The worlds of He-Man and the Thundercats TV shows have collided for a new story that sees heroes Lion-O and He-Man cross over into each other’s universes. Of course, villains Skeletor and Mumm-Ra aren’t close behind and the world of Eternia is now threatened by their combined evil. Will the power of Grey Skull and the ancient magic of the Thundercats be enough to stop their combined sinister plot? It’s all out war in this fifth issue. Is it good?
He-Man/Thundercats #5 (DC Comics)
Last issue saw Lion-O take prince Adam back to his home world, in order to heal. We finally got the big showdown between He-Man and Lion-O, as Prince Adam didn’t take to being put in Mumm-Ra’s rejuvenating sarcophagus as well as they hoped and he came out angry and punchy. Back on Eternia, Prince Adam’s father, the king, set about mounting a defense of the city and Castle Greyskull now that He-Man was off planet. The Thundercats and Masters of the Universe got to mingle and there were many hugs and high fives. Not really. Mostly they butted heads, but decided to work together since they both had an evil arch-enemy running about.
This issue sees Skeletor and Mumm-Ra unleash their evil plan after taking control of Mumm-Ra’s “Ancient Spirits of Evil” masters and sending them in force to wreck the capital city and ultimately Greyskull. It’s a departure from the preceding issues, as they had mainly focused on either the Eternians or Thundercat heroes, Lion-O and He-man. You get to see the interaction of both series’ supporting players as they desperately try to hold out against “Stay-Puft Marshmellow Man”-sized Egyptian gods. It’s fighting from beginning to end.
I had been rooting for some of the many Masters of the Universe characters to take more of a leading role, such as Ram-Man and Moss-Man, since there is such a diverse line-up to draw from. Writers Rob David and Larry Goldfine give some of the secondary characters the spotlight, but it was mostly series mainstays and not the less obscure ones I had been hoping for. Man-At-Arms teams up with Panthro and Tygra; Cheetara and Teela buddy up; Comic relief Orko and Snarf are also put together. I suppose it made sense for the writers to stick with some of the better known characters with the limited space they had to work with, though I would have liked to see some of the others get their moments.
David and Goldfine have a good feel for the dialogue, which wouldn’t feel out of place in either franchise’s show. The characterizations are also easily identifiable with their animated counterparts. Sometimes this is a good thing, as they didn’t feel the need to recreate each character from the ground up. They have shown the willingness to stray from the norm in past issues, like the inclusion of blood and death in fight scenes. I wouldn’t have minded if they had done just that, in the case of Orko and Snarf’s misadventures during the battle. It was a dead-on portrayal of the show’s humor, but it felt out of place in the new, adult tone of the comic that had already shown there could be real consequences to the fights. It broke the tension of the moment for me.
The book once again looks good, thanks to artist Freddie E. Williams II. There’s tons of detail on every page, even in the free-for-all battle scenes. He’s on point in capturing the look of the characters. He draws great action scenes, so this issue gave him a lot of real estate to cover. His splash pages also stood out as I always found a cool detail added, like a cannon firing on the parapet of Castle Greyskull far in the background. Colorist Jeremy Colwell adds tones that really pop, which make the characters stand out and his lighting effects seem to glow on the page.
Is It Good?
It’s a battle, from beginning to end. We get to see some other characters take the lead, besides He-Man and Lion-O, but it didn’t feel as epic as some of the other moments in earlier issues. Those moments, like seeing He-Man unleash his power in a way the television show never allowed, brought a fresh and intriguing angle to the familiar characters which made them worth revisiting. There weren’t any stand out scenes in this one that couldn’t have been in an actual episode of the animated series, as character interactions played out much like you would expect if you had watched the shows. Here’s hoping next issue Lion-O and He-Man return and bring something unexpected with them.