As many of you will know I continue to self-publish cereal:geek magazine; the one-hundred page glossy magazine dedicated to the cartoons of the eighties. I have incredibly talented individuals write articles for the magazine. However, when I required an article covering the Masters of the Universe comic book published by Marvel's Star Comics imprint I knew I had to write this article myself, given that I have such strong views on this series! As I have rarely covered the Star Comics series on this Blog I thought it would be good to showcase the article I wrote for the magazine across a group of posts.
So here I present the fourth part of the article...
One of the biggest problems with the first eight issues are the way in which the characters are written. Now the biggest mistake for me to make would be to compare the portrayal of Eternia's heroes and villains to the animated series.
Writing comic book dialogue is a lot different than writing dialogue for animation; as an audience we have to appreciate that certain liberties may be taken in order to make the characterizations leap from the page. But the one sad thing about the characters in the first eight issues is that they are simply unlikable. This would not be problem if they were villains, but most, if not all of the heroes come across as jerks! He-Man is the least offensive because he's written so blandly, but Orko, Man-At-Arms, Adam, Randor, the heroes and the villains all have an air of cockiness about them. And it is most unsettling.
Issue three opens with Adam and Orko sparring. Even though Orko is horribly whiny he seems to have a point as he addresses the fact that Adam can use the Sword of Power to overcome any odds. This is where we should see Adam point out that the Sword of Power isn't what makes He-Man a great hero, it's the man who wields it. Instead Adam simply shushes Orko!
Issue four features new toys Rio-Blast and Snout Spout who are written pretty much as the same character. One could easily switch their personalities and you would not be able to tell the difference. Although they are partners they bicker and fight their way through the issue leading to the predictable splitting up, to the even more predictable reformation in order to overthrow evil. Sadly throughout the issue neither are given any real character, just very angry shout-laden dialogue.
Issue seven features an ensemble of unlikable characters. Although given a good story, that of a king who desires to be a warrior once more, Randor's character in this issue does not endear him to the reader. Instead of the noble, wise king we are used to, here we have an arrogant, old man (and I quote) "I'm the king! I can go anywhere I want to! How many times do I have to keep telling everyone?!"
Clamp Champ's debut in the same issue is by far one of the worst character debuts ever. As the king's bodyguard he is puzzled as to why the ruler of Eternia would take on one of Man-At-Arms training robots, only to then say that if he had of been hurt it would have looked bad on his own record. Queen Marlena retorts, "You're just making matters worse", even she, one of the most loving characters on Eternia doesn't like him! She even proceeds to mock him when he believes the dinner bell to be a threat on the king's life. Both King Randor and Clamp Champ further isolate themselves from the reader by being noticeably unhappy about He-Man's presence on Eternia, believing he takes away their "action".
To be continued...
(click on the image to see it at full-size)
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