Masters of the Universe Minicomics Collection

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

VINTAGE MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

SHE-RA, PRINCESS OF POWER

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

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

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

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

THE NEW ADVENTURES OF HE-MAN

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

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

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

200x COMICS

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

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

MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE CLASSICS MINI COMICS

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

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

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

EXTRAS

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1

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.

 

2

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

3

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!

4

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!

5

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.

6

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.

78

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!)

1011

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.

12

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)

13

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

14

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!

15

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

I think I’ll start with this photo…

IMG_7598

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…

IMG_7599

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.

IMG_7602

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.

IMG_7603

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

IMG_7604

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.

IMG_7605

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.

IMG_7607

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.

IMG_7608

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?

IMG_7610

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?

IMG_7611

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.)

IMG_7614

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.)

IMG_7616

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.

IMG_7576

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.

IMG_7577

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.

IMG_7578

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

IMG_7579

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!

IMG_7580

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.!

IMG_7581

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

IMG_7582

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.

IMG_7584

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.”

IMG_7585

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

IMG_7586

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

IMG_7587

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

IMG_7588

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

IMG_7589

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.

IMG_7590

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

IMG_7591

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…

IMG_7592

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!

SpartanNerd Unboxing and Review…Masters of the Universe Classics Evilseed

When Evilseed went on sale, I decided I would get him, only to be held off by circumstances.  I thought I would have to catch him on Cyber Monday, maybe.  But he remained on sale…perhaps he didn’t sell out?  Regardless, I ordered mine, and over a week later he arrived in this mailer.

IMG_7110

I quickly opened it, to reveal the sealed packaging.

IMG_7111

IMG_7112

The front of the box has a nice window that has Evilseed on display.  You can clearly see his accessories…he has the tag line of “Evil Master of Plants.”  And that’s about it.  Just from seeing here…he is quite incredible looking, if you are a MIC collector.  But that’s not me.

I flipped the box over, and check it out!  For the first time, I own all of the characters on the back of the box!

Evilseed gets a new “real name” and bio, photographed here for you, oh Hub City Geeks.  But I’m just throwing away the package.  Notably, the bio says that Moss Man created Evilseed.  A good story.  But I prefer the Mike Young version that this figure is based on.

IMG_7113

Removing Evilseed from the package isn’t difficult.  He did have some rubber bands, and the vine-whip accessory had to be wrangled out of the blister.  But other than that, it was all good.  Notably, there was no “smell” associated with this figure.  (If you will recall, Moss Man” had a very strong pine scent.)

Here he is in the first pose I made for him.

IMG_7114

Evilseed has a terrific sculpt.  When I first saw this revealed, I knew I had to get one to go with my Moss Man.  The Four Horsemen hit a homerun every time!  Check out all of the little scaly looking parts.  Check out the thorns and vines.  I went back and watched “Orko’s Garden,” “Council of Evil” part 1 & 2, and “The Last Stand” today to check my facts.  I have ready other reviews, and there is some criticism of this version being too bulked up.  In the MYP cartoon, his IS skinner at the torso and waist, but the entire upper body looks almost perfect.  The thicker torso here is welcome, if you ask me.  While they could have used some amalgamation of Lizard Man’s parts, I think this was the way to go.  It doesn’t look wrong at all.  Maybe he’s been working out?

Evilseed has that terrific sculpt, and also the standard articulation that all of the other MOTUC figures have.  Rocker joint ankles, hinged knees, ball jointed shoulders, waist twist, ab crunch, ball jointed shoulders, bicep swivels, hinged elbows, a swivel wrist, and a ball jointed head that can rotate freely and be swapped out.

The cool new addition to the articulation is the way the vines look on the legs.  They are made of a more rubbery material, and are a continuation of the waist piece.  These come down and loop around the knees, which means Evilseed has both loose vines on his knees and articulation there!

IMG_7118

How about this face!  If he had a mother….

For real, this is one of the most evil faces ever sculpted for MOTUC.  Evilseed’s overall green color is a stark and EVIL contrast to this sinister eyes and mouth, which are bright red in color.  This is the only red on the figure…everyghing else is green, black, or brown.  This highlights the evil human nature of the figure, and even makes him appear alien.  Where his hair should be, we have this bunch of creepy looking vines/grass/seaweed.

IMG_7117

The torso is evidently just the same sort of Torso that He-Man or most of the others have.  But this time there is non-removable armor sculpted with he specific viney details demanded of Evilseed.  There is a very striking collar that comes up beside his head on both sides, giving him a plant/vampire look.  You can see the vine details on his back, and also two mysterious green thorns in the middle of his back.

