Advance Review – Masters of the Universe: Masterverse #2 (Dark Horse Comics)
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Writer: Tim Seeley
Artwork: Eddie Nunez, E.J. Su, Victor Santos
Colorist(s): Rico Renzi, Michael Wiggam
Letterer: Deron Bennett
Release Date: 9th March 2023
After a strong opening issue, Dark Horse’s multiversal (or Masterversal, as it were) anthology series continues with two new artists providing their unique take on the world of He-Man & The Masters of the Universe. For those who missed the first chapter, this series is based around the Sorceress using the Nexus of Realities to prove to Zodac that Prince Adam is worthy of wielding the power of Grayskull by showing him a plethora of different realities in order to prove the youngster’s undeniable heroism.
Once again, Tim Seeley handles the writing for each of the stories in this issue, with Eddie Nunez doing a standout job with the artwork on the aforementioned framing story. So much so in fact that I’m sure a lot of readers will find themselves pining for a full-on Masters of the Universe series in Nunez’ striking Revelation-esque art style. I know I am.
The first story, East of Eternos, sees E.J. Su illustrating the tale of a young Eternian General named Adam and his voyage across the uncharted seas in search of the mythical Isle of Grayskull and the legendary artifact known as “The Power Sword.” While it certainly serves as yet another testament to an Adam’s heroism and worthiness, it also provides a pretty damn compelling alternate origin story of Jitsu, broadly depicted as an “evil master of martial arts” previously, but portrayed here in a far more sympathetic, almost noble light. I’m a big fan of Su’s artwork from his impressive stint on IDW’s Transformers: Last Bot Standing, and he does a solid job here, particularly when it comes to Jitsu himself, who looks fantastic. His Prince Adam is perhaps a little inconsistent facially, but that feels like a minor niggle in what is a thoroughly enjoyable nine-page story.
The second tale, Man-at-Arms-for-Hire features the distinctive visual stylings of Victor Santos in a noir-soaked depiction of Duncan as a cynical detective, having been dismissed from his duties as Man-at-Arms following King Randor’s discovery that he had been keeping Adam’s secret from him. In fact, this entire story could be considered a bit of a “what if…?” tale spinning out of the first episode of the Netflix Revelation animated series, which is kind of cool. Seeley is clearly having an absolute blast with this one, from Duncan’s weary private eye monologue to the inclusion of Evil-Lyn as his glamourous femme fatale-slash-assistant. Visually, I really love Santos’ use of negative space here, and his shadowy, monochrome style – while definitely unusual for what is normally an incredibly colourful franchise – really works wonders to deliver the distinctive tone of the story being told. Honestly, this might be my favourite of the four stories so far. Both the idea and the execution are superb, and while I know it’s unlikely to happen, I’d absolutely love to read more MOTU stories told in this style.
Another fascinating issue then, featuring two strong yet utterly distinct stories. I’m loving getting to see all these established creators provide their own spin on the world of He-Man, and with things promising to get a little darker and conflicted – if Zodac’s final words are anything to go by – in the issues to come, this series may be destined for even greater things as it continues. Highly recommended.
[PREVIEW ARTWORK – CLICK TO ENLARGE]
The writer of this piece was: Craig Neilson-Adams (aka Ceej)
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