Mattel is bringing back He-Man and the Masters of The Universe action figures, but don't expect to see the same muscle-bound hero:  the new He-Man is a relatively trim 'titan of triceps.'  The new figure was designed by the Four Horsemen, the design team responsible for some of the best contemporary action figures including The Crow, Ichabod Crane, Cy-Gor 2, and Mandarin Spawn.  The Four Horsemen have changed the physical body proportions of the character considerably, giving He-Man, in Mattel's words, 'a more contemporary look that is more anime in style.'  In addition to redesigning the figure Mattel also commissioned fantasy artist Ken Kelly to provide signature paintings of the characters that can be used in box art and posters.


When He-Man and the Masters of the Universe debuted back in 1982, the show's basic (some might say 'simplistic') 'good versus evil' plot mirrored the ideology of the Reagan Administration (that referred to the Soviet Union as the 'Evil Empire') and struck a major chord with the American public.  Sales of the He-Man action figures and associated products exceeded $2 billion during the height of the He-Man boom in 1985 and 1986.  No wonder that Mattel is interested in reviving this franchise.  He-Man action figures and vehicles are scheduled to hit store shelves in February of 2002, just in time for the twentieth anniversary of the launch of the original series. 


Here's a look at the components of the new line and their approximate price points:


The Heroic Warriors Assortment will include the He-Man action figure that comes with his signature Power Sword, a shield with handle, battle-axe, and a torso-twist-generated 'thunder punch' action feature. Also in the assortment are the Man-At-Arms action figure, who has both a missile launcher and a mace, and the winged Stratos figure, who comes with both wings and a jet pack.  All three action figures will have an 'approximate retail price' of $7.99. (Toy manufacturers used to have SRPs or 'suggested retail prices,' but since their suggestions appear to have been made in vain, they have come up with a new designation,  'approximate retail price,' which means that the item will be 'considerably cheaper at Walmart')


The Evil Enemies Assortment includes Skeletor, the mastermind of evil, along with his minions the orthodontically-challenged Beast Man and the aquatic Mer-Man.  He-Man and Skeletor will also be available as deluxe figures who spout their signature lines 'I have the Power' and 'Eternia will be mine' respectively.  The talking figures have an approximate retail price of $11.00.


In addition to the action figures Mattel is reviving their animal mode of transportation, the Beast Riders, Battlecat and Panthor, which will sell for $12.99.  The Beast Riders' airborne counterparts, Battle Hawk and Terrordactyl, the missile firing air warriors of the He-Man universe, will have an 'approximate retail price of $15.00.  Finally there are the vehicles -- He-Man's  'Pouncer' and Skeletor's 'Battle Ram Chariot, which come complete with an action figure and will retail for around $20.00, as will the 25-inch long plastic replica of the power sword which lights up and makes various noises.