Loyal Subjects Blind Box Masters of the Universe…SpartanNerd Unboxing and Review

img_9785

He-Man.org indicated that these were coming to Wal-Mart, and on that very same day I went to investigate, only to find that they only had Transformers and Power Rangers Blind Boxes by the Loyal Subjects.  I don’t live near Wal-Mart, nor do I like going there.  So it was another two weeks before I went back to look again.  And there it was.  I got the second figure from the case!  Why not more?  This little box has a steep price of $12.95!

The box is very nice.  It has a shiny treatment, that isn’t foil.  Instead, it is just…slick and shiny.  It makes the images of the figures and characters really pop!  There is a Filmation Castle Grayskull motif to the box as well.  And MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE is plastered all over the box.  It is nice to see the brand on store shelves again!

Let’t talk blind bag/blind box.

I have bought so many Magic the Gathering Booster packs, that I am done.  I am only buying the singles I want, unless the packs come with some other product.  (Think Planeswalker Packs, or Fat Packs.)  Other than that, the only way I am opeing a pack is if I draft it or win it.  That’s because you get burned so often.  And there is no telling what’s inside.  Blind Boxes/bags have the same problem.

I’ve only opened one Blind Bag/Box for myself in my adult life, and I did it for the school children.  It was a Nina Turtles Mega Block Mini Figure.  I gave them all a speech about how the picture shows lots of different characters, and kind of gets your hopes up.  But then when you open it, it won’t be what you wanted, probably.  I told them that my favorite was Donatello, but I was OK if it was someone else.  We also discussed the rare and chase figures that it could be, and how those are ways that the company gets you to buy more.  My turtle turned out to be Michaelangelo.  And now he sits on top of my white board.

So this is the second Blind Box/Bag I am opening.  Do I hope it’s He-Man or Skeletor? Certainly!  Do I hope it is a special rare flocked red Beastman.  Heck Yeah!  But realisitcally, I expect it to be something else.

The box is so nice, I decided to open it carefully. I intend to display the figure atop the box!

img_9792

Inside the box was a foil bag.  This is the second layer of security to keep prying eyes out!  The house doesn’t win if you know what figure you are getting.

img_9793

Here is what was inside!  Tri-Clops!

I don’t own Masters of the Universe Classics Tri-Clops…(who does?)  But I do own my vintage one still.  But I won’t be showing you that.  He is in WAY AWFUL shape.  his visor is busted off, so only the top layer remains, making him look eyeless but with some kind of deranged hat.

A little talk about Tri-Clops.  As a kid, I played with Tri-Clops all the time.  He was SO FUN. The eyes spinning thing was AWESOME!  But his sword was the other big thing.  Everyone knew this was the coolest sword in MOTU.  He-Man’s sword was shorter and lacking in detail compared to Tri-Clops.  And when I couldn’t find He-Man’s, and didn’t want to use Prince Adam’s LAME pink sword, I would use Tri-Clops sword in its place.

This fully posable vinyl figure comes with a miniature copy of that same sword!

IMG_0474.jpg

I am trying a new tactic in photographing Tri-Clops.  I am using the “Crafs Man”s method of having a trash can as a diffuser.  Great results!  You can see Tri-Clops very good here.This is just about as vanilla a pose as I can get you.

IMG_0476.jpg

You can see the holster on the back of the removable armor.  This removes just like you would expect, but you have to pop off his head.

IMG_0480.jpg

Tri-Clops spinning eyes works really well.  Not as loose as the vintage, but still pretty cool.  You can see he IS fully articulated.  As a two-and-a-half inch figure, it is pretty incredible how much articulation they got into him!  Ankles that swivel, hip-thigh joints, torso swivel, jointed arms, swivel wrist with hands that can hold weapons, and head on a ball joint.

IMG_0484.jpg

Most vinyl figures around my house are of the “Funko” philosophy.  Not much articulation.  Tri-Clops takes pointers from a different line of figures, I think.

IMG_0482.jpg

IMG_0487.jpg

These Sonic guys, who I really like to photograph, have all of the same articulation points as Tri-Clops.  And are the same size, but not muscular, of course.

IMG_0486.jpg

I DO have the Tri-Clops sword that came in the MOTUC weapons pack.  The sword that isn’t painted green, but is painted like a traditional sword.  I thought it would be cool to see Tri-Clops hold it.

IMG_0489.jpg

He is larger than Mega-Bloks or Lego mini-figures.

