By Adam Basciano
“Adam’s dreams are plagued by visions of a powerful warrior with his face who battles the armies of Skeletor, but why would a simple woodsman challenge the ruler of all Eternia? A magical falcon confirms his dreams are real, beckoning him to begin a journey to reclaim his power and free the Masters of the Universe.” (DC Comics)
I was a huge fan of the He-Man & the Masters of the Universe cartoon as a kid. I watched the original series and had every toy imaginable. From He-Man all the way to Castle Greyskull itself. So when I found out that my favourite comic book company would be resurrecting a cartoon classic from my youth, I was instantly on board! What we get is a strong revival that invigorates the franchise, adding more weight to the mythology. For a majority of the book Adam, Teela and the rest of the Masters of the Universe have no idea of their true origins, thanks to a curse put on them by Skeletor, now taking up residence in Castle Greyskull. The main characters not knowing who they are and having to go on a journey to discover the truth is a wonderful hook because readers, whether they are long time fans or new to the series, are discovering or re engaging themselves with the mythology at the same time as the characters are. The idea that Skeletor is actually He-Man’s uncle was hinted at in the mini-comics that followed the original cartoon. Thankfully, Keith Giffen picked up this plot point and ran with it. I think it add another level of intensity to these two rivals conflict, akin to that of Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker. I also appreciate the fact that once the curse is lifted, the king knew that his son and He – Man were one and the same! Him not knowing in the cartoon seemed ridiculous, even as a kid! One of the best aspects of the book was the interaction and banter between Adam and Teela! That provided a lot of humor and showcased some great writing. I like how every main villain gets an issue to take the spotlight, as our heroes run the gauntlet leading up to Skeletor. Beast Man, Trap Jaw, Mer-Man, and Evil-Lyn all appear in a build-up to Skeletor. The payoff would have been sweeter if the fight with Skeletor had been a bit longer though.
Art duties for this miniseries were handled for the most part by artist Philip Tan, with assistance from Howard Porter and Pop Mhan. I liked each artist, but the issue that features both Tan and Porter took a few pages to get used to as their styles are a bit different. I found the amount of detail in Tan’s work fluctuated from issue to issue. I liked Porter’s rendition of Skeletor and Castle Greyskull the most. Both looked menacing and foreboding. Issue #5 saw Tan and Mhan share art duties which produced our first look at Battle Cat! As a kid I thought Battle Cat was awesome, yet somehow the art tandem made him even more kick ass here. One thing is for sure, Pop Mhan can drew a fight sequence, just flip through most of the final issue for evidence. While the word epic is overused, it definitely applies when describing the art in this issue. The covers for all six issues are fantastic. Two really call to mind the classic look of the cartoon, while the other four, give the characters a bit of a modern edge and sleek look to them.
After reading this book it got me thinking of how much I enjoyed this series as a kid. It had been a while since I thought about the characters, but I wanted more. Thankfully, I’ll be getting that in the form of an ongoing series. 30 years later, Prince Adam still has the power!
Overall Grade: 8/10