All men are created equal, but the Masters of the Universe sure weren’t. Some were heroes and villains with powers beyond imagining; some had unique and useful abilities; and some of them were just dudes who looked funny. Here are a dozen Masters of the Universe figures who weren’t mastering anything.
One of the first Masters of the Universe figures released, Mekanek has — wait for it — a mechanical neck. If his figure is in-scale, then Mekanek can extend his neck about two, two-and-a-half feet — nice, but a power that can be easily replicated by carrying around any decently sized stepladder. The recent Masters of the Universe cartoon dedicated an entire episode to Mekanek’s feeling bad because his power sucked. That should tell you something. worse, Masters of the Universe released a figured called Extendar a few years later who could extend everything, rendering him completely obsolete. Extendar probably stole Mekanek's wife, too.
Stinkor’s stink powers are considerable; his stench can blind his foes and even render them unconscious. On the other hand, his stench can also blind his allies and render them unconscious, because he stinks all the frickin' time. Not only does this make him the least popular dude in Snake Mountain, it severely handicaps his ability to commit evil because no one will team up with him and the good guys can always smell him coming. More insanely, Stinkor has to wear a gas mask to prevent him from smelling himself and knocking himself out. That’s not a power. It’s a tragic gland problem.
Man-E-Faces is one of Eternia’s finest actors. One assumes that Eternia has some very specific theatrical genres, because Man-E-Faces can play three roles — human, robot, or monster, which means he might be able to put on a one-man production of Forbidden Planet, but that’s about the only good his "power" might possibly be for. Plus, it’s not like he changes any other aspect of his appearance — he still dresses the same way, and he's got the same huge noggin to hold his extra faces in, so it's not like he can use them for disguise or anything. Honestly, having two extra faces is about as useful as having two extra nipples.
Grizzlor is furry. That’s it. He wasn’t even a bad guy at first, apparently; he was a nice bear-man until the Horde kidnapped him, brainwashed him, and turned him into the monster he is today. But still, how does having fur help him in any way? If Grizzlor is a Master of the Universe, why isn’t a regular bear a Master of the Universe? Or Robin Williams? I guess having fur could make things kind of unpleasant for his enemies if he attacked them while his fur was wet. And at least he wouldn’t mind his own smell, which puts him a step ahead of Stinkor.
5) Clamp Champ
Clamp Champ has a clamp. It’s a big clamp, and one might assume he’s a champ with it. However, I would posit that owning a Home Depot gift card and using it does not a Master of the Universe make. At least he’s slightly more useful than Skeletor’s minion Clawful, in that Clamp Champ can put his claws down and use his opposable thumbs for things.
6 & 7) Rokkon & Stone-Dar
Rokkon and Stone-Dar, the Comet Warriors, are Mattel’s new Masters of the Universe Classics exclusives at this week’s San Diego Comic Con. They were originally created to capitalize on the transforming trend that eventually helped the original MotU toyline die, as they change from mighty warriors to… rocks. Just… rocks. Compared to a truck or a jet or even an animal of some kind, a rock’s versatility is extremely limited, and if He-Man wanted rocks to throw at bad guys, Eternia had, you know, a bunch of other rocks that weren’t sentient. I imagine Rokkon and Stone-Dar were hurled far more at younger siblings’ heads than at Skeletor or his minions.
Making a fake He-Man is probably the best idea Skeletor ever had. He could infiltrate the good guys, pretend to be He-Man to discredit him, raise all sorts of hell. And then Skeletor did the stupidest thing he’s ever done and made him blue. When trying to create a credible duplicate of anybody, any desire to start messing with the color schemes should be immediately tamped down. And even if someone did believe He-Man had suddenly turned conflower-colored, thanks to some mysterious Eternian disease or something, Skeletor dressed the robot in his own clothes, but in bright orange. So Faker Iisblue and wearing a nightmarishly garish version of Skeletor’s own armor. Even Ram-Man could figure this ruse out, and his special power is giving himself concussions.
9 & 10) Rotar & Twistoid
I imagine Mattel were a little desperate when they created the heroic Rotar and the evil Twistoid late in the MotU line. They’re effective half-action figure, half-tops, which kids set spinning with one of those old-school ripcords. This allowed them to spin powerfully for maybe 30 seconds or so before slowing down and falling over. Maybe some kids were amused, I don’t know. But I do know this — Mattel effectively assigned He-Man and Skeletor two morbidly obese alcoholics to their respective forces. I’m sure they were thrilled.
11) King Hiss
The leader of the evil Snake Men, King Hiss can shed his skin to reveal the horrifying truth that inside he’s nothing but a sentient mass of snakes. I’m sure he’s used this to scare his enemies on occasion, but after that initial shock wares off, what then? He’s not made of special snakes or anything. His fellow Snake Man Snake Face has snakes — wait for it — in his face, but at least they can turn people who look at them into stone. King Hiss just has to pick up his outer human shell and try to put it back on with snakes for hands. If your power can be likened to taking a sweater off and then needing to put it back on, maybe “power” is the wrong word for it.
12) Snout Spout
Snout Spout was actually just a regular dude who was kidnapped by the Horde and had his head ripped off and replaced with a robotic elephant head. He escaped to join the good guys, and now uses his water-shooting nose to fight fires and blast bad guys. Sure, Snout Spout’s power is the equivalent carrying around a fire hose, and there’s not always a fire hydrant nearby and a blast of water will knock most people off their feet, so that seems good. So what’s the problem? It’s this: Say Snout Spout carries 20 gallons of water on him (which is super optimistic, since this would weigh over 160 lbs. and would require a space 2’ x 1’ by 1.5’ inside his body somewhere, since he doesn’t carry any kind of a tank — it would also be about the same amount of water in his entire body, assuming he was about 250 lbs. But no matter). Most modern firehoses fire an average of 150 gallons per second, meaning that Snout Spout has less than 10 seconds of water to blast at best. Probably less. If he needs to put out anything bigger than a campfire, Snout Spout is useless.
13) Moss Man
Stinkor has one silver lining on the pungent cloud that is his life, and that is that he’s at least slightly more effective than his heroic counterpart Moss Man. Despite being a Beast Man figure painted green and then dipped in lint, Moss Man is supposedly the Swamp Thing of the Masters of the Universe. Unfortunately, what this “massive power” translates to is “the fresh scent of pine.” Yes, Moss Man smells like pine trees— well, Pine-Sol, more specifically — so unless Skeletor’s minions or the Horde or the Snake Men have some kind of allergy triggered by cleaning supplies, all Moss Man is going to do is make the battle smell slightly nicer. On the other hand, if he ever wants the day off all he has to do is buy a bunch of those pine tree air fresheners, give them to the good guys, and tell them to hang them around their neck while they fight evil. It’s pretty much the same thing.
14) Scare Glow
An evil ghost who works for Skeletor (and not Skeletor’s actual ghost, as some have thought), Scare Glow ostensibly has two powers: to glow-in-the-dark and to scare people. But is scaring people really a power? I mean, I can hide in the closet and jump out at my cat, but I wouldn’t say I had "the power of fright." Also, what’s really so scary about Scare Glow? It’s certainly not that he glows in the dark. Is it his skull head? Surely not, because Skeletor also has a skull for a head and no one is scared of him. If Scare Glow joined Cobra or something, he’d be fucking terrifying, but on Eternia he’s pretty par for the course, in all honesty. Best-case scenario, he’s used as a nighttime reading light for Skeletor… at least until he buys one of the new Kindles.
[All pics via He-Man.org]