The recent news came like a bolt from Castle Grayskull — yes, the new Masters of the Universe movie is coming, in December of 2019! That gives you two and a half years to bone up with Dark Horse’s new, as-comprehensive-as-Eternially-possible sourcebook of the lore.

He-Man and the Masters of the Universe: A Character Guide and World Compendium
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics

Almost as massive as our champion himself, the nearly 700-page He-Man and the Masters of the Universe: A Character Guide and World Compendium smashes store shelves this week and will occupy the time of MotU-heads for months to come.

That’s assuming you haven’t pored obsessively over the online, unofficial tally-keepers of the mythology. If you are one of those guys, take heed of the foreword penned by Scrollos himself — some minutia may have slipped through the cracks. Excuse me, “fallen into the Tar Swamp.”

It’s hard to imagine what that might be, though, when you realize the Compendium even includes GERMAN AUDIO PLAYS. Did you even know there were Masters of the Universe GERMAN AUDIO PLAYS? Or Brazilian comics and newspaper strips? It’s all here, along of course with all the TV shows and more recognizable comics. And yes, it covers She-Ra, too!


What the hell’s all this?

The over 4,000 entries in the Compendium are arranged into seven chapters — Characters; Beasts, Creatures and Monsters; Factions, Organizations, Species and Races; Artifacts, Devices and Weapons; Spells and Magic; Locations; and Vehicles and Transportation. Almost every entry is accompanied by an (often times restored) image, whether it be from the original cartoon, the 2002 reboot, a mini-comic or even a photo of one of the legendary action figures. Sometimes a combination of several!

Ah, there’s the stuff.

One minor quibble in the presentation might be that if you’re trying to find everything related to a certain Masters incarnation at once, you can’t get that here. The entries are laid out in alphabetical, encyclopedic format, so when you look up Skeletor, you get EVERY Skeletor ever presented. If you want to see how the UK Comics version interacted with his He-Man, well, you’ve got some more page-flipping ahead. It’s tough with an already huge book, but maybe a couple pages with short summaries of each medium could have been included.

But really, extra thumb-work notwithstanding, picking up He-Man and the Masters of the Universe: A Character Guide and World Compendium, if you’re at all interested in the mythology, is a no-brainer. If you can pick it up. This review is based on a digital copy, which I’m sure doesn’t do the whole thing justice, but at least I didn’t have to bust out the lumbar harness. Good fortune to all those who accept the challenge of hefting this mighty tome — YOU HAVE THE POWER!

He-Man and the Masters of the Universe: A Character Guide and World Compendium
Is it good?
It's as comprehensive a guide to Masters of the Universe as you'll ever find. If that's what you're looking for, it's great.
Painstakingly assembled and amazingly comprehensive
Great use of images, some even having been restored
Surprisingly affordable: 700 pages, hardcover for only $49.99
Chapters help organize related entries
Not easy to find everything you need to know about a particular MotU version at once
Really aren't any extras besides the entries themselves, but maybe that's all that's needed