Masters-of-the-Universe-Piece Theatre: “Puzzle”

It’s time for another Masters-of-the-Universe-Piece Theatre photo story. The name “Masters-of-the-Universe-Piece Theatre” was coined by Kevin Beckett at the Whetstone Discord server.

Last month, I posted an Evil Horde recruitment ad. It clearly worked, since I have gotten a few more Horde members since then, including a new version of Hordak as he appeared in Masters of the Universe Revolution as well as Leech, one of the core Horde members from the vintage toyline and the She-Ra: Princess of Power cartoon. Eventually, I will have to retake that epic Horde group shot. But for now, I’ve been having some fun with the new Horde recruits.

Masters of the Universe Masterverse Revolution Emperor Hordak

Hordak in his robe of office, as he appeared in Masters of the Universe: Revolution.

One Horde member who’s not a new recruit is Entrapta. Entrapta was one of only two Horde members who was released in the vintage Princess of Power toyline, the other being Catra. All the male Horde members were actually released in the He-Man toyline, since the gender essentialist idiots in charge at Mattel didn’t think that girls would want monster characters. They clearly never met little Cora who loved her King Kong and Godzilla figures. I really should get some of the new King Kong and Godzilla figures that have come out in the wake of Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire and Godzilla Minus One, since my originals from the late 1970s/early 1980s are long gone.

In the vintage Princess of Power toyline, Entrapta had a gleaming golden armour and long pink and purple hair that was twisted into braids. She used her golden armour to mesmerise enemies and her prehensile hair to capture them. Yes, that was her special power. She looked gorgeous and captured enemies with her hair. Entrapta was also (platonic) friends with Catra and they were seen hanging out together in a tree house in one of the Princess of Power mini-comics. Yes, the She-Ra mini-comics were utterly assinine with nothing in the way of conflict or suspense. I think the worst thing that happened was that Catra blasted someone with her shower power water blast. And then Mattel was surprised that girls didn’t like those comics and blamed it on girls not liking comics period.

Entrapta also appeared in the Filmation She-Ra cartoon. She still had her long hair and she still used it to capture enemies, but in an inspired move, Filmation also made Entrapta the Horde’s tech genius, their counterpart to Man-at-Arms for the Heroic Warriors and Tri-Klops and Trap-Jaw for Skeletor. She’s also the most intelligent Horde member. I guess the idea was to show that girls can be pretty and have long hair and wear glittery clothing and can still be smart and good at technology.

The 2018 She-Ra reboot decided to run with the techie part of Entrapta’s character and portrayed her as an autistic tech genius who prefers robots to people. Entrapta still has long prehensile hair, but ditched the glittery outfit for a more practical overall and shirt combo. Entrapta starts out as a member of the Princess Alliance, which is the 2018 She-Ra equivalent of the Great Rebellion, but winds up joining the Horde after she is accidentally left behind in the Fright Zone during a rescue mission gone wrong. Entrapta befriends Scorpia and Catra and also strikes up an oddly endearing friendship/romance with Hordak of all people. Entrapta completely fails to be terrified by Hordak, but views him as her lab partner, while Hordak is impressed by her technical and scientific skills. In fact, Entrapta is probably the only person aside from Imp that 2018 Hordak truly cares for.

Come to think of it, Hordak certainly gets around and has (implied) relationships with Shadow Weaver (they co-parent Adora), Motherboard (I’m not sure how that would work physically, but there’s clearly something between those two) and Entrapta and attractive female Horde members like Octavia and again Entrapta tend to end up draped over Hordak’s lap in the Filmation She-Ra cartoon.

The Horde does have another scientist member, namely Modulok. Though Modulok didn’t start out as a scientist. Instead, he was a kind of construction toy consisting of 22 separate components, including six legs, four arms, two heads, two tails and several connector pieces. The pieces could be assembled however you wanted to and Modulok was known as the “Evil Beast of a Thousand Bodies”.  In fact, Modulok perfectly illustrates how very weird Masters of the Universe could get in its heyday.

