FIREBALL SHOOTING HADES
DISNEY’S HERCULES (MATTEL)
“Fast talking, slicker than slick, Hades is ruler of the Underworld. When he shoots his deadly fireballs, he causes ultimate destruction. Only the heroic HERCULES can put an end to this fiery villain’s evil plan!”
Poor Hades gets bum deal when it comes to popular culture. In just about any adaptation of mythology, he’s perpetually cast as some sort of ultimate villain, when in the actual myths he’s actually one of the more level-headed and reasonable gods. Compared to the likes of Zeus, Poseidon, or Hera, he’s really not that bad. Disney’s Hercules is one of the prime offenders when it comes to reworking things to make Hades the villain. The actual villain of most of Hercules’s stories in mythology is Hera, who resented Herc for being one of Zeus’s many bastard children. Herc and Hades barely even interacted. But, I guess having Hera constantly trying to kill Hercules out of a constant anger caused by Zeus’s sexual escapades wouldn’t have made for a very good kids movie, would it? So, they went with the more obvious “god of death = evil” bit. At least it was entertaining, right?
THE FIGURE ITSELF
Fireball Shooting Hades was released in the basic series of the Disney’s Hercules tie-in line from Mattel. While Herc got all sorts of variants and the like, this was the only Hades figure in the line. I’m not sure what other variants you could really do, but hey, I wouldn’t have though of Hydra Slaying Hercules either. The figure stands about 6 inches tall and he has 3 points of articulation. Bit of a step down from Herc on the movement front. Obviously, he lost some articulation to his designs lack of legs, which is understandable. It’s a shame they couldn’t at least put some extra movement in the arms. At least his head can turn, though. Hades’s sculpt was unique to him, and it’s okay, I suppose. It’s more faithful than the Hercules figure I looked at, which is good. However, it also means that the focus is on trying to be faithful to a 2D character, rather than making just a good looking toy. The body works out all right. It’s pretty clean and it follows the line work of the movie. The smoke at his feet is a little blocky, but it’s not terrible. You just need to find the right angle for him. The left arm is a little impeded by the figure’s action feature, but I’ll touch on that a little later. The biggest issues come from the head. They’re pretty much entirely related to the fluidity of Hades’s face in the movie. He’s very expressive and all over the place, which makes capturing him in one single sculpt rather difficult. He’s the sort of character that would likely be better served with a few interchangeable heads, but the toy industry wasn’t quite there in ’97. So, we have to settle with a single expression. Mattel went with a scary, scowly, wide-eyed grimace. It’s not a great look. I mean, yeah, he looks a little frightening, but it’s more in that uncanny valley sort of way, where his eyes just seem too human. Parts of the sculpt look fine, but it doesn’t add-up to a really great piece. It’s not terrible, but it could be a lot better. Moving onto the paintwork, Hades is pretty decent. Nothing crazy stand-out or anything, but the application is pretty clean and the details are pretty sharp. In particular, I like the way the flames behind Hades’s head have been handled. I sort of which his actual hair had been done in a similar fashion, but the solid paint isn’t awful. Hades has two different “action features.” The first is the titular “fireball shooting.” There’s a missile launcher in his left arm. Load up the fireball and press the button. There it goes. Wooooooo. The second feature is even less involved; move the slide on his back up and down, and the flames behind his head will rise and fall. Fun times.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
I picked up Hades here from Lost in Time Toys, at the same time as Hydra Slaying Herc. It was actually finding Hades that got me to grab the pair. Hercules was pretty fun, but Hades has a few more flaws that hold him back. Ultimately, he’s fine if you want to stick him on a shelf or a desk or something, but his actual playability is kind of low.