I honestly didn’t think this particular creative team could top the events of issue seven of He-Man: Eternity War; an issue which completely and dramatically shifted the entire history of the MotU universe in one beautifully-conceived stroke. Well, I think they may actually have managed it here with an issue where the bleakness of the situation is rapidly eclipsed by a brand new twist that I’m not quite sure any of us saw coming.
Writer Rob David has always been a man with an eye on the big picture. Nothing is ever throwaway; everything has a purpose if you simply wait long enough, and this issue is a glowing testament to that. I’m not going to delve into spoilers, but let’s just say that things change over the course of this issue in a major way, and any MotU fan worth their salt is going to be counting down the minutes before they can get their hands on the next issue when it drops in September.
There’s a level of respect for the franchise to David’s writing – and Dan Abnett’s usual dramatic-yet-natural-sounding dialogue – that’s definitely pleasing to see. A lot of people have a curious reaction when the subject of He-Man comics is brought up, viewing them as campy, cheesy or something of a ‘guilty pleasure’. The truth is, the current series – and indeed the previous one – stand on their own as powerful, exciting works of fantasy fiction. At the same time however, this is a series that never looks to dismiss or overlook its roots, warmly embracing the inherent sense of fond nostalgia that so many readers hold for this evergreen franchise.
One of the things that really helps give this series its spark is the always-impressive artwork of Pop Mhan. While there’s a definite roughness to his heavily-inked style, his action sequences have a flow and an energy to them which is absolutely second to none. Plus, similarly to David and Abnett, the respect with which he treats these iconic characters strikes the perfect balance between fan service and originality. Oh, and he manages to throw in quite possibly the best cover of the series so far – which is most definitely saying something – for good measure.
Overall, while some casual passers-by may sneer and turn up their noses at the comic based on the “cheesy 80’s cartoon series”, what they’re actually doing is denying themselves the opportunity to pick up one of the most dramatic, unpredictable and visually striking fantasy comics on the shelves today. Abnett, David and Mhan have the power, and this issue is undeniable proof of that.
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The writer of this piece was: Craig Neilson-Adams (aka Ceej)
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