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Snake Teela

Masters of the Universe
by yo go re

When Cartoon Network was showing the Mike Young Productions He-Man cartoon back in 2002, they didn't really treat it with much respect. It changed timeslots repeatedly, and got pre-empted for crappy movies. I recently had the opportunity to watch all three two one and a half seasons (thanks to a great sale on the dvds), and was pretty pissed that the show didn't run longer than it did.

The evil King Hssss uses an ancient artifact to transform Teela into a snake woman! Only He-Man and the Masters of the Universe can save her and stop King Hssss and the Snakemen from conquering all of Eternia!

The first season was 26 episodes, and the second was just 13. Episode 8 of the second season, "Second Skin," featured King Hiss retrieving the Serpent's Ring from the Sea of Rakash and using it on Chief Carnivus and the people of Felis Folia. The cartoon featured a lot of fakey made-up Tolkien names like that. The Serpent's Ring turns mammals into Snake Men, by the way, and Teela's not the only one who got zapped: Man-At-Arms and Mekaneck take a hit, too, but Teela's the only one who got a toy. This was a 2004 ToyFare exclusive, much like Faker, and also much like Faker, it sold out quickly.

Snake Teela is sold in the typical kind of box Mattel's exclusives all had: mostly square, but with angled corners on the top. Its green graphics match the trade dress on the 2003/04 "vs. Snake Men" packages, with serpentine scales and a large snake curling up one side.

Teela herself rests in a tray with her weapons around her, and that tray is in turn held by a carboard insert that's just covered with diamond-shaped scales. All that is inside a white mailer box with black lettering identifying the figure inside. Simple but effective.

This figure is, from top to bottom, the same sculpt as the regular Teela, so don't expect any surprises there. She's 6" tall despite her wide-legged pose, and moves at the neck, shoulders, wrists, waist and hips. The shoulders and hips are swivel/hinge joints, but everything else is just a swivel. Say what you will about the ugly MOTU Classics toys, at least they have articulation. The leafy motif of Teela's costume has a lot of detail, despite this mold being eight years old by now - the Four Horsemen really were pushing things forward when they did this line, weren't they?

Since the sculpt is unchanged, it falls to the paint to give us the "snake" in "Snake Teela." Rather than pink skin, the majority of the figure has been molded in a pale green plastic. She then has scales painted on the surface, with shadows and highlights to give the illusion of depth. It really is quite well done, in all honesty. You can look right at her and not see through the illusion. A yellow section runs up the insides of her thighs and all the way up to her throat, and the face has red eyes and wee little fangs. Adorably ophidian! The bronze on her armor seems darker, as well - closer to red than yellow.

Snake Teela gets green versions of the standard release's accessories: a sword, a snake-headed staff, and a small shield. The staff and the shield are both a single solid color, while the sword gets a yellowish paint app on the blade and a magenta jem on the hilt. The sword can be stored across her back, and just as with all the 2002 MOTU figures, it points toward her left.

I never bothered with the MOTU ToyFare exclusives, mainly because of the ToyWiz factor. Watching the 2002 cartoon made me want Snake Teela, and luckily, she's not too hard to pick up now. She hasn't held her (over-inflated) value the way Faker has, so you can get her for a fair price. If you want to complete your Snake army, she's a must-have.

-- 02/15/10

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