But smaller than MOTUC figures.

IMG_0490.jpg

So what does the SpartanNerd rate the Loyal Subjects Blind Box Masters of the Universe Mini Vinyl Tri-Clops?

I think there is some “Masters of the Universe” fan tax added to the price.  I think this item is worth $12.95 on a blister card.  But not as a blind bag.  If I bought three more of these, I could have three more Tri-Clops.  That’s a bummer.  I don’t even want one more copy.  The one I opened here is enough.  And this is enough deterrent for people who collect stuff.

The product though is terrific.  These vinyl figures do real justice to their source material.  I have to complain about just a little bit of paint slop on the back of his furry shorts.  But otherwise, he has excellent features, and you feel like you are playing with a miniature Tri-Clops.  (you are, actually.

So I am going to rate the Loyal Subjects Masters of the Universe Blind Box Mini at 3/5.  This would have been a 4/5 if it was carded, and 5/5 if there wasn’t any paint slop.

So do you agree or disagree?  Let me know in the comments!

 

Man-At-Arms (Battle Ram Version)…SpartanNerd Unboxing and Review

Mattel has given us several versions of Man-At-Arms over the eight years of the line.  The Battle Ram came with one more different version.  How does this version stand up?  Keep reading!

You can see how I unboxed Man-At-Arms if you follow this link.    You can also see the review of the Battle Ram vehicle, and follow the links on that page to all sorts of cool NerdTainment.  To me, this Man-At-Arms is essentially a freeby!

img_9716

So here is Man-At-Arms, right out of the package.  Notice that this version has a silver mace, prominently featured.  He has Filmation-inspired shin guards.  He is the same green color, and has practically the same armor as the original Man-At-Arms release.  This time he has double arm-guards, and a helmetless head that features a prominent ponytail.

img_9717

The backside features an incredibly well sculpted backpack, which has storage clips for weapons.  In the previous version, Man-At-Arms could have He-Man’s techno-sword attached here.  This time we get to install a gun and the classic mace.From this rear-facing angle, we can see how well sculpted the armor pieces are.

img_9718

If you read my review of Rio Blast, then you heard my story of who I always thought he was Man-at-Arms in disguise.  See the resemblance?  Now for a head-swap.

img_9719

I knew I was onto something!

Man-At_arms comes with the aforementioned silver mace, the classic mace, and this silver pistol.  Note that the silver mace will not fit on the the clips of Man-At-Arms back.

Why was that even included?  It seems we’ve seen that mace several times in different colors.  So it gets the silver treatment.  Big WHOOP.

It would have been nice to have more paint hits on the classic mace.  Or maybe including that 200x gun in a different color.  (How about silver.  That would have been cool!)

But oh-well.  I don’t dislike the silver mace.  I just think its weird considering the main vintage weapon associated with Duncan is the orange mace.  And so that means he came with two maces.

He looks cool with two guns…not two maces.

img_9722

The point of this Man-At-Arms is that now you get maximum options for displaying the figure.  You can take this head and the 200x gun and armor and make the ultimate 200x Man-At-Arms.  (I don’t own the Snake Man At Arms…I don’t own the 200x the gun.  OK.  I actually don’t own either…the SpartanTeen owns the gun and the original Man-At-Arms release!)

You can take the Mustached head and put on the Battle Ram version and make a filmation Duncan.  (Sorry.  I can’t find the mustached head.  The SpartanTeen lost it!)

Here is a crack at the 200x version, using the Battle Ram body.

img_9723

Man-At-Arms inclusion with the Battle Ram was a great choice.  I personally needed my own Man-Arms to help me complete the classic team of He-Man, Teela, Man-At-Arms, Orko, and Ram Man (coming from Super7 eventually!)

The only thing stupid about this figure is the silver mace.  It adds something to the figure.  It just isn’t that significant.  But I can’t take any points off for that.  MOC collectors might be annoyed that he is displayed holding that in the box, though.

So I rate the Battle Ram Man-At-Arms 5/5.  This is Mattel’s final Man-At-Arms for the Masters of the Universe Classics line.  They used this opportunity to reward long-time collectors, and help appease those annoyed by Snake Man-At-Arms.  This version allows the widest range of display options, and pulls it together nicely.

For me, it gives me my own personal Man-At-Arms to help me complete my collection of essential good guys.

Do you agree with the SpartanNerd’s rating of 5/5?  Let me know in the comments!

