Saturday, March 9, 2013


The Masters of the Universe Encyclopedia (2003) is based on Marvel Comics’ Handbook of the Marvel Universe, and was created to serve the stated purposes of categorizing everything and merging the canons of the new MOTU line into “one big story.” Five issues were planned for season one of the cartoon; only the first was published because of issues with Mattel (although, as the ad in Masters of the Universe: Rise of the Snake Men #3 indicates, issue #2, at least, was ready to go).

So one’s all we’ve got, but let’s take a look. Issue #1 includes bios of characters and vehicles whose names begin with A-E, synopses of four comics (including the one we skipped and two we’ve already looked at), and recaps of the first four episodes of the cartoon.

I’m assuming that by now we’ve all read (or will read, in the case of Dream Halloween) these comics and watched these episodes. The vehicles were, to my mind, a weak point of the series, and their descriptions aren’t all that interesting. Thus, what’s of most interest is the character bios. Here, that means everyone on the cover: Beast Man, Buzz-Off, Clawful, Count Marzo, Dekker, Evil-Lyn, and Evilseed.

These bios include more or less what you’d expect: history, personality, abilities, weaknesses, and weapons for each character. Most of what’s here is taken directly from the cartoon (and in Beast Man’s case, from Icons of Evil); little new is brought to the table in terms of backstory. The illustrations are predominantly screencaps from the cartoon; there are also a few pictures by the comic artists.

In the Mighty Marvel Manner, the characters are assigned statistics like strength, speed, fighting skills, and so forth (in fact, the same six skills from Marvel’s Power Grid are used, plus “magic” and “stamina”) on a seven-point scale. I’m not sure who’s responsible for these stats, but some of them are highly questionable – Beast Man can lift over two tons? Buzz-Off can fly 300 or 400 mph? Seriously?

If you’re the type who likes to know things like Beast Man’s height (8’3”) or the color of Evil-Lyn’s eyes (purple), you ought to get a kick out of this. Otherwise, you might just skim the bios and move along.


Read it HERE