Thursday, October 31, 2019

Mummy Mask - Power Commandos

The vintage G.I. Joe line had many imitators.  Usually, they were cheap lines that tried to ply on the Joe brand while appealing to the limited budgets of gift givers or parents.  As a kid, I abhorred most of the attempts to knock off G.I. Joe.  I found the quality, accessory and articulation differences to simply be too much to overcome.  So, none of the classic knock off lines like Remco, Sgt. Rock or even the CORPS! were ever part of my childhood toy experience.  This, of course, has carried over to my adult collecting.  In general, I have no interest in toy lines that attempt to mimic G.I. Joe.  While there are a few conversation pieces out there, I rarely find the figures actually compatible and avoid them.  But, the opening of the collector world to worldwide experiences has introduced some knock off brands that have been able to capture my attention.  In the case of the Power Commandos, the line gets me both due to the offbeat nature of the theme as well as the blatant rip offs they stole from the Joe line.  In recent years, the Power Commandos have become more famous.  Much of that has to do with the singular character of Mummy Mask: who is profiled today.

Mummy Mask is the perfect blend of complete oddball design with off putting colors.  There is no reason for the character to have any interest except for the fact that he's just so bizarre.  The primary selling point is that the figure is a mummy.  He's the classic all bandaged visage.  But, for some reason, he's wearing a captain's hat.  The result is something that both makes no sense and is still totally familiar looking.  On the surface, a mummy may seem too out there to be integrated into Joe.  But, Cobra had a snake man, a guy who dressed up as a bird, an alligator, monsters, zombies and a gypsy hypnotist on their roster.  So, I'll hold off on denigrating a mummy as too far out there.

Power Commandos are supposed to be a space themed line.  Mummy Mask brings an element of fantasy to it, too.  If you read the figure's bio-card, it refers to him as a creature.  He is an alien, as well.  His entire persona is a Master of Disguise and the bandages wrapping his face are an obfuscation of his true self since he only removes them to showcase the countenance of his disguised persona.  He is afraid of both fire and water.  So, if you can catch him on fire, he won't put himself out.  My favorite part of the dreadful writing is that he's from the "City of the Underworld".  I read it like various wrestling heels hailing from "Parts Unknown".  But, the cheesiness of the filecard fits the figure, perfectly.

1992, Lucky Bell, Power Commandos, Mummy Mask, Metal Hawk, MOC, Carded, Filecard

If you look at the Mummy Mask parts, you can see the influence of the 1985 Tele Viper.  Mummy Mask's chest is, basically, the same as the Tele Viper.  It's pretty likely that the company who produced these items used real Joes as the basis for their parts and then modified just enough to avoid any legal issues.  (Lanard did the same thing with CORPS! accessories.)  It creates an cohesive look for these figures when posed with Joes, though, since the familiarity of the parts ties the two figures lines together.  The parts are used on additional figures in the line, so Lucky Bell worked hard to minimize their costs while still creating some interesting figures.

In the end, Mummy Mask is really no different a concept than many other out there Cobras who populate the Joe world.  And, in that regard, this figure can be a fun addition to any collection.  For me, he's going to be some sort of villain character.  But, I haven't found the perfect backstory for him, yet.  Until then, he's a fun conversation piece that can appear in photos.  In some ways, he's a good companion for Serpentor. But, that's also a bit too on point.  I'm not sure what would convince someone to dress up as a mummy as their gimmick.  A burn victim leaves too many questions.  But, a guy who's just kind of off may work.  I see the hat on his head as kind of a 1930's era pilot cap.  Again, though, I'm not sure how to make all of this fit into something that isn't too hackneyed.  I'll have to revisit this figure in a few years to see if I've made any progress.

Mummy Mask's gear is fun.  He's got a big blade thing that looks like it incorporated a bit of the Techno Viper's tools.  He's also got a pointed staff that's neither a spear nor a sword.  Both weapons fit with the oddity of the character.  His rifle is a black mash up of the 1986 Viper rifle and the barrel of a weapon I can't place from memory.  (There is a later Mummy Mask variant that includes a green version of this weapon.)  Sadly, the figure has tight, brittle thumbs that preclude me from really trying to get his accessories into his hands.  But, the gear is original, weird and still useful.  The quality of the weapons is high and the colors are realistic and match the figure.

Once upon a time, Power Commandos were super rare and rather expensive.  However, in the late 2010's, a large quantity of them began to show up in Mexico.  These were offered to American collectors for very cheap prices.  Buying in lots, you can buy the full first series of 6 figures for around $8 per figure.  If you can find complete figures individually, you'll pay a premium for Mummy Mask...usually to the tune of $15 to $20.  But, today, it is still a bit easier to find carded sets than it is loose samples.  The series 2 Power Commandos figures, which include a variant Mummy Mask who features much darker blue highlights as well as figures that are near exact matches for the Cobra Viper and BAT, remain incredibly rare.  Once the Mexican stock dries up, it's possible these series 1 figures will once again get hard to find and be priced accordingly.  As we've seen with both Plastirama and Funskool figures, once the common overstock is finally absorbed, pricing can increase quickly.  The good news is that Mummy Mask is a gimmick figure that isn't really all that necessary.  He's fun to own and can fit with an oddball Cobra army.  But, he's a knock off from an obscure line and that precludes him from ever being a key figure for anyone to own.  But, if you think you're ever going to want Mummy Mask, it's probably best to act now before they get harder to find, again.

1992, Lucky Bell, Power Commandos, Mummy Mask, Metal Hawk, Black Major, Night Force Snake Eyes, 2019

1992, Lucky Bell, Power Commandos, Mummy Mask, Metal Hawk, MOC, Carded, Dhalsim, Mortal Kombat, Movie Edition

1992, Lucky Bell, Power Commandos, Mummy Mask, Metal Hawk, MOC, Carded


  1. i’ve never actually seen any of these in person but i have thought about the phrase “those guys from the other galaxy!” multiple times a week for 15+ years.

  2. I think I have the Red Raven one. I can see a white stress mark around the base of the thumb so that precludes me ever putting a weapon there, though.This line has some great ideas in it.That red guy with the light blue head in the last picture is outstanding too! I would have loved to have these figures back in 1982.

  3. I love the tagline "Those guys from another galaxy" priceless 👍☺