If you’re a fan of comics, action figures, or if you were lucky enough to grow up in the 1980s, then I don’t have to tell you that He-Man was a cultural phenomenon. But suffice to say that the ’80s was a long time ago, and unless you’ve read the recent DC comic He-Man series, you may have forgotten a lot about the characters. Masters of the Universe: Revelation #1 ignores that as well. While Kevin Smith, Rob David, and Tim Sheridan have their best intentions in mind, Masters of the Universe: Revelation #1 is missing a lot of the spark that makes He-Man the most powerful man in the universe.
My biggest gripe with the first issue in terms of story is that there’s no introduction of any of the characters whatsoever. You would think that if you’re retelling a story that’s going to continue from an ’80s cartoon that a refresher of sorts would be in order; instead, the story starts with King Randor and his queen Marlena as though we’re supposed to know who these people are. Then, a few pages in, something happens to the King, and even more, characters enter the scene without any introductions. Granted, I know this is a prequel to the new Netflix show of the same name, which comes out on July 23rd, but that’s not an excuse to leave fans that may not be familiar with the material out in the badlands of Eternia.
As far as the writing is concerned, the story moves at a decent pace. Before we know it, He-Man has to embark on a journey through the Cosmic Corridor (a construct that can carry him through time and space). From here, He-Man learns some of the awful secrets in the history of Eternia and a terrible deal that was made years before him. The only thing that could have been scaled back a bit is the amount of dialogue used. Most of the pages have monstrous amounts of word balloons and captions that distract from the artwork.
The illustrations provided by Mindy Lee give the world of Eternia and its band of merry heroes a decent upgrade. However, in terms of transitions, some pages were a bit confusing. For example, when He-Man is glimpsing into time and space, perhaps a few captions could have helped set the stage for the next issues in the series. Aside from that, colorist Rico Renzi adds a great blend of color work that complements Lee’s designs.
As a big-time Kevin Smith fan, I was hoping for a lot more action sequences and punchy, humorous dialogue, but here they’re both lacking. Still, it is He-Man, so like many readers, I’m here for the long haul to see where this is headed. Hopefully, the book picks up steam moving forward.
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