SpartanNerd…Catching Up…

Has it really been three years since I posted anything?

This means that throughout Corona…throughout the last several MTG releases…Throughout the ending of MOTUC and the new Masters of the Universe lines that have come out. I have written zilch.

Well, it isn’t because I stopped being nerdy. Believe it or not, online teaching and also attending classes took all of my energy out for this project.

So here’s a few new things that have happened.

Masters of the Universe.– As the Classics line ended, I began to realize I just didn’t have enough space anymore. MOTUC items are pretty large. And I got lots of joy especially from my He-Man and Battlecat and also Skeletor and Panthor. But also the Griffin was one of my favorites. Vikor. But some of the others…I decided I could part with them. And then I decided when I saw the price I could fetch to go ahead and sell my core items. All I have left is Vikor and my custom Battleground Teela. I sold it all in May 2020. For $600. I use that money to re-invest in MOTU Mega Construx. I have the Castle Grayskull and basically every item they have released in that line. A downsize in square footage, it is easier to get these just by walking into a store. There are other advantages.

Sorry about the backdrop-less pic. This is a very large item. Kitchen table will have to do.

I decided early on that the MOTU Origins figures look too crappy…I don’t like the colors. And the Masterverse figures on first reveal, I thought “That He-Man looks “gutsy.” Meaning, the way the belt is that pale color yellow, it blends in too well with He-Man’s skin color on his belly. It looks like he has a gut. The other figures, the one that came out with the new CGI Anime line, do not appeal to me at all. I hear fans (Scott Neitlich) accepting what is going on apologetically, that this line is meant to appeal to the kids. But kids just don’t watch the cartoons anymore. Trust me. I know. Middle school teacher. So they are messing around with beloved source material and creating something “corrupt.”

I have picked up some of the MOTU Minis, and the Hot Wheels.

Magic the Gathering- For something that took up so much of my life and my children’s time, this has become a much rarer treat. Since the COVID-19 lockdowns, there haven’t been as many tournaments. We pretty much decided that SpellTable pretty much stinks. Arena isn’t a strong alternative. Now some tournaments have returned, but we have to drive a long way to get to them. Mostly these are Commander League events. And we haven’t really paid into the leagues on account we can’t reliably attend. Just the same, we have played EDH some. But the thrill of the old Modern tournaments is gone. I have done a few drafts and sealed. But it is doubtful that we will go and draft Double Masters II this weekend. That is $50 or more. To play maybe three rounds. Which I will have to drive a distance to get to … meaning I can’t stay out late in my old age driving home sleepy.

Oh yes…Secret Lair. At first I bought it all. I bought the super bundle…the one with the cats and the goblins. The Walking Dead. After awhile, I realized that this isn’t sustainable for me. They have churned out so many Secret Lairs, each with an enticing value usually, but then if you start adding all that up, you better be rich if you are a completist. I figure the Wizards/Hasbro weren’t achieving their bread and butter anymore on packs because people stopped playing. And Commander is so popular, but you can play virtually any cards you can find competitively even, that they had to capitalize on that crowd the best they could by dangling lots of shiny, pretty, artsy, and seemingly charitable carrots in front of them. So I certainly had to start pacing myself on this one. The last one I got was the Dracula one. I got my kid the pixel art lands. These things…they take forever to arrive. All the shipping delays and production delays that have plagued the past couple of years…Which brings me to the next big one.

Playstation 5. I got the money together for this…in fact some of the money from my MOTUC collection, plus some gifts, etc. I had the funds in hand right before Christmas 2020. And went to buy it, only to find…THERE WERE NONE. ANYWHERE. When did I finally get mine? OCTOBER 2021. Used! I am grateful…it has performed like a champ! You wouldn’t know. It didn’t come with a proper stand, so I had to get a third party one, which was supposed to charge the controllers and add extra fan-power. But none of that seems to be working. Still, it stands very well. The best two games for me have been Horizon: Zero Dawn, Horizon: Forbidden West, and Gran Tourismo. But I have lots more games. Spider-Man, Terraria, Mortal Kombat. I paid for the streaming services, but haven’t hardly used them…which brings me to

DISNEY+. Since this launched, I bundled with HULU (Which I already watched) and this has been what I have watched on TV. I have hung on to NetFlix for Stranger Things and Masters of the Universe: Revelation. (More on that on a different day.). The Mandalorian has been a terrific show! Obi Wan was pretty good. The Book of Boba Fett might as well have been season 3 of the Mandalorian. I haven’t watched anything else much on the service, though.

Comics- I have moved back into collecting these. I picked up IDW’s “Best of” TMNT books. I am looking to get a frame to display them in.

