Publisher: DC Comics
Writer(s): Rob David, Lloyd Goldfine
Artwork: Freddie E Williams II
Colours: Jeremy Colwell
Release Date: 15th March, 2017
The levels of fan service on display during the first five issues of DC’s He-Man /Thundercats crossover have been fairly monumental, and as we reach the final chapter, it’s a definite case of “dancing with the one that brung ya” as David, Goldfine and Williams combine to craft a suitably crowd-pleasing conclusion.
With the supporting characters all but wiped out, this final issue sees our two heroes, Lion-O and He-Man, doing battle with their greatest enemies, Mumm-Ra and Skeletor – or rather, a supremely powerful hybrid of the two calling itself Mumm-ator. It’s great stuff for the most part, with an impressively “Saturday Morning cartoon” vibe as the good guys are forced to work together to vanquish the seemingly unstoppable threat and save the multiverse.
Unfortunately, the frequently jarring lines of dialogue from David and Goldfine really detract from the overall impact here, leaving this as an enjoyable read rather than an essential one. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not looking for an ultra-serious story from start to finish, especially from two franchises like these, but having the gravitas and urgency continually sucked out of almost every situation by the wholly uncharacteristic “banter” has become an increasingly frustrating experience over the course of this series.
Yes, there are moments when the story is allowed to resonate just a little, and it’s in these moments where this series is at its strongest. Sadly however, they never seem to be allowed to last too long before our writers insert another cheap, unnatural gag, seemingly terrified of the series actually being taken seriously as opposed to just being a bit of harmless fun.
Thankfully, the legitimacy of the series is one again bolstered by the supremely impressive artwork of Freddie W Williams II, whose dynamic layouts and hulking, musclebound protagonists manage to once again underscore the epic nature of the conflict. Jeremy Colwell’s colours, which I’ve been a little unsure of to this point, have never looked better than they do here, and the pleasing solidity they lend Williams’ lines really help to sell the impact of every bone-crunching blow.
Everything is wrapped up cleanly, as you’d likely expect, with the door left slightly ajar to the potential of revisiting things down the line. Oh, and the latter stages of the book sees our heroes visiting some alternate dimensions that are just begging for further exploration. Seriously, there’s some great stuff going on there.
At the end of the day, this is an interesting story featuring two larger-than-life franchises being brought together in about as fun a way as you could hope for. Unfortunately, a noticeable lack of polish in the writing – the dialogue in particular – really holds this one back from becoming something truly special, which is a real shame when you consider the fact that it features some of the best illustrations of these iconic characters that you’re ever likely to find.
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