Thursday, November 25, 2021

Introducing...The Warlord

Over four years ago here on the blog I predicted that Mattel would "never go the Powers of Pain route." I like to admit when I'm wrong and I was indeed incorrect. In that entry I was reviewing the initial Mattel release of The Warlord which represented his look from 1990-1992. As he and many others had just become involved in a class action lawsuit led by an ambulance-chasing lawyer (the suit was ultimately thrown out), it was said that the figure just escaped cancellation. While the WWE/Mattel stance on those who were involved in the lawsuit is still murky at best, we finally have another version of The Warlord in the line.

This figure of the burly brawler represents his "Powers of Pain" look. The tag team with The Barbarian began in the NWA and lasted until 1990 when the team was split up in the WWF. The figure is an exclusive to Wal Mart and is part of the "Collector's Series" program that I've lamented many times on this blog.

The packaging has never been among my favorite designs, but I don't hate it. It works for the purpose. I'm glad to see some new, very attractive packaging taking its place shortly. With the combination of The Warlord naturally being a larger figure and only one extra pair of hands included, there isn't much floating in the bubble to distract from the figure if you're a carded/boxed collection. I will admit that this is one that I picked up an extra of for autograph purposes. The Warlord is wearing his Powers of Pain entrance gear inside the box and it looks great. Just looking at the box it's hard to fathom that we're getting this figure from Mattel, but it's certainly not the first surprise to come over the years.

There's a ton of detail in this figure from the removable arm band to his name on the back of his entrance vest. There was some initial whining from the peanut gallery as part of "Powers of Pain" is missing from the text on his leg. It was covered in real life as well. You either want realism or you don't. Like a lot of instances in society these days, they want it both ways. In truth there isn't an unrealistic part of this figure. You can argue that it's easier to get a good likeness when face paint is involved, but you still have to some semblance of a good facial scan/sculpt. The torso is the same as used from the first Warlord figure and obviously fits the bill.

Other criticism for the figure, again unfounded in my view, was that there are no known plans for a figure of The Barbarian at this time. Mattel has made it very clear that, in one of their better moves, they are fully on-board with making a half of a tag team should the partner become available for them to make somewhere down the line. The "British Bulldogs" version of Davey Boy Smith is another recent example of this thinking. I damn the company on a lot of things, but this isn't one of them. Give us more unique looks like this. 

A few weeks ago I spoke of a then-upcoming figure review where I'd look at a "Figure of the Year" candidate. This is it. In addition to being a great figure, in my view a "FOTY" must be widely available. While some have come across the figure in brick and mortar Wal Mart stores, it has been available for at least a month on their website. If you wanted this one you have no excuse of not having it. That is how all figures should be, especially cool and unique ones like this. And remember, just because a figure is easily available initially does not mean that it can't gain value in the future.

Now WWE, it's time to widen the legends variety. Bring us The Barbarian!

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