I have been collecting all of the IDW Transformers books…this was actually how I got back into collecting comics. IDW decided to reboot the franchise, and I felt it was a good “jumping in” place. Highlights of this have been “Shattered Glass” and “King Grimlock.” The main story kind of meandered a little bit. I was introduced to a bunch of characters I didn’t know or had forgotten. I also got into “Beast Wars”… which was admittedly NOT MY CARTOON. Unfortunately, IDW passed on the license, and all of these stories have come to a wrap up, which has seemed very rushed. But my love of getting the covers and important/valuable books has become rooted again. I collected up all of the “Batman/Catwoman” story, got back into Spider-Man and Ghost Rider. But I have dropped DC for the most part. In fact, almost everything they have been publishing in any form is tripe that panders to anyone except the classic fan. I thought “The Batman” was a much slower slog than it needed to be. My next problem is the amount of room this hobby is taking up…

Gundam- I built my first Master Grade…EW EPYON. I am still applying decals. But this has been a terrific project! I eill post pictures when I finish.

It is good to be coming back to the blogosphere…an I hope to have a review tomorrow!

SpartanNerd…Revisiting the Origin Stories of DC Masters of the Universe

Coming in October, Masters of the Universe will have a crossover comic with Thundercats from DC.  I can’t wait!  Until then, I am revisiting the DC comics I already have.  (I have them all!  From the digital-only comics, through He-man and the Eternity War.)

I thought I would re-visit and comment on the three origins books.

First, the Origin of He-Man.IMG_9166.jpg

Of the three, this is the weakest.  I remember reading this, and worrying about it.  The art is jarring, and the story is disjointed.  Thinking back a few years when this came out, this was also the book that dropped the bomb on us that Prince Adam wouldn’t be a secret identity.  (When this was released, the ongoing story still had Adam and Teela trying to find their real identities.)

But the hardest thing about this book is the confusion about what happened in the panels below…

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Adam “tricked” Skeletor into thinking the sword on the wall was the power sword.  He swung it at the villain, who caught it in his bare hand, and crushed it.  See the picture above.  Doesn’t it look like the sword was crushed?  Skeletor knocks a wall over on Adam, crushing him, and then we see him grab the power sword…What?  How did it get there beside him?  Was the sword Skeletor crushed the power sword?  Did it heal itself?  The moment Adam grabs it, Skeletor is looking at the tapestry that details King Grayskull defeating Hordak.  Skeletor seems to think the tapestry hides the sword at that moment, and we clearly see its outline on the tapestry.

So in short.  This is a confusing story.  It could have been told in a clearer way.  If you’ll recall, the early run on the DC MOTU comics was panned by almost everyone.  This book wasn’t helping.

 

Let’s visit Skeletor’s origin now…

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This is the first comic book I ever ordered online.  The reason?  I apparently missed it at the Tangled Web.  Either they got only one or two copies, that were snatched up before I got there, or they didn’t get it at all.  I purchased the digital copy.  But only this summer, when I discovered MYCOMICSHOP.COM,  did I actually come to own a physical copy.

This book starts off with Keldor, who has a face full of acid.  The Mike Young productions cartoon had Keldor wounded in battle…with Randor’s shield splashing his acid back into his own face.  They elaborated later that Skeletor was healed by summoning Hordak.  This origin story takes that same vibe, but removes the combat accident.  Instead, Hordak himself caused the burn using the communication link set up by Keldor between the two worlds.  As Keldor melts away on his journey to find Randor, he reminisces about his first encounter with the Horde, how he saved Randor from the invading trooper, and then his accomplishment was quashed by their father, Miro, on account of Keldor being a blue gar.

Keldor eventually finds Randor, and stabs him, needing his blood to complete the transport to Etheria and be changed into Skeletor.

I like this book, but the art is a little jarring.  It is similar to the origin of He-Man.  The flashbacks have a different look about them than the main part of the story.

Now for my favorite.  The ORIGIN OF HORDAK!

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Why is this my favorite?  So many reasons.

The art is classic.  And looks like the rest of the series.  Hordak becomes a god…he engineered an entire war between the Cosmic Enforcers and his Evil Horde, and then killed everyone on both sides.  The Cosmic Enforcers seem to be “green lanterns”… In the end, only he and Zodac are left.  And this is because Zodac is his brother.  He wanted to relish in his death specifically.

Hordak is a cosmic vampire…he needed the millions of souls on both sides of the war to fuel his godhood.  The book ends with him pronouncing “Let there be light!”  Dang.  A blasphemy fitting of such an evil character.  (In the DC continuity, what actually happened was he began the “Age of Horokoth.” The bat symbol represents Horokoth, Serpos and Zoar being the other two cosmic totems.)  This story sets the stage for the tremendous power that the Masters of the Universe are up against.  King Grayskull was able to defeat THAT.  And his heir, Skeletor would also kill him eventually.

 

There is one more very notable origin story.  It is one of the digital only books.  THE ORIGIN OF DESPARA.