Because Modulok came out in 1985, the same year the Evil Horde was introduced, he was billed as a Horde member. As for how he became a scientist, that’s due to the Filmation He-Man cartoon, which introduces Modulok as Galen Nycroft, a humanoid mad scientist languishing in the dungeon of Eternos Palace for conducting unethical experiments and unwilling subjects. He builds a machine that’s supposed to help him escape, but which has the side effect of turning him into a weird monster with multiple reconfigurable body parts. In some versions of the story, he literally mails himself out of the prison bit by bit. Modulok initially joins Skeletor’s Evil Warriors, but later defects and joins the Evil Horde, since he feels underappreciated by Skeletor, and shows up in several She-Ra episodes as well. This backstory of Modulok was created by J. Michael Straczynski, who would go on to create Babylon 5 among many other things.

Because he has so many unique parts, Modulok is expensive to make, which is why he hasn’t yet appeared in either the Masters of the Universe Origins or Masterverse toyline. However, Modulok was made in the Masters of the Universe Classics toyline and I recently got that version of the character for a good price. And since I now had the two Horde technicians/scientists, I decided to have some fun and see what happens, when these two meet.

There are also two other Horde members in the story. The first is Imp, Hordak’s shapeshifting pet/spy and probably the only being in the universe he truly loves. The second is Dragstor, who had a figure in the vintage He-Man toyline, but never appeared in any of the cartoons. The result of Horde science experimentation, Dragstor is a cyborg who has a wheel integrated into his abdomen and exhaust pipes on his back. When he lays down on his belly, he becomes a vehicle that chases after enemies of the Horde and knocks them down. As I said, Masters of the Universe could get very weird indeed and the Horde had some of the weirdest characters of all (plus a good dose of body horror). The vintage toy actually did race across the floor, if you laid him down flat and pulled a rip-cord. The Masters of the Universe Classics figure, the only other version of this character ever made, just looks cool, but the wheel doesn’t actually work.

I should maybe say a few words about the set. In both the original Filmation She-Ra cartoon and the 2018 reboot, Hordak’s base, the Fright Zone is a Gigeresque technological nightmare, a maze of pipes and cables. I wanted to recreate the look of the Fright Zone, so I raided Dad’s workshop for suitable props and came across a box full of some kind of valves. They’re brand new and I’m not entirely sure what they were supposed to be for – I assume it has something to do with the heating system, since the radiator control valves were replaced last year – but they look great as a background for the Fright Zone.

But enough of the preliminaries. Let’s see what happens when Entrapta meets Modulok in

Puzzle

The Fright Zone, Entrapta’s personal workshop:

Entrapta gives Dragstor a tune-up, while Imp looks on, sitting on her tool box“I replaced your spark plugs and adjusted our carburetor, Dragstor. Now your engines should run much more smoothly. I fixed the firing mechanism on your crossbow, too.”

“Thanks for the tune-up, Entrapta. You’re a doll.”

“Wait till I tell Hordak you’re flirting with his girlfriend.”

“Shut up, Imp.”

Hordak shows up in Entrapta's workshop, while Entrapta is tuning up Dragstor“Hordak!”

“Lord Hordak, sir.”

“Don’t you have something to do, Dragstor? Such as hunting down those accursed rebels?”

“Y… yes, sir, Lord Hordak. En… Entrapta was just giving my engine a tune-up. I mean, not like that. She was fixing my… ahem…”

“Snicker.”

“I replaced his spark plugs and adjusted his carburetor, Hordak. He should run much more smoothly now.”

“You’re dismissed, Dragstor. I would like to speak with Entrapta. Alone.”

“Yes, Lord Hordak.”

Hordak strokes Entrapta's cheek, while Imp looks on.

“Alone” onviously does not apply to Imp.

“Sigh, I see you still show flagrant disregard for the official Horde dress code. Oh, Entrapta, what shall I do with you?”

“But I like soarkly and glittery outfits. And pink and purple match my hair so much better than red and black. And besides, Scorpia said I look pretty.”

“Scorpia has a crush on you and would say anything.”

“So you don’t think I look pretty, Hordak?”

“I didn’t say that. But there are rules and regulations about appropriate wear for Horde members, such as the requirement to wear a Horde symbol on your person all the time.”

“But I do wear a Horde symbol. I wear your face, Hordak, right here on my chest where my heart is.”

“Oh my Entrapta, you’re lucky that I happen to like you very much. And talking of which, I have a present for you.”

