Thursday, 18 April 2013

He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (Ongoing) #1

Well I wasn't going to buy this issue as I really did not like the 6 part mini series that preceded it, but still I thought I may as well give it a chance.

So today we are looking at

The comic starts with Adam and Duncan (aka Man-At-Arms) getting dressed for some event while discussion the recently deceased Sorceress of Grayskull and how much Teela is like her.  As they then make their way to the event they come across Teela who is also in her best dress outfit and is now sporting red hair.  Adam tries to comment about it but she quickly stops him with a threat of physical violence.

So they get to this event which turns out to be in honor of the Sorceress who died helping to save Eternia from Skeletor.  While King Randor is giving a (very long) speech Adam once more tries to remark about  Teela's new hair and receives an elbow to the gut for his trouble, only for Teela to then lie and say that he is "overcome with grief".

Now I am not sure how it works on Eternia but I am sure that a civilian (because despite her status as Captain of the Guard that is what Teela is when all is said and done) elbows a member of roylaty, in this case the royal prince and heir to the throne...I am pretty sure that could be seen as a form of treason.  At the very least she should get severely reprimanded.  That is not even the worst part.  In one image we can clearly see that they are stood in front of a huge crowd of hundreds and are at least three to four feet apart.  This means that she had to move closer and then (in front of a huge amount of witnesses) blatantly elbowed him in the stomach.  Then she claims he was simply overcome with grief?  Man the population of Eternia must all be blind if she thinks people are going to buy that one.

Anyway back to the comic.

We then move over to a farm where a farmer and his young boys are tending to the crops, trying to make some sense of their life after the alternate reality that Skeletor created was all undone.  Suddenly there is a massive explosion and it appears that the boys are now dead.  The father desperately calls out for them to answer him but to no avail.  Instead he comes face to face with Despera, the adopted daughter of Hordak who also just happens to really be Adora, twin sister of Adam and the future hero known as She-Ra.

Despera beheads the man with one swipe of her sword and then orders the apparently still living boy to  be killed as "he suffers needlessly".  When this nasty business is concluded she contacts Hordak (who has quite possibly the worst redesign of any character ever in this entire DC series) and they do the whole "We have the element of surprise."... "I shall not fail you"... "No you won't or you will regret it" routine.  Blah de blah de blah.  Seen it all before, nothing new here to read...moving on.

Adam, Teela, Duncan and Dekker are making their way back to their rooms, the event now over.  Teela even stripping down to her underwear in front of them because... fan service?  I dunno, it is really quite stupid.  Still there she is, in her underwear while they discuss that the sorceress may not actually be dead and might have just transferred her essence into something else, but still (according to Teela) one less mage is probably not a bad thing.  Add this to the fact that earlier Teela said she never liked the Sorceress and pretty much states that she is glad her mother is dead... there is no easy way for me to say this so I just will

Teela is a complete and utter unlikable, irredeemable bitch with absolutely no good qualities whatsoever.  She is an ill-tempered, moody, self centered, violent, stupid little nobody who has this annoying air of superiority and quite frankly unless they do a MAJOR overhaul of this character...I hope she gets killed by the Evil Horde and just gets the hell out of this series.


Teela enters her room just as their is a big explosion.  Adam, Duncan and Dekker rush in to see if she is alright and find her trapped under a heavy piece of burning furniture.  Adam shows great compassion as he looks at her, pinned under this heavy piece of furniture and remarks "She's fine".

Now forgetting that she is a hardened warrior and she has been acting like a bitch to him all day, she is his friend so this seeming lack of compassion is a bit jarring to me.  He can't even use the excuse that he has to pretend to be the lazy, good for nothing Adam who has to act like this to hide the fact that he is actually the heroic He-Man.  Everyone knows he is He-Man, there is no secret identity.  This means that when Adam makes no attempt to help her (because he doesn't) then he really has no intention of helping her.  This is so totally out of character, because...hell even Adam would help her.  He wouldn't take his disguise that far.

So so far we have a bitchy Teela and an Adam who is happy to sit back and watch as his friends are pinned under burning furniture... what a great start to a MOTU comic.

