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Masters of the Universe
by yo go re

Despite everything Mattel has tried to do, fans are sticking by He-Man. The new figures fly off the shelves - it's only the insipid repaints that won't sell.

It's like Mattel is afraid that unless they have full product saturation the line will be a failure. So rather than waiting until they've produced enough figures to warrant a new shipment, they pack one or two new figures into a case otherwise filled with dozens of ugly repainted figures. Because of this, most fans are shut out (or driven to secondary markets) when it comes to the characters they want. It's a shame, really, because the Four Horsemen are doing some of their best work with this line, but we never get to see it. One of their best redesigns is also one of the rarest figures in the entire line, the duplicitous sorceress Evil-Lyn.

Evil-Lyn and her magic wand are two of Skeletor's most potent allies. Skeletor considers her his second in command, but Evil-Lyn has other plans, and they do not include Skeletor!

In the original toyline, Evil-Lyn was a straight repaint of Teela's body with a new head. Her skin was literally yellow, and her costume was a bright blue - not the most aesthetically pleasing combination. For the new edition, Mattel has gone the same route: Evil-Lyn is still mainly a repaint of Teela, though there's a lot of new sculpting, as well.

She's got new boots (or at least new boot-fronts glued onto the same old legs), a new skirt, new bodice, similar (yet new) bracelets... what we're saying is that while the bodies may be the same, the surface details are all different. Just like real women! The color scheme of the new figure is nicely muted, favoring indigo and purple over bright sky blue - although, face it, that blue would make a wicked repaint, if the line lives that long.

Once again, Evil-Lyn's head is all new. She's got a great haughty look on her face, and her weird pointed headdress is captured perfectly. The flared spires are painted silver, as are her earrings. She's wearing a black choker that floats freely around her neck. She moves at the neck, shoulders, wrists, waist and hips, though the waist has a spring-loaded "attack."

Evil-Lyn comes with two accessories, a staff and a dagger. The 6⅜" staff is an update of her classic weapon, a large purple ball clutched by a clawed silver foot. Like a lot of the MotU weapons, the staff is molded from a very soft plastic; while hers doesn't droop the way that Man-At-Arms' mace does, it's still quite flimsy. The dagger, slightly more than 1¾" long, looks pretty wicked with its curved, serrated blade.

Overall, Evil-Lyn is a good figure. Her sculpt isn't the most original, but it's still much better than it used to be - and the fact that she's reused counts as a retro throwback, so we can forgive it this time. While she's a decent toy, she's certainly not worth the eBay prices that most of us will have to pay to own her.

What more can be said about Mattel's idiocy? They've shown the ability, in the span of little more than a year, to take one of the hottest retro-inspired properties and make it tank, to get support withdrawn from three of the Big Five retailers, to actively work to cut off their largest potential market. Is there anyone left at this point to whom the fact that Mattel cannot run a successful action figure line would be news?

-- 04/17/04

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