Release Date: July 14, 2012
Writer: Kyle Higgins
Penciler: Pop Mhan
Colorist: Carrie Strachan
Letter: Carlos Mangual
Cover: Mhan & Strachan
Assistant Editor: Sarah Litt
Editor: Kwanza Johnson
Plot Synopsis: Set before the Great De-Remembering, the story follows Man-At-Arms’s attempt to retrieve Chrono, one of two relics that once served as Castle Grayskull’s eyes before they were stolen by rival tribes. The Sorceress asks Duncan to retrieve Chrono from the “Knoll Warlocks” who keep it. Duncan infiltrates their temple (making use of some very Predator-like invisibility cloaking and infrared vision technology) and finds the jewel, but the sorcerer who rules the temple catches him and attacks. Despite being stripped of his armor and weapons, Duncan’s Batman-like preparation allows him to win the fight. When he returns Chrono to the Sorceress, she offers to heal him magically but he responds, “I appreciate the offer, Sorceress, but you know me – I’m not a man of magic.”
Kyle Higgins is fairly new to writing comics, but I like what he does here. Working from within a one-shot framework, he crafts a story that gets at an aspect of Man-At-Arms character that hasn’t really been touched on too frequently over the years – specifically, that he’s just a man in a world full of magic-users and supermen. Yes, we’ve seen this plot play out around Batman dozens of times in various Justice League incarnations, but that doesn’t mean it’s not applicable here.
I like Pop Mhan’s art more than Philip Tan’s, already Mhan’s work gets weaker near the end of the issue, most likely due to being rushed.
I’m already noticing a pattern here – the Web exclusives are more enjoyable than the regular comic. They’re one-shots, so the writers get to tell an entire story, and I think the format works a bit better for licenses like MOTU. But I also think the creative teams have been better, too.