Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Writers: Kevin Smith, Rob David, Tim Sheridan
Artist: Mindy Lee
Letterer: Deron Bennett
Colorist: Rico Renzi
Release Date: 11th August 2021
After a ton of anticipation and fanfare, the Masters of the Universe: Revelation Netflix series has finally dropped, and while the vast majority of actual reviews are positive (including my own), a sizeable proportion of the fanbase have voiced their disappointment with the lack of screen time for He-Man himself, with a far smaller group being whipped into a lather by internet hate sites about Tesla’s haircut. Go figure. Fortunately, the second issue of Dark Horse’s official prequel comic is on sale next week to give fans another bite of the apple, although – and brace yourself for this – He-Man isn’t actually featured in any of these twenty-two pages!
Instead, Kevin Smith, Rob David and Tim Sheridan shift the focus onto Skeletor as he recounts the details of his “origin story” to Evil-Lyn during a brief gap in his ongoing plan to use the Orlax to kill the most powerful man in the universe. Be warned though, this is not the traditional Keldor origin we may all be familiar with, and while I’m not going to delve into any spoilers, I’m personally not really a huge fan of the tale ol’ Skeletor spins here.
That said, there’s definitely something of The Joker at play here, a character who has famously avoided any coherent origin in favour of rumours, speculation and his own twisted, ever-changing version of events. It’s an interesting idea presented here for sure, although I’d argue that it makes him a little too much of a sympathetic character in the process, although, again, it’s all a little ambiguous and possibly fabricated for the most part. Smith, David and Sheridan are clearing having fun with the game though, and the interactions between Skeletor and Evil-Lyn which bookend the flashback only add to that feeing of mischief.
Once again, Mindy Lee does a solid job with the artwork, bringing her distinctive, heavy-inked style to the MOTU Universe. It’s certainly a slightly unusual approach for the comic book version of this particular franchise, although I’d argue it holds more true to the Filmation roots than a lot of other comic book releases in recent years. Rico Renzi handles the colours, although some of the pages do seem a little washed-out to me, leaning heavily on greens and yellows (which I guess makes sense given the issue’s subject manner). I got a real kick out of the representation of a certain group of characters who showed up midway through the issue, and there’s a tasty, character-heavy splash page right near the end that really hits the mark.
Ultimately, while it doesn’t really advance the story much, or add any real new context to the Revelations animated series, there are still some fun ideas being explored here. And, while I’m personally not a huge fan of the possibilities offered up here, the execution is admirable and the enthusiasm for the franchise shines through on pretty much every page. The final pages promise to take the story in a new direction, and – with early apologies to the fans who are already seemingly in uproar about the lack of He-Man in the Netflix series – it looks like we’re going into an Evil-Lyn focused issue next time out. I absolutely can’t wait though, although I hope we do get a little more advancement of the Orlax story in the process.