IMG_7116

One of Evilseed’s two accessories is “The Scepter of Power.”  My research tells me that this Filmation artifact was in the episode, “The Magic Falls.”  I don’t personally own this episode on DVD.  I started to watch it on YouTube, when I discovered that all of those videos appear to be playing at too fast a clip, giving a chipmunk effect to most of the music and voices.  It was unbearable to me.  And As a music teacher, the difference in key created by the effect was just too jarring. Anyways, Evilseed looks really good with the Scepter of Power.  It is supposed to be for King Randor, but since I am not a fan of “Throne Room Randor” and, nor the Burger King version of the regular Randor, I decided to settle on letting Prince Adam hold it.  (He would inherit it anyway, right?)

IMG_7130

Not bad at all.

IMG_7119 IMG_7120

The other accessory is this vine-whip creature.  You can position it almost anywhere on his body.  I think I might try and order more of these!  I think he should have come with more of them.  Watching the MYP version made me realize how ridiculous and over-exaggerated the vines that Evilseed controlled were.  But it worked really well in that cartoon.  Evilseed even made T-Rex sorts of plants, and hydra plants also.  He also would use them to transport around on…Mattel could have given us an interchanging waist so we could display him as seen transporting around on a “trunk” of vines!

In getting this figure, one of my aims was display him in battle with Moss Man.  Here is my first attempt!

IMG_7123

Even with the “plant god” head on, Moss Man appears to be from a different line entirely.  Both are green, but the flocking on Moss Man blurs his details.

IMG_7124

Evilseed looks pretty good with Moss Man’s weapon, but the seed-bag armor with knife doesn’t fit properly across Evilseed because of the collar piece of the armor.  It fits loosely around his waist, which is something I do with Moss Man sometimes.

It might be better to use it to imprison him…

IMG_7127

Heheh…looks like Orko is going to set him free…

Evilseed was a part of Skeletor’s Council of Evil…We can compare Evilseed to Count Marzo and Skeletor by reenacting a scene from the cartoon.

IMG_7128

IMG_7121

IMG_7122

SpartanNerd Rating of Masters of the Universe Classics Evilseed.

Evilseed has terrific sculpting.  He is highly articulated, even specifically for his figure.  (With the vines around his knees.)  His paint looks good, and there was no “pee plastic” smell like I detected from King Hsss and Snake Armor He-Man.  He comes with two accessories…the only complaint I can level is I wish we had MORE vines.  But this can be easily done.

So I give MOTUC Evilseed a 5/5!  I am not the least bit disappointed in this figure.  Every detail matches my specifications!  There are some people who complain that this isn’t Filmation’s “turnip head” version.  But I don’t even like that version…it was even a reason I might not subscribe to that little add-on sub.  This 200x version looks evil, not goofy.  He is ready for battle…ready to kick some plants!

The SpartanNerd gives Masters of the Universe Classics Evilseed a 5/5.  Do you agree or disagree?  Let me know in the comments!

SpartanNerd Review…He-Man: The Eternity War #8

DC’s remix of Mattel’s classic property has recently received a lot of love from fans and critics, including the SpartanNerd.  However, this time, I don’t feel as good.

Some background.

In issue #5, The Goddess/Sorceress/Teela reveals that destiny has three faces…Serpos, Zoar, and Horokoth.  Serpos was the ancient god of the snake-men.  Zoar has been Serpos’ replacement for ages for the Eternians, and Horokoth a god for the Horde.  The Goddess thinks the Age of Horokoth is inevitable, and wonders if He-Man could, or even should prevent it.

Issue #6 shows us a dystopian future where Adam becomes King He-Man, and rules with an iron fist.  He has enlisted his former enemies, Skeletor’s minions, to be a big part of his army, and is fighting against She-Ra, who leads the former Masters of the Universe as rebels against him.  We see him married to Teela, who reverts to green Goddess mode and we realize it was a vision given to Adam of what the future is to become if He-Man beats back the Horde himself.  So He-Man breaks the sword!

Issue #7 is more back-story for Skeletor and the Havoc Staff.  Evidently, strangely, Skeletor became the Evil Overlord of Destruction by breaking the time-space continuum and preventing his own murder at Hordak’s hands…an event that had to happen because the skull on the Havoc Staff is his own skull, only twisted by demonic magic.  Skeletor also tells us that he helped raise Despara/Adora/She-Ra, but because it is Skeletor who is talking, who knows if he’s telling the truth?

After all of these exciting stories, we get issue #8.

A break in the jaw-dropping revelations.

IMG_6948

We get some fighting and some narrative in the first few pages.

IMG_6949

We see Adam leading the charge with a gun-arm reminiscent of what Man-At-Arms uses.

IMG_6950

We see King Hsss/Randor….(But why?)

