My Club Eternia subscription finally arrived yesterday. The slow shipping is starting to make these reviews a bit less timely, but with more King Hssss figures to be released next Friday, I actually feel like I’m a bit ahead of the games on this one! The only thing is, King Hssss left me feeling more or less underwhelmed.
Before we get into the complicated mixed feelings I have about King Hssss, I figured I should point out that I don’t really care about the character. It’s a shocker, I know. I haven’t met that many fellow He-Fans who feel similarly, but that’s okay. As a kid, I favored the Joes, the Autobots, and the Heroic Masters – very few of my favorite characters were villains and that has more or less carried through to today. As an adult, I can better appreciate King Hssss, but I don’t really have any sense of nostalgia about him. Moreover, I’ve never understood how anyone with such a sinister costume could be construed as heroic, slight smile or not…
Which is more or the less the way Hiss was introduced. Skeletor releases him from his ancient prison, but is surprised to see such a “heroic” dude and attacks him. He-Man, making the same mistake, intervenes and saves Hssss from Skeletor (or, if you prefer, saves Skeletor from Hssss) only to be subdued by Hssss moments later. He appears late in the mini-comics and, as such, doesn’t have any Filmation appearances under his belt. His story was fleshed out in further mini-comics that detailed the Snakemen threat to Preternia and their subsequent banishment to limbo (ever notice that all the Preternia heroes seem able to do is leave problems for He-Man to clean up later?). The MO2K series followed suit with these early story details while also making the Snakeman the primary antagonists towards the end of the show. That King Hssss featured more of an Egyptian motif – which is a look I wouldn’t mind seeing get its own action figure at some point in the line.
Where to start on King Hssss? I’ve been asking myself that a lot since he arrived. He looks so good sitting on my shelf, a few feet away from me, and it’s easy to forget that he’s a little pile of annoyances.
I’m going to start with the sculpt, because it’s really nice and the main thing the figure has going for it. I will say that it would be better if he had a new unique torso instead of the slipover piece. It thickens his neck and makes his arms seem stubbier than normal. And those boots… I understand and support intelligent part reuse, but I’m starting to realize there isn’t very much of a footwear selection on Eternia. Hssss has a ton of new parts, so maybe that’s making these two areas of re-use seem worse than they are.
Though I question the constant re-use of Skeletor’s calfwear, as I said, Hssss is almost entirely new. The boots, hands, and the torso pieces underneath the non-removable armor are all that’s been carried over from previous figures. The scaled (ribbed?) texturing of Hssss required new pieces everywhere else and looks really nice along with a great head sculpt. His crotch piece – a completely encapsulated, traditional crotch piece seems to have lost some of its detail from the prototype, but that appears to be a thick paint issue. It’s cast in green plastic and painted in a thick red which makes the scales seem soft. The belt buckle, with another coating of a thick silver, is left with only slight impressions instead of a sharp details.
The other primary component of the sculpt (or is it one giant accessory?) is the King’s snake form. It swaps out easily enough and replaces his regular torso. King Hssss being made of snakes sprouting from his lower torso is on the list of reasons I never really liked the character, but if you’re a fan of that, then you should be pretty happy with this figure. Once you regain consciousness from its fresh out of the package smell, you can appreciate the nice level of detail and have fun bending the two “arms” into some neat poses. The jaw is articulated for more fun too.
And I suppose this is as good a place as any to talk about those reversed shoulders…
I tossed a QC spotlight on the shoulders in the pic below simply because I felt I had to at this point, but I can’t say that I’m all that upset over it – I’m out of matches for my torch, so to speak.
It’s a stupid mistake, but visually, it just doesn’t bother me all that much. Over the last few weeks, I looked at the pics and videos of the other Hssss reviewers who went before me and didn’t notice the mistake (nor did they). It should be done correctly – don’t let my indifference imply otherwise, but, for me, the real annoying part of the whole debacle is, as usual, the poor handling of it. My fellow blogger Poe has already written what I think is the perfect piece on the matter and I encourage you to check it out if you haven’t already. I feel pretty much the same way, at least when it comes to the shoulders.
That said, you can all clearly see that the shoulders are sharing the QC spotlight. The shoulders are a bigger problem because they’re endemic, but the jacked up crotch piece bummed me out because it’s never fun to find “hidden” damage to the figure when you open him. I’m not sure what happened back there either. There are chunks of plastic missing from the upper belt line (which lets you see that green plastic underneath) and then more indentations below in the paint. Sadly, even though I’m showing you two angles on the jacked up crotch piece, I actually had a lot of things I could’ve put in the spotlight with them too. Continue to Page 2…