Despara is the DC Comics version of Adora, the Horde Force Captain.  DC made her a refined killing machine.  In her origin story, she is having flashback memories of when she was kidnapped.  Shadow Weaver keeps her mind wiped.  It is cool that what we see is actually a female version of Hordak.  She became his “Darth Vader,” as he is a disembodied spirit trapped inside some kind of life support machine.  Eventually, she would find herself, as the good mother that Shadow Weaver apparently is allowed her to play in Eternia’s gardens with Teela.  But this story, the last of the digital ones, raised the hair on the backs of peoples necks the same way “Vikor” the figure did.  We never knew we wanted a really evil She-Ra working for Hordak until this story made that happen!  When you read this, and then you go back and watch the Filmation “The Secret of the Sword,” you realize how silly Adora really was as force captain for Hordak.

SpartanNerd…Micro Reviews 1

New thing.  MICRO REVIEWS!

These posts will be brief summary thoughts concerning my feelings about various “nerdtainment” items.  This is becoming a necessity, as I am getting more content than I have time for a formal review.

 

SUICIDE SQUAD.  I promise, I will bring a full review after I see it a second time.  I saw this on opening weekend, and was impressed.  Very nice movie, that remained faithful to the comic book characters.  Harley Quinn stole the show…

 

HE-MAN AND THE MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE: “THE THREE TERRORS” (Short Animation)…This is now available on iTunes, and I watched it today.  It is ten minutes of an attempt by Super7 to revive the Filmation style of animation.  This little cartoon hit it at about 80%.  Alan Oppenheimer still voices Skeletor, but he just doesn’t have the high pitches that he carried in his younger days.

 

SPEAKING OF SUPER7…I was shocked to hear of their takeover of MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE CLASSICS.  I think their small figure line is cute and interesting, maybe even worth the $5 a figure.  But I don’t own any…I am in the camp with many other fans that jittery times are ahead.  Why would Mattel pass that property?  I am glad Digital River is done.  Maybe shipping will be cheaper.

 

METALLICA: “HARDWIRED FOR DESTRUCTION”…This is the only track and also is the title track) released so far, for an album slated to release on November 18.  It’s about time!  The few reviews on iTunes so far compare the song to stuff on “Justice for All.”  I think the singing might be a little smoother than what was on “Death Magnetic,” but the band’s all around sound is about the same.  Robert Trujillo is KILLING that bass!

 

YOUNG JUSTICE…I began watching this again…I watched it last year.  What a great cartoon!  I wish more would happen.

 

DC COMICS: REBIRTH..I have been reading Batman as well as Robin, Son of Batman, and also I picked up All Star Batman.  So far, the most powerful story is the Batman book that came out this week.  Batman #5 dropped a couple of bombs, that they are going to kill Batman ONCE AGAIN.  And that Duke Thomas is going to marry Gotham Girl.

 

MAGIC THE GATHERING: CONSPIRACY-TAKE THE CROWN…The spoilers released so far have fans scratching their heads.  This set looks to bring more power and almost better reprints than Eternal Masters and Modern Masters 2015.  Very odd!

 

First Ever Micro-Reviews!  Let me know what you think in the comments!

 

 

Masters of the Universe Minicomics Collection

I reviewed the Masters of the Universe Minicomics Collection back in May, after having a tough time getting my hands on a copy.  Since then, I have slowly read through every page, and can give you more of a review of the contents rather than just the product.

VINTAGE MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE

First thing first.  “Miniternia” is definitely a favorite universe of mine now.  I was aware of it, and had read a few books from it.  When I was a kid, these books just confused me because they were so different from what I was used to (the Filmation cartoon.)  But reading these as an adult, there is a definite vibe to those books not found anywhere else.  There are comparisons to Conan the Barbarian, but as a Conan fan, I don’t think so.  Miniternia is a great comic story…an innocent story in a way, and in a way more pure of a story from a writers standpoint.  Mattel gave the writers carte blanche, as long as they depicted the toys.  The barbarian He-Man is awesome, and the miniternia Skeletor is more insane than his other versions.

I remember hearing that there were fundamentalist Christians boycotting and protesting He-Man and the Masters of the Universe.  I was vaguely aware of this as a child (I AM a Christian, and was raised in a Christian home.)  But as an adult, I heard people talk about it on the Roast Gooble Dinner podcasts.  I can see how, after reading over half of the book, I’d bet the word “demon” and “devil” were invoked in almost every single story!  Watching the Filmation show, this also comes up…I don’t know if that was daring on the part of the writers, or what?

 

You can clearly see transitional guidance between Miniternia and the comics that more closely resembled Filmation shows.  The stories become even flimsier sometimes, and highlighting of the products becomes central, rather than story and character development.  Then one day, out of nowhere, the Evil Horde becomes more prominent.  As a kid, the Horde annoyed me because to me, Skeletor was supposed to be the ultimate baddy.  And Hordak was apparently his teacher.  I came to love the Horde as much as anything else in MOTU, but I can see why I felt that way.  Mattel began to push the Horde in the mini comics, and there were more Horde figures on the shelves, and the commercials depicted the Horde more.  They were supposed to be another faction…which worked well in a house with three kids.  Hordes became She-Ra’s main villain, but I didn’t watch She-Ra…(yeah, right!)

