Thursday, September 19, 2013

Kronicle of Kronis

Meet Kronis. I know it usually isn't very fair to judge a person based solely on looks…but in this case, I’ll make an exception if you do choose to jump to your own conclusions. Maybe it’s his dark blue skin and scarred body, or his evil looking grin, or maybe it’s because he’s standing next to that one eyed dude and a big furry ape man with spikes. Either way, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that Kronis isn't the type of person you’d like to run into on your own in a dark alley late at night.

So if you figured out that Kronis is bad news, congratulations, you figured right. Kronis was your typical bad guy mercenary type who entered into the employ of another shady character by the name of Keldor. Now Kronis served under Keldor for quite some time, and for the most part proved himself to be an effective warrior and fairly “loyal” henchman. When Keldor attempted to take over a kingdom ruled by his half-brother, Kronis was right there in the thick of things fighting heroic warriors alongside the rest of Keldor’s motley band of criminals, beasts & monsters.

Unfortunately, Keldor’s takeover bid proved unsuccessful leaving him horribly injured. In a desperate bid to save his own life, Keldor was subjected to dark magic and was forever transformed into…well, this guy.

Now I don’t know if it was the fact that Kronis had had enough of losing, or he just didn’t particularly like following a leader who had a skull for a head, but he decided that this new “Skeletor” was not fit to lead him. Naturally that didn’t sit well with Skeletor and so Kronis was “kicked out of the band”.

Not one to waste any time, Kronis spent his time in exile gathering more bandits, brigands and other questionable fellows into a sizable army that he used to try and overthrow Skeletor with. It was an admirable plan, unfortunately though, he sorely underestimated his enemy’s power. In the thick of his own takeover bid, an over confident Kronis attacked Skeletor head on…and the result was well...not very pretty.

Defeated, with a hideously burned face (so hideous it turned green?), armless and jawless, Kronis was surprisingly spared by Skeletor and was just tossed over to his scientist lackey Tri-Klops, who saw potential in the broken Kronis. In the end, Kronis ultimately ended up serving Skeletor, but no longer as Kronis, but as the forever transformed half man, half machine monstrosity better known as Trap-Jaw! And although it seemed that in his new twisted form, he had turned completely subservient to his master, he turned out to only be biding his time, waiting for the perfect opportunity to strike and gain his revenge.

Like many characters in the MOTU line, Trap-Jaw’s character varies depending on what you refer to. The character of Kronis was introduced (at least visually) in the updated 2002 He- Man cartoon. And his story was fleshed out in the comic that was done in line with that cartoon. And it is my favorite version of Trap-Jaw’s…but it’s not the only one.

A lesser known but somewhat similar version was told in the mini comic that came with the original vintage figure. In that story he is still a hardened psychotic criminal from another dimension that Skeletor accidentally unleashes upon Eternia in another one of his attempts to take over Castle Grayskull. Instead, it is Trap-Jaw who manages to harness the castle’s power and actually defeats He-Man. It takes the combined effort of both He-Man & Skeletor to finally defeat him. And in the end, Skeletor takes the defeated Trap-Jaw and incorporates him into his evil army. It’s worth mentioning that this version of Trap-Jaw is visually different from most versions of the character. Instead of the usual dark blue, his skin here is colored a sickly yellow, and he actually looks a little more barbaric with less mechanical parts. It’s an interesting look.

Unfortunately though, probably the most popular version of Trap-Jaw is the one that came out in the original 80’s Filmation cartoon wherein like most of Skeletor’s crew, he is portrayed as nothing more than a bumbling idiot. Although he did feature prominently in one of my favorite episodes called “Double Edged Sword” wherein he eats a rare Eternian mineral called (surprise surprise) eternium. The mineral grants him power equal to that of He-Man. Luckily for He-Man, the effects are only temporary and he proceeds to beat the crap out of Trap-Jaw once the eternium effects ware off.

Anyway, whether it is the defeated but scheming Kronis from 2002, the psychotic criminal from the mini comics, or the idiot from the Filmation cartoon, one thing remains consistent with all versions of Trap-Jaw…and that is his cool feature/power of a menacing metal jaw (inspired by the classic Bond villain Jaws from the movie Moonraker) and his mechanical right arm that can sport numerous interchangeable weapons and gadgets. This easily makes him one of the cooler, interesting and most memorable characters in the Masters of the Universe mythos…and definitely one my favorite characters of all time.