Joined: 18 Dec 2005
|Posted: Thu Aug 30, 2012 9:36 pm Post subject: Masters of the Universe Classics: Zodac/Zodak
|Greetings fellow He-Fans and She-Ravers,
You think of Masters of the Universe as good. vs. evil but there has also always been a neutral character as well. The cosmic enforcer Zodac. Or is it Zodak? Well that depends. In the vintage line it was Zodac, in 200X it was Zodak. Now in MOTUC- it's both! I felt the best way to fully go over this approach was to review both together.
Zodac was one of the first eight figures released in the vintage line, and even in those Pre-Filmation days he was a neutral character. Originally his package just said Cosmic Enforcer but likewise all the figures had titles that did not feature their alignment. When the line began expanding and the original eight got reissued they now featured "Heroic" or "Evil" in their titles. Unfortunately this led to some confusion as someone apparently thought it was supposed to be evenly balanced with four heroes and four villains and thus slapped the title "Evil Cosmic Enforcer" on Zodac's package. This in turn led to some artwork where Zodac is portrayed as a villain, but he was actually always intended to be neutral.
When it came time to update him for MOTUC, Mattel went full vintage in design and made him neutral, as reflected with his title once again just Cosmic Enforcer without the "evil" part. He comes in the standard MOTUC blister card pack with the back of the box showing off other figures and presenting a bio. I do like how they kept the part of him once being a member of the Council of Elders, though I think he was supposed to have left before Grayskull's death. I've already mentioned how I don't like the "Overlords of Trolla" idea but I do like the clarification of maintaining balance between good and evil. Zodac only helps out to keep the balance, not tip it fully to good. This is why he sometimes leans towards evil. He's not really on either side, though he tends to help out good more since Evil tends to gain more power on it's own more often.
Now in the 200X series Zodac got a radical upgrade to his character. Aside from his name now being spelled Zodak for some reason, his ethnicity was changed and he also took on a much different attitude. While Zodac was a quiet, neutral man who rarely, if ever, actually entered combat, Zodak was a ill-tempered badass who charged right into combat and mopped the floor with everyone. His neutrality came more in the form of not really being on the good side and more out for his personal vendetta against the Snake Men. He seemed to be a powerful ally for his first couple appearances, but then he surprised everyone by purposely letting the Snake Men be freed just so he could take a shot at King Hiss. He didn't show any concern for the devastation that happened to Eternia as a result, caring only about revenge and after defeating Hiss once, he vanished for the rest of the season not bothering to clean up his mess. He only came back to stop Hiss in the finale and even then only after Sorceress telepathically yelled at him to get off his ass and come help.
So how to deal with the radically different takes on the character? Make them two different guys in the same continuity. Most of the characters darker side was left out of this bio however. His main motivation, namely that King Hiss ate his brother, was later given to King Grayskull. As I mentioned in my Grayskull review, I'm not sure if it's meant to be Hiss ate both guys' brothers or if they just gave Zodak's story to Grayskull but either way I'd prefer sticking to what was previously established. Of course on that note it was originally going to be He-Ro with his magic staff that helped seal away the Snake Men.
Now for the actual figures. Zodac was one of the earliest figures in the line and, like the vintage figure, uses mostly existing molds with a new head, armor and weapon. Zodac's armor is a bit more detailed than the vintage. There is a designed back to it and the plugs are at the base area and better hidden. Also the details around the waist area seem almost like an ammo belt.
Zodac's bio mentions him keeping his human form, however his body is largely made of non-human parts. He has the three toed monster feet, (and again has colored nails) and the Skeletor shin guards to match. His legs, shoulders, and biceps are the standard buck, along with the furry loincloth, but he features the finned Skeletor arms and also has the Skeletor hands with the clawed fingers. His left hand is the more closed version, and actually this was the first use of it. Something that is the same as the vintage, but more noticeable now, is that he uses the Beast Man torso and thus has a hairy chest and back.
There's really not much more I can say about Zodac. He was never one of the most detailed or coolest of the MOTU characters, arguably he doesn't even fit the category of pivotal character. Nevertheless, he is one of the more iconic and recognizable characters so he fits in well with the line. Still, many fans preferred the look of the 200X version and were already speculating that he could be a different character long before Mattel made it official.
Zodak was released as a bonus figure. He was essentially the precursor to the quarterly variants. He is made up of all existing parts, but the mixture helps set him out more and I feel he looks cooler. He has the same head and armor as Zodac painted different. There is much more detail on this armor. He has the standard buck torso, as well as the standard legs, shoulders and biceps. He has the gloved forearms and hands of Hordak. He has the same boots, tops and feet, as well as the loincloth of He-Ro, which helps create a more cosmic look.
The mixture creates a unique look despite the fact that he has no new tooling. The only new piece is his staff, however Toyguru recently revealed that, like Goddess' staff, it was tooled along with Zodac then held off for this figure so they could make him without blowing the budget. The staff is modeled after his 200X version but without the "hyper anime detail" as Mattel puts it.
On the cartoon Zodak's great power was demonstrated by glowing tattoos that only showed up when he was using his mystic powers. On both the 200X figure and the Classics, they are of course painted on the whole time, however the Classics version is designed to glow in the dark. Since they are painted on instead of being glow in the dark plastic, they don't glow super bright. As you can see, even when exposed to a black light, they only get so bright. I will say it is brighter in person than in it appears in the photo, but still not as bright as say Scare Glow. At any rate it's still a cool effect.
The 200X version did however have a removable helmet. Zodak was seen without his helmet many times. Sadly the Classics version does not have a removable helmet. As mentioned before no new tooling was given to the figure, though Toyguru and the Four Horsemen have wanted to get it to the fans and it will finally show up next year packed in with the traveling con exclusive Strobo.
There is one more version out there. One of the final DC vs MOTUC two-packs released was Green Lantern vs Zodac. This version of Zodac (and it is Zodac as the bio is the same) still has the fin arms but they are painted white as though he is wearing gloves.
Aside from the paint job he also has the Keldor boot feet instead of the Skeletor three toed feet. This is closer to how he appeared in the Filmation series. I would've preferred he had the gloved forearms as well to help make him extra different and more attractive to potential collectors seeing him on retail shelves. (Of course by the time he hit shelves they had already decided to discontinue the two-packs) Particularly since the Green Lantern included is really no different than previous releases of Hal Jordan and DC collectors really didn't need another, not to mention the Green Lantern movie figures were released around the same time as well. One strange thing is the box artwork shows Zodac using Zodak's staff however the actual figure comes with the Zodac gun instead.
I actually really like how the two versions are now two characters. Both are well done and the differences also open up the idea for customizers of building your own Cosmic Enforcer Army.
Zodac is sold out so you'll need to check the secondary market for him. Zodak however will be available on Mattycollector.com on September 17. It should be noted the sale states this is leftover stock not a full reissue. What that means is Mattel is selling off the extras they had previously set aside for quality control issues (like if someone's figure arrives broken they will replace it) so odds are this will be the last time you can snag him from the site so don't miss out. Especially with the unmasked head coming next year. Good Luck and until next time, Good Journey.
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