I remember the Snake Men story vibrantly from when I was a child…my oldest brother was very interested in them.  My mother (and grandmother) are deathly terrified of snakes, so…I never really thought of them as another faction…just as a side team that worked for Skeletor, which is exactly how the mini comics portray them.  Throw in that Kobra Kahn and Tongue Lasher appeared on Skeletor’s team on the Filmation show working with Skeletor, and you can see why.  It was the Mike Young 200x show that really highlighted them as another team…an even deadlier team that Skeletor’s bunch.

Of all of the things about He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, I rarely ever complain. But now is my chance.  The “Three Towers” really annoy me.  It is one of the rarest toys to be found, and is therefore a valuable item.  But I don’t care.  The whole concept is STUPID.

Lets replace Castle Grayskull and Snake mountain with two smaller versions, and put a stupid lion tower in the middle.  We can connect the whole universe together with a roller coaster thingy.

There are SOO many reasons why I dislike the three towers.  It is billed as “playset Eternia.”  So the whole planet of Eternia can fit into one Playset?  This was EXACTLY how it was depicted in the minicomics.  I heard someone call it “Grayskull 2.0.”  Castle Grayskull was supposed to be this ultimate place of power.  But the Three Towers were meant to supplant all of that.

Eternia must be about the size of Spartanburg or upstate South Carolina…It seems it takes King Grayskull in the Mike Young cartoon about three days to cross the whole place.  Maybe the three towers fit that scheme?  There is a map in the He-Man art book, it came with certain characters if you subscribed to the “Club Grayskull” or whatever.  That map shows the towers stretched out across a huge central continent.  That MIGHT be plausible.  But why would they all connect together by a vehicle?  And if “Viper Tower” was meant to be Snake Mountain (It DID more closely resemble the cartoon version), and Grayskull tower was supposed to be the base for the good guys…just why?  I believe Mattel sensed that the vintage line was coming to an end, and were getting desperate.

SHE-RA, PRINCESS OF POWER

The She-Ra comics were pretty cute.   One of the interviews mentions that there were strict guidelines for drawing female characters.  That is apparent…the depictions of all those she-ra women are not sexy at all.  Sometimes they are child-like and pretty.  The She-Ra comics “de-evolve” from Minicomics format into Storybook format.  There is an incorrect footnote in the first She-Ra story, that says the Evil Horde is not mentioned in the comics ever again after the first one.  But that was inaccurate as the final two She-Ra stories have Catra mentioning the Horde, and also depict Horde troopers.

These books give you less of a sense of “the great rebellion,” and more just sweet little stories.  Catra, “the jealous beauty” is the main villain in these stories, but she can’t really do anything worse than children do to each other, it seems.  She steals a treasure box, she crashes a party by spraying everyone with water.  She spreads a rumor.  SERIOUSLY?

I made it through all of the She-Ra books, and rather enjoyed them.  But they are far too shallow.  I enjoyed the way they usually depicted She-Ra with the mask and Adora with the headband…A device you never saw on the cartoon.  And I thought the story of “Crystal Dimension” was interesting, where Swift Wind was transformed into a crystal version of himself.

I never really got a sense that The Crystal Castle was a She-Ra’s place of power?  It seemed to be a place where she and her friends lived instead.  The enchanted forest was there.  But Catra seemed to be homeless.

THE NEW ADVENTURES OF HE-MAN

As a child, I was just getting “too old” for toys as New Adventures came out.  My oldest brother wasted no time in getting a few toys, but I don’t think I ever saw a single episode of the cartoon.  I DID remember reading the comic, however.

I wasn’t aware that there were only four comics ever produced for that toy-line.  I DID know that it was short lived.

Basically, the vintage He-Man and Skeletor characters translated smoothly over to the futuristic versions, with Skeletor getting burned badly while witnessing Adam transform into He-Man, and having to “fix himself” with bionic parts.  The only idiotic thing is that He-Man’s sword is already a “techno sword.”  They should have been able to draw the classic sword in those few panels.  I always thought it was kind of stupid that the power of Grayskull had to be transferred into that starship…Really?  The art and the storytelling in these books is good, but different from the earlier ones.  As we read through all of these, we really see Bruce Timm’s art style mature up.  Once, He-Man even looks like we would see Batman on the nineties cartoon!  (Not in a New Adventures book…one of the final vintage comics.)

200x COMICS

I almost forgot!  The singular “pack-in” comic is included here.  With Val Staples and Emiliano Santalucia forming the bond that would become MV Creations, (and eventually break apart into the saddest schism maybe in the whole brand.) There are two comics here, one that never made it to print.

These are similar to the 200x comics that Image and Cross Gen would publish, but shorter and having a lot less content.  The art is just about exactly the same.  Emiliano is great!  (The second book was drawn by someone else, who somewhat emulated Emiliano’s style.)

MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE CLASSICS MINI COMICS

Before the collection, I had no opportunities to read these stories.  I heard fans complain about them because they leave out a lot of story details that should be filled in.  The first one is a modern retelling of the first vintage Preternia book, and the following two pull together the entire story to include even the New Adventures.  An interesting detail, this story portrays He-Ro as the originator of the Power of Grayskull when he passes the Sword of He over to King Grayskull in death.  Funny how it ended, with a remark about building a castle and naming it after He-Ro.  (It would be named Castle Grayskull!)

I also thought the twist where Skeletor gets the techno virus from Bionatops in order to transform into his New Adventures form was also fun!  I was confused about King Grayskull, King He-man (he makes an appearance!) and King Miro.  What was that all about?

The art on these books are terrifically modern, and yes, they COULD have gave us more story.  I see how these serve the same purpose as the earlier mini comics…justify more toys.  They even introduced members of He-Ro’s team that have never been produced, simply to spark interest.  Ultimately, mini-comics aren’t the best vehicle for telling a grand story…they are a place to jump off and use your imagination.  And since Scott Neitlich was the guy in charge of these, that statement sounds exactly like something he would have said.

EXTRAS

The Mini-Comic collection contains lots of interviews…most of them seem to have come directly from Roast Gooble Dinner podcasts.  Maybe the DID actually re-interview some of the people…and maybe these are redacted and edited versions of those interviews.  I enjoyed reading them all, thought they didn’t teach me much of anything new because I had already heard it from the mouth of the person being interviewed.

So, just when I think James Eatock has astounded me with his intense Fanhood and knowledge of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, he surprises me yet again!

James “Bustatoons” Eatock apparently is the owner of a discarded and never produced mini comic, which is published at the back of this book.  It apparently never made it to the coloring stage.  I wonder if more stuff like this is out there?  And what a find…AND how does someone like him find all this stuff?  The comic is apparently the supposed pack-in with Flying Fists He-Man…it has some details issues, which might be why it was scrapped.  But it is a terrific read.

And finally we have an outline of a never-produced mini comic, which would have featured Faker prominently.  It is cool to read over, and I wonder if any fans who are good artists have made this book as fan art?

I enjoyed reading the Minicomics collection, and recommend it to anyone who is a fan of He-Man…a great value at under $30.  Reading this kept me from purchasing other comics for awhile…I always had something new to read, and this will make its way to my office at work to read in my “spare time.”

 

SpartanNerd Review…He-Man and The Masters of the Universe Minicomic Collection

Thanks for all the views in my absence!  The SpartanNerd has been really busy with his real job.  But now, back to blogging.

Masters of the Universe “mini comics” were truly my introduction to comic books.  I had no Spider-man, Superman, or Batman comics as a small child.  The only comics I specifically remember were those packed with Masters of the Universe figures.  Me and my brothers would read these, and they would get stepped on, crumpled, left in the car.  Pages torn out.  Staples let loose.  Crayon marks.  Holes.  All kinds of abuse.  I cringe to think about it now, but I don’t think I would have had it any other way.  As a teacher, I know that these experiences led me to a whole-language approach to reading, and it helped my brothers as well, who weren’t as good at reading as me.

The other thing about the mini comics…they told inconsistent stories.  I didn’t understand that there were different artists, writers, and publishers with different ideas.  The public at large didn’t know all of the details that have been unearthed in recent years about the workings behind the scenes.  So when Skeletor says he and his people are from another dimension…that didn’t make sense with my largely Filmation understanding of the story.  This didn’t turn me off of the mini comics.  But it made me wonder “why?”

The story behind me getting He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Minicomic Collection is sort of a frustrating one…I actually ordered it at The Tangled Web in Spartanburg SC back in November, before it came out.  This was supposed to be my anniversary present…It wasn’t a pre-order, so I didn’t pay up front.

But somehow, it didn’t arrive.  And so they re-submitted the order for me, at least three times.  I heard rumors online that the production run was shorter than expected…that demand couldn’t be met easily.  I was tempted to order from Amazon, go to Barnes and Noble maybe.  But I am loyal if nothing else, and in time I accepted that rumor as truth, and that the mini comic collection would be another rare thing I wouldn’t have a hold of.  I would pick it up eventually…(maybe.)

Apparently, sometime in the last month (While I have been away from the blog) the owner of The Tangled Web came across, and ordered the upcoming art-book thing that is all about the Filiation cartoon…He was telling me about it, and knew I would definitely want a copy.  (I DO!)  And so I asked him to look again about the mini comic collection.  A quick look on his computer and he said.  “We’ll have it in a week!”  He was right this time.  You have to love small business!

Does the mini comic collection deliver up to my expectations?  Keep reading!

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Here is the front cover…still sealed with cellophane!  The Tangled Web sold this to me for a slight discount, considering my situation.  I am quite appreciative!  Long live small business!  Love that store, and any of my readers who ever come through Spartanburg should come by and purchase something.  (Would Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or Wal-Mart have cared ?  Of course not.)

