The enemy is upon us! They have destroyed our homes! Our Glorious City. And Still They Come. They desecrate our land and decimate our brave. And still they come.”
He-Man/ThunderCats #5 leaves He-Man and Lion-O at the Black Pyramid and takes us back to Eternia as Skeletor and Mumm-Ra lay waste to the planet and begin their siege of Castle Grayskull with the Ancient Spirits of Evil at their beck and call. Will the ThunderCats and the Masters of the Universe be able to hold out long enough for Lion-O and He-Man to return?
Writers Rob David and Lloyd Goldfine begin He-Man/ThunderCats on a very somber note. Defeat seems imminent as the Ancient Spirits of Evil destroy and kill everything in their path. Eternia is in flames. However, the resilient spirit of both the ThunderCats and the Masters of the Universe is encapsulated in King Randor as he rallies the troops to make a final stand at Castle Grayskull.
The book becomes a theater of war and hops from character to character as they each try and take on their own mission in an attempt to take out the Ancient Spirits of Evil. David and Goldfine do an excellent job of pairing off the ThunderCats and Masters of the Universe. They match up the characters so there will be friction, but also so they complement each other. It creates for fun dialogue, great characterization, and perilous plot points. And, even though this is issue five, you won’t have any trouble picking this one off the shelf and reading it without having read the previous four issues.
Each of the ThunderCats and Masters of the Universe get their time in the sun and showcase their various abilities whether it’s Panthro showing off his engineering skills with Man-at-Arms or Cheetara displaying her combat skills while Teela commands a squadron of air bikes.
David and Goldfine also make it a point to showcase Orko as he wreaks havoc on the battlefield. Except, it’s not the good kind of havoc. It’s the kind that backfires continuously. It makes for great comedic relief and allows artist Freddie E. Williams II to stretch his imagination.
While the plot is straightforward, David, Goldfine, and Williams do an excellent job of showcasing the ThunderCats’ and Masters of the Universe’s teamwork, perseverance, ingenuity, and will to fight against near insurmountable odds. They really do a great job of showcasing each member and how they work as a unit to solve their problems and overcome even the greatest of challenges! And that ending, just when you think they can’t outdo their previous cliffhanger, they go and do it!
Freddie Williams’ artwork is once again fantastic. The issue is chock full of action from front to back. Whether it’s Panthro firing a massive cannon or Orko wildly casting spells, there is never a dull moment. However, Williams is able to provide balance to the action with some deeply emotional renderings. There is one page where Stratos and Buzz-Off charge head first at an Ancient Spirit of Evil. Unfortunately, they are no match, but Williams includes a panel towards the bottom that depicts WilyKit and WilyKat trying to nurse the two Masters of the Universe back to health. The raw emotion on their faces is extremely moving; it highlights the true peril of the battle and raises the stakes for our heroes.
The colors are wonderful. Even in the middle of the battle you still feel like you are journeying on a new gorgeous planet. The colors pop off the page whether it’s Orko’s green magic, the sorceress’ blue magic, or Mumm-Ra’s purple spirit. While the colors pop off the page, the overall tone of the issue is dark as chaos reigns down on our heroes and hope seems to be crushed.
He-Man/ThunderCats #5 is another excellent entry in what is definitely the best mini-series of this year so far. We aren’t even finished this one and we’re already hoping they have a second one planned. The story is pure comics’ goodness, showcasing an epic battle throughout. Writers Rob David and Lloyd Goldfine are able to touch on each character in the supporting cast, letting us in on their personalities while also showcasing their combat prowess and battlefield skills. The artwork is simply amazing with action from end to end. However, even with non-stop action, Freddie Williams is still able to create deep emotional moments that highlight the danger and importance of the battle. You should definitely go pick up this book. It’s a must have.
- Excellent characterization in both the writing and the artwork
- A good mix of humor and seriousness in the writing and the dialogue; Orko had me laughing multiple times
- A cliffhanger ending that you won’t expect
- No He-Man or Lion-O in this issue