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Mattel Masters of the Universe Origins Mantenna Action Figure Mattel, 2023
Day #2,693: March 21, 2024
Mattel Masters of the Universe Origins Mantenna Action Figure Mantenna
Evil Spy with the Pop Out Eyes!

Masters of the Universe Origins Action Figure
Item No.:
Asst. GNN84? No. HDR98
Manufacturer: Mattel
Includes: Horde Crossbow, Mini-Comic
Action Feature: Eyes bug out of head via lever
Retail: $17.99
Availability: July 2022
Other: A deluxe figure at a basic price

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Mattel Masters of the Universe Origins Mantenna Action FigureWhile re-buying Masters of the Universe, again, Mantenna was a figure I picked up unpackaged on eBay. And he's great. I got excited about these figures with Filmation, Turtles of Grayskull, and Battle Armor Skeletor [FOTD #2,690]. Because they were fun. A wacky crossover? Action features? A cartoon I watched in preschool? Sure, I can get behind that - but the overall line is a mix of the original figures with collector articulation and a lot of Masters of the Universe Classics-style feature fudging. So many figures come with extension necks or a lack of a punch attack. Mantenna delivers the goods by making good on the original Horde promise with four full legs and an eye-popping mechanism. It's good.

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One of the things I really love about Masters of the Universe is that the relatively small toy line begets tons of research, loads of books, and scores of interviews. You can look at a page like Battle Ram's Mantenna page and see what the intent was, and what we got in 1985. This guy ha dad a big, weird head with a lever in his back - now moved to his head - which lets you pop his eyes out. (The Origins toy does not stay up - they retract when you let go.) It also has a black "spider" on his face, which should probably be a recessed space in a mouth of nasty red teeth. The original Mantenna toy and animation model went through a lot of mutations, and as such you can see the 2022 figure as one that gets some aspects right and some wrong in a "game of telephone" purple monkey dishwasher kind of a way.

The light blue is now dark, and it looks fine - the eyes, arms, and legs are so dark they're almost black. It's different, and leaves the door open for another future variant reissue. I love that they gave him four full super-articulated legs this time, rather than four legs crammed into two normal legs. I don't love that the mouth is a little weird, and the body detail seems quite soft. The sculpted copyrights on the lower black (or, copyright tramp stamp) look super-clear while the figure's other detailing looks pretty great. It could just be the thickness of the paint, but you can see the Horde armor seems to be suffering from generation loss. It's just incredibly soft detailing to the point where I think you can just blame many thick layers of orange paint over that dark blue plastic.

Mattel Masters of the Universe Origins Mantenna Action Figure

Comparing this figure to other toys in Origins, he's quite impressive. It also calls into question what constitutes a "deluxe" figure. Walmart has a Mossman for $40 that has a couple of accessories and a variant head - yet costs more than a flocked Panthor and smelly Stinkor combined. Deluxe figures cost few bucks more for an action feature with a head or a big weapon. Mantenna as two whole extra legs with maximum articulation and a unique bug-out-head for the same price as any basic figure. I don't get it. I'm not complaining, but if you're the kind of person who considers "value," there are a lot of parts and pieces here.

While I am not a huge Horde fan - my aim was mostly to get stuff I remembered from the cartoon that I really liked - I really like Mantenna. The little lever on the back of his head is such a simple thing, but it's fun. I don't need figures just to stand around and look good - at my old age I want something on my desk that has a gimmick of some sort. I wouldn't doubt a toy deco variant or a Filmation variant is on a drawing board somewhere, assuming this line sticks around, but I'd nudge anyone buying these figures to give this one a shot. Sure, he'll never fit inside the Wind Raider, but you weren't going to do that anyway.

--Adam Pawlus

Additional Images

Mattel Masters of the Universe Origins Mantenna Action Figure Mattel Masters of the Universe Origins Mantenna Action Figure
Mattel Masters of the Universe Origins Mantenna Action Figure Mattel Masters of the Universe Origins Mantenna Action Figure
Mattel Masters of the Universe Origins Mantenna Action Figure Mattel Masters of the Universe Origins Mantenna Action Figure
Mattel Masters of the Universe Origins Mantenna Action Figure

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