The cover makes it clear what you are getting.  It is probably wrong to put She-Ra mini comics (storybooks?) in this and just call it He-man and the Masters of the Universe.  But they did.  I suppose by now, though most She-Ravers consign themselves to this.

 

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Here’s the back, featuring an image from “The Terror Claws Strike!”

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And the spine…showing that this is a Dark Horse product, as well as offering you a glimpse at how very thick this book is!  It is in fact 1232 pages long!

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A little comparison for you.  On the left is the Minicomic collection (now unwrapped.)  And  on the right is my only extant mini comic.  “King of the Snake Men.”  A gift from my wife…the italian version no less!  But anyway.  Look at the size difference!

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I found a page from “King of the Snake Men” in the collection, so you can further see the incredible difference “blowing this up” makes!  Good thing too.  The SpartanNerd’s vision fails him in his old age.

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For a book that is thicker than many Bibles, Harry Potter books, and encyclopedia’s…its a good thing they included this ribbon-bookmark!  And it is a very handy addition as well.  (I am reading the collection straight through.  I use this to mark where I left off.)

Now for the contents.

As you read, you get little footnotes.  See the bottom here.  This information helps you see the mini comics as pieces of Masters of the Universe history.  And they appear to be in chronological order, starting with the first “storybooks” given out…drawn by Alfredo Alcala.  These show “miniternia.”  The first story depicted in media about He-Man.  And this story is vastly different from Filmation and later stories.  He-Man is a barbarian hero in a post-apocalyptic situation, where technology and magic are lorded over the populace by experts such as Man-At-Arms, The Goddess (Sorceress), and Skeletor.

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The book takes some time to share interviews with the artists and writers.  Here is a pic of the interview with one of the earliest writers, Gary Cohn.

I haven’t read past “mini-eternia” yet.  (Just got to Filmation era.)  But I will go ahead and show you what else this book consists of.  Here is some of the She-Ra stuff.  They seem to have included it all!9

Tons of pink and pastels.  Not sure what the image below depicts.  But there are several pages of this book which I assume is some part of She-Ra lore preserved here.  AND, in a similar vein, the “read with me” story with a record about the Talon Fighter is in here too.  I remember owning that  and reading it as a kid, and being terrified.  (A terrified as you can be of a comic book.  Hey…I was like six years old…or younger!)

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Here is what I considered the sad story from the first New Adventures of He-Man mini comic.  Prince Adam is No More!  It depicts He-Man transforming in the presence of Skeletor, knocking him down and frying his skull.  (Which necessitates the “cyborg” version found throughout that particular incarnation of the story.)  All of the New Adventures stories are chronicled here.

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The comics by Val Staples and Emiliana Selucia from the 200x series are here.  These were the pack-in comics, not the monthly comics.  But the art is very much the same.  (The second Pack-In was drawn by Enza Fortana)

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The rarest of the mini-comics is here.  “The Power of the Evil Horde”

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And the Masters of the Universe Classics mini comics are here.  I haven’t been fortunate enough to own or read any of these.  I was very happy to get to see the maps in the Masters of the Universe Art Book.  And since I am reading straight through, I am avoiding the temptation to go ahead and read these.  (My readers should know…I am also re-reading the recent DC comics again.)  I don’t want too much fantasy bouncing around in my head!

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And here is what is on the last pages of the book.  Not sure what this is about.  A book that didn’t make it to print?

 

Reading what I have read so far has been extremely satisfying.  The larger pages lets me have a deeper appreciation for the art.  I have no trouble reading the script, either.  The colors seem to be “restored.”  I love the chronological nature of the collection as well, unfolding a history of the brand.  What a great way to pay homage to something so fundamental to He-Man and the Masters of the Universe.

I have read some of the mini comics online over the years.  (Is that piracy?)  I don’t buy many digital comics…I do use ComiXology and its associated apps, but what I read on that is usually Spawn or Conan the Barbarian books…things I don’t want laying around for my children to read.  But there is nothing like having the physical book in your hand.

If I had a choice, own a copy of every single mini comic, OR own this collected edition.  I would go for the collection.  Simply because of the large size.  And they are all collected in one volume, so that is convenient!

If I could rate anything higher than 5/5, then the He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Minicomic Collection would be a 6/5.  It is perfect!  I love the large pages, the chronological order, the interviews…all of it is spectacular!

 

SpartanNerd thoughts…He-Man and the Eternity War Issues #10 and #11

I said way back in my 250th blog post that I would be posting a review of Issue #10.  My apologies, readers…life has kept me away from the blog.  And that is going to continue, it seems.  I find blogging to be a relaxing thing, so, I will do it when I can relax.

I think I’ll start with this photo…

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What….These two comics inspired me to produce and take this photo.  (Never realized how hard it is to put an alternate head on King Hsss….)

