Friday, August 31, 2012

TEMPLE OF DARKNESS (mini-comic, 1983)

Temple of Darkness is a 1983 Masters of the Universe mini-comic written by Tina Harris and penciled by Larry Houston. Here, Skeletor captures Zoar and the Heroic Warriors have to journey through the Sands of Time to rescue her. It bears some rather substantial similarities to the cartoon episode “Temple of the Sun.”

You know, this comic was working just fine up until the part where they fight giant clock monsters. Beyond the fact that these “time demons” look like alarm clocks, we have He-Man and pink-clad Teela (who’s pulled a ten-foot pole out of nowhere) making awful jokes*. The only redeeming thing in these panels is Man-At-Arms calmly wrecking shop with his gun. And after this, we get a monster recycled from earlier in the issue.

Even though it feels like the Heroic Warriors fight a lot of different things, the story essentially ends on page 11. That gives us an unnecessary three and a half pages of wrap-up (including a final splash page with Ram Man apparently flying). 

Houston’s art is never better than adequate (Given how this comic ties to the cartoon, could he not draw us a scorpion? Are they that hard to draw?). His drawing of Man-At-Arms climbing a pole (p. 9) is just poor. And what the heck is Ram Man doing on page 13? Is He-Man standing on his foot? Was he about to ask Teela out? Even so, Houston does do a good job recreating Skeletor’s incredulous facial expression from the cartoon. And now he’s drawing Man-At-Arms with symmetrical armor, like his cartoon counterpart.

This one might be dumb, but at least it’s entertainingly dumb.


Read it HERE

*Like the giant scarab (the first one) says when He-Man chops its face off, “Yowl! Aughh! Hiss!”

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


The Revenge of Skeletor is a 1983 Masters of the Universe children’s book; no author or artist is credited. It’s a read-along book with a record/audio cassette; I’m only reviewing the book itself. Here, Skeletor kidnaps Teela using the old jump-out-of-the-bushes ploy so he can extort He-Man for the Power Sword.

Abducting Teela is the laziest and most overused He-Man plot of all time, and apart from Skeletor threatening to launch her into space, there’s nothing new happening here (well, there’s the Power Sword burning Skeletor when he picks it up; let’s just say there’s nothing new and good).

About the only thing this book does that’s worth noting is that it recaps the origin of Skeletor following Michael Halperin’s series bible (he’s from Eternia’s evil “sister” planet, Infinita).

Like the previous books in this series, Castle Grayskull and He-Man and Battle Cat, the art is terrible. And what non-poor art there is here is reused from those books.

In short, The Revenge of Skeletor doesn’t do anything anywhere near well enough to recommend it.


Read it HERE

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

DOUBLE-EDGED SWORD (mini-comic, 1983)

Double-Edged Sword is a 1983 Masters of the Universe mini-comic. No author is credited; it was illustrated by Larry Houston and Michael Lee. Here, Skeletor attacks the Royal Palace with vine monsters that only He-Man can damage. Apart from the inclusion of a little kid who has a grandfather and wants to join the Palace Guard, this story bears no resemblance to the cartoon episode of the same name.

The story (which doesn’t actually feature any story element that could be described as a double-edged sword) manages to give us a little suspense – how will He-Man get out of the pit? The answer may disappoint you. Houston’s art is again average, and again he gives us more non-white characters, which is always fine with me. And at last, we get Man-At-Arms’s mustache in a mini-comic. But where did Battle Cat disappear to in the middle of the story?

Charles Simpson is the colorist; I don’t know what his problem is. In The Secret Liquid of Life, he had Teela in a yellow outfit; here she’s in pink. Doesn’t he know that no one on Eternia owns a change of clothes (or perhaps more likely, that they own many changes of clothes that all look exactly the same)?    

This one’s no classic, but it’s perfectly readable.


Read it HERE

Monday, August 27, 2012


He-Man and Battle Cat is a 1983 Masters of the Universe children’s book; no author or artist is credited. It’s a read-along book with a record/audio cassette; I’m only reviewing the book itself. Here, Man-At-Arms summons He-Man to prevent Skeletor from entering Castle Grayskull.

There’s precious little going on here; the book is almost entirely introduction and setup, and the conflict with Skeletor is resolved in two sentences. Just like in Castle Grayskull, the art is extremely poor: crude, poorly drawn figures with little background. The UK version of the book adds both color and background, but it still looks bad.

