In past articles, we've met many of He-Man's friends. We know they're an assorted lot, to say the least. While the biggest nuances I can find in my own social circle are which guys drink nonalcoholic beer or which girls wear really bad hair clips, He-Man totally blows me out of the water: his friends dress up like bees, have extending necks, or in some cases, are part-elephant. The reason there's no racism on Eternia is because everyone there is some weird type of mutant mulatto with tiger claws or bird beaks growing off their heads. By the time you started alienating the guy who was half-skunk, someone would be alienating you for having three interchangeable heads.
So it's no surprise that He-Man found kinship with Eternia's first heroic android, Roboto. Roboto's origins are shrouded in mystery - I'm guessing he's a Man-At-Arms brainchild, but I just can't bring myself to believe Man-At-Arms was style coordinated enough to paint all of Roboto's gears in primary colors. We do know a few things for sure about the guy/bot. He talks funny, sort of like the guy in that old Impossible Mission game who sics robots on you. He walks funny, sort of like those robots in the old Impossible Mission game who that guy sics on you. Roboto's also the first robot with actual muscles, which isn't shocking since everyone on the planet has the exact same physique. Except for Teela, but that's just the result of extensive corrective surgery.
I don't know, I just liked him because he was a see-through robot. Didn't matter if he was a 'hero' or 'villain' character. As long as I'm controlling a see-through robot, I'll kick He-Man or Skeletor's ass all the same. Still, we were never really handed a clear cut reason as to why Roboto's all that special. Yes, he's a strong, intelligent robot. But everyone in Eternia can lift boulders over their head, and it doesn't really take a brain surgeon to figure out Skeletor's master plans. What we had here was a robot who looked cool, but lacked a special talent. If Mattel wanted us to go through with the formation of several Roboto Fan Club branches from sea to sea, we first needed to establish what made him so fantastic.
It took me a while, but I think I figured it out. Let me tell you a story...
Meet Skeletor. Meet Skeletor's new toy. The evil king of Snake Mountain finally realized that his win/loss record wasn't conductive to keeping on with the same old tired assault weapons. They just weren't working. Skeletor had created every type of dastardly machine and doom weapon inhumanly possible, and still, He-Man won every single time. So, our favorite skull-faced purple starfish weighed things out: what could he add to his arsenal that He-Man didn't have? After being talked out of adding a simple pair of pants, Skeletor aimed a bit higher and started wearing a big fucking dragon on his back.
They call him 'Dragon Master Skeletor.' I call him 'Siamese Skullator.' My name has matching initials. Take that Mattel.
The idea was simple enough - you'd fill Skeletor's dragon with water, and after pushing down on it's head, the thing would squirt deadly liquid almost a full five inches! You know, I'm not so sure the benefits of a Super Soaker is worth Skeletor having to lug around this giant fake dragon all day. Do you think he does it because he just likes the look? Consider this: a water-squirting dragon might not kill anyone, but when it's hanging on the back of a guy who has a skull head and blue paws, the package presented is pretty menacing. Maybe he's going for the scare factor.
I think Skeletor has quickly become my favorite fictional character ever. That's saying something, since he was up against Mr. Furley and Dick Hallorann. It's so hard to avoid being engaged with Skel when he keeps topping himself like this. I thought it was bad when he rolled out in that shark-shaped corvette last time we saw him - but now the guy's darn well glued a dragon to his shoulderblades.
Time to see if Dragon Master Skeletor fares any better in battle than Regular Non-Dragon Skeletor.
Today's victim is Fisto, who longtime readers will remember as He-Man's other friend with the AMAZINGLY BIG, SUPER-POWERED RIGHT HAND. In case you miss the hand, he named himself after it. Don't overlook the fist. Especially when it's five times bigger than your feeble little head. If you ever needed to fill out the last 400 pages in a book about shitty superheroes, just study Fisto for a few minutes and the words will just start trickling down. The guy has zero redeemable qualities whatsoever - he's just a normal guy who lives in the woods and just happens to have elephantiasis in one of his hands.
Having a giant hand doesn't make you a superhero. It just makes you interesting to look at, usually from afar because nobody wants to stand next to a hand that big.
