|HE-MAN AND THE MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE No. 3, August 2013|
Based upon the Eighties American animated television series by “Filmation”, this rather fraught attempt to depict the adventures of He-Man and the realm of Eternia to a more mature readership proves a disappointing experience. Predominantly because Keith Giffen’s stilted lack-lustre narrative arguably settles upon a confusing middle-ground, which is neither seriously written science fiction nor corny tongue-in-cheek adolescent bumf.
Indeed it’s really hard to decide just what audience this somewhat short-lived “DC Comics” ‘ongoing’ series was targeting, especially when “Siege!” begins with Teela childishly bantering with Prince Adam about an “imaginary” female friend she had as a youngster because “kids my age gave me gas”. This incredibly dialogue-heavy opening even goes so far as to have the spikey Captain of the Royal Guard threaten King Randor’s son when he jests that it’s hard to ‘picture her ever being cautious’.
Such playful, teasing dialogue is actually rather well-written by Giffen and arguably establishes a rather juvenile easy-going tone to the comic book’s proceedings which is not unlike that of the cult cartoon itself. Unfortunately however this ‘ambience of long-lost childhood’ is abruptly replaced within the space of a few pages by the portrayal of an understandably distraught Man-At-Arms who is grief-stricken at the abduction of his daughter by Hordak’s evil Horde.
In fact there’s absolutely nothing to ‘laugh about’ at all once She-Ra's archnemesis initiates an attack upon Castle Greyskull, and the storyline’s seriousness is quite considerably ‘ramped up’ to the point where a grim-faced He-Man is forced to remind the usually dutiful Duncan of his obligations as the “General of the Guard and a Defender of the Realm”... And is then himself ‘chastised’ by his own father because the heavily-muscled warrior swears to get his friend back; “I forbid it… You have every intention of setting off after Teela. You are needed here. Eternia has greater need of you. As your King I command you to stay.”
Equally as disappointing as the magazine’s inconsistent mood, is the somewhat scratchy sketchings of Pop Mhan and Mateo Guerrero. This artistic coupling, comprising of a Bangkok-born penciller and Spanish cartoonist, admittedly provides plenty of dynamic action-packed panels throughout the twenty-page periodical. But the roughly-drawn figures with their rather ugly facial features are far from ‘pleasing to the eye’ and arguably look like a collection of draft scribblings prised from an artist’s practice book than artwork genuinely intended for publication.
|Writer: Keith Giffen, and Art: Pop Mhan and Mateo Guerrero|