Review – He-Man/Thundercats #1 (DC Comics)

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

Publisher: DC Comics
Writer(s): Rob David, Lloyd Goldfine
Artwork: Freddie E Williams II
Colours: Jeremy Colwell
Release Date: 5th October, 2016

He-Man.  Thundercats.  If you were a child of the 80s, chances are that these two franchises were no strangers to one another, going head to head in action figure warfare in bedroom floors all around the world.  However, while the He-Man franchise has been undergoing something of a resurgence in recent years, what with Dark Horse Comics’ lovingly curated reference collections and DC’s own comicbook output, the Thundercats seemed poised to be sadly consigned to that great nostalgia toybox in the sky.  Well, maybe not just yet, as DC have opted to bring these two much-loved franchises together in a brand new six-part series, the first issue of which goes on sale this week.

Mattel Head Writer Rob David – who plotted DC’s previous critically acclaimed He-Man: The Eternity War series – teams with Lloyd Goldfine to provide the story here, and the pair do a fantastic job of getting the bulk of the fan service out of the way early.  We get a “by the power of Grayskull!” moment, a “give me sight beyond sight!” and even a “transform this decayed form into Mumm-Ra the Ever Living!” for good measure.  It’s all cracking stuff, and while the story itself is fairly by-the-numbers for the time being, at least in terms of inter-franchise crossovers (with the explanation effectively boiling down to “because magic”), there’s clearly a lot of affection being shown for both franchises here, which bodes extremely well for the remainder of the series.

The fan reception to the early glimpses of Freddie E Williams II’s artwork have been, let’s be honest, more than a little mixed, but for my money Williams does an absolutely fantastic job here of capturing the brash, bold, larger-than-life nature of these iconic cartoon and action figure franchises.  Everyone is jacked-up to the max, with overblown pecs and biceps practically threatening to tear through the skin at times, but this bombastic approach actually works rather well given the subject matter. It also doesn’t hurt that Williams’ splash pages are things of sheer unbridled beauty, with at least three or four poster-worthy moments along the way here (a couple of which you can feast your eyes on in the preview below).

Yes, the story is admittedly a little slight for the time being, but for the sheer fan service alone this issue comes highly recommended for lovers of either franchise.  It remains to be seen how well the series will stay afloat once we start digging into the meat of the actual story, but as introductions and “mission statements” go, this first issue more than does its job.

Bold, dynamic, in-your-face and unashamedly fun, this series serves as yet another fantastic addition to DC’s rapidly-growing He-Man canon, and provides the first look at what is hopefully going to be long, enduring comic book love affair with the inhabitants of Thundera.

Rating: 4/5.

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ceejThe writer of this piece was: Craig Neilson-Adams (aka Ceej)
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