This re-imagining of the classic Mattel toys and Filmation cartoon series continues, as Beastman returns to Skeltor in the conquered Castle Greyskull with his (figurative) tail between his legs. This is following the beat-down he suffered at the hands– and ax– of the amnesiac Prince Adam in issue #1. Though Beastman grovels, he receives a Vader-esque chastizing.
Back in the desert, Ad– with no memory of his past as the hero of Eternia– follows the falcon Zoar, noting that even though he “knows” he’s never been here, it all seems familiar. He is suddenly confronted by a menacing pack of nomads who take him prisoner and deliver him to their master, who at first is cloaked, but… well, if you can see the cover, it’s Kronis, or as he is more popularly known, Trapjaw. Adam is locked away, but a female member of Kronis’ pack sneaks to him and offers him water. This woman seems to also be suffering amnesia, but she recognizes Adam and he seems to recognize her as well. The next day, Adam must petition for his survival, which devolves into him taking on Trapjaw’s men. He grabs a sword and is astounded to realize he seems to instinctively know how to fight with it. Ultimately, though Trapjaw has Adam on the ropes. What can save him?
There are two artists this issue, Philip Tan and Howard Porter. Porter’s style is a lot more intricate and detailed. Tan’s is more minimal– even sketchy. That’s not to a negative, necessarily. The storytelling is fluid. It’s just a tad rough.
I like the more mature, violent take on MotU. There are a lot of references to some die-hard continuity, for instance Trapjaw’s real name Kronis and the fact that Skeletor is Adam’s uncle. (I’d actually forgotten that!) It’s kind of neat how they are rolling this series out. Last issue, we met Adam and Beastman. This issue we meet Trapjaw and a certain female warrior. I will say, the dark tone of this series varies considerably from the old depictions in various minicomics and other juvenile materials and jars alarmingly from the old cartoon series, which at times bordered on comedic. Depending on your preference, this could be good or bad. Overall, I’m just enjoying the ride.
HE-MAN AND THE MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE #2
Written by James Robinson and Keith Giffen
Pencilled by Philip Tan and Howard Porter
Cover by Tan, Ruy Jose and the Hories