There are some shenanigans going on in this book, too. He-Man wins by shooting a beam from his sword (I guess his hearts were full). And, explicitly, Cringer is an orange tiger that becomes green when he turns into Battle Cat (to protect his identity, no doubt).

Other than that, there’s not much to see here. Move along.


Read it HERE

Saturday, August 25, 2012

HE-MAN AND THE INSECT PEOPLE (mini-comic, 1983)

He-Man and the Insect People is a 1983 Masters of the Universe mini-comic written by Michael Halperin and illustrated by Alfredo Alcala. Here, He-Man and friends journey to the center of Eternia to investigate a series of earthquakes.

It’s good to see Beast Man acting on his own initiative, even if he cuts and runs at the first sign of trouble. And while this is a story where everything gets resolved by He-Man punching things, it follows a logical plot more cohesively than some of the stuff we’ve been looking at lately.

Alcala’s art is excellent as always, with great underground atmosphere, cool-looking monsters, dynamic action panels, and religiously accurate depictions of the figures. Marlena’s looking more like her cartoon counterpart here, although Randor’s still a decrepit old man. And the Power Sword apparently doubles as a lantern.

Alcala’s art makes the difference again – too bad he couldn’t do all the mini-comics.


Read it HERE

Thursday, August 23, 2012


Castle Grayskull is a 1983 Masters of the Universechildren’s book; no author or artist is credited. It’s a read-along book with a record/audio cassette; I’m only reviewing the book itself, which relates the origin of Castle Grayskull and (briefly) the account of how Prince Adam got the Power Sword.

This book follows Michael Halperin’s series bible pretty closely, and it reads like a preview for the show: there’s no He-Man-Skeletor conflict here; only promises of conflicts to come (disappointingly, contrary to the book’s cover, there’s no scene with Skeletor getting blasted comically into the air by the castle).

The book features black and white art, presumably by two artists. First, there are a couple of really good, very detailed drawings of the Castle Grayskull playset that get re-used several times throughout the book. Second and more common are some extremely simple and crude line drawings of characters; these are, frankly, terrible. The book is written with a considerable amount of descriptive detail – enough to stand without art – and one wonders whether the illustrations were just thrown in at the last minute.

There’s nothing here that’s not in the series bible, but awful art notwithstanding, this book succeeds as a kid-friendly version of the Filmation origin story.


Read it HERE

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

THE SECRET LIQUID OF LIFE! (mini-comic, 1983)

The Secret Liquid of Life! is a 1983 Masters of the Universe mini-comic written by Michael Halperin and illustrated by Larry Houston and Michael Lee. Here, He-Man and companions help a friend rescue his fiancé.

Here’s a change of pace – a bunch of new characters and no Skeletor. The story seems thrown together (if she was kidnapped, why did Geldor need an illusion?), but it’s nice to see some non-whites on Eternia.  

The art is serviceable. We get some decent action spreads, but we also get a long-haired brunette Teela in a yellow jumper. One doesn’t typically think much about comic letterers, but Stan Sakai drops an “alway’s” on us.   

This one’s not awful, but it isn’t particularly good, either.


Read it HERE

Monday, August 20, 2012

A TRAP FOR HE-MAN by John Grant and Robin Davies

A Trap for He-Man is a 1983 Masters of the Universe children’s book written by John Grant and Robin Davies. Here, Skeletor captures Teela and He-Man comes to her rescue.

First off, this is a story about Teela, not He-Man – He-Man doesn’t show up until three quarters of the way through the book, in large part because Skeletor’s plan is so convoluted. The plot of this story is definitely for young kids (that’s a nice way of saying it’s kind of stupid), but Grant uses more advanced words like “outstrip” and “shied.” I can’t decide if that’s bad writing or good vocabulary building.

The art here is an amateurish disaster. Davies gives us cartoony, disproportionate figures, with bad perspective and bad poses. It’s like something a moderately talented eighth grader might produce.

Most bizarre of all is a scene where Teela beams out thought waves to “the Lord He-Man,” asking for direction (pp. 10-11). Because apparently all the Heroic Warriors are telepathic and/or He-Man is some kind of prayer-answering deity (Skeletor’s entire plan is based on the former). It’s utterly absurd, regardless of whether we pause to consider the implications of this scene’s ludicrous religious overtones.

I hate to give up, but I can’t come up with a single good thing to say about this book.


Read it HERE

Sunday, August 19, 2012

MASKS OF POWER (mini-comic, 1983)

Masks of Power is a 1983 Masters of the Universe mini-comic by Michael Halperin and Alfredo Alcala. It bears only a superficial resemblance to the cartoon episode of the same name. Here, two of Skeletor’s minions steal the Masks of Power; He-Man and Fisto pursue.

