After a prolonged period of hype, excitement and, somewhat inevitably, disappointment and outrage (fandoms gonna fandom, it seems), the eagerly-anticipated Masters of the Universe: Revelation Netflix series is right around the corner. And, ahead of its July 23rd premiere, Dark Horse Comics have released an official four-part prequel comic from writers Kevin Smith, Rob David and Tim Sheridan to hopefully bridge the gap between the original Filmation cartoon and the new show.
As anyone who has watched it will attest to, the Filmation cartoon didn’t really have much in the way of a plot, consisting mainly of unconnected stories set in the same world with the same cast of characters. The Netflix show looks to remedy that by tying things together into a more coherent narrative, and this new series – which sees a new threat called the Orlax critically injuring Kind Randor, prompting He-Man to take a journey into Eternia’s past to discover its secrets – definitely goes a long way towards achieving that goal.
Mindy Lee does a great job with the artwork, presenting things with her own distinctive, slightly stylized and cartoony approach that captures the small screen origins without it ever feeling like she’s trying to deliver a weak facsimile of the established Filmation style. Rico Renzi injects some lively colours into the proceedings, and the whole thing has a energetic feel to it, cracking on at a fairly brisk pace throughout.
Interestingly, and without delving too deeply into the realm of spoilers, this issue takes us out of the established status quo, delving into Preternia and the exploits of a certain King, his son, and the formation of the Sword of Power itself. As a pretty much lifelong He-Man fan, it’s always nice to see this sort of lore being fleshed out, as opposed to being faced with yet another of Skeletor’s nefarious plots being foiled by the most powerful man in the universe.
It’s a fun issue that will certainly help to whet any fan’s whistle for the upcoming show, and my only real criticism is the narration, which feels almost comically overwrought at times (see the double-page splash below), and actually detracts from the pace of the proceedings rather than injecting any real gravitas – which I’m assuming was its intention.
Ultimately though, if you’re in any way excited about the Netflix show, this should be considered an essential purchase. While it doesn’t really give anything away about what to expect on July 23rd, it does provide some additional background and historical information that may prove to be invaluable when the show goes live. At any rate, more He-Man comics are always a good thing, and while this one doesn’t exactly try to reinvent the wheel, it does make for an enjoyable appetizer for the main course to come.
[PREVIEW ARTWORK – CLICK TO ENLARGE]