A Poester’s Alternate Review of He-Man & the Masters of the Universe #1

Poester DB sends along this dissenting opinion to my review of the first issue of DC’s He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. (Warning: contains spoilers for the entire miniseries.)

I am going to have to disagree with you on this one, Poe. I read tons of comics nowadays, and have read all of these with the exception of the origin of Skeletor which I don’t have. I agree with you some about the art, but not about the story.

I have heard much bashing of Issue #1. Typical of the MOTU fans I reckon. And I probably sound like Scott Nitelich (spelling?) when I say “Hello! We are getting a NEW COMIC! We should be thankful!” But it’s true. There has been a long dry spell in media related to MOTU since the Mike Young and MV Creations era.

But this time it is really different, and I can see why some people of put off by it. But hear me out please. My He-Man is the same as most peoples…The He-Man from Filmation and the Mini-Comics. The Prince Adam angle has been riffed on a lot. “Mineternia” has not so much. I feel that the writers have done well in advancing the stories forward. We can have a new context to put familiar characters…a context that is going more for the Barbarian angle, I think.

Poe, you mentioned that He-Man would appear on the front of every comic, whether Adam transformed or not….I say “So. That hot babe that Conan is painted with on the cover of his comic NEVER APPEARED IN THE STORY!!!” The cover got your attention, though. Then when you opened the book, you didn’t get what you expected. Isn’t it BETTER that way? If it was what we expected, then it would get old fast. (Prince Adam is transforming AGAIN…time to get a Snicker Bar from the kitchen…) (Or even better. James Eatock’s “This time the artists took special care with the transformation…..)

But we DID see He-Man. In Prince Adam’s dream. And he appears in the Digital Exclusive comics as well.

No. This time we are getting a NEW 52 style MOTU story. Maybe even a FLASHPOINT type of story. A story that accounts for all the schema before. But sort of twists it in a fresh way. In a way that is aimed at adult readers as well. This time it is not for the kiddies so much. I don’t see a problem with that. The MOTUC toys are aimed at us adult collectors? It is time to take off the “kid gloves” and let this Barbaric Sci-Fi Epic Fantasy live to its full potential.

Now the thing about writing for the trade paperback kind of bothers me. But as a comics reader I have come to accept that there will always be fewer one-shots. There are pros and cons about the big story arcs. But they sell books. Otherwise, DC and Marvel would stop printing them for the Graphic Novels. Isn’t that the goal? Resurrect He-Man in the minds of Mattel, and the minds of the people?

I also like that it seems that Mattel has handed the keys over to DC, pretty much, for this project. These books seem to go to places forbidden by Mattel since the filmation era. There is blood and sex appeal. Even a romance story in the Evil-Lynn Digital book. There is a truly evil Skeletor, who shocks you with what he does. A real villain. Not a clown. And if you read the Origin of He-Man, the transformation bit is going to be de-emphasised greatly, it appears. Where could this go? Maybe we will see He-Man finally in a more mature situation with Teela. Maybe they can grow beyond that hinted at love and can finally grow into a full on relationship that leads to marriage and a little Dare. All of this was handled very awkwardly before because it was aimed at kids. Who could forget that whole Fisto and Sorceress “scandal.” Maybe now Mattel and other people won’t have an allergic reaction to a little sex!

One thing about the last run of MOTU comics we got with Val Staples and Emiliano was Mattel seemed to have an iron grip on the property, if you listen to them talk. They could not do certain things. They had to do certain things. I just don’t think this comic is going to be hampered in the same way. Everything from the design to the tone feels like the writers and artists have complete control. I don’t doubt for a second that the upper management still has to see the books ahead of time. I just think they are letting DC Comics be DC Comics. Mattel can keep making toys, which it does best. DC can stick to what they do best.

As far as the art is concerned, I am a little spoiled. To me, the pinnacle of modern comic art was Todd McFarlane. No one can touch him. And I admire Earl Norem’s work so much on He-Man that his stuff canvases all of the computer screens that I regularly use. So nothing will ever be good enough for me, short of McFarlane drawing the comic, or maybe bringing Emiliano back. (I may be biased here…I am fond of Emiliano.)

I have heard a lot of rant about the blond Teela, looking too much like She-Ra. Without giving away too much, the new She-Ra has a “butch” hairdo. I believe that the iconic long blond hair will come back to She-Ra. Just at a later story, when Teela takes over as Sorceress, and thus, the confusion will be minimized. I heard a lot of bashing of the art in the Lazer-Lot digital comic too. I do feel that it was a little rushed. It felt that way to me. But a rushed MOTU comic is better than none! And the Digital exclusives were bonuses that NO ONE SAW COMING if you remember. I wonder if Geoff Johns knew it was coming?

