also linked the Unnamed One to Horde Prime, thereby making him the ultimate villain behind every faction, not just another side in the feud). So honestly, it seems like the reason Mattel didn't want anyone talking about the Mo2K comic pitch was so that no one would notice the plagiarism. A lot of fans think it's stupid that the Unnamed One is Gorpo, but either way, this is a pretty good figure.

-- 07/07/14

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