HE-MAN AND THE MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE #16 by Dan Abnett, art by Pop Mhan and colors by Mark Roberts is an unflexed bicep.
I’ve found the HE-MAN AND THE MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE comic book series to be wildly inconsistent from issue to issue. There have been issues I’ve really enjoyed, like last month’s, and ones that I felt were just kind of flopped out there without much energy, like the month before last’s. Since last month was a crest, I guess it is only natural that this month’s be a trough.
While I find the writing and storytelling to be more uneven with each additional issue I read, I also find I like Mhan’s art and Roberts’ colors more and more. I was really pleased by the contrasts between the characters and the backgrounds in this issue. The characters in the foreground have bold outlines and bright colors, while all the backgrounds have very light inking lines and are basically all colored the same sort of drab color in a given panel. The intent was probably just to replicate nighttime, but what it actually reminded me of was old cartoons like Scooby-doo. Mhan also does a couple of cool panel layouts during a chase through the woods that nicely imply the scary situation.
This issue just feels limp with not the slightest bit of tension (except for some of the aforementioned panel layouts. Thousands of years old punishments are lifted, characters rush off into haunted woods, betrayals are made, my favorite He-man baddie shows up, and I just couldn’t bring myself to care about any of it. It feels like when you watch a crummy movie with really bad actors who don’t know how to act. They can’t bring any real life to the characters, and neither can the writing or a lot of the posing of the characters in this issue. It ends on a huge cliffhanger that could change everything, but everything leading up to it was so free of tension that I didn’t believe they would follow through with it for a second. I was so underwhelmed by this issue that it took me several days to finally sit down and write this review. Even now that I finally have I can’t come up with much to say about it.
HE-MAN AND THE MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE #16 sure was a comic book that I read. I didn’t hate reading it like I have some of the other comics I’ve review for this site, but it sure did feel plopped out there. I’m still going to read next month’s though since, as I said, the quality of this series isn’t determined issue by issue. To get to the good issues of this series, you’ve just got to wade through a few clunkers, and that’s just the price you have to pay. I’ve accepted it.
Buy this comic if you like slit throats, Tri-Klops, or dull surprises.