Two years ago, King Grayskull kicked off MOTU Classics with a bang. Since then, the “200x influence” has been relegated to quarterly figures, extra heads, & bonus accessories. That finally changed with this month’s figure. Count Marzo’s so badass, he was almost “too 200x” for Mattel.
Unlike the upcoming Chief Carnivus, Marzo is based on a character in the original series. In that version, he is a human sorcerer with a bit of a Shakespearean. Mattel didn’t produce a figure of that Marzo in the 80s and, as such, he is off limits to them for the Classics line. This figure is based on his appearances in the MYP cartoon where he was a powerful sorcerer that threatened Eternia across a couple generations. Based on his bio and his cartoon appearances, he first threatened Eternia during the reign of King Miro (He-Man’s grandfather) and it took the combined might of Randor & Keldor to stop him and imprison him in the form of an old man. Whenever Miro gets his amulet back, he’s returned to full strength and again becomes a threat. One of the little things I really enjoy about Marzo is that he’s not part of a faction. He’s not a member of Skeletor’s gang, he’s not a Snakeman, or allied with the Horde. He’s his own man and that’s nice in a universe where everybody seems to need a union membership.
Count Marzo pretty closely follows the new head, new armor, new weapons paradigm, but his unique look has been captured regardless. For new pieces, he has a new loincloth, new armor/cape combo, a new hand, and his head sculpt. According to Toy Guru, Marzo’s head sculpt was almost too hot for Mattel and it took the sanctity of the schedule (Mattel didn’t want to mess it up and miss a month of revenue) to get him out to the fans. I’m guessing that’s mainly due to the ‘windswept hair’ which seems to be a major ‘hyper-anime’ detail as far things go. The windswept hair doesn’t really make or break the figure, but I do think it looks better flaring out a bit than it would look if it was limp and straight down.
The expression is the best part of the figure. A good angry head sculpt can be interpreted for a variety of emotions, from “Who farted?” to “I’m going to kill four generations of your family.” That’s what we have here. It’s evident Marzo is in the mood to hurt somebody and I like it.
The loincloth and armor seem extraordinarily faithful to Marzo’s 200x design and that’s much appreciated. The large ribbed straps over the shoulders (and the cape that runs under them on their way to the clasps) look great. The loincloth looks great on Marzo, but it also looks like a piece that some customizers are going to have fun with. It’s pieces like this that make me wish Mattel would invest in some new characters. I see a lot of potential here. I have a second Marzo and I kinda want to keep it for custom purposes even though I’m not the best customizer. Finally, the cape has some sculpted lines at the hem to help frame Marzo’s cape decorations. This is a figure that looks sharp from the back as well as the front.
The figure also features a new sculpted left hand to hold his trademark amulet. The hand and amulet fit together perfectly, but the hand does seem a little overly detailed for the line. I don’t mind the sculpted look of the hand, but I do wish it wasn’t a one-trick hand. The jewel has a snug little home on the back of the loincloth, but the hand looks odd without it. This is another opportunity where the line would be better if it had swappable hands.
The amulet itself is molded in clear red and has silver painted edges. The backside has an open area in the form of a diamond so that light can shine through and illuminate the amulet. This is a great piece and it had to be included with the figure, but I’m prone to nitpick when it comes to accessories. In the cartoon, Marzo would also wear the amulet around his neck and I wish there was a way to do that here. I understand that a soft plastic necklace would look stupid sticking up from the amulet when it’s in his hand, but I would’ve been up for two amulets at the $20 price point, wouldn’t you? Continue to Sword, Paint, Articulation, & Summation.