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Stratos

Stratos (Greek: στρατος, meaning "army") is a fictional character from the popular Masters of the Universe franchise.

He is a member of the Heroic Warriors. Stratos is the leader of a race of Bird People from the land of Avion, Eternians with the power of flight and other bird-like abilities. The Bird People are close allies of He-Man, and Stratos is one of his most trusted warriors. Besides the power of flight and his aerial acrobatic skills, Stratos is also a handy spy for the Heroic Warriors due to his sharp, bird-like eyes. He can also fire energy blasts from his hands.

Stratos is unusual in the toy line because, like Moss Man, his action figure uses Beast Man's mould. Stratos' figure has a gray hairy body. Also, the mold had unusual "brass knuckles" on the right hand. In the minicomics, Stratos often fires lasers from this device, though it is not seen in other media.

Character history

1980s

Stratos' portrayal in He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, cartoon series by Filmation is generally consistent with his portrayal in Mattel's mini-comics. He is the leader of the Bird People, who inhabit the airborne land of Avion, located high in the Mystic Mountains. Although he rules over the Bird People, he is frequently called away from Avion to aid He-Man in his battles against Skeletor.

In the mini-comics, Stratos is married to an ordinary human girl, Delora, who also appears in numerous storybooks of the time, in "Wings of Doom", by Ladybird Books, she appears as a blonde Avian with blue clothes, but still Stratos' wife. However, the cartoon makes a significant change to Delora's character by making her Stratos' sister rather than his wife, and therefore one of the Bird People as well. This change was made because the show's producers did not feel their target audience of young boys would react well to love interests within the show. Stratos appears regularly in the early episodes, often fighting alongside Ram-Man. His most significant episode is "Reign of the Monster", which focuses around his kingdom coming under attack by Skeletor. The episode features the only cartoon appearance of Delora. Despite being established as one of He-Man's leading battle comrades, Stratos receives little character development in comparison to other characters, and as a result gradually fades into the background of the series, to the point that his character is almost forgotten, his appearances sparse at best. However, in the middle of the show's second season another episode is written around him: "Betrayal of Stratos", in which he is exiled from Avion after being framed for a crime by a vengeful Birdwoman, Hawk. This episode reveales that his people gain their power of flight from the Egg of Avion, a large egg, which presumably powers the jetpacks on their backs.

Mattel originally intended the character of Stratos to be evil, as is evidenced in early, unreleased promotional material for the toy line.

2002 series

Stratos was used in the contemporary relaunch of He-Man. His appearance is slightly modified. Whereas in the old continuity his wings seem to be artificial and merely attached to his body, the relaunch depicts him with large, widespread wings which are part of his anatomy, and his jetpack serves to enhance, rather than produce, his power of flight. In the new cartoon series, Stratos is seemingly one of the older members of the Masters, and is given a Scottish accent remarkably similar to that of actor Sean Connery. His Bird People once again feature in the new series. The most prominent bird person besides himself is a birdwoman named Hawk, who seems to be a combination of the 80s series' characters Hawk and Delora. Although she shares her name with the classic character Hawk, her personality is different. She is close and loyal to Stratos rather than power-hungry and vengeful like her '80s counterpart. Although their family relationship is never actually mentioned in the series, she is also Stratos' sister, like Delora in the '80s cartoon. This is stated in the series bible as well as the comic books that accompany the show.

Stratos' most significant episodes of the new show are "Sky War", which features his people being manipulated by Skeletor into entering a war with Buzz-Off's race, and "Trust", in which he is forced into forming an uneasy alliance with Trap-Jaw to cross the Ice Mountains.

At one point Stratos was going to be re-designed as being black for the 2002 relaunch, by toy sculptors the Four Horsemen, in response to Mattel's demand for racial diversity within the toy line. However, the Four Horsemen decided the racial change did not go well with Stratos' overall design, and so the character Zodak was made black instead.

Minicomic Appearances

Like other characters, such as Man-At-Arms and Mer-Man, Stratos' appearances in the minicomics decreased as the line went on despite being a central character to start with. It is interesting to note that in He-Man and the Power Sword, whilst he only appears on one page, he is depicted as one of Skeletor's men.

External links

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