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Trap Jaw

Masters of the Universe Classics
by yo go re

Something most toy fans don't know is every year at Toy Fair, Mattel gives away figures. They're not rare variants or anything, just off-the-shelf samples handed out to the press in attendance. The past few years, the giveaways have been a wrestling figure and a current MOTU Classics release - so I was very pleased three years ago when I found out I wouldn't have to pay for Trap Jaw.

An insane criminal from the dimension of Infinita, Kronis was one of several evil warriors freed from an intergalactic prison by Keldor to bolster his ranks during the start of the Great Unrest. After serving Keldor for years, Kronis grew ambitious and raised an army of his own to challenge his master. Now a powerful Overlord of Evil, Skeletor defeated Kronis - breaking his jaw and arm, and leaving him for dead. Found and rebuilt by Tri-Klops, Kronis was transformed by him into Trap Jaw, a man armed with combat weapons and an "iron jaw!"

Hey, nice! That bio comes directly from Trap Jaw's Icons of Evil origin, with just a splash of the original minicomics' take on him. Why nothing from the old cartoon? Because the old cartoon was crap and didn't give anybody any personalities. It wasn't until 2003 that we knew anything real about him.

Many of the Masters of the Universe characters owe their real-world origins to Mattel's all-but-forgotten Big Jim line, and TJ is no exception. One of Big Jim's enemies was a guy named Iron Jaw, who had a metal mouth and a robotic right arm with interchangeable weapon-hands. Now, who does that remind you of? It's not like they share any parts - just a general inspiration.

Trap Jaw has the same wild-eyed look of dullardry that the original toy and cartoon taught us to accept, rather than the visage of evil menace from the MO2K version. There are no details on his helmet, other than the eyelet on the top, but if you open his magenta jaw you'll see a mass of ruined flesh behind it, including a tongue (explaining how he can still talk).

While most of the MOTU Classics figures rely (too heavily) on re-use, Trap Jaw was, at the time of his release, mostly unique - only the chest and fur-panties were reused. His arm has mechanical detailing down the back that makes it look like a high-tech brace, there's segmented armor on his hand, and of course his big black boots belong only to him, with their spiky little angles on the shins and the green circles on the thighs. All those are details straight from the 1983 figure, though of course they have been made bigger.

Sadly, sticking to the '80s design means his robot arm is now little more than a black stick with a few lines on it. It looks small, and weak, and really just sad next to the one the last version sported. He doesn't look like a threat to He-Man. Heck, he doesn't look like a threat to Orko! He still gets the gun, hook and claw that can be swapped out as weapons, and the two you're not using at any given time can be hung from his big green belt.

If that was all there was to Trap Jaw, I wouldn't have wanted him - because, let's face it, the 2002 version is cooler. And the right size. Well, closer to the right size; it was slightly too small, but this one is way too big. We don't know who at Mattel had final approval on these figures being in the 7" scale instead of 6", but that person's parents should be ashamed of them and the choices they've made in their life.

But this figure comes with some accessories that push him into the "must-have" category, despite being 17% too large: a head and an arm to turn him into Kronis. I don't care how many Trap Jaws you have, you've never had a Kronis before. It's like when they first released Keldor instead of another Skeletor. The Trap Jaw head and mechanical arm pop off with very little struggle, and the replacements go on just as easily.

Eternia has an entire race of blue-skinned people known as the Gar - you know, like Keldor's mom, who did the ol' "horizontal copulation" with King Miro - but Kronis isn't one of them. He comes from another dimension (which is named after Skeletor's home planet in the original series bible, so maybe there's a connection after all). The face looks like a "Classics-ized" version of the one seen on the cartoon, but for some reason he lacks the loop on the top of his Kronis-hat.

I don't think of this figure as Trap Jaw with Kronis parts - I think of it as Kronis with Trap Jaw parts. That may seem like a minor thing, but it makes a difference. Just like my Vykron will forever be Tank Top, This figure is only seldomly going to be a Trap Jaw in my collection - I have enough better ones already. All I need now is an excuse for why he's so big and I can mix him in with the good figures.

-- 10/15/12

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