Loads Of Fun But A Little Flawed: Reviewing ‘Masters Of The Universe- Masterverse’ #1 Is
by Tony Thornley
My very first fandom was Masters of the Universe. Some of my earliest memories were of He-Man and his allies and villains. So getting some unique takes on He-Man means I am on board.
This new take on He-Man comes from Tim Seeley, Eddie Nunez, Kelley Jones, Sergio Aragones, Rico Renzi, Brennan Wagner, and Deron Bennett.
Prince Adam has just received the Sword of Power, but not everyone thinks that he’s worthy. Now the Sorceress has to prove to Zodac, the master of cosmic balance, that Adam is the right choice to become He-Man. To do so, she dives deep into the multiverse, showing Zodac different versions of the most powerful man in the universe!
This issue is a hell of a lot of fun, but it did fall short in a few ways. I don’t think the shortcomings were in the story. Seeley’s script captures the heart of He-Man as a concept, mixing the nobility of characters like Captain America and Superman, with the warrior spirit of Thor and Wonder Woman. The frame story feels like an important part of Adam’s journey (especially with Nunez’s strong on-model take on the Revelations version). The horror take on He-Man is creepy, with a strong build up to the big reveal. The silly version is fun, but is a weird choice for the lead issue.
Jones’s story is fantastic, and Wagner’s colors make it even more frightening. He builds up a lot of tension, and the monstrous villains belong in the universe, but are way scarier than the standard villains. The story falls short with the actual design of its version of He-Man, which is completely divorced from the most recognizable elements of the classic He-Man design. If it had been closer to the classic design with more frightening elements, a la Jones’ vampire Batman, it might have been amazing.
Aragones’ story is just silly over the top fun. The story is chaotic and plays with the classic original He-Man story. It also makes fun of all the toys that the franchise was created to sell. The problem with this story is that it doesn’t make much sense. For example, we see He-Man get carried off in the first panel, but then another He-Man pops up a page later.
I enjoyed this issue, but it was just a little off. We’ve seen previews of the next few issues though, and I think it’ll pick up.
Masters of the Universe: Masterverse #1 is available now from Dark Horse Comics.
This kick off issue is a lot of fun, with a strong introduction to the premise. There are a few stumbles, but overall, it’s a great issue for any He-Man fan.