Another good thread last week looking at Spikor.
Anyway, this week's vintage figure review thread looks at another key character, HORDAK.
(Also, note how, as with the episode review threads, I have changed from "classic review thread" to "vintage review thread". I feel that "vintage" better describes the era, as not all episodes / figures were necessarily classic... if you see what I mean!)
Anyway, Hordak... this was a key introduction to the line. Up until this point, the battle had been purely between He-Man and the Heroic Warriors, and Skeletor and the Evil Warriors. But Hordak, leader of the Evil Horde, threw a whole different band into the mix. And (bar the odd short-lived truce with the Evil Warriors) were at war with both the Heroic and Evil Warriors!
I had seen Hordak advertised on television a few times, and I think by this stage, the very first few episodes of 'She-Ra: Princess of Power' had started to air here in the U.K. I remember mentioning the Horde and Hordak to my Mum. Seeing as she wasn't really into me playing with action figures, I was suprised when she said she was going into town on a shopping trip that afternoon while I was at school and offered to get me one! Guess I must have been really good or something!!
Hordak is a good looking figure. He has a menacing face, and always gave me the impression of being a human partly upgraded into a machine (kind of like a Cyberman).
It is interesting to note that, while the line by that time had very much had settled on giving each new figure a unique feature, Hordak was a standard "twist waist for power punch" figure. Maybe the designers felt that Hordak was such a key figure that he sold on this point, and didn't need any fancy gimmicks. I very much respect that. (The only other character to receive this no-gimmick treatement was the late King Randor).
The figure came with what would become the standard Horde crossbow, here in bone white, and a bat shield. The tie used to attach the bat shield to Hordak’s wrist broke easily, and before long my Dad had to repair mine with a standard garden tie-tag. I used to pretend that this bat was like Imp in the cartoon series. And the armor came with a cape - I loved this, I thought it made him seem much more powerful and authorative. One thing I would have liked to have seen on later He-Man and Skeletor versions, and the 200x versions, is them with capes. (It is one feature I really like about the 1987 movie version of He-Man).
There are also several slight variations to be found with the paintwork detailing on Hordak's armor.
Hordak's mini-comic, 'Hordak - The Ruthless Leader's Revenge!', and much of the other material dealing with him, was radically different to the Filmation interpretation (more of that in a minute). I kind of like a cross between the two.
Hordak and the Horde were an interesting addition to the MOTU world; although even then, I was one of the people who (as discussed in several current threads) loved the early barbarian swords & sorcery roots of the line. I loved the age-old battle between He-Man and Skeletor, and very much wanted things to stay focused on this.
But Hordak was said to be Skeletor's old teacher, and thus, even more powerful than old bone face. I wasn't sure about this. In my own little MOTU play world, I did have Hordak as once being Skeletor's mentor, but Skeletor had become far more powerful than him, and had overtaken him. Hordak was bitter for revenge, but never quite had the power to fully succeed. Skeletor occasionally utilised Hordak and the Horde as a sort of break-away hit squad, but the Evil Warriors were still the main force to be reckoned with, and Skeletor still the head honcho.
Of course, on-screen, the decision was made to transpose Hordak and the Horde to the world of 'She-Ra: Princess of Power', which was made in lieu of a third season of 'He-Man and the Masters of the Universe'. This version of Hordak seemed even more cybernetic, with ability to turn his arm into a cannon, turn himself into a rocket, a tank, and a variety of other things. I was never really too keen on this interpretation, it seemed a little too far fetched and unbelieable (even within the context of the series, if you see what I mean!). It was a very interesting concept of Hordak working for a higher force, Horde Prime, although I felt it was done a little too cartoon-y, and could have been made more menacing.
In the 200x version, Hordak only appeared towards the tail-end, before the line was sadly cancelled (in it's mainstream form, anyway), so we never fully got to see how he would be interpreted in this revamped version. From what we did see, it appeared that it wouldn't completely be following the Filmation "Etheria" version, but that's not to say it wouldn't have been incorporated if it had continued.
So all-in-all, Hordak... an interesting character, but I only prefer him in my own personal vision, as sort of the head of a sub-hit-squad working for the Evil Warriors. I know some will absolutely love him, but I'm going to give him a (slightly generous, but still fair) 8 out of 10.
That's my weekly ramble.
Please feel free to contribute your own thoughts, comments, memories... anything to do with Hordak. And whether you post or not, don't forget to rate the figure in the poll!