I've been asked by a lot of people why Mattel makes lines with the word "classics" in the name but makes new (or newish) characters like Chief Carnivus who, clearly, is not a classic. Heck, even fans of He-Man may not realize that this lion is the head of a race of feline warriors called "Qadians" from the Mike Young Productions incarnation of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe which aired at some point from 2002-2004. (I watched most of the show and flat-out don't remember ever seeing him.) The character had no analog in the 1980s lines, So that's why you don't know who this is but can name several of the Meteorbs.
This Beast Man-ish character is going to appeal to a narrower audience and sure enough, it did take longer to sell out than your average MOTUC release by more than a few hours. (Citizens of the future: MattyCollector's line of 7-inch He-Man toys is so popular in our time that they sell out within hours if not minutes of being posted online.) This doesn't mean that figures that weren't in the original series aren't popular-- far from it, Optikk was quite the hit-- but it just seemed that this one wasn't quite the belle of the ball. (Although he does make a nice Beast, wouldn't you say?)
While I can mock the character all day long, I can't knock the quality. Sure, you've got a lion dressed like a combination of a Spartan from 300 and one of the Thundercats, but it's pretty. The bright red pieces of the costume go nicely with the gold, and there are al sorts of great little details all over him. His sword has a red crystal on it, and looks more than a little like Lion-O's Sword of Omens. There is more paint on the sword than most 1980s action figures get, and his shield is similarly stunning with a gold border, purple background, and a red-eyed embossed dragon making up the face of it. The coloring is great, and even the greaves are loaded with deco like little silver gems and purple highlights. Carnivus' claws are all painted too, plus he has painted hair, a lot of fur coloring in his face, and some form of feline or lion on his highly stylized belt buckle.
Having written up over a thousand Star Wars action figures it's strange to find another line where you can have a high-quality release that's clearly non-essential. Obviously Mattel needs to do something to keep its line going, because there's a very finite number of A and B characters in Masters of the Unvierse. Actually, at this point, it's pretty amazing that they can scrape up unproduced characters of note and make them into fairly stunning toys. If you don't know who this is, it's probably not worth tracking down unless you're crazy about lions of animal people, because this is a very nice figure. However, part of the fun of these collector lines is that you get excited about the familiar, and this figure doesn't push a lot of buttons for long-time fans of the franchise. On eBay he can be had pretty cheaply, about $20 or even less. If you've collected this line so far, you know what to expect in terms of quality: he's pretty solid and holds his accessories nicely. For better or worse, there are no surprises so what you see is really what you can expect to get.
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