|Hair color||Red (UK annual)|
|Abilities||Changes from human to robot or monster|
|Played by||Lou Scheimer|
Man-E-Faces is a fictional character in the Masters of the Universe franchise. He is a member of the Heroic Warriors, notable by his distinctive appearance, with his large, blue metal head on which his faces appear in its screen-like opening. His ability is to change his face from his regular human face to that of a robot and a monster. The purposes for which he uses his faces have varied throughout different media. Initially conceived as an actor cursed with a split personality, in the two cartoon series he uses his faces for the purpose of playing different roles as well as additional powers.
Early mini-comicsMan-E-Faces was one of the characters developed for the second wave of figures, and makes his first appearance in the Mattel mini-comic "The Ordeal of Man-E-Faces". In this comic, he is an actor who is captured by Skeletor and made to drink a potion which changes him into a vicious monster which attacks everyone it sees. The Sorceress involves herself and changes Man-E-Faces back to his human self, but Skeletor asserts his dominance and turns him back into the monster. The struggle creates a third persona, a super-intelligent robot which is neither good nor evil. Although He-Man manages to free Man-E-Faces from Skeletor's spell, the robot and monster are now permanent parts of his character and he vows to fight until he is free from the curse. This version of the character also appears in the DC Comics miniseries, and the early UK annuals also present him in such way.
1980s cartoon series
In He-Man and the Masters of the Universe by Filmation, the portrayal of Man-E-Faces is somewhat changed. Rather than being cursed with a split personality, he is an actor who uses his alternate faces primarily for the purpose of playing roles on stage. He is also able to change to numerous other faces alongside his robot and monster faces. This change to his character is probably made in order to make his character less dark and therefore more suitable for the younger audience the show was aimed at.
He is given an origin episode early in the series, in the episode "The Mystery of Man-E-Faces". This episode reveals that he was originally a villain who terrorized others with his faces, but not so much out of evil desires as personal insecurity and basic survival needs. He was an outcast feared by virtually everyone for his ability to change his face, which in turn made him "cold and cruel" and so he began to abuse others out of resentment for mistreating him and to compensate for his personal crisis. He was captured by Skeletor, who intended to recruit him as a henchman, but as he was not really evil he had no desire to join Skeletor and was forced into fighting He-Man against his will when his monster face was controlled by Beast Man's power. He-Man believed that Man-E-Faces was not a villain, and the Sorceress agreed, so with urging from He-Man, the Sorceress used her magic to help Man-E-Faces overcome Skeletor's influence. Grateful for their help, he returned the favor by helping to thwart Skeletor's attack on Castle Grayskull and, after telling them his story, feeling he had at last found the friendship and kindness he needed, he joined the Royal court as an actor.
The cartoon's version of the character seems to use his faces more for the purpose of acting rather than anything significant to battles. He is only used in one subsequent episode, "The Shadow of Skeletor", in which he uses his acting abilities to impersonate Beast Man, going undercover in a "Beast Man" disguise to spy on the Evil Warriors. Although initially conceived as one of the main characters of the franchise, his appearances are sparse in all media given that he proved a difficult character to integrate into storylines no matter what purposes his faces were used for.
The original script for the 1980s episode "Into the Abyss" was to feature a third appearance in the show by Man-E-Faces, rehearsing for a play in an scene in which Ram-Man is made to read out the part of Man-E-Faces' love interest. But this scene was cut from the script to avoid ruining the atmosphere of a generally dark episode.
Unmade Filmation series
Man-E-Faces was part of the series bible for the unmade series "He-Ro, Son of He-Man" proposed to Mattel by Lou Scheimer in 1995 but rejected. The series bible featured a redesign of his character, but this version seemed to resemble the original Man-E-Faces in name alone, his appearance radically different and his role that of a shapeshifter rather than an actor, whose ability was to change his whole body rather than just his face.
2002 seriesMan-E-Faces is featured in the 2002 relaunch of the Masters of the Universe toy line, and its accompanying cartoon series. His character was substantially developed from the old version, he is depicted as part of the regular team of warriors who aid He-Man and his appearances are significantly more frequent. Although the new series stuck with Filmation's portrayal of him, as an actor who uses his faces for roles, albeit sticking with his standard robot and monster faces rather than any extra ones, the writers developed him by giving him the ability of using his different faces for different techniques useful in battle. His monster face provides him with extra courage and strength, while his robot face provides him with extra intelligence and the ability to scan people and objects for important data. He is frequently referred to as 'Man-E-Robot' or 'Man-E-Monster' when using these faces. He is given a mace as a weapon, which he uses as Man-E-Faces and Man-E-Monster, but can change into a blaster when he becomes Man-E-Robot. The episode "The Monster Within" gives him a split personality complex reminiscent of the original concept behind the character. This episode features his monster face falling under Beast Man's power over animals and attacking his fellow Masters. He subsequently feels guilty about what his weakness under Beast Man's powers has caused him to do and announces he will never play the role of the monster again. However, he later helps He-Man win the day by battling through the monster side of his personality and retaining touch with his true self when Beast Man next attempts to put the monster under his power, using his acting skills to trick Beast Man into thinking he has succeeded, before fending off the Evil Warriors.
The new series also portrays him as a chess champion when using his robot face, and he seems to be best friends with Ram-Man, possibly influenced by the old episode "The Shadow of Skeletor" in which they declare themselves best friends.
Like the 1980s cartoon, after his initial origin story, nothing is made of his 'Human... Robot... Monster' abilities.
- The Ordeal of Man-E-Faces
- Skeletor's Dragon
- Hordak: The Ruthless Leader's Revenge!
- Mantenna and the Menace of the Evil Horde!
- The Treachery of Modulok