SpartanNerd Sundays! Masters of the Universe…Spiritual things.

The current run of Masters of the Universe comics by DC have largely been regarded as bad by the fan community.  I disagree with “the fan community,” though, and hope to see a ton more comics in this specific story.  I think it is being well grounded and the long game is being considered by the writers.  The stories are being developed by the truly masterful DC, and are even being woven into the New 52 a little.

In this article I would like to talk about some of the more spiritual ideas being presented in these comics.

ZOAR and the Sorceress

In the Masters of the Universe mini-series, (modern DC comics), Skeletor kills the Sorceress.  Issue 1 of the ongoing series begins with her funeral…and King Randor delivering her eulogy.  Prince Adam, Man-At-Arms and Teela are all discussing the Sorceress, and kind of overpowering and dismissing Randor’s words as ceremonial drivel.  Randor uses Zoar’s name, as we would use God’s name.

Yes, the falcon form of the Sorceress.  This is the first time we have encountered this in the Master’s universe.

The Sorceress is described as the “oracle,” or vessel through which Zoar speaks.  We saw her appear to Adam and Teela while they were under Skeletor’s spell.  The Sorceress was projecting her essence to them, doing so by denying herself food and refusing to speak with Skeletor.

Then we have issue 8, where Zoar is explored a little further.  Zoar is apparently also the Star Seed from Filmation, and also Serpos from MYP, as well as this “goddess” that the Eternians are worshipping.  Mount Zoar (an analogue of Mt. Sinai or similar) sits in the center of where the dark and light hemisphere’s are divided…Clearly Zoar is a dualistic goddess.

King Randor has secret knowledge of Zoar…who is also the Star Seed.
At Mt. Zoar the survivors of Hordak’s “board wipe” see ancient writing about Zoar.

Moss Man’s description of Subternia is similar to Hell in Dante’s Inferno

I don’t like it.

As a whole, I have enjoyed these books.  I guess what I don’t like about this is the equating Zoar and Serpos.  Serpos was the Evil Snake god for the Snake Men, remember?  Also, the Star Seed was more interesting as a powerful artifact.  (Hey, what about Procrustus?  Maybe he’ll show in the next few issues about Subternia)

I feel the writers have thrown away a couple of opportunities here.  They could have used the Star Seed and Serpos as story elements…Now they have just condensed them.  Furthermore, they are making Zoar have a duel nature…being good and evil.

HORDAK

Hordak isn’t just an awesome general or emperor of the Horde.  He is called a “demigod”.  (The greek demigods were the half-man, half-god heroes, like Hercules and Perseus.)  He acts all powerful, and demands devotion from his subjects.  It isn’t like Skeletor, displaying anger by taking it out on his subjects…no it is more cruel, even killing or or threatening the lives of his subjects.

Uusually we see him as a sort of spirit, and this is explored in issues 5 and 6.  Apparently the story that King Grayskull killed him and banished him to Despondos is intact in this continuity.  (In the MYP show, we see Hordak’s spirit live after his body dissolves, and then he fly’s through King Grayskull, mortally wounding him.  This is what is apparently intact.)  As a spirit, Hordak has amassed huge power.

In Hordak’s origin book, (One of my favorites!), Hordak and Zodac are at war with one another…Horde verses Guardians, and then Hordak uses the “Armegeddon” of this war to absorb the life essence of both armies to use as power.  This is why he is so powerful!

The Eternians don’t believe in Hordak at first…They think he is an imaginary fairy tale vampire.  Well he is a vampire on a grand scale, absolutely!

We see Hordak as the equivalent of Satan for Keldor, as he succumbs to temptation to use his magic to transform into Skeletor.  He needs Skeletor to do his bidding…apparently with all of the power he has, he cannot set foot on Eternia!

And there’s prophecy!  Hordak see’s the prophecy as him fighting his brother, Zodac, and becoming the victor, but apparently he was wrong…the perfect warrior prophesied will apparently be He-Man.

I don’t necessarily like the design of the way the artists draw Hordak with a kind of Hindu design.  It looks absurd, and takes away from the way I like to think about him.

So I mostly approve, but not entirely.  What about Horde Prime…admittedly I haven’t watched that much She-Ra, but I was aware of HP before there was a MOTUC figure!  What about the more technologically grounded villain we saw in the old She-Ra cartoons?  Here we have the more mystical Hordak from MYP, who was very cool, but still lacking something vintage.  But I like the “force of evil” idea that he embodies.

I hope Skeletor can overthrow him.  That would be BOSS!

Grayskull

We see King Grayskull’s spirit working alongside Adam in the Forge of Eternia, using Zoar’s fire to create a new sword, and costume…I think there is a humanistic element here.  Maybe an element of re-incarnation or ancestor worship.  Adam has to OWN the power himself.  Not just be the power.  He can’t just expect it all to be given to him for him to be the complete master of it.  I rather like this plot point.

The Horde “capture” (destroy?) Castle Grayskull in issue 6.  The idea is that their symbol of hope is lost.  Hordak even says so himself.  The Castle has become their banner, kind of their cross.  If Grayskull more or less sacrificed himself defeating Hordak, that would be a tremendous analogy.