“A present? For me?”

“Hmph, I never get presents.”

“Quit sulking, Imp. Troopers, bring in the deliveries we received.”

Later:

Hordak shows Entrapta the Modulok parts.“Wow, it’s body parts. Lots of body parts.”

“You really know how to romance a lady, Hordak.”

“Shut up, Imp.”

“So what’s all this about, Hordak?”

“Three weeks ago, we started receiving parcels, all delivered from the Prison Star. Every parcel contained a different body part, twenty-two altogether. The final parcel also included a note. ‘Assemble me’, it said.”

“It’s like a puzzle. A giant puzzle. That’s so cool.”

Entrapte holds one of the Modulok heads in her hand, while Hordak looks on.“Look, Hordak, it’s got two heads.”

“Of course, I have two heads. Cause two heads means twice the brain power.”

“It can speak.”

“Of course, I can speak. What do you take me for? And besides, I’m not an it. My name is Galen Nycroft, Professor Galen Nycroft to be exact, and my pronouns are he/him.”

“What exactly do you want, Nycroft?”

“Beyond being addressed by my name and correct pronouns, you mean? Well, I want to join the Horde, conquer the universe, subjugate countless worlds and carry out unspeakable experiments on enslaved beings.”

“So you are responding to our recruitment ad? Excellent. But then why did you arrive in this disassembled form?”

“Because those jerks in the Tri-Solar system did not appreciate my genius and locked me up on the Prison Star for life for ‘unethical experiments’. As if it’s my fault that fifty-six percent of my test subjects died. You can’t do science without breaking a few eggs or a few test subjects. And besides, my success rate is up from seventy-three percent of test subjects not surviving the experiments.”

“All right, so that’s why the packages were all shipped from the Prison Star. But why did you ship yourself out in separate pieces.?”

“Because this was the only way I could escape. I built a machine from components found in the prison workshop, divided myself into twenty-two parts and shipped myself out one by one.”

“That’s so cool! Don’t you think that’s cool, Hordak?”

“It’s certainly… ingenious. Nycroft, I can use a man like you.”

“Then what are you waiting for? Put me back together!”

“Oh, I never dirty my own hands, Nycroft. I hire well. So Entrapta, if you would do the honours…”

“Put him back together again, you mean? Of course, Hordak. This is so cool.”

“You mean, the girl with the pink hair and the sparkly dress is your technician?”

“The very best.”

“No wonder you have recruitment problems.”

Entrapta has assembled Modulok into two separate beings, while Hordak and Imp look on“Look, Hordak, we’ve got enough parts to make two of them.”

“I’m not two people, you silly girl, I’m one person with two heads.”

“Well, maybe you could have said that beforehand…”

“Maybe you could have asked, nitwit. And now put me together correctly.”

Entrapta has stuck Modulok's second head to his butt, while Imp and Hordak look on.“There. Now you’ve got one body with two heads.”

“What have you done, you imbecile?”

“Put both heads on one body. That’s what you wanted, isn’t it?”

“My head is stuck on my butt, you idiot!”

“Snicker.”

“Well, there was nowhere else to put it.”

“Both heads go on my neck, idiot. And now fix me!”

“Snicker. Giggle.”

“And what are you laughing at, you little flying pest?”

“I’m laughing cause your head is stuck on your butt. Snicker.”

“This is not funny. Hordak, reign in your underlings!”

“I don’t know – snort. Personally, I think this is very funny. But Entrapta, could you please fix Professor Nycroft, before his second head passes out from his own farts.”

“Passes out from his own farts. Ha, that’s so funny! Snicker.”

“Idiots. I’m surrounded by idiots. I should have joined Skeletor’s Evil Warrior instead. Or the Denebrian Space Mutants.”

Entrapta has assembled Modulok into monster with two heads, four arms and six legs, while Hordak and Imp look on.“At last. I am complete at last. Your sorry excuse for a technician finally got it right.”

“Nycroft, I’m warning you. Don’t insult Entrapta!”

“Nycroft? I am no longer Galen Nycroft. In this form, I shall be known as MODULOK!”

“Uhm, actually I was still working on those guns. But you can try them out, if you want.”

“I am Modulok, the Evil Beast of a Thousand Bodies.”

