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Eternia's Showroom: The *Evil* Spydor and Thunder-Punch He-Man!
Matt - 10/29/00

Those wacky Masters of the Universe characters are at it again! Before I started this site, I never realized how much fun He-Man and friends really were. Just think about all the stuff we've covered, and you'll find that the comedy aspect of MOTU far outweighs the coolness of transforming robots and lightsaber duels. We've seen some of the stupidest characters make their cartoon debuts...Fisto, for instance. A guy whose gimmick is having a giant hand and coming to terms with his inner good so he can stop using his forest powers for evil. Batros, the only mid-villain who can string together a sentence: his claim to fame is a firm belief that stealing Eternia's books will surely shift the balance of power from good to evil.

Then we saw some comic that included a mass orgy at Eternia and a completely pointless run-in by Superman. He-Man also had a 900 line and a cross-promotion with Burger King which suggested that kids could have the time of their lives playing with colorful plastic cups. All in all, He-Man is a bonanza of material.

Today, the saga continues. We delve deep into the material world of MOTU toys to find that yes, there's comedy even in that. But more so than anything else, we're going to take a look at two of my favorite He-Man toys from yesteryear. The first is an evil vehicle that let Skeletor literally trample the heroics out of Eternia. The second is He-Man jacked up on steroids. Let's review...

Spydor! Skeletor was never one to go for the direct approach. He'd sacrifice stealth, efficiency, even success so he could just look villainous in his vehicles. Spydor might not really get anything done for the bad guys, but at least Skeletor got to look imposing sitting atop a giant mechanical spider.

Coincidentally, giant mechanical spiders are almost always a sure sign that your plot is going to fail. Skeletor had enough trouble trying to get this thing to walk down your kitchen floor...the idea that it could stop He-Man and his flying chairs of doom, impossible. And look at Will Smith's Wild Wild West. A box-office flop! Critically slaughtered, and why? Giant mechanical spiders! There's a lesson to be learned there.

Anyway, in theory at least, Spydor was a neat vehicle. Everyone had a flying ship. Even Beast Man got to ride around in kinda lost it's overall impressiveness. Skeletor knew that being unique was far more important than winning, so he crafted this giant spider to scare Eternians into submission!

Now, He-Man was able to break mountains down with a single punch, so this was completely wasted on him. Skeletor might've hatched some bad plans before, but he knows to pick a less-forceful victim than He-Man to test out his new toy. So, if you want to show off your new powers, and want to guarantee victory - which Eternian do you pick to fight? Which guy has absolutely no signs of worth or battle prowess? Who's the biggest good guy loser? We all should know the answer by now.

Man-At-Arms!!! Skeletor could've just rode a bicycle...that'd still be enough to overcome Man-At-Arms' amazing power screams for He-Man's help. Check out the picture of the kids up above - no signs of duress or concern...even they know the battle's one before it even begins. Man-At-Arms gets caught in Spydor's fang grip, something that's bound to happen to anyone who stands perfectly still as Spydor approaches. Now, merely crunching the poor idiot's rib cage isn't enough. Man-At-Arms has been a thorn in our side for much too's time to bury his heroic career...literally.

There. Now maybe Duncan can reflect on why his performance is perpetually shitty in battle. I had one of these Spydor things as a child, and while it was cool, it obviously didn't last long since I managed to break off and lose each one of the legs in five minute intervals 20 minutes after I got it. Still, a nice addition to the MOTU world.

More importantly, Skeletor really needed Spydor. I mean, he really needed it. Why? Well, He-Man just broke on through to the other side and decided that the only way to enhance his already-godlike powers was to juice up and turn into a muscle-bound, roid ragin' monster! Yes, He-Man is no more. We now present to you...Thunder-Punch He-Man!!!

As you can see, this new He-Man has been fortified will all the elements he previously lacked. Unfortunately, still no pants. Why doesn't anyone in Eternia wear pants?! Even people who choose to cover their legs only do so using panty hose. In fact, the only person fully covered is Orko, and that's only because he doesn't have legs to begin with. What do these guys do at weddings? Black jacket, shoes, underwear? In any event, Thunder-Punch He-Man is no ordinary superhero. This guy'll kick the shit out of you just for looking at him the wrong way.

Not only that! This He-Man has no regard for plastic cups! He's almost annoyed that they're in his way. Hmmm. He-Man has an idea. He could just walk around the cups...but where's the fun in that? If He-Man walked around every 10-pin of cups he came across, it'd take him forever to get where he's going. It's time to test out his new Thunder-Punch capabilities.

Heeeee winds up! BAM! The sword of damiocles was hangin' over those cups... He-Man shows off his new mega power while the kid puppeteering him takes a massive shit in the background. I wouldn't say the commercial's indulging in false advertising, but its certainly playing up He-Man's abilities to a ridiculous degree. I don't remember my He-Man figure being able to break down walls, but then again, I don't remember my Spydor ever working correctly either. I guess you're allowed a few creative liberties while advertising. This explains how people look satisfied drinking Mountain Dew on television.

No! Jesus Skeletor, why? Why would you taunt He-Man after seeing him take down those plastic cups like that?! Skeletor must have a death wish...he appears without even a sword in hand, much less riding a Spydor, throwing insults at He-Man. (this is shown by the kid playing Skeletor yelling 'You, you, c'mere! C'mere! You! You! C'mere!' until He-Man finally turns around. Big mistake, Skel.

Without a second thought, He-Man winds up again. (the 'wind-up' is Thunder-Punch He-Man's trademark...just picture a big drumroll whenever he does it) Skeletor's knocked out even quicker than usual, leaving the kids watching at home filled with overwhelming desires to add this latest version of He-Man to their collections. But what about the old He-Man? What about him?

Is he to be thrown away like yesterday's trash? Tossed aside like a useless mold of plastic in favor of a new one with a brighter chestplate? Is this how we treat the guy who taught us to share and say thank you through his constant battles with Snake Mountain? Are we that uncaring? Can't we just call Thunder-Punch He-Man his brother or something for the sake of the original's survival? Is that too much to ask for?
Eh, such questions are better left unanswered. Nobody wants to admit the truth anyway, and besides: there's a greater concern on the horizon, as shown in a four-second teaser at the end of the commercial...

Who are these mysterious rock creatures? What bidness do they have in Eternia? Are they good...or evil? Or are they *so* evil, that He-Man and Skeletor must team up to stop them? And! How'd they get past Hasbro execs with their obvious rip-off on Transformers?!

Obviously, the citizens of Eternia will needs their thunder-punches and giant spiders. These rock guys might be more than He-Man alone can handle. STONEDAR IS COMING. And he's bringing weird eggs (this week's theme) with him!

THE METEORBS ARE COMING TOO! Beware, Eternians. Beware.

- Matt