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Comic Book Review: "He-Man And The Masters Of The Universe #1: The Seeker"
The second wave of DC Comics New 52 continues with new adventures in the world of Eternia in “He-Man and The Masters Of The Universe” issue 1 (mini-series). “The Seeker”, written by James Robinson with by Art by Philip Tan, Ruy José, and LeBeau Underwood, puts a different spin on the character of He-Man and the world of Eternia. Here He-Man alter-ego, Prince Adam, is not a prince; he’s a lowly woodsman, who has fantastic dreams of being He-Man—or so it would seem. This first issue introduces the characters of Adam, He-Man, Beast-Man, Lord Skeletor, Zoar, Adam’s father Fedor and the world of Eternia. Adam’s dreams ignite a passion in him to leave his quiet life as a woodsman and search for his inner-self—with unforeseen consequences.
“The Seeker” begins with Woodsman Adam dreaming that he was someone mighty last night; A hero. He was a mighty, brave hero (He-Man) who fought a might battle (along with his heroic companions) against the evil hordes and won. When he awakes he remembers that he’s just a simple woodsman with no valor, or power, to change the horrid world Eternia has become.
A bird of prey flies through the forest towards the wooden lodge that Adam lives in while he’s cutting wood. His father, Fedor, elderly and ill, was also a woodsman. His mind wanders and thinks they are royalty. As Adam cuts wood he thinks his life is a little too vague. He doesn’t recall remembering his father as a younger, stronger woodsman. He notices the bird sitting on a log close to him. The falcon sits with him all night. Adam feels like he’s known it his whole life. He realizes he knows the bird’s name: Zoar.
That night, Adam dreams again about his adventures of this mighty He-Man. Suddenly, he awakes and decides to leave the forest (he knows what he must do). A neighbor agrees to look after his father while he’s gone. She asks him why he’s leaving his home—the woods. He says he doesn’t quite know; he just needs to go out into the world.
As he walks through the forest, he is being spied on. A hairy man-monster (Beast Man) appears and warns Adam that he has traveled a bit too far from home; he better turn around and go back or else. Adam doesn’t know how he knows his name, but he must be thinking of a different Adam, he’s just a woodsman. Beast Man attacks him and Adam runs away. Beast Man chases him.
Adam manages to defend himself with his axe and get a hit in; wounding Beast Man, but not enough to stop him. Adam calms down and focuses. He throws his axe, cutting a branch off a tree. While running at Beast Man, he grabs the branch and hits him on the back of the head; knocking him out.
Zoar arrives at Adam’s side. Adam wonders why Beast Man attacked him, how he knows who he is, and why he didn’t want him to leave the woods. Zoar then begins to lead Adam on his soul-searching journey through the desert. Beast Man returns with the news of Adam’s departure from the forest to his master, Lord Skeletor. Skeletor tell Beast Man to tell everyone that Adam must be stopped, dead or alive; the further he gets, the more he might find out.
This take on the story of He-Man, Eternia, and the whole pantheon of the “Masters Of The Universe” series is refreshing, if not very original. (It is very 19th century Grimm’s fairytale meets “Total Recall”.) Regardless, it’s still quite an intriguing twist on He-Man and after all, this is just the first issue; no telling where it will go. Many people only know He-Man from the 1980’s cartoon and the Mattel toys. However; anyone who bought the first series of the toys (1981-1983) also received a mini-comic in the packaging. These old comic book stories were very dark and much more adult then the cartoon was (no doubt inspired by the popular sword and sorcery comics of the time). This new series begins with an odd flashback that begs clarity. It would seem that, at some point before this first issue, Skeletor had tricked He-Man and his father (probably with magic) into believing they were simple woodsmen instead of royalty (although his king father seems to remember some of it). The how, why, what, and whom question should be asked and answers as the story unfolds in the following issues of this new mini-series.
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