IMG_6951

And then the war is over.  We see the next day, Adam sitting on the throne petting Battle Cat.  (Not Cringer…hmmm…)

IMG_6952

Basically, just one day after the war, and the snake-men seem less loyal to Adam.  They were showing astonishing loyalty to He-Man.  Now, not so much.  Fisto has to call down this snake man who is about to execute Imp.  Evidently, the snake men are supposed to know that prisoners are to stand trial.

Adam is catching cold.  The Goddess thanks him for relinquishing his power.

I didn’t photograph the next parts, but here is a summary.  Skeletor turns on She-Ra like we all knew he would.  They transport into Hordak;s “Vault of Souls,” where he steals most of the souls, and then entices She-Ra to fall into the vault by throwing a locket with Marlena’s picture into it.

Act III…, Hordak finally makes his intentions known.  The Eternians have one day of peace granted by him, (I guess because he’s such a nice guy.)  Next he shows the future of those who are going to escape him to the planet Primus.

He uses the Eyes of Grayskull…

IMG_6953

IMG_6954

And destroys their future lives and their offsprings lives on Primus.

Wait another month, fools, for the next installment.

My quandary with this book comes in several ways.

First of all, why was King Hsss there?  Is he making the snake men less loyal?  Did Adam meet him in battle?  All we get is a strange picture of him saying “sssso weak,” referring to Adam.

My next problem is…we didn’t see HOW Adam led them to defeat the Horde at Eternos Palace.  All we get is “The day after liberation.”  A whole book could have been devoted to just that.  And SHOULD HAVE.  We would have seen Adam as the strong leader he evidently is, apart from the Power of Grayskull.  But the writers took the lame way out.  “The next day…”  “The day after Liberation,” “After the battle.”  But we see none of the action.  And action is one of the reasons why I like comic books.  BOOOOO!!!!  And just think how much more the rest of the story elements in this book would have meant?

My third gripe…this isn’t a stand-alone book in any way.  Lets just say, for instance, a person goes into a comic book store and says, “Wow!  A He-Man comic! I remember He-Man!” and picks this up.  They will be put on their tail.  Without knowledge of the series pretty much as a whole, you couldn’t understand what was happening in this book.  The stupid looking Fright Zone/Castle Grayskull abomination isn’t self explanatory enough.  The Green Goddess isn’t the Filimation Sorceress, or even Teela.  The Snake Men are fighting WITH the good guys?  A major nostalgia parade is rained on with an issue like this.  Sometimes Nostalgia is the only thing that sells books about 1980’s properties.  But this didn’t have to be the case.  The book could be much more accessible if there was a brief page at the front that explains what has been happening.  This has been done in MANY comics before.  Basically all of the Conan comics.  The modern Star Wars comics.  Marvel’s current Secret War also give you a little background and some premise.  But here, it is “jump in and read for the first time, and leave confused.”

My fourth gripe…New Adventures never does seem to be able to get ahead, does it.  I never watched the show, but read the few mini comics that were printed.  My brother had Slush Head and New Adventures He-Man.  I myself am not completely unattached, and hope the best for New Adventures because there are hundreds of fans.  But those fans just got dumped on. Hordak destroyed Primus.  And we just got to see it in one panel!  We could see it, and the future Masters of the Universe, who were also evidently destroyed.

Oh Hub City Geeks, I believe this comic was necessary for the advacement of the story.  But there are many things wrong here.  I hope things don’t turn south from here on out.  The only redeeming quality here is the art, which is consistent with the better art printed in DC’s run of Masters of the Universe.

The SpartanNerd rates He-Man: The Eternity War #8 a 1/5.  This is one of the lowest scores I have given a modern comic.  It is a necessary read to have the story.  But pitiful delivery.

SpartanNerd and SpartanTeen Review…Neo Zeon Mobile Suit MSN-06S Sinanju “Ver-Ka” (Titanium Finish)

IMG_6762

Of all of the Gundams we have reviewed, the Sinanju is the most impressive.  In several ways.  This Gundam has a “titanium finish,” basically vac-metal plastic.  It makes it shine!  Combine this effect with the size of the figure at Master Grade 1/100 scale and the many accessories and even an additional stand, and you have an incredible item.  Above is the box.  And longtime readers know that the SpartanNerd really likes his foil!

This item cost $140, and we purchased the stand for an additional $20.  (The stand is usable with most if not all Gundams, but is detailed specifically for Sinanju Ver-Ka.)  This is a special edition, with the vac-metal.  The normal Ver-Ka would cost around $80.

IMG_6763 IMG_6765 IMG_6764

The box is almost entirely in Japanese.  As well as the instructions.  This is commonplace for basically every Gundam we have built.

IMG_6767 IMG_6769 IMG_6770 IMG_6771

Above is the instructions for the decals and stickers.  The SpartanTeen used the regular sticker decals, rather than the water-slide decals.

