Snake Men (Masters of the Universe)
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (February 2010)|
|First appearance||King of the Snake Men (1985)|
Released later in the original franchise's run, there was considerable retconning to work the Snake Men into the existing Masters of the Universe mythos.
In the distant past the Snake Men were a vast, ruthless army that conquered numerous worlds, and served an evil ruler named King Hiss. Hiss and the Snake Men tried to conquer Eternia, and created Snake Mountain as their base of operations. However, the Elders of Eternia proved too powerful for the Snake Men and used their magic to cast Hiss and his army into a limbo-like dimension. This caused the empire of the Snake Men to collapse, although a small number of them remained on Eternia. Eventually, Hiss is set free by Skeletor, who had made Snake Mountain his base.
Hiss and Skeletor form an uneasy alliance against He-Man, the greatest opposition to their mutual dreams of conquest. Skeletor's Snake Man minion, Kobra Khan, serves as his ambassador to King Hiss. Together the two villains are able to trap He-Man. They attempt to use their combined magic to pull the entire Snake Man army back into Eternia, but even their combined magical abilities united are only strong enough to return two snake soldiers: Tung Lashor and Rattlor, who had been on Etheria in the employ of the Horde. Realizing that they need more potent magic to resurrect the entire army, Hiss and Skeletor take He-Man's Power Sword, and attempt to use it to summon forth all the Snake Men. However, He-Man is able to free himself and recover his sword, foiling the return of the reptilian hordes.
Despite their initial failure, King Hiss and Skeletor move forward with their plans of conquest. The two villains once again combine their magic to raise three great towers that had been buried eons ago by the Elders of Eternia. The Elders had sunk the towers below the earth to ensure that they would never fall into the hands of the Snake Men or any other evil forces. The three towers were Grayskull Tower, which possesses the power of good, Viper Tower, possessing the power of evil and Central Tower which possesses the power of both. Hiss and Skeletor both secretly plan to betray each other once they have taken control of the towers. Though Skeletor is unable conquer Central Tower, a feat which would have given him the power of all three towers, King Hiss is able to seize Viper Tower. Using the magic of Viper Tower he is able to transport two more Snake Men from limbo, Snake Face and Sssqueeze.
Not long after, in a battle in Viper Tower, He-Man turns all the Snake Men into stone, by reflecting Snake Face's power of petrifaction back at them. Snake Face and Sssqueeze appear in the later minicomic "Energy Zoids".
Later He-Man and the Sorceress venture into Eternia's past, to the time when the Snake Men originally invaded Eternia. Witnessing the Snake Men terrorizing a village He-Man wants to step in, however the Sorceress prevents him, as his interference could alter history. However, unbeknownst to the Sorceress, Skeletor had followed them through the time stream. Upon arriving he joins forces with King Hiss, saying that he wishes to help them and that his magic powers could help destroy the Elders. King Hiss accepts Skeletor offer and thinking to himself "Perhaps this is an emissary from the Unnamed One whom we serve". The full meaning of this statement is never disclosed. The Snake Men rode into battle on the backs of mechanically augmented dinosaurs.
Seeing that Skeletor had entered the past, the Sorceress decides that it is necessary for He-Man to become involved, disguising him with her magic, she sends He-Man into battle against Skeletor, King Hiss and the Snake Man army. However, before the battle can conclude a shadowy figure, He-Ro, intervens. Using magic he hurls Skeletor, the Sorceress and He-Man back to the future. The final fate of the Snake Men is never revealed, as the Masters of Universe toyline and its accompanying mini comics came to end.
None of the Snake Men are featured on Filmation's animated series, with the exception of Kobra Khan, a snake figure in Skeletor's service introduced earlier in the franchise's run. When the Snake Men were introduced, Kobra Khan was said to be a go-between, working for both Skeletor and King Hiss. The cartoon series had ceased production before the Snake Men could be introduced. Two Snake Men, Rattlor and Tung Lashor, were adapted to appear in the spin-off She-Ra: Princess of Power series, where they worked for Hordak as members of the Evil Horde, portrayed as generic warriors with no nod to their Snake Men origins. Tung Lashor, simply called "Tung" in some appearances, in particular bore little resemblance to his figure version, and inexplicably, is seen to be working for Skeletor in one episode, despite still wearing a Horde emblem.
