WARNING: The following contains spoilers for He-Man and the Masters of the Multiverse #1, from Tim Seeley, Dan Fraga, Richard Friend, Matt Yackey and Saida Temofonte, on sale now.
For over 30 years, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe has been one of pop culture's most iconic franchises. We've seen a few cartoons, not to mention the famous movie starring Dolph Lundgren in 1987, all putting the character into the spotlight, reminding us of our affection for the Mattel toyline again and again.
In DC's He-Man and the Masters of the Multiverse, a crisis erupts that strings together all of the He-Man universes we've been privy to, and in the process, it turns the series' lamest villain into Eternia's greatest threat.
This villain is none other than the Anti He-Man from the German audio cassettes of the '80s. The cartoon was released on records and cassettes in Germany in '85, comprising of 37 episodes more than 40-minutes in length, with an additional ten She-Ra: Princess of Power tapes, and six specials. These cassettes introduced the world of Anti-Eternia, complete with its own evil, alternate universe version of He-Man, and this is who Tim Seeley and Co. use as the main foil in this story.
The book opens up on an Eternia where Skeletor's knocking on Grayskull's door, seeking a confrontation with He-Man. Prince Adam turns into the titular hero but by the time he emerges, Anti He-Man has already murdered Skeletor and somehow, he's overpowered to the point that he goes on to slay this He-Man with consummate ease. Sorceress loses her power as the Anti He-Man claims Adam's Power Sword for his own collection while absorbing the mystical energy of Grayskull.
It's a high-octane reintroduction to the character, who has similar motivations to Skeletor's robot He-Man, Faker. However, the villain here is all black; clearly the antithesis to He-Man and Grayskull, boasting the power of Hellskull instead, and way more than a mere copycat machine. We eventually discover he comes from the Anti-Eternian realm where the Lundgren He-Man and cartoon He-Man from the '80s travel to in order to recruit Prince Keldor. Using a cosmic key, they've been hopping between realities and in this dimension, they relay a message from Gwildor that this Keldor isn't destined to become Skeletor like all other worlds, he's actually the Chosen One meant to bring balance and stop Anti He-Man.
But it'll take a lot of courage, and they do need back-up, as the Anti He-Man has unlocked the mysteries of the cosmos from the Nexus of All Realities (last seen in DC's He-Man/Injustice crossover from Seeley). The tyrant has since been using the Orb of Horrors to walk between realms, strip all Grayskulls and He-Men, and then move towards to Power Prime that feeds the Multiverse.
He's similar to Superboy-Prim, believing himself to be the alpha He-Man and all other pretenders must die. As for how he's stealing power, it's similar to Lord Drakkon killing off Green Rangers in the Power Rangers mythos, as well as Spider-Carnage from the Spider-Man animated series' Clone Saga where he believed he was the ultimate Spidey.
In Masters of the Multiverse, the gauntlet has been thrown down and so, Keldor, Lundgren He-Man and the classic version must all unite to find help across the galaxy because the Anti He-Man is proving to be more powerful than all of them combined, and he's only getting stronger.
He-Man and the Masters of the Multiverse #2 goes on sale Dec. 18.