There Goes My Hero

Feb 15, 2023


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Masters of the Universe Masterverse #1

I Have The Power!

What a statement – so noteworthy, nostalgic and even narcissistic? This phrase is extremely boastful and tremendously vague. Is it truly just your power or are you merely an instrument? What are you going to do with that power? In Masters of the Universe Masterverse #1, an anthology from Dark Horse Comics, Zodiac knows time isn’t on Eternia’s side if The Sorceress, Teela-Na, is wrong about her champion. And when you can’t trust the past or touch the future without affecting it the only option is to leave it up to the Nexus of Realities to reveal the truth.

Masters of the Universe Masterverse #1

Dark Horse Comics

Script by: Tim Seeley

Framing Story
Art by: Eddie Nunez
Color Art by: Rico Renzi
Letters by: Deron Bennett

Curse of Castle Grayskull
Art by: Kelley Jones
Color Art by: Brennan Wagner
Letters by: Deron Bennet

He-Man The Lost
Art by: Sergio Aragones
Color Art by: Rico Renzi
Letters by: Deron Bennett

Masters of the Universe Mastervese #1 opens with Framing Story which not only acts in accordance with its namesake; it also gives readers a frame of reference. From the start of this story readers will recognize that Rico Renzi uses the familiar colors for Eternia and its residents from the 80’s show. This along with the inclusion of things like cartoon sound effects and an easily defeated Skeletor give this comic a canonical feel. Although Eddie Nunez Prince Adam feels less canonical it works well at creating the illusion Adam and He-Man are separate entities.

He-Man, the entity, is actually the topic at the center of Masters of the Universe Masterverse. However it’s not so much the power that is causing concern, since that is a gift from Grayskull, rather the heart of the hero. The Sorceress, on hand to witness the battle in the Framing Story, has a meeting that day with Zodiac to discuss this topic. When given the opportunity, will Adam always show restraint?

Masters  of the Universe Masterverse #1 img

While the frame story exists in the familiar He-Man universe the other two tales are completely new takes on the series. But fans who have been affiliated with the series since the Filmation days need not despair. This comic covers some of the lunchroom and playground arguments you may have had about He-Man. Have you often felt that He-Man was just too much of a goody two shoes? Well then try Curse of Castle Grayskull on for size and prepare to witness He-Man as you have never seen him before. Get ready to meet He-Monster. Want to cover and compare which accessory was the best, He-Man the Lost has the whole Mattel catalog. But will any of them be enough to defeat Skeletor or is there more to He-Man than his weapons?

The Eternia in Curse of Castle Grayskull exists in darkness. Still some things never change as it’s Teela sent to supply soldiers to a village. As usual once Skeletor attacks the transport Prince Adam runs from the fight. On this Eternia, however, it’s not the reason you may suspect. Kelly Jones’ Adam has a more depressed and weary appearance. The prince’s look is a reflection of the world he lives in, evidenced by the shading and tones Brennan Wagner uses for this story which gives this tale a Conan or Red Sonja comic vibe.

The shadow or shade theme also carries over to the foes He-Man faces in two interesting ways. First, He-Man’s enemies in Curse of Castle Grayskull are the ones who prey in the dark with Webstor and Scaregloware making the cut though sadly there’s no Stinkor. Of course unlike Stinkor these two are a bit more obscure so Curse of Castle Grayskull shines a little light on them.

He-Man The Lost is a much more comical take on the canon. Sergio Aragones’ styles the look of He-Man and others like an old school newspaper comic strip; like Heathcliff or B.C. Along with Renzi’s coloring it has the feel of a Groo the Barbarian homage that works really well. And even though Skeletor’s inital attack is serious it’s what happens next that causes things to get seriously silly. In a series of what can only be called mini ads, He-Man is gifted new armaments by The Sorceress. Beginning with Battle Cat, geeks worldwide will enjoy witnessing some familiar He-Man Christmas wishlist items. Never got the Battle-Ram or the Talon Fighter but the Wind Raider was always way cooler. And what about the Thunder Punch?

Masters of the Universe Masterverse may feel like an attempt by Tim Seeley to capitalize on the multiverse craze. But when you read the story, which benefits from some strong lettering from Derron Bennet, you’ll realize something – Seely has a mastery of the legend of He-Man. On Eternia and on our Earth. Because not only does this comic go back to cover some childhood conversations, it creates new ones. In peering into the Masterverse, and examining other Eternia’s, Sorceress and Zodiac are going to cover every aspect of Adam. What can those men show them about the man that is their He-Man?

Score: 9.2