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Review: He-Man/Thundercats #1: The Right Tool for the Job

A Grown Up Version of the Saturday Morning Cartoon

He-Man/Thundercats #1 had to open with either He-Man thrashing Skeletor or Lion-O handing Mumm-Ra his backside. It just had to. Writers Lloyd Goldfine and Rob David decided on the latter scenario.

After the fight, Mumm-Ra drags his broken, bleeding body to his black pyramid to be rejuvenated and convene with the Ancient Spirits of Evil. The Ancient Spirits have apparently lost their patience with Mumm-Ra’s inability to kill seven anthropomorphic cats and steal their Sword of Omens. They inform Mumm-Ra another magical sword exists. The Sword of Power, wielded by He-Man, might give Mumm-Ra the edge he needs to finally defeat the Thundercats. He’ll only need to travel through dimensions to an alternate universe and take it from the mightiest warrior in Eternia.

Goldfine and David play heavily into nostalgia, knowing full well who their target audience is for this work. All those kids who woke up early on Saturday mornings in the 1980’s to watch nine hours of cartoons will get a kick out of this six-part series.

While the script is heavy with callbacks to the television programs, the story is slightly more grown up than the material that was featured on those shows. There is a scene in this chapter where one of the principals gets stabbed through the chest. Nothing like that ever happened on Saturday morning.

Freddie E. Williams II’s artwork is tight. Every panel is filled with an insane amount of detail. The characters all have impossibly hypertrophied physiques, which fit the genre perfectly. There is also some very creative use of gutters and panel frames to punctuate the action and emotion of the story.

Reading this book, I’m actually surprised that as a kid I never noticed how similar these two properties are. Both mythos feature young, immature princes with talking pets that regularly undergo transformations into fierce warriors, wielding mystical, magical swords to fight nearly invincible evil undead heels. This crossover works on so many levels, it’s ridiculous.

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He-Man/Thundercats #1, DC Comics, rated T, released October 5, 2016, written by Lloyd Goldfine and Rob David, art and cover by Freddie E. Williams II, color by Jeremy Colwell, letters by Derron Bennet, $3.19

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Written by Brendan Allen

Brendan Allen has probably had more jobs than you would reasonably believe. Dog trainer? He’s done it. Flooring contractor? Yep! EMT? Army NBC specialist? Road dog for a Celtic rock band? Yes, yes, and och aye! Now he reads comics and writes about them. His kids think he's Batman, and he just may be.