See all reviews of He-Man/Thundercats (5)

Mumm-Ra and Skeletor. He-Man and Lion-O. Besides just a ton of hyphenated names, the new mini-series from DC and Mattel brings together some legendary 80’s cartoon heroes for a 6 part team-up. Just like the TV shows, I expected lots of muscles, dramatic posturing and mutant animal-people throwing down without a second thought. My ten year old self would be patting backs and handing out cigars at the thought of a comic like this. The question, of course remains: is it good?

He-Man/Thundercats (2016-) #1 (DC Comics)


He-Man/Thundercats #1 is anything but subtle. The action starts on page one with Lion-O, not just handing Mumm-Ra his ass, but gift wrapping it for him. There’s weird red energy flowing everywhere, and not surprisingly, some great call backs to lines of dialogue from the show. What is a little surprising, is what else is shown: as Mumm-Ra takes his proverbial ball and goes home to tend to his wounds, you can actually tell he’s been in a battle… since he’s covered in blood and leaving a trail behind him as he walks. This was the first clue that, along with the freedom to write a bigger story than you could animate on a Saturday morning, writers Rob David and Lloyd Goldfine weren’t afraid to make the tone in He-Man/Thundercats a little more mature.

The main thrust of the story is Mumm-Ra, the undying embodiment of evil (his words), repeatedly failing to kill six cat people: The ThunderCats. The evil spirits who give Mumm-Ra his power decide to stop letting him do the planning and instead find a world with a sword rumored to be the equal of Lion-O’s “Sword Of Omens,” widely hailed as one of the most powerful weapons in the universe. This new world is, of course, Eternia — home to He-Man and his roided up Masters of the Universe pals. We see quite a bit more of He-Man in action in the first issue as the ThunderCats spend most of the volume being surprised another world has popped up in the sky.

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You can tell the writers (Lloyd Goldfine, Rob David) not only love the material — they know it well. A splash page near the beginning features a ton of the different Masters and many get to display some parts of their personality that toy collectors and watchers of the show should recognize. I was pleasantly surprised by some of the self-referential humor, like the short and stocky Ram-Man not being able to see past the taller Masters in front of him. They do a good job of balancing that humor with the more mature tone I mentioned earlier and making them work together decently.

The art by Freddie E. Williams captures the look and form of each of the muscle-bound characters. He does some great expressions too. There are a few standout pages, like a full-page one showing Mumm-Ra transforming into his larger self. The big complaint I have is some of the very bright coloring done on the energy, magic and explosions in the comic are may be a bit too bright; they made it hard to focus on the finer details of the art. The effects don’t look bad, but could have been toned down a bit. I should also mention how good Deron Bennett handles the lettering; he did a great job fitting the font and size to the situation, especially in a fight near the end of the book.

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Is It Good?

It is if you’re not expecting an update in the vein of The Dark Knight Returns on some familiar characters from the 80’s. He-Man/Thundercats #1 felt like a big-budget summer tentpole, with a lot of flashes, bangs and fighting involving larger than life characters. Some of the moments are, unsurprisingly, for the fans, like a meeting of Skeletor and Mumm-Ra. There will be plenty more moments like that as the series continues. However, there are some moments that will surprise too, like a main character raised in the air on the point of his own sword. It’s not Hanna-Barbera He-Man, and its not Frank Miller either. If you’re willing to go along with the flow, He-Man/Thundercats looks like it could be a fun ride.

He-Man/Thundercats #1 Review
Portrayal of well known characters are on target and fit with the TV showsSince it's not stuck on Saturday morning anymore, He-man gets to shed some bloodSome funny dialogue
Some coloring is so bright it could potentially be seen from spaceDon't expect the plot to be a deep exploration of the human condition. C'mon, it's He-Man.
8.5Great
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