“Yeah, we heard you the first time.”

“The mere sight of me shall strike terror into the hearts of the enemies of the Horde.”

“If they don’t die of laughter first.”

“Imp, be nice to our newest recruit.”

Entrapta hold Modulok's second tail in her hand, while Hordak and Imp look on.“Oh look, Hordak, there’s a part left over. He’s got a second tail.”

“That’s no tail. That’s… Put it down, you stupid girl! Ahhhh!”

“Snicker.”

“Nycroft, final warning. Don’t insult Entrapta, my best and most brilliant recruit. Entrapta, put that thing down. It’s disgusting.”

“You’re right, Hordak. It is kind of sticky.”

“Snicker.”

***

Later:

Loo-Kee emerges from a vat, when the workshop is empty.“Hi folks, I’m Loo-Kee. I hide everywhere, even in scary places like the Fright Zone. That’s my thing, you know. I hide and watch and I see everything. And then, I will tell you what the moral of the story you just witnessed is. Because every story has to have a moral and a lesson. That’s a universal cosmic law, established by the all-powerful council of the Federal Communications Commission. Not that I’ve ever met them, but I guess they’re like the Trollan Council of Mages or the Cosmic Enforcer Corps.”

Loo-Kee emerges into full view, while Imp looks on.“In today’s story, Modulok thought that Entrapta couldn’t possibly by smart and know about science and technology, because she’s a girl and has pink hair and wears glittery clothes. That was very short-sighted of him, because many girls are interested in science and technology. Besides, girls can be both smart and pretty. Hordak knows this and that’s why he appreciates Entrapta. Even though Hordak is a bad guy…”

“Hey, you there! What are you doing here, rebel?”

Imp chases Loo-Kee“Oops, I was spotted. Gotta go. Bye. Be seeing you.”

“Wait, you rainbow-coloured nuissance. Come back here. Or I’ll call the Troopers and then you’re in real trouble.”

The End

***

We’ve got another new character here, namely the ainbow-coloured Etherian woodland creature known as Loo-Kee. In the Filmation She-Ra cartoon, Loo-Kee is always hiding in the background somewhere, Where’s Wally? style. At the end of the episode, he emerges and delivers the moral of the story.

I recently acquired a Masters of the Universe Classics Loo-Kee figure (and trust me, you don’t want to know what I paid for two figures – Loo-Kee comes packaged with Kowl, another diminuitive Etherian creature – of the approximate size and articulation level of a Smurf). And since I have Loo-Kee now, he can do his thing and hide and then deliver a moral lesson.

And yes, if you assemble Modulok into the classic two heads, four arms, six legs configuration, there always is a tail piece left over. And no, I’m not the first person to make a joke about what the second tail really is, since it’s pretty obvious.

Finally, because I can, here’s a photo of Hordak with all the male Horde members (except Multibot) who appeared in the vintage He-Man line.

Masters of the Universe Evil Horde group shot

The Evil Horde. From left to right, we have Modulok, Mosquitor, Mantenna, Hordak, Grizzlor, Leech and Dragstor

And here is one of Hordak’s private family photos:

Hordak, Shadow Weaver and Despara

Proud parents Hordak and Shadow Weaver pose with their adopted (and abducted) daughter Despara. You know her better as Princess Adora of Eternia a.k.a. She-Ra.

***

That’s it for today, folks. I hope you enjoyed this Masters-of-the-Universe-Piece Theatre Photo Story, because there will be more.

Disclaimer: I don’t own any of these characters, I just bought some toys, took photos of them and wrote little scenes to go with those photos. All characters are copyright and trademark their respective owners.

 

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2 Responses to Masters-of-the-Universe-Piece Theatre: “Puzzle”

  1. Lurkertype says:

    This one is extra-funny. Imp needs to shut up way more than Malcolm does.

    • Cora says:

      Glad you enjoyed it. I had a lot of fun with this one, including construction Modulok combinations. Now I really want to get the robot version Multibot.

      Imp’s main characteristic is being annoying. It’s a running gag in the original She-Ra cartoon that every Horde member hates Imp – except for Hordak who adores him for reasons unknown. In the 2018 She-Ra cartoon, Imp doesn’t talk, but still spies on fellow Horde members for Hordak.

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