To fit the length, the story jumps right into things, but Halperin gives us an extremely solid tale: no bumbling, no incompetence, no foolishness. In addition to his propensity for alliteration, he also incorporates Eternian parallels to the Sword in the Stone and the temptation of Christ.

And Alcala’s art, with its dynamic action scenes, is a highlight again. Notes: 1. Battle Cat's already there with Prince Adam in the first panel, 2. Alcala’s not consistent about including the tab on the harness in the center of He-Man’s back that the toy has*, 3. Adam transforms into He-Man without using his sword, and 4. the Sword of the Ancients looks exactly like the Power Sword except that it’s got the knuckle-guard on it like the toy has. And at last, the mini-comics begin to feature the Filmation falcon-headed Sorceress (well, the white version).

A good story, fantastic art – this might be the first great mini-comic.


Read it HERE

*Yes, I pay attention to these things.  

Friday, August 17, 2012

THE TRAP by W. B. DuBay and Dan Spiegle

The Trap is a 1983 Masters of the Universe children’s book written by W. B. DuBay and illustrated by Dan Spiegle. Here, He-Man is ambushed by Skeletor and awakens to discover that he has both halves of the Power Sword; naturally, he and Stratos head inside Castle Grayskull.

The story is improbably implausible – on his worst day, Skeletor isn’t this incompetent. We’re expected to believe that he passed up a chance to kill or imprison He-Man in favor of pulling an elaborate prank on him instead? And even so, Skeletor almost wins – he’s stopped not by He-Man, but by a random and unexplained bolt of lightning ex machina.

Spiegle’s art is par (I suppose I should say sub-par) for the course. His characters are puffy, lumpy, almost bloated looking. His He-Man is oafish and wears his hair in a short bob. Most unforgivable, though, is He-Man’s harness: instead of wrapping around his torso, the straps run down into his belt, like suspenders. This was offensive to me when I was a little kid, and my feelings haven’t changed.

The Trap is thoroughly poor, and perhaps even insulting to the child mind. The highlight is the cover, although that stupid lightning bolt is there, too.


Read it HERE

Thursday, August 16, 2012

DRAGON’S GIFT (mini-comic, 1983)

Dragon’s Gift is a 1983 Masters of the Universe mini-comic by Michael Halperin (who wrote the He-Man and the Masters of the Universe series bible) and Alfredo Alcala. Here, Skeletor turns Man-At-Arms into crystal, and He-Man must seek help from the dragon Granamyr.

If that sounds familiar, it’s because this was adapted from the cartoon episode “The Dragon’s Gift.” The story’s extremely rushed for that reason, but Halperin more or less gets it all into these few pages.

Alcala returns to the mini-comics with a distinctly different but just as impressive style of artwork, with bright watercolor washes that add an impressive degree of texture. It’s also neat to see the same story done in a completely different artistic style. But what happened to the Attak Trak halfway through?

So, thus we begin the third series of mini-comics, which are now down to 14 pages. From this point on, in terms of story and backstory, the mini-comics conform to the Filmation mythos, although not everything and everyone looks like their cartoon counterparts, presumably because these comics were completed before the cartoon was produced: Adam’s wearing blue, the king and queen are still geriatrics, and Man-At-Arms is still clean-shaven, but Teela, at least, is back to being a redhead, with her hair up, like we’re used to. 

All by itself, Alcala’s art makes this one worthwhile.


Read it HERE

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

THE SWORD OF SKELETOR by Roger McKenzie and Fred Carrillo

The Sword of Skeletor is a 1983 Masters of the Universe children’s book written by Roger McKenzie and illustrated by Fred Carrillo. Here, Mer-Man steals He-Man’s half of the Power Sword for Skeletor so he can get into Castle Grayskull.  

This story was written for pretty small kids, but it’s middling any way you look at it: get in with the usual two-halves plot, plug some toys, throw in some deus ex machina, and get out. Carrillo’s art is adequate: he has a good eye for a scene, but his figures are stiff.

Points of interest:
-So, on a rare occasion where Skeletor gets the upper hand, Zodac decides this isn’t fair and helps He-Man out. Man, Skeletor can’t catch a break.
-On page 2, He-Man’s leading some kind of massive D-Day invasion force. No wonder the initial battle only takes half a page.

Any way you look at it, The Sword of Skeletor is just passable.


