REVIEW: MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE CLASSICS SPIKOR
One of the things that I've always felt set the original MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE line apart from its 1980's contemporaries was that it could get away with just about any sort of character.
I mean, think about it. G.I. Joe was more or less military. Some less than more, but it still maintained a reasonably real-world setting of human characters, especially in the comic book. Transformers was all about robots. ThunderCats was about a race of feline humanoids trying to settle on a new planet. I'm not saying that these concepts were limited. Heavens, no. Each of them was, and is, immensely enjoyable in every aspect of its presentation, whether that's action figures, animated series, or comic books.
But Masters of the Universe? It seemed anything was possible. Just about any type of character could turn up on Eternia. Barbarian-styled warriors, sorcerers, robots, ninjas, talking green tigers -- you name it. There was no shortage of humanoid characters based on various animals, for that matter.
Then you've got someone like SPIKOR, now added to the Masters of the Universe Classics collection via MattyCollector.Com, who's just not that easy to classify. Are we supposed to see him as akin to some of the animal-based characters, such as Stinkor clearly being based on a skunk, or Clawful being akin to a crab? Should we then see Spikor as first cousin to a porcupine? I'm not entirely sure. I haven't seen too many purple porcupines on Animal Planet, and the porcupines that I have seen haven't been anywhere near as ugly in the face as Spikor.
Or perhaps Spikor was inspired by a medieval mace. Maces actually date all the way back to prehistory, the Upper Paleolithic time, based on the basic principles of a club, with spikes of flint or obsidian added. It is historically regarded as the first weapon designed specifically to kill human beings with. The weapon became somewhat more refined in ancient Egypt, and later by the Romans and Persians.
Given Spikor's appearance, not to mention the arsenal of pointy weaponry that he comes with, I'm a lot more inclined to lean towards the "mace/flail" inspiration than the "porcupine" one.
What really surprises me is that somebody who looks like this even managed to come out in the 1980's. I'm surprised he's not several violations of safety regulations, although I suppose it's possible that the original version wasn't quite as -- spiky -- as his modern Classics counterpart. I really don't know, as I never owned the original.
Character-wise, there's not a lot to work with here. Spikor was not featured prominently in the cartoon because his figure was released when the cartoon was drawing to a close and, in the cartoon, did not use the club that came with the figure. In the cartoon, Spikor had normal arms in some episodes and the trident for his left arm in some other episodes.
So, although I generally wait until later in the review to present this sort of thing, let's see what the scroll-like bio card on the back of the package has to say about this character.
Originally a blacksmith from the Eternian village of Nordling, Kleffton was fused with an enchanted suit of spiked armor and a mystic trident when he attempted to steal a sacred scroll from the city's high priests. Banished from his home, Kleffton became an outcast, wandering into the Sands of Time. He was discovered by Skeletor, who saw his natural talent to forge weapons and recruited him to battle against the Snake Men. Now called Spikor, he serves Skeletor by creating new arms and armor for the Overlord of Evil. Spikor uses his spike-studded body and trident arm as mighty weapons!
Okay, there's some interesting points raised here -- no pun intended. First off, from whence comes the name "Kleffton"? Okay, I'm sure it was just something made up, but it almost sounds like it could be somebody's actual name, or a close variant. That sort of thing certainly happens in the toy world. I wonder if that's the case here.
Secondly, this poor sap was encased in enchanted armor for attempting to steal a sacred scroll? Okay, stealing from the church is never a good idea, and one rather wonders what a blacksmith would want with a scroll in the first place, but haven't these high priests got a confessional or something!? Wow.
Then there's that "Untouchable" part of his character description. Okay -- the spikes are on his head and torso. What's to keep someone from kicking him in the shins? Granted, I don't think you'd really want to get into close combat with this guy, but "Untouchable"? Right, and the Titanic was "Unsinkable". All it took to disprove that was an iceberg. I'm not sure what it would take in Spikor's case, and I'd hate to be the guy elected to find out, but still...
So, how's the figure? As ever with the Masters of the Universe Classics line, extremely impressive. The Four Horsemen, the design and sculpting team responsible for the Masters as well as Mattel's DC Universe Classics line, continues to maintain an amazingly high standard of quality and detail. We should all be thankful for that San Diego Comic-Con a few years ago when they presented their concept for a new He-Man, and fans were falling all over each other to proclaim it cool, and Mattel decided that maybe they were on to something here.
And Spikor cannot have been an easy sculpt. Okay, the basic body of the figure uses pre-existing parts. No great surprise there. But then there's that head and spiked torso armor. I know a little something about plastic molding techniques -- not a whole lot, but enough to really wonder what it took to cast that head. The factory personnel must have had a really bad moment when this one came along.
And I do find myself wondering what it took to sculpt the head, and the torso armor. The spikes are far too regular to have been done one by one. At a guess, I'd have to say that the Horsemen came up with something to use as a basic spike, and implanted them in the sculpts somehow. Still, you've got some precision work here, that's likely only exceeded by the very neat, tidy, and intricate scales on DC Universe figures like Aquaman, Copperhead, and Lord Naga.
