Monday, 26 May 2014

Powering Up, He-Man...

After receiving positive feedback on the speculative discussion Jukka and Reilly (toy and comic reviewer at had about Issue #16 Solicitation, this time the duo tackles He-Man's new Armor and Powersword, with all the light-up features it possesses... 

Jukka: While we wait for the upcoming story arc "The Blood of Grayskull" to start on May 28th with Issue #13 of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, we learned a bit more recently from Rob David, the Head Writer for Mattel, in charge of the story for the new comic at DC Comics.

But what caught my eye was the spec-sheet about He-Man he provided for That showcases He-Man in his new "upgraded suit" (that we saw in earlier Issue #12).

Specifically what I found interesting, was the bit about "When Powered-Up, magical tech/glyphs appear radiating off of Sword blade and chest falcon." 

It's a cool idea to visually show when He-Man is more "energized", if you will.

What are your thoughts, Reilly?

Reilly: I have different thoughts about it. I like the idea on He-Man's sword, as it shows why that weapon is special. This is the Sword of Power, and it makes sense that said power comes to visual effect in battle. Plus, even in the 80s, we saw similar takes on that. The old DC comics for example feature the sword glow.

As for He-Man's chest symbol, it surely would be a nice feature on an action figure, but I'm not a big fan of it. I prefer when it has a natural golden glow. These energized effects are a bit too much. I can't help but think that a glowing chest symbol would be a distraction for He-Man himself. I would feel more comfortable if that happened only during the transformation and in rare special instances.

Jukka: The fewer, the more special. Kinda like in Filmation cartoon there were couple instances where He-Man would be lifting something heavy, and say the words "By the Power of Grayskull" almost like to himself.

Now, thinking about the Powersword and He-Man's Armor showing these signs of "powered-up", I think that is what the earlier Armor did too.

In that situation, He-Man re-forged his Powersword and gained a new armor to battle the Invasion of the Evil Horde. The first glimpse is in Ongoing #3 where the Sorceress shows He-Man a glimpse of future, about a battle scene where he has a different armor and Sword. The Powersword has energy going in the middle of the blade...

Reilly: That's what I mean, the energized effect on the armor made sense there to illustrate the new power bursting out of He-Man. But it shouldn't be done all the time whenever he's in battle.

Jukka: And it actually seems to be somewhat inconsistent. We see He-Man and the heroes in Subternia Dream Circles fighting these monsters, and Michael O'Hare illustrated in Issues #9 and #10 He-Man's sword to constantly be "powered-up", but his armor was not glowing or anything.

Then as Tom Benedict took over for #11 and #12, He-Man is fighting King Hssss, but neither the sword has any "powering-up" or the armor.

Surely fighting King Hssss would warrant some need of that, next to Monsters in a Dream-Level.

Reilly: You're right there. Though we have to be fair with the artists. We have seen an artist change any two issues during that storyline.

I think we can assume that the deadlines were very tight then. This can cause inconsistences, which were missed by Mattel and DC editorial, or just accepted to get the comic printed on time.

Jukka: True, true. The whole story arc had lot of ups and downs, twists and turns. Most notable of course having 3 different artists. But how can a geeky fanboy make sense of it all when the consistency is here and there? LOL

I do hope that the book will be on time as scheduled from now on out.

Reilly: The Powersword's energy in there reminded me alot of what Mattel did with Snake Armor He-Man back in 2003. There, the blade suddenly split apart to shoot a huge magic blast. The actionfigure introduced that, and in the cartoon show, it was used to tell how He-Man was able to defeat Serpos.

Jukka: YES! That slit going in the middle of the blade reminded me too of the feature that Snake Armor He-Man did. In the very last episode of the series, no less! (though there it was used for toy-purposes, instead of being originally written in by the writer).

Luckily MVCreations' comic helped give more meaning to it back then.

Reilly: Even when used to promote the toy, it was executed quite well. He-Man had to find a way to beat this unstoppable three-headed gigantic serpent made of stone, so it made sense that he needed to "power-up".

And I loved how the MVC comics explained that feature, when the Faceless One gifted the sword with it, knowing that He-Man would face Serpos soon. Simple but good.

Jukka: Yeah. But I still wish it wasn't an add-on in the show. Would have liked asking the writer more about it, since the MYP-writers were pretty good in integrating some toy-gimmicks into storyline.

Reilly: Well, I see the outcome, and it worked for me. I'm just glad that they didn't have He-Man transform into his Snake Hunter outfit and throw an energized net at Serpos. :)

Jukka: Haha! But seriously, going over some more inconsistencies, Ongoing Issue #5 has He-Man and Mekaneck go scouting, and we see He-Man's armor somewhat lit-up. But I don't really see any need for "powering-up" in this context.