The Snake Men play a large role in the second season of the Mike Young Productions cartoon series. Upon re-runs, the second season was renamed Masters Of The Universe Vs The Snake Men. They are a diverse group led by King Hiss, who prove to be as much a danger as Skeletor, who only makes three appearances through the entire story arc. Similar to the old story, the Snake Men are an ancient threat that plagued Eternia in the distant past until they were locked away in the void by the power of the Elders. The threat of the Snake Men was so ancient that in a way it predated the creation of the Elders themselves during the time of King Grayskull who fought against this menace. However, in this new version, they are presented as a very strong army, who, as well as taking on He-Man, are also at war with Skeletor instead of forging an alliance with him. All the Snake Men are extremely devoted to their leader, and would willingly sacrifice their lives for him. In fact, being eaten by King Hiss is considered a great honor for Snake Men. They are a proud race who view other races - even their own descendants - as inferior beings. The ancient Snake Men openly practice eating their captives by swallowing them whole - something their descendants no longer practice.
The Snake-Men first appear when Kobra Khan, a distant descendant of the Snake Men pretends to join Skeletor - but only to gain access to the chamber where King Hiss and his army have been sealed. Though he manages to open the seal and drag Zodak and He-man down into the dimension, they re-seal it, though not before General Rattlor manages to escape. Khan and Rattlor offer an alliance to Evil-Lyn, who - angered at Skeletor due to his betrayal of the Evil Warriors - helps them permanently free the Snake Men from their prison this time. After dealing with Skeletor, King Hiss leads his army against Castle Greyskull and manages to enter it, poisoning the Sorceress. He is defeated and cast down into the abyss by He-Men, and his army jumps after him. Revealed to have been survived when scouts find his shedded skin, King Hiss engages in multiple plots to conquer Eternia after this - often having his army out hunting for powerful artifacts. At one time he even succeeds turning almost all Eternians into subservient Snake Men before He-Man breaks the magic. Most of his efforts are directed towards resurrecting Serpos, the three-headed serpent god whose petrified form is now known as Snake Mountain. In the Season 2 finale, King Hiss succeeds, and Serpos lays waste to Eternia. King Randor and the Masters are captured and Hiss assaults Castle Greyskull. In a final battle, tapping into the power of the Council and opening up the Sword of Power, He-Man manages to imprison Serpos again, while Zodak battles King Hiss and turns his own power against him - hypnotizing his heads to eat his central head, putting him into a coma. With their leader gone, the Snake Men scatter.
- King Hiss: Leader of the Snake Men, can shed his human-like "skin" to become a mass of snakes from the waist up. In the 2002 series The Sorceress describes King Hiss as wielding magic as old as that of the Elders. The exact nature of this statement is unclear. He is known to devour his enemies at several occasions. 
- Rattlor: Possesses an extending neck, and rattling tail. He appears in the She-Ra: Princess of Power animated series as a member of the Evil Horde, and in the 2002 animated series, where he is presented as the General of the Snake Men army trying to release their leader, King Hiss. In this incarnation he is much larger and muscular and is always addressed as General Rattlor. He resents Kobra Khan, who knowingly let him rot in an Eternian prison after his capture, and the two have a fierce rivalry for the favor of King Hiss, though they work together in battle.
- Kobra Khan: His character pre-dates the introduction of the Snake Men. He appears as one of Skeletor's Evil Warriors in the He-Man and the Masters of the Universe animated series, in which he sprays a sleeping gas, and on one occasion, is shown to have stretchable arms similar to the Sssqueeze character. In the 2002 animated series, he has the ability to spray blinding acid, and is a present-day descendant of the imprisoned Snake Men. Despite freeing the others from capture and serving Hiss loyally, the other Snake Men often look down on Kobra Khan for not being a "true" Snake Man - often teasing his skittishness to devour living humans. Despite this, Khan is utterly loyal to King Hiss, and a clever opportunist who tries to move up the hierarchy to become second in command to him.
- Tung Lashor: Possesses a super long extending tongue. He appears in the She-Ra: Princess of Power animated series as a member of the Evil Horde and in the 2002 animated series. The original He-Man cartoon had ceased production when his figure was released.
- Sssqueeze: Possesses super-long bendable arms. He only appears in the 2002 animated series.
- Snake Face: Snakes extend from his face and shoulders to "petrify" opponents. During the return of the Snake Men, Snake Face was beaten by He-man who used his shield as a mirror and turned Snake Face's power back on him, petrifying him. The petrified Snake Face is seen later in the Eternian prison. He only appears in the 2002 animated series.
- Sometimes called Tanglor.
- "Masters of the Universe Chronicles Episode 8". The Pop Culture Network.
- "Masters of the Universe Season Two Slithers To A Successful, If Premature, Ending". Toon Zone. Retrieved 2009-10-16.
- "The 14 Least Masterful Masters of the Universe". io9. Retrieved 2013-11-03.
- "Masters Of The Universe Classics King Hssss Issss Sssso Awssssome!". MTV. Retrieved 2011-05-01.
- Marketed as The General in the 2002 version
- "Power-Con/ThunderCon 2012: Mattel Reveals 3 Upcoming Masters of the Universe Classics Figures". MTV. Retrieved 2014-02-07.