Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Tim Seeley
Artwork: Freddie E. Williams II
Colours: Jeremy Colwell
Lettering: Wes Abbott
Release Date: 15th August 2018
After a strong opening issue, Tim Seeley and Freddie E. Williams II’s latest big-time franchise crossover continues this week with battles being fought on a variety of different fronts. He-Man, Teela and Orko have been brought to Earth to try and combat Superman’s tyrannical, thought-policing reign, while the remaining Masters of the Universe have stayed behind on Eternia along with a few choice DC characters to help hold the fort. This turns out to be a fairly wise decision, because no longer has He-Man left than Darkseid himself shows up to wreak his typical brand of Apokolyptic carnage.
Much like the first issue, there’s definitely a danger of things being spread a little too thinly, particularly given the inherent constraints of a six-issue mini. Seeley clearly has a ton of ideas, and while his track record suggests that we’re in safe hands, there’s still a faint niggling at the back of my head that there’s a little too much going on here for one story. So far so good though, and this latest issue sees the plates continuing to spin comfortably as we zap backwards and forwards between both narratives in a smooth, easy-to-follow manner.
As always, the fan service moments pretty much write themselves as these two franchises collide, but as cool as watching He-Man and Bane going blow-for-blow undoubtedly is, my personal highlight of the entire issue is the tantalisingly brief “jailbreak” sequence. I mean, not only is the identity of the jail-breaker herself pretty damn awesome, but the sequence also features a brief glimpse of Spikor – one of the absolute favourite characters/toys from my childhood – in the background. Granted, he’s likely only going to end up as cannon fodder in a typically awesome splash or double-page spread, but it’s still pretty damn cool.
Speaking of awesome artwork, and echoing the same thing I say in pretty much every one of these reviews, Freddie E Williams II’s style remains the absolute perfect choice for these sort of in-your-face blockbuster stories. That trend continues here with some pleasingly solid hand-to-hand combat, brilliantly recognisable character work and all manner of funky little Easter Eggs tucked away in the background. The aforementioned throw-down between He-Man and Bane is suitably epic, and almost challenges you to take a step back from the comic to fully appreciate the spectacle. And, as always, Jeremy Colwell’s rich, vibrant colour palette infuses the proceedings with a huge amount of life and energy throughout.
The story takes an interesting turn at the end, and while I’m definitely enjoying the scenes in the Superman-ruled version of Earth, it’s the sheer mouth-watering awesomeness of Darkseid’s assault on Eternia that has me most excited. It’s also worth mentioning that while this series definitely falls into the ‘larger-than-life carnage’ space that these types of crossovers usually occupy, Seeley manages to slip in some choice character moments along the way, including a touching exchange between He-Man and a despondent young Earth girl.
At the end of the day, your enjoyment of this series is going to depend greatly on just how much of a fan of each of the two properties you are. There’s a lot going on here that relies pretty heavily on fan service and nostalgia, and while the story on its own is solid enough, it’s pretty obvious that fans of He-Man or Injustice are going to get far more out of this series than those just picking it up out of curiosity. That said, there’s something here for everyone, and Seeley and Williams are putting together a fast-paced, character-heavy sprint of a series that shows no sign of letting up over the next four issues. Well worth a look if you like your heroes ripped, your writing bold and your artwork stunning.