The Cover for Issue #10 has He-Man's armor very lit-up as he pilots the machine from Realm of the Sky.

Make of that what you will? ;)

Reilly: Well, it was dark out there, so the armor probably thought that He-Man could need some light to find the way. You know, magic armor with a symbiotic sentience that tries to help whenever needed.

Jukka: LOL

Jukka: Though speaking of magical sentience, that reminds me of He-Man tossing the Powersword to Superman, saying that "The Sword of Power won't serve the unworthy -- but in your case, Superman, I doubt that's a problem."

Which harkens back to vintage times, when on some off-hand occasions like STAR/Marvel, the Powersword couldn't be used by a villain. 

Or the way it reacted with energy against Shadow Weaver's touch in the Secret of the Sword.There never was any actual rule about it, but it might pop up when you didn't expect it.

Going on a tangent, do you think the King Grayskull issue will dive into the creation of Powersword this much?

Reilly: He-Man's words to Superman didn't seem "right" for me. That reminded me a bit too much of Marvel's Thor, where his hammer Mjolnir can't be lifted by the unworthy.

But you are right, this is rooted in 80s Masters media. One of the Ladybird books even centered around the fact that no evildoer could ever hold He-Man's sword, which prompted Skeletor to build a robot to steal it. 

Ladybird-book "The Ironmaster"

I sure hope that we will find out more details about the creation of the Powersword. I didn't like how the MotU Classics biographies made it originate from Trolla and be passed onto King Grayskull. 

I hope that issue 13 will deal with the reason why KG had to forge the Sword of Power. Hopefully including an explanation for the Sword of Protection that's NOT based on "magical cloning".

Jukka: It definitely has that ring to it, about a magical weapon used by the hero, that can't be used by unworthy or the evil. Which opens its own can of worms about Skeletor in the DC Continuity and his "worthyness". But that's a discussion for another time...

Would really, really love it if they keep the Origin for Powersword more clear and conscise. Instead of the MOTUC story, that in a nutshell has it

  • Sword is with He-Ro from Trolla
  • He-Ro dies, gives Sword to King Grayskull
  • King Grayskull dies. Passes his own essence/power to the Sword
  • The Sword transfers the Power of Universe to Elders
  • Sword is split in two halves to be protected by different He-Men
  • Sword is merged, in order for Sorceress to clone it, giving She-Ra her sword
  • Later the Sword transforms into the NA Laser-Sword
phew! Even thinking about that order of events almost gives me a head-ache.

So yes. I am all for the comic having a clear story.

On the cover we see the Powersword all ready in the foreground, yet King Grayskull is forging another weapon. Which could be the Sword of Protection...

Reilly: Very true. And the big question is, why does he forge that? Is it supposed to rest there for the time Adora arrives? Or does he forge the sword for someone who's supposed to fight on his side against the Evil Horde!

But since you mentioned Skeletor already... yes, THAT is something the authors could touch in an upcoming storyline. 

Did Skeletor hide the sword of power during the reality-altering (in the 2012 miniseries) because he wasn't worthy and thus had no use of it?

Or is he worthy by bloodline? And if he is worthy, could that give us an entire storyline focused around Skeletor and He-Man fighting about the power sword? Heck, Skeletor actually might be able to forge his own weapon! This has some big potential!

Jukka: So many questions, so much potential.

I guess we will find out in just couple days!

Thanks again Reilly for joining me on some DC MOTU Comic talk!

Reilly: You're welcome, it was a pleasure, as always! :)


  1. I'm really loving these discussions. How do you guys feel about the armour changes? for me, I liked it for toys, but don't much like it for media, unless it is environmental, bundle up in the cold, have scuba gear etc. I prefer seeing he-man buckle down in his resolve and just deliver that burst of strength. I always had it in my mind that he-man's power is limited only by his will. So when he calls on the power of grayskull (while he-man) it's to steel himself for a extraordinarily difficult task. usually he fails when his confidence fails him. but that's my take.

  2. in the web comic, skeletor says that he cant use the sword. he said no one but he man can use it, and that his quest to take the sword for so long was years wasted when he should have been concentrating on other ways to achieve his goals.

  3. I found that they tried to draw many parallels with He-man and Thor, which in all honesty would have been a better battle than against superman.

    If they planned it out right. What they should have done was this during the mini series to explain why the sword was there: The power sword was disposed of by Skeletor as part of the magical illusion left on Skeletor by the Sorceress. Making him think that the true power was in Grayskull itself. When it was truly the sword in which He-man derived his power from. Castle Grayskull was just a means to tap into the Star Seed to fuel the forge of grayskull. so technically Skeletor could have access to the star seeds power if he ever got his hands on the sword. But right now he believes that only his nephew can access the power, as he thinks that the sword is just a conduit for which his power is channelled through.