Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Rant Review: Masters of the Universe Classics Despara figure

Today we're looking at a true rarity in the MOTUC line, as Despara is a character drawing not from the vintage toyline, cartoon, comics, or concept art, but from the recent comic series from DC Comics. (It's a shame we didn't get more, as that series was ripe with great designs and characters for Mattel to draw from!) Despara was created as a darker, somewhat more realistic take on the origin story of She-Ra. In the Filmation cartoon, baby Adora was abducted and raised by Hordak, growing up to become a high-ranking member of the Horde. Once reunited with her twin brother, He-Man, and given her own version of the power sword, she instantly becomes heroic, and all of the atrocities she no doubt committed as a member of the Horde are forgotten. Of course, much of that is due to the limitations placed on programming aimed at kids in those days, but it's still one of the weakest points of the character's story. The DC Comics series explored this much better, and re-envisioned force captain Adora in a far more intimidating form as part of that. Wearing her adopted father's face, Despara led the Horde's invasion of Eternia, and her transition from villain to hero was more gradual, and far more painful. The weight of her crimes tormented her, and gave her a powerful motivation to be a hero, as she sought to undo all the evil she had taken part in. It made for a better-developed version of the character, and one that is more than worthy of inclusion in the MOTUC line.

The sculpt by the Four Horsemen is good overall, and she certainly has a formidable presence on the shelf. That said, the details are rather soft, and there aren't as many sculpted details as I would have liked. Stand her next to Hordak, and this really becomes apparent! The alternate head is well-sculpted, and it certainly looks like the previous versions of the character we've gotten in this line, but her cheerful facial expression just doesn't suit the character. A grimacing, angry, or even screaming facial expression would have worked far better here. Thankfully, I had no plans to display the figure with this head, anyway. The large cape is cool, but it's so heavy that it makes it tough for the figure to stand for long without toppling. So, while the figure's sculpt isn't bad at all, it does miss the mark in a few key areas. That's very rare for the 4H. Due to a production issue, the figure's left hand is misshapen, making it practically impossible for her to hold anything in that hand for more than a few seconds. It can be reshaped with the application of some heat, but once again, this is something we simply shouldn't have to bother with, particularly with how much most of these figures cost.

Paint apps are another sore spot. There's quite a bit of slop, and some areas simply aren't completely filled in. In contrast, both heads are very well painted, with crisp lines, and some nice highlights on the masked head. It's odd to see the paint apps vary so wildly in quality like this, but if there's going to be slop, I would prefer it be on the body, rather than the head, so I can't get too bent out of shape over how things worked out. Articulation is another uneven area for the figure, with some key points of articulation missing. Despara has ball joints at the neck and shoulders, swivel & hinge hips, hinges at the elbows, knees, and ankles, ankle rockers, and swivels at the biceps, wrists, boot tops, and waist. The torso hinge and thigh swivels are missing, as they are on many female MOTUC figures, and those omissions hurt this figure as much as it did all of them.

Despara fares well as far as accessories go. She has the previously mentioned alternate head, her Horde staff, and her twin swords. The weapons have nice sculpts, and I particularly like the design of the swords. Both swords can be stored on her back, which is always a nice touch. Unfortunately, she has a lot of trouble holding her accessories in her left hand, due to the production issue mentioned earlier. It's just another issue with a figure that already has far too many.

Overall, Despara is a mixed bag. I love the idea of the character, and she was an excellent choice to be produced as a figure, but the issues with the sculpt, paint, and articulation take a figure I really wanted to love and made it one that I think is just okay. Still, she does look cool standing on the shelf, assuming you can get her in a stable pose, and she fits right in with the rest of the Horde. I imagine she'd look absolutely badass leading a group of Horde Troopers into battle! (Note to self: I really need to get some of those!) Fans of the comics are also sure to want her, and even with all the figure's issues, she is worth tracking down. Just don't pay too much for her, and be prepared to fix that hand if you want her to actually be able to hold her weapons! That's all for today, but scroll down for many more photos, and be sure to swing back by next week!


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