Comic Publishers

July 12, 2012

DC Comics Reviews: He-Man and the Masters of the Universe #1

He-Man and the Masters of the Universe #1
Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: James Robinson
Artist: Philip Tan
Cover: Philip Tan & Dave Wilkins

Adam is no Prince of Eternia and his father is no King. They are woodsmen, scraping a living from the forest itself while Adam has dreams of being a hero. It is because of these dreams that he finally decides to venture out and see what Eternia has to offer him. He isn’t too far into his journey when he runs into Beast Man, who seems to know not only who Adam is, but will stop at nothing to make sure he doesn’t leave this forest.

There’s a nervousness that comes over me whenever a popular 80s franchise is “reimagined” for the new generation of comic readers. There’s the fear that whoever the writer is will eventually end up only pandering to the people who grew up with the franchise instead of trying to tell new stories and bring in new readers. Well, with the new twist on the He-Man mythos, Robinson has made this interesting and not just a retelling of a story told many times over. This humble everyman approach to Adam, along with the fact that the bad guys seem to know more about him than he does, immediately gives this story a fresh take.

As far as the visuals go, I’ll say that it was hit and miss through most of the book. There is a huge double-page spread of Adam’s dream that showcases many of the familiar characters from the series, and a huge opportunity was dropped. What should have been an eye popping visual treat seemed more like a rushed page, and instead of excited it was just a bit boring. As we get to the story, though, Tan does a much better job moving it along, and Beast Man’s reveal shot is pretty awesome. Their fight is the most action in the book, and is carried over several pages. The only issue one could have with the battle is that there wasn’t a point where Adam seemed to be in danger, so the fight lost its impact about halfway through.

Aside from the few issues with the artwork, there seems to be a very good story beginning here in this first issue. Robinson is giving it a fresh start, and as someone who was fond of the Masters of the Universe all those years ago, there’s a willingness to see how this plays out. I’m not sure how newer readers will take to this, but you don’t have to know decades of back story to be comfortable. Robinson makes this first issue very accessible, and you can’t ask for more than that.

Infinite Speech
infinitespeech@comicattack.net

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