Monday, July 11, 2016

Villain Retrospect - Mumm-ra

Why was this always cooler than the big scary guy?

I've never been very familiar with Mumm-ra.  Whether it was just too hard to find Thundercats on television, or I liked the mutants better, or something else, I have no idea what Mumm-ra does.  I know there's that cool stock footage transformation scene when he summoned the forces of evil, and I remember the bandages flying around his head like Medusa.  Beyond that... not much. 
What I don't know about this guy:
1.  Why did he want the Sword of Omens?  Did he know about it before the Thundercats landed on Third Earth?
2.  Why did the mutants work for him?  I seem to remember he made them work for him, but how?
3.  What kind of powers did he have?  I know powers were fluid with 80s cartoon villains, but they usually had some kind of theme.
4.  What was his origin?  Was this ever even shown in the series?

Seriously? This is absolutely insane.
I can't remember much about Mumm-ra.  Well, besides Ma-mutt.  What was the purpose of that?  Was Snarf not kid-friendly enough, they needed another mascot? And why wasn't it named Mu-Mutt?  They couldn't even spell it right to share the naming convention?

Now, I can't criticize this guy too much without knowing him, but I can't help but think of the correlations between him and Skeletor.  You've got a blue monster villain with ill-defined powers that wanted the good guy's sword.  I know people tend to compare their heroes, He-man and Lion-o (their names even have the same hyphen!), but I think their villains are the true copycats.  Mumm-ra gets his powers from a mysterious force, and it could even be argued that Skeletor did the same, since he once worked for Hordak and the Horde. 

To me that raises one question:  Why do cartoons share seemingly everything?  Did everything come from a pool of cartoon tropes?  Was there a lot of crossovers with writing staff?  One day, I'd love to ask a writer just that.

So let's rate this guy. 
In terms of coolness, I have to give Mumm-ra an 8.  I mean look at the guy, he one of the most imposing of his peers.  He's a mummy!  Then he becomes a bigger, less-clothed mummy.  Granted, I think the chest tattoo of the two-headed snake looked out of place, since he was the only one with an insignia, but it wasn't any different than Megatron's Decepticon symbol.  Well, I guess it is, since Megatron's fit on a robot chest, it could be a paint application.  Mumm-ra's should have been a crest or amulet with it and it would have looked cooler.  Regardless, Mumm-ra was one scary guy.
Effectiveness - You'd think since I couldn't remember the cartoon much, that I couldn't give him a rating on this.  Seriously, though, it's not as if any cartoon villain was ever truly effective and none can be rated over a 5 (without a movie to boost it, of course).  One thing I do remember if him usually showing up in the end after the mutants screwed things up, so I think it's safe to give him an average 5

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