To fully understand what’s going on here, we need to go back in the time machine about 40 years to the early 1980s.
Masters of the Universe can trace its roots to the Mattel toy collection entitled He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. This toy collection benefited from the first cartoon commercial in popular culture history of the same name. The He-Man cartoon consisted of two season of 65 episodes each. This very simply animated show was wildly popular with the kids, and the toy line had great success. The series featured a very one-dimensional conflict between He-Man and his pals (good) and Skeletor and his acolytes (evil). And although He-Man’s ubiquitous cry of “I have the power!” provided him a really kickass sword that was probably super sharp…he never actually used it to cut anything. Censorship back them rendered He-Man to mostly picking up his opponents and throwing them. Even animated punching was forbidden for this sort of series back in the day. Needless to say, five minutes of just about any Invincible episode would have the censors of yore rolling in their graves.
Now, back in the present, Netflix has launched an animated series, and Masters of the Universe: Revelation gives us not only some backstory to the characters, but also strives (and I think succeeds) in giving them some depth and credibility. This is no easy feat. This is like providing a thoughtful and credible history and explanation to the Heat Miser / Cold Miser feud.
I think that the issue succeeds in its mission and pulls the reader into a very detail-oriented world that is pretty darn interesting. The backstory works to not only build out our lead characters but also adds foundation to their very unique universe. The artwork, pacing, and coloring all work very well together to create a read that is vastly more engaging than - and yet still respectful of and consistent with - the original source material. The artwork is slick with many different camera angles and bright coloring that is consistent with the animation.
I enjoyed it. This is a must-read for any fan of this franchise.
Three out of Four Stars
Creative Team: Kevin Smith and Rob David (writers), Mindy Lee (artist), Rico Renzi (colorist)
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
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