The events leading up to issue #10 and #11…

Basically, the Horde conquered Eternia.  Hordak had the Fright Zone infect the land, as he acquired the power of Grayskull and seemed to be bringing about the “Age of Horokoth”.  (He used the blood of Grayskull to resurrect his body…previously his spirit was trapped inside a robot life-support casket.)  He forged his own sword of power, etc.

The masters made allies with the Snake Men, who worship the Green Goddess (Teela) as the Sorceress of Serpos.  He-Man decided to eschew the power of Grayskull and only use the power of Adam…bad move, because apparently King Hsss…devoured him off-panel.  (So the main character of He-Man and the Eternity War has been killed….????)

Basically, Skeletor double crosses She-Ra into healing him from his missing jaw, and then uses the power of the Havoc Staff and the Well of Darkness to break into Hordak’s chamber of souls on Despondos.  He steals the souls and leaves She-Ra there stranded with the souls of those she executed as Despara.  Skeletor then teleports back to Eternia, unleashes those souls, which happen to re-possess their physical bodies (which are Horde Troopers,) and they mutiny.  He uses this moment of distraction to kill Hordak with his Horokoth Sword of Power.  (The moment I shouted for joy!  I’ve never been a big fan of the Horde.)  Also along the way, Evil-Lynn became the Sorceress of Horokoth.  Meaning now there are two sorceresses.

Which brings us to Issue 10.

The front cover…

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It has been hinted for quite some time that Skeletor was going to acquire the power of Grayskull.  This is why it seemed so odd that Hordak acquired it first.  And he acquired it in a very backhanded way…

I have this theory…I believe the writers are playing with the toys.  In fact, I think they might be basing their stories on their old childhood versions of the stories, or similar.

Skeletor holding a power sword wearing He-Man’s armor.  This is a strong hint.  I went and tried to duplicate this photo.  But I didn’t get a picture.  It totally works, especially if you give him the pink Prince Adam sword. (However, I don’t have a blue body with gold bracers and a gold belt.)

It was hinted back in the art book…some of the images they released showed Skeletor transformed, and also had his transformation words, “Cry Havoc!  I am Skeletor!”

We are seeing how that story unfolds.

Onto the plot.

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Basically, Prince Adam (actually King Hssss) is inspiring the masters and the Snake Men to attack the Horde.

King Hsss/Adam is wearing the traditional battle armor of the Snake Men, a supposed way to inspire them.  But we, as readers see King Hsss really flaunting who he secretly is.

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Next we see an exchange between Skeletor and Evil-Lynn.  Doesn’t she look cool!

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And now for something random.  Who is this mysterious soldier?  “War Wraith.”  And from my picture earlier, you see why I was inspired to do what I did!  The War Wraith looks incredibly like Evil-Seed.  And I thought he was until Skeletor used his name.

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And then something else we’ve never seen.  Evil-Lynn weeping.  A very spiritual thing this time.  Evidently as a manifestation of the Goddess, she reacts to things happening in the universe.  I’m reading a parallel here to what the Green Goddess (Teela) did when guiding Despara to the point of drawing He-Man’s blood, an act that would ultimately result in the resurrection of Hordak.  This seems out of character.  But it is the way her newfound power is effecting her.  Skeletor isn’t moved, of course.  Except for in the same way the SpartanNerd is moved when the females are crying.  Angry.  I know it isn’t normal, but its true.

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Next, the action cuts to the Masters using the Dragon Walkers to attack Grayskull.  A ridiculous idea.  If Dragon Walkers were real, they would be the clumsiest, stupidest kind of tank ever invented.  They were fun toys, though!  It is interesting that the details of the story mention the gear that makes them work.  More evidence that the writers have been playing with the toys…that gear was a highly noticeable part of the toy.

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And then we see the War Wraith flying on a Roton sniping snake men.  Very cool.  Who was this guy, I asked myself while reading.  He never appeared in any lore previous to now?

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A couple of pages over, and we see the Green Goddess Teela rescue She-Ra.  Divine intervention was basically the only way that could happen.  Deus Ex Machina, right?

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The Dragon Walkers (predictable) couldn’t do the job on the Fright Zone, so Moss Man does it.  He jumps out of the Wind Raider, and face-plants in a “Wrath of God” moment, sacrificing himself.  More Divine Intervention!

(At this point, the comic has a steep death toll.  I think I’ll do a death count on main characters the writers have killed off so far.  We can add Moss Man, again.)

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In the moments after while everyone is celebrating their victory, King Hss/Adam is experiencing pain.  Lots of pain, so he sneaks off for a moment of privacy.  But Rattlor follows him and lets on that he knows the secret, so King Hsss. blasts him with energy, killing him.  (Another main character killed off.)

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After this moment of pain and killing Rattlor, King Hiss/Adam is kicked in the head from behind by the War Wraith, who arrived just barely too late to discover the truth evidently.  He then takes off his mask to reveal his identity as …. Duncan!  (Man-At-Arms)!