I am going to show the Gundam in pieces, sort of.  There is so much here I had to “cull down” the amount of photos.

IMG_6666

The head really shows the small details.  The two “holes” on the side of the mask are meant to be vulcan cannons!  You can see the vac-metal and the plain gray plastic.  The crimson color goes well with the flat gray.  There is an eye detail that can’t really be seen because of the size and impressiveness of the rest of the head.

IMG_6749

Here is the backpack, showing all of its details in 3X faster mode.  (The legs also have details for “3x faster mode.”)  The backpack was the only truly “stupid problem.”  The backpack WOULD NOT attach to the figure as it was supposed to.  It works by a little slot mechanism that seemed to be obstructed by excessive plastic.  We solved the problem with some super-glue.  We checked other reviews of the figure, and found that ours seems to be an exception rather than the rule.

IMG_6774

Here the Sinanju stands, unarmed, and without his backpack.  It is very articulated.  The fingers all move like human fingers.  The arms move like a humans, the legs move like a humans.  It is a “super-articulated” design.  The shoulder armor and knee armor move to accommodate the most articulation.

The stickers are very much a foil item, and the Gundam doesn’t look right without those details.  All of the gold pictured here is a reflection of the flash of my camera!  That is how shiny it is!

The feet are on a rocker joint, and divided into toe and heel sections.

IMG_6775

The cockpit opens, revealing Char Aznable inside.  The cockpit is surrounded by yellow “psycho-frame” components.  The Gundam came with two different pilots.  One to stand beside on display, and one to stay in the cockpit.  The SpartanTeen (nor the SpartanNerd) can paint the tiny details required….We would if we could.  But that is a little out of our skill level at this point.

IMG_6759

Here are most of the accessories.  I say most, because, the Grenade Launcher/Shotgun wasn’t ready at the time of the review.  Notice the “beam-effect” parts.  These are interchangeable with the axe, and with the shield.

IMG_6756 IMG_6755 IMG_6754 IMG_6758 IMG_6757

You can see, this opens up an incredible array of display options!  The shield is very large and impressive.  The SpartanTeen doesn’t prefer the axe.  (This is more of a SpartanNerd thing.  See He-Man!)

IMG_6753

The beam saber isn’t a lightsaber at all.  The beam effect is detailed and rippled, rather than being a straight lazer sword.  It did come with two beam effects, we just wanted the readers to see the hilt disarmed as well as armed.

IMG_6751

The gun has expandable options as well.  The scope can move, and you can add parts from the shotgun/grenade launcher.  (Not pictured.)  Notable, the shield has a place to store the shotgun/grenade launcher.

IMG_6804

Here is the Sinanju standing on his own.  The backpack adds a lot of weight, causing some balance issue, but not much.  Notable, it was easy not to have the legs snapped all the way in.  They kept coming off until the SpartanTeen figured out how to fully snap them in.  (Sorry, the lighting system took accidental damage, and so this picture and all the rest are using flash only

.IMG_6802

IMG_6797IMG_6799

Here is the Sinanju holding the shield an on his custom stand.  The stand is a separate item, and will be reviewed later.  But the stand is the perfect way to display this incredible investment.

IMG_6837

As we have done in the past, we are now going to give this Gundam a grade!

Here is our criteria, each item getting a score.  We would like to say ahead of time, this Gundam is almost perfect!

Each item gets a score…
1 Too wrong
2 not right enough
3 could be better
4 pretty good, but…
5 perfect
Construction
Was it difficult considering the level it is supposed to be?  4
Stupid problems?   3  (cables around the legs, and backpack had to be glued.)
Instructions easy to read?  5
Diagrams clear?   5
Stickers? Paint    5
Articulation
stands easily?    5
moves without falling apart    5
posable/interchangeable hands    5
lots of articulation points     5
Dynamic poses    5
Accessories
Weapons     5
holds weapons/appropriate weapons      4  (some problem holding the gun and shields.)
Stand   5  (available as a separate item.)
expansions    5  (see above)
Weapon storage   5
playability
durable     4
photogenic    5
holds weapons?    5
Reasonable Facimile to media representation    5
Aesthetics    5   (that shiny plastic is incredible!)
Figure-specific features
morph/ transform/ change form    5
action feature    3
LED lights   1
Diarama     5
Pilot included?  Does he fit in the cockpit or is he in scale or not.    5
To tabulate the score, we add up all of the values, and then come up with an average.
The SpartanTeen and SpartanNerd Gundam Evaluation Checklist says that the Sinanju receives a 4.92.  So far the only Gundam coming in higher is Char’s Zaku II-S (2.0), which had a score of 5.2.
What do you think?  Leave us some feedback in the comments!