Fisto doesn't seem too concerned with Skeletor's impending attack, but that's just because the giant hand is obscuring his line of sight and he hasn't noticed that unholy dragon tied to his back. Finally, we can see what it can do!
One shot, right in the eye, and BOOM! Fisto's down for the count. Look at the kid who was puppeting Fisto - even he's feeling the effects. Either that's some seriously powerful water, or Fisto and the kid shared symbiosis. I'm not sure why water would make all the heroes fall unconscious, I guess you could pretend it's reprehensible acid dragon spit. But then you'd have all these icky connotations keeping you from using Dragon Master Skeletor for it's best purpose - an ultra chic miniature water bottle. We'll be the talk of the schoolyard.
So far, Skeletor's new toy is a success. But how will it fare against the most powerful man in the universe? Pretty well if he's allergic to water. If Skeletor uses cold enough water, he might even give He-Man a nasty flu.
He-Man arrives on the scene - a little too late to save the terminally drenched Fisto, but maybe just in time to rip a dragon off of Skeletor. Still, something seems a little off about him today. He-Man doesn't seem his usual, confident, tan, powerful, blonde, boulder-smashing self. I have a feeling he ate Mexican last night. Instead of tackling Skel head on, He-Man kinda veers off to the side. I can't tell if it's concern or fear. I doubt it's fear, since Skeletor looks now more than ever like he should be handing out animal-shaped balloons. Maybe he's afraid that Skeletor is a crazy-on-the-inside type of clown.
As things turn out, He-Man *is* afraid - but not of Skeletor directly, rather the vile liquid his pet dragon spits out. I can empathize. If I was He-Man, I wouldn't want to ruin my only pair of underwear by getting alien mucus all over it either. Instead, he sends out Roboto, who aside from being impervious from dragon spit, actually cleans up quite nicely with a washcloth and some Pledge.
He-Man: Get him, Roboto!
Roboto: This does not compute. Is it not usually you who battles Skeletor?
He-Man: Yes, but I think you should do it today.
Roboto: Why is this, may I inquire Mr. He-Man?
He-Man: I'm not in the mood.
Roboto: I sense fear in you, Mr. He-Man.
He-Man: It's not fear, you bolt-headed fool. I'm just a little tired is all.
Roboto: Logic tests scan you as a FRAIDY CAT, FRAIDY CAT, FRAIDY CAT.
He-Man: I wish you were C-3P0.
Roboto: I wish you wore pants. We are even Mr. He-Man.
Skeletor immediately shoots the dragon spit, but Roboto is just too darn durable! Water can't hurt him! Actually, this commercial makes no sense whatsoever. Since Roboto's full of electronics and gizmos and pink pulleys, I'd assume he's the only hero who could conceivably be harmed with an exaggerated water gun. I guess Thompson Water Seal's interstellar marketing campaign paid off in more ways than one.
The water bounces harmlessly off Roboto's clawed arm and semi-translucent torso, leaving Skeletor with no other options than pulling out his big gun and shooting wildly. Unfortunately, Skeletor pawned off his big gun so he could afford a multimillion dollar dragon-shaped turkey baster. "Curses!"
Roboto's saved the day - Skeletor retreats, opting for the sancity of Snake Mountain. He-Man thanks him for his help, but is sure to mention that he could've taken care of Skeletor himself if he really wanted to. Damn grandstander. But let's give a little credit to Roboto - he's the only person in the entire universe who can do something He-Man can't. I just wish it was a feat slightly more important than dodging a gallon of water.
Overall: In terms of the hero characters, Roboto is probably my third favorite, behind Man-E-Faces and Zodak. In toy form, he had a lot of neat features - a clawed hand, mouthpiece and gears that moved around as you twisted his waist, and above all else, silver boots. All in all, Roboto's a terrific asset to the virtuous armies of Eternia. I just wish he didn't look like something you'd stick a quarter inside, waiting patiently for a gumball to work it's way out. That aside, A+ on this android.
Recent He-Man Features: Castle Grayskull - Hordak's Houses - The 'Real' He-Man
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