Still Teela, Duncan and Dekker rush off to help the rest of the castle while Adam rushes to the roof to transform into He-Man, because apparently he needs the space due to the energy that is being released and...oh just go with it, it isn't the worst thing in this comic by far.

He is then joined by Teela who adds to her bitchiness with an amazing strong amount of bloodlust shown by her asking  "So who are we killing?"

The explosion was of course the start of the Horde invasion, lead by Despera who basically tells the Horde Troopers to kill everyone.  She then gets a power reading that Hordak warned her meant trouble.  She tracks the source to the signal and finds He-Man and Teela still on the roof.  Teela keeps on teeling He-Man to kill Despera ... sorry but this is totally out of character for Teela.  Even at her most arrogant bitchiness her first reaction to any villain would not be "Kill it, kill it, make it suffer, hurt it, hurt it...KILL...KILL...KILL"

Still Despera's mask is knocked off and Teela is shocked to see that it is non other then ADORA...wait how the hell does she know who Adora is?

...Oh I give up trying to make sense of this comic.

To sum up

This story, by Keith Giffen,   is full of unlikable character that really do the entire MOTU mythos and its fans a massive disservice because it make the once heroic and noble characters act like compelete asses.  This is especially true of Teela who is now so unlikable that I honestly think that her death would be a good thing.

Now in all honesty I think the invasion of the Horde was actually handled well and even though I am not (and never have been) a fan of Adora / She-Ra I do actually like what they are doing with her here.  In the Filmation cartoon series even when she was loyal to the Horde she was still basically a good person who just thought that the Horde was misunderstood.  But when she was shown what monsters they really were she turned against them and joined the great rebellion.  In this she is pure evil herself, yes I know it is due to magic brainwashing, but she has still done some deplorable stuff, acts that she will have to live with once she becomes She-Ra which will make her road to She-Ra and her subsequent feelings of guilt that much more heartfelt and genuine.

Mind you it is quite annoying that She-Ra gets this massive story arc to develop her character and all He-Man got was one origin issue in which he gets up in the middle of the night and has a chat with his uncle Skeletor about a tapestry...

The art of Pop Mhan is really where this comic shines (well except for Hordak).  The characters and scenery look great and except for that problem with Teela suddenly being close enough to elbow Adam, the action flows very nicely.  The faces of the characters are well drawn and ,while also looking fresh and new, still somewhat resemble those that we grew up with (those of us that grew up with MOTU that is).  They also show a great range of expressions and emotions (except for Teela who only has two looks: Angry and VERY ANGRY).

This is all helped by the great colors of Kathryn Layno that really brings Pop's art to life and captures the colorful word of Masters of the Universe.

The art alone increases the score of this by one howling wolf which means that this comic gets

2.5 Howling Wolves

Not really recommended, buy at own risk


  1. I agree wholeheartedly.

    I found Teela's behavior rude and inappropriate given that Adam is the future king. You don't hit the future King because he makes fun of your hair (which i think happened to her as a result of her edging towards being the next sorceress - I suspect this is where her knowledge of Adora comes from).

    I found it odd that she stripped down in front of her father (??) and the whole wardrobe falling on her, followed by 'she's fine' - perhaps Adam was remarking that way because of her loud stream of curses which indicated to him that, if she could curse like that in that situation, she was indeed fine.

    Nonetheless, the two of them acted like they could barely tolerate each other as people which makes any other interactions in battle less interesting. I liked her kvetching that He-Man wouldn't bleed a woman unless she bled him first, but I hated the rest of it.

  2. Teela was treating Adam as her best friend, not a prince. Teela's relationship with Adam is being presented as rather informal, so at least that part is consistent with the way she has been portrayed in the past.

  3. I can't stand how they have handled all of this so far. I have loved he man since I was born basically as I was born in 1983, the way they handled the Sorceress' death was just dull and a travesty at the same time. No struggle no battle with her magic as one of the most powerful characters in the universe sighs. Sadly this writer has been given full permission to destroy this universe and its characters. The 80's cartoon characters had more depth.