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Battle Cat

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Battle Cat is a huge, armored tiger that serves as the companion of He-Man in battle. Equipped with a saddle, Battle Cat can carry several warriors into battle like a steed, but his ferocious claws make him more formidable in combat than a mere horse. In many versions of Masters of the Universe continuity, he can speak, making him not simply a pet but a trusted confidant of He-Man.

In stories where He-Man is secretly Prince Adam, Battle Cat is similarly the alter ego of Adam's pet tiger Cringer. Whereas Cringer is lazy and cowardly, and usually doesn't even want to assume his heroic form, Battle Cat is headstrong and eager for action and excitement.

Minicomics

Battlecat header

In the early minicomics by Donald F. Glut and Gary Cohn, Battle Cat is simply a wild animal that answers when He-Man calls out to him in the woods.[1] Because of his role as He-Man's steed, his appearances are limited by the need to feature the other modes of transportation from the toy line, such as the Battle Ram and the Attak Trak. At first there is little indication that Battle Cat is anything more than a trained beast, but in The Terror of Tri-Klops! he converses with the other Heroic Warriors as if he were human.

In the story "Masks of Power", Battle Cat is shown together with Fisto and Prince Adam. If this was not a mistake by artist Alfredo Alcala, it indicates that Cringer either did not exist in that timeline could somehow could change into Battle Cat himself.

DC Comics

The Paul Kupperberg comics published by DC introduce Prince Adam and Cringer as the alter egos of He-Man and Battle Cat. Adam is an imposing, if irresponsible, warrior who is granted the power to become He-Man while defending a jungle village from Damon. Cringer, born in those same jungles, does not join him until later, unrevealed events.[2] Cringer is always upset by whatever disrupts his peace and quiet, except when he and Adam are summoned to the Cavern of Power and are transformed into their superheroic forms. Although Battle Cat is large enough for He-Man to ride on his back, Cringer is merely the size of an ordinary tiger.

Filmation era

BattlecatSavesGirl

Battle Cat allows people who He-Man rescues to ride on his saddle too.

For Filmation's animated series He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, both Cringer and Battle Cat are largely unchanged from the Kupperberg stories. The Cavern of Power is replaced with a transformation sequence, wherein Adam holds up his sword and calls upon the power of Grayskull to turn him into He-Man in a burst of energy. He-Man then points his sword at Cringer, directing some of the power to his friend until he grows and changes into Battle Cat. Although He-Man does not have to transform Cringer, it is not clear if Battle Cat can exist while He-Man is Prince Adam.

The origin of the character is established in "Battlecat". The episode recounts that Adam, while on a few days exploring the jungle as a boy, found a green tiger cub being attacked by a vicious sabrecat. After scaring the sabrecat away, Adam took the kitten back to the palace where it was tended to by Man-At-Arms. After it became well, Adam adopted the kitten as his pet. However the kitten was scared very easily, and Adam and the kitten were teased by Teela and the other children, with the kitten being called a cringer. Although Adam defended his pet, the name stuck. The Sorceress appeared and told Adam that Cringer might bring him embarrassment now, but in the future he would be useful. Years passed, and after Adam was given the ability to become He-Man he usually hid from Cringer. However, when an archeological dig was attacked by a recently released monster, Adam transformed into He-Man without knowing Cringer was watching. After spotting him, He-Man tried to reassure his pet that he was really Adam, but after pointing the Sword of Power towards Cringer it let out the usual energy beam, transforming Cringer into Battle Cat for the first time. He-Man was shocked to see the change in the usually timid cat, but remembered the Sorceress' words from when he was a child and he received another message, telling him Battle Cat was now his partner. Using Battle Cat, he was able to confine the beast and save the endangered team.

Compared to He-Man, Battle Cat is far more impulsive, hotheaded, and grouchy than his partner. Whereas He-Man always says and does the right thing, Battle Cat can be short-tempered and sarcastic when he's annoyed.[3] He becomes anxious when there is nothing for him to do, which may indicate the reason he must return to his Cringer form whenever Eternia is at peace.[4]

Upon meeting him, Kittrina of the Cat Folk becomes quite fond of Battle Cat, regarding him as more handsome than He-Man and calling him "big boy." Battle Cat seemed distracted by this affection, although his exact feelings were left unclear. Upon leaving the Royal Palace to return to her people, Kittrina expresses a desire to return to visit Battle Cat, and blows a kiss in Cringer's direction, possibly indicating an awareness of their dual identity.[5]

Masters of the Universe (2002)

Battlecat MikeYoung
For
200X-Battlecat

200X Battle-Cat

the 2002 relaunch of Masters of the Universe, Battle Cat was redesigned with bulkier shoulders and sabre-like fangs, making him more distinct from his Cringer form.

Cringer is somewhat of a pet to Adam. Although it seems clear he can understand what is said to him, he cannot speak and sounds like a typical house cat. He is a coward, although this does not come up as much as in the original series, but more than once he has shown some bravery in order to help Adam. As Battle Cat, he is most often seen merely transporting He-Man and roaring loudly. In the first season of the 2002 animated series he only has a few fight scenes, going one-on-one with Panthor, helping against Evilseed's vines, fighting giant mutated rats, taking out Clawful and fighting a powered up Tri-Klops.

In season 2 the writers gave him a more active role; he often fights against the Snake Men (he nearly kills Kobra Khan) and Skeletor's forces. Since he never speaks, there seems to be an effort to portray his relationship with Adam/He-Man as more than master/pet, most often through either Battle Cat or Cringer being badly injured and He-Man entering a rage, or by He-Man explaining things to him.

During the Sorceress's vision of King Grayskull's past, it is revealed that he rode on a gigantic green lion, who wore the same helmet and armored claws as Battle Cat. This lion helped defend the castle and was the only one of Grayskull's companions not to become an Elder. What happened to him is uncertain, however it does mean that Cringer's presence at He-Man's creation may not have been coincidental. Assuming the lion followed its master into the Sword of Power, this would perhaps form the basis for Battle Cat's power.

Appearances

Note: For Battle Cat's appearances as Cringer, see Cringer.

Minicomics

Animated

He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983)

Season One

Season Two

She-Ra: Princess of Power

Season One

He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (2002)

Feature-length movies

Toys

Masters of the Universe

Battlecat 1982

The original Battle Cat, based off an earlier Mattel design for a safari-themed toyline, is a moulded plastic figure with zero articulation; its legs are fixed and cannot move. The figure comes with a removable helmet and saddle (allowing for the closest we ever got to a Cringer toy, albeit a ferocious one). The figure is in scale, capable of fitting one standard figure astride it.

Masters of the Universe (2002)

Battlecat 2002

The second figure is much more detailed, including a button-operated claw-slashing action. The figure comes with removable armor and helmet, as well as removable claw guards. The weapons attached to the armor have lever-operated launching projectiles, and the figure is again in scale with the line of human-scale figures within the same toyline.

Masters of the Universe Classics

The third figure from the "MOTU Classics" line is a far more detailed figure. Battle Cat's armor is now a magenta-type color, instead of the straight red from the vintage line. The figure has far more articulation, and has more textured details.

References

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