Last month was a fun reintroduction back into the world of some of my favorite cartoon heroes from the 80’s. Both He-man and the ThunderCats cartoons got an update no one expected, in a cross-over event that saw the loin-clothed Eternian hero beat the wrappings off of the vile Mumm-Ra. If that wasn’t bad enough for old Mums, who should show up at the last second and vaporize him, but Skeletor. Oh, and Skeletor also managed to finally steal He-Man’s “Sword of Power”. That’s where we pick up in this issue. My inner-ten-year-old can hardly wait to see what happens next. Is it Good?
He-Man/Thundercats #2 (DC Comics)
After only being introduced in the last few panels of issue #1, Skeletor has a much bigger role to play this time around. Besides taunting the ashen remains of Mumm-Ra, that can somehow still speak, we see he’s the one who now holds He-Man’s Sword of Power. Since trying to get the sword and enter Castle Greyskull was pretty much the plot to every episode of He-Man, ever, things aren’t looking too bright for the forces of good.
He-Man is recuperating from his battle with Mumm-Ra and talking to the king of Eternia, who still doesn’t realize that the muscled warrior is actually his son Adam. No rest for the weary though, as an all out assault on He-Man breaks out. Not only are Skeletor’s regular minions, including Beastman, Triclops and Trap-Jaw, involved, but Mumm-Ra’s minions have joined their side too. With no Sword of Power, they figure He-man will be easy pickings.
This is where the issue and the series really kicked into high gear for me. He-Man had always looked the part on the TV show, but being that it was aimed for kids, we never got to see him unleash the reputedly awesome power he possesses. That all changes as the fists and blood starts flying and we’re treated to a truly awesome battle that shows just how badass He-Man can be when the gloves come off. There’s neck breaking, impalements and a whole lot of regret from the bad guys.
Artist Freddie E. Williams II (who recently tore it up on Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) does a phenomenal job with He-Man/Thundercats #2, making it look better than you thought He-Man and Co. ever could. There’s an especially good closeup of Skeletor, as he waxes poetic about all the power he’s going to have, that makes him look very menacing. Williams is able to draw the anatomically impossible characters to great effect and the action sequences, which there are a lot of, look fantastic. Colorist Jeremy Colwell had a lot of work to do considering all the multi-colored henchmen that were flying around in all the panels. His coloring looks really vibrant and deep, catching the eye throughout. All in all, this is a very pretty book from beginning to end.
Writers Rob David and Lloyd Goldfine keep the pace fast and fun. The aforementioned set-up of unleashing He-Man to wreck havoc on all the minions at once is something I didn’t know I had been waiting for. The story is still following two somewhat different narratives as He-Man and the ThunderCats haven’t met up yet. It looks like the next issue may focus mainly on their battle with Skeletor and less of He-Man, considering how his situation ends in this one. That’s good for fans of the “Cats” as they only got to spend a little time with them in issue #1 and one page in this one. In all, they are staying true to the mythos of the respective stories, while adding a more adult element to it all.
Is it Good?
I really enjoyed this second issue. I didn’t dislike the first, but the He-Man battle was badass and whet my appetite for what else the series has up its sleeves in coming issues. I would recommend this one to anybody who remembers and was a fan of either show growing up, especially He-Man. The creators have got their fingers on the pulse of how to turn an old property into something fresh and exciting. If they keep it up for the rest of the series, it’s going to be a great ride.