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.

Advertisements

SpartanNerd…Follow up on “He-Man: The Eternity War”

I have been very impressed with the current run of DC masters of the Universe.  “He-Man: The Eternity War” has really been developed.  And we are seeing the characters presented in ways we have never seen before.

IMG_6160

Here is a pic of all six issues I have.  I have two of the covers from Issue 1.

IMG_6162

The version with the toys came only to subscribers, if I am correct.

What is so impressive?  Here are issue by issue thoughts.

Issue 1.  Hordak returns to flesh, using He-Man’s blood, drawn unintentionally by She-Ra in the preceding story arc.  And then he becomes a super charged version of himself by tapping into the power of Grayskull.  See what I mean…We’ve never seen Hordak presented like this.

Issue 2.  Man-At-Arms converts Roboto into a flight suit to take out the Horde’s orbital disruptor.  (This weapon wiped out most of the Masters of the Universe and the Eternian army in prior issues.  Kind of a mini-death star.)

Issue 3.  The deal with the Eyes of Grayskull returns from the digital-only books that began DC’s current run on Masters of the Universe.  She-Ra finds the Eye of Chrono and unintentionally leads Hordak to it.

Issue 4.  She-Ra takes a beating, but Skeletor rescues her using the eye of Chaos, which he had in his possession.  (Now Skeletor has both eyes!)

Issue 5. Skeletor witnesses She-Ra use her sword to heal herself, and asks her to heal him.  Then he explains that he has had a change of heart and doesn’t wish to be constantly defeated, as he has seen over and over in different versions of himself as he traveled the Multiverse.  The Green Goddess (or Sorceress, or Teela, what should we call her now?) lets He-Man know that “The Goddess” (adding to the confusion) has three faces, Serpos, Zoar, and Horokoth.  Eternia has witnessed the age of Zoar, but she fears the Age of Horokoth is inevitable.  He-Man chooses to look at the future behind a door with the Horde symbol on it, (which means Horokoth, the destroyer now.)  He sees himself as King He-Man, with the normal skinned (and naked) Teela as his queen.  A military state is evident.

Issue 6.  “The Problem with Power.”  He-Man sees a vision of the future.  DC uses King He-Man…an impressive draw to this story…the cover is magnificent.  We see more of the kingdom that King He-Man will bring about.  Notably, Skeletor’s allies are now his allies, while the “Good Guys” are now “The Great Rebellion!”  At the end, He-Man breaks the sword in half, destroying it and relinquishing the power to return to the form of Prince Adam.

I can’t wait for issue 7!

IMG_6161

Skeletor’s romp through the Multiverse let him see many versions of himself, each one ending in defeat.  He never acquires the power of Grayskull.  Check out my Skitch below…

IMG_6161 skitch

IMG_6163

“The Problem With Power” was the title of perhaps the greatest Filmation episode, where He-Man changes into Adam…a reverse transformation rarely seen, and then throws the sword into the abyss.  He decided in that episode that being He-man wasn’t worth taking the life of someone.  In this issue, there are echoes of the same, but all of Eternia is the victim as King He-Man is a despotic leader.

IMG_6159

This page kind of captures the state of things.  Beast Man is wearing Battle Cat’s hide as a cape!  He-Man is riding Panthor, and the Eternal Guard are riding Nightstalkers!  Also, notice the weaponry all over castle Grayskull.  In this issue, He-Man also orders an insurgent’s head on a spike…exactly the the thing Mattel told the moviemakers to avoid in the 1980s.  (I recall seeing the the Art Book instructions for “No Heads!  No Spikes!”

Finally….

IMG_6158

He-Man destroying “The Sword of Eternity.”  (A new name for “The Power Sword.”  Christened thus for only a few panels.)  a moving panel…Prince Adam appears so weak in the next few panels walking away, and I wonder how this is going to work.

“He-Man: The Eternity War” is a terrific read, and keen fans will see little allusions and nods.  I see it as the comic writers have a box full of toys, and are constantly playing with them in new ways.  Shaping a story the way little kids would have, and then making modern comics meant for an adult audience.

I hope DC keeps making MOTU comics.  I don’t ever want that dry spell that seemed to happen for so long to ever return.  I want to see toy versions of these comics characters.  The work is certainly deserving….