Feel the Magic, Hear the…Laughter: He-Man/Thundercats #3 (Review)
Written by: Lloyd Goldfine and Rob David
Art by: Freddie E Williams II
Issue #3 takes a tonal shift away from the serious machinations of Skeletor, and creates a more lighthearted tone that fits the 1980’s cartoon heritage. This shift in tone from writers David and Goldfine may be a result of trying to set the Thundercats apart from He-Man. But the result is mixed. The banter does create a sense of teamwork and caring that provides the readers with character development around the Thundercats. Outside of a few panels in issue #1, the Thundercats heroes were not a presence in either of the first two issues. This tonal shift creates potential narrative questions for future issues: Does the lighter tone of the Thundercats fit into the self serious world of Eternia that was created during the first two issues? Do readers get to experience the Thundercats realizing defeat or death? Or do the Thundercats bring some humor back to He-Man’s world?
In addition to the humor of the Thundercats, the creative team of David, Goldfine, and Williams II stage a slapstick battle where Skeletor tries to fight off the essence of Mum-Ra. While it creates some strife for the villains, it is presented in a humorous tone that feels at odds with the first two issues. The creative team can certainly find a way to balance this tone, blending the humor and charm of the classic cartoons with the serious lore focused universe they are creating. Unfortunately, this issue does not have the full context of the first story arc to know if this is a shift in tone or if this humor is a way to differentiate the two universes.
David and Goldfine’s scripting remains solid. The Thundercats face a unique challenge in Skeletor with the power of Greyskull. Williams II art again creates a visceral feeling during the fight scenes. There is the sense of danger and threat of defeat that is not typically present in these two universes. Lion-o, bloodied and injured, faced a battle that was not defeated through physical might. This sense of danger and defeat is strongest at the end of this issue, Lion-o returns with He-Man’s sword only to find a cliffhanger of a revelation.
While the tone of this series is now up in the air, the action and suspense is guaranteed. David and Goldfine continue to script an interesting world and mythology around these two franchises. Tonal this issue shifts from the serious mythology of evil and lightens the mood with banter. Readers will have to come back to find out if this shift is permanent or if David and Goldfine are playing with their audience.
Readers who were engaged during the first two issues, have enough here to keep them coming back. Readers who found the first two issue too self serious and not at the core of these characters now have hope. Regardless of the audience, this creative team treats both franchises with respect and continues to cultivate a compelling narrative.