“He-Man and the Masters of the Universe” #1 by James Robinson with a large art team is a brand-new slate from which to start both for He-Man fans and those unfamiliar with the character. I’m not a big He-Man fan. I really can’t even name many of the characters beyond He-Man, Skeletor, Beast Man (or Beastman as he is called both in this issue) and Orko, and this debut issue didn’t turn me into a bigger fan.
“He-Man and the Masters of the Universe” #1 has tag team inkers and tag-team colorists, but the two teams don’t follow the same paths with an artistic combination total of five different match-ups filling blank pages with images and attempting to enhance the work of penciler Philip Tan. Tan’s layouts are pedestrian enough to accommodate the variety of co-creators, but none of his fellows do much to really make his work sparkle. In fact, the artwork is simply just solid. There are some beautifully rendered moments, like Beast Man’s debut that jostles some of the memories in the apparently amnesiac Adam’s mind.
James Robinson’s story is straightforward: misplaced hero knows there is more to him than his apparently simple life and seeks to find it, but it finds him first — typical hero quest stuff. Robinson does a decent job of pacing the story and setting it up for a prolonged reveal, buoyed by big flashes like the aforementioned debut and the final page reveal. The conversation and inner thoughts of the characters fall in line with expectations of Robinson’s work and certainly offer enough of a glimpse to even the latest readers. I certainly got enough out of this book to have a decent enough idea of what to expect, even if I didn’t find enough resonance with Adam or Beastman to guarantee a return.
Masters of the Universe fans will be pleased to read these adventures and see their beloved characters in play again. The range of characters might be disappointing in this issue, but the promise of more (and soon) is clear enough at the conclusion. I might not be interested in reading more, but I can understand why fans who are entrenched in the He-Man universe would.