Issues #7 and 8 of Masters of the Universe volume 3 were published by Image Comics in 2004. These are self-contained stories that don’t connect to the events of the cartoon in any meaningful way; this abrupt change in topic, the change in publisher, and the production delay (#7 comes three months after issue #6) suggest significant difficulties with the license.
Issue #7 was written by Val Staples, Leanne Shaw Hannah, and Emiliano Santalucia and illustrated by Hannah. Here, Stratos recalls how, as a child, his parents were slaughtered by insect people, and how he subsequently became a warlord.
He-Man does not appear in this story, nor does any other canonical character who isn’t one of the Bird People. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with that once in a while, but while this story does some world-building, it also feels somewhat irrelevant. The authors do a pretty good job with the storytelling, but Stratos isn’t the most interesting character to begin with. And I must condemn the grammatically horrendous line, “My entire village was slaughtered, leaving only Hawk and I to fend for ourselves.”
Hannah’s art is okay. The faces seem off, and not just because of the weird eyes she gives the Bird People. Everything unrelated to faces is solid, though.
Issue #8 was written by Ryan Foley, Emiliano Santalucia, and Val Staples and illustrated by Fabio Laguna. Here, Orko causes yet another catastrophe, then goes off to feel sorry for himself.
Well, this is hardly the first time we’ve seen this story. Not only is it highly reminiscent of the season one episode “Lessons,” it also has a lot in common with the Filmation episode “The Rarest Gift of All,” and never mind all the other Orko-screwing-things-up stories we’ve been subjected to over the years. There are some nice touches here, but this is a tired old story.
Laguna’s art is generally fine, if a little too cartoony, but neither Adam’s nor He-Man’s head ever looks quite right.
In the end – and this is the end for the 200X comic books – these are competently told but unimpressive stories, and they’re an unfitting conclusion to what had been a rather satisfying run of comics.
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Read it HERE