Review: He-Man and the Masters of the Universe # 1 from @DCComics – A triumphant return to Eternia
Writer: James Robinson
Art: Philip Tan
I enjoy nostalgia as much as the next guy, but I try my best not to get blinded by it. Just because some one revisits a thing that I had some affection for at some point in the distance past is no guarantee that I will love it, or even like it. In fact, often that thing is created for a new audience, to get new people to invest in the brand and – as such – I keep the version in my memories and let this new audience have their version of the thing that I loved.
|The cover of DC Comics’ He-Man #1
is nice, but not as good as the art inside.
So, it was with some trepidation that I picked up He-Man and the Masters of the Universe #1 from DC Comics. I mean, the plot of the original He-Man was not exactly Shakespearean. Honestly, it was barely coherent the majority of the time. What I got, though, is a really fun action comic that managed to successfully play off my nostalgia while giving the series enough gravitas that it would be interesting on its own.
Oh, I’m not sure I could recommend the book to someone that has no history with He-Man. The book clearly presumes you know who He-Man is and wonder why he is acting as a simple woodcutter with dreams of a time when he was a hero that he can’t remember except in the periphery. Still, He-Man does what a good first issue should do: It asks a question, gives you enough of an answer to move you forward, and then shows you what the rest of the series will be like. He-Man and the Masters of the Universe #1 doesn’t spend a whole lot of time with exposition (it does spend a little) before we get a great fight sequence. Honestly, what really makes this comic tick is Philip Tan’s art, which hews close enough to the source material to say ‘yeah, that’s He-Man’, but with some new takes. His designs are interesting, his art is fluid, his action is well-paced, and – well, you get the idea. There’s some really great art in here. Not ‘great for a He-Man book’ art, but just plain really impressive art.
He-Man and the Masters of the Universe #1 takes something I remember as a child, something I had more toys of than any other series, likely, and makes it even better than my memories. They toss in some blood to show ‘yeah, we know who the target audience is’, but they don’t try to make it grim-dark. It’s one step grittier in the same way that those of us that grew up with the series are largely only one step further in our adultlescence that we were when we saw the series. This is a reboot done right. It might not do anything for new fans, but if you have any fondness at all for Prince Adam, I would strongly recommend you grab it.
Score: 6 out of 10.
Edit: This review, as it was originally posted, contained a misprinted score. I enjoyed the book, but not that much. The writing’s a little plain, but it’s got some really fun action sequences. Sorry for the confusion.