The head and torso are a very dark blue-purple. The arms and legs are a lighter, reddish purple. This raises an interesting point that I hadn't really considered before, especially given Spikor's finally-revealed origin story. I'd always assumed that his head just looked like this. But what if it's part of this enchanted armor? It's certainly a structural and color match for it. There's no reason to assume that "enchanted armor" couldn't be designed with a seriously ugly and not especially human face. In fact, it seems like something these high priests that encased Kleffton in it in the first place would be likely to do. He could easily be relatively human-looking under there. Not that we'll ever know, but it's an interesting notion.
As for those who would say that Spikor was seen moving his mouth and having facial expressions during his brief animated appearances, I have just one word for you: Destro. Definitely armored head, and he could move his face just fine. It's been explained (or at least theorized) technologically from time to time, and if that's possible, then so's "enchanted" armor with a movable face. Just a lot uglier one is all.
And it is definitely an ugly face. Even setting aside the couple'a dozen spikes protruding from the top, sides, and back, the face itself -- well, it's no wonder he was banished from his village. I doubt even his mother could love this mug. A prominent, sloping brow, large, somewhat slitted eyes, yellow with black pupils, and very prominent against the dark color of the helmet, an upturned, almost simian nose, a wide muzzle of a mouth that looks like something drawn by Jack Kirby on a bad day, and two long fangs pointing down from the top, and two at the edges of the mouth that almost seem to be coming in sideways! Quick -- somebody call Mo-Larr!
The torso is just as deadly looking, if not as ugly, since it doesn't have any facial features. The vast majority of it is covered with dozens of spikes. There is a dark metallic turquoise collar, and several turquoise flattened spikes running down the front, and a dark turquoise stripe and more flattened spikes running down the back. The torso armor does have clasps on the sides, but I think if you actually wanted to remove the armor, you'd have to get the collar past the head, and unless the head is easily removable (sometimes it is, sometimes it isn't), this doesn't look to be something that can readily be done. I know I'm not going to try it. No real reason to, for that matter.
As I indicated earlier, Spikor's arms and legs are a lighter, reddish purple, and are derived from standard body molds. However, his wristbands are distinctive, dark purple in color the same as his armor, and with the same flattened spikes as those on his torso. So I suspect at the very least new lower arms had to be made for this figure.
Spikor is wearing a standard Masters-type loincloth, black in color, with a standard belt, which is red. Spikor also has the typical "barbarian" style boots, with furry-looking cuffs and leather-like straps wrapped around them to keep them in place. Rather incongruously relative to the rest of his color scheme, the boots are brown in color.
Also somewhat incongruously, Spikor has very standard-looking hands and boots. Usually the villains have somewhat more offbeat appendages. One of the few exceptions to this is Tri-Klops, who was reportedly originally planned to be a good guy. I suppose someone just wanted to offer a change of pace with Spikor.
The backstory indicates that Spikor also had a trident fused to his left hand, and indeed, the figure does come packaged with a large silver trident with a red handle attached to Spikor's left wrist. This must be a load of laughs in restaurants. "Fork, sir?" "No, got my own right here..."
However, Spikor does come with a standard-looking left hand that can be easily exchanged into place. While this may be a nod to the occasional inconsistency of his infrequent animated appearances, some of which gave him a trident hand, some of which didn't, whatever the reason, I'm pleased that a standard hand was included. He just looks better with it.
The trident is an impressive piece of work, however, and is one of three weapons that Spikor is equipped with. The others include a distinctly longer trident, that can also be attached to the hand, although it lacks the rotational swivel of the shorter one with the red handle; and Spikor also comes with a long, bright orange club, with metallic orange spikes in it. This is very much the Eternian version of the ancient mace that I suggested might have been a partial inspiration for Spikor in the first place. And no doubt just as painful to come into contact with.
Paintwork on Spikor is somewhat limited. The only details on his head that are painted are his eyes and teeth. However, they have been very neatly painted. The other painted details include the collar and flattened spikes on the torso, the belt, the wristbands, and the boots. However, all of these details have been very neatly painted.
Naturally, Spikor is extremely well articulated, and is fully poseable at the head, arms, upper arm swivel, elbows, wrists, mid-torso, waist, legs, upper leg swivel, knees, boot tops, and ankles.
The spikes on his head and torso, although somewhat flexible, are also fairly solid. Although the package indicates that the figure does meat proper safety regulations, I'd still hate to get hit in the head with this thing -- or anywhere else, for that matter.
One semi-unrelated note before I close. Lately, the white outer boxes that Masters of the Universe Classics figures have been shipped in, have had the named of other characters printed on them, I assume for legal reasons to either reinstate or reinforce their copyrights. Spikor's box is no exception, with no less than three names on it: Glimmer and Spinnerella, both of whom I believe are associated with the She-Ra line, and Tuskador, a character from the "New Adventures of He-Man" concept. This doesn't mean that figures of these are coming up in the next couple of months, but clearly Mattel must have something in mind.
So, what's my final word? Spikor strikes me as one of those characters who, despite not getting a lot of media time, is nevertheless one of the more memorable Masters, just because he's got such a distinctive visual look to him. That spiked head and torso are not easily forgettable. He's certainly a well-remembered character in the concept, even if he's not likely considered one of the top players, and his inclusion in the modern Masters of the Universe Classics line is certainly well warranted and deserved.
And as ever, Mattel and the Four Horsemen have turned out a truly excellent modern edition of this classic character. I am certain that any Masters fan will gladly welcome him into their collection.
The MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE CLASSICS figure of SPIKOR definitely has my highest recommendation!