Graphic Novel Reviews: He-Man and the Masters of the Universe 002

The Story
Teela reveals that she does not recognize Adora for being Adam’s sister, but because she was apparently an imaginary friend of hers. Or so she thought. They fight, but ultimately have to retreat when Adora’s forces start butchering civilians to force a surrender. What is left of the royal forces and the Masters of the Universe convene at Castle Grayskull. King Randor explains that their enemies are the forces of Hordak, though none of his people believe that they are being attacked by an old legend.

Adora’s forces discover where the remnants of the resistance are gathering and orders surveillance on the old castle. She sends a projection of herself as an emissary, to order their surrender, but the Masters of the Universe refuse.

The Review
So I guess in this version Teela and King Randor knows that Adam is He-Man. I think I remember that from the mini-series. I can’t be certain. Actually, that’s something I’ve always been wondering about. I know that He-Man originally came out when secret identities were the cool thing. But it’s never made sense why Adam had to hide that he was He-Man. I understand that it’s to protect those close to him from danger, but it doesn’t work as well here the way it does with Batman and Spider-Man for example. With Batman he needs to keep his identity secret so that his enemies don’t go after him when he needs to rest, as well as to protect himself from being prosecuted by the police. With Spider-Man it’s to keep those he loves out of harm’s way. But with He-Man all his loved ones are either powerful warriors, or at risk anyway, like his parents. What exactly would Skeletor gain by knowing He-Man is Adam? Perhaps he could target him directly, but he seems to target Adam and those around him fairly regularly anyway. And if he was so powerful that he could get to Adam in the capital city, then he would have taken it over by this point anyway.

It will be interesting to see where this series goes now that Adam’s secret identity has been revealed. I think so far I’ve been able to enjoy this series and its accompanying mini-series because my familiarity with the He-Man franchise is somewhat limited. I know the basics, but have not seen much of the original TV show or read any of the comics or books.

I do find that Teela’s personality seems a bit exaggerated from what I do know about her. A bit too wise-ass than what I normally pictured her as. Then again, her personality did seem to vary from incarnation to incarnation, so it isn’t unheard of. But she goes beyond being a strong woman to being what too many writers think a strong woman is. Namely one that is actually just really, really rude. I know that everyone was thinking what she says about Mekaneck, but it still wasn’t exactly called for. I mean, sure his powers aren’t useful in battle, but what if they need to look over something really tall?

We’ve gotten a few hints that something is going on with Adora, and apparently Queen Marlena is missing. So I imagine we’ll be finding out in a few issues what is going on there.

The constant jabs by Adora at He-Man and Teela being a couple were amusing. I don’t know whether anything will actually come of that, but it certainly supports my theory that DC is filled with nothing but shippers.

Overall this issue in particular feels very self aware. There are a lot of jabs not only at the not entirely supported by the source material idea that Adam and Teela had a thing going on, but also at some of the sillier aspects of the source material. It betrays a possible lack of sincerity on the writer’s part. Like he’s saying, “Now I know this is silly, but bear with me.” Personally I think that treating the material you’re working with sincerity and respect is always a better idea than trying to make it look like you’re in on the joke. So far it’s only happened in this one issue, and the rest of the book is really enjoyable, so as long as this doesn’t become a running theme I’ll reserve docking this issue any points.

I can’t speak for fans of He-Man, but for casual viewers or the uninitiated like myself this is a fun enough read. On its own merits I think it’s a good jumping in point for people new to this franchise. Most people know enough about it to get at least something out of this series. But, in that regard there is a certain level of insider knowledge needed to understand what is going on. Basing my opinion on myself, as a non-fan coming into the franchise, I might know a bit more than the average non-fan. I had to look up who Adora was after the last issue, not because I didn’t know but because I had to confirm that I was right. So perhaps a little bit of research is needed to understand some of the smaller stuff, but overall I found this issue pretty accessible.

The Grade

4/5

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