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Series: Power of the Primes
Allegiance: Neutral
Categories: Prime Master
Year: 2017

Prelude: Prime Master review two of eight, featuring Liege Maximo and his Skullgrin decoy armor. While some of the choices for pairing a Prime Master with a Pretender-based decoy armor are strange, Skullgrin fits very well here. In his sole Marvel Comics appearance Liege Maximo was shown with curved horns, and Skullgrin got the curved horns going on as well. So get out your Ram-Staffs, prepare to drink from the horned skull of your decoy armor, and prepare to be regaled by my review about the Prime Master of mischief. Here we go!

Smaller Robot: Nothing really new to say here. Liege Maximo is the standard Titan / Prime Master robot in a grey and purple paint job. On his back he has the Prime rune, which kind of looks like the face of a purple robot wearing lots of green make-up (green and purple being the colors of DC’s Joker, of course, which might well be intentional). The robot can fold together into an engine that can plug into the chest armor of Power of the Primes figures (including combiners) or the neck sockets of Titans Return Headmasters. That’s pretty much it. Basic articulation, small, can fold into a square. Moving on.

Decoy Armor: Comparing the Skullgrin decoy armor to the original G1 Skullgrin, the most obvious difference is, of course, the size. The decoy armor is less than a third the size of the original. Also different, the detailing, which looked very organic on the Pretender, but rather edgy and more robotic on the decoy. Otherwise, though, there is no doubt that these two are supposed to be the same guy. They even share more or less the same articulation range, able to move their arms at the shoulders and no more than that.

Like all Power of the Prime decoy armors, the Skullgrin armor, too, can become a weapon. In this case it’s not a fire arm, though, but rather a melee weapon, a three-fingered attack claw. The blades of the claw are on his back in robot / armor mode and can be used as a hand weapon by the armor as well. Transformed into weapon mode (with the Prime Master either left inside the armor or folded into an engine on top of it) the attack claw can be held by any Transformer with a 5mm fist hole or weapon port.

Overall I really like the Skullgrin decoy armor, mostly for the look and nostalgia value. The weapon mode is only so-so, but not bad, either.

Remarks: Liege Maximo first appeared at the very end of Marvel’s ill-fated G2 comic book, where he was revealed as the greater power behind series bad guy Jhiaxus and the original progenitor of the Decepticons. It would be decades before the name was mentioned in any official material again. In the IDW comics he appeared as one of the thirteen original Primes, though the comics later revealed that he was but a stooge for the time-travelling Shockwave aka Onyx Prime. He also had a cameo appearance in Transformers: Prime (part of him, at least), as it was his arm, stolen from his tomb, that Megatron used to wield the Forge of Solus Prime. According to the Power of the Primes profiles, Maximo is the trickster among the Primes and can supply those wearing his Prime Master the abilities to smooth talk with the best of them.

As for the Pretenders, I actually preferred the Decpeticons here, mainly because the Autobot Pretenders were basically just generic humans in science fiction armor (mostly). The Decepticons offered far more variety with various monsters, creatures, and a bare-chested stripper with a porn mustache, too. Skullgrin fell under the monster category, so I’m really glad to see the decoy armor bring back his look. The Prime Master itself is nothing special, of course, but the decoy armor really offers quite a bit of nostalgia and play value. So thumbs up here, recommended to everyone with fond memories of the (objectively rather ridiculous) Pretender gimmick.

Rating: B
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