Yesterday the first new Masters of the Universe comic published by DC Comics went on sale digitally. This is not the first issue of the forthcoming six-part miniseries, but rather a prequel series, each issue focusing on a different character. The story of this first issue titled "The Lost Knight" revolves around the new Masters of the Universe Classics action figure Sir Laser-Lot, created by comic book writer Geoff Johns when he was seven years old.
Many, understandably, were a little put off by the fact that the first official Masters of the Universe story in nearly ten years was going to revolve around an action figure that was less-than-warmly received, has yet to be released, and has been created by someone that only seemed to have a passing interest in the brand! However, I was looking forward to learning more about this character who, dare I say, I had begrudgingly grown to accept in the toyline.
There is absolutely no doubt that writer Geoff Johns and artist Howard Porter are talented individuals, both having achieved continual success in the comic book industry. Thus imagine my disappointment when I read the comic and felt as if it had been both written and illustrated in the nineties!
Granted, Geoff Johns does not have many pages in which to develop the backstory for Sir Laser-Lot, but what we do get is a lot of comic book posturing and violence that seems incredibly outdated. Image Comics were infamous in the nineties for characters that were cold, aloof, and bloodthirsty. I do not have a problem with that. What I do have a problem with is this outdated character stereotype being used in a Masters of the Universe comic in 2012!
I will admit that I have never been Howard Porter's greatest fan, but anyone can see that the guy has a style that appeals to a vast section of the comic book marketplace. That said, this is clearly not his best work. My reaction when I first saw the interior pages was that it looked rushed! Throughout the issue poses look unnatural and stiff, most notably the children seem to change height from panel to panel. And the action between Sir Laser-Lot and the Beastmen is bland. The first blow that Sir Laser-Lot strikes is illustrated with such little force, that it appears that he is merely showing his club to one of the oncoming Beastmen.
The final page in which we see some familiar faces is just odd. I have no problem with the redesigns of the Evil Warriors themselves, but the way in which the redesigns are illustrated in this one splash page is questionable. Skeletor is absolutely huge, and appears to be almost twice the width as those around him. Trap Jaw and Beast Man seem to be crouching, yet their respective body postures do not imply that they are. And Tri-Klops looks a little lost.
On the plus side, alongside the striking cover, the colors by Carrie Strachan are beautiful and create a wonderful sense of mood throughout the story, especially when we see Sir Laser-Lot's lair.
This is not a great start for the new Masters of the Universe canon, but still, it is a new Masters of the Universe, and we should be happy with that. Right?
I'm still going to tell people to buy this comic book. Regardless of my personal opinion you should all judge for yourself and, more importantly, continue to support the brand!
(click on the image to see it at full-size)