Read it HERE

Monday, August 13, 2012


The Masters of the Universe series bible was written in 1982 by Michael Halperin for the 1983 Filmation cartoon and Mattel’s marketing of the toy line. Single-handedly, Halperin created Eternia, its geography, and backstory for all the characters (and “By the power of Grayskull!”), and defined their relationships and conflicts.

A great deal of what’s here will be familiar to faithful watchers of the cartoon. Even so, it’s worthwhile, as many story elements are fleshed out here that are present without explanation in the cartoon. And one can’t help but think that the origin stories presented here could have been the basis for a substantially better He-Man movie than the one we got.

Halperin’s story elements that weren’t used are definitely the most intriguing part of the bible: Eternia as a “good” planet, with a parallel “evil” planet in the same solar system; Evil-Lyn, Beast Man, and Tri-Klops as fellow astronauts with Marlena (Biff Beastman!); an explicit explanation of the power of Grayskull and an origin story for He-Man (both of which the 200X cartoon followed pretty closely).

Also of note are the proto-names (unrecognizable) and descriptions (fairly recognizable) of the supporting cast: names like Gorpo (Orko), Spy Man (Mekaneck), Bugoff (Buzz-Off), Lizard Man* (never merited a toy; only appeared in two episodes), Black Widow (Webstor), Fang Man (Kobra Khan), and Chopper (Jitsu).

There’s plenty more, but let me stop here and just say that this essential reading for those who love the cartoon as well as for those who are genuinely interested in the mythology of He-Man.


Read it HERE

*This is obviously just lazy naming. But what about the implications of that name? Is his given name really Lizard Man? If so, then what are the rest of his people called? Or is “Lizard Man” just what the other Eternians call him? If so, are they racist? Or maybe just horrifically unimaginative?

Sunday, August 12, 2012


Masters of the Universe #3 (“Within These Walls…Armageddon!,” February, 1983) concludes DC’s three-issue mini-series. This one is written by Paul Kupperberg and penciled by George Tuska, but inked by Rodin Rodriguez. Here, the Heroic Warriors finish Skeletor’s job and a rival wizard gets involved.

There’s a lot of random stuff happening here, and it’s kind of a mess, in a “throw everything in the pot” kind of way. Man-E-Faces shows up for no reason other than to boost sales of his action figure (or maybe because his monster face hadn’t been controlled by Skeletor’s magic for a while – that’s the only thing that ever happens to him). In the interests of time, I suppose, the two halves of the Power Sword are hidden together. Seriously. Teela says “Hoo-boy.”

Now let’s be frank: nobody cares about this Damon guy. It’s not just because he doesn’t have an action figure or an appropriate He-Man name – he never feels like he merits either one. He looks like a ridiculous cartoon pirate, and he wears a hoodie tucked into his furry loincloth. He’s impossible to take seriously, and it’s extremely satisfying to see Skeletor open up a can on him.

Rodriguez’s inks are a substantial downgrade from Alcala’s. They’re flatter and plainer, and the art lacks some atmosphere for it (it’s also lacking Stratos’s beard).

After more or less cruising along for two issues, the mini-series falls somewhat flat at the conclusion. At least Superman didn’t show up.


Read it HERE

Saturday, August 11, 2012


Masters of the Universe #2 (“The Key to Castle Grayskull!,” January, 1983) continues DC’s three-issue mini-series by Paul Kupperberg, George Tuska, and Alfredo Alcala. Here, by the bidding of Skeletor, He-Man and friends continue their pursuit of the means to obtain the Power Sword; along the way, they fight a bunch of monsters.

It’s fun to see Skeletor sticking up for the Heroic Warriors; it also helps quite a bit that most of the monsters they fight are pretty cool looking. That said, there’s also a bunch of weird stuff in here about Zoar the falcon turning Adam into He-Man, a bunch of random villagers who know He-Man’s identity (when even Man-At-Arms doesn’t), and Adam with his vest tucked into his furry briefs.

We get more carelessness with the art – Tuska draws Adam instead of He-Man in one panel (the art’s still a plus, though). At least Teela’s back into her regular outfit (although she’s again jarring us with contemporary dialogue (“Down the hatch, guys.”)).

Solid art and quality action make this an entertaining read.


Read it HERE

Friday, August 10, 2012


Masters of the Universe #1 (“To Tempt the Gods!,” December, 1982) begins DC’s three-issue mini-series. It’s written by Paul Kupperberg and illustrated by George Tuska and Alfredo Alcala. Here, Skeletor threatens to kill the Goddess unless He-Man helps him obtain what he needs to retrieve the halves of the Power Sword.

