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.

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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.

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

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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!

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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!

 

 

SQUEEZE…SpartanNerd Unboxing and Review

I remember being a kid, and going to the store.  It was likely “Sky City”, which was a department store that was big in Spartanburg before Wal-Mart moved in and started killing smaller retail businesses.  Anyways, my mom would generally get me and my brothers a He-Man guy, and they were usually under $5.   I remember this so well because Squeeze was one of the last figures I ever saw in a store for sale.  I never owned him…I think I walked out with Rio-Blast that day…and always the mystery of what Squeeze was all about lingered.

Until now!

Squeeze came in the regular box.   But…look how they had to cram him!


Why didnt I get this as a kid?   Probably was the mouth and head.

Here is the figure right out of the box.  You can see he has a lone accessory…a specially designed snake staff.   Squeeze has a stupid armor-bra, that is non-removable.  He has awesome spikes on his leg armor…one of his coolest and under appreciated features!   I am a big fan of the bright green, purple, orange, and silver coloring.   I still dislike the “alligator” head.
You can also see those incredible arms.

The arms make him triple in size, at least!

They are bendy, and can be posed and shaped however you like.  They hold their pose.  The shoulder is a ratchet joint.  So it clicks satisfyingly however you want.  His wrists swivel, and he has HUGE hands.   I’m glad we got hands instead of snake heads.  (Swappable hands would have been cool)


The arms have these qualities at a price, however.  Squeeze is so top heavy that his legs can’t really hold him up.  They can…but he never seems stable.   Mine has weak joints, making the problem worse.  AND the way the boots are designed, you can’t get the same range of motion as you can with other figures.


In the above pose, I have him propped against the backdrop.

His arms CAN help him stand and balance.   But it would have been better if the legs were stronger.  The more I played with Squeeze, the more I saw his hips get weaker as well as his knees.

His snake staff is different than the other snake mens’.  It is also kind of bendy, though it reminds me of a hammer a little bit too.

As mentioned in my last post, I got SQUEEZE along with several other figures in MattyCollector’s big closing sale.  I have played more with SQEEZE than any of the other figures.  And I think it is because of handy convenience.  You can do what you want with those arms, and then set it back down.

But I have lots of negative things to say.

The head is stupid.  Why no swappable 200x variant?  200x Squeeze was ugly too.  But not an alligator.  And along that line…why no swappable hands so we could have the 200x “Staction” look.  Squeeze was always ejecting snake projectiles out of his arms in the cartoon.  OK.  How about this…interchangeable normal arms?

But that was all WISHFUL THINKING.  What we have here is a weak-jointed MOTUC figure.  The shoulder joints are very tight and satisfying.  But the waist, torso, and knees are all loose joints, that get looser the more you play with it, and a problem exacerbated by the top heaviness of the arms.

And worse.  These are the worse ankles in any MOTUC figure as far as lacking articulation.  You can barely rock the feet back and forth.  BARELY.  the way the boot is designed, it keeps it from happening.

Don’t get me wrong.  I think this is fun.  But it is far from perfect as a figure.  I am going to give SQUEEZE a 2/5.  He has the spirit of what the vintage figure was all about.  But as an adult collector figure, we got hosed in the detail and articulation department.

So, the SpartanNerd gives Masters of the Universe Classics SQUEEZE a 2/5.  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…

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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 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 Review…He-Man: The Eternity War issues 12 and 13

Way back in November, I gave you my thoughts on the He-Man: The Eternity War story in issues 10 and 11.  Today, I bring you issues 12 and 13!

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I have read so many comics that NOTHING seems to happen in.  This hasn’t been the case with He-Man!  Each issue brings barbaric fighting, sci-fi goodness, high-fantasy magic, and the struggle for good to defeat evil.  The writers are giving us a great comic, with all-stops out!

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The two manifestations of The Goddess continue to battle it out.  The Sorceress of Serpos (Teela) and the Sorceress of Horokoth (Evil-Lynn) do this because the Sorceress of Zoar (…The Sorceress) was killed off by Skeletor way back at the beginning of this comic series.

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And while this epic confrontation wages, Skeletor has the power of Grayskull, and is making his own weapon out of Hordak’s sword and the Havoc staff at the Forge of Grayskull.  As he hammers away, planets are exploding out in the universe!

(The Forge of Grayskull is a repetitively used plot device in this series.  The writers have tied the power He-Man has to the forge, because it’s fire comes from the Star Seed…us long time fans know this as “the spark of creation.”)

Planets exploding…this strikes another nerve, as I just left my second viewing of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

It is also remarked that the souls of all of the people killed as these worlds explode are feeding Skeletor’s power.  Pretty scary.

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Remember that scene where He-Man was Naked?  Evidently, the writers were showing us He-Man stripped down in his psyche.  The next scene shows what is going on in Adam’s head.