I approve!  Maybe we can see He-Man develop himself for once.  Usually the Sorceress gives him new powers and such.  But I like the new take.  And I like the new costume…even the new sword!

?What’s ahead?

I think maybe they are successful…They get to Zoar in a few issues, and use the power as a big RESET button.

Maybe it will be like the Horde never even came.  Maybe Skeletor will be back, with his jaw intact, and maybe even Orko will be a good guy again.

But I kind of hope not.  I want to see what they can do with what they have built.

Maybe they get to Zoar, and Teela becomes that new oracle in the Sorceress’ place.

Or maybe I am completely off.  They get to Zoar, and Orko is already there, ready to throw the Star Seed at them like a super-ball!

We do know that the artists from the first six books will be back.  That is a good thing.  I think issues 7 and 8 are badly drawn.  A bunch of scribble in my opinion.  Earl Norem should write them a letter!

Comic Review…He-Man and the Masters of the Universe #5….The Origin of Despara (She-Ra)

I might be one of the few commentators out there who enjoy the new Masters of the Universe comic.  I hope it’s truly doing well…And I hope the Justice League crossover gives it a big boost as well.

Of all the things about the comic that could be said, the most striking thing has been the appearance of She-Ra as Despara.  She has a butch haircut, and goes around in Hordak’s body armor ruthlessly….and I mean ruthlessly killing rebels and masters.  She is more than Force Captain Adora could have ever been, (in regard to the Filmation story.)  No she’s a cold blooded zealot, wanting to shine victory on Hordak.

The origin story here did not disappoint!

Here’s the cover.

I am glad to see the classic feminine look of She-Ra here.  We really haven’t gotten to see this much in the DC New 52 version of the comics….aside from a variant cover that I have not been able to get.  But if anything, Comics have proven that the cover doesn’t usually tell us much.

But this cover does….In this issue, the lies of the Horde become apparent to Despara….And she learns that she was Adora from the Shadow Weaver, who in this story has been a “mother” to her.

I like everything about this re-telling.  In fact, in the old established story, some things didn’t make any sense.  Here it all makes perfect sense.  It is well explained, and furthermore, we see the Horde’s twist on things, having the origin told from the Shadow Weaver’s point of view.

Skeletor stole Adora from the crib…Why didn’t he take Adam?  This story explains it.  The Sorceress intervened.

Why hasn’t Randor, or anyone else mentioned it yet…His mind has been wiped!  Everyone’s has been to help them with their grief by the Sorceress.

And Marlena…she’s dead too, evidently.

A couple of other things I liked.  Shadow Weaver shows her jealousy of Hordak here.  She speaks ill of  him and his arrogance.  She continues to see herself as Despara’s mother, a character quality I was unaware of.  (I haven’t watched much She-Ra….I AM a boy, you know.)  She also speaks of Skeletor in glowing terms…It’s like she’s in love with him.  This is also apparently new.  FInally, she says that she believes the Sorceress allowed Adora to be taken.  Not sure if this is her trying to put more slant on it or what, but it makes sense the way she says it.  She says that it is the kind of sacrifice Grayskull would require.  And that only one of the twins was required to fulfill the prophecy.

So my logic is, in the taking of Adora, 20 or so years were bought to train Adam to become He-Man.  At least this is how Shadow Weaver, a dark mage, tells it.

In this issue we see the Shadow Weaver killed by Hordak and his godlike power.  Why can’t he so easily kill Adora?  A good question.

What I didn’t like.

Teela had to stab her at the end, didn’t she?  Why couldn’t she have taken the heroic high road?  The writers are typecasting Teela into someone more hardcore than she should be.  I don’t much care for the snarky conversations between her and Adam, or the way she snaps virtually everyone else up.  She always gets the last word in these stories, and is such a prominent character that you could almost call this book “Teela and the Masters of the Universe.”  Here it is no different.  Despara heals Teela, and Teela thanks her by stabbing her back.

Also, we’ve seen who killed in this series…

Leech, Sorceress, Flutterina, and now Marlena and Shadow Weaver.  And at 11:30 at night my memory might be evading me.

Keep in mind that we’ve only had a six issue web series, a six issue mini-series, and five issues of the ongoing series.  If I’m right, that adds up to a character killed off in 1 out of 3 books.  What other comic can survive like this….My thinking is that the writers are thinking short term.  “No way this series is going to last much longer.”  I hope I’m not right.

At least Man-At-Arms hasn’t been turned into a snake man.

And at least Orko is still a good guy….oh…he’s not…..

What I hope to see

Next issue is the last issue of this story arc.  I hope to see Despara shed that name and claim Adora.  I hope to see her raise the sword and become She-Ra…The classic version we know…not the soldier from Wreck-It Ralph.  Somehow the sword gets to her, and it’s power breaks the fog of lies that surround her.

And I hope she tips the scales away from Hordak.