Skeletor extorting He-Man is a novel concept, although there’s really not a lot of different ways that can play out. The story is pretty decent, but it’s burdened with an awful lot of exposition, which is not unexpected. The writing incorporates the stiff, formal, fantasy-genre dialogue, but Kupperberg carelessly puts in the occasional jarring break* (unless he was trying to be funny and not succeeding). While we’re on carelessness, he’s also spelling “Grayskull” with an “e.”

Of greater interest than the story itself is the final evolution of the DC mythos: Adam’s irresponsibility has evolved into his cover story…somewhat – he’s having his cake and eating it too. Suggesting that this story takes place somewhat early in He-Man’s career, He-Man doesn’t have free access to the Royal Palace, and here we see his first interaction with his parents as He-Man. At least he has the good sense to realize that he looks exactly like Prince Adam in different clothes. We also get a tiny bit more astronaut Marlena backstory.

The art has a fitting pulp style, although Tuska’s characters in motion are frequently in bizarre positions. Alcala’s heavy inks make for good atmosphere, which goes a long way. And together they give us some real violence. But there’s some carelessness here, too (in the first few pages, the characters go from indoors to outdoors mid-scene), as well as some inexplicable goings-on: Teela’s wearing some kind of metal Viking bra, and most of Stratos’s people look like, well, regular people.

In all, this is a promising start to DC’s last classic He-Man story.


Read it HERE

*He-Man: “There has never been anything quite like the sharp edge of blade and axe to fell demons!”
Battle Cat: “Bah! I say ’tis fang and claw these creatures fear most!”
Teela: “Argue later, you guys!”

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

THE POWER OF…POINT DREAD! (mini-comic, 1982)

The Power of…Point Dread! is a 1982 Masters of the Universe mini-comic by Cohn, Texeira, and Smith. Here, Skeletor uses his yoga powers to reclaim Point Dread and the Talon Fighter and then launches an assault on the Royal Palace.

It’s always nice to see such a well-populated Eternia. And thanks to the art, this is about the darkest story we’ve had so far: in this, the last of the pre-Filmation mini-comics, we get a full-fledged battle, with soldiers getting violently killed. The creative team does a good job of depicting this clearly without being graphic (although they overdo it with the close-ups of angry faces).

Aside from Skeletor losing his magic crystal out the window, there’s no dumbness to speak of here (heck, Beast Man is really on top of things). Good story, good change of pace.


Read it HERE   

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


Masters of the Universe Preview was published as a 16-page supplement/promotional in over a dozen DC titles in November, 1982 (DC’s three-issue MOTU mini-series came out the following month). Titled “Fate Is the Killer,” it was written by Paul Kupperberg and illustrated by Curt Swan and Dave Hunt.

Here, Zodac shows up and makes a bunch of ominous declarations, He-Man picks a fight with Zodac, Skeletor gets both halves of the Power Sword (again), and Superman shows up (again).

Zodac talks a lot of smack considering that he turns out to be completely wrong and almost ruins everything. A lot of what happens here doesn’t make a great deal of sense, partly because of Zodac but mostly because of the writing. Superman, on the last page: “Er…will someone please explain to me what I’m doing here?” Please, by all means.

There are plenty of new story elements here. Previous comics and mini-comics used formal period-style dialogue; this one does too, and adds some needless archaicisms. Most jarring, Prince Adam is quite the pimp here. Whereas in the cartoon he pretends to be carefree and irresponsible, here he’s really into wenching it up and his playboy lifestyle.

On the whole, this comic is kind of a mess. At least we get to see He-Man run the Power Sword through Skeletor’s gut.


Read it HERE

Monday, August 6, 2012

THE MAGIC STEALER! (mini-comic, 1982)

The Magic Stealer! is a 1982 Masters of the Universe mini-comic by Cohn, Texeira, and Smith. Here, Skeletor stumbles upon an unattended device that will suck all the magic from the planet, because Eternia is apparently the type of place where people leave doomsday weapons just lying around.

Aside from the obvious plugs for the Attak-Trak and Zoar toys, we get to see another of Eternia’s gods and a number of angry “spirits.” This is interesting in theory; it would be interesting in practice if Cohn did anything with these creatures beyond shoot them with lasers.

The creative team tries to up the stakes at the end, where He-Man makes a super-angry face and gives a little inspirational speech (with extra-heavy inks for emphasis), but it’s too late to make this an engaging story.

There are some neat ideas here, but they feel slapped together.


