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Thundercats Ultimates
by yo go re

At last, a character named after the sound your dad makes when he gets up out of his chair.

Grune was a Thundercat but he became contemptuous of the Thunderians he was sworn to protect and betrayed them. Vanquished by Jaga in an epic battle and exiled, he came to Third Earth and terrorized its inhabitants. When Grune died, his tomb was magically sealed to imprison his malevolent spirit. Freed in the present, Grune ferociously assaulted the Thundercats until he was again defeated by Jaga in ghostly combat.

Yes, he was banished by Jaga, which apparently happened in the other Thundercats' lifetime, and yet him being sealed in a tomb reportedly happened "centuries ago." How long did it take the Thundercats to get there from Thundera?! If being in suspended animation is what allowed them to get there, how did he get there so far before them, especially when he was just set adrift? And for that matter, how did he end up on the same planet where they would later crash-land because their ship was damaged? So many questions!

Even in the 2011 series, Grune's identifying trademark was his singular sabertooth tusk, a feature which is present here. While most of the Thunderians have human faces with cat coloring, Grune has a prominent snout and muzzle. Maybe it's like how at least 20% of the Neanderthal genome lives on in present humans, and Grune is just a rare genetic throwback to Thundera's distant past?

Even back when he was "good," Grune still dressed like a villain: spikes on his belt and gloves, and what are probably supposed to be sabertooth cats as his shoulder pads (though since they're gray, they end up looking more like walruses). He wears little trunks over pants, which are hard to see behind meaning those armor plates strapped around his thighs, but the paint color ends at the knee joint instead of going into his boots. Why? There are layered plates on his shins, and between the long, flowing hair and the studded skullcap he wears, it's overall a very "Conan" feeling.

Thanks to the accessories, this is really two figures in one. Since Grune was originally a Thundercat, he get an alternate breastplate with the Thundercats logo on the chest. It's the same mold as his normal one, and they're both molded from PVC so you can flex them enough to get them on and off his (fully detailed) chest. There's also an alternate head, featuring mostly the same sculpt, but with the mouth open slightly and two fangs instead of just one - you know, the way he appeared when he was younger! So you have your choice of good or bad, of Protect and Serve Grune or Thin Vanilla Line Grune. Honestly, the armor should be a little more tan than the light yellow it is here, and the plates of armor over his shoulderblades should be painted gray instead of left bare brown.

Like all the other cats, Grune has a balljointed head, swivel/hinge shoulders, swivel biceps, swivel/hinged elbows, swivel/hinge wrists, hinged torso, swivel waist, swivel/hinge hips, swivel thighs, swivel/hinged knees, and swivel/hinge ankles. The left thigh swivel on my figure was stuck, but got moving with just a bit of pressure; odder is the way the right shoulder doesn't fit all the way down into the bicep, leaving a noticable gap. While the chest does have a hinge that would allow him to bend over, the armor he wears prevents it from moving. Really the shoulder pads should hang down against the arms rather than floating like this, but then the arms would be harder to pose.

In addition to the usual alternate hands, Grune's other accessories include the spiked mace he forged out of Thundrainium (Thundercat kryptonite), a pair of spiked brass knuckles that fit into any of the "gripping" hands, both broken and intact versions of the seal from his tomb, and a shattered version of the Sword of Omens, as seen in "Return to Thundera - Part II." Smashy-smashy!

Grune was originally an independent villain, but for his repeat appearances, he was only around because Mumm-Ra had summoned/resurrected him. His backstory was more interesting than any of his actual attacks, so it's probably good he only showed up on the cartoon three times: any more than that and he might not be an iconic villain, just another lackey.

-- 11/17/22

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