But for the future…I want to see a She-Ra book of her own.  Now we will have a hero with a truly dark history.  Someone who has to find redemption from the evil she has committed.  The book would show us how she gains the trust of the rebels and breaks the back of the Horde.  It would be awesome!

Is it too much of a fantasy?  Let me know!  Commentors could win a prize!

Groovy Dork List (issue II)

Groovy Dork List II

Groovy  I got an extra Aquaman comic in the Mail!  Looks like I might have a give-away soon!

Dork  What’s up with the news about a “red clear colored” Hordak figure?  So we can’t have filmation colors, but we can have this weird variant, which is being offered as a rare “legendary” type figure?

Groovy  SoundGarden!  Man, I can’t get enough of them it seems lately.

Dork  Too bad I can’t go to the Carolina Rebellion this weekend and see them.

Groovy  I picked up some recent comics for a quarter a piece at the Edge of the World Public Library!

Dork  I haven’t mentioned Free Comic Book Day yet.  Because I didn’t get anything good.  They were wiped out at both the Tangled Web and Mad Max’s Comics on Saturday by the time I got there.

Groovy  Rumor has it that the MOTUC subscription may be a bit cheaper this time.  I hope so.  Maybe I can subscribe and get in on some of the best stuff in MOTU.  Still to come are “Two Bad” and associated characters “Tuvarr” and “Badra,” “Modulok/Multibot/Megabeast,” 200x Evil Lynn, “Tongue Lasher,” “Blade,” “Saurod,” and more, which I really want.

Dork  I don’t care much for POP.  Not that I don’t like it.  But that is not what I am interested in collecting.  But it appears that next year is going to have a ton of POP characters.  I personally think they should offer POP as a separate subscription.  Kind of like the Filmation Sub and the 30th anniversary sub.  And keep it MOTU vintage in the main line.  We already got our She-Ra and Cat-ra. And Bo.  Leave those other guys for the POP fans to buy.  Don’t force them on those who don’t want them.  Which is part of the reason I’ve been a cherry picker thus far.

Groovy  Baja Limon chips are SOOO GOOOD.  I picked mine up where all the cheapskates shop.  Big Lots!

Dork  The schools are encouraging Meatless Monday now.  These kids are pasty enough as it is.  Most of them are already iron deficient.  And your going to take away their meat now?  Unwise, people.  Unwise.  AND it would be different if they offered a healthy meatless choice.  Instead….Nacho Cheese?  I thought we were trying to COMBAT CHILDHOOD OBESITY!

“How can you have puddin’ if ya don’t eat yer meat!”

My promise to Pixel Dan….My Top Ten MOTU characters!

I grew up with He-Man.  I saw every aspect of He-Man until “The New Adventures.”  Even then I had a few of those figures.

So who were my favorite characters?  I promised Pixel Dan in my comment for his contest that I would list my top ten.  So here we go!  I love these guys probably more than the others.  But it is so hard to choose.  I did not even consider Battle Cat or Panthor.  But I love them too!

10.  Hordak.  In my mind Hordak is the goofy villain from She-Ra.  But I also love the MYP interpretation where he is a powerful threatening wizard.  I don’t love the Hindu-ish looking Hordak from the current comics, however.

9.  Tongue Lasher.  Cool name.  Cool action feature in his toy.  Loved his color scheme.  I prefer this guy to any of the other snake men.

8.  Scare Glow.  Old Scare Glow is especially bad in the dark!

7.  Mosquitor.  This guy is just awesome!  I loved the blood sucking feature.  Ironically, as a kid, I got Mosquitor in my Easter basket……

6.  Man-At-Arms.  Ever loyal to He-Man and Eternia.  I am not fond of the idea of Duncan dying a snake man.  To me, Duncan is the mastermind behind all of the vehicles and such.  He also appeals to me as the sort of priest for the good guys.  That might strike some readers as weird, but here’s why.  If you study anthropological formation of religion, you find that the first religious figures were the ones who could predict nature, build fire, and heal people.  Man-At-Arms has the secret of the lost technology from Eternia’s ancient past.  And he communes with the Sorceress, who is also a religious figure.  So there you have it!

5.  Rio Blast.  The guy has more guns than Swartzeneger.  What’s not to like?

4.  Evil Lynn.  She has such depth of character.  More than many other villains in this universe.  Everything from the white hair under the helmet, to the contrast with Teela, to the classic yellow skin, faceless dad, and even the seductive story in the digital comics.  Evil Lynn is an agent that generates story.  I also used to love to put the figure on Tyrantisaurus.

3.  Roboto.  The gears in the chest get me every time.  AND you can swap his weapon hands.  How cool is that?

2.  Skeletor.  Not for the same reason as He-Man.  I just think he is AWESOME.  A barbarian wizard dude with a skull face, goat staff, and lives in a mountain shaped like a snake.  Skeletor is THE DEFINITIVE bad guy,

1. He-Man  (Does this need explanation?)  He-Man caught my imagination.  He helped solidify my view of “good guy.”

So what is yours, Hub City Geeks?  Do you agree with me or disagree?  Comment!