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We saw this scene before, but in that scene Keldor encouraged Adam.  We are seeing the memory corrupted by King Hssss.  And Adam doesn’t appear consistent in his mind…notice how as he fights, he suddenly was older and had the battle axe.

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He continues to change…

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And then is a psychological He-Man.  The axe is significant.  The is the He-Man inside of Adam, and he doesn’t need the power of gray skull.

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Adam encounters someone else in his mind as he goes deeper to protect his psyche from King Hsss.  His suppressed love for Teela is just at the top level of his sub-conscience.

And now for a HOLE IN THE PLOT.  Wasn’t Teela a blonde in this comic?  They even made a big deal about her dying her hair to red!

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Adam’s memory of Teela tells him to fight with all he has to protect a deeply hidden but crucial memory.  A memory shielded from even himself…It is represented by this little rock thing.  But then under attack by Hsss, Adam drops it and it shatters.  And then we had to wait for Issue 12!

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Issue 12 starts off with She-Ra fighting to get to Grayskull, and having a hard time slaying Skeletor’s Dark Riders…basically phantom skeleton warriors.

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She figures it out by suddenly knowing “Sword to Shield!”  I didn’t think they would use She-Ra’s sword-transformations in this comic.  The sword became  basically a sharp ended force-field.  COOL!

I am missing some pictures and am too lazy to re-take (after seeing Star Wars until 12:30 last night.)  Something that happened off panel was Man-At-Arms planting a bomb in Tri-Clops visor while he was “talking too much”.  And so that explodes, killing Tri-Clops and blowing a hole in Castle Grayskull/Fright Zone’s shields.

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And now back to what is going on in Adam’s head.  Adam is running towards the crashed Wind Raider…we saw this before…

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The memory is of the event that was recorded in He-Man and the Masters of the Universe #19, which was sub-titled “Prelude to the Eternity War.”  This comic was a whole year ago!  And King Hsss is working hard to corrupt this memory…a memory so deep and yet so vital to who He-Man is.  In the memory, Adam as a child, taps into the power of gray skull in order to save Randor from death.  Apparently a hidden ability of the power of gray skull is the ability to control time.  And so, the word “eternity” makes sense.  The Sorceress and Zodac decided to allow Adam to briefly tap the power as a child to save Randor, so long as he “forgot” what he did, as well as how he did it.  That fundamental moment proves that Adam IS He-Man, with or without a power sword.

Man-At-Arms is apparently not dead after all, but seriously wounded in the chest.  As he comes around, he sees Adam having inner conflict, saying things that don’t make sense, etc.  And then he sees Adam grab the remnants of the power sword and cut himself open!

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I always thought King Hsss devoured his victims like he did in the 200x cartoon.  Now we see how he does it for real…and it is SOOO much creepier.  Instead of swallowing them whole, (which kind of doesn’t make sense…) he goes into the body and consumes it from the inside.  All the while also consuming their psyche and becoming that person for real.  He is the Master of Dissssguisssse.

And before he took control of Adam he was Mendor…(I thought their must be something suspicious about Mendor…his name ends with an “-OR.”  Clearly he was a bad guy!) As Mendor, he treated all of the snake men, and caused them to be “seeded with his venom.”  Which apparently meant they would self destruct when he died.

So King Hsss dies, as does the Eternian army.(Because they are the same thing.)

In a matter of issues we have seen two entire armies wiped out…the Horde Troopers and the Snake Men.  Never say “nothing happened” in a Masters of the Universe comic!

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The memory of Randor gives Adam some clarity.  But let’s remember, Adam is dying…he just cut himself open…

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We interrupt that very important drama with even more important drama.  Skeletor outlines his evil plan to the world.  He has tapped the Star Seed.  She-Ra is down.  Hordak is conquered.  As the chosen one of Horokoth, Skeletor aims to destroy ALL life.  And then rule the chaos that comes after.

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Finally we see the image of Skeletor transformed with the power of Grayskull.  It appears that as before, he is combined with the Havoc staff.  Or maybe I’m wrong about that.

There are definite movie overtones here.  Remember Skeletor becoming “god.”  (Also the actors changed from Frank Langella to Anthony DeLongis.)

And as he appears, in Adam’s final moments…

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He taps into the power of Grayskull as the chosen one of both Serpos and Zoar!  It appears now that Adam is either re-born, or maybe healed.  And now he is a supercharged version of He-Man!  (We also saw some of this pre-viewed in the art book.

The art book seems to give us a few more hints of what’s to come.  But for now, I am perfectly happy with how things have gone!  This is the greatest Masters of the Universe story ever told!

Do I even need to bother giving them a 5/5?  I think my readers already know that!

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!