Read it HERE

Saturday, August 4, 2012

THE TALE OF TEELA! (mini-comic, 1982)

The Tale of Teela! is a 1982 Masters of the Universe mini-comic by Cohn, Texeira, and Smith. Here, Teela gets captured (again) and discovers that she is actually a low-powered clone of the actual goddess Teela*, created by Skeletor so he could marry her.

This story is a new one on me. It’s extremely bizarre. And while it ends with the lingering threat of Teela and the Goddess permanently merging, this backstory was immediately dropped and never seen again in favor of the Filmation Sorceress-Teela relationship. Mattel even packaged a different comic with the Teela action figure in later runs, so it’s no wonder people don’t remember this.

Here’s a refreshing plot point: He-Man doesn’t save the day. In fact, he doesn’t have all that much to do; he beats up a few of Skeletor’s minions, but plays third fiddle behind the Goddess and Man-At-Arms.

One implication of this story is that Skeletor has been trying and failing to get into Castle Grayskull for at least two decades. He may not be the best planner, but give him credit for perseverance.

We’ve got some classic villain dialogue here: “My plan was simple! I would create a duplicate of the goddess, using her power, but controlling her double with the power of my will. I would raise this duplicate from an infant, then take her as my bride! Together, we would conquer Castle Grayskull…and all of Eternia!” So simple, indeed, that one wonders how it possibly could have gone awry.

This one’s worth reading, if just for the craziness.


Read it HERE

*By “goddess Teela,” this story means “the Sorceress;” no explanation is given for the title change. While a fairly clear evolution is (and will be) apparent, the recent Masters of the Universe Classics line of figures differentiated explicitly between the snake-headed “Goddess” and the falcon-headed “Sorceress.” Because you can sell more $20+ figures to grown men who will never take them out of the box that way.

Friday, August 3, 2012


DC Comics Presents was DC’s Superman team-up title in the ’70s and ’80s. Issue #47 (July, 1982) marks He-Man’s first appearance in mainstream comics. This issue, “From Eternia – with Death!” was written by Paul Kupperberg and illustrated by Curt Swan and Mike DeCarlo. Here, Skeletor inadvertently opens a portal to Earth (specifically, to two feet in front of Superman), then bewitches Superman to fight He-Man.

Yes, they fight. It’s short, decisive, and not at all the most interesting part of this comic. Superman doesn’t do a great deal for the story, but having your A-list good guys fight each other has been a shameless (and effective) comic book marketing ploy since time immemorial. But from a Masters of the Universe viewpoint, as far as his role in the story, Superman is pretty much interchangeable with any of the other Heroic Warriors that Skeletor works his magic on.    

This is much more a MOTU comic than it is a Superman one, which makes sense given that DC went on to do a couple more things with the franchise in the following year. One of the ramifications of this is that we get quite a bit more Eternian world building than we’ve previously seen.

The DC comics feature a unique mythos that bridges the gap between the earliest He-Man stories and the cartoon in interesting ways. Many of the rudiments of the cartoon are here, including Prince Adam and a talking Cringer, but with distinct differences from their cartoon incarnations. Adam, for example, is a troublemaker, has tremendous strength of his own, and transforms into He-Man by entering the “Cave of Power.” Setting-wise, the transition from “primordial fantasy with advanced technology” to “medieval fantasy with advanced technology” is complete. Interestingly, the Queen-Marlena-is-from-Earth backstory, which is mentioned in the cartoon on a couple of occasions, appears first here. And DC continues to use the long-haired, blond Teela from the second series of mini-comics.

In the end, it’s a satisfying read, primarily because of the world building and new mythology.


Read it HERE

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

THE MENACE OF TRAP-JAW! (mini-comic, 1982)

The Menace of Trap Jaw! is a 1982 Masters of the Universe mini-comic written by Steven Grant and illustrated by Texeira and Smith. Here, trying to get into Castle Grayskull, Skeletor incompetently transports Trap Jaw from another dimension into the castle, giving him access to all its powers and forcing He-Man and Skeletor to cooperate.

Here, we’re to the point where He-Man and Skeletor each have half of the Power Sword. Them joining the pieces together to team up is a neat idea – them essentially holding hands to use it isn’t. That’s the gimmick here; Grant doesn’t do a thing with Trap Jaw (unless you count him zip-lining to safety via the loop in his helmet), and there’s not a lot going on otherwise except that He-Man has exceptionally pretty hair in a couple of panels.

We can certainly do better than this.


Read it HERE