 

Rio Blast…SpartanNerd Unboxing and Review (Masters of the Universe Classics)

I ordered Rio Blast during the big MattyCollector sale, really you can’t beat free shipping on what are normally expensive figures.   But these were marked down really low, and I just couldn’t help it!  (Ting Lashor, Squeeze, Rio Blast, and Battle Ram).  I mentioned in my Squeeze review about how I got Rio Blast as a kid…

I have some history with the vintage Rio Blast.  I used to get the Masters of the Universe magazine as a kid, and this was where I most often saw the character portrayed.  He never made it into the Filmation cartoons.  BUT he has a definite “Bravestarr” vibe, being a futuristic cowboy.

So many fans are put off by that.  But come on guys.  Skeletor has NINJOR.  So the good guys get their off-brand character.

Rio Blast came in a brown mailer.  He is carded on the regular Masters of the Universe Classics green brick packaging.  The backside of the box shows off several figures.  (Total excitement about Ram Man coming my way from Super-7!)  And Rio Blast gets a bio.

img_9635

img_9636

Just light commentary from the SpartanNerd here.  There is no mention of  Rio Blasts life choices.  Many fans were rooting for Mattel to make this figure homosexual.  I’m glad they left that detail out. Leave it up to the fans.  It’s up to us anyway, right?  MY childhood version of Rio Blast is he is actually Duncan in disguise!  Doesn’t anyone else see a resemblance?  He has such a cool name that it overpowers that Man-at-Arms ness.  But don’t you think this weapon system is something like Duncan would build?

Onto the review.  The box comes with all of this.

img_9642
Rio Blast can stand just fine on his own.  He has all of the articulation of the other figures.

img_9641

But he has two trigger hands that can’t actually hold any gun.  (I tried several, including some non-MOTUC).

What a fantastic sculpt! Check out the Spurs!

img_9640

His knee pads clip on with little bumps kind of like the visor for Flipshot.  ( Too bad I can’t find the visor right now).   They don’t hinder the articulation any.  Rio Blast has excellent paint.  His guns, however could use some more detailing.

Here is what Rio Blast looks like all armed up.  I don’t remember the hoses on the vintage figure.    The backpack plugs into Rio Blasts back.  The guns pull up and overhead just like the vintage one.  You insert the hand guns in these little holes on the underside of his arm. The torso gun fits on the shirt flap.  And the knee guns fit on the knee pads.

img_9637

Space Toy vs Cowboy Toy…

The only stupid thing about this figure is what’s going on with the chest area.  His shirt has a huge hinge, and that is for that flap to fold down for his torso gun.  But the flap never can rest flush against the body.  This is an inelegant solution to the torso gun problem.  They made a “Buzzsaw Hordak” for MOTUC..and he has a cavity in his chest for that buzz-saw.  Why didn’t they use the same torso piece for Rio Blast?

img_9638

My backpack’s overhead seems a little bent. Some people have pointed out that Rio Blasts eyes can’t see straight though the visor. It’s true, they don’t line up.  But I’d like to think of it more like a HUD, where it is just there for reference instead of something he has to use.

img_9644

Most of the time, I won’t have Rio Blast in full arsenal mode.  He will look normal, wielding only one weapon.  But there are times when he might be fighting the Griffin or Megator, when all guns out is going to happen!

How do I rate Rio Blast?  For me, Rio Blast is kind of like Mosquitor (who I don’t have from MOTUC, or in vintage anymore 😦   )  Rio Blast was an awesome figure for me as a kid, and this version of him only falls short in the chest-gun department.  Some people have said they don’t like the newer hairstyle he sports in this version, but I do.  It pays homage to the vintage. but looks updated.  I think this might be one of the finer sculpts of a figure.  His pants and hairstyle make it work.

Besides the chest issue, the only other thing to improve would be add a cowboy hat!  (I’ll have to see if I can find one that fits him.)

I am going to give Rio Blast and his pants (with SPURS) a 4/5.  He loses a solid point because of the lack of ingenuity surrounding the chest gun.  That hinge is unforgivable, and that the flap doesn’t clip tight to the armor is clunky and wrong.

But he has a great sculpt.  He stands well.  He looks like his vintage figure in both modes.  Rio Blast can’t lose more than one point.

THE SPARTANNERD RANKS MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE CLASSICS RIO BLAST A 4/5.  Do you agree or disagree?  Let me know in the comments!

 

 

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…

IMG_9167.jpg

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…

IMG_9165.jpg

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!

IMG_9164.jpg

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.”