He-Man and the Masters of the Universe 1

he-man and the masters of the universe volume 1 cover trade paperback review
6.5 Overall Score
Story: 6/10
Art: 7/10

Fun nostalgia for '80s kids

Starts with an interesting concept that ends up going flat

Comic Info

Comic Name:  He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (Limited Series)

Publisher:  DC Comics

Writer:  Keith Giffen/James Robinson

Artist:  Pop Mhan/Philip Tan

# of Issues:  6

Release Date:  2013


He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (Limited Series) #1 Variant

Reprints He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (Limited Series) #1-6 (September 2012-March 2013).  Adam is a woodcutter but has dreams of bigger and better things…and a mysterious man named He-Man.  When inspired to seek his dreams by a falcon named Zoar, Adam sets out for adventure…and finds the life he has been living might very well be a lie.

Written by Keith Giffen and James Robinson, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Volume 1 collects the six-issue mini-series produced by DC Comics.  Based on the popular ’80s toy series launch in 1981 by Mattel.  It is the second He-Man series produced by DC Comics following a 1982 three issue limited series entitled Masters of the Universe after an appearance with Superman in DC Comics Presents #47 (July 1982).

I grew up on Masters of the Universe.  I was already into Star Wars and with Star Wars slowing down with the release of Star Wars:  Return of the Jedi, new action figures were needed to keep me entertained…enter He-Man.  This mini-series isn’t great, but it does capture some of the fun of the old He-Man.

When He-Man was first released, the mini-comics did not resemble the story that most are familiar with.  He-Man was a guy with a powerful sword and a chestplate that gave him power.  Reading this volume, I couldn’t help noticing that it felt like these original mini-comics were the basis for Skeletor’s false world…and that was fun for me.  The fun however ended as the series progressed.


He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (Limited Series) #6

The story became an odd El Topo type event where Adam just keeps meeting Skeletor villains and battling them…getting better and more memories back as he went along.  This isn’t a very inspiring or modern telling of the story.  I had hoped that the story would be jazzed up and made creative.  Though I love Masters of the Universe, I realize it was very gimmicky and often not very inspired.  I wanted a really new, modern take on it while still holding to the traditions that made it fun as a kid.

Despite my criticism, I still have a soft spot for this series.  I can imagine the cheesy cartoon and rushing home from school to catch it (it aired at a time that I never got to see the beginning unless it was vacation time).  With He-Man restored and the story progressed, the series provides hope that there can be some fun with the characters.  The series was picked up after this volume but He-Man and the Masters of the Universe 2:  Origins of Eternia doesn’t contain the next issues in the series but a collection of one-shots and webcomics that were released during and around this mini-series run.  The third volume of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe picks up the continuing series.

Related Links:

He-Man and the Masters of the Universe 2:  Origins of Eternia

He-Man and the Masters of the Universe 3

He-Man and the Masters of the Universe 4:  What Lies Within

He-Man and the Masters of the Universe 5:  The Blood of Grayskull

He-Man:  The Eternity War—Volume 1

He-Man and She-Ra:  A Christmas Special (1985)

Masters of the Universe (1987)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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