The only designs that I have had an issue with are MerMan (He has a tail?) and Evil Lynn (Maleficent from Disney’s Sleeping Beauty?) I don’t like the Butch “Despaira” She-Ra, but it was a new look that advances her somewhere she has never been. Kind of like Orko…..

Hope there weren’t too many spoilers for you or anyone else, Poe. But I feel strongly about the new comic and I getting my Subscription in today. (Payday!) I hope I am not too late for that first variant cover. Feel free to post this message if you want to, Poe. I’d bet others agree with me….

Comments now closed (16)

  • “So. That hot babe that Conan is painted with on the cover of his comic NEVER APPEARED IN THE STORY!!!”

    while this might be true, of the girl, the point here is that the hero was always on the cover… and your point is kind of not a point, since conan appeared on the cover of his book, and the interior. now, if we got a conan cover on a kull story, sure, you might have had a point, but that's not how she played out.

    an adult story is a good thing, you're absolutely right on that, and so, the new story playing skeletor as dangerous is great… but since they play him as lower on the bad guy totem pole than orko… total and complete fail. skeletor is fenster, orko is keyser soze. yeah, that's great writing right there. *insert copious rolling of eyes and hurling of cookies*

    not saying you don't have some points man, just that, when you say "i sound like scott," well… you do. you're overlooking reasonable criticism in favor of "but at least it's something," and that's just towing the company line man. if kellogg's sold you a box of raccoon feces instead of corn flakes, would you be grateful that at least there was something in the box? to me, and i think a large contigent of the fandom, we'd rather have corn flakes, or move on to another cereal, rather than sully my 2% with feces.

    • i dont know what the point of his argument is to even begin with. comic covers depict things that dont even come close to what happens in the book all the time… havent we all kind of understood by now they are just blow-out-ads to try and get people to pick up the book?

    • ''but at least it's something'' is not the way fans should feel about a property. I know as I experienced it with the 2011 Thundercats. At first it was cool having a Thundercats cartoon and toys back but then I realised quickly it did the franchise nor the fans no good as the toys and cartoon were both terrible.

  • Putting sex and violence on a comic does not make it adult. It makes it an adolescent interpretation of what adults really do appreciate in good storytelling. Game of Thrones is good storytelling, and Spartacus is porn.

    A writer who really loved the mythos and was invested in it would seek to keep the familiar kernels of the characters but make them more complex, and not just reimagine characters or put them in new roles.

    • Spartacus is awesome! And so much more than p0rn.

      How could anyone watch the most recent episode without being emotionally impacted by any number of developments?

      • Easily: I was turned off of it long ago and wouldn't have made it to the most recent episode.

        • spartacus and game of thrones have about the same amount of sex… anyone who stopped watching after episode 2 will think it is all sex/blood and no story

    • Game of Thrones is great.. They film some of Game of Thrones near where I live, my friend was an extra in it.

  • Yeah, uh… "Romance in the Evil-Lyn story?" You mean where she sleeps with this random guy to gain power? Totally romantic, there.

  • I just like seeing something different, guys. DB. It isn't the same old story we've had. It's not aimed at five year olds. It IS aimed at adolescents and older. I,m just saying…. DB

  • If the goal of this comic is to resurrect He-man in the minds of Mattel and the minds of people, then I think going too mature would hurt that. I have not read these comics, but your review and others' comments make it sound like it is inappropriate for young readers. Those are the people we need to get behind He-man, the kids. He-man was a success in the 80s because there were kids clamoring for them, but if parents don't have any new MOTU media they feel comfortable introducing their children to, then the kids will just keep going with those cartoon/card game shows.

    I recently re-watched G.I. Joe: Resolute, and G.I. Joe: Renegades. When Resolute first came out I thought it was very cool; but after watching it again I thought "they didn't have to have all of this 'adult' stuff in it, it's not fun like G.I. Joe is supposed to be, and kids can't watch it." Then I see Renegades, where the stories are interesting so older audiences can get into it, but they're also fun and safe for the little ones.

    Once again, I have not read these so I don't know for sure, but after reading your summary it sounds to me like this would be MOTU: Resolute; which does not sound like fun, and will not get new people interested in it. MOTU fans are already MOTU fans; but the comic should reach out to a wider audience.

  • totally agree with the idea of this being a new 52 style heman story. EVERYTHING about it fits into the new 52 mentality. the art, the gimmicks, the storytelling, the "adult"ness
    granted i dont love everything new 52 for a lot of those reasons………