Before moving on to Issue 11, which just came out this week, and I just read, let me tell you Hub City Geeks.  I read this book OVER AND OVER.  You might recall that I thought Issue 8 was terrible.  That was a low point.  This issue is a high point however, and Issue 11 is even greater!  (Issue 9 had the Skeletor killing Hordak moment.)

Man-At-Arms has often been made into a bad guy.  But not for Skeletor.  Usually it is a Snake Man.  The only thing that I don’t get is why did they make him look so much like Evil Seed?  This is where I think they were playing around with the toys and maybe head swapping or something, and decided Evil Seed’s armor was pretty cool for Duncan.  In my picture at the beginning, you see I only have the classic Man-At-Arms with a mustache.  (Yes, I have the non mustache head.)  But I don’t have the 200x head without the helmet, so that is as close as I could get.

Onto Issue 11.  The best one yet!  And I can tell I will likely read this one over and over as well.

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The cover shows Man-At-Arms coming out of the shell that was Roboto.  He is holding a blaster as well as his classic mace.

The colors evoke the split personality of Man-At-Arms.  And he is in a target.  Well, that is the First Person Shooter mode of Tri-Clops!

What you need to know is that previously, like, several issues ago, Man-At-Arms was the first Eternian is space.  He retrofitted Roboto into a space suit with life-support, and went into space to destroy Horak’s version of Supreme Verdict, the “Orbital Disrupter.”  however, by the end of the issue, Man-At-Arms and Roboto were plummeting to the surface in a ball of fire.  And until Issue 10, we hadn’t heard from either of them.  Issue 11 tells us the story.

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Robots used all of his energy to protect Man-At-Arms with a type of force field.  He said he had to sacrifice himself because his persona had the personality traits given to him by Duncan.

So basically, Roboto is another character killed off.

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And here comes Tri-Clops.  We’ve seen Tri-Clops working with Hordak recently.  He takes advantage of his new opportunity.

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So Man-At-Arms just destroyed the Orbital Disrupter, fought off an army of Horde satellite drones, re-entered the atmosphere, suffered an emotional loss of Roboto, and STILL can kick the crap out of Tri-Clops.  That’s awesome!

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Here is a total toy moment.  Every kid knows that Tri-Clop’s sword was WAY COOLER than anyone else’s.  Even He-Man’s.  Now the writers have been giving Man-At-Arms Tri-Clops’ sword.!

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And here is a big “duh” moment for Duncan.  Of COURSE Tri-Clops was blind under that visor…

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And Tri-Clops “duh” moment.  Duncan talks too much.  (He always did.)

And I get another shout for joy moment!  SLIME PIT TIME!

Skeletor says “Spare me the lecture.  I know how it works.  I helped design it!”  Duncan is getting slimed .  OH YEAH.  Into a ZOMBIE for SKELETOR.  KA BAAAMMMM!!!!

The Slime Pit was always a toy that I loved to play with.  But my mom wouldn’t let us play with the slime.

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And then we see how Skeletor is going to get the blood of Grayskull.  He is going to literally drain Hordak’s blood!  The cool thing they’ve done with Hordak is make him into a celestial vampire.  He was empowered by the souls of those he slew or led to their death for him.  Now Skeletor is becoming more of a literal vampire.  AND we get to see him without his hood.

And then back to the War Wraith.  “Skeletor sends his regards.”

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Duncan seems to be a total convert to Skeletor’s ways.  He has no mercy on who he thinks is Prince Adam.

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And he’s just about to slay him, when….

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We interrupt this murder with a message from the Goddess and She-Ra, who both are flying on Swift Wind and talking.

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So Evil-Lynn can’t have all this happiness.  She busts up in front of Swifty.

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And then transforms into a bat, the symbol of Horokoth.  It appears, however that Teela the Green Goddess can transform into Serpos, the Snake God from 200x.

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An intense elemental battle between forces of the universe.  Now if only Zoar were to appear…

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Nope.  Back to the other battle.  Of Course, King Hsss. wasn’t going to be bested by a zombified Man-At-Arms.  He transforms and then kills Duncan.  And then more of that pain happens.

And another strong hint that the writers are playing with the toys and getting inspired to write the characters after them.

As King Hsss fights to suppress Prince Adam’s essence, which is fighting inside of him, he explodes in a burst of energy and becomes…

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NAKED!

(Recently there was a figure of Oo-Lar, the Jungle He-Man, who is all nude except for his furry shorts.  He’s even barefooted.)

I can’t wait to see what happens next!

You see, it has been raining like crazy.  I don’t really have anything to do except work and read comics when I get the chance, or maybe mess around with Magic cards.

I give both of these comics a 5/5.  I believe the writers are MOTU fans.  And I believe they are trying hard to give us an adult comic.  They have tastefully set aside some of the things about MOTU that people call “silly”, and created a darker, edgier, more modern story and are doing things with the characters that haven’t been done before.  Sometimes even taking inspiration from things seldom used before.  (Like the Slime Pit.)

Hope to be back soon with a review of the new Masters of the Universe Mini Comics Collection!